New York Shitty Day Ender: Waiting

November 6, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Today was the third time yours truly rode the Ferry since the benches have been relocated. And with it came the third time someone complained to me about the disappearance of said benches and the third time I explained, albeit briefly, what happened to them. E.g.; they were lent to the pier by the Parks Department and have since been moved to an adjacent pop-up park which has yet to become open to the public. On that note, I am going to let Julia Morrow of Open Space Alliance (who was kind enough to tender the following explanation via the North Brooklyn Community Group’s Facebook page) clarify further:

Stephanie Thayer at OSA asked that I post this since OSA nor herself can post on this group: Thanks for reaching out to me about the India Street Pier. The India Street Pier is privately developed and privately owned. The pier has not been deeded over to New York City for maintenance and operations. Benches on this pier are the responsibility of the pier’s owner, the owner/developer of the adjacent property.

In June, OSA was ready to open a small waterfront park on Java Street end, with funding secured by a local community group. At the same time, the Ferry was about to start service. The developer borrowed the benches for the start of the Ferry service and opening of the pier. The developer confirmed that they are now ordering their own benches for the pier (emphasis mine — Ed. Note) so that OSA may open the long awaited Java Street waterfront for public use.

And here’s what her boss, Stephanie Thayer, had to say on the matter to a concerned citizen who emailed her:

Orchestrated responses aside, I find the placement of public property (park benches from our Parks Department) on private property— be it a pier or a pop-up park— a mite bit questionable. At least on the pier— which is open 24/7/365 they were being used. Nonetheless, the loaning said benches to this pier when the pop-up park was purportedly ready in June is rather odd.

(Here’s your “long awaited park”, Greenpoint!)

I am of the distinct impression that folks are more apt to enjoy our waterfront— albeit even via a “park” which gives Enver Hoxha a run for his money in terms of outstanding use of concrete— in spring and summer as opposed to (what I surmise will be) winter. This is common sense. But I have long since grown to accept that concepts such as “common sense” and “logic” do not prevail in north Brooklyn. This is doubly the case when our government and public/private partnerships are involved.

Instead, I am simply content the developer has heard our complaints and replacement benches are on the way. Hallelujah!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Defend Greenthumb Gardens!

August 5, 2010 ·
Filed under: 10002, 10003, 10009, 10012, 11101, 11104, 11201, 11205, 11206, 11211, 11215, 11216, 11217, 11221, 11222, 11231, 11237, 11372 

This item comes from a fellow flower lover in north Brooklyn. She writes:

The agreement between the City of NY and the NY State Attorney General that has been protecting community gardens for the past 8 years is set to expire in September.

The City of NY recently published Proposed Rules for community gardens under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development.

The AG’s agreement referred to itself as a “protocol for preservation and development of GreenThumb gardens” —  some community gardens were given up for development, some were “subject to development” and 198 community gardens were “offered to the Parks Department or land trusts for preservation as community gardens or open space.”

The word “preservation” appears nowhere in the proposed rules. In a nutshell, the rules essentially make new NYC community gardens not owned by land trusts or Parks subject to development after a review process.

This is a sea change for community gardeners. Though the city has said they do not intend to develop community garden sites, this is little consolation for gardeners who fear the protections that allowed their community gardens to thrive for the past 8 years are being stripped away.

Green Guerillas has been supporting the untiring efforts of the NYC Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) as they have negotiated with the city, mobilized community gardeners, and made a strong case for why community gardens can and should be preserved.

Green Guerillas also mailed out 550 copies of the rules to community garden groups across the city and co-sponsored with NYCCGC an information session to help community gardeners understand the issues so they can mobilize support in their neighborhoods.

We could make an emotional appeal for why you should voice your support for preserving community gardens, but we would not do a better job than the New York Times – read their editorial HERE.

What can you do?

…Attend the upcoming public hearing: The city will be holding a public hearing on August 10th at 11 AM at the Chelsea Recreation Center at 430 W. 25th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues) – closest trains are the C, E at 23rd Street or A at 34th Street. (To testify, you must notify Associate Counsel, Ms. Laura LaVelle at the Arsenal via telephone at (212) 360-1335 or e-mail at laura.lavelle@parks.nyc.gov by August 9, 2010.)

View and comment on the rules on the City of NY website HERE.

If you prefer to put pen (or ink cartridge) to paper, submit comments to General Counsel, Mr. Alessandro G. Olivieri, Department of Parks and Recreation, The Arsenal, Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10065.

Call 311 and tell them you would like to comment on the Proposed Park Rules as published in The City Record.

As arduous and boring as this legalese is you should read it. Especially this passage:

Given tour Parks Person (and “Open Space Advocate”) has seemingly seen fit to obstruct Nick’s Garden/Red Gate Garden’s Greenthumb paperwork it makes one wonder who she’s serving. Is it the people using said parks? I think not.

