Urban Fur: Special Parks & Recreation Edition

November 3, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Urban Fur 

Ever had the feeling you were being watched? I experienced just this today at WNYC Transmitter Park. So I stopped, looked around and, sure enough, I was right!

Ben

I am not a rodentologist— but I have been a resident of our fair city (in three boroughs, no less) close to two decades. In this capacity I:

  1. have had one run across my foot.
  2. have seen the tremendous enthusiasm with which our resident pest control experts (READ: cats) dispatch Rattus norvegicus young ‘uns. To cite an example:

    Me (to the Mister): Is that a rubber band hanging out of Tortilla’s mouth?
    The Mister: No, it isn’t. Don’t go into the kitchen.No, gentle readers, I did not spy with my little eye a rubber band. They were rat innards. Actually make that EX rat innards.

  3. patronize the New York City subway system.

Suffice it to say I am not the least bit squeamish when it comes to our furry friends. Quite to the contrary. When I see them scurrying about subway platforms or along the tracks I offer words of encouragement. E.g;

Run, Forrest, run!*

Surely the previous points count for something? You bet your sweet ass they do! As far as rodents go this is one fine specimen: clear eyes, shiny coat and a mite bit— how shall we say— rotund. In fact, he (?) was not much smaller than a couple of canines I saw running (off-leash, of course) fifteen to twenty feet away. I think I will name my new friend Ben

*Try this. I guarantee it will net you a nice, wide berth of passage on the platform.

From The New York Shitty Inbox

Per a tipster.

A tee for Greenpoint600

It would appear Brooklyn Industries is either unaware that GWAPP ain’t what it used to be— or is shilling the same old t-shirt with the same old premise:

We fought the power plants and won!

If GWAPP was/is “winning”, why did this come to pass? And why does someone charged with appointing new board members behave in this manner? (start watching at 5;00)

I harbor a downright Darwinian attitude when it comes to “community orgs”. Simply put: if GWAPP is failing it is because the leadership has failed the community. GWAPP failed, shuffled the deck and now GWAPP 2.0. (which should not be confused with its predecessor), in its infinite wisdom, is going to charge former board members to appoint new ones. Exactly how this is going to create a different outcome is a mystery to yours truly. In any case GWAPP or whatever one wants to call it) is a one trick pony. They fall back on the power plant fight because, quite frankly, that’s all have.

And of course my personal favorite:

NYDNsc

You gotta love this kind of hypocrisy. Be sure to thank GWAPP— Adam Perlmutter, Esquire— in particular, when they start piledriving at Greenpoint Landing. That should work wonders for the air quality ereabotus. Is this worth a t-shirt? Really?

P.S.: Melinda Katz, you took a shit on my community. I have returned the favor— via a snow globe!

Queens id for lovers 600

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: A GWAPP Meeting, At Long last, Will Come to Pass…

February 18, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

From multiple sources I have learned there will be a meeting of GWAPP at the “Polish National Home” March 5th, at 7:00 p.m. ONCE AGAIN: per MULTIPLE sources. (I like to keep certain “interested parties” busy) Here’s the copy sharing the good news:

We request your presence at a meeting at 7pm, Wednesday March 5 at Warsaw (Driggs/Eckford). It’s very important that you (or a representative from your organization) attends.

As you may know, GWAPP was founded in 2000 as “Greenpoint Williamsburg Against Power Plants,” an association of local community organizations allied against an imminent threat to the quality of life in our neighborhood. Meeting, sometimes weekly, to plan strategy, organize rallies and prepare testimony for countless governmental hearings, GWAPP played a significant role in the defeat of two major power plant proposals for the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront. In the wake of these hard-fought defenses of the community, GWAPP turned its attention to other issues affecting our neighborhood and changed its name to reflect the new focus: Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning. There was no longer the need for weekly meetings but, in addition to forums on specific situations, GWAPP organized a series of well-attended annual Town Halls to discuss parks and open space issues – a tradition that the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn now carries on – and met with elected officials and gave testimony at city hearings in connection with quality of life issues in the neighborhood. Over time, the Board has met less regularly (typically at least 4 times per year) and there has been less communication with the Member Organizations.

