Next Week: Follow Up Town Hall Public Meeting

December 3, 2015 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

North Greenpoint Town Hall follow up nys

town hall nys

Via a tipster who clearly did not notice or elected to ignore the disclaimer/unenforceable legalese at the end of Ms. Bloodgood’s informative email.

Next Monday, December 7th at 6:00 pm, there will be a follow-up meeting regarding (citing the above-depicted email):

…regarding Northern Greenpoint. When we meet in September we heard from many of you about your complaints and concerns and we have been working hard, trying to bring the community together to address the issues presented. Since our last meeting we’ve met with the Precinct and the Department of Homeless Services as well as Homelife Services (the shelter operators at 66 Clay) and the Parks Department Security Patrol to continue to press for a safe and healthy Greenpoint Community.

Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here and also to continue to help those in need during difficult times we must work together as a community. So please join us on Monday evening at the Polish Slavic Center on Java Street to let us know how things have gone since we met a few months ago. How has the situation changed? Are things better? Are they worse? Are there any glaring omissions in what the response has been? Anything new we don’t know about?

To make sure everyone is aware of some steps that have been taken since we last met:

· the 94th precinct made a number of drug arrests in October

· DHS brought in their new security team

· Homelife Services has been working on its community building interactions

· Parks Department has stepped up their park patrols

All of this is good progress and we thank everyone that has been a part of those actions in this process. In order to continue to build on this progress, come out and join us next week; we need to continue to hear from you.

What: North Greenpoint Community Follow-Up Town Hall

When: Monday December 7th 6pm

Where: Polish Slavic Center 176 Java Street (downstairs)

Let me know if you have any questions or want to help contribute to the evening’s agenda. Please SHARE this notice, my list isn’t that big!

I did not attend September’s meeting. I had my reasons. Pretty damned good ones. However, instead of simply hitting “reply all” to my tipster’s via email, I felt know hitting “reply all” via this blog is a much better, or at least more efficient, use of my time. Here it goes. I have omitted the names of certain people because those people may not want to be named and/or associated with my person. Enjoy!

I second (excised #1): thanks (excised #2)!

A few thoughts:

1. I found the mention of drug arrests rather amusing. Here’s why. On November 6th at noon I got a bang trim at Hair, which is located on Manhattan Avenue between Green and Huron. While I was sitting in the chair (which is situated right in front), my hairdresser and I watched on as dudes conducted “business”/conferred right outside said window. It really does not get more “in your face” than that. She told me this had been going on since she opened that morning (~9:00 am). When I left I hit the Lorven Pharmacy a door or two down. The “ringleader” of this operation barked at one of his minions/henchmen (clients???) to meet him and I quote “at the hotel”. I took a photo of him. (Excised #2) has it. Anyway, this guy was really brazen. He “worked” this end of the neighborhood and I saw him ply his trade by the McDonalds. I have not seen him lately. Makes me wonder if he was “collared”. What about 177 Huron Street?

Google street view 177 Huron January 2013

It seems to be common knowledge this place is a hub of “activity”. Heroin. Look this building up on the Department of Buildings “Building Information System”. It is quite something.

177 Huron Street DOB BIS nys

2 “The drug situation” in general, some things I learned over my “baggie” project over the summer. Baggie Project: simply put, I canvassed Greenpoint, primarily its parks, and monitored/counted/collected drug baggies. This I did for ~6 weeks ending at/around 9/1/2015.

  • A slew of them were found at Transmitter. Once I found 20 in one canvass. I didn’t put it together until I brought this up with a friend of mine here. She’s a parent and as such takes her children to this park. She once had to take a baggie away from her son. He thought it was colorful/pretty and picked it up. She has found them on the premises of the playground. I have as well.ANYWAY, she also attended a lot of the children’s movie nights there over the summer and in this capacity noticed a number of younger, non-parents attending who elected partake of “substances” (smoking joints, who knows what else). I will put it this way: although my “study” was hardly “scientific”/”structured”, I DID find more baggies after they showed movies.
  • By far the worst, WORST place (in terms of numbers) is the skate park at McCarren. Methinks I found ~40 in one walk-through.
  • The area behind the pool is also bad.
  • I found baggies in the Abate Playground as well. Um, hell-O.
  • McGolrick is also abysmal, but is that really surprising? I’ll go into McGolrick later.

Anyway, what I am getting at is exactly who is being targeted in these drug arrests? I ask this question because it is pretty obvious to me that (at least on the “user” end) it is not just the usual suspects. I mean, really, isn’t the skate park intended for use by children? If so, why did I find so much “paraphernalia”?

Yes, I see they have stepped up park patrols here. I have actually seen this (here) with my own eyes. However, I am not so keen on/satisfied with this being treated/addressed on a “north Greenpoint” (versus, by implication, “south” Greenpoint) basis. The problems here are pretty much the same as they are there.

3. Drugs & McGolrick Park:

Like I said: it is bad. Is this surprising? No. Something I observed is most of the drug baggies and needles were to be found in the outlying areas. Areas which I am guessing are not in view of the security cameras installed at the pavilion. Think: mostly along Nassau, Driggs and Monitor Street. ESPECIALLY Monitor Street. I found a drug exchange hypodermic needle along the Nassau Avenue side within eye shot of the playground. I found a number of (what I learned to be) disposable needle tips along Driggs and just around the corner on Monitor. Right across the street from PS 110. That one netted me a trip to the emergency room because I picked it up and was pricked by it. This came to pass 8/26.

Was this an intelligent thing to do? Pick stuff up in a park? No. However:

  •  I saw and have seen a number of people run around with their dogs, let their kids wander around (and in so doing see a small piece of pink plastic not knowing it sported  a used needle), lay on the grass (SHUDDER),
  • The needle tip I was pricked by is designed for, but not necessarily always used for, the dispensation of insulin. Unless you knew what it was or (as I did) ended up researching and finding out, well…

Let’s just say it could have just as easily happened to someone else. Very easily. At least a used hypodermic needle (as cringe worthy as it is) is pretty easy to see, identify and therefore avoid. “Disposable needle tips” not so much.

disposable needle tip
Were these (I found four) used for illegal drug use? For insulin? Or did someone simply dump them there? Actually the thought of someone dumping medical waste in a park is what I find the most disturbing— and I am not so quick to rule that out. I have seen medical waste dumped hereabouts before (albeit on a derelict construction site, just off McCarren in “Williamsburg”).

Which brings me to…

4. “…Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here…”

I would suggest that one step, safety-wise, would be suspending “community/volunteer clean-ups” of public parks altogether. Inasmuch as our Parks Department, local parks conservancy group (they are more or less one and the same) and park-specific groups may want to cry “poor” and try to spin services which should be provided by the city into a “community building event” (FUN FOR ALL! BRING THE KIDS!) it is what it is. Forcing the community to do work which they are already entitled to (as citizens), not qualified to do and endangering said community in the process. That’s what (in my opinion) the McGolrick Park Alliance did when they hosted a community clean-up event not terribly long ago. They were made aware “sharps” were found there. (Excised #2) saw to that at my behest. I was not exactly in a “place” to take it up myself when I got home from the Emergency Room. Can you blame me? However, that evening I uploaded photos, made a map of where I found the needle/needle tips, uploaded and blasted them to friends. (Excised #2), of course, being one of them.

My emergency room bill came in at just shy of $15,000. Thankfully I am insured so my/our “co-pay” was a mere $50.00. I am not sure what the follow-up visits with a physician, blood tests (not a fun affair when needles and blood freak you out) and one full month of HIV retrovirals cost. The co-pays for the doctor visits were $30.00 each. I do not think I want to know. I recently found out, after about 2 1/2 months of waiting (and waiting is all you can do— you have to wait until two months after “exposure” for a conclusive test) that I am okay. No HIV, no Hepatitis C, no Tetanus, and, because it can be prevented “post-exposure”, via vaccinations, Hepatitis B. You get three rounds of shots for that one. My last will be in late February/early March 2016.

