Live From The Community Board 1 Meeting: TLC Commissioner Yassky Speaks

I have to be perfectly honest: I’ve been on the fence about Yassky’s proposal to allow livery cabs to pick up passengers (as taxi cabs are currently allowed to do). Some of this arises from the fact that yours truly lives near one such service and the drivers of said vehicles often double park, do u-turns in the middle of the street and so forth. In other words: they are not very good neighbors. However, (and believe you me I am no fan of Mr. Yassky) I have to say he makes a very salient argument for his case. My only concern is how fares will be implemented (meters versus flat fare). In any case, you should give these videos a watch. Granted, the proceedings drag on longer than they should have been allowed, but it is interesting stuff nonetheless. Enjoy!

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Homeless Shelter Town Hall Meeting

April 5, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Don’t let the above image fool you: it was a rather lively evening at tonight’s Town Hall Meeting. Follows is the footage I shot along with synopses, annotations and observations. WARNING/CAVEAT/TEASER: Those of you who have a fondness for yelling will not be disappointed.

INTRODUCTION

Part II: Mr. Rosenblatt Gives a Rundown of BRC & The Proposal

  • The proposal (once again) is for a 200 bed assessment center.
  • This facility will be (once again) for single, homeless men.

Part III: Q & A, Continued

  • Questions are raised about the owner of 400 McGuinness Boulevard, Shimmie Horn and this facility serving drug addicts and ex-convicts.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states that 2/3 – 70% of the people who patronize BRC’s facility have substance and/or mental health issues.
  • If approved, BRC will be leasing 400 McGuinness Boulevard from Mr. Horn.
  • A resident of the three quarter house at 66 Clay Street speaks. (LISTEN TO THIS— Ed. Note)

Part IV: Q & A, Continued

  • Mr. Rosenblatt rebuts JR’s accusations, offers to show anyone in the audience their facilities and tenders his contact information.
  • A member of the audience inquires as to the impart BRC’s shelters have on the surrounding community and voices concerns about 400 McGuinness’s remote location.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states that the city will be provided transportation and a shuttle van service from the subway will be provided.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt asserts that the communities in which BRC facilities have been placed see improvement and states the Bowery as one such example (Interesting fact: BRC and Mr. Rosenblatt are responsible for the closure of CBGB’s) . This elicits peals of cynical laughter from the audience.
  • A Clay Street resident questions what kind of investment residents of this facility will have in the community and asks about security measures.

Part V: Q & A, Continued

  • Mr. Rosenblatt continues his answer for the previous clip. A question about whether or not entrance to this facility is elective or mandated is raised by a Clay Street resident.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states that admission is purely voluntary and goes on to explain how the system works: first one goes to an intake center, from there he/she is sent to an assessment center.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states that residents are entitled to leave whenever they want.
  • Christine Holowacz voices concerns about 400 McGuinness Boulevard’s proximity to public park space (including the Newtown Creek Nature Walk) and brings up the issue of “fair share”. The matter of illegal immigrants is also raised.

Part VI: Q & A, Continued: A Clay Street Resident Speaks

  • Concerns about the proximity of the Greenpoint Hotel, the three quarter house at 66 Clay Street to 400 McGuinness Boulevard is raised.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states 400 McGuinness will be a “model” program with “model services” for drug treatment. The audience finds this very amusing.
  • A resident named “Mary” voices concerns that our community’s homeless would not be serviced by this shelter.
  • Mr. Rosenblatt states that any Greenpoint homeless interested in their program will not be turned away. He makes mention of wet shelters.

Part VII: Q & A, Continued

  • A member of the audience observes that Mr. Horn paid a rather high $5,000,000 for 400 McGuinness Boulevard and speculates that the Department of Homeless Services advised Mr. Horn that by purchasing this property a RFP for a 200 bed intake center would be approved by them, e,g,; this did not happen in a “vacuum”.
  • A member of the audience begins to speak about Department of Homeless Services.

