Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, WTF
Spoiler: the “vote” was eighteen for and seven against. What I found particularly intriguing is one person purporting to represent three different “member groups” of GWAPP (Barbara Vetell, a veritable “army of one”) was allowed to vote three times. That’s “democracy” Greenpoint-style, folks! It makes yours truly yearn for the “old school” methods of Tammany. E.g.; before election day, you grow a beard. You vote sporting said beard. You go home and shave it down to a mustache. Then, you vote again. Then you go home, shave your face entirely and vote a third time. In the clarity of hindsight (and this evening’s convocation), this is downright quaint— and dare I say “cute”— by comparison.
It should also be noted that neither Steve Levin nor Joe Lentol (or their representatives) were present at this meeting. I stand corrected:
Good morning Heather,
I just wanted to clarify that I was in fact at the meeting last night on behalf of Assemblyman Lentol. Representatives from Levin and Reynoso’s office were also in attendance.
Office of Assemblyman Joseph Lentol
- Roll call is taken, board members introduce each other.
- Rich Mazur represents the “Dupont Street Seniors Center”. NOTE: Mr. Mazur is also the head of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, which is of course spear-heading dispersal of funds from the settlement between Exxon Mobil and (then) Attorney General Cuomo.
- The matter of GWAPP’s finances are discussed. Pay careful attention to their anticipated funds. They include GREF grants (remember who is in charge of this, readers?) and money from Councilman Levin.
- Christine Holowacz announces that a lease is being procured for the Greenpoint Boathouse. Presumably this would be 51 Ash Street.
- Barbara McGlamery touts that GWAPP’s website got 2,000 a hits a month as of November 2013 but has fallen since.
- Del Teague speaks against the new by laws.
- Barbara Vetell speaks on the behalf of three organizations (and was rewarded accordingly by giving three votes regarding changing these by laws).
- At 5:38 you can watch Jens Rasmussen (who later voted on the behalf of the North Brooklyn Boat Club, an ostensible not-for-profit organization**).
- Two words: WATCH THIS. (The lady who speaks starting at 1:19 kicks ass!)
- Dewey interacts with a couple of fellow citizens while the “vote” is being conducted. The question being raised is over the addition of new member organizations. What follows is not pretty.
Then the “transition “team” comes in: Rich Mazur, Barbara McGlamery (AKA: Mrs. Adam Perlmutter) and Trina McKeever will comprise the “selection committee” charged with picking members for a new board. That’s the bad news. The good news: they’ll have a(nother) public meeting later this month— and I have every intention of filming it. Thanks GWAPP 2.0! And oh yeah: those ostensible “member groups” who voted themselves out of a so-called “community organization”, in one case in triplicate, what are they going to get out of this?
UPDATE, March 6, 2014 2:52 p.m.: Looks likes the North Brooklyn Boat Club received not one, not two, but three “GREF” awards. My oeraonal favorite is as follows:
I know. Shocking…
**The North Brooklyn Boat Club is registered with the New York State Attorney General’s Office Database of Corporations. The address listed is Dewey Thompson’s residence. However, as of 3/6/2014, the North Brooklyn Boat Club is NOT a registered charitable organization per the same-said Attorney General’s Charities Database:
Any/all donations to the North Brooklyn Boat Club are handled via Open Space Alliance. Of which Dewey is a Board member. Can you say eating your cake and keeping it too? At $150.00 a person and a two person minimum for a four hour workshop (which comes out to roughly $72.00 an hour) I cannot exactly say I do not understand Mr. Rasmussen’s “interest”. However, it is a conflict of interest. Some people have a problem with that kind of thing. What’s really interesting is the North Brooklyn Boat Clubs’s applications for Exxon Mobil money (“GREF”: which we have established is being handled by Rich Mazur— who will also be part of GWAPP’s “nominating committee”) money are via GWAPP. Once Again: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s “fundraising” is handled by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn. Guess what kids, Dewey Thompson is a chair on both GWAPP and OSA!
Hear me, Conflict if Interest Board? Steve Levin? Joe Lentol? Anyone?
UPDATE, 10:02 a.m.: I love the smell of spam in the morning!
Looks like someone exiting the Pulaski Bridge did not quite make that right turn onto Freeman. Sweet Jesus…
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek, Wow, WTF
Yesterday yours truly received a most amusing piece of mail. Yes: MAIL —of the “snail” variety. Without further ado, here it is:
This comes from my comrade over at Queens Crap. I have to say it gave me a good laugh. For those of you who are not in the know, the following should explain why.
