Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: 958 Manhattan Avenue

958 Manhattan 1172016 cropped nys

teddy bear 958 manhattan 1172016 cropped nys

At long last our fair city has gotten a long overdue dose of the white stuff (snow). It is a perfect day to curl up with a book and perhaps take a tipple. However I would advise you, gentle readers, to please do so indoors.

P.S.: Note that our prodigal Teddy seems to be also enjoying a fair number of books. Perhaps this lot has become a library of sorts? If so, I have a humble suggestion as to whom it should be dedicated!

Next Week: Follow Up Town Hall Public Meeting

December 3, 2015 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

North Greenpoint Town Hall follow up nys

town hall nys

Via a tipster who clearly did not notice or elected to ignore the disclaimer/unenforceable legalese at the end of Ms. Bloodgood’s informative email.

Next Monday, December 7th at 6:00 pm, there will be a follow-up meeting regarding (citing the above-depicted email):

…regarding Northern Greenpoint. When we meet in September we heard from many of you about your complaints and concerns and we have been working hard, trying to bring the community together to address the issues presented. Since our last meeting we’ve met with the Precinct and the Department of Homeless Services as well as Homelife Services (the shelter operators at 66 Clay) and the Parks Department Security Patrol to continue to press for a safe and healthy Greenpoint Community.

Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here and also to continue to help those in need during difficult times we must work together as a community. So please join us on Monday evening at the Polish Slavic Center on Java Street to let us know how things have gone since we met a few months ago. How has the situation changed? Are things better? Are they worse? Are there any glaring omissions in what the response has been? Anything new we don’t know about?

To make sure everyone is aware of some steps that have been taken since we last met:

· the 94th precinct made a number of drug arrests in October

· DHS brought in their new security team

· Homelife Services has been working on its community building interactions

· Parks Department has stepped up their park patrols

All of this is good progress and we thank everyone that has been a part of those actions in this process. In order to continue to build on this progress, come out and join us next week; we need to continue to hear from you.

What: North Greenpoint Community Follow-Up Town Hall

When: Monday December 7th 6pm

Where: Polish Slavic Center 176 Java Street (downstairs)

Let me know if you have any questions or want to help contribute to the evening’s agenda. Please SHARE this notice, my list isn’t that big!

I did not attend September’s meeting. I had my reasons. Pretty damned good ones. However, instead of simply hitting “reply all” to my tipster’s via email, I felt know hitting “reply all” via this blog is a much better, or at least more efficient, use of my time. Here it goes. I have omitted the names of certain people because those people may not want to be named and/or associated with my person. Enjoy!

I second (excised #1): thanks (excised #2)!

A few thoughts:

1. I found the mention of drug arrests rather amusing. Here’s why. On November 6th at noon I got a bang trim at Hair, which is located on Manhattan Avenue between Green and Huron. While I was sitting in the chair (which is situated right in front), my hairdresser and I watched on as dudes conducted “business”/conferred right outside said window. It really does not get more “in your face” than that. She told me this had been going on since she opened that morning (~9:00 am). When I left I hit the Lorven Pharmacy a door or two down. The “ringleader” of this operation barked at one of his minions/henchmen (clients???) to meet him and I quote “at the hotel”. I took a photo of him. (Excised #2) has it. Anyway, this guy was really brazen. He “worked” this end of the neighborhood and I saw him ply his trade by the McDonalds. I have not seen him lately. Makes me wonder if he was “collared”. What about 177 Huron Street?

Google street view 177 Huron January 2013

It seems to be common knowledge this place is a hub of “activity”. Heroin. Look this building up on the Department of Buildings “Building Information System”. It is quite something.

177 Huron Street DOB BIS nys

2 “The drug situation” in general, some things I learned over my “baggie” project over the summer. Baggie Project: simply put, I canvassed Greenpoint, primarily its parks, and monitored/counted/collected drug baggies. This I did for ~6 weeks ending at/around 9/1/2015.