GWAPP continues to be a vital community organization with a robust website that has become an important forum for information and discussion about parks, open space and environmental issues affecting North Brooklyn (recently enhanced with commissioned narratives about community activist history and regular reporting) and Board Members frequently give testimony (often in collaboration with other community groups like NAG) on those issues in civic forums and agency hearings. But, it is no longer operating in accordance with the original by-laws. The Board is proposing amendments to those by-laws to reflect an organization that is no longer an association of local orgs meeting regularly but, rather, a Board overseeing various programs and initiatives with volunteer help…

Straight up folks: if you value real community organizations and NOT “astroturf” attend this meeting. Let these folks know that community organizations are to be constituted by the community— not a select few.

Mark Your Calendars: Stop The Towers

November 30, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Stop The Towers

NYPOscreencapNew York Shitty has a counter-proposal/suggestion:

Why not remind Steve “I often spend a half-hour or more looking for a parking spot in Greenpoint [where he lives], and at this point, I think I’m just going to pay for a garage.” Levin that his parking troubles are only going to get worse when those towers go up.

Quicklink: Live From The Department Of City Planning

October 16, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Wed Oct 9 Public Hearing

Those of you who missed last week’s hearing at the Department of City Planning regarding Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street, do not despair. It’s online! Point and click your way here. And download this:

screencap

Start at 6:08. Here’s a general outline:

  • Jack Hammer of HPD outlines the affordable housing component. A Q & A session follows.
  • Melanie Myers, representing Greenpoint Landing Associates, speaks.
  • Lisa Gomez, a partner in this endeavor, speaks.
  • 34:59: Speakers against speak. I found Laura Hofmann’s and the most awesome speaker ever, Nancy, to be especially compelling. They speak sequentially starting at 1:02.06  .
  • Speakers in favor speak start at 1:11:43. Of particular interest to yours truly was the testimony of Adam Perlmutter. He was, after all, the attorney George Klein/The Park Tower Group hired to push for the 2005 Rezone in the first place. I wonder if he’s back on the “payroll”— so to speak?

 

New York Shitty Day Starter: Daniel Squadron Wants Our Support!

Per an anonymous tipster:

If the name Norm Brodsky seems familiar, gentle readers, here’s why:

  1. He was a founding member of Open Space Alliance.
  2. He owns the CitiStorage storage facility which is a colossal cash out blocking our brave march towards open space in Greenpoint. To the amount of $200,000,000 if Rami Metal is to be believed (skip to 8:03 and hear his words for yourself)

And three pillars of our community; Adam Perlmutter, Steve Hindy (Brooklyn Brewery) and Evan Thies (Open Space Alliance members and former Community Board 1 members all) are hosting a rally for Mr. Squadron at his home (READ: CitiStorage)!

A Reception for Daniel Squadron
May 17, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
The Home of Norm and Elaine Brodsky (on the Williamsburg Waterfront)
5 North 11 Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Live From Community Board 1: OSA Presents

It was a relatively tame evening last night despite a full house. I made the acquaintance of a New York Times reporter present. He asked me:

Is the turn-out usually like this?

To wit I replied:

No.

He then asked:

How many people are usually here?

Me:

Maybe half or one third.

When asked why the turn-out was so large. I told him:

They’re angry.

It has been my observation that citizens do not go to Community Board 1 meetings to give thanks and spread sunshine. Rather, they come to make their presence known because they’re pissed off. This is the north Brooklyn way. In any case, tonight’s spokesperson on the behalf of OSA (Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn) was Adam Perlmutter. This chap is the Secretary for said org and one of the founders of OSA Presents LLC (their concert arm). He spent the evening spreading sunshine— including to yours truly! Without further ado, here he is.

And by all appearances this seems to have mollified the concerned citizens present. Somewhat. Mr. Ricco makes it quite clear he will be keeping an eye on them (do give this a view).

And in a hardly dramatic conclusion the Board takes their recommendations to a vote.

So there have you.

New York Shitty Analysis/Op-Ed/Food For Thought:

  • I found it rather interesting that the one show excised (so as to provide more “family-oriented” entertainment and reduce possibly problematic concert events) was the “Latino” concert. While I am certain concerns about revenue were at play, the fact of the matter is north Brooklyn has a rather large Hispanic population. I am certain they would very much enjoy a concert event with their families. By removing this event from the roster OSA has made a value judgment, gentle readers. I’ll leave it to you deduce what it is.
  • I also found it interesting that Mr. Perlmutter (albeit obliquely— and not by name) called out Jelly NYC as a “concert promoter we did not want to work with” and then proceeded to excoriate them for not operating events in a professional matter. This does not dove-tail with how he felt about this same business in 2009. This makes one wonder why he has had an about-face?
  • I for one am very excited at the prospect of viewing a line item account of OSA’s  expenses and expenditures if for no other reason I want to see exactly how much money (if any) has been allocated for improvements and maintenance of Greenpoint’s parks because I have seen any difference whatsoever.
  • Lastly, so the concerns about quality of life issues arising from the concerts at East River State Park have been allayed— or at least tabled. What about the same issues posed by OSA’s events at other open spaces? In other words: What about the rest of us?

