From The York Shitty Inbox: No, Just HELL No….

June 20, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

Laura Hofmann, board member of the Newtown Creek Alliance, writes:

Here’s a few photos I took today at the Nature Walk (on the premises of a sewage treatment plant — ed. note).  didn’t get my camera out in enough time to catch the young man wading. But I did catch the young man throwing a stick out into the water for his dog to catch. People (and pets) aren’t swimming in the creek when they see agency boats around. But it is indeed happening as these photos show. Therefore, USEPA & NYSDOH and other involved agency documents and processes should be reflecting that this activity is happening. And in addition those agencies should raise the bar in terms of water quality expectations.

wheres levin NYSTo wit, T. Ellis Wilkins  (who reputedly maintains the NCA’s website) replies:

I also see a discrepancy in that the EPA survey boats (Anchor QEA) are out on the creek a lot – but almost exclusively M-F 8am to 4pm. But most people interact with the water on the weekends or after 5pm on weekdays – so they are not really seeing the full scope of use. With the boat club, for instance, many people who regularly paddle (right by the Anchor dock no less) may never see the surveyors out on the creek because of this, and vice versa.

So there have you. I can hardly wait to see what the “‘boat club” does at 51 Ash Street The Broadway Stages Boatyard tomorrow. Perhaps they’ll throw a keg or two into the creek to chill? Maybe someone will see Levin and ask him what he has to say about this?

UPDATE, June 22, 2014: For those of you who are wondering, the Nature Walk being being pressed into service as a dog run is not a new problem. I blogged about this phenomenon on May 5th, 2013.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Ado About The Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch

Thumbs UpNYS

Or: Ten Days & Counting!

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(Taken June 16, 2014.)

A tipster writes (on June 6th, 2014)

Hi Heather!

Thank you for your post about the Manhattan Ave Boat Launch. I actually attempted to make an online 311 complaint about it a day or two before your post. However, the 311 website did not accept the complaint since the launch is not listed. Today I attempted to make the same complaint via phone and was again unsuccessful. I ended up making an “agency complaint”. I’m sure many people give up long before this point.  I spent about 15 minutes attempting to make the online complaint and 40 minutes making the agency complaint via phone.  My agency complaint number is C1-1-977259887

It lists the following:

  • Parks Dept does not list the site as a park to enable 311 complaints
  • Broken waterfront railing
  • Broken railing surrounding grassy area
  • Wood chips have not been replaced
  • Grass dry and unkempt
  • Boats moored to kayak launch access gate
  • Dead trees
  • Trees with broken branches
  • Excessive weeds

I found the the first bullet point rather fascinating. The following, gentle readers, should clarify why.

QuestionNYS

 

AnswerNYS

Let’s review:

  1. Permits can be/have been issued for the use of this park.
  2. This would suggest that this piece of public space is in the “Parks” system.
  3. However, when a complaint is to be lodged it cannot be located. Fascinating.

wheres levin NYSI suppose the argument could be made that our local parks conservancy/partnership “arrangement” is more interested in the monetization of our public spaces (via the issuance of permits and hosting events such as the Northside Festival) than enforcement/”upkeep”. I would like to kindly counter that much-needed revenue is being lost by allowing these watercraft to moor for free. I wonder what our City Councilman’s position is on this? Anyone?

In any case I was recently advised to poke around online boating forums regarding free mooring at Newtown Creek. Today I did. It was rather illuminating.

Those of you who, say, struggle to pay rent, property taxes or bemoan the woeful condition of our public spaces— few as they are here— should take a moment, read and re-read the previous. Angry yet?

June 16 2014 6 NYS

You should be.

Trouble No More

“Playing by the rules” is for chumps.

P.S.: It would appear the North Brooklyn Boat Club is now the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse.

NYS DOS Division of CorporationsNYS

Still no listing on the New York State Charities Database. Hmm.

