MONDAY: Transportation Committee Meeting Regarding The Nassau Avenue Reconstruction Project

April 19, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As promised (and organized by the fabulous co-chair of Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee, Karen Nieves, with BIG help from City Councilman Steve Levin and Assemblyman Joe Lentol), here it is!

Nassau Avenue Reconstruction Community Meeting
Monday, April 23, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Messiah
129 Russell Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

New York Shitty Day Starter: Highlights From Community Board 1

As some of you who follow New York Shitty are undoubtedly aware: yesterday March 17th, marked the sixth year yours truly has operated this site. Therefore I elected to spend the day doing what I like to do: knocking around our fair city! Foremost and above all it was my utmost desire to visit Mehanata Bulgarian Bar at 113 Ludlow Street (whose “four tooth minimum” requirement and rather colorful lavatory fixtures— the purpose of yours truly’s visit in the first place, I’ll note— can be seen above). But alas it was not to be. They were closed. Thus I closed out my day of celebration by attending the monthly meeting of our local Community Board. Follows are some highlights (with occasional commentary). Enjoy!

Roll Call

  • 26 members answered the call. NOTE: 2-3 more Community Board members showed up after roll call. This brought the number present up to 29 (of 49 members total). Believe it or not, this is a good turn-out.*
  • Follows is some footage of the public they serve so as to give you, gentle readers, a general idea of the turn-out. As you will see, it was a full house!

The Chairman’s Report

The District Manager’s Report: : AKA the Oh-Es-A Minute

Our City Councilman Speaks

Nassau Avenue Construction Community Meeting
Monday, April 23, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Messiah
129 Russell Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

And the main event: concerned neighbors of Williamsburg Manor speak up!

For those of you who are not in the know, the (apparent) owner of Mehanata Bulgarian Bar (whose lavatory graces the beginning of this post) wishes to be granted a liquor license for an approximately ~10,000 square foot space. This is daunting in and of itself. The fact “Williamsburg Manor” will be abutted by residential property on all sides and will apparently tout such amenities as rooftop garden and a “party bus”, well, that did not help matters. Both DNA.info and Aaron Short of the Brooklyn Paper have covered the proceedings at the last SLA (as in State Liquor Authority) Committee Meeting. Mr. Short makes note of Mehanata’s “Ice Cage”:

…a refrigerated “ice cage” where waiters in Russian military garb serve booze amid furniture and glassware made from ice.

Regrettably this delightful item was not brought up at last night’s convocation. That’s too bad because (in my humble observation) if there’s anything that will not ingratiate an liquor license applicant to what (still is) a community with a substantial Polish population it is men wearing Soviet uniforms selling vodka in a facility with the word “cage” in its name. Call me Solzhenitsyn. Nonetheless, the printed matter presented by the (would be) neighbors of “Williamsburg Manor” was an epistle its own right clocking at a whopping 24 pages. Without further ado, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

(As always, you can view all the previous material in larger format by clicking here.) It should go without saying that the Community Board voted to go with the SLA Committee’s recommendation that this liquor license be declined. Given the Community Board’s opinion is only advisory (READ: non-binding) I doubt we have heard the last of this.

And that’s all she wrote!

*For those of you who are wondering why the attendance of our Community Board is as lackluster as it is, follows is the attendance policy per their By-Laws:

You can read the rest here.

Mark Your Calendars: Open Space Alliance Community Committee Meeting April 16th!

Per a tipster:

Did you know that the OSA Community Committee meeting is open to everyone? come on out! For this meeting, OSA CC HAS A very special guest – Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey – OSA CC is honored that he would like to visit and hear from the community he serves, so please come with questions, concerns or ideas for him and the Parks Department. WHERE? Lindsay houses, 30 Montrose Avenue (between Union and Lorimer), Brooklyn, NY 11206, 718.782.9000

Our Borough Parks Supervisor (that being Kevin Jeffries) answering questions at the behest of a not-for-profit Parks Conservancy group (this being Open Space Alliance)? Sadly this is not as far-fetched as it seems. Last month the Manager of Community Board 1 himself, Gerry Esposito, after  being questioned about why Open Space Alliance (a not-for-profit organization) has a moment of his time (as opposed to our local police departments, the 90th and 94th Precincts respectively) explains it all. Start watching the following at 1:10 and hear Mr. Esposito’s words for yourself.

…Basically they are the Parks Department for our area these days… in times past we have worked it through the OSA systembecause of the issues arising from the concert series I felt it was so important to open that door with OSA… So that, you know… so there would be full disclosure and transparency in what they’re doing… I can guarantee you since I sat down with OSA, I sat down with Steve Hindy (owner of Brooklyn Brewery and not a government employee) and Stephanie (Thayer Executive Director of OSA, our Parks “Advocate” and New York City Parks Supervisor) and, and I told them if you agreed to do this, you’d have to be here. You have to be at every meeting and they agreed…

And therein lies the problem. We have to go through a Parks “advocacy group” to get the ear of our Borough Parks Department. Because “public” and “private” have become more or less the same.

Open Space Alliance Community Committee Meeting
Monday, April 16, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m.
30 Montrose Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11206

UPDATE: I have since been advised of the following via a Co-chair of OSA’s Community Committee:

OSA’s Community Committee is made up of 30+ parks groups (“friends of”and the like…), and this is the membership’s quarterly meeting. The public can come and observe, but only members can participate. The agenda’s always tight, and items are submitted by members two weeks before our meetings.

 

New York Shitty Day Starter: Dispatch From The Transportation Committee Meeting

I did not attend last night’s meeting. But I received copious correspondence as to what came to pass— and the flood abatement plans (seriously) ended up being the most contentious. Simply put, the peeps at Parks want to plant storm water management gardens (among other things) so as to prevent flooding. This would be fine and dandy if the plans they presented did not obstruct trucks providing wood chips to the adjacent dog run.* But of course it does— and a number of questions followed. Among them:

1. Marie, a stalwart employee of Community Board 1 (and amazing woman), noted that this should have been accounted for in their plans. E.g.; the size of the trucks needed to maintain the dog run’s wood chip needs should have been taken under consideration. But, alas, they were not. Thus, the Transportation Chair herself is going to visit the intersection* in question personally. Which dovetails to…

2.Why hasn’t our Parks & Waterfront Committee stepped up to the plate? This was question was raised. And no clear answers were tendered other than the lack of awareness-raising about the meeting being tossed on the Transportation Committee’s proverbial doorstep and this being considered a “transportation matter”.

I suppose it is to a certain degree— but park space is also implicated. Thus, it is also a “Parks & Waterfront” matter. So why this wasn’t this material being perused by them as well? Perhaps it is because this body’s Chair does not like to listen to… people complain? Nonetheless, other members of Community Board 1 have shown interest in getting involved with this item so I suspect we’ll be seeing some revised plans soon.

While I am tangentially on the subject of parks, I’d like to share the following email:

…I had the opportunity to visit the “No toilet left behind” queen bee toilet seat at the park house. The good news is that it’s still there. The bad news is that the hardware and hinges are damaged because there is a blatantly obvious leak or mini flooding occurring with each flush. If someone gets a video to me, I’ll be glad to attach it to my online complaint form. I attempted to take a video of it, but it failed. But attached is a photo of the seat and some water under the tank. I also attached my 311 complaint for you. It would be a shame for the money & effort to go to waste because of poor maintenance issues.

I designed this toilet seat with a despondent expression on purpose. I mean, would you like the following to be your home?

Nonetheless, I am pleased to report the leaky valve problem has since been addressed. I field-tested the toilet in question personally yesterday. I do not leave my toilet (seats) behind!

P.S.: Other (thrice confirmed) gossip from this convocation: our very own chair of Community Board 1, Christopher Olechowski, is going to run against Lincoln Restler (the latter of which was present at this meeting, the previous was absent) for 50th Assembly District Leader. Mr. Olechowski kicked off his campaigning last weekend when Carolyn Maloney had a meet and greet at McCarren Park (so as to welcome us to her constituency which apparently includes Michael Bloomberg himself— we have arrived!). Here’s how a tipster put it to me:

At today’s meet & greet with Maloney, I learned that Chris O. is going to run against Lincoln. Chris seems to think that I’ll vote for him and had a conversation with others, in front of me, about how Lincoln doesn’t come from here, isn’t one of us, doesn’t understand our needs, and so on. It was very interesting to say the least…

Given Mr. Olechowski seems to require constant coaching from our District Manager (who appears to be sorely out of touch with our needs— or simply passes the buck), this should be interesting.

*Had Parks, say, bothered to actually walk by the dog run they would have noticed this problem. As well as the sign across the street which has added-value in the way of “Penis Pump” and what appears to be a crude rendering of male genitalia. As noted on this site previously and this post.

 

TODAY: Transportation Committee Meeting At Community Board 1


Above is the agenda for this evening’s Transportation Committee meeting of our local Community Board. While perhaps not terribly exciting stuff many who have personally had to negotiate the flooding at the intersection of Union and Driggs Avenue will undoubtedly be pleased to see action is being taken on that front (see the first item on the agenda). In addition, keeping the Crosstown Local extension will be discussed.

Remember folks: you are entitled to not only attend but tender your two cents at these convocations. Thus, those of you who have issues with and/or concerns about the Nassau Avenue construction project should make it a point to show up— and speak up!

Transportation Committee Meeting of CB1
Today, March 28, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Community Board One Office
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

P.S.: for those of you who are curious, here is the most recent bulletin outlining the scope of construction which come to pass this week on Nassau Avenue this week.

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Attention Greenburgers!

This item comes courtesy of an anonymous tipster:

Brooklyn Community Board # 1 , in conjunction with NYC Service and Citizens Committee for NYC, is pleased to announce the second round of Change by Us NYC mini-grants! Grants worth between $500 and $1,000 are being offered to volunteer-led groups throughout the five boroughs that are committed to greening their neighborhoods, reducing New York’s carbon footprint and helping achieve the environmental goals of PlaNYC.

To learn more and to access the application, please visit the Change by Us NYC website. To see the full schedule for Change by Us NYC grant workshops and register to attend, click here. If you have any questions or would like more information, please email sshah@citizensnyc.org.

THIS WEEK: Environmental Protection Committee Meeting

This week is proving to be a busy one for our local Community Board. Yesterday I shared the Parks & Waterfront Committee’s rather anemic agenda, today I offer something a mite bit more substantial: the agenda for the Environmental Protection Committee. There are a number of items of interest. Specifically: the location of a gasification plant at our local waste water treatment plant; a discussion of the nighttime piledriving at same said facility, drainage problems in and around McCarren Park including what is commonly known as “Lake McCarren” (as seen at left) and OUTRAGE (whose latest blog post can be found here). Check it out!

Environmental Protection Committee Meeting
January 26, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Community Board 1 Main Office
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Message From Deputy Inspector Hurson of the 94th Precinct

As many of you are aware, a sexual assault came to pass on Maspeth Avenue on New Year’s Day. I have many questions about this incredibly upsetting turn of events. I imagine many of you, dear readers, do as well. Well, I have just been informed a public forum will be held on the subject of recent criminal trends— including this incident. D.I. Hurson writes:

Heather if you could get the word out we are having this meeting to clear up misconception about some  issues.

The 94th Precinct along with the 90th Precinct will be holding a joint public safety meeting on Wednesday January 18th at 7:00pm. This meeting will take place at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church 275 North 8th Street C/O Havemeyer Street. At this event we will also discuss recent crime trends that are affecting the neighborhoods that are covered by the two Precincts. Including the Sexual Assault that occurred on January 1, 2012.

Done!

Joint Public Meeting of the 90th & 94th Precinct
January 18, 2012 starting at 7:00 p.m.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
275 North 8th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Mark your calendars, north Brooklynites.

 

TOMORROW: Community Board 1 Meeting & 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

The author of this missive (which can be found on Manhattan Avenue) might have his/her terminology wrong, but this was an excellent reminder nonetheless that tomorrow, January 10th, both our local Community Board and 94th Precinct Community Council will be convening to discuss matters north Brooklyn. I have been assured by Deputy Inspector Hurson moving forward he is going to coordinate with our Community Board so as to prevent scheduling conflicts like this in the future. In the meantime, here are the deets!

94th Precinct Community Council
January 10, 2012 starting at 7:00 p.m.
122 Java Street (the rear entrance of the Church of the Ascension)
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Community Board 1 Public Hearing & Board Meeting
January 10, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m. (NOTE: you must sign in by 6:15 in order to speak)
Swinging 60’s Senior Citizens Center
211 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

(You can view the agenda by pointing and clicking your way to Community Board 1’s web site.)

Live From Community Board 1: Our District Manager Speaks

Some of you might recall last month I posted a letter from a concerned parks user about the deteriorating conditions at McGolrick Park. Well, I have some good news on that front: this individual will be meeting with our Parks Supervisor— among others— to discuss the matter in person.

And now the bad news: in the process of making this happen she received a less than helpful response from our local Community Board. More specifically: its District Manager. She was informed that while she was welcome to attend the Parks & Waterfront Committee meeting to “observe”, alas she could not speak. This matter was brought to the table by a Community Board member (and Parks and Waterfront Committee member, it should be noted) during last night’s proceedings. What she got in the way of an answer from Gerry Esposito and the Chair of the Parks & Waterfront Committee is rather interesting. Watch for yourself. Hearing is believing!

As you can imagine yours truly found what Manager Esposito had to say quite interesting. Especially in light of the following piece of correspondence from his office…

and what the charter granted to Community Boards by our fair city has to say about the matter of public speaking segments at board meetings.

Perhaps you are not troubled by this, gentle readers. You should be. Here’s the deal:

  • First, I and many others in attendance last night found Mr. Esposito’s conduct juvenile, arrogant and of questionable veracity. Is this how a public servant should deport himself?
  • Secondly, I found Mr. Esposito’s stating that the person in question should take the matter up with OSA (Open Space Alliance) curious. OSA is a parks advocacy group. While OSA’s Executive Director, Stephanie Thayer, is in fact also our Parks Supervisor; the matters outlined by the woman in question are Parks Department matters, not those of advocacy.
  • Is it not the role of Community Boards to be an advocate for the community they serve? If, for example, an issue between a citizen and a municipal agency (let’s say the Parks Department) is not being resolved to said citizen’s satisfaction, is it not the board’s job to “lend an ear” and moderate a dialogue so the matter can be resolved? Merely referring the citizen (back) to the Parks Department (for example, once again) is ludicrous.
  • We as a citizens have a right to speak at any and all public meetings conducted by the Community Board. This is why they are called “public meetings” in the first place.

We are all adults here, folks. I and many of my fellow constituents of Community Board 1 neither need nor desire someone to be our “mommy and daddy”. We simply want our civil servants to do their job and follow the rules. Is this too much to ask? If the conduct of Community Board 1’s General Manager and Parks & Waterfront Chair last night is any indication, I’d say the answer is “yes”. Last night Mr. Esposito opined:

…as like everything else online, it was inaccurate…

In the clarity that is hindsight (and after a cursory review of Community Board 1’s web site), I have to confess he might just be onto something!

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