Nonetheless this is a a small— but significant— step forward. Those of you who want a full rundown of last night’s (mind-boggling long) proceedings can get a very nice summary over at A Short Story. Check it out!

Miss Heather

Live From The Parks & Waterfront Committee Meeting

As I have intimated last night’s proceedings were rather contentious. Don’t take my word for it: seeing (and hearing) is believing. Enjoy!

Video 1: Dewey Thompson, Community Board 1 member, member of the Parks and Waterfront Committee kicks off the proceedings by explaining what OSA (of which, it should be noted, he is a board member and whose Executive Director also happens to be Community Board 1’s Parks Supervisor) does for north Brooklyn’s Park.

  • OSA is a conservancy not unlike Central Park or Prospect Park.
  • Mr. Thompson notes that concert/concession sales (as a result of this conservancy) will go exclusively to parks under OSA’s supervision. In other words: not into the general fund for all the city’s parks.
  • Mr. Thompson points out how OSA saved East River State Park from closing this winter.
  • Mr. Thompson notes that OSA got $330,300 in net profits (benefiting our parks) from the shows conducted last year at East River State Park. $200,000 of which went to East River State Park. That leaves $130,000 for all the parks in Community Board 1. Or as Mr. Thompson states “In Greenpoint and Williamsburg.” Make a note of this.
  • Per Mr. Thompson these concerts are delivering (and I quote) “Major value back to the community”.
  • Chairman Caponegro kicks off the Q & A session.
  • Facts: OSA employs 35-40 security people plus New York’s Finest versus 1,000 attendees.
  • Adam Perlmutter states in the interest of inclusiveness (my term) that there will be family-oriented entertainment and a “Latino show”. Among other things.

Video 2: Community Board Member (and Parks Subcommittee) Katie Naplatarski asks for some clarifications regarding weekend shows.

  • Ms. Thayer says there will be no Saturday or Sunday shows in July or August. Fridays are open.
  • A citizen speaks/complains. If she wanted to attend an East River State Park concert she can hear it from her building.
  • Ms. Thayer states it is not intent to upset the neighbors and mentions that she will be working with Officer Adamo (of the 94th Precinct) to have better policing after these concerts.
  • Another citizen notes the impact these concerts have with her neighbors and states that fifteen concerts in one summer are too many. She also notes what happened at her building when a storm hit and a mass exodus of people attempted to flood her building.
  • Yet another citizen speaks. She is VERY unhappy and likens the noise to an “x-ray” which permeates everything around her. (This is really worth watching.)
  • Caponegro speaks. Among other things he notes that OSA (or would that be 311? Or lack of complaints given to Community Board 1? This was a little unclear.) makes it seem like “no one complains”. The audience begs to differ.

Video 3: A lady named Sara asks “Why are we privatizing a park?”

  • Sara gives quick primer as to the provenance of East River State Park and reminds the representatives of OSA that East River State Park (at 7 acres) is not Central Park. Or Prospect Park. In other words: it does not have the space needed to host an event without displacing fellow park-goers.
  • Sara inquires as to how how much money OSA gives to East River State Park.
  • Sara points out the obvious: most people in north Brooklyn do not have a private backyard to enjoy. When they want to experience the outdoors it is done at our public’s parks. By closing off/monetizing East River State Park the Open Space Alliance is, in fact, denying a great many people access to open space.
  • A long-term Williamsburg resident makes it known that it was people such as himself who made north Brooklyn a desirable place to live. (This is VERY compelling stuff so do give it a listen. I cannot even begin to give it justice.)