A fellow by the name of Jens Rasmussen was recently featured in both the New York Times and CBS Local. He conducts wilderness survival courses on the premises of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. This is where our “new and improved” Greenpoint Boathouse (whose plans have yet to be made public) is to be located. Follows are a couple screengrabs of solicitations this chap has seen fit to post online.
As you see the latter clearly states these come to pass on the premises of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Something to consider: as a general rule, for profit endeavors are not permissible on the premises on non-profit organizations. I mention this because word on the street is Mr. Rasmussen has stated that the North Brooklyn Boat Club has filed paperwork so as to become a 501(3) c . I feel compelled to note a recent search of the New York State Attorney General’s charities database turned up nothing:
Hmm— but I digress. This afternoon, the weather being downright lovely, I felt the need to explore the wilderness of Long Island City. I decided to grab a few shots of the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s premises (51 Ash Street) en route. Seeing is truly believing.
Um, what is that smoke-stack looking thing? Anyone?
Nowadays Mr. Rasmussen is asking $150.00 a head for his wilderness survival course.
I trust another $50.00 will be forthcoming, Crappy? in any case, follows is my favorite excerpt:
…Head to Greenpoint and meet Jens for an intro and explanation to bushcraft tripping skills, including the most vital things to know and what you can do in a variety of disaster scenarios. Learn valuable tactics like making a signal whistle from an aluminum can…
My advice: save yourself $144.00, purchase a six pack of Budweiser and figure this out on your own. Preferably somewhere that is NOT a Superfund site.
P.S.: I have every intention of creating a “boat club” snow globe. However, in light of recent events methinks this has made it to the top of my list. Cheers!
UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: I appear to be lacking a suitable character for Ms. Nealis. One will have to be ordered, I am guessing. Nonetheless, I played around with my tentatively titled “Stray Cat Strut” snow globe’s contents and one dedicated to the absurdity that is 51 Ash Street/the North Brooklyn Boat Club. The latter I have entitled “Rockin’ the Pulaski!”
The Mister eventually wandered in and inquired as to what I was doing. Usually this disrupts my “creative process” Not this time. He first inquired:
Are those hobos?
Me: No, those are people learning valuable wilderness survival skills!
He looked closer and noted:
Oh, there’s the Commodore! Where’s Spaulding? SPAULDING GET YOUR FOOT OFF THE BOAT!
Here is Spaulding— and as you can see he has his foot on the boat!
Pookie Mister Heather!
UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Crappy notes:
More to the point of the shenanigans at the boat club, it’s a conflict of interest violation for a board member to be personally profiting from the tax exempt status of the organization. Therefore, if Jens is running his business on their property or using his connection with them to draw people to his classes, then that’s a big no no.
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF
When I saw this item on Gothamist my jaw hit my desk. I can assure you, gentle readers, this was not due to shock. Hardly. Rather your truly’s first apartment in Greenpoint was at 95 Clay Street. That was over a decade ago— and I can assure you it was a total and utter nightmare.* If this latest episode is to believed, things have not changed much. Those of you who are so inclined can read a little more about 95 Clay “back in the day” by clicking here, here and here. As for 156 India, I offer this and this for your perusal. In closing I would like to remind everyone that while Ms. Nealis’s alleged conduct is thoroughly reprehensible, she would not have felt free to behave in such a manner if our enforcement agencies (and elected officials) had nipped this in the proverbial bud. Years ago.
*Including, but not limited to:
- Frequent hot water outages. Apparently there was not only a residential (think: for a house) hot water heater pressed into service to service an eight unit building. The thermostat was broken so when it would get “hot” the “Super” would simply turn it off.
- An electrical outage on the apartments on the top floor lasting days. This was probably caused by…
- Rainwater leaking through the roof.
- Broken mailboxes. Mail theft was pervasive.
- An illegal apartment in the basement.
- Trips to housing court.
- Harassment— including having my locks filled with glue, verbal harassment and having my mailbox ripped open.
This is the short list. Any and all who have the misfortune of living in this building may want to check and see if a rent-freeze/rent reduction is still in place regarding the mailboxes.
Filed under: 11206, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, The Word On The Street, Wow, WTF
This cry for help can be found on the doorway gracing 1 Bushwick Place. A couple of thoughts which crossed my mind when I saw this:
- This is going to give me nightmares for days. Possibly weeks.
- I wonder what Anthony Bourdain would say about this?