NYS state charities database

Nonetheless it is located on the premises of the “Broadway Stages Boat Yard“, is still “fiscally sponsored” by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and they’re having a party!

flyerNYS

 

Um, isn’t OSA’s job to help finance public parks?

danielbrugmannNYS

Flyer credits: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Dustin Brugmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: And Then There Were Two

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From Huntington to Greenpoint NYS

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As taken today, June 4th.  It would appear now we have two rather large vessels “parked” at the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch. They are neither kayaks nor are they being “launched”. As you can see gentle readers it would appear one watercraft is, how shall we say, “inhabited”?* Isn’t refreshing to see what precious public park space we have in north “Point being pressed into service in such a manner? Of course the “authorities” have their fair share of blame for allowing this to happen (and not repairing the fence for that matter). Straight up: if you can afford a boat such as either of these, you can afford to pay to have it moored legally. It really is that simple.

*Exactly why anyone would want to live where delights such as this

coneyislandwhitefish

are the commonplace is a mystery to me. Anyone?

Wednesday: GWAPP!

The nuance/”selective cognition” GWAPP— or at least certain members acting unilaterally therein*— employs to continue their charade of being a “grassroots” community organization continues to amuse and confound yours truly. Per Ms. Holowacz and Mr. Thompson organizing meetings requires work. Yet, since the whole “Greenpoint Boathouse” thing went down (which of course GWAPP, among others, “endorsed”) they have been quite active despite the shortfall of “helpers”/”worker bees”. Why is that?

I’ll be wearing this button at this meeting (while filming it), what about you? I for one really hope this lady (who speaks at 1:19) shows up.

She’s got my vote!

P.S.: North 9 street and Kent Avenue is not Greenpoint. DUH.

*…I am not a butler, maid, chauffeur, or Gigolo.

I am a personal “Life Coach” and will be treated in a professional manor. Our relationship will be close, but boundaries will be outlined before employment. Children and Pet Friendly. My requirements for employment: $10,000 USD per week plus travel expenses, and lodging. I take sunday afternoon off. Non Disclosure Agreement – No problem…

I motivate you to be a better person through etiquette, personal relationship development, skill and behavior modification and tact…

My apologies to David Lee Roth.

Live From The GWAPP Meeting*

Spoiler: the “vote” was eighteen for and seven against. What I found particularly intriguing is one person purporting to represent three different “member groups” of GWAPP (Barbara Vetell, a veritable “army of one”) was allowed to vote three times. That’s “democracy” Greenpoint-style, folks! It makes yours truly yearn for the “old school” methods of Tammany. E.g.; before election day, you grow a beard. You vote sporting said beard. You go home and shave it down to a mustache. Then, you vote again. Then you go home, shave your face entirely and vote a third time. In the clarity of hindsight (and this evening’s convocation), this is downright quaint— and dare I say “cute”— by comparison. It should also be noted that neither Steve Levin nor Joe Lentol (or their representatives) were present at this meeting. I stand corrected:

Part I:

Part II:

  • The matter of GWAPP’s finances are discussed. Pay careful attention to their anticipated funds. They include GERF grants (remember who is in charge of this, readers?)  and money from Councilman Levin.
  • Christine Holowacz announces that a lease is being procured for the Greenpoint Boathouse. Presumably this would be 51 Ash Street.
  • Barbara McGlamery touts that GWAPP’s website got 2,000 a hits a month as of November 2013 but has fallen since.

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:

  • Del Teague speaks against the new by laws.
  • Barbara Vetell speaks on the behalf of three organizations (and was rewarded accordingly by giving three votes regarding changing these by laws).
  •  At 5:38 you can watch Jens Rasmussen (who later voted on the behalf of the North Brooklyn Boat Club, an ostensible not-for-profit organization**).

Part VI:

  • Two words: WATCH THIS. (The lady who speaks starting at 1:19 kicks ass!)

