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.

Live From 20 Clay Street…

Anthony Lopez via the Real Deal nys

Also known as the (former) NuHart Plastics Factory, a Superfund site whose owner wishes to convert into yet another glass-riven slab of Brutalist luxury housing. Why let that blue chip property lay fallow when you can rent it out for a rave? I can assure you, gentle readers, that is what is precisely what is happening there presently.

FBECcityfoxhalloween2015GreenpointNYS

Per the lady who shot the above video footage:

…It’s unbelievable. The music didn’t start yet. Just haunted sounds. A resident’s decimeter hit 9… There’s a fire engine parked in the middle of Dupont St. Cars backing up onto Manhattan Ave, cop cars around on Franklin & Clay, not that it’s stopping the crowd from smoking weed on the line…

Mind you, this event has only begun. And of course I had more than my two cents to say about this shitshow via the rather massive email string which is accumulating in my inbox. On that note, I leave you with this…

Lisa Bloodgood reply nys 2

Good times.

UPDATE, 12:34 am, November 1: This “party” is apparently getting shut down. I have been told our City Councilman, Steve Levin, is present, along with a Fire Marshal.

And now a message from our City Councilman…

Our City Councilman Speaks nys

Update, 1:05 am November 1st, 2015: Here’s touching video footage of the first wave of inebriated and swindled party-goes slogging it to the G train.

Happy Halloween.

Photo Credit: Anthony Lopez via The Real Deal.

Video Credit: Laura Hoffman.

THIS WEEK: Community Board 1 Combined Public Hearing & Board Meeting

Combined_Public_Hearing_&_Board_Meeting_Notice_2-10-2015_Page_1 nys

Combined_Public_Hearing_&_Board_Meeting_Notice_2-10-2015_Page_2 nys

Yes, gentle readers, it is yours truly’s favorite time of the month. This of course being Community Board 1’s monthly Combined Public Hearing & Board meeting! As you can see there is quite an array of liquor license applications and renewals. I have highlighted the one I found most interesting. Let’s take a closer look at this one, shall we?

Brooklynbargebar

It would appear an eating and drinking establishment, “Brooklyn Barge Bar, is has designs for gracing our community’s waterfront. Well, in a manner of speaking. Something about the address struck me as being odd. So today I headed over to West Street to see what gives.

gptsaveatwest

thievin

notice

Sure enough, a notice is posted.

rear of premises on barge in water

This seems clear enough— except for one minor detail.

Google map 91 West

91 West Street (AKA: 36 – 44 Greenpoint Avenue) is a fair distance from the water in question. This begs a number of questions. We’ll keep it simple:

Why?

As the previous map clearly illustrates the building in question is roughly a block away from the waterfront.

visualaide1

However, the westernmost remnant of Milton Street, albeit in demapped form (in other words it is private— not public— property), still exists.

miltonstreetdemapped

It is not only accessible to the public (as illustrated above by visitors to our community enjoying a photo op), but it provides direct access to the waterfront. This would strike me as being a better means of ingress and egress from the proposed establishment— so why 91 West Street?

A few things to consider:

  1. In order to apply for a Liquor License though Community Board 1 (whose rather lengthy application can be seen here) one must provide a valid Certificate of Occupancy. 91 West Street does not have one.
  2. More importantly, the license must be filed specifically for the space wherein liquor will be served. This is ostensibly not 91 West Street. It is merely providing access to the Barge Bar.
  3. Having seen my fair share of liquor license chicanery over the years I have to wonder what would happen if the Barge Bar is issued a liquor license— will the next step be applying for a modification to said license incorporating 91 West Street? Provided of course they get the C of O business sorted out? Let’s just say I would not rule this out.
  4. Exactly how many people does this establishment intend to accommodate? I do not know. However, it if exceeds 74 people then a place of Assembly Permit (whose fire code requirements are rather stringent) come into play.

Hmm.

So many questions. I can only hope members of our Community Board and perhaps the public sees fit to ask them. Closing on a (somewhat) related note (our waterfront), some of you may have noticed I highlighted Noble Street in the screencap I took from Google Maps.

