By Aaron Simon

171 Calyer Street Development Presented at Community Board Meeting

The proposed development at 171 Calyer St. – rendering view from Calyer and Lorimer Streets

A presentation at Thursday’s Brooklyn Community Board 1 meeting covered the proposed development of a seven-story mixed-use building with 33 apartments and ground-floor retail at 171 Calyer St., which is within the Greenpoint Historic District.

The corner of Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street (via Google Maps)

A representative for the developer of the building, which is owned by Salomon Cojab who purchased the building in 1977, unveiled the renderings of 171 Calyer St. last night.

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Holocaust Revisionist Falsely Advertised Warsaw Speech According to Venue Staff

Warsaw (261 Nassau Ave) (via Google Maps)

The Holocaust revisionist Edward Reid who advertised an upcoming speech in Greenpoint at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) allegedly scheduled for this Sunday never ran it by the venue. “It was never actually booked, they put up this poster without our consent,” said Adam Romanowski, production manager at Warsaw. The event was never listed on Warsaw’s internal calendar he said.

Romanowski said he became aware of Reid’s marketing of the speech this morning when Warsaw’s social media was flooded with complaints.

A flyer circulated online and shared by Reid this week lists his appearance at Warsaw in Greenpoint on Sunday, August 25th and a separate speech in New Britan, CT.

Reid has published videos online claiming “Jewish collaboration” in Poland during the Holocaust which resulted in YouTube banning his account. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Warsaw to Host a Holocaust Revisionist for Second Time This Year

Edward Reid, a known Holocaust revisionist, is scheduled to speak at Warsaw in Greenpoint.

For the second time this year, local music hall Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave.) will host a Holocaust revisionist. Edward Reid, who is scheduled to speak this Sunday at Warsaw, is a self-proclaimed Polish history expert supported by crowdfunding campaigns to “disprove the disinformation that is propagated against Poland” with video content that blames “Jewish collaboration” in Poland during the Holocaust.

Reid’s Patreon (a crowdfunding platform) speaks for itself:

My intention is to disprove the disinformation that is propagated against Poland by using historical accuracy and setting the record straight. For many years and especially now, Poland has been slandered in many ways, especially being accused of being a collaborationist county with the Nazis, as well as overwhelmingly antisemitic, which is absolutely not factual.

This is part of an agenda that is used for many reasons, partially by the Holocaust organizations as well as to maintain the status of keeping one people as the only sacred victim, disregarding others, monopolizing suffering to keep the Poles out of this “holy 6 million”.

To isolate others from their proper place as victims of the terror of Nazism is dishonorable and shameful and to then place those people in the aggressor camp is heartless. For anyone who cares about the truth and passing on the sanctity of the deaths of three million beautiful souls that perished, it is important to fight this attack on the Polish honor.

Reid has been banned from YouTube for alleged hate speech:

Local politicians including NYC Councilmember Stephen Levin spoke out last June when Warsaw hosted Ewa Kurek, who has also claimed that Jewish people collaborated with Nazis.

Reid promoted his Warsaw event this week on Twitter as a discussion that Poland is “facing next week.” :

Earlier this year Robert Winnicki, a far-right leader of Poland’s National Movement, spoke at a now-shuttered Greenpoint restaurant.

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From Greenpoint to Albany: Safe Way Home Act Awaits Governor Cuomo’s Signature

NY State Senate chamber (courtesy of Flickr/JVL)

A new state law that began in Greenpoint as a crowdfunding campaign to provide sexual assault victims free transportation home from the hospital following treatment is headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final approval.

The Safe Way Home Act (Senate Bill S3966A) unanimously passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly in June and the bill is headed to the Governor, whose 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda passed legislation this year including criminalizing revenge porn and strengthening workplace harassment protections.

Deborah Spiroff, a Greenpoint resident since 2004, and a volunteer for the past two years at Wycoff Heights Medical Center’s Violence Intervention Treatment Program raised concerns for sexual assault survivors who have no choice but to walk home alone after being discharged from the hospital.

“I’ve had more than one case where after the person has been treated they’re just released, and they literally were walking home from Wycoff Hospital at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning,” Spiroff told Greenpointers last winter when the bill was first introduced.

Sprioff launched the initial GoFundMe campaign raising $750 for survivors and began reaching out to local elected officials. State Assemblyman Joe Lentol introduced the Safe Way Home Act after meeting with Spiroff and State Senator Julia Salazar sponsored the bill.

“The creation of programs to better our communities frequently come straight from those experiencing problems,” Lentol said in a statement. “I am happy to say the Safe Way Home Act was yet another incredible achievement spearheaded from a constituent. Deborah Spiroff saw a problem and found a solution,” he said.

