Joe Lentol

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

greenpointg16
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

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 0 Comments

A Meeker Avenue Proposal Cometh in the New Year

Certain peril awaits. Photo: Google Maps
Certain peril awaits. Photo: Google Maps

Because we’re all natural skeptics, we’ll maintain the premise that no meek shall cross the pedestrian thoroughfare at Meeker Avenue. Then again, things in that area might get a little friendlier in 2016.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be making a few important new safety proposals to improve conditions at the pedestrian crossing, which include shorter crosswalks, wider sidewalks, improved signal timing, and clear lane designations. Continue reading

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

BRC Homeless Shelter will NOT be getting 16 new Sex Offenders

400mcguinness32011
The controversial BRC homeless shelter at 400 McGuiness Blvd/149 Clay Street

 

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…

Continue reading

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

“People here aren’t afraid of getting mugged – they’re afraid of getting hit.” – Assemblyman Lentol

Press Release via Joe Lentol’s Office: Assemblyman Lentol Responds to Latest Tragedy on McGuinness Boulevard

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) responded today to the tragic death of a young woman Sunday night at the intersection of Nassau Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard.

“Another heartbreaking accident at this deadly intersection calls for swift action in the New Year under the new mayoral administration to install red light cameras, speed cameras, and new traffic calming measures,” said the Assemblyman. Continue reading

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Greenpoint and the Sequester: Chat With State Comptroller DiNapoli

We’ve all heard of the Sequester, the terribly and amazingly large amount of money the U.S. government is currently slashing from the budget, what President Obama has referred to as taking a “meat-cleaver approach.” This slashing of public spending, with some war/defense spending, was heralded as an only solution and coded under many names, including the Grand Bargain and the Fiscal Cliff.

How will the Sequester affect Greenpoint?

To answer, I reached out to many of Greenpoint’s elected representatives. Of those who responded, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli‘s office was most helpful.

DiNapoli’s office responded that “details about how sequestration will affect the State as a whole are still pretty vague” but that the total cut for local NY State governments would be around $140 million – and that’s only through September, 2013, citing this report.

DiNapoli’s own report from December 2012 warned “the State would lose more than $210 million in federal funding for education, well over $100 million for health and human services and a similar amount for housing programs.” Continue reading

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Greenpoint Portrait: Joe Lentol & Brook The Cat

Assemblyman Joe Lentol is one of my favorite Greenpointers, not only because he is supportive of the arts community, the local food movement and an animal lover, but because the first time I met Joe he attended a water balloon fight fundraiser for Greenpoint Open Studios. (I know you want it back! We do, too!)

His office is pretty rad with 70s wood paneling galore and his office cat Brook (short for Brooklyn) is the friendliest office greeter, ready to sit on your lap for major cuddling sessions.

Category: 52 Portraits, Culture | Tags: , , , , | 0 Comments

Fracking Moratorium For Two Years: Praise The Lord…

…or praise people with common sense who care more about the safety and well being of citizens and our environment than making gas companies richer.

As announced on Joe Lentol’s Facebook page:

“Today, Assemblyman Joe Lentol joined with his colleagues in making a strong statement about Fracking by passing an Assembly bill that creates a moratorium for two years in order to allow for additional time to examine further the potential public health risks and environmental safety concerns.”

Now let’s make this moratorium permanent and come up with cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Greenpoint Film Festival Day 3: Community, Environment and Tom Jarmusch

In what was an inspired choice of venue, day three of the Greenpoint Film Festival took place at the Newtown Creek Visitors Center with a selection of environmentally and community themed documentaries. Opening the program was the must-see “The Domino Effect” – a very timely chronicle of the ongoing saga of the former sugar plant along the Williamsburg waterfront which was part of the city’s planned rezoning efforts to turn the facility into luxury and “affordable” housing.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol speaks at the Q&A following the screening for "The Domino Effect" at the Greenpoint Film Festival (photo by M. Glasson)

Continue reading

Category: Art/Music, Culture | Tags: , , , , | 0 Comments

Mayor Mike “Dufus” Boomberg: “The McClarren Park Pool … to make Waves in Williamsburg.”

Photo courtesy of Joe Lentol

Yep, the pool is open! There was a line around the block after the ribbon cutting when according to Gothamist, the mayor mispronounced it as “McClarren” and then said: “Today we’re going to make some waves in Williamsburg!” Greenpointers had a problem with that and corrected him on both fumbles. Na doy, everyone knows that McCarren Park is in Greenpoint, Mayor Boomberg. 11222!

Either way the pool will be enjoyed by Williamsburgers and Greenpointers alike. According to the park’s website: “Outdoor pool hours are from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m., with a break for pool cleaning between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The outdoor pool season begins on June 28 and ends Labor Day, September 3.”

There will be designated morning and evening lap swims and an ice skating rink in the winter. No word on what will happen in the off season (Spring & Fall). After last night’s stellar The Big Splash! – OSANB’s fundraising event, I hope it can be used as an event space in the off-hours, too.

Check out Gothamist’s photos of the opening.

Check out Joe Lentol’s photos of the opening.

Category: Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment