LAST GASP: Withdrawn!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:

http://twitter.com/assemblymanjoe/status/33642499717210113

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

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Community Meeting Regarding Construction On Monitor Street & Nassau Avenue

It was a full house at tonight’s community meeting— and man, oh Manischewitz what a meeting it was! Naturally I captured the fireworks on video. I’ve cracked open a bottle of wine (it’s much more fun— if less expedient— than aspirin) and have commenced uploading footage. I will be adding it to this post as it successfully uploads— so check back! Teaser: Joe Lentol beating on the table to get the rather angry audience to quiet down and quit shouting. Enjoy!

Introduction by State Representative Joseph Lentol

Part II: Senator Dilan Introduces himself and a Representative of the DDC, Nitan Patel, speaks

  • Mr. Patel explains “Encroachment Notices”* and states that moving forward our elected officials will be notified of said notices.
  • He explains the role of the CCL: Community Construction Liaison.
  • Per Mr. Patel this is a “Federal Highway Project”.
  • Members of the audience are not impressed.

PART III: Mr. Patel rebuts angry Monitor Street residents and explains the surveying process.

  • Mr. Patel explains the ADA requirement and “room for flexibility”.
  • An audience member takes him to task.
  • Per Mr. Patel “We’re working around the stoops and some of the cellar doors— they’re coming out too.”
  • More dialogue about stoops and fences; and Mr. Patel states he has “walked the job”.
  • Why Monitor Street? Why not Kingsland Avenue? (This becomes the rallying cry as the meeting goes on— Ed. Note.)
  • Steve Levin warms up the audience with an informal survey.

Part IV: The Reckoning (Read: Do not F*ck with Monitor Street)

  • Senator Dilan and Mr. Patel go toe to toe regarding the role of contractors in this project.
  • Steve Levin explains why he was late; how this process will impact this community and points out the obvious: why is this “encroachment” a matter now.
  • A Monitor Street resident/expert points out that sewers were replaced 27 years ago. Among other things. (Ed. Note: I love this guy.)
  • The matter of Monitor Street between Greenpoint and Norman Avenue is brought up: it comes to light that this parcel is private.
  • MSR (Monitor Street Resident) keeps hammering away and Mr. Patel gives a visual as to what the fifteen foot curb means.

PART V: Assemblyman Joe beats the table & Steve Levin implores people to raise their hands and speak one at a time.

  • Assemblyman Joseph Lentol points out that Monitor Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Norman Avenue has been de-mapped (READ: not owned by the city) and suggests said stimulus money be used by the city to buy it back and make necessary repairs. This was greeted with much applause.
  • 50th District Female Democratic Leader, Linda Minucci, inquires of Mr. Patel as to whether the aforementioned stretch of Monitor Street was in the initial proposal. He says it was— but since it is not owned by the city they cannot work on it.
  • Mr. Patel shifts the blame to the Department of Transportation.
  • A Greenpoint resident inquires as to how the 11′ 9″ requirements for sidewalks on Nassau Avenue will apply to her mother’s house because it will cut off her stoop. Jeers and dark laughter from the peanut gallery follow. Mr. Patel assures everyone this will be handled on a “case by case” basis.
  • Another DDC representative steps forward and explains the “Encroachment letters”.

PART VI

  • The second DDC Representative continues explaining the “Encroachment letters” and acknowledges that it was not drafted property and distributed to our elected officials.
  • Karen Nieves, the Community Board 1 Transportation Chair, asks why this was not brought to their (her) attention, bemoans the lack of “transparency” and asks for a time-line for this project.
  • A discussion about sewers follows.

Part VII

  • A question about site inspections is raised. Mr. Patel beings up ADA requirements.
  • City Councilman Steve Levin asks Mr. Patel about curb cuts and the fifteen feet requirement. (Ed. Note: the body language in this segment is priceless.)
  • Monitor Street’s expert speaks once again. And Steve Levin once again implores the crowd to speak one at a time.
  • Mr. Patel reiterates that the DDC takes orders from the Department of Transportation.
  • A question is raised about Community Board 1’s role in this project.
  • A complaint is raised about the appropriateness of this project given budget cuts.
  • Taylor of the Brooklyn Kitchen/Meat Hook (and creator of the moniker “Shit Tits”) speaks.

Part VIII

  • Annoying ring tone.
  • A question about getting a stop light is raised. Hilarity ensues.
  • At this point the audience is rather subdued.
  • A fellow Greenpointer asks who will benefit from this project. Mr. Patel assures her she will be happy after the project is done.

Part IX

  • An amusing anecdote about Jewel Street’s street sign is shared.
  • The “Lady in white” finally speaks.
  • State Senator Dilan speaks, Linda Minucci texts.
  • A tentative time-table for this project has been established: April 2011.

Conclusion

  • Senator Dilan and his fellow electeds concur that another meeting with a representative from the Department of Transportation is in order.

Until next time, Greenpointers!

Miss Heather

P.S.: The woman in the pink sweater is Linda Minucci. I recognized her as  the woman “on the flier”. And later as the 50th District Female Democratic Leader. I have lived in Greenpoint for 11 years, attended various and sundry community meetings and have never— ever— seen hide nor hair of this woman until last night. Maybe I’m dotty or when there’s a genuine Greenpoint Auto de fé in effect everyone joins in the fun.

*You can view the printed material available at this meeting— including the contentious “Encroachment Notice”— by clicking here.

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

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

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: Calyer is Clogged

December 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If my inbox is any indication this would appear to be the winter of Greenpoint’s discontent. I can only hope to keep up. Nonetheless, here’s my third (and not final installment from the New York Shitty inbox wailing wall. JBG writes (regarding the above photograph):

I live on the corner of Calyer and Franklin Streets in Greenpoint. While Calyer is not an arterial, and is also not a truck route, the truth is that it plays a very important role, as it’s the first turn off from Franklin St. that connects northbound vehicles with McGuinness Blvd. There is a stalled vehicle in the middle of Calyer St., just north of Dobbin St.  No one has attended to this stuck vehicle. The plow came up Calyer St. but couldn’t get all the way through because of the vehicle. Clearly, they backed out of the street. The street from in front of the vehicle all the way up to Manhattan Ave. is also still unplowed.

I am watching vehicle after vehicle make a turn onto Calyer St., see that it is blocked, and then backing out onto the very busy and not adequately plowed Franklin St. because they realize they can’t get through Calyer St., and they also can’t turn right at Dobbin St., because that road is completely unplowed.

The one-way system in Greenpoint effectively is now shuttling everyone up Greenpoint Avenue. This, combined with the fact that Franklin St. isn’t adequately plowed, is causing traffic backups. It’s only a matter of time until there’s a terrible accident; I already watched an ambulance and a squad car back down Calyer last night because they couldn’t get through.

This street is also a critical passage way to the 94th Precinct and to the Post Office over on Meserole.

I tried calling 311 but they will not take the complaint (if you can even get through, which you can’t any more). The Mayor is on TV right now touting how many stalled cars have been removed (HAHAHA! — Ed. Note.), but yet somehow this one is being overlooked. Could you have someone look into this as soon as possible? I don’t understand how this hasn’t been attended to given the proximity of the 94th precinct, the presence of DOT this morning in the area, and repeated police cars backing down Calyer.

You can read what our City Councilman has to say per Brooklyn Heights Blog. Given that many of the snow plows that are used to clear streets hereabouts are located under the Pulaski Bridge at Clay Street*— and that I am a Greenpointer— I find the negligence here particularly inexcusable.

UPDATE, December 29, 2010: I am pleased to report this story has a happy ending! You can read it by clicking here.

Miss Heather

*A mere 15 feet away from our proposed 200 bed homeless intake center.

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

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Information/Resources Regarding 400 McGuinness

October 5, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Although I have added this information to this post, I feel behooved to post it once again here. Elizabeth writes:

Thank you again for all of the information you have sent readers about the homeless shelter at 400 McGuinness Blvd in Greenpoint.

I called Councilman Levin’s office to voice my concerns about this 200-bed facility. I spoke to Rami Metal who said the councilman has concerns about the shelter as well.

Rami suggested I call Comptroller John Liu’s office to voice my opposition to the new shelter and ask that Liu not give final approval to the shelter. Rami said very few RFPs get nixed but calls from residents might help.

Here is the number folks can call to voice their concerns in case you want to pass this on to your readers:
Comptroller John Liu
Community Action Center
212-669-3916 phone

Next week Councilman Levin is taking a tour of another homeless shelter run by Help USA in Brooklyn. His office will send out information about what the councilman learned about the group and its operations. If readers want to be on the email list, they can email rmetal (at) council (dot) nyc (dot) gov.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Greenpoint Resident/Landlord Speaks

October 1, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A gentleman named John writes:

As you know there is a proposal in from HELP USA. They want to create what they call a men’s shelter or transitional housing. I have been in the neighborhood for close to 40 years. I can remember when the prostitutes and drug dealers ruled that area. Now it (is) finally clean and we are going to have 200 plus men roaming the area. If you can remember the old Greenpoint hospital. The crime you can’t even imagine ask anyone who lived near or around it. This will no doubt be the same situation. I have tenants in the neighborhood. They threaten to move and I don’t blame them. We need help but not from this organization. Can you please comment and give us some help?

