News

A Streetcar Named Whose Desire, Exactly? — The Hook-Up 2/12

Photo: Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
Photo: Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector

Is it the Streetcar Named Desire for the people of New York, or is de Blasio’s proposed streetcar linking Brooklyn and Queens a developer’s fantasy in the making? In either case, here’s what we know so far.

We know slightly more about the L Train Shutdown than we did last week. Brace yourselves, because it seems as though “1 year vs. 3 years” was a generous estimate.

It only took a year, but the reports from the CitiStorage fire investigation have been wrested into public view by The Brooklyn Paper. The fire was allegedly sparked by a light fixture, subdued, and then reignited. Kind of weird that department reps maintained their line that the investigation was ongoing, even though investigators signed off on the report on Jan. 8. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Gallery Destroyed From Fire: A Call To The Community

On the evening of January 18th, Greenpoint Gallery underwent a casualty from an unfortunate electrical fire, causing significant damage to the second floor space. The gallery’s curator, Shawn James, has lost a significant amount of gallery equipment, studio space, computers, documents, and over 20 musical instruments. Apart from holding shows for local artists and the community, Shawn devotes his resources and gallery space to teach, feed, and nurture students from the St. Nicks Alliance Work youth program, six days a week. Continue reading

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You’ve Heard About the L-Pocalypse. What About the G-Pocalypse?

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Photo: Jeremiah Cox

The L Train is facing an imminent, extensive shutdown in the wake of lingering Hurricane Sandy damage, and North Brooklyn hasn’t taken the news very well.

And why would it, given the amount of daily riders who travel through the Canarsie Tube every day — around 350,000 — not to mention the huge impact ridership has on local businesses?

Currently, the MTA is considering two options to implement as early as 2017: to close the entire tunnel nonstop for one year, or to leave one side open and reduce traffic to half-volume, which would take anywhere from three to four years.

Not ones to bide their time quietly, a number of local residents and business owners have already formed The L Train Coalition to demand a better solution from the MTA, though many know full well that the answer will definitely be “pain.”

Pain, of course, can be abstract or painted in sharp relief. And while a fair amount of ink has been spilled over the implications for L Train commuters, there are fewer educated guesses regarding the fate of surrounding areas like Greenpoint, which will absorb a great deal of shock from the closure as riders scramble to find alternative routes. Continue reading

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At CitiStorage Rally, Various Words that Amounted to ‘Where’s Our Park?’

This should have been a park by now: Photo by Steph Koyfman
This should have been a park by now

Yesterday was the year anniversary of the 7-alarm fire that razed the CitiStorage warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront.

At a rally held near the site on N. 11th Street and Kent Avenue, more than a few attendees wondered why the Williamsburg waterfront never saw massive, suspicious fires prior to its 2005 rezoning into a lucrative development opportunity.

But the event wasn’t held in service of a whodunnit mystery. Instead, open space activists brought in local representatives to drive home the message that the local government still owes the city one (1) Bushwick Inlet Park.

To be clear, the 28-acre park has been in the works for nearly two decades. In 2005, when the Williamsburg waterfront was rezoned, the open-space promise was part of the deal Bloomberg cut with neighbors and local politicians in exchange for all those pricey condos and added congestion. With the CitiStorage building aflame (which sits atop a major parcel needed to complete the park), fears were reignited that the land would go to another developer, and though de Blasio recently said he would deny a residential rezoning in the area, activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park isn’t about to rest easy until the city acquires the land via eminent domain.

After years of beating the same (hopefully not dead) horse, there’s little to say aside from “where’s our park?”

But really though
But really though

And that was, indeed, the rallying cry at yesterday’s meeting.

Here are a few more versions of this from yesterday’s demonstration.

“On this date, there was a huge warehouse fire that would not be put out. Today, there is also a fire that will not be put out in any of us.” Kim Fraser, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

“It is very important that we keep our word as a city, very important that we keep our word as a government, and very important that we keep our word as a community to one another. Because that means something — a commitment means something. So we need to continue to fight for this, we need to continue to remind our city and our mayor, respectfully, that this is something they committed to.” Councilman Stephen Levin

“I want to point out that this park is not a gift. It was a negotiated trade. It was a contract. It was a contract between the community and the city of New York. And this contract said, ‘you vote and support upzoning on the waterfront, and we will give you this park.’ It was a hard and fast agreement in exchange for the rezoning that has led to massive density and population increases. And if they do not follow through on this agreement, they’re telling communities all over the city that their word is worthless. That they cannot be believed or trusted.” State Rep. Carolyn Maloney

IMG_1917“I started in politics when we were talking about Bushwick Inlet Park. As an intern. And I stand here today as your Deputy Borough President, working with Eric Adams as your Borough President, committed to this 20-year plan, and committed to what is bringing dignity back to this community. Because I grew up not going to parks. Because in Williamsburg, when you went to a park, there would be a shootout. We are long past those days. We’ve worked hard to make sure we have a safer neighborhood. But it is not fair that after all that work, that we have to stand here again calling for the same negotiated contract that was already negotiated.” Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna

“Open space is as much of a [deciding factor] for people I know as to whether they can make a life here [as schools and property taxes]. It’s not a luxury we’re asking for. This is not a little cherry on top. This is part of what any person who ever thinks about the life and death of cities knows is a necessity when a city grows and changes.” State Senator Daniel Squadron

“A lot of people believe this is all about money. And I guess it is all about money, because either the Bloomberg administration or the de Blasio administration has said ‘we’re not gonna spend the money that’s necessary in order to give us a park.’…We’re not responsible for the cost of this park. This park could have been bought for pennies compared to what it costs today. The East River Park was purchased for $10 million. This park could have been purchased for less than $10 million back in 2005.” Assemblyman Joe Lentol

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Tomorrow: Join the Rally for Park Space, One Year After the CitiStorage Fire

Via Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park
Via Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

It’s been a year since the CitiStorage building went up in flames. And yet: no dice.