Noble Streett

Noble Street is indicated as terminating on the waterfront. This is, of course, because it does— and has for quite some time.

BK1186mapNOBLE

greenpoint.1949FNY nys

endofnoblegooglemaps

However, as you can clearly see, there is a gate gracing this (apparently) public street. This is hardly news. In fact our former City Councilman, David Yassky, took up the matter.

BKpaperGATESOFWRATH

The fence on Java Kent has long since been removed— but the one on Noble still stands.

Brooklyn 1886 Plate 11 - Antique Maps, Reproduction Prints and Gifts from WardMaps nys

Perhaps it is time to resume this matter with our elected officials (NOTE: Rami Metal is presently Councilman Levin’s Chief of Staff) and Open Space advocates? I mean, if we can theoretically have a for profit enterprise on/in our waterfront, why can’t the public be granted access to public property (a street)? This only strikes me as being fair…

Image Credits: The nifty 1886 Brooklyn Map hails from WardMaps.com. The 1949 Hagstrom Map comes via Kevin Walsh’s very own Forgotten NY!

News From The Snow Globe Factory: VANDALISM!

June 30, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Or: Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

The last few days have been spent sealing snow globes, cleaning and organizing. When I left one snow globe unattended today— in the privacy of my own home— the unthinkable happened.

liberty NYS

It. Was. Vandalized. ONCE AGAIN: VANDALIZED!

We all know that graffiti is a problem in Greenpoint— but with HO scale people? This not only besmirched New York City’s name, but my fair community’s as well.  The Greenpoint Gazette has made this quite clear.  I certainly hope this was not captured on Google street view! I, as a citizen, will not stand for this shit.

BP aaron short BS

So I took a page from Tony Argento’s book and offered a bounty to my fellow citizens so as to apprehend the miscreant responsible. With a twist— and on a much more modest, pragmatic level.

If there’s one thing I have come to understand about “The Argentos” it is this; they are quite “generous” with campaign donations and local charitable organizations. I call this “spreading the fertilizer”. It makes the land “fertile” for whatever BS they plan to do— or have already done. CASE IN POINT:

denail

 

NYC BIS page 5

 

NYC BIS page 6

NYC BIS page 7

NYCBICpage9

But I do not have these kind of resources. So I asked myself:

What creature acts most like a politician/opportunist? Someone willing to say or do anything for the end result— moral scruples be damned— and CHEAP?

NYS

It did not take me long to figure it out: Katz CATS!

  • First I stole a dollar from the Mister’s wallet.
  • Secondly, I “infused” my ill-gotten gains with catnip.
  • Thirdly, so as to kick things off, I placed a little— LITTLE— catnip on the floor. Just enough for a taste. I was playing “benefactor”.

Sure enough, they fought over it.

Then I asked my question and waved a catnip-infused dollar.

This is how “politics” works in Greenpoint (and New York City). You can be a slumlord, operate an illegal waste trade business, get busted for it; owe the Internal Revenue Service over a half a million dollars in tax liens and owe $30,000 in fines to the Department of Buildings on one building alone— but as long as you donate “generously”, you will be a pillar of the community and your complaint about someone vandalizing your property to the extent of $8,000 whole dollars— will be taken seriously. Let’s take the following 94th Precinct Community Council meeting which came to pass in April 2013.

Even if you say “SB”. (Instead of BS— The following video is even better!)

wheres levin NYSNote: the Business Integrity Commission decision of which I included passages was issued the very next month! One has to admire that kind of bald-faced hypocrisy. Which brings me back to the video gracing the beginning of this post. It was shot on August 23, 2012. So, as Mr. Levin was extolling upon what great corporate citizens Gina and Tony are, they were busy operating an illegal waste trade business. In Greenpoint. Among other things. Do the math— and please read this. It is always refreshing  to see a City Councilman allocating money outside his own district. When one receives the largess of the Argentos, it comes with strings attached…

Intermediary Search Result GINA ARGENTO 1

 

strawe donorss page 2

But as you see below, gentle readers, it was money well spent!

