Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long links Tuesday

Domino... The multi-billion dollar Musical!

Before we get to some links, let's look at five longer news stories and features that are recommended reading.

When I first saw the Domino documentary trailer, The Domino Effect.. not Domino's Turnaround, I thought, is this it? It's shot extremely well but there's little context to the area's demographics all the political behind-the-scenes battles that occurred and it comes off as a slanted rehashing of old arguments.
But Brian Paul's essay in the Gotham Gazette shows that there's going to be substance in this documentary. A lot of substance. I'm encouraged- even if the piece buries the good stuff in the second-to-last paragraph.

Reid Pillifant at The Observer follows around Sarah Palin in Long Island and all signs point to a Palin presidential run.

Dana Rubinstein's excellent, well-timed piece on uber-media consultant Josh Isay is an example of Capital New York finding it's voice. Breaking out the fedora for a hat tip.

Keeping up the Observer/ former Observer trend in linking, Gillian Regan picks up a nice feature on a traveling seamstress covering Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg for the Times. Breaking out another hat tip- but could I have this hat taken in? It's a tad large and I have a small head.

Finally, file this one under holy sh-t. Boy, I'm glad I never joined Scientology.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Awesome email of the week

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 11:45 AM

Pirate And His Crew Were Responsible For the 2009 Hijacking Of The Maersk Alabama

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York ("NYPD"), announced the sentencing today of ABDUWALI MUSE to 405 months in prison for his participation in the April 8, 2009, hijacking of the Maersk Alabama container ship in the Indian Ocean and the subsequent taking of the captain of the ship as a hostage. MUSE was also sentenced for his participation in the hijacking of two other vessels in late March and early April of 2009. Those hijackings also involved the taking of hostages. MUSE pled guilty on May 18, 2010, to two felony counts of hijacking maritime vessels, two felony counts of kidnapping, and two felony counts of hostage taking. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge LORETTA A. PRESKA.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CB 1 February Sexy Party

Ok, so we don't have to crowd source this thing tonight. That's a relief because there isn't much of a crowd to begin with. Half the board members are here, but there's a slew of electeds and staffers, including Councilmember Steve Levin.

6:36 PM: District Manager Gerry Esposito takes the roll and Chairman Chris introduces the first item

6:43 PM: A representative of a building on Havemeyer and Hope looking to add 25 new units gives his presentation.

6:46 PM: Scott McCozi from Department Design and Construction gives a long presentation on the $1.2 million Humboldt Street plaza project in front of the Moore Street Market. Artist Austin Thomas has been selected to design the art portion of the project, but the city is spending much of its 10 minutes talking about all the new seating arrangements, benches, trees, tents, and expanded sidewalks. They're taking away a lane of traffic and parking spaces between Seigel and Flushing, and redesigning the parking spaces to be angular.

Gerry stands up and gives an impassioned plea on behalf of supporting the project and the Moore Street Market. This is maybe the longest speech I've heard Gerry talk at a board meeting, so this is pretty important.

Joan Bartolomeo of the Brooklyn Economic Development Corp mentions how existing vendors will not be relocated and she is looking for more new vendors, and she has been talking with upstate farmers about expanding a greenmarket inside. Bartolomeo adds that most of the work at the Humboldt plaza will be adding even more stalls outside.

It's Team Moore Street Market!

7:11 PM Councilman Steve Levin praises Gerry and Marie for their work on the Moore Street market, and Joan at BEDC. Steve worked on this project when he was a staffer for Vito Lopez, in 2007, and Steve notes that Gerry didn't have a handlebar mustache at that time.

Steve adds that HELP USA withdrew its proposal for a shelter on McGuinness Boulevard.
"It means that we have a say over what happens here."

He points out that the city sent letters to Monitor Street residents about the Nassau Avenue reconstruction project.
"All of a sudden DDC discovers that everyone's fences and stoops are encroaching on public property. Everyone scratched their head and said, 'excuse me' and got very upset about that."
The sense that I am getting, talking with more city officials, we'll be able to get to a place where nobody will be able to move their stoops. It warrants another meeting. It's ultimately a Department of Transportation decision. Stay tuned on that.