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) January 9, 2014
From multiple sources I have learned there will be a meeting of GWAPP at the “Polish National Home” March 5th, at 7:00 p.m. ONCE AGAIN: per MULTIPLE sources. (I like to keep certain “interested parties” busy) Here’s the copy sharing the good news:
We request your presence at a meeting at 7pm, Wednesday March 5 at Warsaw (Driggs/Eckford). It’s very important that you (or a representative from your organization) attends.
As you may know, GWAPP was founded in 2000 as “Greenpoint Williamsburg Against Power Plants,” an association of local community organizations allied against an imminent threat to the quality of life in our neighborhood. Meeting, sometimes weekly, to plan strategy, organize rallies and prepare testimony for countless governmental hearings, GWAPP played a significant role in the defeat of two major power plant proposals for the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront. In the wake of these hard-fought defenses of the community, GWAPP turned its attention to other issues affecting our neighborhood and changed its name to reflect the new focus: Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning. There was no longer the need for weekly meetings but, in addition to forums on specific situations, GWAPP organized a series of well-attended annual Town Halls to discuss parks and open space issues – a tradition that the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn now carries on – and met with elected officials and gave testimony at city hearings in connection with quality of life issues in the neighborhood. Over time, the Board has met less regularly (typically at least 4 times per year) and there has been less communication with the Member Organizations.
GWAPP continues to be a vital community organization with a robust website that has become an important forum for information and discussion about parks, open space and environmental issues affecting North Brooklyn (recently enhanced with commissioned narratives about community activist history and regular reporting) and Board Members frequently give testimony (often in collaboration with other community groups like NAG) on those issues in civic forums and agency hearings. But, it is no longer operating in accordance with the original by-laws. The Board is proposing amendments to those by-laws to reflect an organization that is no longer an association of local orgs meeting regularly but, rather, a Board overseeing various programs and initiatives with volunteer help…
Straight up folks: if you value real community organizations and NOT “astroturf” attend this meeting. Let these folks know that community organizations are to be constituted by the community— not a select few.
You can read all about it here.
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF
Many of you who read this site are undoubtedly aware that my post (dated January 29th, 2014) announcing the new location of the Greenpoint Boathouse (51 Ash Street versus the proposed and approved location at the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center) has precipitated quite a reaction online. Follows are a few of the latest— in chronological order:
Queens Crap’s “Something reeks at Newtown Creek (and it isn’t the water)!” was posted January 30th, 2014.
GWAPP (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning) saw fit to post a tome on January 31st, 2014.
The North Brooklyn Boat Club followed suit in an eerily similar fashion February 1st 2014.
And lastly A Walk in the Park tendered their two cents February 3rd, 2014. This can be read here.
The previous is probably (hopefully) “old news” to many of you, gentle readers— but it makes for an excellent introduction/segue to the content of this post. Read on: you will undoubtedly find it fascinating.
In the elapsing time since I shared the “good news” about this endeavor I have been asking myself a lot of questions. Foremost among them: exactly who comprises “GWAPP” nowadays? Perhaps we should first look at their member organizations? I was advised to do this by a tipster.
…In short, there may be 10-12 actual small organizations on that list.
This may very well be the case. But let’s review a few I have highlighted in yellow. FIRST UP: Greenpoint Property Owners Inc. This is their listing per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database.
No registered agent is listed. No worries. That’s when the Department of Buildings comes in handy! Here’s what I found looking up 173 Meserole Avenue:
Christine Holowacz.* Now let’s proceed to the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Here’s their registration per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database:
Once again, no registered agent is listed. But the address listed was helpful. Thanks ACRIS!
Now we have Dewey Thompson.
And to make three: the North Brooklyn Development Corporation. Here’s their listing per the New York Department of States Corporation’s Database:
As you can see there’s no registered address or agent for this corporation. So the Department of Buildings and ACRIS are not helpful. No worries: I know who the Executive Director is— because he loves to talk to reporters!
Alas, all I can offer (as a lowly blogger) is a handful of comments which (because I demand registration) appear to be authored by the “owner” of the email address for GWAPP: GWAPP (at) aol (dot) org:
The “author” is “RICHM”. Hmm.
Now let’s proceed to the present Board Members of GWAPP. Hang on folks— I am getting to something!
- We have established that former/non-extant “member organizations” of GWAPP are still listed on their site.
- Yet new “members” have been added. One example is Jen Aull of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. She is presently on GWAPP’s Board. So it is logical to presume some updating of this site is being conducted.