Part VII:

  • Dewey interacts with a couple of fellow citizens while the “vote” is being conducted. The question being raised is over the addition of new member organizations. What follows is not pretty.

Part VIII:

Then the “transition “team” comes in: Rich Mazur, Barbara McGlamery (AKA: Mrs. Adam Perlmutter) and Trina McKeever will comprise the “selection committee” charged with picking members for a new board. That’s the bad news. The good news: they’ll have a(nother) public meeting later this month— and I have every intention of filming it. Thanks GWAPP 2.0! And oh yeah: those ostensible “member groups” who voted themselves out of a so-called “community organization”, in one case in triplicate, what are they going to get out of this?

UPDATE, March 6, 2014 2:52 p.m.: Looks likes the North Brooklyn Boat Club received not one, not two, but three “GERF” awards. My personal favorite is as follows:

I know. Shocking…

*Or: Darth Sidious manifests himself.

**The North Brooklyn Boat Club is registered with the New York State Attorney General’s Office Database of Corporations. The address listed is Dewey Thompson’s residence. However, as of 3/6/2014, the North Brooklyn Boat Club is NOT a registered charitable organization per the same-said Attorney General’s Charities Database:

Any/all donations to the North Brooklyn Boat Club are handled via Open Space Alliance. Of which Dewey is a Board member. Can you say eating your cake and keeping it too? At $150.00 a person and a two person minimum for a four hour workshop (which comes out to roughly $72.00 an hour) I cannot exactly say I do not understand Mr. Rasmussen’s “interest”. However, it is a conflict of interest. Some people have a problem with that kind of thing. What’s really interesting is the North Brooklyn Boat Clubs’s applications for Exxon Mobil money (“GERF”: which we have established is being handled by Rich Mazur— who will also be part of GWAPP’s “nominating committee”) money are via GWAPP. Once Again: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s “fundraising” is handled by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn. Guess what kids, Dewey Thompson is a chair on both GWAPP and OSA!

Hear me, Conflict if Interest Board? Steve Levin? Joe Lentol? Anyone?

UPDATE, 10:02 a.m.: I love the smell of spam in the morning!

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.

Quicklinks/From The New York Shitty Inbox: Smoke & Mirrors

February 5, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

QCSCsomethingstinksMany of you who read this site are undoubtedly aware that my post (dated January 29th, 2014) announcing the new location of the Greenpoint Boathouse (51 Ash Street versus the proposed and approved location at the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center) has precipitated quite a reaction online. Follows are a few of the latest— in chronological order:

Queens Crap’sSomething reeks at Newtown Creek (and it isn’t the water)!” was posted January 30th, 2014.

GWAPP (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning) saw fit to post a tome on January 31st, 2014.

The North Brooklyn Boat Club followed suit in an eerily similar fashion February 1st 2014.

And lastly A Walk in the Park tendered their two cents February 3rd, 2014. This can be read here.

The previous is probably (hopefully) “old news” to many of you, gentle readers— but it makes for an excellent introduction/segue to the content of this post. Read on: you will undoubtedly find it fascinating.

In the elapsing time since I shared the “good news” about this endeavor I have been asking myself a lot of questions. Foremost among them: exactly who comprises “GWAPP” nowadays? Perhaps we should first look at their member organizations? I was advised to do this by a tipster.

He/she wrote:

…In short, there may be 10-12 actual small organizations on that list.

This may very well be the case. But let’s review a few I have highlighted in yellow. FIRST UP: Greenpoint Property Owners Inc. This is their listing per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database.

No registered agent is listed. No worries. That’s when the Department of Buildings comes in handy! Here’s what I found looking up 173 Meserole Avenue:

Christine Holowacz.* Now let’s proceed to the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Here’s their registration per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database:

Once again, no registered agent is listed. But the address listed was helpful. Thanks ACRIS!

Now we have Dewey Thompson.