EMAILnys

Update, July 1st 2014: Oh, how could I forget something a reporter from Crains recently brought to my attention!?!

lobbyistreport

Hmm…

P.S.: No animals were hurt during the filming of these videos. They just got really, seriously, stoned on catnip.

*Monica Holowacz is either an Office Assistant or owner of this company. Either way, I find it very, VERY difficult to believe she had the funds to make a $4,000 donation to Mr. DeBlasio’s campaign. This of course begs the question as to where this money really came from. Anyone?

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: And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

A person whose identity I am going to keep anonymous writes:

No mention of CB1 meeting tomorrow … Did I miss it?

I checked Community Board 1’s handy online calendar and…

CB Calendar

sure enough there is a meeting at Community Board 1 tomorrow, April 8th 2014. The Combined Public Hearing and Board Meeting* no less.  Whoops.

*Whose agenda you can view here!

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: E-Waste Recycling (& Raffle)

EWasteRecycling

This comes courtesy of Artineh Havan, who heads the Grand Street Business Improvement District. She writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

I hope that you are well.  We would greatly appreciate it if you could include a public service announcement about our electronics recycling event (in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center) on Grand Street between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street this Saturday, April 5th from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine.

As you know, if put in the trash, these items end up in landfills, leaching toxins into our ground water.

A list of acceptable working and nonworking electronics is below or here:

• Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes)
• Monitors
• Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
• Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
• Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers, etc.)
• Tablets and E-readers
• Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
• TVs, VCRs, DVRs, & DVD Players
• Digital Converter Boxes, Cable/Satellite Receivers
• Portable music players
• Audio-visual equipment
• Video-games
• Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
• Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

In addition, participants can be entered into a raffle to win a MacBook Air courtesy of TekServe.

Thank you so much in advance for your help.

Done!

Quicklinks: New York Daily News & Crains

September 7, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

NYDNscAs exclusively reported by the New York Daily News. Interesting quote/teaser:

“We’ve been working on this for years,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint), who has been pursuing the park since he took office four years ago. “It’s nice we got this done before the mayor left office.”

…But Levin acknowledged one flaw in the plan: There is no money currently budgeted for construction of the $14 million park. And the city is banking on getting at least $8 million from the sale of air rights to an adjacent parcel at 77 Commercial St., where a 40-story tower would be built if approved by the City Council.

A few things to consider:

1. Perhaps there would have been money available to develop this space had the city not elected to lower the asking price? The original asking price was $12,000,000. However, in defiance of the overall trend hereabouts (skyrocketing property values), the city struck a deal for $8,000,000. Why?

2. 77 Commercial Street was represented at the last ULURP meeting by representative of Greenberg Taurig which, I noted, is a lobbyist. This is rather interesting when one considers the following:

GTdonationtoLevin

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Closing on a related note, do take a moment to read this article from Crains regarding the onrush of plans being filed by developers so as to get them processed before Bloomturd leaves office. Here’s a teaser:

…Among the independent projects before the department, one of the biggest is Two Trees Management’s plan for the 11-acre Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg, which was already rezoned once, in 2010. The developer has decided to take the old plan, rows of 30- and 40-story towers, and replace it with a wild design of geometric buildings reaching as high as 60 stories, but that would allow more open space and light into the parcel.

The scheme deviates considerably from what Ms. Burden spent years crafting up and down the East River waterfront, and Two Trees is struggling to bring her around to its proposal, according to sources. Two Trees had hoped its 2,200 apartments on the site would have been certified by June—the first step in the six-month review process. Now, with negotiations ongoing, the developer hopes for a September certification. That would still leave enough time for Ms. Burden and the planning commission to approve the project, but it would fall to local Councilman Stephen Levin to shepherd Domino through the City Council next year…

Did I mention that Mr. Levin received a donation from Raymond Levin? This fellow just happens to be an attorney representing Two Trees Management?

Another one

Well, I just did.