Video 4: Del Teague, Community Board Member 1 Speaks

  • The most compelling part of this video (if you ask me) is when Ms. Teague points out that the owner of the Edge— who is apparently a supporter of OSA’s concerts— refused to allow distribution of fliers announcing this meeting.
  • Ms. Teague concurs that East River State Park is not appropriate venue for events of this scope.
  • Concerns about how neighboring properties— including affordable housing— will be impacted are raised.
  • These concerts/influx of concert goers are likened to an “invasion”.
  • Praise is given to Summer Starz and questions are raised as to when it will be scheduled this year. Apparently the organizers have been told Thursday evenings are not available.
  • Ms. Thayer replies that OSA is not done scheduling concerts (hence why East River State Park is not making Thursday evening available) and recommends that the weekends— or McGolrick Park— be used for this film series.
  • It is observed that the concerts are getting priority.
  • The specter of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar arises.
  • A recommendation is made that these concerts be conducted in the South Bronx. (What did they ever do to us? — Ed. Note)

Video 5: The Owner of Artists & Fleas Speaks

  • The owner of Artist and Fleas notes the absence of local business owners present and extols upon the benefits these concerts bring to local business.
  • A citizen presents an invoice showing the damage done to her car by a drunk driver who attended one of these concerts.
  • A woman opines that Brooklyn Brewery’s owner, Steve Hindy, benefits from these concerts— not the residents of said community.
  • It is intimated that Mr. Hindy has undue influence over our community.
  • Civil disobedience and a protest are suggested

Video 6: Steve Hindy Speaks

  • Mr. Hindy mentions his involvement with the Prospect Park Alliance and asserts neither he nor Brooklyn Brewery benefited from this relationship.
  • Mr. Hindy states a needs for fundraising for New York City’s parks.
  • Open Space Alliance is based upon the model of the Prospect Park Alliance.
  • Mr. Hindy gives a history of beer concessions at concerts. Both Brooklyn Brewery and Anheuser-Busch gave $50,000 upfront and all profits from beer sales were donated to Open Space Alliance.
  • Mr. Hindy gives a break-down of concert revenue: these netted $400,000 last year. $200,000 went to East River State park for upkeep and maintenance. $200,000 went to Open Space Alliance for operating costs including Ms. Thayer’s salary (which as of several years ago was ~$80,000 lest any of you are wondering. — Ed. Note.).
  • Mr. Hindy notes that if it was not for OSA’s efforts East River State Park would have been closed last winter.
  • Mr. Hindy tells the attendees present that if they “do not want us” he understands. An audience member replies “We want less of you.”
  • Ms. Thayer gives some additional details as to how revenue was tendered and spent at East River State Park. The parks of Greenpoint and Williamsburg get the remaining $130,000.
  • The amount of space these concerts take up— including pot-o-potties— and mentioned and a request for an annual report from OSA is made.
  • A Kent Avenue resident inquires what measures are being taken to mitigate the impact these concerts make on the surrounding community. Noise and garbage are specifically mentioned.

Video 7: A Northside resident speaks of public intoxication and urination.

  • A visual demonstration of the aforementioned behavior is given.
  • Another call is made as to what measure will be taken to mitigate the impact on the surrounding community. Chairman Caponegro notes that this question has been asked “all night”.
  • Adam Perlmutter of Open Space Alliance and OSA Presents states that he is glad this meeting is being conducted. (Somehow the rest of this footage has gone MIA. I will endeavor to find it. — Ed. Note)

Video 8: A Northside resident queries Ms. Thayer about his block being cordoned off.

  • He cites having problems parking on his block (Wythe Avenue at North 8 Street).
  • 94th Precinct Community Liaison answers this chap’s query. He states the block should not be barricaded unless a concert of letting out.
  • Ms. Thayer states that Wythe Avenue is open. This chap begs to differ.
  • The NAS concert was brought up. A woman states she saw a melee involving 30 people at North 9 Street afterward. She alleges the police ran away.
  • The need for more police presence is mentioned.
  • The question is raised as to how much money OSA spends on police patrols.
  • Mr. Adamo states that he does not have this information.
  • The question is raised as to who pays for this added police presence.

And then my memory— and wherewithal— ran out. Here’s what followed (not necessarily in chronological order):

  • A representative from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office spoke. Among other things she said he was a fan of musical events. She was shouted down.
  • Questions were raised— and not answered— regarding exactly how much money OSA/the Parks Department spend on police presence for these events (Once again: as opposed to the money raised and distributed so as to benefit our public parks. The more observant among you might have noticed even members of OSA cannot seem to be in agreement upon exactly what this figure is.).
  • Julie Lawrence, a member of Community Board 1 (and member of the Public Safety Committee) spoke. She implored for more transparency on the part of OSA.
  • Lincoln Restler spoke.
  • Chairman Caponegro made it clear that Community Board 1’s opinion is only advisory.
  • I left.