Part VIII: Q & A, Continued

  • A continuation of the previous speaker. She refutes how transportation will be handled per Mr. Rosenblatt.
  • She brandishes a rather large stack of letters protesting the proposed shelter at 400 McGuinness Boulevard and gives a copy to Mr. Rosenblatt.

And alas, this is when my cameras mercifully ran out of memory. You can view and/or download the letter as mentioned in the above video by clicking here. Follows is a general outline of the conclusion of this meeting along with a few thoughts/observations.

1. The woman speaking in the last video opines/asserts:

  • that shelters tend to be placed “where there is an easy target”.
  • that adequate shelter space is available in New York City. Rather, the issue is that our city’s homeless do not want to go to these shelters.

2. A chorale of women chanting “We don’t want this.” follows.

3. The Representative from the Department of Homeless Services takes the microphone.

  • The question is posed again as to whether or not DHS “brokered” some kind of arrangement with the current owner of 400 McGuinness Boulevard. A satisfactory answer is not given.
  • The issue of alternative sites is raised and the DHS Representative notes that there are eight shelters “in the pipeline”. When asked as to where they are located he gave stated: Bedford Stuyvesant, the South Bronx and Crown Heights. Here’s my question: what do these communities have in common?

4. Ol’ Bo takes the microphone and embarks upon a stream of consciousness screed. He calls the BRC and the Department of Homeless Services representatives (and I quote) “carpetbaggers”.

5. People begin to leave in in significant numbers.

6. Councilman Steve Levin speaks.

  • He opens up by stating he wished he had not had come be back at such a forum.
  • He states that his position has not changed and he is against this shelter.
  • He also notes that Governor Cuomo recently cut housing subsidies which will result in more people matriculating through the shelter system.
  • When asked by an audience member, he states he will speak any any rallies to protest this shelter.

7. The issue of this 200 bed assessment center being located in a M1-2 zone is brought up.

  • The DHS representative states that homeless shelters are allowable under this zoning.
  • He goes on to state that he thinks 400 McGuinness is (and I quote) “a good location” and that not all shelters should be located in residential neighborhoods.

New York Shitty Analysis/food for thought:

  • 400 McGuinness is an excellent location for a homeless shelter provided one is seeking a remote location without easy access to mass transit to warehouse— quite literally— two hundred people. Methinks the word I am looking for here is “containment”.
  • While 400 McGuinness may be zoned as manufacturing classifying the area as a whole as non-residential is a load of shit. This property it located literally across the street from residences.
  • I find the rather fortuitous manner in which a prior RFP was pulled, the property was sold and a new RFP for more or less the same thing to be very, very suspicious. The fact that both Mr. Rosenblatt and the Representative from the Department of Homeless Services dodged the issue does not help matters.
  • If Help USA withdrew its proposal for a 200 bed assessment center due to inadequate funding ($4,000,000) what makes the Bowery Residents Committee think they can do more or less the same thing?
  • A couple of rather interesting articles regarding Mr. Rosenblatt and BRC have been brought to my attention. Apparently they are attempting to place a 238 bed homeless shelter in Chelsea and the locals are none too happy about it.

UPDATE, April 7, 2011: This matter has come to the attention of our friends in Chelsea.

Miss Heather

REMINDER: Homeless Shelter Town Hall Meeting Next Week

March 31, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It has come to my attention recently that a number of folks hereabouts are unaware:

1. That another RFP for a 200 bed assessment center for 400 McGuinness Boulevard, this time at the behest of Bowery Residents Committee, has been filed.

2. There is a Town Hall meeting next week regarding the aforementioned proposal. A representative of BRC, Muzzy Rosenblatt, is scheduled to be present so as to answer questions.

Mark your calendars:

Homeless Town Hall Meeting 2.0
April 5, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Polish National Home
261 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

News You Can Use: The El Retorno Report

As many of you are aware yours truly frequently attends meetings conducted by our local Community Board. The reasons for this are manifold, but I will list the two most important ones below:

  1. Said meetings are an excellent way to learn about what is going on in north Brooklyn.
  2. The public speaking segment at the end is often illuminating and downright entertaining.