Connect the dots, folks…

And Now A Word From Our Assemblyman…

levinmailer2

 

Every evening the Mister checks the mail. And every evening he faithfully presents the latest campaign “material”— with commentary— for my delectation. I will refrain from publishing what he had to say about this one. No worries, I have plenty to say…

  • On the subject of “safer” streets: the last I checked a LOT of people— including not one, but TWO Transportation Chairs of Community Board 1— were quite vocal and pro-active about the manifold number of pedestrian/bicyclist safety and traffic woes hereabouts. Methinks both preceded Mr. Levin’s tenure as our City Councilman. While it is laudible that he helped push the matter, the fact of the matter is what has been accomplished thus far (there’s still a long way to go) is not, by any means, exclusively his handiwork. Plain and simple. Step back, Steve.
  • While I am on the subject of safer streets, Levin fails to note that it was under his watch that crime has increased in the 94th Precinct. Specifically, Greenpoint— his “home”. I attended the Community Council meetings. The idea of bringing back “block watchers” and “neighborhood watch groups” was presented by concerned citizens. Nonetheless, our City Councilman saw fit to do nothing until the problem got too much publicity to ignore. And even then meeting he conducted with Mr. Lentol conflicted with a Land Use Committee meeting regarding Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street. Hmm.
  • “Fairer Budget”: the concept of participatory budgeting is a good one. The way it is implemented, however, is not. Since (for all intents and purposes) all the outreach is done online, less affluent/tech-savvy citizens and communities are precluded from the process.
  • Greener Brooklyn: the repaved pathways and benches at McCarren are nice— but what about essentials like trash cans, port-o-lets and, yes, toilet seats? These may not be the stuff of excitement (or campaign mailers), but they are necessary. As for WNYC Transmitter Park: this has been on the table (so to speak) for decades. I know this because awesome ladies like Irene Klementowicz fought long and hard for it to happen. This is not Mr. Levin’s achievement by a long shot. Above all, calling a walkway, benches and one new park a “win” for his north Brooklyn constituency is laughable. Really.
  • Stronger education: while I find his rhetoric (especially as it pertains to charter schools) compelling, I have to wonder whose work he is taking credit for on this one?

In closing I have to say I am disappointed in Mr. Lentol for endorsing Steve Levin. Then again, I was also disappointed when I read this from the New York Times a couple months ago…

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, Democrat of Brooklyn, sponsored a bill to retroactively extend tax breaks to developers who had converted old factories into luxury lofts. That bill passed the State Senate. Alas, it foundered in the Assembly. And that, he noted, broke the hearts of a few developers.

“Was this proposed tax break for these properties a good thing or not? I can’t say,” Mr. Lentol said. “I don’t have enough knowledge to say it’s a good thing or bad thing.”

And if legislators don’t ask, why should anyone else?

That is an excellent question.

NYCCFB

Why should we ask about luxury loft conversions of old factories? I have. Over and over. Mr. Levin attempted to assuage yours truly regarding 239 Banker Street some time ago:

Heather,

I have noticed your posts and am glad you continue to bring light to the issue of lofts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated.  With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law.  (As the law stands presently, no. — Ed. Note) However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits.  I do not want to see a repeat of that event.  I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible.  All I can do is try to spread the word about the Loft Law…

3bunkbeds

216siegelstreet

…so that tenants in such spaces can apply for coverage that they may be legally entitled to.  Of course, the Loft Board will make final determinations about each application individually.

When queried about the rather notorious property that is the former “Sweater Factory Lofts” last November by the New York Times, Mr. Levin had nothing to say. In the meantime the owner(s) of this illegal loft conversion are getting $2,700 – $3,400 month in rent— and, no, the living conditions are not so hot the last I heard


The former “tenant” of this “room” (which I can assure you is QUITE illegal) paid $925.00 a month. Loft law application FAIL.

And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

levinmailer1

 

In Brooklyn, our parks are our backyards…

ryansillegalgarden

Unless of course you are buddies with Mr. Levin. In which case you can privatize a piece of public space (READ: the sidewalk) on Metropolitan Avenue so as to create your personal front yard/urban oasis with impunity. Note the trellis affixed to the building proper and DEP barrier pressed into service re-purposed as a “gate”. Such trivialities as rules and regulations are for other people…

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