New York Shitty Videos Du Jour: And The Vote Is In!

September 9, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Greenpoint Landing

  • Note the Community Board 1 members who trickle in as the proceedings commence. Rabbi Neiderman is one of them.
  • One board member (whose name eludes me) asked about “density”. A very good question— one which was not answered in any meaningful fashion whatsoever.
  • Esteban Duran, Education and Youth chair, asks about the school which will be built. It will be pre-K – eighth grade, but it is ultimately the city’s call.
  • The motion is carried with 4 votes against and 1 abstention.

77 Commercial Street

In news of not the terribly surprising variety, the Community Board (at least the majority of the 37-ish members* who elected to show up) voted in favor of the Land Use Committee’s recommendations. This is not to suggest no one had anything to say. Estaban Duran certainly did. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he asked the question which was on the minds of a fair number of citizens in the room:

Why aren’t we rejecting it outright?

Ms. Teague’s answer was as follows:

I believe if we reject them outright the city will give them what they want.

Conclusion: As is usually the case, much was made about affordable housing. Let’s put it this way, gentle readers: the reason I film this stuff is 1, 2, 5, 10 years down the line folks can go back and watch it. Speaking for myself, I will be very, very interested to see who ends up administering said affordable housing. Especially that at 77 Commercial Street.

If I was a betting woman (and I am not) I’d place my money on Peoples’ Firehouse. As some of you might recall, they were among the neighborhood organizations of whom Ms. Teague mentions as attesting to the need for affordable housing (at the prior Land Use meeting, which can be viewed here). I suppose it is sad that I harbor this level of cynicism— but history lends my prognostication some credence. A great many of the community organizations here, while certainly founded for laudable reasons, seem use these proceedings not so much to reflect the sentiments/interests/needs of the community they represent. Rather, they are a means of getting a “cut” of the action. Thus time is spent debating how many angels can sit on the head of a pin instead of examining “the larger picture” in any meaningful fashion.

And that’s exactly how they want it.

*As opposed to the twenty who answered roll call at the beginning of the meeting. If my memory serves me correctly, this is a new low. For those of you who are wondering, Community Board 1 has 49 members. Yup, we have a chronic absenteeism problem. Perhaps this should be brought to the attention of the:

You can always leave it to good ol’ Community Board 1 for a healthy dose of Kafka— with an Orwell chaser.

P.S.: You can view the Oh-Es-Aye minute by clicking here. It would appear the monetization bubble for the McCarren Park Tennis Courts has been tabled until next year.

Quicklinks: More Coverage Regarding The Rally

September 5, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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Choice excerpt from the latter most:

…So, how can the 40-story towers in Greenpoint be stopped? The only way to reduce the height and density of the 2005 rezoning is rezone the rezoning. But that is a process that would be extremely difficult assuming that you had a sympathetic administration, and would take years of committed community activism to achieve. A “dezoning” would be fighting against billions of dollars of vested development rights and the entrenched interests of labor unions and affordable housing advocates. These are exactly the forces that came together to make the 2005 rezoning happen in the first place (and others–Domino, for instance). Certainly with the right mayor in office, a waterfront zoning redo is not completely out of the question, but even in that perfect-world scenario, it is a huge lift.

But then there is the question of time. In this best-case scenario, going through the environmental reviews and public review process for such an action would take at least two to three years. More likely, it will be a years-long fight to get to that two- to three-year process. Meanwhile, Greenpoint and Williamsburg will continue to develop, and the community will continue to suffer from growing pains (and, while the 40-story towers make nice lightning rods, the bulk of the density impact of development comes on the 150 or so blocks that are not on the waterfront).

Another idea that has been floated is to challenge the 2005 rezoning using Article 78 of the civil code. Article 78 petitions allow people to challenge administrative decisions made by government agencies–in effect to argue that an agency either exceeded its procedural bounds or refused to act when it should have. But Article 78 is not going to stop towers from coming to the Greenpoint waterfront for the simple fact that the statue of limitations for such petitions ran out almost 8 years ago (7 years and 359 days, but who’s counting?). Even if such a challenge could be mounted, it would be expensive ($100,000 or more), and would be at best, a delaying tactic.

As groups and individuals, we (emphasis mine — Ed. Note) worked very hard (and largely in vain) to get the 2005 rezoning right-sized, and worked very hard (and largely in vain) to get the even-bigger 2010 Domino rezoning right-sized. Those experiences–and many others–have taught us a lot about the land-use process, and why we take a pragmatic (emphasis mine — Ed. Note) approach to the idea of undoing the 2005 zoning…

New York Shitty Analysis:

  • Exactly who/what constitutes “we”?
  • Exactly what constitutes “pragmatic”? I really want to know…

Greenpoint Photos & Videos Du Jour: Live From The Rally At Barge Park

September 4, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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nobigtowers

This handsome fellow was one of the many citizens who attended this evening’s convocation.

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Not only am I pleased to announce that the turn out was great, but the community feedback was even better (and totally Greenpoint— which is not, as one attendee noted, “Midtown”). Without further ado, here we go!

Part I: Introduction

  • Starting at 6:36: This. MAN. RULES.

Part II

Part III

  • Piquant observation regarding the G train (present and future): “This is not Sim City.”

Part IV

Part V (The Conclusion)

Those of you who wish to join the effort, should point and click your way to Save Greenpoint’s web site and sign up for their mailing list. In closing, I want to thank everyone who came out this evening— even those who did not speak out. Especially Adam Perlmutter, Esquire.

videoscreencapPerlmutter

You see gentle readers, not only was he the “community advocate” who fought the TGE power plant…

but he also happened to be under the hire of George Klein (the fellow behind Greenpoint Landing) to state his case for the 2005 Rezone. The latter is, when you really think about it, why this rally was conducted in the first place.

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(From the April 29, 2005 edition of the New York Daily News)

This one’s for you!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Raisin’ The Roof

September 3, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

roofistoodamnedhigh

Although I have already given this rally a mention, I simply had to share this email blast for its immensely awesome tag line!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Rally/Press Release At Barge Park

September 2, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

pressreleaseNYS

Two words: Be there!


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Live From This Evening’s ULURP Meeting

August 27, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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so there

PROVEITnys@

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All things considered this evening’s proceedings were quite well attended. I write “All things considered” because, once again, this meeting conflicted with another one pertaining to the subject of crime. In any case, I am pleased to announce (SPOILER ALERT):

  1. 77 Commercial has dispensed with the “poor door”.
  2. Ms. Meyer, the lady charged with representing Greenpoint Landing, assured us those who live in their affordable housing units will have (and I quote) “free access” to the parks developed on said parcels. Um, I thought that was kind of the point of having public parks? But I digress.

Without further ado here are tonight’s proceedings. Enjoy!

  • 0:54 – 1:28 watch it. And REwatch it. I did. Here’s an instant replay— albeit of the “I am tired and am in no mood for annotating this sh*t” variety.

Listening to this the first time was bad enough. Hence a Hello Kitty* post-it note and my hand will have to suffice. To my credit, I refrained from using my middle finger

  • Jack Hammer the Director of Planning at HPD (Housing Preservation and Development) speaks. I am not kidding. His name really is Jack Hammer.
  • “Mayoral Process”: one of the two ton gorillas** in the room, it was not mentioned (after all the public was not allowed to comment) but it was certainly there nonetheless. The reason this is being expedited— and Community Board 1 has never been this “active” during their summer break in my recollection— is so it will fly through before Bloomturd leaves office.

  • So was the dude sitting next to me from the Department of City Planning or not?
  • At 4:48 Del Teague, ULURP Chair, makes it clear she is NOT taking questions from “the public”.

The “vote” and next up, 77 Commercial Street…

This fellow represents via Greenberg Traurig LLP. In other words: he’s a lobbyist for “Clipper Equities”.

  • At 3:18 he, on the behalf of 77 Commercial Street, dispenses with the “poor door”.

  • Apparently the City of New York can only sell air rights from 65 Commercial Street to adjacent properties– and 77 Commercial was the only one to make a bid. So they got it.

Congratulations, Greenpoint! We’re getting more park space and it will even be available to residents of affordable housing! What’s more, we may very well have landed us a(nother) slumlord. Run a Google search of David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit, the fellows behind 77 Commercial Street. This and this are my personal favorites.

I skipped out before the “school” presentation (at the end). But then again Del Teague, ULURP Chair, almost forgot about it too…

Cheers!

Post Script: I would encourage each and every one of you, gentle readers, to familiarize yourselves with the Sunshine Laws. Especially as they pertain to “Open Meetings”. In this respect let’s just say our local Community Board seems to be a mite bit inconsistent in its application

*Hello Kitty neither endorses nor takes a position on this community matter. I simply felt lazy and the need to be a jackass. It happens.

**The other being “infrastructural” stress: policing. The fact of the matter is the 94th is presently under-staffed to protect and serve this community. It has never overcome the wave of “attrition”/”retirements” that came to pass several years ago. So, I ask:

How is the 94th Precinct going to handle the influx of new residents from Greenpoint Landing, 77 Commercial Street and all the Greenpoint Condo Corridor?

Given the current path we’re on they cannot. Plain and simple. It was noted in 94th Precinct Community Council meetings long before this “Crime Wave” that block watchers and neighborhood watch groups should be (re)implemented. They were not.

But what irritates the fuck out of me is the fact this is the second time a meeting/forum regarding “crime” has conflicted with a ULURP meeting regarding the development on Greenpoint’s waterfront. So we have to choose. Is Community Board 1 really that inept/out of touch?

Quicklink: From The Greenpoint Gazette

August 17, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

GGsc

Interesting quote/teaser:

Land Use committee chair Del Teague questioned the allocation of affordable housing units. At the highest bracket, 25% of the units would be available only to those Greenpoint residents whose income equals 120% of the average median income for the area. For a two-bedroom unit this translates to $66,000 – $103,000. She questions whether a greater percentage of the units can be allocated to residents at lower income levels.

Teague said later that Greenpoint has suffered a “horrific displacement of people who cannot afford to stay.” She says the income median, “is skewed because of gentrification,” and worries that the standards for awarding the affordable units may not be “meaningful.”

wnycsc

As I pointed out in this post, the median household income at Green Street and Manhattan Avenue per the 2010 Census is $56,690. Thus at 120 AMI a great many people hereabouts would not qualify for these units because they simply do not have a high enough income. Doesn’t sound very “affordable” to me. You can read the Gazette’s tome in its entirety by clicking here.

Quicklink: Bedford + Bowery

August 15, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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As promised, here’s Bedford + Bowery’s take on this week’s ULURP meeting regarding Greenpoint Landing.

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: From This Evening’s ULURP Meeting

pacman

Ah, kids nowadays…

georgeklein

George Klein, the man behind the monoliths, was present.

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One fashionably dressed lady brought a sign.

shockandawe

I call this photo “shock and awe”.

POA

This is the break-down of affordable housing units which will come into play if the parcel in question is sold to the Park Tower Group.

A few thoughts/observations:

1. If I had to liken this convocation to anything, it was a white sale of shouting and profanity. Greenpointers are angry about a manifold number of issues here— and this was certainly made clear this evening.

2. It was one which neither Chris Olechowski (Chair of Community Board 1) or Del Teague (who is the new ULURP/Land Use chair of Community Board 1) could seemingly control.

3. One may not have liked the public’s “delivery”— but many salient points were made between the f-bombs. Here’s a few I found compelling:

  • The AMI being used does not accurately reflect the reality of the incomes in Greenpoint presently (which is substantially lower).
  • As you can see from the latter-most photo, half of the segment discussed during this evening’s meeting’s affordable housing units will be studios and one bedrooms. The other will half will be two bedrooms. As was pointed out by Lisa Bamonte and Rob Solano, this is not a “family friendly” break-down. Or as I put it (quietly, to Ms. Bamonte): “What happens when someone who lives in one of these studios or one bedrooms gets married and starts a family? Offering 50% studios and one bedrooms is the formula for a transient population. After they marry and have children they’ll probably have to move. We should be ensuring that people who move here, get married and have children can stay here.” At the way the rents are here presently, I can assure you this is not happening. However, it should be noted that the Park Tower Group would undoubtedly benefit, monetarily, from this arrangement. More turn-over = more money. And I can assure you, gentle readers, that is what this is all about.
  • One teaser the attorney speaking and fielding questions on Greenpoint Landing’s behalf (while Mr. Klein watched on) threw out was a dog run on Clay Street. Well, that would certainly explain why we have had no action whatsoever on this matter— for years. But let’s get back to the affordable housing…
  • Basically it would be the same kind of arrangement the Edge has. E.g.; a “segregated” complex of smaller (and uglier) buildings placed inland. One would grace the site our sludge tanks inhabits presently. Unless I am wrong, this is brownfield.
  • A question was raised— but not answered— about how/why this project is relying upon an Environmental Impact Statement that dates from 2005. I think we can all agree that a LOT has changed here in the last eight years.
  • A number of questions were raised about the stress on “infrastructure” this development (in its entirety) will present. Think: sanitation pick-up, sewage, and of course transportation. In regards to the latter-most, Mr. Klein’s attorney note the new bus line which will service the waterfront hereabouts— and that they are considering having a shuttle bus so the residents therein can be dropped off at the Vernon-Jackson stop of the 7 train in Long Island City. The latter was met with cynical laughter from the audience.
  • And of course the school which they propose to build was also brought to the table.* The response to this was (more or less) the same as the one to the shuttle bus to Vernon-Jackson.
  • One question unasked— one which I have been wondering about a lot: “Exactly HOW is all this construction material— and it is gonna be a LOT— going to be delivered to this site? I am guessing by trucks. LOTS of trucks. This is something residents of West Street, Franklin Street and even McGuinness Boulevard or Manhattan Avenue might want to think about.

Inasmuch as the Park Tower Group might like to put window dressing on this parcel of their “project”, the reality is they’re not doing us a favor.  Quite to the contrary: they are throwing us crumbs. Like I said:

It’s all about the money…

I will link to news items about this meeting as I find them. Regrettably, I did not shoot video. If I had Iwould have caught this gem (directed at Chris Olechowski and pertaining to the dearth of Greenpoint residents on Community Board 1— HIGHLY summarized/paraphrased):

What if someone wrote a blog called “I Hate New York Shitty”? Then I bet they’d get appointed!**

If my memory serves me correctly, Mr. Olechowski (who it should be noted, lives in Greenpoint— not terribly far from this development) did not have a snappy retort to this. Then again, he rarely has one in any situation so I am not reading too much into it. However, I will note that at least one north ‘Point citizen did apply to get on Community Board 1— so it is not for wont of interest. Despite ceasing to apply he still got (gets?) rejection letters from Marty Markowitz stating there were no seats open. You can see one such letter here.

*At which point I left. However, I do feel compelled to point out that those who signed up to speak were allotted two minutes. This contradicts Community Board 1’s By-Laws. Not that anyone seems terribly keen on enforcing them.

chairmanchrisNYS

(Chairman Chris before this meeting commenced.)

**One can only hope this finds its way into the meeting minutes diligently reported by Marie! These will, must be posted on Community Board 1’s web site. Sunshine Laws. Learn ’em, live ’em, love ’em!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: ULURP Hearing Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street

August 9, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

CB1sc

 

For those of you who are not in the know next Tuesday, August 13th, a ULURP (Land Use Committee) meeting will come to pass at Automotive High School regarding Greenpoint Landing. GWAPP has pretty good, easily understandable synopsis of the progress of this endeavor. Please give it a read, show up and speak up!

ULURP Hearing Regarding Greenpoint Landing
August 13, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Automotive High School
50 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Closing on a related note…

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  •  The following Tuesday, also at the Automotive High School, there will be a public hearing regarding 77 Commercial Street.

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  • The following evening, August 21, 2013, we have not only a meeting of the Executive Committee of Community Board 1, but also the “Battle of the Stephens”

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It is proving to be a lively August in the Garden Spot, folks…

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