This month’s meeting was no exception. After a rather lengthy evening a citizen named “John” spoke about an eating and drinking establishment in (what I would presume to be) his neighborhood: El Retorno. His speech started as follows:

If you are looking for a liquor license to turn down, this is the one.

and then he proceeded to tender some rather unsavory details about this business to back up his assertion. This included— but was by no means limited to—- the following:

  • While described as an “eating and drinking establishment” El Retorno was in reality a place for men to get drunk.
  • The waitresses at said establishment solicit the clientele to buy drinks for them.
  • The aforementioned ladies also “taxi dance” (Read: they will dance with men for money).

“John” concluded his speech (one of the finest yours truly has ever beheld at a Community Board meeting, I will add) with a bang by pointing out this establishment has been cited by the Department of Health for harboring roaches, rats and flying insects.  These he described as being “the perfect trifecta”. Suffice it to say yours truly and a few buddies were very impressed. So much so we broke into raucous applause which netted us confused and mildly annoyed looks by a number of people present.

In the following weeks we could not stop thinking about this alleged den of iniquity. Was this chap “John” merely exaggerating or was El Retorno as vile and repulsive as described? This was the question we kept asking each other. Finally, we decided to find out for ourselves and to this end invited ~23 of our best friends to embark upon a fact-finding mission. Six stepped up to the plate. We established guidelines/rules for this endeavor. These were as follows:

  1. We would visit this establishment under the pretext of one of us having a birthday.
  2. Our panel would be constituted of women only. The Mister was rather disheartened to learn this but I had his best interests at heart; you do not send in a Boy Scout for a task better suited for the Marines.
  3. This mission would come to pass March 26, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

And come to pass it did. Follows is a report of our findings. WARNING/CAVEAT: the following content is not for the squeamish.

Yours truly was the first to arrive. Noting this establishment seemed to be patronized exclusively by men, I called one of my fellow conspirators, Christine:

Where are you? I am NOT going into this place by myself.

She replied that she and a friend, Alison, were catching a car service and should be on site soon. I took a walk around the block and sure enough when I got back they were waiting for me. We entered and took a table.

The first thing we noticed was a solitary crutch propped against a wall next to the front door. We later concluded this was kept on hand in the event of an emergency. A very nice waitress came over and gave us menus. Remembering the “trifecta” as mentioned by our (unwitting) tipster regarding the food, we decided to stick to beverages.

We made a toast to our endeavor.

Preliminary observations/thoughts:

  1. The lady waitstaff of this establishment were drinking along with the clients.
  2. There was an older gentleman sitting in the back wearing sunglasses. Mind you, this was well after dark. We deduced this chap was the owner and/or “management” of this establishment.
  3. We noted this eating and drinking establishment has nary a single Yelp review or page on Facebook. We vowed to change this egregious oversight.
  4. We really liked the “cravats” made from paper napkins on the beer we were being served.

8:39 P.M.: Upon noticing buckets of beer are offered for $20.00 a pop we ordered one.

We noted that said bucket had a rather nifty bottle opener attached to the handle.

We were quite impressed by this bit of ingenuity. However, this gizmo proved to be problematic/less than user-friendly— as you will soon see.

8:42 P.M.

  • A woman arrived with two small children. They hung around and talked to the man wearing sunglasses. After about fifteen minutes, they left.
  • Upon noticing we were having some difficulty using the bottle opener attached to our bucket (READ: We were spraying beer on ourselves trying to use it), our waitress (who was really friendly) offered us a more conventional one. We declined. We were dead set on learning how to use this device properly. We would not be defeated!
  • Yours truly perused the jukebox. Freebird was not offered.

As is usually the case when consuming beer, yours truly found herself in need of a privy and in so doing made the first of a series interesting discoveries.

