From The New York Shitty Inbox: Last Night’s Meeting

September 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As I am (still) wrangling with YouTube and generally pulling my hair out I received a very thoughtful email from a reader who attended last night’s meeting. We’ll call him “T”. He writes:

I found this meeting (my first CB1 meeting) both interesting and depressing.  The amount of misdirected or premature anger based on pure conjecture, misunderstanding, class prejudice, assumption and fear was shocking.  Maybe because I haven’t been intimately involved with the debate up to this point.  In any event, I drew a couple of conclusions:  1) it’s mostly the craphole that is the Greenpoint Hotel and the very legitimate issue of the indigent Polish alcoholic population that generates the fear and the frustration and people are projecting that onto this process; and, 2) that first point is the fault of the dbags at HELP USA who refuse to actually come down and help alleviate these fears or at least be part of the process.  So, seems to me HELP USA is the culprit in most of this.  At least DHS has the courage to come down and explain the process, regardless of whether the community is calm enough to actually listen to it and understand it.  Has there been a history here of these hearings happening and then DHS just completely ignoring the feelings and opinions of the community or is the assumption that DHS doesn’t care and has already approved this thing (an opinion which the dude in front of me seemed to be fastened on) based on nothing but the usual boogeymen?  Because I’m willing to give DHS the benefit of the doubt on this based on the actual words coming out of the rep’s mouth but if others know something based on FACT that I don’t know, I’d love to hear it.

First off, I am VERY happy I motivated T to attend this meeting. If there is one thing I would like this site to do (other than amuse and entertain) it is to get my readership more involved with what’s going on in this— our— community. As for his points, they’re well founded. But for the time being I would like to focus on this question:

Has there been a history here of these hearings happening and then DHS just completely ignoring the feelings and opinions of the community or is the assumption that DHS doesn’t care and has already approved this thing (an opinion which the dude in front of me seemed to be fastened on) based on nothing but the usual boogeymen?  Because I’m willing to give DHS the benefit of the doubt on this based on the actual words coming out of the rep’s mouth but if others know something based on FACT that I don’t know, I’d love to hear it.

I suspect many an old(er) timer will back me up when I write that Greenpoint has a long history of being a “dumping ground” for things other people do not want in their backyard. The Public Safety Chair himself, Mr. Kalita, made light of this. He— along with Chairman Olechowski— also made it clear that the Community Board only has an advisory opinion when it comes to this and numerous other neighborhood concerns. Liquor licenses are one such example and, yes, the Community Board— which is ostensibly the voice of the community— has been overruled. This has fostered a certain level of cynicism— if not outright rage— in the community they try serve. Now factor in the shenanigans at the Greenpoint Hotel and the fact that HELP USA seems to be unwilling to meet the very public to whom they will be held accountable if (or when) this shelter comes to pass and you get the idea: a lot of angry Greenpointers. Methinks this is largely what T saw last night. For the time being I will leave my opinions/observations at that. However, I would really like it if someone (else) would step up to the plate and address T’s questions/concerns. Anyone?

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Notes From The Joint Public Safety/Human Services Meeting, Part I

It has been a long (but not necessarily bad) day for yours truly. Nonetheless I attended this evening’s meeting and will now endeavor to upload footage. I was unable to get everything on film but what I did get should reflect the concerns and attitude of the community at large. I will be posting these videos as they are successfully uploaded— so stay tuned!

Oh yeah, Help USA declined to show. Here’s a time line thoughtfully provided by our local Community Board which outlines the numerous opportunities this organization has been offered to inform us, the public, about their proposed homeless shelter for 400 McGuinness Boulevard (AKA: 146 Clay Street).

INTRODUCTION

A Representative from the Department Of Homeless Services Speaks

In the meantime I will leave you with the following statistics:

  • Number of times the word “bullshit” was used: 2
  • Number of times the word “diarrhea” was used: 1

And some general observations/gossip:

  • The owner of an adjoining property, 394 McGuinness Boulevard, stated that his tenants have made it clear they will move out if this homeless shelter is approved.
  • There was much bemoaning about the lack of “open bar”. As one old timer put it: “At least they can buy you a drink when they’re screwing you”.
  • I had two people tell me that the city owns 400 McGuinness. Methinks this (if it is in fact true) it is due to a tax lien. I see nothing whatsoever to suggest such action has been taken. What’s more, I have no reason to believe the city would resort to such drastic measures: I’ve seen much worse here and they have done nothing. Nonetheless, the representative from the Department of Homeless Services has gone on to the record as stating he will provide the name and contact information of the owner to the Community Board.
  • Many questions (and overall rancor) involved the Greenpoint Hotel. Chairman Gangone stated he had no knowledge of what designs the new owner of this establishment had in regards to this property. Speaking as someone who attended said Human Services meeting (and took notes) I’d like to refresh his— and everyone’s memory.*

Miss Heather

*Pay special attention to “TENANTS (Future)” and “THE FUTURE OF 1109-1113 MANHATTAN AVENUE”.

REMINDER: 400 McGuinness Boulevard

September 26, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Although I have posted this before I am going to do so again: Monday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. a hearing will be conducted at our very own Polish National Home regarding the proposed 200 bed homeless male intake center proposed for 400 McGuinness Boulevard (as seen above). Regardless of what your position on this decidedly controversial project may be, dear readers, I admonish each and every one of you to attend this meeting.

Hearing Regarding The Proposed Homeless Shelter at 400 McGuinness Boulevard
September 27, 2010 starting at 6:30 P.M. 6:00 p.m.
Polish National Home
216 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

Notes From The 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Yours truly didn’t feel like going— but she went anyway. I’m glad I did! For starters (and by Greenpoint standards, anyway) the meeting was pretty mellow. This is a good thing since I was not really in the mood for some of the angrier and uglier rhetoric that can (and does) come to pass at these meetings. This is not to suggest there wasn’t anger: there most assuredly was. The difference was the people (ladies all) who aired their ire were (as a friend noted) so darned nice about it! Bicyclists, illegal sidewalk vendors, impertinent youths and liquor licenses all get the treatment at the hands (or would that be mouths) of these ladies. One such lass made an observation so piquant that she has henceforth earned my undying admiration. But I am getting ahead of myself. Without further ado here is footage from last night’s meeting— along with synopses and a bit of analysis from yours truly. Enjoy!

Part I: D. I. Fulton gives opening statements/props and a general rundown of crime trends.

The Rundown:

  • Grand larceny auto and burglaries are up, everything else is down.
  • Vehicle accidents are down 4.1%
  • D. I. Fulton explains that since the crime stats for the 94th are so low that one or two burglaries can skew the crime statistics upward.
  • A spate of robberies via a man riding a bicycle centering (roughly) around “Woodpoint Road and Conselyea Street”. This individual has since been apprehended and identified in a line-up by two victims. NOTE: this chap’s activities came to pass between (once again: roughly) 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. in the morning and his victims were women in their 20’s.
  • D. I. Fulton talks about burglaries.

Part II: D. I. Fulton speaks about car break-ins and the public speaks!

  • Arrests are up 24.7%
  • A case of Greenpoint roof theft
  • D. I. Fulton advises runners patronizing McCarren Park to mind their personal property.
  • One citizen applauds the 94th for apprehending a man who exposed himself to her and her daughter— and physically threatened them at North 7 Street and Bedford Avenue.
  • Same said citizen complains about illegal street vendors.

Part III: The Public Speaks, continued

  • Illegal vendors, continued
  • A general discourse on unruly behavior in general on Bedford Avenue and Williamsburg in general.
  • A Greenpoint resident queries D. I. Fulton about vehicle theft: there were 13 over the summer and 109 total.

Parts IV & V: The Public Speaks, continued

The aforementioned Greenpoint resident complains about Five Leaves’s use of the sidewalk (allegedly after permitted hours for a “sidewalk cafe”) and follows is a general discussion:

  • A burglary on Bedford Avenue
  • A lady from the Lions Club gives the 94th props

  • Bicyclists
  • Street closures and parties, e.g.; do they require permits?
  • Other things including— but not limited to— one of the most awesome observations (or dare I hope: promises) I have ever heard at a 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting. Go to 2:31 and hear it for yourself!
  • There are 97 liquor licenses pending (including a renewal for the Production Lounge*). D.I. Fulton explains this as “growing pains”.
  • Parties
  • Complaints about 311 dropping calls

Closing observations/thoughts:

  1. Once again and all things considered: this meeting was pretty tame.
  2. Nonetheless there was plenty of anger to go around. This mostly centered around aspects of the “new” Williamsburg being a tourist attraction and/or a watering hole of choice. Which brings me to…
  3. the subject of liquor licenses. If the ostensible function of our Community Board is to be the voice of the people and/or institute some semblance of “community standards” their determinations should be more binding. What’s the point of having due process if the SLA (State Liquor Authority) simply looks at their recommendation— let’s say, to deny a liquor and/or Cabaret license— and they issue the license (undoubtedly greased along by lobbyists/parties with deep pockets) anyway? Just a thought.
  4. The previous Op Ed(s) having been written (and to close on a note of levity), I am taking a serious shine to the notion of some exchange program between Greenburg/Williamspoint grannies and ‘noobs in the ‘hood.** I have no doubt the previous can show middle America a few things about partying (take this, for example.) Our friends (far) beyond the Hudson could use some good ol’ north Brooklyn flavor! It builds character.

Miss Heather

*Which inasmuch as much as yours truly can ascertain is STILL operating a monthly strip club. CASE IN POINT:

**I mean this with all due respect. I have grown to absolutely adore Greenpoint grandmas over the years. I simply wish others had the pleasure of enjoying their company. It isn’t so much about “Go back to Ohio”, so to speak, as it is “Get thee to Ohio”— and get us some respect!

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From CB1

September 15, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Taken September 15, 2010.

Miss Heather

Mark Your Calendars: September 27, 2010

September 15, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Tonight’s CB1 meeting was not terribly lively— but I did learn something that will undoubtedly be of interest to Greenpointers be they for or against the proposed homeless shelter slated for 400 McGuinness Boulevard: Monday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. a hearing will be conducted at our very own Polish National Home. This will be presided over by the Public Safety Committee Chair (and all around bad ass): Mieszko Kalita. I admonish each and every Greenpointer reading this to make it a point to attend and have your say!

Hearing Regarding The Proposed Homeless Shelter at 400 McGuinness Boulevard
September 27, 2010 starting at 6:30 P.M.
Polish National Home
216 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

Quicklink: Possible Conflicts Of Interest Regarding Domino Vote?

March 9, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

As I mentioned previously tonight our local Community Board will be conducting their monthly meeting. What you might not know is they are scheduled to take yet another vote regarding the controversial conversion of the former Domino Sugar Factory (as seen at left) into 2,200 market rate condominiums and a modicum (READ: pittance) of affordable housing. I mention the previous because the Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts has published a very compelling article regarding several members of our Community Board whose business relationships with the Community Preservation Corporation (the entity is behind the aforementioned proposal) pose serious questions about possible conflicts of interest. This article is a must read for anyone curious about what’s happening at Domino. Check it out!

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: Benjamin Lozovsky, WGNA

Now At The American Playground: Chicken Feet

March 9, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

The above photographs come courtesy of a(nother) lady named Heather. She writes:

What’s up with American Playground!!! For the past two days they’ve been burning what smells like plastic on the next door construction lot (illegal?), today there was chicken parts all over… my son picked up a foot – yuck! and drunk bums that broke a pint bottle and just left the glass! Aaahhhh – is there anyone that I can give complaints to that will actually do something?

Some of you might recall I encountered a live chicken in this park two years ago: Larry Bird. This may seem like an inexplicable occurrence but when one takes into consideration that there is a poultry facility located next door it is not unreasonable to presume this is from which my feathered friend originated. As for the above-depicted item, well, I seriously doubt it simply walked there.

When I strolled down Noble Street this morning the gents at Eastern Poultry were busy hosing out their trucks.

Don’t let their dour, business-like demeanor fool you: my presence was a source of considerable mirth. Or at least that’s what their wolf-calls and whistles would suggest. Amusingly enough when I started filming they got “shy”. No worries, when I stopped they resumed their “merrymaking”.

I have already expounded upon the standard operating procedure for this complaint (and any other, for that matter): call 311, file a complaint, get a complaint number and tender this number along with any and all details to your local community board*. Given that we’re probably dealing with illegal dumping of material that is (or I would consider to be) hazardous I would also forward this information to:

1. The New York City Parks Department (who, I would like to note, had an employee cleaning this space when I walked by this morning).
2. The New York City Department of Sanitation
3. The New York State Department of Environmental Protection
4. Our City Councilman: Steve Levin
5. Our State Assemblyman, Joseph Lentol

If anyone out there has more advice for my friend Heather please tender them via comments. This is not only unacceptable, it is disgusting and a public health hazard. Our community deserves better than this.

Miss Heather

*It should be noted that Community Board 1 (which serves Greenpoint and Williamsburg) is having their monthly meeting TONIGHT.

Quicklink: Provocateur

As some of you have probably noticed I have not been inclined to write much of late. Sometimes the material and/or inspiration is simply not there. Even I have to take a break every now and then— especially after writing my first Op-Ed for another publication! Last month I completed a piece (ostensibly) about Community Boards for an organization called Transportation Alternatives. I am pleased to announce this has, figuratively speaking, “hit the stands”.

This material is not on Transportation Alternatives’s web site. However, the peeps at T.A. were kind enough to send me a couple of copies. I have scanned the article and uploaded it. You can read it by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: What’s Up At 108 Franklin?

January 31, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Alex writes on January 30, 2010:

hey heather.

i think i always start this out with, ‘i’m sure you know about this’, but was walking by the construction on noble and franklin and i always look to see what this new bar would eventually be called (sigh), but there was a new sign up saying that it was going to be a restaurant with outdoor seating!?

point gree cafe inc.
le gamin

that’s what i know.

This is very interesting Alex. And lest you are wondering ,yes, I did notice 108 Franklin was getting a facelift. On January 20, to be precise.

The funny thing is I don’t recall seeing a notice for a liquor license hearing— scheduled for January 12, 2010— when I walked by. Your commentary suggests this document is a new addition.

Sure enough, there it is. After the fact. Hmm.

A liquor license + “outdoor backyard seating” located amid residential property + without proper notice  = this will be interesting.

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: The first and third were take by yours truly 01/31/2010 and 01/20/2010 respectively. The rest are from Alex. Taken 01/30/2010

P.S.: I have brought this to the attention of our Community Board. What is the point of having such an entity, the ostensible voice of the people, when the community (READ: the people Franklin Street) is not aware it’s about to be saddled with another “eating and drinking establishment”? Probably one more than it would care to have already.

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