The New Face Of Need In Greenpoint

October 2, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Yesterday I spent much of my day with Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. I called her (after my latest trip to the dentist) because I wanted to make sure she heard the latest “buzz” about the Food Pantry/Soup Kitchen. She said she needed to go to Bed-Stuy to apply for emergency funding for the Soup Kitchen. I told her I planned to walk around Bed-Stuy anyway. So off to Bed-Stuy we went and while doing so we talked. She told me that they’re seeing more “non-homeless” people needing assistance. I believed her.

But seeing truly is believing so I swung by the soup kitchen. Do these people look “homeless” to you?

These women look like typical Greenpointers to me: people I would otherwise see in the local grocery store or bodega, not the “drunks”, “bums” and “derelicts” (READ: undesirables) one would usually associate with a soup kitchen. Although to be “fair and balanced” journalistically speaking— not that I am now now nor care to ever be a journo— the latter were present as well. In large numbers.

At what point are we as a people going to overcome the Victorian concept of “worthy” versus “unworthy” poor”?  Or that poverty is a sickness?* Soon enough I suspect. If what I saw at the soup kitchen last night (and our “economy”) is any indication, we are in for a serious reckoning.

In the meantime someone Milton is doing his best to shut this soup kitchen down. Sometimes he walks across the street and yells at the soup kitchen patrons**, usually he calls the police instead. Because (*gasp*) someone has pissed on his block.

Hence the lecture soup kitchen patrons received tonight.

I know, I am just as outraged as you. Public urination (sex and masturbation) were unheard of in Greenpoint before the soup kitchen came. Homeless people didn’t blight our neighborhood until this soup kitchen was started. It’s TOTALLY the soup kitchen’s fault, folks.

This disgruntled chap may very well get the soup kitchen shut down because it is a “public nuisance”. While Club Exit has had three incidences of gun play this year and is still in business and Studio B is re-opening on the presumption they’ll have all their paper work in order. They don’t.

Anonymous tipster:

Looks like they’ve been doing what they need to get sign offs to get a TCO and the subsequent PA permit (the cabaret license is contingent on those two items).  They’ll have zoning use group 12 on the CO (which is the cabaret designation, but it won’t be legal to use it as such until they get the cabaret.  Read: they’ll be legal but can’t dance).

They got final electrical and plumbing sign offs this month.  That’s 50% of the TCO requirements.  The remaining 50% breaks down like this: 25% elevator sign off (slam dunk cause there are no elevators–I assume); the last 25% is passing the construction inspection. This link is under the “items required” tab under the Alt 1 (CO amendment application) BIS page. They’re banking that they can finish that, get the TCO and PA permit before the 12th or whatever the date is.  Can they do it?  Meh, that’s a real push.

There is something amiss I noticed.  There is no CO application on file under the Alt 1.  That’s weird because it should be there and they shouldn’t have been able to get the electrical and plumbing sign offs without it on file.

And probably won’t —but will probably “re-open” anyway. Hell, they’re open already.

I am not so simple-minded as to think this is a total sum game, e.g.; attention directed to Studio B should be redirected to Club Exit or vice versa. Rather, I’d like to shed light on priorities:

  • A soup kitchen dedicated to feeding the needy (housed, unhoused and the elderly— Polish mostly) merits police scrutiny because it is a “public nuisance” while
  • Club Exit remains open after incidences involving “gun play”
  • Studio B has shown nothing but contempt for the law. They were shut down in August— but after one month they’re back at it. And publicizing themselves like a $2.00 whore.

Which of the three previous is the highest “risk” to public safety? To pick over the differences between Studio B and Club Exit is like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: fruitless. They both should be shut down. Period.

Not a soup kitchen serving our neighborhood’s (increasingly needy) population. One whose Co-pastors have made every effort to work with the police.

Miss Heather

*In one way it is: teenage mothers tend to beget more teenage mothers. Teenage mothers tend to live in poverty. Tell that to Sarah Palin— or better yet, John “Life Happens” McCain.

**Purportedly while intoxicated.


6 Comments on The New Face Of Need In Greenpoint

  1. ms nomer on Thu, 2nd Oct 2008 10:38 am
  2. You’re so on the mark — where the frilly heck are this community’s priorities? (The City is of course another matter, especially with a mayor who’s willing to stomp all over voter preference.) Most of the people I’ve seen at the soup kitchen are indeed our community’s finest skells and derelicts, but they’re matched by numerous seniors — many of whom are native Greenpointers. And for everyone out there reading, NOT all Milton Street residents are freaks. Many of us support the church’s good work!

  3. neighborhood threat on Thu, 2nd Oct 2008 1:20 pm
  4. Okay, the fact that the police show up when he calls is astounding.

  5. rowan on Thu, 2nd Oct 2008 2:47 pm
  6. jeesh what kind of world is this?

  7. suzyO on Fri, 3rd Oct 2008 5:45 pm
  8. AW, MUDDERFADDER – (no cursing on the AK thread, thank you very much). This is utterly common, and terribly disheartening, at the same time.

    Okay, are we going to get a poll/sign-up sheet going? Anybody know how to go about doing so, and where to submit the thing? Probably to the precinct.

    I’m game, if anybody wants to work on it with me. Heather? Anybody?

    You can reach me at

    Thanks, Heather, for pointing this out. You’re a good egg.

  9. missheather on Fri, 3rd Oct 2008 5:54 pm
  10. SuzyO : Thanks for the kind words. I’m not too sure which you are talking about: Studio B, Club Exit or the Soup Kitchen so I’ll cover ’em all.

    In regards to the first two my buddy over at Brooklyn11222 wrote an excellent post:

    As for the Soup Kitchen, I’ll have to give that one some thought. But for starters:

    1. Donate money, labor — or both.
    2. Contact your local elected officials and CB 1. Joe Lentol (yes, his our State Rep) would be a good place to start. He’s a good guy.
    3. A letter/petition isn’t such a bad idea. It should probably be sent to the 94th Precinct and copied to all our electeds and CB 1.

    This is just off the top of my head. Thoughts anyone?

  11. suzyO on Fri, 3rd Oct 2008 6:19 pm
  12. Heather, I’m thinking about a petition on behalf of the soup kitchen. Maybe we should send it to Lentol, CB1, and cc’d to the 94th – to, er – let’s just say to get a the officers to actually pay attention to it.

    So, where do we go from here? I suppose we should run it by AK, for starters.

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    The One CrewSnowy SeagullsWalking the Dog in the Snow
  • Ads