  1. The signs gracing the lavatories are in English, Spanish and Polish.
  2. Our Greenpoint gal, Sherry, notes the Polish being employed is grammatically incorrect: kobieta means “woman”. The correct plural tense is “kobiety”.

1. There is some interesting graffiti to be found in the ladies’ lavatory.

2. Someone has a bone to pick with a chap named Gerry. Among other things.

Yours truly attempts to use the bottle opener attached to our beer bucket. Hilarity ensues.

My notes were fortuitously unharmed.

(SIDE NOTE: Yours truly initially had trepidations about going home reeking of beer— but then remembered that as a Greenpoint resident this “perfume” would be in no way be construed as unusual. Our kindly waitress provided napkins and I proceeded to clean up my mess.)

9:00 P.M.: We noted that men were starting to show up in significant numbers.

9:25 P.M.: We have another beer opening mishap— but endeavor to persevere!

9:36 P.M.: Another bucket of beer is ordered and another member of our fact-finding mission, Juliet, arrives.

10:00 P.M.: We notice that the men sitting at a table behind us are smiling at us. We return the favor.

10:04 P.M.: The lights are dimmed and our intrepid Christine attempts to locate a wireless network.

Amusingly enough we learned that “Vagina” was locked. This discovery elicited peals of laughter from our panel.

10:05 P.M.: We noted the music is becoming, really, seriously, INCREDIBLY loud.

10:10 P.M.: A fellow patron comes over. The dialogue which follows gets somewhat convoluted, so I will give a general outline.

  1. He offers to buy us a bucket of Coronas. I offer to buy him a Coors if he’ll buy me one. He says he does not like Coors. I tell him I do not like Corona. However, if it is free I will drink it. This confuses him so I clarify that I am from Greenpoint and this is how we roll. This confuses him even more.
  2. He asks if we are married. Christine replies that some of us are. He is nonplussed and continues to press the matter.
  3. We give him a beer.
  4. He gets a call from his wife. This bothers him. He then confides in us that he has a girlfriend as well. He continues to ask if we’re married. We ask him why, if he has a wife and a girlfriend, this is so important to him. We do not get an answer.
  5. He concludes that we are married and changes his line of questioning to (and I quote): If you are married why are you here? We ask him why, if he is married, is he here? Once again, we do not get an answer.
  6. He asks how we know about this place. We tell him a guy named John told us about it.

10:15 P.M.: His cousin comes over. He explains that our new friend is from New Jersey. Our new friend asks our party:

Who is the leader?

Everyone pointed to yours truly. He tells me he’d like to me to go outside with him so he can show me something. This did not strike me as an offer I cared to take up and I told him so. He persisted so I went to “Plan B”.

We do not have a “leader” per se. We are anarcho-syndicalists. We take turns as an acting executive officer on our outings. This evening I am the “leader” but next time this sinecure be assumed by another person in our party.

He said he had never heard a story like that. I assured him this is exactly why I told it. (ASIDE: It has been yours truly’s observation that nothing will stop a man from pitching a tent like a woman talking about politics.) We then noticed that a sound system was being fired up in the backroom. We asked our new friend if they were preparing to do karaoke. He answered to the affirmative and proceeded to solicit recommendations from us: Lady Gaga or Britney Spears— or as he put the latter: “Whoops, I did it again”.

We agreed unanimously upon Britney. He was visibly disappointed and said he likes Lady Gaga better. We assured him our panel’s suggestions were merely advisory and therefore non-binding. In other words: if he wants to sing Lady Gaga, he is perfectly entitled to do so.

10:20 P.M.: He begins to ask one member of our panel to dance with him. Repeatedly. She was clearly uncomfortable and we took this is as an indication it was time to go. We endeavored to clear our tab. I go to the bathroom. I opened the woman’s lavatory to discover a man urinating. I elected to patronize the men’s bathroom instead.

ASIDE: Earlier in the evening a member of our party voiced concerns about the cleanliness of the toilet seat in the women’s bathroom. I am pleased to note there was no such issue manifest in the men’s lavatory! I came to this conclusion because all the urine I saw was located on the floor.

As I am using said privy I noticed evidence of someone trying to kick the door open from the inside. I am certain the story behind this is a good one. A story, I imagine, I am much happier not knowing.

10:29 P.M.: We gathered up our materials and commence to leave. Our waitress for the evening thanked us for coming and told us she hopes we will come back. We thanked her for a memorable evening and Christine tips one of the hostesses $5.00 and apologized for us “stepping on her game”. She was genuinely grateful and welcomed us to come back anytime.

Sherry was selected from our party by our new friend as his “best girl”. Lucky her. We leave and on the way to the subway we exchanged notes/drew conclusions:

  • A motion was brought forward by Christine that this was the best $20.00 she has ever spent. This was enthusiastically ratified by our panel.
  • I brought forward a motion to congratulate Sherry as being deemed the “Best Girl”. This too was enthusiastically ratified.
  • Most importantly, we decided that “John’s” testimony regarding this establishment was, by all appearances, startlingly accurate.

At the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Graham Avenue our panel disbanded. Juliet and I headed to the G train at Metropolitan Avenue. As we were walking something really strange happened: a building started talking to us.

It was at this point yours truly realized that three beers on an empty stomach— or the “trifecta”— was working its magic. I had been RETORNO-ED. We made double-time to the nearest subway station and in an act of nothing short of divine providence, the G train arrived as Juliet and I hit the platform.

Upon exiting the G train in Greenpoint I spied a text message in my inbox. It was from the Mister.

Okay?

I thought to myself. No, I am not okay. Yours truly had one of the most fun evenings she has had in YEARS!

Thank you, El Retorno!

Miss Heather

Post Script, March 27, 2011: Our sleuth Sherry made a fascinating discovery about our new favorite eating and drinking establishment. It DOES have a page on Yelp after all…

albeit as a hotel. Fascinating. On a lark I pulled up 191 Graham Avenue’s latest Certificate of Occupancy. Follows is what I found:

I perused the ECB violations for this address and quickly learned the aforementioned “ordinary” cellar is anything but.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: The Blue Bloods Film Shoot Experience

March 26, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If my inbox— and personal experiences— regarding last night’s into this morning’s film shoot are any indication, the recent occupation of our neighborhood by the Blue Blood’s crew did not go over well. First off, we’ll start with this missive from a Dupont Street resident (as addressed to the Manager of Community Board 1, Gerald “Gerry” Esposito):

…It’s now Saturday about 12:15 a.m. From my fifth floor window, I’m listening to a film crew yell back and forth across the street. I see flood lights peeping through my curtains and I hear the cars speeding around the corner for a chase scene.  I can’t imagine what the folks on the ground floor are experiencing. My daughter-in-law and grandson attempted to go home from Dupont St. at about 12 a.m. They had a long trip and needed to catch their bus. They were prevented from catching their bus by the film crew. At this hour, the bus stops about every 30 minutes or more.  My daughter-in-law gave up and they slept over. My grandson is only a little boy. It’s lucky for the crew that I wasn’t downstairs when they were confronted, because I wouldn’t have taken a confrontation with my grandson present lightly. The entire avenue has been affected by this movie already. I lost count of how many streets are closed off. Allowing film crews to intrude on this neighborhood at late hours is over the top.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had enough.  There are way too many movies being filmed in the neighborhood. They are taking over massive amounts of space and extending hours until the early morning. What can be done about setting some limits on these film crews?  My first thought would be to organize folks to literally prevent the next crew from working. Any advise or direction you can offer would be greatly appreciated. The people here are truly being taken advantage of.

Meanwhile, over on Oak Street I received this (somewhat) uplifting missive:

Speaking of good PR, I had my car towed today because of a film shoot. There were no signs on the pole near the corner of Oak & Franklin. I called the site producer listed on the sign (NYPD hung up on me) and he bent over backwards to find my car for me. There aren’t tickets or fees when it’s a shoot, they towed me down past Vans & Pop’s. I appreciated that he made the effort & was super nice. I was just about to rant about the rampant filming down here lately.

And there is my personal testimony. Or as I prefer to call it: I wanted beer and got a car chase instead.

To preface:

  1. I understand folks want to film here.
  2. But after last night I have to wonder what, if any, consideration is being made by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting regarding mass transit and foot traffic when copious parts of my community are being used by film crews at one time. And a very BAD time at that, but I’ll go into that later.
  3. Here’s a list of where Blue Bloods was approved to film. (I have mapped locations which exist in reality):
    a. 50 Moultrie Street at Meserole Avenue
    b. Driving scenes from Clay Street to Meserole Avenue between Franklin Street and McGuiness (sic) Blvd (Manhattan Avenue or they just being given free run of Greenpoint? — Ed. Note)
    c. Manhattan Avenue between Green and Dupont Streets (Now this is beginning to make sense! —Ed. Note)
    d. Driving scenes on Huron Street between West Street and dead end.
  4. And here is the time frame our fair city allotted them to do this fun stuff: 1:00 pm – 5:00 am.
  5. Here’s the deal: north Greenpointers tend to rely on the B43 and B62 bus versus the G train. When this service is removed my fellow citizens have to walk. They cannot walk when there are minders (however polite most of them were) on every corner admonishing you there is a car chase being filmed. Repeatedly.
  6. For simple folk like myself, there are only two 24 hour delis above India Street. So when someone, say, needs eggs, produce, tampons, the occasional condom; and of course beer guess what: we’re fucked! We get to stand around and freeze our asses off while they do whatever they want to do— with police protection. Paid for with our tax dollars, no less.

Without further ado here’s some footage I shot along with commentary. Enjoy!

Green Street at Manhattan Avenue, 9:15 p.m.

Upon Purchasing Beer, I Have To Wait To Cross Manhattan Avenue.

I wait some more.

New York Shitty Analysis/observations:

1. Cordoning off Green Street at Manhattan Avenue is idiotic. Had anyone from our fair Mayor’s Office of Film and whatnot cared to undertake a study of this intersection he (or she) would have known this is a very bad idea: it is the street of choice for Taxis, livery cabs and who not/what not to access McGuinness Boulevard, the Pulaski Bridge and, after the lattermost; the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Anyone with a basic grasp of the grid of one way streets here would comprehend this. It is not rocket science. It should also be noted the aforementioned vehicular traffic is especially heavy on (surprise!) Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights!

2. The “minders”/Police shouting at residents like drill sergeants is a nice touch.

Shortly thereafter I was allowed to cross the street. Instead of merely going home I decided to stick around. I did not open my precious beer for fear I would be ticketed by the police. That’s when I learned…

I am not the only person inconvenienced for merely living here and purchasing beer!

New York Shitty Analysis/observations:

1. These folks were using the bike lanes— as they should.
2. Any man who can carry what appears to be a 18-24 pack of Budweiser while steering a bike successfully is pretty amazing.
3. When yelled at by the local constabulary, they walked with their bikes on the sidewalk. (I like to give credit to considerate bike people when the opportunity arises.)

And they do it again.

Conclusions/questions:

  1. Who does Greenpoint belong to? The people who live here or anyone with enough clout/money who elects to film here?
  2. Given the preponderance of filming facilities here I see this kind of thing getting worse, not better.
  3. If what came to pass last night bothers you, fellow north ‘Pointers, please share your feelings with Ms. Karen Oliver, the Commissioner of Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.

Our fair city has for all intents and purposes failed to deliver on any and all promises made regarding affordable housing and park space here. Yet, we get saddled with film shoots like what happened last night. Am I the only person who sees something wrong with this relationship?

UPDATE, July 31, 2011: It has come to my attention that this tome has come to the attention a Tumblr page dedicated to this television show. They called it a “NYC negative filming rant” but noted that “the videos are worth watching” because “they are from the scene where Jamie’s brakes get cut”. Obviously these folks do not “get it”— or simply do not care. I’m guessing a little bit of both.