“Sexual assault survivors deserve the highest standard of care, and part of that includes a ride home after what is often the most traumatic day of the victim’s life,” Salazar said in a separate statement. “This is common-sense legislation that shows the positive results of people getting involved in their community and in their government. I am grateful to Deborah Spiroff for bringing this issue to my attention and to Assemblyman Lentol for working with me to pass this bill into law.”

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Petroleum Build up in Sewer Lines Caused Vapors City and State Reps Say

The petroleum vapors town hall on 6/12 in Greenpoint

The recent spike in petroleum odors in Greenpoint homes was the topic of discussion on Wednesday night at the second town hall this year hosted by the North Brooklyn Neighbors at the Polish and Slavic Civic Center (176 Java St.).


Representatives from the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection, Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene amd the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation provided updates on the pretorium vapors centered around Freeman, Huron, and Green Streets.

The DEP flushing sewer lines on McGuiness Blvd and Huron Street in May, 2019,

The DEC confirmed that petroleum product had recently built up in the “tight” sewer lines in the northern section of Greenpoint where multiple residents, including Freeman Street resident Mary Cinadr, have been relocated from due to vapors. The DEP has been flushing sewer lines in the area and said that petroleum vapors have reduced to safe levels.

A quick side note: if you detect petroleum vapors are present in your home then dial the DEC spill hotline at 1-800-457-7362 and call 311 (remember to write down the complaint number).

The vapor complaints that have been coming into 311 and 911 haven’t always made it to DEC in time for air sampling, as was the case with the preschool evacuating on Java St. on May 23rd, which DEC rep. Rodney Rivera said was a “chemical odor,” despite audience members claiming that a gas smell was detected prior to the school evacuation.  Continue reading

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Lack of Drainage Under India Street May Take Years to Fix

Commuters cross the flooded India Street entrance to the NYC Ferry during the rain on Wednesday evening (via Jonathan Vanasco)

The routine flooding of the India Street entrance to the NYC Ferry is finally receiving attention from city officials, but the lack of sewage and drainage infrastructure underneath the street may take years to fully construct, NBC 4 reports.

NBC 4 paid a visit to India Street to speak with Greenpoint ferry commuters on Thursday to see how they’re dealing with the flood waters, that Greenpointers reported is an ongoing problem. The current makeshift pedestrian walkway is sandwiched between “The Greenpoint” waterfront development and construction fences in an area prone to flooding.

 

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Taking the #eastriverferry is usually great. I have 11 screws in my foot and take it daily; until this happens. The flooding is a constant when over a 1” downfall occurs and began only once this 40+ story high rise started going up on India Street. As a trained architect and Professor of Architecture in Brooklyn, I’m ashamed of this developer, the contractor, the mayor and our borough “reps” who haven’t stepped up sooner. No one cares about ADA? Or simply doing the right thing and fixing infrastructure? @nycmayor wants to develop more AND run for President, all while not taking care of his own own city? What a joke. Kudos to @greenpointers and NBC 4 news for following up on this over many of our travelers stories recently. My first photo was from December 2018. @billdeblasio @nycmayor @nyc @eastriverferry #yoelgoldman #mackrealestategroup #palinenterprises #ismaelleyvaarchitects #pandisciogreen ? Really?? @newyorkyimby #urbandevelopmentpartners @nyccouncil #councilmanstephenlevin

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“It’s impacting hundreds of commuters and it totally undermines all of our efforts to have the ferry be a viable way to commute to work,” NYC Councilman Stephen Levin tells NBC 4 in the video.

“It’s still a public street from our understanding, which means as far as I can tell, that it’s the city’s responsibility to make sure there’s adequate drainage,” Levin said.

NYC Ferry canceled service to the India St. stop in Greenpoint on Thursday night.

The NYC Ferry implemented a shuttle bus to transport commuters last night as service at India Street was bypassed during the rain. Serviced returned to normal on Friday morning.

The official reason for last night’s ferry service disruption was “ponding” along India Street.

A city spokesman told NBC 4 that they’re “working on a long-term solution to get the sewers up and running,” but that may take “years.”

 

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India Street Routinely Flooded for NYC Ferry Riders

Flooded India Street on 5/29 (via Jonathan Vanasco)

The India Street pier entrance has been flooding for months during rain episodes and multiple people have reached out to Greenpointers with photos from last night’s flooded commute.

Flooded India Street next to “The Greenpoint” on 5/29 during the rain (via Sean Hart)

“I love the ferry, I feel like most people in Greenpoint who take it, love it,” said Sean Hart, a Greenpoint resident who takes the ferry at India Street approximately three to five times per week.

