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.

Quicklink: Queens Crap

February 18, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

queenscrapsc

You can (and should) read the rest here. On a (somewhat) related note, it would appear there is a tax lien on 51 Ash Street. This is of course the location of the “new and improved” boat house.

How/why does that sound familiar? Anyone?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now Presenting Our “New & Improved” Boathouse!

February 13, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Per an anonymous tipster this is it! Note the six story excrescence in the background. Click here and especially here and see this post-Modernist atrocity for yourselves. I for one found it interesting/odd that this was supposedly going to be located at Bushwick Inlet and the architect is different than the one listed as filing the plans 12/30/2013. Hmm…

UPDATE, 7:41 pm: A fellow named Will writes:

Your tipster has misled you. The boathouse renderings you posted are ten years old, part of a 2004 design competition focused on Bushwick Inlet.

So there have you. Perhaps those in a position to do so would, at long last, actually reveal the plans for this facility? You know, in the interest of transparency and serving the public?

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?

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 

pierson

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 

pierson

nobigtowers

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

greenpointisnotmidtown

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.

NYDNsc

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

This one’s for you!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Community Workshop Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street

Given the major implications these projects have for our community, I feel compelled to pass along this missive I received this morning from the folks at GWAPP.

emailblastANNO

 

At a casual glance this seems all well and good, yes? This brings me to the mailing address for GWAPP which I have highlighted— and not too secret fact known by quite a few Greenpointer: the mailing address for this organization is, in fact, that of the very attorney cum community activist who was hired by the Park Tower Group (whose endeavor Greenpoint Landing is) to advocate for the 2005 rezone in the first place.

From NY1 on April 4, 2005:

Here’s another corker courtesy of Amanda Burden.

It provides opportunities for new housing, including affordable housing for a range of incomes, while respecting the scale and mixed-use character that defines these vibrant neighborhoods.

Um, in the clarity that is 2013 hindsight, it did not exactly work out that way— but I digress. Now the New York Daily News on April 29, 2005:

NYDNsc

It also interesting to note this same-said fellow is a board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and the Park Tower Group was a “partner” at last year’s $150 a head fundraiser at the McCarren Park Pool.

bigsplash

 

Rather funny/sad/curious, isn’t it? In any case, any and all who are interested in attending this community forum can RSVP by clicking here.

Community Workshop Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street
June 27, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Visitors Center
329 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

UPDATE, 4:57 p.m.: Oh, I forgot to mention this oldie but goody, also from NY1. It dates from July 29, 2002:

NY17292002hilite

You can read the rest here.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Public Meeting Regarding Greenpoint Landing

shitshowThis comes courtesy of the folks at GWAPP. They write (in their monthly “newsletter”):

Last week, Community Board 1 (CB1) posted an agenda notice notifying residents of an upcoming public meeting on the Greenpoint Landing Project. The project, which will sit on 22 acres of Greenpoint waterfront, proposes ten residential buildings each reaching thirty to forty stories high. In order to begin development on this project, the developers must undergo the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Process) approval, which includes a period of public comment through our local Community Board. From CB1?s agenda posting:

Greenpoint Landing: Park Tower is proposing 4.2 million square feet of mixed-use development on a 22 acre waterfront site in Greenpoint. The City has been working with the developer on the plan, which includes the disposition of city-owned property. It is expected that the project will certify into ULURP summer 2013…

You can (and should read this rest by clicking here. Show up and speak up, Garden Spotters…

Community Board 1 Public Meeting Regarding The Greenpoint Landing Project
Monday, May 6, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
The McCarren Park Recreation Center
Brooklyn, New York 11222

 

New York Shitty Day Starter: Dedicated To A Colossal Greenpoint Badass

January 8, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

January 8th may be recollected by some as being Elvis Presley’s or David Bowie’s birthday, but to me it will be always be Irene Klementowicz Day.

You kick ass, Irene. What’s more, you inspire others (myself included) to kick ass. This post is dedicated to you. Happy Birthday!

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    All I Want Is EverythingSelling Nouget Candy Torrone at the Feast of San Gennaro Festival
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