Although this will undoubtedly be an exercise in futility I will say it again: filming a car chase at 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night along a busy thoroughfare (and in so doing obstructing vehicular traffic— including bus service) poses (posed) a serious quality of life issue for the people who reside in and around where this film shoot came to pass. Not only was there traffic congestion and noise from the film shoot itself to consider but also citizens essentially being held captive in their own community. E.g.; being forced to wait at the behest of “minders”— in weather that I will add was quite cold— while this car chase was filmed. Stuff such as this does not ingratiate one’s organization to the community. In fact, a great number of my neighbors have grown quite tired of the issues film shoots have posed in our community. If Bloodbloods actually gave something back in exchange for the inconveniences posed by this shoot perhaps we would feel differently. But this is not the case. The fact they find some sense of pride in the video footage a I have posted (and in so doing write about a character from said show like he is an actual person) bears testament to their sense of entitlement, narcissism and complete and total disconnect with the community(ies?) in which they film.

In this respect I have to applaud Jeff Brown of MTV’s “I Just Want My Pants Back”: he took the time to not only scout locations in Greenpoint thoroughly but also met with members of the community in the interest mitigating the impact his film shoots would have on the community. Thus far this partnership (yes, he has elected to work with my community instead of treating them with indifference or utter contempt) has in fact been successful! I am hopeful that perhaps Bluebloods will follow suit— but I am not holding my breath.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The 94th Community Council Meeting

That’s right folks: another month, another Community Council Meeting. Naturally I shot footage and am in the process of uploading it. How long this will take is anyone’s guess. In the meantime here are a few teasers/spoilers:

  1. The recent hate crime was brought up by a member of our local Community Board, Tom Burrows.
  2. Phyllis (a neighborhood and Community Council institution) was in particularly interesting form this evening.
  3. As is often the case, bicyclists and bikes were discussed. Those of you who are tired of seeing old, rusted out bike carcasses attached to street signs, fences, etc., do not despair: Hurson tells us how to get them removed!

They’re uploading. Albeit NOT in order.

Samuel Pierre From Mayor Bloomberg’s Office Speaks

D. I. Hurson gives a run-down of crime stats and opens the forum for questions.

GOOD NEWS

  • Crime is down by 22% for the month.
  • Crime is down for the year (?) by 14%
  • Burglaries, stolen cars (down 12%) and grand larceny (especially material stolen from cars— Hurson’s own wife made a “collar” on Calyer!) are down.

BAD NEWS

  • The matter of the hate crime which came to pass February 22, 2011. No arrests have been made.
  • A shooting on Jackson Street (NOT AVENUE near the “Cooper Projects”) Hurson then goes on to assure us that despite reports in the press, the staff at the 94th is at its usual level and opens the forum for questions. Community Board 1’s very own Tom Burrow’s kicks it off.

Q & A Session Continued: the matter of the Greenpoint Hotel is brought forth. Among other things.

Q & A Session Continued: The Subject of Graffiti Arises

Lincoln Restler Speaks About What Happened To Barie Shortell & Suggests A Group Be Created to Better Address North Brooklyn’s Growing GBLT Community

Ending: An(other) Announcement about the Town Hall Meeting regarding the latest proposal for a 200 bed assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard.

UPDATE, March 23, 2011: After numerous attempts it would appear that my footage of some really nice folks from the Greenpoint Youth Court is unusable. This is a shame since this is a really neat endeavor. For this reason I encourage you to check out their flier by clicking here. NOTE: they are recruiting and participants (between the ages of 14 and 18) receive a $100 stipend per month!

Miss Heather

Mark Your Calendars: Homeless Town Hall Meeting 2.0

March 15, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Another RFP for a 200 bed intake center, another Town Hall Meeting. Get your questions for Mr. Rosenblatt ready, Greenpointers!

Homeless Town Hall Meeting 2.0
April 5, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Polish National Home
261 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

Live From Community Board 1: D.O.G.G.O.Ne. Speaks

It should be noted that our Parks employee/”Parks advocate”, Stephanie Thayer, had signed up to speak at the end of the proceedings. However, when called to speak it was discerned she had left after the “Tennis Bubble” presentation.  This would lead one to believe that Ms. Thayer is not interested in what’s her public here has to say. I find this curious given when this OSA/Parks Department “partnership” was “pitched” to my community, Greenpoint, is was stated she would be as an “insider” within the Parks Department on the behalf of my community. To date she has been nothing more than a tool: for the Parks Department and monied interests to influence what does— and more importantly does not— get done in north Brooklyn.

I’m guessing when Bloomturd runs for a fourth term (and/or his follower wants to make nice) we will at long last get some wood chips and fencing for a dog run here. This seems to be how things roll in Greenpoint. Otherwise I’d like to advise Ms. Thayer that life— be it four-legged and otherwise— does exist outside of McCarren Park. And while she has been asking herself what our parks can do for her, we’ve been asking ourselves what has sheour ostensible public servant/”parks advocate”— done for us?

Answer: Nothing.

Miss Heather

From The Community Board 1 Meeting: More Ado About 400 McGuinness Boulevard

March 8, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

F*ck

I knew something was afoot when I noticed a (charming) retinue of McGuinness Boulevard old timers in the back of the room when I arrived at tonight’s board meeting. Sure enough, I was right: they had learned the owner of 400 McGuinness Boulevard sold the property and were understandably concerned. Per a cursory search on ACRIS, this would appear to be true.

Here is what I have learned from someone in the know: this property was sold to one Shimmie Horn. He has bought out the remaining tenants for a $100,000 a pop and they have since moved out. If the name “Horn” sounds familiar to those of you who have read the Village Voice over the years, it should: he is the son of one Morris Horn. After his father’s passing Shimmie inherited a number of his father’s holdings, among them Correction Services Corporation. Here’s some information about this organization I found from a site called New York Hall of Shame*:

The state’s Lobbying Commission fined a private prison company a record $300,000 today for failing to  report free transportation, meals and other gifts it had given to legislators in an effort to keep millions of dollars in state  contracts.  Reams of documents and depositions released by the commission as it announced the fine today painted a picture of a company,  Correctional Services Corporation, that did everything it could to curry favor with more than a dozen elected officials in Brooklyn and the Bronx as it won contracts to provide services to recently released prisoners. The $300,000 fine is the largest that the state has ever imposed on a single company for breaking its lobbying laws…

That’s right folks: now we’re looking at a halfway house for released Federal convicts. For those of you who are keeping track this would mean one halfway house, one three quarter house and the Greenpoint Hotel all in one city block . Never a dull moment in Greenpoint…

Miss Heather

P.S.: This matter has been brought to the attention of our city’s Public Advocate, Bill DeBlasio, by our Community Board’s Public Safety Chair Mieszko Kalita. Mr. DeBlasio said he would look into it. Otherwise I have some footage from last night’s rather lengthy meeting. It is currently uploading.

*Do give this material a read. Apparently Mario Cuomo received money from Correction Services Corporation. Among MANY other New York “public servants”.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Flags

March 6, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11206, 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

This item (which hails from Union Avenue) goes out to my buddy (and member of Community Board 1) Esteban Duran, who I had the pleasure of bumping into on North 6 Street yesterday afternoon. Being a good hostess (though the area in question is cross-jurisdictional; he being a South-sider and me being a Greenpointer), I made sure to provide ample entertainment. CASE IN POINT: the following exchange between yours truly and a 4-5 year girl. Child, pointing:

Mommy, why does that lady’s hair look like that?

Me (smiling to child, much to her mother’s embarrassment):

I pay a lot of money to have hair that looks like this.

Nice seeing you, Esteban. And if you ever find yourself in need of some very nice punchy red or bleach blond highlights just say the word and I’ll hook you up!

Miss Heather

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