But onward it went. Here’s what one hanger-on had to say:

the committee meet with stephanie (Thayer — Ed. Note) & adam (Perlmutter — Ed. Note) sitting in …  katie (Naplatarski — Ed. Note)  looked like a force with being sure the community’s voice was heard … the resolution which aaron (Short — Ed. Note) will write up can’t really apply to this year … interestingly the committee chair did ask dewey (Thompson — Ed. Note) about him wearing many hats … don’t remember how he phrased … well put … i asked how someone could be on the task force and all you got to do is ask … from what i gather the main task is to hold osa accountable … it was a GREAT meeting … can’t wait for public safety …

New York Shitty Analysis/Commentary/Observations:

Since Community Board 1 does not have the power to place a ban on waterfront concerts at East River State Park I am not going to belabor the manner. What’s more, what transpired at last night’s meeting was not really about concerts at all. Rather, it is the growing pains of a community in transition. The battle ground (so to speak) in this case were our public parks (and to whom they belong). The answer is simple: all of us.

Inasmuch as the folks of OSA would fancy themselves as being inclusive the fact of the matter is they are not. Their events are of very limited appeal to the older, long-term — and yes— diverse residents of North Brooklyn. If they (Open Space Alliance) were forthright about who their target demographic is (20 – 30 something, younger, newer residents) at least they would have been honest and everyone— like it or not— would be on the “same page”. But this is not the case. In this respect I find touting one “Latino show” as an overture to be disingenuous at best.

Above all, I came away from last night’s meeting reminded of the serious (and depressing) disconnect there is between OSA and the older residents of the community. The latter made their grievances (like the delivery or not) and questions quite clear. In return OSA did not provide answers. Rather, they kept re-stating the same facts (and in the case of actual money raised/distributed were somewhat contradictory) and stuck to the same sales pitch. This was— and is— in no way conducive to a productive dialogue with the community OSA purports to serve. Sadly, this does seem to be their modus operandi. I am of the distinct opinion it is just this pattern of behavior which made this meeting of the minds necessary in the first place.

Here’s the deal: north Brooklyn’s public spaces belong to just that: the public. No one organization— especially those ostensibly raising money for park space and advocating on the public’s behalf* — is more important than any another other group of citizens. But it would seem that OSA is getting preferential treatment.

The chap in that third video (John Ricco, owner of Grandma Rose’s) is right: it is people such as him who have made Greenpoint and Williamsburg a place where people like them— and myself— want to live. These concerts would not be happening if this neighborhood had not been shaped by people like him. For this reason he and people like him have my utmost respect and admiration. In fact, I consider myself honored to be their neighbor. It would be nice if Open Space Alliance would follow suit. If I had to recommend a first step I would say some empathy, transparency, solid answers and yes, respect— not sales pitches— on their part would be a good start.

Miss Heather

*and in my opinion concerts are an incredibly poor way to raise money: $130,000 or even $200,000 spread over the entirety of north Brooklyn’s parks is a pittance.

Spotted On Franklin Street: Illegal Advertising On Public Property

It would appear that OSA, Open Space Alliance, is employing illegal “street art” advertisements on street signs for their concerts. In a landmarked district, no less. Given the litigious nature of this organization and the fact it is a “private/public partnership” I find this very interesting. The fact this was erected by Leviticus is pure gravy. When I want to feel dirty I read those passages.*

Miss Heather

*The best pornography I have ever read is found in the Bible. Period.

OSA Chief Faces Criticism: Rebuttal

Last week was a hectic one for yours truly. Pet-sitting, work, Photoshop phreakiness, life: the list goes on and on. But at long last I have the time and energy to share my thoughts about the following which hails from Brooklyn11211.

brooklyn11211

If you point and click your way to this post (which can be done by clicking on the above image) you will learn that Brooklyn11211 is addressing the recent reporting by Aaron Short of the Williamsburg Courier. What was of particular interest to yours truly is the embedded link for “Its (sic) not a sell out”; this directs the reader to the (admittedly rather vitriolic) post I wrote last Thursday.

