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Greenpoint This Week: McCarren Park Gatherings, Marches, Volunteer Cleanups, Phase 2 and 3, and More!

Phase 2 started on Monday with outdoor dining at restaurants. (Photo via Lobster Joint)

Happy weekend Greenpointers!

A special Pride weekend edition of the McCarren Park gatherings will go down with a socially distant dance party hosted by Black Lives Matter Friday at 7 p.m., one month after the nightly gatherings started. A drag queen-led bike ride ahead of the dance party will begin at Maria Hernandez Park at 5:30 p.m. arriving in Greenpoint around 7 p.m..

There’s also public health stats to celebrate today. NY reported the U.S.’s lowest coronavirus infection rate on Friday, following five days of  NYC’s Phase 2 reopening. The city achieves Phase 3 status on July 6th when restaurants can return to indoor dining at up to 50% capacity. NYC Parks will also see the return of nets for the reopening of basketball, tennis and handball courts. Masks or face coverings and social distancing are still required to keep transmission of the virus low.

A number of community-led volunteer garbage cleanups will take place this weekend including a Transmitter Park cleanup Saturday at 10 a.m. and a McCarren Park cleanup Sunday at 12 p.m. All volunteers are welcome in helping out and are encouraged to wear face coverings and to bring a garbage bag and gloves (a volunteer cleanup ending at Greenpoint Landing collected 40 bags last weekend).

The kiddos will also have their time in the park this weekend. A Kid’s Peace Movement march is planned with a kickoff rally in McCarren Park Saturday at 11 a.m. Later on Saturday, the 7 p.m. gathering will honor recent graduates complete with “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Have a happy and safe Pride weekend and in the meantime catch up on this week’s headlines from around the neighborhood: Continue reading

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McCarren Park Gatherings for George Floyd Continue Rain or Shine

McCaren Park demonstrators calling for racial justice and police reform this week.

A sixth gathering at McCarren Park in remembrance of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, will continue on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., according to organizers.

A vigil was held in McCarren Park last Friday by five local residents associated with the North Brooklyn Mutual Aid volunteer group. Demonstrations in the park have since grown with thousands of people attending this week holding signs honoring Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade.

“These gatherings were intended to give immunocompromised neighbors, those caring for elderly and those with children a way to stand in socially distanced solidarity with actions across the city, not as an alternative to them,” a representative from NBMA said.

Attendees are encourage to bring a sign, wear a mask or face covering and maintain at least six feet apart to keep with social distancing guidelines; an umbrella might also be a good idea given that Wednesday’s weather forecast predicts rain.

North Brooklyn has not seen the looting and vandalism that has swept across commercial strips in Manhattan such as SoHo following demonstrations.

On Tuesday night, a tense hours-long standoff between protestors and the NYPD on the Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge ended when protestors were allowed to exit on the Brooklyn side.

Local politicians such as NY Assembly Member Joe Lentol and Senator Julia Salazar have called for the repeal of repeal of 50-a among other measures, to help aid the investigations of cases of police killings and deaths of people in police custody. “Passing these will help restore trust and promote transparency between our communities, the police and our criminal justice system. I am advocating to Assembly leadership to get these bills passed,” Lentol posted on social media.

A citywide curfew from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. is in effect through the morning of Monday, June 8th.


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Tonight: Same time (7 p.m.) same place (McCarren Park) 📷: @mewiley @apisukh

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A filled park was silent on their knees for 30 minutes last night at McCarren park. Do what you can. Spread the good words.

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McCarren Park. June 2. Brooklyn. . . . . . #georgefloyd #vigil #protest #greenpoint #brooklyn #nyc

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31 Affordable Apartments Across From McCarren Park Available in NYC Housing Lottery

470 Manhattan Ave. (Courtesy of Hill West Architects)

A new batch of affordable apartments at 470 Manhattan Ave. are available to apply for via the NYC affordable housing lottery’s Housing Connect website.

470 Manhattan Ave. under construction in 2019. (Via Google Maps)

The eight-story, 101-unit apartment building designed by Hill West Architects sits across from McCarren Park and has 31 affordable units priced between 80% – 130% of the area median income; the deadline to apply is June 29th.

Income requirements for the affordable lottery at 470 Manhattan Ave. (via NYC Housing Connect)

Affordable monthly rents range from $1,266 for a studio (80% AMI) to $2,856 for a two-bedroom apartment (130% AMI), and 50 percent of the affordable units are reserved for residents of Brooklyn Community Board 1. Continue reading

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Exercise Equipment Now Off-Limits at McCarren Park Due to Coronavirus

The exercise equipment at McCarren Park is closed for now.

The piecemeal closure of McCarren Park continued on Tuesday morning when another corner of the park was restricted due to lax so.

Now off-limits is the exercise equipment near the Bayard Street/Union Avenue corner of the park, which despite New York’s pause and social distancing measures drew groups of people sweating it out in close quarters as recently as last weekend.


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Basketball Hoops Removed From McCarren Park Court in Effort to Deter Groups

The McCarren Park basketball court (via Google Maps)

The basketball hoops came down Thursday morning in McCarren Park along with 79 other New York City courts to further deter groups from congregating and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The basketball court at McCarren Park is now without hoops

“Social distancing is taking hold with New Yorkers — but we’re seeing some issues when it comes to basketball courts,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday. “If you want to go shoot hoops with your kids, that’s fine. But we can’t have pick-up games. If people don’t follow the rules, we’ll take hoops down.” Continue reading

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McCarren Park House Plans Include Restaurant and More Bathrooms

McCarren Park House (via Inca Architecture).

NYC Parks and Brooklyn Bazaar co-owners Belvy Klein and Aaron Broudo presented two weeks ago at January’s Brooklyn Community Board 1 meeting on the plan to bring a “family-friendly” restaurant to the rear of the McCarren Park house by spring 2021 following $1.2 million in renovations.

McCarren Park House as it looks today

The goal is to maintain and improve the historic brick structure that was originally built in 1911 and was last renovated in 1938 when the McCarren Park Pool was under construction.

“This will still be a parks-use building as well as a public amenity. People will be able to go into this building and see it, and enjoy it for what it is, and enjoy it both either as a patron or not,” Jonathan Chesley of INCA Architecture said during the presentation. Continue reading

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Greek Gyro Shop BZ Grill Opens Across From McCarren Park in Greenpoint

BZ Grill is now open at 544 Manhattan Ave.

Greenpoint now has a Greek gyro shop with the opening of Astoria import BZ Grill this past weekend at 544 Manhattan Ave. across from McCarren Park.

BZ Grill is located at the former home of the farm-to-table restaurant Annicka and will offer outdoor seating during warmer months in addtion to the spacious interior. Continue reading

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Reserve Your Free Rain Barrel for Pickup in McCarren Park 6/1

Free rain barrels will be distributed in McCarren Park on Saturday, June 1st from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. compliments of the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and Councilman Stephen Levin.

If you want to reserve a rain barrel fill out this online form.

Rain barrel help to collect stormwater and reduce runoff while providing water for landscaping.

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Why Is McCarren Park’s Soil Lead Contaminated?

McCarren Park (Ryan Vaarsi/Flickr)

Does McCarren Park have a lead contamination problem? A new report from WNYC found lead contamination levels above 150 ppm in 87 percent of the 30 soil samples taken in the beloved Greenpoint park.

The report also found soil with lead contamination in Prospect Park and Astoria Park in Queens.

For the McCarren soil testing WNYC focused on the grassy circle near the western entrance at the corner of Lormier Street and Bedford Avenue behind the restrooms:

Our focus was on an oval-shaped plot at the northeast corner that’s typically crowded with picnicking families in warm weather. Historic insurance maps reveal a company that made window sashes, blinds and doors once occupied the site in the 1880’s. Present-day aerial images show large patches of bare soil throughout the park.

Out of 30 samples tested in this one area, 87 percent were above 150 ppm. All exceeded 80 ppm. The average lead level was 201 ppm, making McCarren the most contaminated park WNYC tested.

The WNYC Map of soil samples

The map uses color coding to show where the samples measure in relation to differing standards of the current EPA’s New York standard (400 ppm), the proposed New York standard (150 ppm) and California’s standard (80 ppm).

Lead exposure can cause neurological damage and children are especially vulnerable, but the study also notes that the vast majority of NYC children who have elevated lead in their blood were exposed to lead paint in their homes.

A brief explanation in the study as to why the soil in Brooklyn is widely contaminated hints at the manufacturing history of the borough.

Greenpoint and Williamsburg had dozens of manufacturers and industrial businesses emitting toxins as late as the 1990s, possibly impacting the soil in our parks today. A Hunter College study from 1989 entitled “Hazardous Neighbors? Living Next Door to Industry in Greenpoint-Williamsburg” profiles buildings where toxic chemicals were being used and stored for various manufacturers.

The 1989 “Hazardous Neighbors” study from Hunter College summarized the potential sources of toxicity at the time.

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“Affordable” Lottery Opens for McCarren Park Luxury Building

848 Lorimer St. rendering (via NYC Housing Connect)

NYC Housing Connect’s affordable lottery lists 16 new “affordable” apartments at 848 Lorimer St., the luxury development known as the Grand McCarren. The application opens tomorrow; apply by May 14th.

The former New Warsaw Bakery occupied 848 Lorimer St. via Google Maps)

The luxury development is between Nassau and Driggs Avenue at the former site of New Warsaw Bakery facing McCarren Park.

The Grand McCarren is six-stories with 52 residential units and a street-level parking facility and is next to other recent luxury developments bordering the park, 868 and 906 Lorimer Street.

848 Lorimer St.’s affordable lottery lists four units at 80 percent of the area median income level and 12 units at 130 percent of the AMI.

848 Lorimer St. affordable lottery units at 80 percent AMI:

A studio is available for $1,114 per month for one occupant earning between $45,086 – $58,480 per year. Continue reading

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