Yesterday morning I received an email with the words WATCH OUT in big bold letters. Sitting in my inbox, like a sack of rotting onions, was a link to a New York Post article with this headline: Sex Offenders’ relocation to Greenpoint Infuriates Residents.
I blinked a couple times and continued reading as my shock and horror mounted with each sentence.
“More than a dozen sex offenders were living in a Manhattan shelter prompted city officials to react—but all they did was move most of them to residential Greenpoint, sources said on Wednesday…The rapists, pedophiles, and other convicted sex criminals had been bunked up near schools and playgrounds at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter on East 30th Street in Kips Bay. They included serial sex offender, Rodney Stove, who was busted for a Manhattan bar rape…”
With Thanksgiving Day practically upon us, our lives are consumed with thoughts of tasty morsels like the crispy skin on that 10lb turkey, or the savoring the sweet smell of pumpkin pie gently wafting out of the oven. The day before Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest times of the year, and whether we’re at home slaving over the stove, or stuck at the airport, almost all of us are all getting ready to celebrate and give thanks. Yet, not all of us are so fortunate. Homelessness in the city has risen to epic proportions (24,000 being children!) and there are many people who don’t have much to thank for this holiday season. One such person was a homeless man whose body was discovered in McGolrick Park two weeks ago.
This past Sunday, Rev. Amy Kienzle held a brief service of remembrance for the homeless man at Mc Golrick Park’s pavilion. While his death was preventable, it hits home because he died right in our own back yard. So tomorrow, as we sit around the table with our family and friends squabbling over the drumstick, we should remember our less fortunate neighbors and give thanks for the basics: food on our plate and the roof over our heads. As we’ve seen, some Greenpointers this Thanksgiving Day might not have it so lucky.
Isn’t it nice to sit around and stuff your face? This is every American’s God-given right on Thanksgiving! Sadly some people don’t eat anything today – including many people in Greenpoint.
So let’s keep ALL of our neighbors full and plump this Thanksgiving, too. That’s what it’s all about, right? Sharing and caring…
If you make one click on your computer today – consider making a donation in ANY amount – $5, $10 to Greenpoint Soup Kitchen, a local non-profit that feeds the hungry not just on Thanksgiving but every week of the year!
No Light No Lycra, the weekly dancing in the dark party at Lutheran Church of the Messiah (129 Russell St) is having a special group show benefit on December 14th, 2013 to benefit Common Ground, a homeless outreach program. Tickets are only $7! (in advance), $10 at the door.
100% of ticket sales will be donated!
Luke Temple (of Here We Go Magic)
Jo Schornikow (of Phosphoresent)
Laura & Greg
& DJ Pumpkin Patch
Last year I sat in a community meeting at Greenpoint Church on Milton St and listened to neighbors argue for and against the 10 bed homeless respite that had opened in the basement after Hurricane Sandy hit and the weather was getting down to freezing temperatures.
After the controversy it created, the church decided to shut it down and it moved to Ascension Church a few block north. But the respite did not reopen this winter season. Continue reading →
This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund by Anonymous.
Internet trends come and go and if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss out on some interesting social science that happens right before your eyes. If we had this amazing communication tool one hundred years ago, those 20 year art movements like Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism would have happened much faster. Every few weeks, I will try to break down the micro-trends and world wide fads that sometimes make surfing the net more fun than interacting with actual people.
Photo-taking trends come and go on the Internet. There was Horsemanning, Owling and eventually, the longer lived Planking, but that was last year. This year comes a whole new breed of micro-trends, often coming from the original land of absurdity, Japan, such as Dragonballing: schoolgirls have been staging fake energy sphere attacks (known as the “Kamehameha“) made popular in the manga and anime series, Dragon Ball.
And also a photo trend that features teens appearing to play Quidditch, a fictional sport from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe played on broomsticks.
And finally, originating from this side of the Pacific: Vadering, where users appear to show an individual using Darth Vader’s signature Force Choke to raise another person off the ground.
But speaking of Japan, some other choice nuggets to be found this week includes making wasp shouchuu, an alcohol like Vodka with fermented giant wasps. The whole process takes three years and it’s maker says that its properties create “beautiful skin, recovery from fatigue, and the prevention of ‘lifestyle disease'”. Uh huh. And have we mentioned Japan’s love for Ray Charles in animatronic form? Continue reading →
Sorry for this last minute update (I was in Florida for 2 weeks!), but tonight Thursday, 1/24 at 7pm at Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton St) there will be an open forum, the first of many, to discuss the recently opened homeless respite at the church. All are welcome but I spoke to Pastor Ann and she wants to keep the meeting as constructive and positive.
So put down your pitch forks and bring you manners, people! See you there!
And if you miss it, don’t worry there will be more.
Each year, in the dead of winter, the Department of Homeless Services sends volunteers – as many as 2,000- to less-than-scenic neighborhoods around the city to do a hand-count of the city’s homeless population. This year’s survey, on January 28, 2013, will require 3,000 volunteers, and they are currently recruiting. If you’re interested in issues of homelessness in Greenpoint, I highly recommend volunteering if only to get a glimpse at the internal workings of the city’s homeless outreach machinery.
The controversy over these counts largely concerns the timing of the survey and where volunteers are looking. It is intentionally conducted late at night at the end of January, an unpleasant time to be on the street, and specifically skips pseudo-private locations favored by the homeless such as ATM vestibules. Groups such as Coalition for the Homeless believe that the result is “a flawed effort that, year after year, has resulted in a significant undercount of New York City’s homeless population.” The implication is clear: the survey undercounts by design, masking the problem. However, according to the survey’s designers, it is intended to provide a street-level estimate of those individuals who are truly homeless, those who do not even make it to shelters on one of the coldest nights of the year, and thus expects a smaller number to be found.
To their credit, DHS does an excellent job of creating a methodology that answers their primary question without being too perplexing to the relatively untrained surveyors. However, while I was performing the survey, there was still a significant amount of deviation from the method on the part of my fellow volunteers. Their directions call for each group to make one pass along each side of each street in a given area, administering a short survey to anyone encountered. However, my group found it impossible to resist the temptation to call across the street to passers-by, for example- while this was done in the spirit of making the count as inclusive as possible, it undermined its accuracy as a statistical sample by effectively surveying areas twice. Opponents of these surveys also include the variability introduced by these sorts of errors and the failure to adjust counts accordingly among their complaints.
Still, especially now that homelessness has become a major local issue, I think the experience of participating in the survey is valuable even if the data generated is more questionable. You can review the informational materials and sign up here: 2013 HOPE homelessness survey