This brings me to the second tipster email I received. This person (whose anonymity I had to assure so as to get the “low down”) advised me to look at the by laws for GWAPP. They do not offer them on their web site— or much of anything in the way of information after 2005. But being the daughter of an accountant, whose father was also an accountant (it runs in the family), and a little help from a friend, I did find them! One need only look at this tax return, enter the “EIN” (11-3627884) here and hit enter!
Among the allegations this tipster made are:
- This person was not aware of what was happening regarding the “Boathouse “Project” until it was brought to his/her attention by a third party. Via my site.
- This same person was not advised of GWAPP’s “position”/”involvement” regarding The Greenpoint boathouse. Rather funny given this person is a GWAPP board member.
- “GWAPP” has not been compliant with its own by laws. For years. For example, they’re supposed to have quarterly meetings (open to the public) and board members are supposed to be voted upon each and every year. Do any of you, gentle readers, recall this happening? I do not. It is one thing to keep the “hoi polloi” in the dark about one’s activities— but GWAPP’s own board members as well? That’s rather shitty.
NOW let’s look at who is on the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Community Advisory Committee. The members who have the ability vote for a project to receive Exxon Mobil “settlement” money. Did I mention this “process” is being managed by the North Brooklyn Development Corporation? Well, I just did.
Note Gina Argento is on this panel. She was added last summer:
Other Business. CAP Recruitment. Filip Stabrowski, NBDC, announced the addition of four new CAP members: Gina Argento of Broadway Stages, Heidi Shea Springer of Greenpoint Gardens, Joanna Micek an Independent Consultant, and Ronald VanCooten of LaGuardia College. This brings the total number of voting CAP members to 15.
Don’t take my word for it: read it for yourself,
Now let’s consider a few things. First this. It comes from GWAPP’s very own web site:
So they fight against the processing of waste/garbage— IN GREENPOINT. Then why, may I ask, are they/the North Brooklyn Boat Club (hard to tell the difference) “partnering” with folks who were on the business end of a rather damning decision by the Business Integrity Commission on May 13, 2013? Among BIC’s fascinating findings were:
- Luna Stages (which was discerned to be owned by Tony, Gina and Angela Argento— mind you, they did not offer this information freely and openly) was operating as an illegal “trade waste” facility.
- Same-said folks owe six figures in Federal tax liens. (It was originally seven.)
So now our “community leaders” are going to entrust state money, the result of an environmental law suit/settlement, to folks who were found guilty by a coalition of agencies
of— ONCE AGAIN— operating an illegal “trade waste” station— in GREENPOINT.
Am I missing something here?
P.S.: Happy belated birthday, Alice Cooper!
*whose daughter, Monica, apparently owns a company called “Lights on Brooklyn”. At least that was how she represented herself to me:
Campaign finance records and “local intelligence” say otherwise.
How can an office assistant afford a $4,000 campaign donation? “Lights on Brooklyn” wanted exposure. They just got it. For free.
UPDATE, February 8, 2014: Barge Park Pals/Friends of Newtown Creek Barge Park has since been removed as a member of GWAPP’s “member organizations”. Apparently the person “managing” that “blog” learned this through a “blog”. She closed her “acknowledgment” with (and I quote):
Have a good day.
Passive aggressive much?
Taken by thoth1618.
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek, Wow, WTF
I have been wondering what is up with the Greenpoint Boathouse Project of late. As some of you might recall this project (whose description can been seen at the City Parks Foundation’s web site) was brought to a vote and chosen to receive public funds. “Newtown Creek money”, if you will. Well today a most interesting item was brought to my attention via a tipster. This:
A new building has been proposed for 51 Ash Street.
Not much of interest here. Be patient, gentle readers!
I see we are not only are we going to get a “community facility” in the way of a private club for a non for profit (think about that one for a minute) but we’re getting a transient hotel. Fascinating!
And none other than the folks behind Broadway Stages are responsible for this, um, novel endeavor! For those of you who are not in the know as to where 51 Ash Street is located, the following screengrabs from Google Maps should clear matters up a bit.
This is 51 Ash Street.
And this is the Pulaski Bridge. Please tell me I am not the only person who finds the use of public funds ($3,000,000 if Wikipedia is to be believed) for what appears to be a private endeavor a mite bit troubling.
P.S.: Oh yeah, as initially proposed this boat house was supposed to be at 1155 Manhattan Avenue.
UPDATE, January 29, 1:09 p.m.: Continental Auto Parts (the business which graces 49/51 Ash Street) was the location of an armed robbery just under a year ago. Just felt like throwing that odd piece of trivia out there.