The flooded India Street entrance on 5/29 during the rain (via Sean Hart)

But Hart’s love for the ferry has come with multiple instances of dodging the flood waters on India Street next to “The Greenpoint” development, where pedestrians are prohibited from accessing the new walkway that is policed by construction workers.

“A few months ago, I went to take the ferry, it was on a rainy day as well, and I noticed a similar level of flood and I wasn’t sure what to do,” Hart said.

“I remember even stepping over to the area where the condo is and I remember there was a pretty rude angry foreman,” he said.

The flooded India Street entrance on 5/29 during the rain (via Sean Hart)

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Gas Odor Causes Greenpoint Preschool Evacuation

176 Java St. (Google Maps)

Gas odors resulted in the temporary evacuation of preschool children from the Greenpoint YMCA’s Early Childhood Center in the Polish and Slavic Center at 176 Java St. on Thursday morning, according to a parent whose child was evacuated.

The YMCA Early Childhood Program director Linda Leahy alerted parents around 9 a.m. this morning that gas odors were detected on the third floor of the building, according to the Greenpoint parent.

A teacher at the preschool said that the smell was from a potential gas leak and that the odor was strong enough for the children to be evacuated to the Greenpoint YMCA at 99 Meserole Ave. in the rain.

FDNY arrived at 176 Java St and determined the building to be safe; school staff and children returned to the building around noon today.

Separately, a rash of reported gas vapors seeping into residential buildings centered around Huron and Freeman Streets lead to a community meeting in Greenpoint earlier this month with the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, North Brooklyn Neighbors and local elected reps.

The North Brooklyn Neighbors map of recently reported gas vapors (blue markers are vapors reported prior to the meeting; orange markers are reported indoor vapors; smaller orange dots are reported outdoor vapors; yellow markers are both indoor and outdoor vapor reports)

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Horti Play Opens Experiential Plant Store in Greenpoint

The new Horti Play space at 70 Eckford St. (courtesy of Horti)

When the Greenpoint-based plant subscription service Horti started about two years ago co-founders Puneet Sabharwal and Bryana Sortino began shipping houseplants to friends and quickly found great interest from a growing network of aspiring green-thumbs.

Inside Horti Play (courtesy of Horti)

Now that Horti’s subscription-based business has taken off, Sabharwal and Sortino premiered their first brick and mortar location, Horti Play, at 70 Eckford St. two weeks ago pushing the boundaries to redefine what a retail plant shop can be.

Horti Play defines itself as an “experiential space, designed to help our community form connections with plants and also with plant-loving people.”

“A lot of times people walk into plant stores and most of the decisions are based on transaction,” said Sabharwal who said he was inspired to start his own business and improve his relationship to nature after spending “years behind the keyboard,” at his former job.

The plants that Horti ships out to their subscribers come with care instructions to help novice-level gardeners’ skill-sets grow with their plants.

Building upon the educational aspect, Sabharwal envisions Horti Play as space for people to learn new skills and share ideas.

Horti Play also works as Horti’s office space, and subscribers have access to Horti Play during weekdays, while the general public can visit on the weekends for drop-ins or for classes and events. “We’re not trying to push plants onto people,” Sabharwal said.

Co-founders Puneet Sabharwal and Bryana Sortino (compliments of Horti)

Sabharwal spent the first 18 years of his life in Delhi, India and has lived in Greenpoint since 2011.

“I grew up on a commune basically, so this mentality of building a community is engrained in me. I’m not really a person that is constantly looking for transactional values, so I’m trying to minimize that aspect for our retail showroom as well, so that people don’t feel like the only way to be in the space is with an exchange.”

Horti Play features a selection of titles curated by Word bookstore.

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Vermin Infested Williamsburg Starbucks Is Closed Again

Starbucks at 154 N 7 St. (Google Maps)

The Starbucks located at 154 N 7 St. in Williamsburg has shut down again following a temporary closure earlier this month after an employee/whistleblower reported a vermin infestation prompting an inspection from the Dept. of Health.

Brown paper was taped over the front doors to the Williamsburg Starbucks on Friday morning with a sign stating “Store Closed,” pointing customers to nearby locations.

It’s unclear if the latest closure is permanent or related to the vermin infestation that resulted in the corporate coffee chain receiving a “C” during a visit from the city on April 30th when inspectors found:

1) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
2) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
3) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

Inspectors returned a few days later after Starbucks reopened on May 2nd and still found unsanitary conditions related to vermin: “Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.” Continue reading

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