The city has yet to make good on its 2005 promise to turn 27 acres of Williamsburg’s waterfront into park space for the increasingly clustered residents of Glass High-Rise Central.

And because the owner of the CitiStorage property maintains an as-of-right position over the parcel, open space activists are mobilizing tomorrow to put pressure on the New York City government to purchase the land via eminent domain.

“When completed, Bushwick Inlet Park and adjacent Monitor Museum Park will become one of the crown jewels in a necklace of a growing number of parks along the city’s waterfront and help complete the City’s comprehensive open space master plan,” said activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park in a statement. “Increasing the amount of open space will add billions of dollars to the city’s investment portfolio, save the city millions in yearly medical costs, and reduce storm runoff, keeping it out of an already overburdened sewage treatment system. Each day the prospect of losing the last large tract of open space on the East River looms ever larger. Friends of Bushwick Park’s mission is not over until the battle for a 27-acre waterfront park is won for the entire City of New York.”

The rally is also meant to celebrate recent accomplishments in the fight for promised park space. Mayor de Blasio recently, for instance, put the kibosh on rezoning the CitiStorage parcel for residential use.

Joining Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park will be local representatives such as Stephen Levin, Diana Reyna, Daniel Squadron, Joe Lentol, Rabbi David Niederman and Carol Maloney.

The event takes place Sunday, January 31 at 12:00 p.m. at the corner of N. 11th Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. In case of rain, it will move to Greenpoint Beer & Ale (or Dirck the Norseman).

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Spread Love, it’s the Greenpoint Way! Super Crush Gin & Juice, Craft Beer, Henna Tattoos, Massages, The Roving Typist, 50+ Vendors, and more! Valentine’s Market (2/7)

Greenpointers Holiday Market 2015
Greenpointers Holiday Market 2015

If you don’t know, now you know, Greenpoint! Every season, the gorgeous Greenpoint Loft comes alive with FREE fun activities, food & refreshments, music, and epic local shopping. And on Sunday, February 7th (1-7PM) we’re spreading the love the Greenpoint way at our annual Valentine’s Market!

RSVP for Sunday, February 7th from 1-7PM at the Greenpoint Loft (67 West Street, 5th Floor) Continue reading

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It’s No Fun Living Next to a Superfund Site as Dubious Plans Move Forward at Former NuHart Plastics Building

Since scaffolding was erected last week on Dupont Street, complaints to 311 and NYC Council Member Stephen Levin’s Office have been rolling in.

Greenpoint’s former NuHart Plastics manufacturing facility is partially a state-managed Superfund Site and is divided into 10 parcels spanning an entire acre on Clay, Dupont and Franklin Streets. Two of the “uncontaminated” lots are scheduled to undergo demolition in the coming weeks.

Scaffolding on Dupont Street in Greenpoint lacks visible permiting and stretches far beyond Lot 57; A. Simon
Scaffolding on Dupont Street in Greenpoint lacks visible permiting and stretches far beyond Lot 57. Photo by A. Simon

At press time, the scaffolding lacked visible street-level permits and extends far beyond Lot 57 to include adjacent Lot 17. This is the latest in a series of well-documented missteps by the Dupont Street Developers and their rotating cast of contractors. Continue reading

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What Jonas Wrought — The Hook-Up 1/29

It's that igloo. You know the one.
It’s that igloo. You know the one.

Weird to think that all that white stuff on the ground is half melted less than a week later, but here’s the low-down on that $200/night igloo that you’ve probably seen retweeted ad nauseum all week. The most surprising thing about all of this is that AirBnB has other igloos around the world that are up to code.

In other news of Winter Storm Jonas Exceptionalism: this woman skied from McCarren to Central Park. How many miles did you log on your Netflix Fitbit? Continue reading

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Five Ways to Help the Greenpoint Church Hunger Program

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Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get more involved with Greenpoint’s vibrant volunteer community? Here are five ways you can help a hardworking neighborhood volunteer program, the Greenpoint Church Hunger Program on Milton Street, to feed the folks who need a warm meal on these cold winter days.

1. Volunteer in the kitchen on a Wednesday evening between 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m and recreate that winter soup you love to Instagram. You can cook, set up, serve and/or clean, and you don’t have to show up at 3:00 p.m. If you have a day job, show up after work to see how you can help. Continue reading

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Greenpointers is Hiring! Part-Time Content Manager/Editor Wanted!

Do you love Greenpoint and want to contribute to the community in a positive way? Are you creative, self-motivated, Greenpoint-obsessed, extremely organized and detailed-oriented? Do you love the arts and want to support local?

We are looking for someone who can:
– Write well researched, informative and fun blogs posts (on the fly)
– Manage a team of talented editors and contributors
– Oversee the day to day upkeep of Greenpointers content on WordPress (scheduling/editing) and Social Media
– Generate and share ideas for creating cool and interesting content

Artistic skills, familiarity with various forms of media (podcasts, videos), enthusiastic about learning, experience with event production, fearless about exploring new ideas are pluses.

Hourly rate, 15-20 hours a week, semi-flexible schedule. Office location in the beautiful PencilWorks (top floor of the Pencil Factory at 61 Franklin).

If this is you, apply here and/or email publisher@greenpointers.com. Continue reading

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