Regarding Noble Street, former Councilmember Abe Gergis was complaining about the fence in 1981, when the current Councilman was 1 years old.

And Steve is urging the MTA to move its bus lot on 65 Commercial Street to an alternative site in Queens.
"I am confident that the city will accept a site on Maspeth, Queens for its access-a-ride program currently on Commercial Street. It's absurd that it's six years later that it hasn't moved."

Finally, Steve notes that he has been working on loft issues with Vito's office and he says that loft dwellers can reach out to his office anytime. And then he scurries off to a meeting with DHS about the homeless shelter that is not coming to Greenpoint.

Miss Heather texts in that she cannot imagine this community board at Ms. Ramos' passion party. Well, I can!

7:24 PM: Chairman Chris takes the mic
"He's a tremendous spirit and force in this board and we really hope to have him back here
Please give our best ot hte rabbi and wish him all the best. We hope to see him soon as he is able.

Chairman Chris notes that he is glad that the 400 McGuinness shelter proposal was revoked, but not for the reasons you might think. He's more upset that the nonprofit, HELP USA stonewalled the community board.

"A project like this of this magnitude should have been handled in a much greater understanding if HELP USA came forward to the community. They didn't feel they had to, technically they could bypass us and they did... If HELP USA had come and talked, maybe this could have been handled in a different way. People need to come and speak, it makes sense for groups who want to have an impact to the community."

Chairman Chris has a letter from the consulate general of Poland regarding the concentration camp naming resolution and he's going to read it. Can we still make concentration camp jokes? Only if it's about Germany.

Finally, Chairman Chris wants to set the record straight about the sexy party discussion on the listserv. He giggles while he's saying this.
Wilfredo Florentino asks, "Whats that website?"
More giggling.
Chairman Chris: It's CB1Brooklyn.org. It's the only one. It's always been there... There's been some misrepresentation in the press..."

I have a question for Chairman Chris. He doesn't take it. Well, alright then.

7:40 PM: Diana Reyna's Antonio Reynoso talks about how great Diana Reyna's health fair was, even though it happened two weeks ago.
There's also an announcement of renovating the Grand Street streetscape, a capital allocation from the past year.
Antonio gives shoutouts to Gerry, Marie, and everybody else for renovating the Moore Street Market.

Congressional liaison Evelyn Cruz mentions Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez's holiday party, mentions her new less impressive titles now that the Republicans won Congress, and gives more shoutouts to Gerry and Marie for advocating for the Moore Street Market.
I have a great picture of Nydia at her holiday party somewhere. Oh, why here it is.

7:47 PM: Karen Nieves begins the transportation committee report, summarizing the 90 minute Monitor Street meeting in... slightly less than 90 minutes? Kidding.
Karen notes that Boars Head wants to turn Bogart Street into a one-way street and requests a vote on the Humboldt Street Plaza. It passes.
She tries to get off the stage faster than Kim Kardashian, but Rabbi Niederman has a question about sanitation pickups during the snowstorm. Karen tries to answer questions. She feels obligated to stay around and answer for a while. Gotta feel for Karen.

7:59 PM: Rabbi Niederman gives a summary of his public housing report:
"In a nutshell, the questions were, you see lots of scaffolding, lots of housing and you don't see any movement.
We're going to get more reports about which project is slated for repairs.
The Rabbi brings up concerns about window guards and how to install them properly. And if you don't use them you can lose your Section 8 Voucher

8:03 PM: Tom Burrows with the Public Safety meeting subbing for Mieszko Kalita
"Mieszko is lying on a yacht somewhere in Fiji. We feel real sorry for him."
Tom kicks off the report with Juliet's sidewalk cafe license. The restaurant is next to Egg, which gets slammed on the weekends, so cramming a cafe on that busy corner is going to be interesting.

Tom notes the board has taken a tour of Club Rust and notes several concerns, so Ward Dennis recommends "no with extreme prejudice" on the item.
"I have serious concerns about the owner's ability to run the place," said Ward.
The motion carries.
Tom gets very excited describing the board's tour of the movie theater next door.
"There are servers who bring you drinks when you watch a movie," said Tom.

There's The Meatball Shop, which is trying to open another branch on Bedford Avenue and its license gets approved.

Tom bundles the renewals... and they're approved.

8:17 PM: Public Session! Two minutes each. Miss Heather perks up and starts recording Joseph *Garber. This must be a special project of hers.
Garber sends his condolences to Rabbi Webber, he wants to send more suggestions to Chairman Chris in the mail, he chides the public safety committee for not dealing with law enforcement issues, he's attended every snow removal hearing including the latest one in Bensonhurst, the budget will be released on Feb 15th, the last two meetings of public housing had lots of "erroneous facts" and he's going to write them up, he's "sick and tired of being harassed by Rabbi Niederman," he attended Marty Markowitz's event and "it was a very nice event," that's about it, thank you very much.

*Katie Denny from the North Brooklyn Public Arts Coalition updates the groups upcoming oral history project recording stories of community members, residents and business owners of North Brooklyn. They're going to archive them and screen/ stream? them on construction fences in North Brooklyn.

*Christine Murray is asking for garbage cans on Driggs between N. Eighth Street and McCarren Park, especially for dog owners

*Mark Visovsky for PSC Cafeteria incorporated is speaking about liquor license approvals.
"We cannot forget about the values of our country, we cannot put profit over culture."
Apparently the Polish Slavic Center leadership didn't consult its members regarding the liquor license and now members are upset and they have a permit.

8:26 PM: New Business! Heather Roslund notes that she's tired of getting calls from the press regarding the sale of beer at the Duane Reade.
"What I think the issue is, there's one type of license for selling and one type for serving. And they obviously have a license for selling but not for serving, yet they seem to be serving. They apparently have been serving."
Board members begin making catcalls.

Esteban Duran motions that the board should welcome Marty Markowitz's food incubator to occur inside Moore Street Market. I don't know if they're drafting a letter here, but apparently the board just voted for a motion. And we're out.

Help me Board 1 members!

Dear Community Board 1 groupies,

I may be late tonight so I'm going to propose to outsource... I mean crowd source tonight's board meeting minutes.

What does that mean? Everybody tweet, facebook, text, whatever your comments and let me know the interesting parts of what's going on at tonight's meeting. Then we'll piece it together tomorrow, Rashomon-style to get a sense of what everybody thought. The future is now!

Friday, February 4, 2011

State of the Borough: Marty Striptease Edition

Borough President Marty Markowitz's enters Sunset Park High School

Once a year, Marty Markowitz gives his state of the borough address. This year, he rode onto the stage on a bicycle, trashed the Prospect Park Bike Lane, vowed to lose weight, and ended the 90 minute address with a poll-dancing striptease lesson. Sounds about right to us.

Atlantic Yards Report looks at the speech and writes up the applause lines, while the New York Post summarizes the highlights.

In other news, Streetsblog's Ben Fried lashes into Markowitz for making light of street safety measures and Marty Markowitz Eating has a new Passover-themed matzo brei recipe video. It's got apple juice.

Ok, here's the actual entrance video complete with an introduction from Queen. Hey, is that Stefano and Nydia Velazquez in the front row?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Linderman Leaves the Gazette

Goodbye, Greenpoint Gazette!
Feb 03, 2011 by Juliet Linderman

After two and a half exciting years, it’s finally time for me to hang up my press hat and bid farewell to the Greenpoint Gazette. I do so, however, with a tremendous amount of love and admiration for this newspaper, this community and this neighborhood.