Where do I begin? I have pretty much said my piece on the matter. But to summarize (once again): first and foremost I am bothered by the fact this organization has been asked no less than three times by our local Community Board to meet with the public and discuss their proposed shelter. Each and every time HELP USA has declined. This strikes me as being anything but demonstration of good faith on their part. In addition, it denotes a certain level of arrogance and makes me wonder exactly how responsive this organization is going to be if (or I fear: when) this shelter commences operation and issues (invariably) arise. Given their silence thus far I’d say the outlook isn’t looking very encouraging.

As I have (also) mentioned, a petition is being circulated to demonstrate our community’s opposition to this project. You can download a printable copy of this document by clicking here. After noting there were virtually no Latinos whatsoever at Monday’s hearing (and taking into account that the area where this shelter will be located has a rather substantial Hispanic community) I have taken the liberty of creating a similar such document in Spanish.* You can download this by clicking here.

Lastly, I would advise John (and anyone else who opposes this shelter and/or HELP USA’s intransigence) to contact their local elected officials:

Steve Levin, City Councilman, 33rd District
District Office
410 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-5200
FAX: (718) 643-6620
EMAIL:

State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol
District Office
619 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 383-7474

State Senator Martin Dilan
District Office
786 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207
(718) 573-1726
FAX: (718) 573-2407
EMAIL: dilan@senate.state.ny.us

And of course there’s your local Community Board (which is collecting the aforementioned petition):

Community Board 1
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211
(718) 389-0009
FAX: 718.389.0098
EMAIL: bk01@cb.nyc.gov

Chances are very good I probably forgot some folks on the above list. I have been up since 5:47 this morning because my bedroom was being inundated with several gallons of rain water (and as a result am more than a little discombobulated at the moment).** For this reason I would be very grateful if anyone reading this tome would point out anything/anyone I might have overlooked via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Thanks!

UPDATE, October 5, 2010: Elizabeth writes:

Thank you again for all of the information you have sent readers about the homeless shelter at 400 McGuinness Blvd in Greenpoint.

I called Councilman Levin’s office to voice my concerns about this 200-bed facility. I spoke to Rami Metal who said the councilman has concerns about the shelter as well.

Rami suggested I call Comptroller John Liu’s office to voice my opposition to the new shelter and ask that Liu not give final approval to the shelter. Rami said very few RFPs get nixed but calls from residents might help.

Here is the number folks can call to voice their concerns in case you want to pass this on to your readers:
Comptroller John Liu
Community Action Center
212-669-3916 phone

Next week Councilman Levin is taking a tour of another homeless shelter run by Help USA in Brooklyn. His office will send out information about what the councilman learned about the group and its operations. If readers want to be on the email list, they can email rmetal (at) council (dot) nyc (dot) gov.

Miss Heather

*If someone could help me knock out a petition in Polish I would be very appreciative. You can download a Polish version of this petition by clicking here.

**Humor me: I’m a more than a little cranky.


Notes From The Joint Public Safety/Human Services Meeting, Part II: A Little More Footage

September 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Synopsis: Our City Councilman, Steve Levin, states that he has “deep reservations” about this shelter. More specifically he makes it clear that he does not think HELP USA’s current proposal will address the Greenpoint homeless problem— and he wants feedback from his constituents. Nonetheless he plans to tour HELP USA’s current shelter in Brooklyn (which, it should be noted, is a womens’ shelter located in Brownsville).

NEW as of 9/30/2010: The Chairman of Community Board 1, Christopher Olechowski, Speaks. Listen.

Synopsis: Long time Greenpoint resident (and community advocate) Christine Holowacz tenders her two cents and Chairman Kalita gives a hilariously droll explanation as to how the city applies its “Fair Share” policy to Greenpoint/North Brooklyn. Jane Pool makes a very well reasoned and spot on observation. The Department of Homeless Services representative advises people to call 311 for homeless outreach services. This elicits peals of cynical laughter.

Synopsis: Human Services Committee Chair Vincent Gangone makes it known that he too has doubts that HELP USA’s proposal will address Greenpoint’s homeless problem and clarifies what homeless services currently do exist north Brooklyn and how they pertain to Community Board 1 (this is useful, so give it a listen!). A Clay Street resident asks exactly what demographic this shelter will serve. When the DHS representative says “single men” the audience collectively shits bricks.

More (hopefully) to come. Suffice it to say uploading this footage is proving to be an arduous process!

Miss Heather

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