  • A slew of them were found at Transmitter. Once I found 20 in one canvass. I didn’t put it together until I brought this up with a friend of mine here. She’s a parent and as such takes her children to this park. She once had to take a baggie away from her son. He thought it was colorful/pretty and picked it up. She has found them on the premises of the playground. I have as well.ANYWAY, she also attended a lot of the children’s movie nights there over the summer and in this capacity noticed a number of younger, non-parents attending who elected partake of “substances” (smoking joints, who knows what else). I will put it this way: although my “study” was hardly “scientific”/”structured”, I DID find more baggies after they showed movies.
  • By far the worst, WORST place (in terms of numbers) is the skate park at McCarren. Methinks I found ~40 in one walk-through.
  • The area behind the pool is also bad.
  • I found baggies in the Abate Playground as well. Um, hell-O.
  • McGolrick is also abysmal, but is that really surprising? I’ll go into McGolrick later.

Anyway, what I am getting at is exactly who is being targeted in these drug arrests? I ask this question because it is pretty obvious to me that (at least on the “user” end) it is not just the usual suspects. I mean, really, isn’t the skate park intended for use by children? If so, why did I find so much “paraphernalia”?

Yes, I see they have stepped up park patrols here. I have actually seen this (here) with my own eyes. However, I am not so keen on/satisfied with this being treated/addressed on a “north Greenpoint” (versus, by implication, “south” Greenpoint) basis. The problems here are pretty much the same as they are there.

3. Drugs & McGolrick Park:

Like I said: it is bad. Is this surprising? No. Something I observed is most of the drug baggies and needles were to be found in the outlying areas. Areas which I am guessing are not in view of the security cameras installed at the pavilion. Think: mostly along Nassau, Driggs and Monitor Street. ESPECIALLY Monitor Street. I found a drug exchange hypodermic needle along the Nassau Avenue side within eye shot of the playground. I found a number of (what I learned to be) disposable needle tips along Driggs and just around the corner on Monitor. Right across the street from PS 110. That one netted me a trip to the emergency room because I picked it up and was pricked by it. This came to pass 8/26.

Was this an intelligent thing to do? Pick stuff up in a park? No. However:

  •  I saw and have seen a number of people run around with their dogs, let their kids wander around (and in so doing see a small piece of pink plastic not knowing it sported  a used needle), lay on the grass (SHUDDER),
  • The needle tip I was pricked by is designed for, but not necessarily always used for, the dispensation of insulin. Unless you knew what it was or (as I did) ended up researching and finding out, well…

Let’s just say it could have just as easily happened to someone else. Very easily. At least a used hypodermic needle (as cringe worthy as it is) is pretty easy to see, identify and therefore avoid. “Disposable needle tips” not so much.

disposable needle tip
Were these (I found four) used for illegal drug use? For insulin? Or did someone simply dump them there? Actually the thought of someone dumping medical waste in a park is what I find the most disturbing— and I am not so quick to rule that out. I have seen medical waste dumped hereabouts before (albeit on a derelict construction site, just off McCarren in “Williamsburg”).

Which brings me to…

4. “…Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here…”

I would suggest that one step, safety-wise, would be suspending “community/volunteer clean-ups” of public parks altogether. Inasmuch as our Parks Department, local parks conservancy group (they are more or less one and the same) and park-specific groups may want to cry “poor” and try to spin services which should be provided by the city into a “community building event” (FUN FOR ALL! BRING THE KIDS!) it is what it is. Forcing the community to do work which they are already entitled to (as citizens), not qualified to do and endangering said community in the process. That’s what (in my opinion) the McGolrick Park Alliance did when they hosted a community clean-up event not terribly long ago. They were made aware “sharps” were found there. (Excised #2) saw to that at my behest. I was not exactly in a “place” to take it up myself when I got home from the Emergency Room. Can you blame me? However, that evening I uploaded photos, made a map of where I found the needle/needle tips, uploaded and blasted them to friends. (Excised #2), of course, being one of them.