I started as the managing editor of the Greenpoint Gazette in October of 2008. I had just graduated from college and was dying to find a job—any job, really—in the newspaper biz. Before landing the position at the Gazette I lived in Park Slope (I moved to the nabe shortly thereafter), and had only made the trek up to Greenpoint a handful of times. I remember getting off the train on my first day and feeling confused. ‘Where am I?’ I thought. ‘It feels like the end of the earth out here.’

Fast-forward two and a half years. I’ve gotten to know every corner of this neighborhood from the poisonous banks of Newtown Creek to the complicated borders of the Broadway Triangle, the classic arches of McGolrick Park to the dazzling waterfront view of East River State, the bustling commercial corridor of Franklin Street to the Polish delicatessens along Nassau Avenue. This is a neighborhood with an eclectic cultural legacy, but also a place of immense change and it has been a pleasure and privilege to write about the communities that call Greenpoint home.

We’ve been through a lot together over the past couple of years. We’ve watched high-rises grow up along the waterfront to sit empty in the wake of the housing bust, mega-developments get approved by certain city agencies and shot down by others, old elected officials step down or be ousted in favor of a new political guard, Newtown Creek finally see the Superfund status so many members of this community fought long and hard for.

I am a New York City transplant originally from San Francisco, and before moving to Greenpoint I had never really felt like a part of any particular community in New York. But now I’m a Greenpointer, and I thank you all for that. It has been a truly amazing experience to watch this neighborhood grow and develop, and get to know so many residents of the Garden Spot, new and old. The commitment you show to your community is inspiring, and is a testament to the spirit of this place. You are some of the strongest political, social and environmental advocates I’ve ever met, and I have the utmost respect for the dedication you display and the battles you fight on a daily basis.

So, thank you Greenpoint, for making my tenure at the Greenpoint Gazette so satisfying, and for welcoming me into this community with open arms. Thank you for all the tips and phone calls, the e-mails and invitations. I served this community to the best of my ability, and I hope I did right by all of you.

Lastly: I am by no means cutting ties with the Greenpoint Gazette. You’ll still see my bylines now and then, maybe in the form of a weekly column, maybe attached to sporadic feature stories. Either way, you’ll most certainly still see me around the neighborhood, and please don’t hesitate to call or write me with story ideas: you’ve all got my number.

So goodbye for now, Greenpoint. I’ll see you soon, no doubt.

All Best,
Juliet Linderman

Daily Links

City's threats to seize your fence got you down? Joe Lentol and friends got you back!

Let's comb through the links.

*Everyone is atwitter on Monitor Street after the city sent letters threatening that residents remove "encroachments" on public property. New York Shitty has video of last night's meeting, including the seminal moment when Joe slapped the table to maintain order.

*The Brooklyn Paper's Andy Campbell gets beaten up in Cobble Hill.

*Williamsburg's fashion Id Izzy Grinspan looks at Valentines Day in the hood... and cringes a bit.

*Benjamin Lozovsky at the WG News and Arts profiles the unfortunate story of the 99% Gallery's closure.

*Sticking with the WG, sharp profile by Mary Yeung on the Cinema on the Waterfront.

*Times Up! stages a Love-In at the Manhattan Bridge.

*Finally, the Borough President's address is tonight. And Marty Markowitz Eating has been updated. Expect the floodgates to open if there's a buffet after the speech. Let's go back to 2008 for a video highlight!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Letter from Teresa Toro

The CB1 Listerv Passion Party has been moved to the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building.

I took half a day yesterday to recover from a sore throat, and the community board 1 listerv blows up again. Because of this. And this. And did you know that Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh's new nickname is CB1? I digress.