BDE31609My colleague down south is right: the fact the Executive Director Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn (henceforth referred to as OSAnb) gets just over half her salary from the city is not a “sell out”. It’s a buy out. There is a difference. Prior to being put on the city’s payroll Ms. Thayer was one of the most vociferous parks advocates Williamspoint had. As I understand it, she was a real pain the city’s butt. So they made a move that was downright Machiavellian in its brilliance: they hired her. It’s much more difficult to bite the hand if it is (in part) feeding you.*

Do I think Ms. Thayer sees it this way? No. I believe she believes (just as Brooklyn11211 does) that by being a Parks Department employee and the Executive Director of OSAnb she can and will be an “inside player/spokesperson” on the behalf of our community. I, on the other hand, do not.

Before I proceed I want to make it clear my opinion is not informed by a degree in architecture or landscape design; experience in public administration (although I have considerable experience with facilities management) or by being a Williamspoint “power player”. It is grounded purely by observing human nature.

I do not blame Stephanie for not “thumbing her nose at the Mayor”, e.g.; limiting attendance to the Bushwick Inlet Park “groundbreaking”. Just like the rest of us she has bills to pay. To be overtly critical of her employer will jeopardize the roof over her head. Who in his (or her) right mind, in these times, would do such a thing? (All I can’t understand is why Steve Hindy was given a shovel— but we’ll get to that in a bit.)

But this doesn’t make the conflict of interest any less troubling. The fact of the matter is one person cannot serve two masters. In this respect I find the 51%/49% breakdown of her salary very instructive; as a Parks employee she is, in fact, working for us. The taxpayers.

It’s the other 49% I worry about. Aaron Short writes in this article:

After a long day of contemplating North Brooklyn’s open space problems and navigating the intricacies of city bureaucracy, a community leader could be forgiven for wanting an ice cold beer. And as neighborhood power players expressed their doubts about the purity of the organization’s motives, now might be a good time to grab one.

Fortunately, Open Space Alliance (OSA) Chairman Steve Hindy, also the owner of the Brooklyn Brewery, doesn’t have to go very far. He originally founded the Open Space Alliance (OSA) with Adam Perlmutter and Joe Vance in 2002 as a way to buy the Bushwick Inlet (North 12th and Kent streets) for public use. (Not the case: OSA incorporated in January of 2003. Here’s a jpeg of their paperwork. It lists the founders as follows: Joe Vance, Steve Hindy and Norm Brodsky. For the curious— or incredibly bored— here’s a jpeg of their Registration Statement on file with the State Attorney General’s office. It too dates to January 2003— and lists Joe Vance and Steve Hindy but now Adam Perlmutter is listed as OSA’s Secretary. Fascinating. — Ed. Note.)

Those plans stalled that year when Motiva, the company that owned the site, was reluctant to sell. So, Hindy and the board turned their attention to raising money to maintain McCarren and McGolrick parks and create new open space in North Brooklyn on street ends along the Williamsburg waterfront…

Let’s deconstruct this. You have a lawyer (Perlmutter) who is on record in this article from NY1, dated April 4, 2005:

…But protestors say the incentives come with no guarantees.

It’s not enough to just tinker with this plan, said City Councilman David Yassky. We’ve got to just start over and get a much better plan; one that’s for the neighborhood, not the developers.

So far, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the local Community Board have voted down the plan, while the City Planning Commission voted last month to approve it. Now it’s moved on to the City Council, and all sides want to be heard.

Without rezoning we will have power plants, transfer stations and industrial uses that will forever close the door for our community to recapture its waterfront, said community activist (and hired representative of Greenpoint Landing LLCwhich would very much like to develop the Greenpoint waterfront*— be sure to watch NY1’s video to hear him say just this— it’s a HOOT!) Adam Perlmutter.

In the clarity that is four years hindsight I suspect most of us agree that David Yassky, Perlmutter, and Markowitz have done little for “the neighborhood”— but plenty for developers. As for Joe Vance, entrusting an architect to be a community advocate in neighborhood facing a radical residential re-zone is sort of like asking the fox to guard the hen house. From the New York City Campaign Finance Board Database:

joevance

And last, but hardly least, Steve Hindy:

HINDY

As you can see Mister Hindy, a resident of south Brooklyn, President of Brooklyn Brewery and “co-founder of OSAnb”, has seen fit to donate $100 to Evan Thies’s campaign. Which brings me to the following (as gleaned from the aforementioned article from the Williamsburg Courier)…

“So far OSA is not on a track yet, said one CB 1 member who wished to remain anonymous. “They’re negotiating contract deals for concerts and that’s not what an open space organization should be doing. This was always my fear as they were setting up the organization.”