5. Closing thoughts

Some time ago I worked at a crime victims board, albeit in not in New York. Every state has a crime victim board/commission. Many are (in some part, sometimes mostly) funded by “VOCA” (the “Victims of Violent Crime Act”) or “VAWA” (Violence Against Women Act”). Their purpose is to (keeping it simple) pay for medical expenses accrued/ongoing as the result of being a victim of a violent crime for people who do not have any form of “insurance”. I saw a lot of rape cases and handled many a phone call from a “client” who had a collection agency hired to collect payment from (let’s face facts) her/her family because the agency I worked for did not pay the hospital/”care provider” in a timely fashion.

I am guessing, predicated on the previous life experience, if someone who was uninsured/under-insured hereabouts (I am guessing quite a few)  had undergone my experience (which was not at the behest of a violent crime, thankfully), he/she would end up having to sue the city for “negligence” and, in the interim/upon getting a “settlement”, field a lot of calls from collection agency. A whole lotta unnecessary grief/insult to injury. And that’s only if the person actually knew he/she was pricked by a used needle tip (as opposed to not knowing and later finding out he/she is sick and not knowing why/how).

We have serious problems here. Simply trouble-shooting one area and/or one group of people ain’t gonna fix it.

Get my drift?

taste the rainbowPart of me wants to attend this meeting and bring along a few “visual aids”: a jar with a few items (“sharps”) I found at McGolrick before I ended up getting “pricked” and a 6″ diameter snow globe filled with drug baggies (~180 total) “harvested”/”locally-sourced” from Greenpoint. Mostly from public parks.

However, I suspect my  “locally-sourced””objects” and what I have to say would be inappropriate.

*On the upshot, I did have some very big “takeaways” from my “scare”:

*It forced me to look at how even as a child (pretty damned far removed from the 1980’s AIDS epidemic) I was quietly inculcated/”educated” to think those with HIV/AIDS somehow “brought it upon themselves”. Something “shameful”. Not that I ever thought I was “that kind of person” (READ: bigot) who would preach to that effect on street corners. I wasn’t. However…

*sometimes the worst things you learn about yourself are the (most) insidious. Thought processes, thinking, you never really thought about. Until when faced with the possibility, however unlikely, that “you” may very well become one of “them”. In this respect I am very grateful to have had this “life lesson”.

*HIV and Hepatitis C are no longer death sentences. This is certainly progress, but it ain’t success/acceptable.

*Life can, does and will go on regardless of the results of one’s viral load tests.

H

This one goes out to Tim Murphy. His tome was the only one I wanted to read about Charlie Sheen “coming out” regarding his HIV infection. I read it while waiting to have my (hopefully last) viral load test. Otherwise, the doctor/”infectious disease specialist” I had during my “scare” was the best. I highly recommend him (although I hope I do not have to). Very caring and understanding. Above all when I told him that the “parks group” for the park wherein I was pricked elected to have a community/volunteer clean-up anyway, well, the look on his face was priceless. I should have taken a photo of it.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Tomorrow!

Party in ONE week...will you support our neighborhood? (PS it's

That’s right folks! tomorrow is “NAG’s” (“Neighbors Allied for Good Growth”, formerly known as “Neighbors Allied Against Garbage”) 20th Anniversary gala! As you can clearly read the subject line of the above email inquires:

…will you support our neighborhood…?

Yes, I will… by not attending this event and pointing out the following:

  • I find it interesting that the vast majority of points under “What Does NAG Do?” have, in fact, been done.
  • This would suggest to me that NAG doesn’t really have a clear mission nowadays. They should.
  • And of course I would be remiss if I did not point out that it strikes me as being a mite bit inconsistent for an organization which lauds itself for closing down an illegal waste handling station on Williamsburg’s waterfront to honor folks who were busted— last year— for operating an illegal waste trade business in Greenpoint.

Luna Lighting Inc Denial

But perhaps I am being nit-picky? Sort of makes one wonder what, if any, donations have been tendered to “NAG” from the Argentos lately. Anyone?

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Now I have received this!

$50 tix till midnight! gala fun times

Note how “NAG” has seen fit to excise the photo featured in their precious email. Perhaps it is because some of the people depicted therein objected? In any case, I think I’ll save the $50.00 I do not have to buy beer and/or more snow globe supplies…

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: And Now A Word From NAG

NAG email NYS

New York Shitty Analysis: Apparently getting busted for operating an illegal waste handling station in Greenpoint and lying to the Business Integrity Commission does not preclude one from receiving honors from “Neighbors Allied For Good Growth” (formerly known as Neighbors Against Garbage”).

You can’t make this stuff up, folks…

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Strange Days

March 23, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11201, 11211, 11249, DUMBO, DUMBO Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Taken by Scoboco.

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.

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.

And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

levinmailer1

 

In Brooklyn, our parks are our backyards…

ryansillegalgarden

Unless of course you are buddies with Mr. Levin. In which case you can privatize a piece of public space (READ: the sidewalk) on Metropolitan Avenue so as to create your personal front yard/urban oasis with impunity. Note the trellis affixed to the building proper and DEP barrier pressed into service re-purposed as a “gate”. Such trivialities as rules and regulations are for other people…

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Join Us!

Earlier today I noted the meeting regarding crime scheduled for this evening has been cancelled —and a public forum regarding crime has been organized by our city Councilman, Steve Levin, is scheduled for August 27th. Well, it has been brought to my attention the previous evening, August 26th, there will be a sunset “meet and greet” at 475 Kent Avenue, replete with cocktails, on the rooftop!

emailstring2

A few thoughts/observations:

  • This email blast (which was in turn forwarded to yours truly) was sent to someone who is not a resident of 475 Kent Avenue.
  • However he/she has attended Loft Law workshops publicized by NAG (Neighbors Allied For Good Growth).
  • NAG is a recipient of city funding for activities like Williamsburg Walks.
  • The tenant organizer for NAG also happens to be a member of Community Board 1— and she was appointed by Councilman Levin.
  • The NYC Loft Tenant Group is a city-wide group.  Are they conducting “meet and greets” for all city councilmembers up for reelection this year— or only Steve Levin?

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, Part III: What To Do About Illegal Hotels?

airbnb239banker1350amonthMore specifically: What do I do when I learn that a fellow tenant is renting out his/her apartment via Airbnb? E.g.; What recourse do I have when some drunken asshat breaks my front door lock at 2:00 a.m. in the morning or simply walks in and hands my husband his luggage?

A tipster writes:

Heather!

Illegal Hotels, formally known as transient occupancy units (TOU’s) are Class “A” residential units that have been converted for short-term stays of 30 days or less without adhering to the fire codes, tax laws, Certificates of Occupancy and zoning restrictions of hotel use. The illegal conversion of residential buildings into hotels presents serious problems for permanent residents, limits the supply of available housing – in particular, rent-regulated and low-income housing. By lacking the necessary fire-safety measures that legal hotels are required to have by law, which are more stringent than multiple dwelling buildings, TOU’s also present substantial safety hazards to permanent, legal residents as well as short-term guests; many are dangerous firetraps.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (“OSE”), headed by Kathleen McGee, pulls together the various enforcement agencies to go after TOUs when they are reported. I know people don’t believe it, but for this people need to file 311 Complaints, being sure to tell the operator that they want it to go to OSE. Kathleen has worked to get complaints that are incorrectly taken for HPD or DOB re-routed to her shop (and has been largely successful).

The District Manager or local elected officials can also forward complaints directly to Kathleen, and can even do so anonymously. It can be hard to get OSE out immediately, unless there is a present and imminent fire hazard, but they are very good at going out to problem locations (ie: repeated complaints or severe activity). They have been stepping up their enforcement recently.*

So far, there isn’t much proactive enforcement based off of sites like AirBnB, although with recent changes in the law, which raised the fines for landlords and allows tenants to be fined as well, some landlords have started to patrol the websites to catch tenants and proactively inform OSE.

*No shit.

active239banker622013hilighted

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