Heidi’s Recovery Fund

Please take a moment to read Heidi’s story (of which the above screencaps are an excerpt), donate if you can and please spread the word. She really needs our help. As is the case with many people nowadays unfortunately, she stands to lose weeks of wages and is not insured so this accident (which is in and of itself traumatic enough) stands to be financially catastrophic to Heidi. Thank you for your time.

P.S.: Since we are on the subject of the intersection of India Street and Manhattan Avenue, I would like to present the following which I wrote fairly recently on this site (in regards to an email from the Department of Transportation regarding the “Manhattan Avenue Parking Spot of Death”, specifically some “Vision Zero” nonsense tacked onto said email):

Let’s consider pedestrian safety on the block in question. If “traffic enforcement” took the time/effort to, say, hang out at the intersection of India Street and Manhattan Avenue and ticket each and every motorist and bicyclist who blew through through the traffic signals located there they would make a tidy sum. They would also actually be doing something which does facilitate safer streets for pedestrians. But it is much easier to go after the long-hanging fruit of people parking in an ambiguously marketed parking space.

I wrote this on April 17, 2017. This accident came to pass May 10, 2017. Are the Department of Transportation and NYPD Traffic paying attention?

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.

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: McGolrick Park, Worse Than Ever?

In an email addressed to Assemblyman Joseph Lentol’s office, the 94th Precinct’s Community Affairs Office, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner (Kevin Jeffrey), Community Board 1’s Parks Supervisor/Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn’s Executive Director (Stephanie Thayer); City Councilman Steve Levin’s office and 50th Assembly District Democratic Leader (Lincoln Restler), among others a lady named Holly writes today, July 2nd, 2012:

I am writing this as a follow-up to the December 9, 2011 meeting concerning conditions at McGolrick Park.  While it was said that a subsequent meeting would be held in April 2012 to readdress the issues presented, that of course never happened.  And now seven months later, McGolrick Park is in worse shape than ever.

I will try to keep this letter as brief as possible, because I am very tired. . . tired of constantly volunteering and fundraising for a park that is continually destroyed, tired of continually pointing out problems that need to be addressed only to have those concerns fall on deaf ears, tired of being forsaken by the Parks Department and local politicians (with the exception of Lincoln Restler) who obviously do not care about the well-being of the park itself and the community that surrounds it.

I am attaching pictures I took today of the degenerating conditions of the park, and they should speak for themselves, but I would like to make the following important points:

1) The middle entrance on Monitor Street between Nassau Ave. and Driggs Ave. has become a residence for local drunkards.  The area reeks of urine and alcohol and there are copious amounts of garbage and liquor bottles strewn about the area.  They have literally lived in that unmaintained, isolated “meadow” for the past two weeks.  It is disgusting and absolutely unacceptable. (Photos attached. I have taken the liberty of assembling them into a slide show which graces the beginning of this post. — Ed. Note.)

2) The benches at the center of the park have been destroyed for probably the tenth time since the December meeting.  Graffiti is rampant. The Belgium stone surrounding the Monitor statue has been vandalized. The bulletin board has been broken – again.  Garbage is openly thrown around the center of the park by the group of destructive and abusive teenagers that continue to haunt the center of the park.  (Photos attached.)

3) There are trip hazards throughout the park.  My group, The McGolrick Park Schools Alliance, donated and laid 1 ton of new top soil in the spring, filling in several of the larger trip hazards, but many remain.  The other day my 2 ½ year old son was running through one of the lawns and suddenly fell directly on his nose.  It was a large hole obscured by grass that made him fall.

4) Many people of this community blame the seasonal workers for the poor maintenance of the park.  It is true that you can often see these workers sitting in the shack or on the benches.  But let me be clear that the park workers are NOT to blame.  If they are not working to their full potential then it is only because they are not receiving sufficient supervision and guidance.  Moreover, after volunteering with some of these workers I was appalled to discover that they don’t have one functioning pincer and no work gloves – they have to buy their own safety supplies, and that is a travesty.  So I gave them a bag of work gloves which is apparently more than their employer is willing to do.  Also, I want you to be aware that these workers are verbally abused by aggressive teens and drunks on an almost daily basis.  These workers, who literally have to clean the shit of the park, are treated as such, and they are given no support or power to improve their working conditions/our park.  There should be a protocol put in place whereby workers are given the ability to call for police support at even the inkling of being threatened, or as soon as they see vagrants or vandals.

5) As has been true for years, the bathrooms of McGolrick Park are absolutely disgusting.  Parents resort to allowing their children to relieve themselves on the perimeters of the playground rather than risk exposing their kids to the horrible bathroom conditions.  This of course presents another set of health and safety issues.  Moreover, urine and feces from resident drunks can still be found/smelled throughout the park.

6) The center pavilion is in absolute disrepair.  Bird nests have destroyed the woodwork and so much graffiti has been haphazardly painted over that it looks atrocious.

