From North 6 Street.
This little bit of sunshine on this otherwise drab day comes courtesy of Peter Pan Bakery.
Synopsis: Our City Councilman, Steve Levin, states that he has “deep reservations” about this shelter. More specifically he makes it clear that he does not think HELP USA’s current proposal will address the Greenpoint homeless problem— and he wants feedback from his constituents. Nonetheless he plans to tour HELP USA’s current shelter in Brooklyn (which, it should be noted, is a womens’ shelter located in Brownsville).
NEW as of 9/30/2010: The Chairman of Community Board 1, Christopher Olechowski, Speaks. Listen.
Synopsis: Long time Greenpoint resident (and community advocate) Christine Holowacz tenders her two cents and Chairman Kalita gives a hilariously droll explanation as to how the city applies its “Fair Share” policy to Greenpoint/North Brooklyn. Jane Pool makes a very well reasoned and spot on observation. The Department of Homeless Services representative advises people to call 311 for homeless outreach services. This elicits peals of cynical laughter.
Synopsis: Human Services Committee Chair Vincent Gangone makes it known that he too has doubts that HELP USA’s proposal will address Greenpoint’s homeless problem and clarifies what homeless services currently do exist north Brooklyn and how they pertain to Community Board 1 (this is useful, so give it a listen!). A Clay Street resident asks exactly what demographic this shelter will serve. When the DHS representative says “single men” the audience collectively shits bricks.
More (hopefully) to come. Suffice it to say uploading this footage is proving to be an arduous process!
As I am (still) wrangling with YouTube and generally pulling my hair out I received a very thoughtful email from a reader who attended last night’s meeting. We’ll call him “T”. He writes:
I found this meeting (my first CB1 meeting) both interesting and depressing. The amount of misdirected or premature anger based on pure conjecture, misunderstanding, class prejudice, assumption and fear was shocking. Maybe because I haven’t been intimately involved with the debate up to this point. In any event, I drew a couple of conclusions: 1) it’s mostly the craphole that is the Greenpoint Hotel and the very legitimate issue of the indigent Polish alcoholic population that generates the fear and the frustration and people are projecting that onto this process; and, 2) that first point is the fault of the dbags at HELP USA who refuse to actually come down and help alleviate these fears or at least be part of the process. So, seems to me HELP USA is the culprit in most of this. At least DHS has the courage to come down and explain the process, regardless of whether the community is calm enough to actually listen to it and understand it. Has there been a history here of these hearings happening and then DHS just completely ignoring the feelings and opinions of the community or is the assumption that DHS doesn’t care and has already approved this thing (an opinion which the dude in front of me seemed to be fastened on) based on nothing but the usual boogeymen? Because I’m willing to give DHS the benefit of the doubt on this based on the actual words coming out of the rep’s mouth but if others know something based on FACT that I don’t know, I’d love to hear it.
First off, I am VERY happy I motivated T to attend this meeting. If there is one thing I would like this site to do (other than amuse and entertain) it is to get my readership more involved with what’s going on in this— our— community. As for his points, they’re well founded. But for the time being I would like to focus on this question:
Has there been a history here of these hearings happening and then DHS just completely ignoring the feelings and opinions of the community or is the assumption that DHS doesn’t care and has already approved this thing (an opinion which the dude in front of me seemed to be fastened on) based on nothing but the usual boogeymen? Because I’m willing to give DHS the benefit of the doubt on this based on the actual words coming out of the rep’s mouth but if others know something based on FACT that I don’t know, I’d love to hear it.
I suspect many an old(er) timer will back me up when I write that Greenpoint has a long history of being a “dumping ground” for things other people do not want in their backyard. The Public Safety Chair himself, Mr. Kalita, made light of this. He— along with Chairman Olechowski— also made it clear that the Community Board only has an advisory opinion when it comes to this and numerous other neighborhood concerns. Liquor licenses are one such example and, yes, the Community Board— which is ostensibly the voice of the community— has been overruled. This has fostered a certain level of cynicism— if not outright rage— in the community they try serve. Now factor in the shenanigans at the Greenpoint Hotel and the fact that HELP USA seems to be unwilling to meet the very public to whom they will be held accountable if (or when) this shelter comes to pass and you get the idea: a lot of angry Greenpointers. Methinks this is largely what T saw last night. For the time being I will leave my opinions/observations at that. However, I would really like it if someone (else) would step up to the plate and address T’s questions/concerns. Anyone?
Filed under: 11211, Crazy Cat Lady, Urban Fur, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
As I am waiting— and waiting— for videos to upload I present to you Nina. She calls a shop on Broadway her place of work (and play) and as you can see she is quite cute!
From South 1st Street.
When I spied this chap using a forklift with a furry friend in tow I asked to take his picture, he acquiesced. When I inquired as to what his “co-worker’s” name was he had no idea. So I decided his name should be Rodney (as in Rodney Street, where he “works”). As you can see, they concurred!
Filed under: 11101, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens
It has been a long (but not necessarily bad) day for yours truly. Nonetheless I attended this evening’s meeting and will now endeavor to upload footage. I was unable to get everything on film but what I did get should reflect the concerns and attitude of the community at large. I will be posting these videos as they are successfully uploaded— so stay tuned!
Oh yeah, Help USA declined to show. Here’s a time line thoughtfully provided by our local Community Board which outlines the numerous opportunities this organization has been offered to inform us, the public, about their proposed homeless shelter for 400 McGuinness Boulevard (AKA: 146 Clay Street).
A Representative from the Department Of Homeless Services Speaks
In the meantime I will leave you with the following statistics:
- Number of times the word “bullshit” was used: 2
- Number of times the word “diarrhea” was used: 1
And some general observations/gossip:
- The owner of an adjoining property, 394 McGuinness Boulevard, stated that his tenants have made it clear they will move out if this homeless shelter is approved.
- There was much bemoaning about the lack of “open bar”. As one old timer put it: “At least they can buy you a drink when they’re screwing you”.
- I had two people tell me that the city owns 400 McGuinness. Methinks this (if it is in fact true) it is due to a tax lien. I see nothing whatsoever to suggest such action has been taken. What’s more, I have no reason to believe the city would resort to such drastic measures: I’ve seen much worse here and they have done nothing. Nonetheless, the representative from the Department of Homeless Services has gone on to the record as stating he will provide the name and contact information of the owner to the Community Board.
- Many questions (and overall rancor) involved the Greenpoint Hotel. Chairman Gangone stated he had no knowledge of what designs the new owner of this establishment had in regards to this property. Speaking as someone who attended said Human Services meeting (and took notes) I’d like to refresh his— and everyone’s memory.*
*Pay special attention to “TENANTS (Future)” and “THE FUTURE OF 1109-1113 MANHATTAN AVENUE”.
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Urban Fur
When I saw this, one of the Garden Spot’s hardest working (and adorable) shop cats on Manhattan Avenue taking a nap I could not resist giving her back some scratching. When the above gentleman saw me doing so he smiled— and followed suit!