New York Shitty Day Ender: 400 McGuinness Boulevard

Or: How To Lose Friends & (Further) Alienate People

By all appearances the matter of a 200 bed assessment center for homeless men at 400 McGuinness Boulevard is not a proposal. It is rapidly becoming a reality— and if what I have received in my inbox is any indication, the powers behind this endeavor have inflicted abuse on the one thing Greenpoint is sorely lacking. HINT: it is not homeless people.

It is trees.

Laura (who took the above photographs) writes:

The property owner at 400 McGuinness Blvd. is already a nightmare for the community. I can’t imagine what things will be like when 200 formerly incarcerated individuals take residence there. Today Mike & I observed scaffolding workers actively damaging a city street tree. I identified myself as a citizen pruner and informed the crew that they aren’t supposed to do that. One worker replied “so what”. I replied, “It’s against the law”. He shrugged his shoulders. I saw I was getting nowhere and called Stephanie Thayer who promised to put in a call to the Forestry Dept. I backed up that call with a 311 complaint. Here’s the complaint number. C1-1-676689666

After Mike & I both placed complaints about the tree damage, we were approached by another worker who explained that he “couldn’t get hold of the super” for direction. He talked to one of the DOT workers in the office under the Pulaski Bridge, thinking he worked for the city and would know the rules. The guys were instructed by the DOT worker, “Don’t worry about it. No one will say anything.” Hmph!!!! I responded by telling him that I’m sure the workers are aware of the rules regarding how to construct scaffolding around a city tree. And if not, should be. I further explained that there is a $1,000. fine for damaging a city street tree and will be reporting it.

I and other community members busted their asses to advocate for city street trees and to care for them. The city is not safeguarding the investment of tax dollars by not taking street tree damage seriously. Something has to be done! There is far too much tree damage happening in Greenpoint…

I totally agree.

Miss Heather


2 Comments on New York Shitty Day Ender: 400 McGuinness Boulevard

  1. SinceritySearching on Tue, 30th Aug 2011 11:23 am
  2. Liberal people do not protest Homeless Shelters.

    Institutions of social services that in concept are for the good of society is what liberal people support and accept. That is the point. Dealing with foreseeable problems that are not as bad as the worst imagination in order to lift the greater good.

    You and all the rest of the so-called liberal carpetbaggers should be shamed for acting like fascist republicans protest this shelter.

    Wake up or be sincere. Currently you have the wrong priorities.

    -Just a Irish white boy from the Bronx living in the strange world of brooklyn hypocrisy.

  3. missheather on Tue, 30th Aug 2011 3:26 pm
  4. You’re absolutely correct: liberals do not protest homeless shelters. Communities do. The case of 400 McGuinness is no exception. A lot of people here— new and old— object to this facility.

    First off (and to clarify), what is proposed for 400 McGuinness is not a homeless shelter per se. It is an assessment center. There is a difference— one which I will explain shortly. Secondly, my community has a rather substantial homeless population. One, I will add, which will not be helped by this facility in any practical fashion. Here’s why:

    During one of the Town Hall meetings conducted about this proposed facility, Muzzy Rosenblatt of the Bowery Residents Committee (who is going to run the facility in question) was asked how this facility could/would help Greenpoint’s homeless. His answer was circuitous at best. In a nutshell, he said that after going to an intake center (presumably in Manhattan) our homeless could, upon processing, be housed at this facility. Now factor in:

    1. Many of the people sleeping on our streets, sidewalks, parks, etc. are afflicted with addiction. Foremost: alcoholism. NOTE: this shelter will require that its residents refrain from the use of alcohol in order to gain shelter. This is standard operating procedure for the shelter system in our fair city. It is also why many of our homeless will not seek shelter: being alcoholics, they will not enter a shelter which precludes them from drinking.
    2. Many do not speak English. They are largely Polish-speaking and face a serious language gap.

    Taking the previous facts into account, do you honestly see this facility helping my community’s homeless? Really?

    Instead, what will happen is our community’s homeless will remain on our streets, sidewalks, parks, etc., and we will experience an influx of homeless men from throughout the city (for the “greater good”, as you put it) patronizing this facility. I and a number of residents here object to this. We are not “anti-homeless shelter”. We are simply against this “shelter”. Before we are saddled with an assessment center which will treat homeless men for the entire city, we want our homeless and their special needs to come first. If this strikes you as being audacious, quit reading here.

    What I would like to see is a radical rethinking/retooling of how our city’s homeless are being “helped”. In this respect I think implementing “wet shelters” is an idea worth considering— and Greenpoint would be an excellent place to start! You may or may not be aware of this but last winter a man died in McCarren Park due to hypothermia. His death (and many others here over the years) are a direct result of this city’s “policy” regarding no alcohol use in homeless shelters. I want to see this change.

    The way I see it, this city can either continue dictating “morality” or confront reality head-on. Speaking for myself— and what I have observed here in Greenpoint— I think providing shelter, meals, psychiatric and medical assistance to our homeless comes first. The key is to get them off the streets and give them care. Only after these individuals housed and nourished should sobriety be brought to the table.
    Does this strike you as being an unreasonable proposition?

    In addition (and lest you have not noticed) City Comptroller John Liu is investigating the matter of 400 McGuinness. He noted some “irregularities” as to how this proposed assessment center was “green-lighted” through the “system”. What he will find is anyone’s guess— but given how easily one RFP for an assessment center was rescinded (by HELP USA) and how quickly an identical one was filed after the sale of this property it does seem rather odd, yes? It’s almost as if the Department of Homeless of Services was waiting…

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