stephen levin

Investigating the India Street Ferry (Or lack thereof)

© Kristin Laughter/ Green pointers

We’re well aware by now that the imminent five-week G suspension this summer (from late July through the end of August) has many commuters spooked. Adding insult to injury, the New York Waterways ferry landing at India Street—by far the second-best option for many—has been suspended indefinitely since February, when a gangplank failed and plunged into frigid East River waters moments after passengers climbed aboard.

This looming transportation brownout has raised eyebrows for months. At an April 3 meeting organized by State Senator Daniel Squadron at the Polish and Slavic Center on Kent Street, officials addressed community transportation concerns, including the ferry, but they declined to announce a reopening date. Now, almost two months later—and only eight weeks before the G shutdown—that date is still elusive.

The road to Pulaski bridge traffic jams and sweltering MTA shuttle buses is paved with good intentions. So, for the past several weeks, Greenpointers has been investigating the India Street Ferry closure to determine whether anyone can say with confidence that the ferry landing will be operational before the G shuts down.

(The answer: very likely, but not entirely certain.) Here’s what we found out:

Continue reading

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Waterfront Construction Will Begin in 2015

Look, it's a park...overshadowed by a GIANT BUILDING (rendering of 77 Commercial St)

The notion that not one, but two parks, are coming to Greenpoint as early as 2015 may SOUND like good news. Who doesn’t love green space?

But, don’t forget to read between the lines.

On 5/2, Crain’s reported:  Construction on the first of two long-awaited parks along the Greenpoint waterfront is set to begin in 2015, spurred by money from the developers of two massive residential projects on the waterfront that were approved last year. Continue reading

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Victory for McGuinness Slow Zone

Bureaucratic Victory! © Vision Zero

For a while now, we’ve been talking about the danger zone of speeding vehicles that is McGuinness Blvd, where some truly tragic incidents have happened over the last year, most notably the death of 32-year-old Nicole Detweiler, who was crossing the street in December when she was fatally hit by two vehicles.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. In 2010, a 28-year-old was the victim of a hit-and-run and later taken off life support after days of being unresponsive due to serious brain injuries.  In 2009, a 33-year-old British woman was struck and killed by a flatbed truck where Nassau meets McGuiness. And the list goes on. Continue reading

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Vote to give $$ to Greenpoint! (3/29-4/6)

Mock-up for BOOKlyn mobile library, courtesy of St. Nick's Alliance

Just the name “Participatory Budgeting” might want to make you hit the snooze button, but it’s actually a unique opportunity to vote on a project that YOU want to see funded in our community. NYC has reserved $14 million in taxpayer dollars for this very purpose and as part of the 33rd District, there are some pretty innovative projects in the running that could potentially affect our parks, schools, and community centers.

The $14 million will be divided by district; the 33rd also covers Dumbo, Boerum Hill, and Brooklyn Heights, so Greenpoint is going to have to step it up at the polls if we want to get some of the bounty for our neighborhood, Hunger Games style (but by peaceful democratic vote, instead of mudering!). Continue reading

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Will Greenpoint Become the Next Williamsburg? BKLYNR Investigates

Construction has begun on Commercial Street for 2 high-rise residential towers, Photo © Courtney Dudley/BKLYNR

We recently came across a great piece from BKLYNR that traces the emergence of Greenpoint Landing from its Bloombergian roots to the looming tension today, investigating how the proposed paradise of open waterfront parkland has, nearly a decade later, become a source of frustration and dread for the many residents that want the neighborhood to remain a unique blend of bohemian and old world culture, rather than another sea of Williamsburg condos.

The piece begins in 2005, when the City Council approved the rezoning proposal for nearly 200 blocks of Greenpoint and Wiliamsburg, calling for 50 acres of new parkland along the waterfront, affordable housing, and recreational space, all publicly accessible. Writer, Vanessa Ogle, follows progression of the proposal to physical reality (construction has already begun in part), asking what it all means for the neighborhood. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Landing Is Really Happening

A rendering of 33 Eagle Street, which will have 98 units

Remember all that controversy about the TEN 30-40 story towers that were approved by the City Council to be built on pretty much the entirety of the Greenpoint waterfront? Not to mention the new school and public park, all of which will have foundations on a toxic oil plume.

Need a refresher? We, along with many outspoken Greenpointers, were concerned with probable infrastructure strains, transportation congestion, affordable housing and most urgently, the environmental impacts of developing on and near a National Superfund Site. Council member Stephen Levin assured us that he did the best he could, wining more affordable housing, and that was that….leaving us with lingering disappointment and frustration.

Well, as of Friday, the developer, Greenpoint Landing Associates, has filed permits for two of the buildings, at 21 Commercial Street and 33 Eagle Street. The Real Deal reported that both buildings will be entirely affordable…however, the affordable and market price apartments were supposed to be integrated, so only time will tell if that agreement is upheld.

We were also supposed to see evidence proving that there are no harmful health impacts before construction begins. But of course, that information was never made public, and we’re pretty doubtful that it even exists. UGH.

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A Message to Greenpoint from Council Member Stephen Levin

A week or so ago we published an article titled The Conspiracy Against The People Opposed To Greenpoint Landing, after the painful and last public meeting about the high rise towers inevitably to rise on Greenpoint’s waterfront.

That evening while sipping on a beer at Brouwerij Lane, a call with a NJ area code appeared on my phone. It was Stephen Levin and he was pretty insulted by our decision to run that post. I stood outside in the cold while he explained to me (in many words) what I have invited him to share with you.

Yes we have been extremely critical of him and will continue to be as long as he makes decisions that we feel are not in the best interest of Greenpoint. I did offer him the opportunity to explain himself here. After, I invite readers to reply in the comment section. (Keep it classy.)

A letter from your Council Member Stephen Levin: Continue reading

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77 Commercial Street Update

As expected, Council Member Stephen Levin voted to approve the proposed development at 77 Commercial St yesterday (12/19) . That means that the city can officially sell the “air rights” of 65 Commercial St to the developers to build higher towers at 77 Commercial. Continue reading

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WSJ Reports on Upcoming Commercial St Vote (12/19)

© Wall St Journal

If you’ve been reading Greenpointers lately, you’re probably either enraged or sick of hearing about waterfront re-building projects. But, the good news is that a larger media channel has picked up the story and created this handy graphic map, that shows exactly where the future developments will be built. Thanks Wall Street Journal, for showing Greenpoint some love.

Last week we reported on the final approval vote for Greenpoint Landing. Stay tuned because this Thursday (12/19) is the final City Council vote on development at 77 & 65 Commercial St. The vote will determine if the residential buildings are allowed to be 15-stories or 30-40 stories high. Continue reading

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The Conspiracy Against The People Opposed to Greenpoint Landing

I hate the term conspiracy theory. It irks me. Often valid ideas get this moniker, as well as ideas that clearly deserve the term. That said, if Joe Blow murders someone, he is a murderer. If Joe Blow and Joe Shmo decide to murder someone, that is called conspiracy murder. See how that works? If more than one person conspires to do someting illegal, it becomes a conspiracy. Now when most of the city council conspires against the will of the people of New York (in this case – Greenpoint, Brooklyn) – what shall we call that? Continue reading

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