Julie Lawrence, a longtime Williamsburg resident and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth organizing committee member, believes that the relationship between OSA and the Parks Department has benefited the city (and businesses, including the Brooklyn Brewery, which are have received or currently have concession rights at the aforementioned events — Ed. Note) more than the community.

“It’s not about raising money for the parks. It’s about raising income for the city,” said Lawrence.

The nonprofit has not released an annual report or formed bylaws, (Not true: Ed. Note. You can read them by clicking here.) despite bringing in donations and revenues of several hundred thousand dollars per year and retaining two full time staff.** According to figures released from OSA board members, the largest contributor to OSA last year was Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D, Williamsburg), who allocated $50,000 in state funds***

Councilmember David Yassky (Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights), also chipped in $10,000*** and Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office contributed $400,000 through OSA for renovations to Rodney Park.***

In terms of expenditures, the largest expense has been the stage built for the Pool Parties series that OSA co-sponsors with JellyNYC, a music promotion company. Last year, it cost $600,000 to put on shows at McCarren Park Pool, though the state and OSA will split expenses for the summer’s Pool Party series on the East River.****

OSA also pays for the salary of two full-time employees: Executive Director Stephanie Thayer, who makes $80,000 per year, and Julia Morrow, an assistant director as well as contributes to maintenance costs such as the resodding of park ball fields and refilling garbage bags and soap in comfort stations.

“We won’t spend money until receiving input from the community committee”, said Thayer, (BULLSHIT-***– Ed. Note.) who added that they are currently working on their first annual report. “We recorded a long list of complaints at last fall’s OSA general meeting.”

The primary role of the OSA Board is to raise money. Board members are expected to contribute about $3,000 each, making for a total of $35,000 per year, and help host fundraisers, such as a recent soiree held at a Williamsburg apartment tower that netted $1,300 $13,000.

“We’re working to build the board,” said Hindy, who would like to add eight more board members to the current 12. “I think the effectiveness of OSA will depend on the extent that the community supports it.”

What do you mean by “community”, Mister Hindy? The people who actually live here (the last I checked the median income for a family of four in Greenpoint was ~$36,000 a year) or business owners who can outlay $3,000 a year in dues? Methinks the type of “community support” you seek is a plutocracy.

Which brings me back to Brooklyn11211‘s post. He wrote in closing:

Happily, we have other groups that can fill the advocate role – and keep the City (and OSA) honest (NAG).

parksandrecTHUMBFirst off, why should we, as citizens, have to belong to/rely upon a community group to keep our civil servants honest? When I write this I mean no disrespect whatsoever for NAG— they are doing some great stuff. Rather, what I find most curious (and disquieting) is the omission of any mention of Community Board 1 in Brooklyn11211‘s post. Given that one of the writers for this blog is on CB1.

CB1’s members are ostensibly the representatives of this community. As you will notice in the screencap to the left they have a “Parks & Recreation Committee” and Evan Thies (who is running for City Councilman in the 33rd District) is member. I wonder what they have to say about all of this?

I for one would love to know. If anyone from Community Board 1 is reading this and would like to give his (or her) take on the previous please email me at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Whatever you tell me will remain anonymous.

Miss Heather

*Per the Village Voice article entitled “Super-sized Williamsburg on the Way” dated April 26, 2005:

“There is no way that you can say that 40-story towers have anything to do with the existing character of the neighborhood,” complained Stephanie Thayer, a member of the North Brooklyn Alliance, which has been battling to scale back the development.

And yet, four years later, she poses next to the developer poised to build a 40 story tower in Greenpoint and the City Councilman who enabled it. Because they gave chump change to make a mural.

**Why isn’t this org. being audited?

***These figures have since been revised. Upward. Check out the Williamsburg Courier for the 411.

****Which brings me to a tale of two dog runs. A donation was made with the expectation it would be shared. It didn’t work out that way. Although once promised— and much discussed—- the money was used for one. If McGolrick can get $13,000 for a new fence why has been McCarren been relegated to getting sloppy seconds from Sternberg? And $500 to be given to volunteers as “thanks” for assembling said fence— which has not, in fact, been assembled. One such volunteer is the Executive Director of OSA’s brother. His qualification(s): taking a welding class.


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