7) I feel it should be known that following the December 9 meeting, and announcing that I would be starting a community group for McGolrick Park, I received a call from park officials “encouraging” me to work with The Friends of McGolrick instead of starting my own group (which would target children and families of our local schools).  In addition, I was told that any police reports concerning the park should be left to Morgan Pehme (Mr. Pehme is the head of the Friends of McGolrick Park Group— Ed. Note) to make.  So essentially, I was being asked to give up my fundamental rights as a citizen to accommodate the needs of others.  Thankfully, I stuck to my guns and refused to work with “The Friends” as I clearly knew from the start that the group was impotent.  To my knowledge they have not held one clean-up or community event within the park, and what is more infuriating is that they were handed $2500 from Exxon Mobil that has not been used or accounted for.  This is money that should have been used for the benefit of our park and community and no one knows where it has gone.

This will be the last time I will reach out to those civil servants who are responsible for maintaining the health, safety, and beauty of our local park.  I no longer wish to see my hard work and energy go down the drain because the people in charge just don’t care.  However, if you are a community member reading this letter and are as outraged as I am, please forward this to others, and contact those officials that this email is addressed to.  Tell them that you agree with these words – maybe then, someone will be held accountable and our park and neighborhood can change (back) for the better.

Holly

Here’s the deal, folks: Holly is not the only concerned citizen who is disgusted with the deteriorating state of this park. It was brought to my attention after last week’s Public Safety Committee meeting by a life-long Greenpoint resident and yet another parks patron has seen fit to do some documentation of her own. Her focus was on public defecation. Without further ado, here are her findings.

I honestly do not know what I can say that I have not said many times before— but I will do so (again) anyway. Until we as citizens, our civil servants and elected officials take up the matter of the homeless (and addiction) problem here honestly and realistically, I do not see anything changing. I was both saddened and disgusted when I happened upon a man who was clearly in need of medical help today in plain view of the McCarren Park Field House and the recently (re)opened pool. The latter of which, not surprisingly, has been receiving a great deal of police attention the last two days.

UPDATE, 6:51 p.m.: There appears to have been another incident at the McCarren Park Pool. Click here for Gothamist’s take.

UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Holly gets a response— and responds!

LAST GASP: Withdrawn!

February 4, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Special thanks goes out to Sherry Wasserman who writes:

Per Joe Lentol’s Twitter update and Facebook page, which links to a document of withdrawal:

http://twitter.com/assemblymanjoe/status/33642499717210113

Holy Shit Tits, Batman! We did it!

for bringing this to my attention! We did it!!! Let this be yet another example that community action can and does work! In closing, I would like to give props to our Community Board, City Councilman, Steve Levin; State Senator Martin Malave Dilan; Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and my fellow Greenpointers for their hard work and due diligence fighting against this project.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Christmas Card Inquiry

(Or would that be a Hannukah quandary?) My friend Amy from Assemblyman’s Joe Lentol’s office writes:

Hey Heather, We are trying to come up with a creative idea for holiday cards for Assemblyman Lentol… One idea we have is putting a Christmas outfit- ok really just a hat- on the office cat, Brooke (whom we adopted from BARC) and take a picture and make that our office holiday card.  But another is buy holiday cards from a local— READ: Greenpoint, Williamsburg or Fort Greene artist.  However, try as we might we cant find an artist who makes holiday cards.  Any suggestions?

I have to be honest: I drew a blank. I have to confess the holiday season is most decidedly not my thing. However, I know damned well somewhere in points ‘Burg, Green and Greene there is an immensely talented individual (we have many) who has created a card that fits the bill! You can tender your product/portfolio/suggestions via email to:

AssemblymanJoe (at) gmail (dot) com

NOTE: this is a temporary email address erected for just this purpose. If you have constituency issues to take up with Joe you can and should do so here.

Thanks— and good luck!

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: Katie Sokoler


From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Message From Lentol’s Office

February 25, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

bulletthumbThose of you who have contacted Joseph Lentol’s office regarding the recent shooting at the Production Lounge should find the following of interest. It is an email a I received from his office apprising me of what actions he is taking to ensure this does not happen again. Happy reading.

Dear Miss Heather,

My name is Amy Cleary and I work for Assemblyman Joe Lentol.  I just wanted to give you and your readers an update that is being done with regard to the recent shooting at Production Lounge.  We have spoken with many of our constituents who live near this location and listened to their accounts of that eventing.  Any time you hear about people waking up to bullet holes six feet from where they sleep it is absolutely horrifying.  We have written to the state liquor authority to ensure that there is a full investigation of this matter. We have also met with the police.  The 94th precinct assures us that they are meeting with the owner and taking every step possible to prevent this from happening again, guns have no place near people’s homes.  We intend to follow this matter closely and support the police in any way that we can. Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Amy Cleary

So there have you. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to constituent services Joe Lentol is tops!

Miss Heather

P.S.: On a related note some of you might have noticed that Yelp has scrubbed a number of the reviews for the Production Lounge. Hmm. In any case if anyone out there has screencaps of the now-excised entries let me know via comments. I would very much like to have them. Thanks!

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