Basically, a Williamsburg resident posted a "passion party" solicitation on community board 1's unofficial yahoo group listserv. The group is typically not the place for advertisements (a local carpet business spammed the listserv two months ago and was chased away) so a board member raised some criticism about that, which prompted the author to complain to the board office yesterday. Now the listserv's administrator, former board member Teresa Toro, felt it was necessary to respond to the controversy. Below is her letter:

Dear Members:

The purpose of the CB1Info Yahoo Group is stated on the home page, and most people adhere to it most of the time. There have been very few instances of misuse or abuse, clearly demonstrating to me that most of us act like responsible adults, most of the time – meaning we have a general sense of what constitutes an appropriate post or comment for this particular audience. Hundreds of posts over the years support this observation.

I started this Yahoo Group eight years ago so community members could share news, information, and even opinions about our community in Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Or Williamsburg-Greenpoint, if you prefer.) For the most part, posts are pretty mundane. We see a lot of announcements about upcoming community meetings. Occasionally there are invitations to fundraisers organized by local groups or businesses who give back to the community. And sometimes a local business will announce special events (McCarren Park Greenmarket, Gym Park). No one seems to find these occasional, courteously worded posts by local businesses (which are also part of our community) to be objectionable – if they do, no one has gone to the trouble of complaining openly about it.

During campaign/election season in particular, group posts and comments can get heated and downright spicy, but people seem to sense when it's time to back off – or someone reminds them – and they desist. Even then, no formal group moderation has been necessary.

I can only speak for myself, not my fellow group moderators, but it would be a drag for me to play a formal Standards & Practices role here. The only work we moderators currently do is to make sure new members are not spambots, which is the only reason why the group is members-only in the first place. I'm not inclined to start censoring or moderating this group, which has seen very few conflicts like this over the years. Free speech has worked well enough for us here, and I strongly believe in it. (Please note that this isn't an invitation from me to more Passion Party events, nor anything else that fits into the realm of intimacy and interpersonal relationships – there are many online groups and forums to satisfy those interests, while there aren't many forums dedicated to community happenings.)

If group members or my fellow moderators want to establish an appropriateness policy, and commit themselves to enforce it, you certainly are free to do so, if there's a strong majority in favor of it. All I can say is this is your group, not merely mine. I simply believe that we can continue to have a group whose membership acts appropriately 99% of the time, and are willing to weather the occasional storm when someone makes an error in judgment.

Thanks for reading,

But, the party's still on, right?

Daily Links

Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island Chuck take a joyride to New Jersey after too much blizzard coverage gets to hizzoner.

Yes, Chuck, the Staten Island groundhog is predicting only four more weeks of winter but Artie, the 20-lb football-sized rat that has permanently camped out on the platform of the Morgan Avenue L-train station saw his shadow and scurried into a corner. So, Williamsburg will get more snow. Onto the links!

*Church officials called the police at Our Lady of Montserrat (and St. Michaels St. Edwards) on Sunday to provide security in case parishioners demonstrated before the Diocese closed the churches permanently.

*The city wants to take a few feet of property from Monitor Street residents to build new water mains, forcing homeowners to remove 100-year-old brick and wrought iron fences.

*Rich Calder at The Post brings news of the city awarding the contract for expanded ferry service on the East River to NY Waterway (which runs the Staten Island Ferry) and not to New York Water Taxi. Ward at 11211 expounds on the implications.

*WNYC's Azi Paybarah breaks down Gov. Cuomo's budget proposal on Brian Lehrer this morning. Public radio's Paybarah pick-up looks better and better. Nice job, Azi.

*WNYC's Jennifer Hsu visits Bushwick to find a man who makes tempeh from scratch in an incubator. My question: Is it radioactive?

*Windshields in Sheepshead Bay this morning look like the inside of my refrigerator.

*Eastern District (the bar/ cafe, not the art gallery) gets some love in the Times.

*Want to watch the Super Bowl around fans of either the Packers or the Steelers? Head to Cobble Hill.

*The Observer and The Brooklyn Paper round-up the wild-haired and mustached gents who entered the 2011 Brooklyn Beardfest and Stache Bash at The Bell House. Just a note, this blog's nominations for the All-Brooklyn Facial Hair All-Stars will be announced on Friday. Shockingly Brett Keisel did not qualify.