Following a measles outbreak of 39 confirmed cases in Williamsburg and Borough Park since October, the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene has banned unvaccinated schoolchildren from attending Orthodox Jewish schools in Brooklyn.
The highly contagious virus can infect people of all ages who lack a vaccination. The measles outbreak in Williamsburg stems from children who traveled to Israel, where the country’s Ministry of Health counted over 1,300 measles patients in November of this year. NYC health officials released a statement warning travelers to take caution.
As of December 5, there have been 39 confirmed cases of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn since October. The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional children from Brooklyn who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel.
If you plan to travel to Israel, protect yourself and your family against measles and get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at least two weeks in advance of your trip. If you have traveled to Israel and you have a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose and body rash, contact your doctor. You should call your doctor before going to their office to prevent exposing other people to measles.
As of Friday, Dec. 7, yeshiva students can only attend school if they are vaccinated, even if the student has an approved exemption and/or the yeshiva has no reported measles cases. Unvaccinated students can return to school after receiving the proper shots.
According to the Dept. of Health, pre-k and daycare attending children must have at least one measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and kindergarten through 12th-grade students must have two MMR shots.
Approximately 2 percent of children in the Orthodox community remain unvaccinated for either religious or medical purposes, NBC New York reports.
Hey Greenpointers! Are you ready to deck the halls…with History?
Holiday History runs deep in this town, since Santa is a Native New Yorker. It’s true! Saint Nick is the Patron Saint of New York City, and New York’s writers and artists were the first to describe and depict Santa as we know him. He even got his sleigh in Chelsea! Add to this the fact that New York retailers invented holiday window displays, the original yule log footage was filmed here, and we’ve even got the original manuscript of “A Christmas Carol,” and it’s clear New York is a veritable holiday hot spot.
If you’d like to hear more about New York’s holiday history, please join me around town this month for my Hometown Holiday History event series!
New York’s Holiday History from George Washington to Andy Warhol @ QED Astoria (27-16 23rd Avenue), 3pm, $10, Buy Tix
Santa’s from West 23rd Street and other Secret Histories of New York Holidays @ Caveat (21A Clinton St.), 7pm, $15, I’m so thrilled to be joined by two incredible storytellers who will add to the historic holiday fun with tales of the ancient roots of the Winter Solstice, and the origins of Santa’s reindeer! Buy Tix
Thursday 12/ 27
TRIVIA Night: Deck the hall, drop the ball! @ Archestratus (160 Huron St.), 8pm, FREE, you know the drill for this one, Greenpoint! This month’s Trivia will be Holiday/New Year’s themed. Feel free to swing by solo, or with a team of up to four, to strut your stuff, win wonderful food and drink, and claim the title of Greenpoint Trivia Champ! RSVP
Greenpoint is now the third most expensive Brooklyn neighborhood to purchase a home in with a median sale price of $1,225,000, up 37 percent from last year’s $890,969 median sale price, according to Property Sharks’ year-end report. The study’s ranking lists Greenpoint as the 14th most expensive neighborhood citywide.
For the study Property Shark calculated sale prices on single-family homes, condos, and co-ops from January to November 2018.
By this measure, Greenpoint is currently the third most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn behind DUMBO (fifth most expensive in NYC) and Boerum Hill (seventh most expensive in NYC). The report explains that 14 units at 886 Lorimer St. sold for a median of $2.2 million, helping to bump Greenpoint’s average upward.
Greenpoint ranks 28th out of 50 for most transactions this year, far behind the Upper East Side, which had the largest number of deals this year with 2,150 transactions. Park Slope and Williamsburg take fourth and fifth place in the number of transactions citywide with 434 and 433 respectively.
The largest price drops this year for median sales prices in Brooklyn happened in the neighborhoods of Manhattan Beach (-24 percent) and Brooklyn Heights (-19 percent).
Looking for the perfect gift this season? Shop handmade and DIY gifts by 30+ local vendors at the Sugar x Spice Holiday Markers Market. It’s happening Sunday, December 16th from 1-6pm at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Ave). Festive wares run the full gifting gamut, including apothecary, home goods, jewelry, comics & zines, handmade clothes, tarot & spiritual goods, enamel pins, greeting cards, artisanal miniatures, and much more.
The market will feature a free DIY card-making station, a full bar for festive cocktail-sipping, and a fun wintry photo booth. If you’re one of the first shoppers, you can score a special gift bag with exclusive products, samples, and holiday treats—and you don’t even have to be on the “nice” list!
If you’re also a creative maker, you can bring unwanted DIY, crafting, and art supplies with you. There will be a donation box to benefit Friends of Materials for the Arts, a non-profit that supports NYC’s Materials for the Arts program. MFTA provides free art supplies to thousands of creative and educational activities across the five boroughs, diverting over 1 million pounds of materials from the landfill each year.
Thanks in large part to the writings of celebrated author Henry Miller and the stately Italianate houses on the street, Fillmore Place were landmarked in 2009 and will forever preserve the charm that enthralled the young Miller, who first saw it as a child in the late 1890s. The atmosphere of late 19th century Williamsburg is rtetained on the street in an area that rapidly gentrified over the past decade and lost much of its history: Fillmore Place is a gem and a throwback to an earlier era of local history. Gazing upon the austere brick facades of the old row houses on the south side of Fillmore Place, it is easy to imagine Williamsburg before the bridge and why Miller loved the neighborhood so strongly.
In the 1840s two merchant tailors could see that Williamsburg was prime real estate ripe for development. In 1846, Connecticut-born businessmen Alfred Clock and Ephraim Miller began acquiring parcels of land on the block bounded by Grand Street, Roebling Street, N. 2nd Street (renamed Metropolitan Avenue), and 5th Street ( Now Driggs Avenue). They purchased 12 lots from one owner and Clock and Miller also acquired three more lots from another landowner in 1847. Finally, they added a small strip of the David Van Cott farmstead in 1848. Now owning a contiguous parcel of developable land, Clock and Miller then hired a surveyor in 1850 to lay out a new, more regularized set of city lots on the property. The cumbersome dimensions of the block—each frontage was over 300 feet in length—also lead the pair to cut a narrow road through the middle of their development, which they named Fillmore Street (soon renamed Fillmore Place), after the president of the United States at the time Millard Fillmore.
Eckford Street Studio, the Greenpoint gem with Drink and Draw Tuesdays, is opening up its doors at 70 Eckford Street to host a Community Open Studio on December 21 from 7 to 10 PM. Have access to studio materials, enjoy free beer and snacks, and take classes in zine-making. Professional artists will be on site to consult, and the community-building event will be taking a suggested donation of $5–25 to support our Scholarship Fund for kids from local Title I schools. “More than anything,” Education Manager Stefanie Lewin says, “we are just excited to welcome community members into the studio for a fun, creative evening.”
Before heading off for the holidays, bring a project you’ve been meaning to complete before the new year and meet local artists!
There’s only one week left to catch the Green Point Projects exhibition featuring the paintings of esteemed Polish Modernist painters, Jozef Czapski and Teresa Pagowska, at Green Point Projects (27 Gem St.).
The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday, from 12 pm – 6 pm, and the current show entitled “Returning to New York” is curated by Marek Bartelik.
The exhibition runs through December 15 and marks the gallery’s fourth show. Green Point Projects has also displayed the work of Polish artists Eugeniusz Markowski, Stefan Krygier, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Stanisław Fijałkowski.
Despite rain and an unreliable G train, neighbors and tourists poured into the Greenpoint Loft this past Sunday for our biggest event of the year — the Polar Vortex Holiday Market. The halls were decked with an ice castle created by Mano-a-Mano while scents of mulling spices wafted in the air.
The Manhattan skyline the Loft usually bestows was clouded by the dismal fog, but the inside stayed bopping thanks to Love Always band jamming with an upbeat live performance and Pink Slater singing dreamy mellow tunes. Continue reading →
There are few regions of New York City that can match North Brooklyn for its history of metal casting. Many of New York’s most iconic pieces of cast iron, steel and bronze were cast locally. Metal casting was one of the five black arts that shaped North Brooklyn’s industrial era. These black arts also included oil refining, porcelain making, paper production and glass blowing. Even today local foundries continue to create different kinds of metal objects locally. Sadly, even local history enthusiasts do not know the major achievements of local metal fabrication. It is a proud history our area should reclaim.
Most people can identify one of Greenpoint’s most famous metal objects: the ironclad battleship, the United States Ship Monitor, which was built in an amazing 101 days at the Continental Iron Works on Quay Street. The ships’ thick iron turret repelled cannon shots and saved the union in the battle of Hampton Roads in 1862. What you might not know is that many other monitor type ships were also built there and during the Civil War 1,500 men worked around the clock building these iron battleships, but there were many other local non-military achievements in metal.
The Brooklyn Bridge also used the work of local foundries. The bridge architects designed huge caissons, massive iron boxes built by a local firm. John Roebling, the bridge’s architect, designed them in 1868, giving the demanding contract to the shipbuilding firm Webb and Bell, located at the foot of Milton Street. Building these massive objects itself was a daunting engineering feat. Nothing like them had ever been built before. There was one for each bridge tower and each weighed an amazing 3,000 tons, larger than any object ever sunk into the ground before. The caissons were 168 feet long and 103 feet wide, an area covering half a city block. Each contained 110, 000 cubic feet of timber and 250 feet of iron with iron walls and a ceiling six feet thick.
Webb and Bell insisted on being paid $100, 000 in advance for the complicated task of building them. To dig inside the caissons workers needed air and the caissons were built with a revolutionary new technology: airlocks made of one-half inch boilerplates, seven feet by six and a half inches in diameter. Due to their enormous size, the massive caissons had to be built in parts and then welded together at the foot of the bridge.
Finally, in May 1870 the caissons were ready to be pulled down the river by two tugboats. They hoped to float them down the river, but launching such heavy objects into the East River was a major engineering problem. Webb and Bell had to build seven launch ways so that these massive objects could reach the river. Thousands of Greenpointers turned out to witness their launch into the river. Huge cheers arose from the throngs assembled along the East River as the caissons hit the water and did not sink. They were then towed the five miles down the East River to the bridge construction site.
The Hecla Iron Works
Some Greenpointers might also be surprised that some of the city’s most beautiful cast iron facades in were also cast locally. The Hecla Architectural Iron Works occupied 35 city lots located between N. 10th Street and N. 12th Street between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street and employed 1,000 workers in its various departments. Founded by two Scandinavian immigrants, Niels Poulson of Denmark and Charles Eger from Norway, the firm has become legendary for its graceful creations
Chanukah celebrations are Dec. 2 – Dec. 10 this year, and in celebration of the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” a menorah lighting was hosted by the Chabad of North Brooklyn last night at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and N. 7th Street in Williamsburg. If you missed the menorah lighting in Williamsburg, a Greenpoint Chabad-hosted menorah lighting ceremony will take place this Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin Street. Check out the photos and video from the Williamsburg celebration below: