LAST GASP: Withdrawn!

February 4, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Special thanks goes out to Sherry Wasserman who writes:

Per Joe Lentol’s Twitter update and Facebook page, which links to a document of withdrawal:

Holy Shit Tits, Batman! We did it!

for bringing this to my attention! We did it!!! Let this be yet another example that community action can and does work! In closing, I would like to give props to our Community Board, City Councilman, Steve Levin; State Senator Martin Malave Dilan; Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and my fellow Greenpointers for their hard work and due diligence fighting against this project.

Miss Heather

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Homeless Shelter Town Hall Meeting 2.0

January 29, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As promised by City Councilman Steve Levin, another Town Hall Meeting regarding the homeless assessment center slated to occupy 400 McGuinness Boulevard will come to pass February 8, 2011 at the Polish National Home. The more eagle-eyed among you have probably noticed that a representative from HELP USA will not be on hand to address our community’s concerns about how this facility will impact the quality of life or address the extant homeless problem in our fair burgh. Can I honestly say I am surprised by this? No, not really. Nonetheless, their silence speaks volumes.

Those of you who wish to help spread the word can download a printable jpeg of the above notice by clicking here. Otherwise, the Polish and Spanish version can be had by clicking here. To RSVP for this event please email Mr. Levin’s Community Liaison, Rami Metal, at rmetal (at) council (dot) nyc (dot) gov.

Town Hall Meeting 2.0
February 8, 2011 starting at 7:00 p.m.
Polish National Home (AKA: ” The Warsaw”)
261 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Photo Du Jour: McGuinness Boulevard

A few thoughts/observations about this missive (which I spied this afternoon while walking down the Champs-Élysées of north Brooklyn) and the person who created it:

  1. This chap is obviously very unhappy at the prospect of having a 200 bed homeless intake center for single men near his home.
  2. How do I know this, you ask? Well, in addition to the above missive I have met him at one of the Town Hall meetings regarding the aforementioned shelter.
  3. During our conversation I also learned he was responsible for this, which is just plain awesome.
  4. This gentleman is 75 maybe 80 years old if a day. In addition, I came away from the previously-mentioned conversation with the distinct impression his politics lean most decidedly to the right. Thus I am rather surprised— and in a very good way, I’ll add— that he knows what Village Voice is, much less be bothered to take a copy home to read or annotate.

I suppose it just goes to show that the Garden Spot— and the people contained therein— still have a few surprises up their respective sleeves! God bless you, Greenpoint Greenpernt!

Miss Heather

Notes From The 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Last night’s meeting was the most subdued— and brief— yours truly has ever beheld. Not even Phyllis had a word to say. This is a shame as I always enjoy hearing her take on what’s going on in our community. However, there were items of interest. To new a few:

  • D.I. Hudson did not have much to say about the Monitor Street shooting (as it is under investigation) but he did state that the victim (who is not expected to live) was acquainted with the shooter in some capacity. In other words: this was not a random incident.
  • The 94th Precinct has been allotted ten new officers.
  • Some interesting facts about truck traffic arose.
  • Steve Levin talks about the “three-quarter house” at the former Greenpoint Hotel and notes that the next Community Town Hall regarding the proposed homeless intake center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard is tentatively scheduled to take place the first week in February. It is his hope to have a representatives of HELP USA and the Department of Homeless Services present— so mark your calendars!
  • A number of attendees present were under the impression the former Greenpoint Hospital complex was no longer being employed as shelter space for homeless people. I personally dispelled them of this erroneous notion, as you will see/hear.

Without further ado here is the footage. Do take a moment to watch it— especially the segments when Mr. Levin speaks (the third and fourth videos).

NOTE: next month’s meeting of the Community Council will come to pass February 21st at 7:30 p.m.* It will be conducted in the basement of the Peter J. McGuinness Seniors Center (715 Leonard Street).

UPDATE, January 19, 2011: I have received word that the victim of the shooting at 211 Monitor Street has died. My sincerest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Miss Heather

*Right, Tom?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Voice Your Opposition to the Proposed Homeless Intake Center

January 12, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item comes courtesy of Ashley Thompson of City Councilman’s Steve Levin’s office. She writes:

Hi Heather,

I’m not sure if you received this yet, but this is the letter we’re asking people to sign. Our office will collect the letters and deliver them to DHS. We’re also working on Spanish and Polish translations and will get those out in the next few days.

You can download a print quality jpeg of this letter by clicking here. Signed letters can be returned to Mr. Levin’s office by any of the following three means:

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Town Hall Meeting, Part II

December 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It has been a slow process, but I have managed to upload all save the last three videos from last night’s Town Hall meeting regarding the proposed homeless intake center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard. Hopefully I should be able to get those uploaded by tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve uploaded!

Part VII: An attendee asks what we can do to get organized.

  • Mr. Levin recommends a demonstration at City Hall and reaching out to our local elected officials.

Part VIII: Ann Kansfield, the Pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church, speaks and admonishes attendees to look at the facts.

  • Fact: Greenpoint has one of the highest rates of alcoholism and mental illness in the city.

Part IX: Christine Holowacz and a Greenpoint home owner asks as to where the men this intake center will serve will come from.

  • Ms. Holowacz inquires as to what we can do about our needy.
  • This intake center will serve the entire city.
  • The clients for this center will be arrive via bus and the subway system (via train passes).
  • Last Thursday a man died of hypothermia at McCarren Park— and Mr. Levin explains why this should not have happened.

Part X: An attendee reemphasizes the need for information.

  • Mr. Levin passes along his web site, which he advises will contain all the information people will need regarding this proposed homeless shelter, how to contact their public officials, etc.

Part XI: A Kent Street resident speaks about the homeless problem on her block.

Part XII: A woman rebuts Pastor Ann’s statement, a question about zoning and a Greenpoint old timer speaks.

Part XIII: A continuation of the previous clip, a Clay Street resident and representative from Senator Dilan’s speak.

Part XIV: A resident voices her concern regarding this shelter being located adjacent to the Pulaski Bridge, another attendee states he has tried to contact HELP USA to no avail.

  • Mr. Levin provides the url for his WordPress blog (which can be found here).

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Town Hall Meeting Part I

I just back from the Town Hall meeting organized by Steve Levin and Senator Martin Malave Dilan. I will be uploading footage throughout the evening so check back in! In the meantime, I will leave you with this image (from the Polish Slavic Community Center) to contemplate.

So slowly— but surely— the footage is uploading!

Part I: Stephen Levin explains why this Town Hall meeting is being conducted and why neither the DHS nor HELP USA are present. Synopsis: This was intended to be a “community meeting” to form a strategy to fight said homeless shelter. (Curious given NY1 was present replete with a van and reporter.) Mr. Levin also touched upon the “fair share” issue and in so doing mentioned our waste water treatment facility. He stumbled a bit as to how much and whose shit we get. My answer— and mind you, this is a hobby for yours truly: a lot. As to whose poop we process. This following map (which can be found at the Visitor’s Center at the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Facility).

We get Wall Street’s shit. The Empire State Building (from whose observation deck which our most famous landmark is purported to be seen): their crap, is our crap! We also get the merde and vomitus from the East Village and Lower East Side. Be it from “uppity bohemians”, the “frat folks” they allegedly oppress or otherwise. All I’m saying is much of Santacon 2010 puke’s and piss found its way to my backyard. Simply put: we get a lot of shit.

  • Mr. Levin clarifies what an “assessment center” is. E.g.; homeless men will be bused in or travel here by subway, spend anywhere between two weeks or a month (so as to be “assessed”) before they dispatched elsewhere. As he put it: a big revolving door.
  • Mr. Levin talks about the homeless/unhoused problem here and why HELP USA’s shelter will not help our local homeless problem. In fact, it will exacerbate it.
  • Mr. Levin speaks about a proposal he made to the former head of the Department of Homeless Services regarding our homeless population.

Part II: Stephen Levin goes into the 3/4 house (as opposed to halfway house— I honestly didn’t know there was a difference) at Clay Street as being problematic in and if itself and continues to explain how the homeless shelter as proposed by HELP USA will not help our unhoused.

  • Levin mentions that he has met with residents of the Greenpoint Hotel/SRO 3/4 house— whatever you want to call it— and they have made it known their living conditions are appalling.
  • Steve Levin takes a hands-up vote as to who is for and who is against this shelter. I refused to film this— but I can attest not a single person present was for it.

Part III: Miezsko “The Coffee Man” Kalita (who is also the Public Safety Chair of Community Board 1) speaks and gives a recap of how Community Board 1 has tried to initiate a dialogue with HELP USA repeatedly and to no avail.

Part IV: Levin explains how the building in question, 400 McGuinness Boulevard, falls under the loft law.

Part V: Rent stabilization is an abomination— or this guy is very confused. I honestly cannot tell which.

Part VI: I am concluding this post with this clip because what this woman, who hails from Community Board 3— in Bedford Stuyvesant— has to say about their dealings with the Department of Homeless Services is illuminating. We should be very grateful she took the time to share her experience with us. Seriously.

  • Do not fool yourself; what happened in her neighborhood can happen in ours. What’s more, it looks like we will have a rather nasty fight ahead of us.

The rest the the footage from tonight’s meeting can be found here.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: Homeless Shelter Town Hall

December 10, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This (with one correction/clarification by yours truly) comes courtesy of Rami Metal, the Community Liaison for our City Councilman, Steve Levin. Rami writes:

Hi Heather.  I just sent out an email to folks about a Town Hall that we’re having on Monday night about the proposed Homeless Shelter.  Below is the text of that email.  I’ve also attached two fliers, one in English and one in polish as well as the letter that Councilman Levin wrote to Commissioner Diamond some weeks back.  Sorry that I didn’t get it to you sooner.  Please feel free to post this on the blog.


Dear Friends,

Please join Council Member Stephen Levin and Senator Martin Malave Dilan for a Town Hall Meeting this coming Monday to discuss the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) proposal to put a 200 bed men’s homeless shelter in Greenpoint.  The shelter would be located at 400 McGuinness Boulevard (SE corner of Clay and McGuinness) and would be run by Help USA. Council Member Levin has written to DHS (see attached letter) stating his objections to this proposal but DHS has indicated that it will continue to move forward with its plan.

Here’s the deal (as I see it):

  • Help USA has been hardly been forthcoming , much less cared to dialogue, with the very community who may be concerned— and rightfully so— about how their “intake center” for homeless single men will impact their community. This is not unusual; in fact, it seems to be their M.O.
  • That’s right, an intake center. In other words: not a homeless shelter per se, but a processing center. A rotating door.
  • Instead we had a representative of DHS tell us it might help our homeless problem. He himself said admission was voluntary and under our fair city’s current (and very Victorian strictures, I will add) this means one cannot drink if one wants shelter. I seriously doubt this will address our “homeless” problem. They will continue to select drinking over housing and more will die. On our streets.
  • For the above reasons I would like to see a total overhaul of how our “unhoused” are treated starting right here in Greenpoint.  By Bloomturd’s criteria many of the derelicts you see on the Garden Spot’s streets are not homeless— by virtue of the fact they have family here. Families which can no longer manage and are in no way qualified to deal with their loved ones’s problems. It’s an elegant way to fudge the numbers— but Bloomberg has proven himself to be very good at that kind of thing.
  • I would like to humbly suggest our fair city explore setting up a wet shelter . This has been done with success.

It comes down to this: If given the choice between drinking and a place to sleep at night chronic alcoholics tend to choose the first. Do you want our city/HELP USA to continue to preach morality (don’t drink and you’ll have a warm place to sleep tonight) and use it to justify placing a 200 bed intake center for single men as “addressing our problem”? Or do you want to get to the heart of our, Greenpoint’s, “homeless problem” and admit that the system we have in place is not working— and demand our city— DHS included— be held accountable? Here’s your opportunity to do just this.

December 13, 2010 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Polish Slavic Center
176 India Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Being against this shelter does not make you “anti-homeless”. Rather, it is I am against this homeless intake center and HELP USA’s refusal to be accountable to very community it will purportedly “help”.

If the petitions I created in Spanish and have collected are any indication, the rather large Hispanic community situated near this shelter— many of whom are recent immigrants— are against this shelter.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Did I mention Andrew Cuomo, our governor-elect, was a founding member of HELP USA? He is! As is his sister, Maria Cuomo Cole.

New York Shitty Photo Du Jour: Green Street

October 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken October 14, 2010.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Disambiguation About “The Petition”

October 8, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person I call CHAT writes:

I have found resistance to the petition because people are not sure whether they are signing against it or signing because they want more information.  I don’t have the answer.  I have contacted John Liu’s office and have received a call today from Jorge, who is I believe in charge of public relations.  He has told me that the comptroller only gets the contract after it goes through other agencies, in this case being the Department of Homeless Services.  He claims that they only yay or nay it depending on if it is legal and financially sound.  They are not a liaison for the community in this capacity. He said that while he is happy to answer questions and point people in the right direction to obtain info or to voice their concerns and that as far as his office is concerned this is non-existent because they do not have any contract in their office as of yet.  He suggested that I contact DHS, our councilman, assemblyman, and senator and also attend the community board meeting (while it is not obligatory for HELP USA to attend as they are not a city organization).  I emailed Seth Diamond at the DHS with my questions via this site.

To disambiguate:

  1. The petition is against the shelter.
  2. The notice I wrote emphasizes the fact HELP USA seems not to be interested in dialoging with our community. A community which has (as many have observed) a homeless problem. To put it country simple: how can a Representative of DHS, Department of Homeless Services, assure us that having a 200 bed homeless intake shelter will not effect our quality of life when even he does not have any specifics about it? How will our homeless problem— which let’s face facts— is quite unique in nature be addressed if HELP USA won’t come to the table and discuss it with they very people who are familiar with it? The answer is: it won’t be.
  3. HELP USA has been asked, no less than three times, to meet with the community where their shelter will located. And while it is HELP USA’s right to refuse, does this foster much faith if/when their shelter graces our community? It doesn’t.

For the above reasons I would advise anyone who wants an open dialogue with HELP USA (regardless of their stance on the shelter) to make it known! To them, our elected officials and Community Board. On a closing note, here is a notice about said shelter in Spanish. I created this because quite frankly I was very disturbed by the lack of awareness about this shelter in our local Latino community. They, above all others, will be impacted by this shelter more than anyone.

Miss Heather

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