Kim is a native New Yorker, local activist and writer. When she's not writing books or playing Erin Brockovich with her Save Greenpoint peeps, you will see her whipping around Greenpoint on her bike, chatting it up with folks, and sharing stories about what it is about her hometown that makes life worth living.
Follow her on twitter @kimasson or www.kimmassonwrites.com
Mark your calendars, Greenpointers. On Wednesday, September 16th at 6 pm (Polish Slavic Center 176 Java Street) there will be a Town Hall meeting about the crime-related issues plaguing our neighborhood.
All the major players will be there, including Councilman Steve Levin, State Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Senator Martin Dilan, and three new VIP’s to the crew: The 94th precinct’s new Police Captain, Clay Street Homeless Shelter Operator & the new interim Parks administrator.
Sadly many of us know crime has been a major theme in Greenpoint over the past several months. The situation in North Greenpoint, particularly on Clay Street and the surrounding areas, have become downright dangerous. In the span of less than six months, there have been muggings, assaults, sexual harassment, blatant drug-dealing and worse.
For a refresher on the reported crimes just take a peek at these headlines since July:
If you happened to cross the Pulaski Bridge as of late, you might be wondering when we would be getting that loooong awaited dedicated bike lane. Well Greenpointers, the word is out and we won’t have to wait much longer. Starting September 13th, the Department of Transportation will finally begin construction.
The project, which has seen setback after setback, seems to have righted itself and commuters might have their own bike lane as early as the end of this year—might being the key word here.
In the land of transportation woes, Greenpoint has got another thing to worry about. It’s a yellow graveyard growing on the outer-edges of Provost Street. No, these aren’t daisies growing in a cemetery; these are the remains of discarded NYC cabbies which nobody wants to claim.
For a good part of the year, this graveyard has crept outside of the crowded taxi dispatch, McGuiness Management Corporation, located on the corner of McGuiness Boulevard and Huron Street and continues to grow outwards onto the surrounding streets. With the Uber lobbyists hard at work in Albany and the infusion of green taxis making outer borough pick-ups, yellow taxis are feeling the pinch. Their carcasses can be seen snaking their way onto Provost Street, filling up side blocks all the way from Huron down to Freeman Street.
Imagine sitting under the moonlight surrounded by overflowing vines loaded with nighttime blooms. A soft breeze rustles through leaves and tickles petals from their open blossoms. A minute later a warm rush of honey, rip figs, and anise fills the air. Immediately you want to wrap yourself in this decadent scent of earthly delights and bask in it until the sun rises.
Welcome to the evocative world of Tal Shpantzer, a long time Greenpoint resident whose photo exploration of the dark feminine mystic and fragrance play out in real life.
Some of you might recognize Shpantzer’s photography which has cropped up on HBO’s hit show True Detective, Vogue, and recently on this site. One look at this work and you’ll see there is more than meets the image; Tal has an enviable way of making women look and now smell deliciously sexy. But what started as a photographer’s fascination between women’s relationships to flowers took her to places even she couldn’t imagine.
Whether you what to cheer or sneer, Citi Bike has begun the first wave of its Greenpoint bike installations. Over the weekend, rows of blue bikes cropped up on streets like tactical operatives ready to whisk us off at any minute. Following in the footsteps of other bike sharing programs in cities like Paris, Rome and Mexico City, Citi Bike’s expansion into Brooklyn was designed to ease city street congestion and give commuters an alternative means of transportation.
Until the end of this month Citi Bike is luring new customers by offering a $25 dollars discount off the $149 yearly membership. Sign into the Citi Bike club and you’ll be able to take those shiny new wheels to your next destination, so long as each ride is 45 minutes or less.
Before you hit the starting gate familiarize yourselves with NYC’s bike riding traffic rules. And now, without further adieu, let’s check out where all these blue babies are parked around the hood.
We all know Greenpoint has a rep as being a pretty filthy hood. Not only do we process the lion’s share of NYC’s poop, but our backyard is infamous for its catastrophic oil spills and industrial superfund sites. Unfortunately, Greenpoint has and still remains a dumping ground for a myriad of things.
Our current garbage situation is so out of control, several test programs have been implemented to eliminate the scourge: The smelly composting pilot program, Big Belly Solar Compactor Cans installed on select corners, and we even have a neighborhood organization called Curb Your Litter, whose sole mission is to clean up our streets.
Just to put things into perspective about how insane our trash problem really is, in just one day of cleaning 25 Greenpoint streets, Curb Your Litter plucked 400 lbs of trash from curbs and gutters. Even worse—this poundage doesn’t even include the overflowing NYC garbage cans!
Talk about disgusting.
Now, I’m a proud Greenpointer like the rest of you, but after encountering a recent article declaring Greenpoint as “The Top Neighborhood in NYC for Illegal Dumping”, well…let’s just say I wasn’t feeling very patriot. In fact, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh, yeah? What else is new?”
Got your kayaks and kites ready? If you don’t, better hurry up! This Sunday, the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park are about to make history and they want you in on the action.
This Sunday, August 9th between 12:30 and 2pm,Occupy the Inlet intends to fill up Bushwick Inlet’s waters with as many boats and kayaks as possible. The goal is to put the screws on City Hall to fulfill its promised 28 acre waterfront park before it’s turned into more luxury residential developments.
“The park is being held hostage from us,” says Steve Chesler, a local activist. “We’re getting angrier. Our base has been growing. We’re not going to relent until the administration starts talking about it and engaging our reps in the community.”
A couple of days ago, Greenpointers put out an all-points bulletin for a very special item—a signed 1991 paperback copy of Judy Blume’s revered Are you there God? It’s me Margaret which tragically went missing last week.
Perhaps some of you may have even seen the scotch-taped signs of featuring the worn cover of the book clung to lampposts all over the neighborhood.
The culprit behind the treasured book’s disappearance comes from none other than a loving husband named Leonard Lasek, who accidentally threw out the book while cleaning up his apartment. According to the neighborhood notice, Lasek admitted, “I accidentally gave this book away on Saturday July 25th in a box on the corner of Green & Franklin. This book is extremely important to my wife. It was a keepsake from her mother and is irreplaceable. On the inside cover is a note that reads ‘Christmas 1991.’ If you happened to pick up this book can you please get in touch with me.”
Good news for the trouble husband, Judy Blume got on the case.
Two weeks ago Greenpoint resident and local watch repairwoman, Ms. Leokadia Trzaskowska, was sitting at her workbench, like every day for the past 26 years, and had the unimaginable happen. A NYC Marshal stormed into her shop, not get a watch fixed, but to announce that the 77 year old was to leave the premises immediately. With no time to spare, the woman grabbed her purse and watched in confusion as a padlock was put on the door.
For the last 26 years Ms. Trzaskowska has sat in the window of the Sunshine Laundromat tinkering with gears and tiny screws, repairing a lifetime of watches from ending in the up in garbage heaps. All of her specialized tools, her passport, and essentially her life’s work was now being kept under the auspices of a commercial possession.
Recent developments are underway to turn the festering superfund site into affordable luxury apartments. Disturbed at that thought? Chew on this: Beneath Nuhart’s property there is a 40,000 to 60,000 gallon pool of thick plastic phlalates deep enough to swim in and two large plumes of TCE (a volatile organic compound) SPREADING to nearby streets. All of these chemicals are considered hazardous to human health.
In the very near future these toxins will be unearthed and removed, and yes, we neighbors need to know how we will be affected. Come meet our new community advisor, and superfund guru, Dr.Peter deFur, this Monday night and find out what Nuhart’s clean-up means for residents in the upcoming months.