And to make three: the North Brooklyn Development Corporation. Here’s their listing per the New York Department of States Corporation’s Database:

As you can see there’s no registered address or agent for this corporation. So the Department of Buildings and ACRIS are not helpful. No worries: I know who the Executive Director is— because he loves to talk to reporters!

Alas, all I can offer (as a lowly blogger) is a handful of comments which (because I demand registration) appear to be authored by the “owner” of the email address for GWAPP: GWAPP (at) aol (dot) org:

The “author” is “RICHM”. Hmm.

Now let’s proceed to the present Board Members of GWAPP. Hang on folks— I am getting to something!

  • We have established that former/non-extant “member organizations” of GWAPP are still listed on their site.
  • Yet new “members” have been added. One example is Jen Aull of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. She is presently on GWAPP’s Board. So it is logical to presume some updating of this site is being conducted.

This brings me to the second tipster email I received. This person (whose anonymity I had to assure so as to get the “low down”) advised me to look at the by laws for GWAPP. They do not offer them on their web site— or much of anything in the way of information after 2005. But being the daughter of an accountant, whose father was also an accountant (it runs in the family), and a little help from a friend, I did find them! One need only look at this tax return, enter the “EIN” (11-3627884) here and hit enter!

Among the allegations this tipster made are:

  1. This person was not aware of what was happening regarding the “Boathouse “Project” until it was brought to his/her attention by a third party. Via my site.
  2. This same person was not advised of GWAPP’s “position”/”involvement” regarding The Greenpoint boathouse. Rather funny given this person is a GWAPP board member.
  3. “GWAPP” has not been compliant with its own by laws. For years. For example, they’re supposed to have quarterly meetings (open to the public) and board members are supposed to be voted upon each and every year. Do any of you, gentle readers, recall this happening? I do not. It is one thing to keep the “hoi polloi” in the dark about one’s activities— but GWAPP’s own board members as well? That’s rather shitty.

NOW let’s look at who is on the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Community Advisory Committee. The members who have the ability vote for a project to receive Exxon Mobil “settlement” money. Did I mention this “process” is being managed by the North Brooklyn Development Corporation? Well, I just did.

Note Gina Argento is on this panel. She was added last summer:

Other Business. CAP Recruitment. Filip Stabrowski, NBDC, announced the addition of four new CAP members: Gina Argento of Broadway Stages, Heidi Shea Springer of Greenpoint Gardens, Joanna Micek an Independent Consultant, and Ronald VanCooten of LaGuardia College. This brings the total number of voting CAP members to 15.

Don’t take my word for it: read it for yourself,

Now let’s consider a few things. First this. It comes from GWAPP’s very own web site:

So they fight against the processing of waste/garbage— IN GREENPOINT. Then why, may I ask, are they/the North Brooklyn Boat Club (hard to tell the difference) “partnering” with folks who were on the business end of a rather damning decision by the Business Integrity Commission on May 13, 2013? Among BIC’s fascinating findings were:

  1. Luna Stages (which was discerned to be owned by Tony, Gina and Angela Argento— mind you, they did not offer this information freely and openly) was operating as an illegal “trade waste” facility.
  2. Same-said folks owe six figures in Federal tax liens. (It was originally seven.)

So now our “community leaders” are going to entrust state money, the result of an environmental law suit/settlement, to folks who were found guilty by a coalition of agencies

of— ONCE AGAIN—  operating an illegal “trade waste” station— in GREENPOINT.

Am I missing something here?

P.S.: Happy belated birthday, Alice Cooper!

*whose daughter, Monica, apparently owns a company called “Lights on Brooklyn”. At least that was how she represented herself to me:

Campaign finance records and “local intelligence” say otherwise.

How can an office assistant afford a $4,000 campaign donation? “Lights on Brooklyn” wanted exposure. They just got it. For free.

UPDATE, February 8, 2014: Barge Park Pals/Friends of Newtown Creek Barge Park has since been removed as a member of GWAPP’s “member organizations”. Apparently the person “managing” that “blog” learned this through a “blog”. She closed her “acknowledgment” with (and I quote):

Have a good day.

Passive aggressive much?

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.

Greenpoint Audio/Visual Presentation Du Jour: The American Playground

Given that we are embarking upon a holiday weekend (celebrating our nation’s birthday, no less) I feel it is only fitting to showcase Greenpoint’s very own American Playground. Rutila wrote regarding the above image (which I posted June 20th):

There was a homeless man sleeping in the jungle gym this morning when jumping rope in one of the handball courts. He was coughing, and I wasn’t sure if he was sick or clearing his throat to let me know I was interrupting his sleep. Should I have apologized?

Oh, and one of the trees/bushes that flank the storage shed/bathroom was pulled — roots and all — from its planter and dragged to the middle of the basketball courts. I don’t see how this would be possible without a vehicle.

I have been keeping a careful watch over this park ever since.

It isn’t pretty.

But what I was most puzzled by was the womens bathroom’s “new arrangement”.

I have no idea why the Parks Department, in their infinite wisdom, would do something like this. And here’s why:

1. This bathroom is located at a playground. Children will invariably get dirty and need to wash their hands. Most of the children I have observed at this park are tended to by their mothers. Thus, they will need to use the womens bathroom. And if someone is using it they are shit out of luck.

2. This kind of open space (with added privacy) is an enabler for all manner and variety of criminal activity. Foremost in my mind is drugs, as heroin addicts seem to have taken a shine to this park.

And then of course, there is this.

A detergent bottle (Tide, methinks, this brings a whole new meaning to Tidy Bowl) being retrofitted for some hitherto unknown purpose.

Here’s a close-up of its contents. And on July 1st, dear readers, I finally got the wherewithal to flush said toilet and film it.

It appears to be collecting water from the faulty plumbing. Incoming or outgoing I do not know. What’s more, it’s not important. This is yet another (and exemplary) half-assed solution to the manifold problems our parks “comfort stations” face. On that note I have word via a tipster/leaked email that port-o-lets are one the way. Four to be precise:

  • One for Bushwick Inlet Park
  • One for Barge Park
  • Two for McCarren Park

In regards to the lattermost, here’s what one board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— not the Parks Department— had to say:

They’re portable so, if you or other parks users have strong feelings about their placement, they can probably be moved. Personally, I think it’s a good idea for the condo-dwellers on Bayard to fundraise for the park.

This statement is in regards to a Bayard Street resident calling 311 and complaining about public urination; getting a letter from Adrian Benepe advising him/her to talk to our Parks Administrator, Stephanie Thayer, only to be asked by Ms. Thayer if he/she would be interested in fundraising for more garbage cans and bathrooms in McCarren Park (via Open Space Alliance, which is Ms. Thayer’s other employer). Fundraising for amenities one would presume (hope) would have already been paid for via our tax dollars. But I suppose I am being old fashioned.

To recap: a 311 complaint seems to have been employed as a recruitment tool for a not-for-profit org which, theoretically, has nothing to do whatsoever with a public urination complaint. But I suppose that’s what happens when you have a public/private partnership which is out of touch with the very people it purportedly serves. Here’s my advice for anyone who has issues with our public parks:

  • Call 311. Repeatedly.
  • Document and send your complaints to our local Community Board.
  • Don’t bother with our local Parks people, copy the head honcho: Adrian (dot) Benepe (at) parks (dot) nyc (dot) gov
  • It criminal activity is involved, go the the 94th Precinct Community Council meetings and make D. I. Fulton aware of it.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If our Port-O-Potty point person at OSA is listening (because it’s become all too apparent this organization holds the purse strings, not our Parks Department), you might want to toss one WNYC Transmitter Park/”Playground’s” direction.

It’s very popular.

Albeit not by not children.

When I saw this gent walk away from a secluded part of this “playground” a few days later I decided to investigate.

Yup.

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