The dead tree that graces the beginning of this post is a testament to her folly. It was one of the many trees planted by the Boy Scouts of America last April at her behest and due to neglect (no watering) and poor placement (being pissed on by humans and canines) died. They since have been removed. I suppose our “Parks Person” finds “carpet-bagging” concerts and fund-raisers more compelling?  I can’t blame her. She has no public administration or horticultural knowledge at all. She formerly hails from Wall Street. It”s all about the money.

Which is, I can assure you, what this revision of the Greenthumb rules is about. Cashing in.

Miss Heather



LAST GASP: Presenting Newtown Barge Park Dot Com

June 29, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item was brought to my attention by Laura Hofmann, one of the founders of Barge Park Pals, the community watch dog/advocacy group for this park. She writes:

Is it common for concert organizers to set up a website for a “one time gig”?

I honestly did not know what to say. So I looked up the owner of this site instead.

So much for keeping it local.

Miss Heather

P.S.: I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this corker from Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn’s own web site:

Thanks to the efforts of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee (NCMC) and Barge Park Pals, a parkhouse with comfort station will be built in Greenpoint Playground. The small triangular playground is bounded by Franklin Street, Commercial Street and Dupont Street and is adjacent to the Newtown Barge Playground which is the only active park space in North Greenpoint (and yet Ms. Thayer et. al. saw fit to commandeer part of it for a concert. — Ed. Note.). The playground is heavily used and the comfort station is a long needed amenity.

So let me get this straight: it “is heavily used” and yet, Ms. Thayer, our Parks Administrator and Executive Director of OSA, told a reporter from the Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts this same park was (and I quote)  “underutilized”?

So which one is it, Ms. Thayer? Or by “underutilized” do you mean by those willing to pay $12.00 to enjoy a park their tax dollars are already (ostensibly) paying for?

Williamsburg Photo Du Jour: Two Ply

It’s refreshing to see that our Parks Administrator/”Parks Advocate” is taking neighborhood complaints about the lack of bathrooms at Barge Park (and elsewhere) seriously. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, this is the same person who saw fit not to notify the “Friends Of” group for Barge Park that this concert was going to be conducted at the park they represent. When queried about this her answer was (and I quote) they “had a lot on their plate”. Obviously.

Miss Heather

Greenburg Photo Du Jour: McCarren Park

If I had to pick one photograph to exemplify the state of our parks in north Brooklyn this would be it. A young girl sitting on a concrete ledge (which was created when our Parks Department, in its infinite wisdom, decided McGolrick needed this piece of fencing more) amidst bags of garbage and a bottle full of urine. All the while at Barge Park in Greenpoint the band played on. AND ON. It could be heard from several blocks away in any given direction.

Imagine, if you will, trying to throw a birthday party for a group of young children in the playground across the street from this?

I can personally attest that a group of young mothers attempted to do just this. Now imagine trying to do so while a gentleman on stage across the street is screaming the word “Fuck” at the top of his lungs. This did— indeed— happen. How our Parks Administrator— who also happens to be the Executive Director of OSA, Stephanie Thayer, lacked the foresight to know that throwing a concert across from a playground might be problematic is beyond me. Clearly she has other things on her mind. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say making money for OSA.

I know for a fact that a number of board members of OSA (which was in large part responsible for this shit show) have young children. It is not unreasonable to assume that some of them, had the shoe been placed on the other foot, would not have been very happy if this had happened during their child’s birthday party. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if their young ones were subjected to this “language” some of these individuals would raise holy hell. But therein lies the rub: the board members of OSA, having $3,000 a piece to spare each (so as to become board members in the first place) do not have to rely on public park space to have birthday parties for their children. They are able to afford other options.

I suppose some children matter more than others.

Miss Heather

P.S.: I suppose I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Barge Park has been waiting for a field house (so as to furnish this park with bathrooms) for several years. The money was supposedly heir marked but nothing ever came of it. Yesterday I counted no less than five port-o-lets provided by OSA/the Parks Department for concert.

It’s very telling our supposed “Parks Advocate” saw fit to provide such an amenity to transient park users but somehow cannot find the wherewithal to provide lavatories for the people who use this park the other 364 days a year? Oh wait, I get it: concerts— not toilets— make money.

New York Shitty Day Starter: The OSA Trilogy Part 2

It’s dull as dishwater— unless you paid attention to the last segment. Wherein I stated “OSA Presents Inc.” was created by:

…certain members of the Board of Directors of OSA…

and noted the org in question was headquartered at 79 North 11 Street: the Brooklyn Brewery. OSA Presents Inc. was created without “Community Committee’s” knowledge. It was OSA’s ostensible attempt at claiming community feedback/input. If the buzz I have heard is correct a great many people were unaware about OSA Presents Inc. Including so-called “board members”. Which is why I find this filing for an extension so interesting.

New York Shitty Analysis: When an organization takes this long to file a tax return (I hail from a bloodline plagued by accountants) it makes me wonder. This is what happens when millionaires, people with monetary interests and the “powers that be” which are beholden to them (Mayor Bloomberg et. al.) dictate what is in the best interests of north Brooklyn. Their interests.

Miss Heather

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