My emergency room bill came in at just shy of $15,000. Thankfully I am insured so my/our “co-pay” was a mere $50.00. I am not sure what the follow-up visits with a physician, blood tests (not a fun affair when needles and blood freak you out) and one full month of HIV retrovirals cost. The co-pays for the doctor visits were $30.00 each. I do not think I want to know. I recently found out, after about 2 1/2 months of waiting (and waiting is all you can do— you have to wait until two months after “exposure” for a conclusive test) that I am okay. No HIV, no Hepatitis C, no Tetanus, and, because it can be prevented “post-exposure”, via vaccinations, Hepatitis B. You get three rounds of shots for that one. My last will be in late February/early March 2016.

5. Closing thoughts

Some time ago I worked at a crime victims board, albeit in not in New York. Every state has a crime victim board/commission. Many are (in some part, sometimes mostly) funded by “VOCA” (the “Victims of Violent Crime Act”) or “VAWA” (Violence Against Women Act”). Their purpose is to (keeping it simple) pay for medical expenses accrued/ongoing as the result of being a victim of a violent crime for people who do not have any form of “insurance”. I saw a lot of rape cases and handled many a phone call from a “client” who had a collection agency hired to collect payment from (let’s face facts) her/her family because the agency I worked for did not pay the hospital/”care provider” in a timely fashion.

I am guessing, predicated on the previous life experience, if someone who was uninsured/under-insured hereabouts (I am guessing quite a few)  had undergone my experience (which was not at the behest of a violent crime, thankfully), he/she would end up having to sue the city for “negligence” and, in the interim/upon getting a “settlement”, field a lot of calls from collection agency. A whole lotta unnecessary grief/insult to injury. And that’s only if the person actually knew he/she was pricked by a used needle tip (as opposed to not knowing and later finding out he/she is sick and not knowing why/how).

We have serious problems here. Simply trouble-shooting one area and/or one group of people ain’t gonna fix it.

Get my drift?

taste the rainbowPart of me wants to attend this meeting and bring along a few “visual aids”: a jar with a few items (“sharps”) I found at McGolrick before I ended up getting “pricked” and a 6″ diameter snow globe filled with drug baggies (~180 total) “harvested”/”locally-sourced” from Greenpoint. Mostly from public parks.

However, I suspect my  “locally-sourced””objects” and what I have to say would be inappropriate.

*On the upshot, I did have some very big “takeaways” from my “scare”:

*It forced me to look at how even as a child (pretty damned far removed from the 1980’s AIDS epidemic) I was quietly inculcated/”educated” to think those with HIV/AIDS somehow “brought it upon themselves”. Something “shameful”. Not that I ever thought I was “that kind of person” (READ: bigot) who would preach to that effect on street corners. I wasn’t. However…

*sometimes the worst things you learn about yourself are the (most) insidious. Thought processes, thinking, you never really thought about. Until when faced with the possibility, however unlikely, that “you” may very well become one of “them”. In this respect I am very grateful to have had this “life lesson”.

*HIV and Hepatitis C are no longer death sentences. This is certainly progress, but it ain’t success/acceptable.

*Life can, does and will go on regardless of the results of one’s viral load tests.

H

This one goes out to Tim Murphy. His tome was the only one I wanted to read about Charlie Sheen “coming out” regarding his HIV infection. I read it while waiting to have my (hopefully last) viral load test. Otherwise, the doctor/”infectious disease specialist” I had during my “scare” was the best. I highly recommend him (although I hope I do not have to). Very caring and understanding. Above all when I told him that the “parks group” for the park wherein I was pricked elected to have a community/volunteer clean-up anyway, well, the look on his face was priceless. I should have taken a photo of it.

Quicklink: PIX11

September 24, 2015 ·
Filed under: Boerum Hill, Boerum Hill Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Gentrification 

PIXsc

This item was brought to my attention by my comrade over at Queens Crap. I encourage each and every one of you, gentle readers, to give it a look-see. As you are doing so please bear the following in mind:

  • Not only is the business in question located in the 33rd City Council district.
  • It is located a short walk from Councilman Levin’s office.

googlemap

A. Very. Short. Walk.

I have to wonder what he thinks of this. Maybe an intrepid journalist reading this tome will ask him?

P.S.: Elsewhere one very bright individual brought up a rather interesting question. Do not the operators Jessie’s Deli understand that they face the possibility the(ir) guests may consume/quaff their edibles/drinkables? I for one think this is a very valid question. Maybe they are factoring that in via the rate/deposit?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now 49 Dupont Street…

June 4, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

TRDharte

wheres levin NYSI have had the above tome from The Real Deal brought to my attention by a number of concerned citizens. While I am thankful for them doing so, I am honestly at a loss for words. Mind you, gentle readers, this is not because I am surprised. I am not.

Rather, I have been asking myself where does our City Councilman, Steve Levin, stand on this issue? Or in Greenpoint, for that matter?

I used to see Mr. Levin quite a bit. This is because we are “neighbors”. And then I didn’t. I found that odd. Then came news via the Honorable Levin’s own “Word in the 33rd” newsletter that he, a Greenpoint resident, failed to notice/mention a Community Board meeting in his own neighborhood.* After that I got inquiries from people who have called him. They heard nothing. One highly motivated person even called Levin to tell him to call one such person back. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Hence I am imploring Greenpoint citizens to, in “Where’s Waldo” style, please, PLEASE, report any and all Levin spottings in Greenpoint (with a photo, date, time and location— feel free to add commentary) to me at:

missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com.

No newspaper articles, press releases, etc. I want photos of our “public servant” serving “his”, our, community.

Your identity will remain anonymous unless you indicate otherwise.

Photo/Image Credits: The “Where’s Waldo” image comes from here. And the image of Councilman Levin comes from here.

*I later learned from an anonymous source Mr. Levin blamed this on his staff. They did not put it on his calendar. Um, okay.

I have seen this shit before. The Lone Star State refined the art of the “sidestep” long before Mr. Levin— or I— were born.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Voted!

votedNYS

It would appear yours truly netted a write-in vote for City Council, 33rd District. What else can I say other than I am touched by the endorsement (or at least the protest vote)! Now if you do not mind, gentle readers, I am off to knock out my acceptance speech…

UPDATE, November 7, 2013: It would appear I have received three votes for City Council, two for Mayor (!) and one for Brooklyn Borough President. Wow.

Live From Last Night’s Debate: The Questions Commence!

And the conclusion!

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: No Spitting

NOSPITTING

This one never gets old. What’s more, Alex Low of the New Kings Democrats not only noticed— but made sure that all attendees present at this evening’s proceedings minded their “P’s” and “Q’s”…

This is the first installment of this evening’s debate. More to come. Given my site is acting up again (Yeah, I know) I’ll continue adding footage as I can. Otherwise, I’d advise everyone to check my YouTube page. There you will find it all!

Josef and Levin

Josef, one of the Greenpoint community’s more colorful characters, talks up Councilman Levin after said proceedings.

Mark Your Calendars: The Battle Of The Stephens

FBSC

mexicanwrestling9NYSThat’s right folks/33rd Districters: on August 21st at the Polish Slavic Center a debate will come to pass between the two Stephens who wish to be our City Councilman! Those who are curious and/or care to RSVP can check out this event’s Facebook page by clicking here. Show up and speak up, north Brooklynites!

The Battle Of The Stephens
August 21, 2013 starting at 7:00 p.m.
The Polish & Slavic Center
176 Java Street
Brooklyn, new York 11222

Photo Credits: No, the two luchadores I have serendipitously elected to insert in this post are not— repeat, NOT— Misters Levin and Pierson. However, I felt it would make this post more lively and as such saw fit to grab it from here.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Word From Stephen Pierson

piersonNYS

I know what a lot of you are thinking, fellow Garden Spotters:

Who the hell is this guy?

Well, registered Democrats of the 33rd City Council District listen-up. He’s running against “our” incumbent: Steve Levin. And here’s what he has to say to us. Actually, Mr. Pierson wants to hear from us— which is even better. I do not recall Mr. Levin doing this. But I am getting ahead of myself…

Dear North Brooklynites,

pierson2My name is Stephen Pierson and I am running (as a Democrat) for City Council in our district (the 33rd) against the incumbent, Steve Levin. The election is September 10. I am a 15-year Brooklyn resident, a CB2 member, a (very lucky) husband, the father of a two-year-old daughter (with another on the way), and the Director of a nonprofit that runs an after-school tutoring program for at-risk youth and produces several arts/literary publications.

For too long I’ve watched with dismay as our local politicians cut backroom deals that benefit themselves at the expense of our community. Steve Levin is the very embodiment of this unethical culture and represents the continuation of Vito Lopez’s dynasty. His symbiotic relationship with Vito—which dates back to his time as Vito’s Chief of Staff—has had been detrimental to our community. Among other things, Levin has taken money away from North Brooklyn, sending over six million of our tax dollars out of the 33rd District to Vito’s corrupt nonprofit.

North Brooklyn deserves better. Getting functional toilet seats installed in McCarren Park shouldn’t have to be the job of crusading bloggers.

Over the course of this campaign, I’ve spoken to hundreds of Greenpoint residents, attended dozens of meetings, and spent many mornings at G train subway stops and at the India Street Ferry terminal. Drawing on these (and my 15 years in Brooklyn), here are but a few proposals towards a better North Brooklyn:

(1) (OVER)DEVELOPMENT:

  • Ensure that developers build sufficient infrastructure for the rest of the community that they impact. The Bayard St. condo developments should serve as a warning: I’ve spoken to numerous Bayard St-area residents—people who have lived there for decades without problem—who suddenly, since the condo constructions, find their basements flooding with every big rain storm, costing them thousands of dollars in damages. Current residents shouldn’t have to pay for developers’ (and politicians’) shortsightedness regarding infrastructure. I will also work with the City Council to explore transportation impact fees to be paid by developers.
  • Ensure that the right numbers and types of affordable units are built at Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St. The memorandums-of-understanding (MOUs) that promise roughly 25% affordable units at both need to be legally binding (for once), and need to have significant financial penalties built in that compel these developers to follow through on their promises. Furthermore, building 50% of its affordable units at 80-to-120% AMI, as Greenpoint Landing proposes, is neither acceptable nor truly “affordable.” We need to fight for more 40-to-80% AMI units.
  • Additionally, these MOUs should provide that a substantial percentage of these affordable units will be guaranteed for local residents.
  • And note that this assumes that Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St. will proceed as planned. I do believe that there is still room–and much reason–to fight for downzoning on the waterfront to prevent this rampant over-development.

(2) TRANSPORTATION

  • Better G-train service. Period. As a member of the Riders Alliance, I have long helped advocate for this. The MTA needs to fully and immediately implement all the recommended changes contained in their just-completed Full Line Review.
  • More frequent ferry service during peak hours. Service every 20 minutes during rush hours isn’t good enough. And it certainly won’t be good enough as the waterfront becomes significantly more populated over the next several years.
  • Strongly support Assemblyman Lentol’s proposed dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, and study the construction of a dedicated bike/pedestrian bridge that runs parallel to the Pulaski. The recently-completed DOT study that suggests replacing a lane of car traffic on the Pulaski with a dedicated bike lane is a large step in the right direction. However, I do worry that it doesn’t sufficiently account for near-future surges in traffic that will accompany North Brooklyn waterfront development. With Long Island City looking to become the next big tech/startup hub, we may need a dedicated bike commuting route that doesn’t impact the Pulaski. I would advocate for a feasibility study, jointly funded by Brooklyn and Queens developers (as the building of such a bridge would also serve their interests).
  • Bring Bike Share to Greenpoint ASAP. While this needs to be implemented responsibly, in conjunction with the street-facing needs of local businesses, I strongly believe that Greenpoint significantly benefits from Bike Share—both by providing Greenpoint residents with more transportation options, and by making it easier for non-Greenpoint residents to visit Greenpoint and positively impact local businesses.
  • Enforce existing truck routing laws to decrease truck traffic in North Brooklyn. Currently, the BQE is the only legal “through truck route” that passes through North Brooklyn. All other truck-legal streets (like McGuinness Blvd., Greenpoint Ave, and Kent Ave) only allow for trucks that make local deliveries. Far too many through-trucks cut through North Brooklyn to either avoid BQE traffic or circumvent the LIE/BQE junction. This is illegal, and it results in more traffic, accidents, and noise/air pollution in North Brooklyn. It needs to be stopped immediately by setting up enforcement stations and putting up signage.
  • More traffic enforcement at dangerous intersections like Lorimer St. and Bayard (where the four-way stop is often disobeyed), and especially all of McGuinness Blvd. (which is, statistically, one of the three most dangerous streets in Brooklyn). Consider installing traffic cameras at these locations.

(3) OPEN SPACES / QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Build a dog park in north Greenpoint! This is way overdue. The only dog run in Greenpoint is in McGolrick Park. It is not a viable option for anyone who lives north of Greenpoint Ave. Thus, dog owners are using Transmitter Park as an ad hoc dog run. This is not a viable solution for anyone. We need to build a new dog park now, even if it’s only a temporary run on undeveloped land off of Commercial Ave.
  • Direct revenue back into North Brooklyn’s parks. North Brooklyn residents are already shortchanged regarding open spaces. If Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg are a fait accompli, the least that can be done for residents is to have this revenue reinvested into improving other neighborhood spaces, instead of being absorbed into NY State’s general park fund. At the initial CB1 liquor license hearing for Smorgasburg, pressure was placed on certain members of the SLA Committee to pass it. What is revealing is the likelihood Mr. Levin, my opponent, was trying to extract meaningful concessions from the proprietors of Smorgasburg/Brooklyn Flea.
  • Enact significant changes to the process of filming on Greenpoint’s streets. Greenpoint residents are continuously inconvenienced by a massive amount of filming in their commuinity. At minimum, three proposals bear strong consideration: (1) Reduce the number of permits issued; (2) eliminate alternate side parking rules on surrounding streets during a shoot; (3) ensure that some of the revenue generated by these shoots is directly reinvested back into the community.
  • Construct a better Community Board 1 (CB1) that’s more representative of the current community, and more responsive to the community’s needs. I’ve heard far too many stories of residents being told by CB1 that their complaints don’t matter. A more responsive CB1 can be achieved by instituting term limits, making the appointment process more transparent, and directly involving community organizations in the appointment and interview process (and there should actually be an interview process!).

These ideas are, of course, only a small starting point. More than anything else, I want to hear from you! I envision a City Council office that works directly with residents, actively soliciting and discussing ideas, and making its decisions in a completely transparent manner. You can contact me at: stephen@piersonforcouncil.com or 347-471-0388.

So there have you.

Closing on a related note, here’s a press release as issued by Mr. Pierson’s Campaign Manager, Diana Gonzalez. It is calling for a series of debates through-out the amazingly diverse district that is the 33rd.

emailNYS

I for one think this is a sterling idea. Anyone have questions/concerns to voice to Mr. Pierson? Contact him! Otherwise, in terms of venues and/or moderators anyone have ideas? Let’s make a debate in Greenpoint (and Williamsburg) happen!

TOMORROW: Smackdown!

smackdown

Tomorrow, July 28, starting at 7:00 p.m. the Williamsburg Northside Preschool will be hosting “The Ultimate Verbal Smackdown”. What will this “forum for 33rd council districts” entail? I’ll let NAG’s Neighborhood Watch give you the 411:

In a match held only once this century, seven City Council candidates will grapple with the issues important to North Brooklynites to help voters decide who will best be able to serve Greenpoint and Williamsburg in the City Council. Candidates will attempt their best verbal wrestling moves, although any metal chairs present will be for sitting and the only sleeper holds allowed are those that require a firm grasp of zoning law.

The Ultimate Verbal Smackdown forum will focus on the major issues facing North Brooklyn: affordable housing, open space, transportation, public safety, environment, quality-of-life, education and youth. The forum will be moderated by Susan Albrecht, Co-Chair of NAG…

It will probably be of interest to a number of people reading this that NAG is also taking submissions for a “people’s choice” question. You can tender your submission(s) and learn more about this event by clicking here.

ULTIMATE VERBAL SMACKDOWN
Tuesday, July 28, 2009;  7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Willamsburg Northside Preschool
152 North 5th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Let the mayhem begin!

Miss Heather

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