By Steph Koyfman

About Steph Koyfman

Steph divides her time between writing about stuff happening in 2015 and dancing to jazz-era music. She calls the swanky Newtown Creek waterfront home. Follow her on Twitter: @stephkoyfman

Then and Now: The Monitor School Gets Historical

That's one way to examine the past.
That’s one way to examine the past.

What’s more adorable than kids being kids…next to cardboard cutouts of kids whose heyday was more than a century ago?

In celebration of the 120th anniversary school year of The Monitor School (PS110), the neighborhood kids recently observed Historical Photo Day.

For this occasion, each class posed with a cardboard cutout of a class photo from 120 years ago. But it was a thoughtful pose, because the kids spent a week leading up to the photo shoot analyzing the historical photo and talking about the things they have in common with the kids of yesteryear (not to mention what sets them apart). Continue reading

Category: Community, Culture, Historical Greenpoint, News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

All Eyes On You, G Train — The Hook-Up 8/12

Screenshot: Brand New Subway
Screenshot: Brand New Subway
 
NAG’s beta-test for its ToxiCity Map is over. Now, take a gander at the fully complete version of this interactive guide to the environmental hazards lurking in your backyard.
 
Podiatric peril in Greenpoint: a dog bit a poor housekeeper’s toe off in a luxury condo.
 
The New York Times writes: “Once Mocked, the G Train Is Now Cool. Kind Of.”
 
But that didn’t do anything to persuade NYC Transit chief Ronnie Hakim, who denied a request to add more service and cars to the G Train prior to the L Train shutdown and said rush hour service is fine as is.
 
If the reality of all this transit stuff is too much to grapple with, try escaping into a fantasy Sim City land of sorts where you can design the perfect subway system.
 
Polonaise Terrace is about to serve up a different kind of banquet. Brooklyn Night Bazaar is moving in for its Grand Opening weekend on September 9th and 10th.
 
Police are still looking for the perpetrator who killed a cyclist in a hit and run on Grand & Manhattan a month ago — even though the car was found.
 
Have you tasted Maman’s ice cream sandwiches yet? The new cafe is serving McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams out of its new Greenpoint spot.
 
Parents in town? New to the nabe? Here’s the Brooklyn Eagle’s short list of architectural and sightseeing hot spots in Greenpoint.
 
Did you know Newtown Creek had a Nature Walk? Did you know there was nature in Newtown Creek?
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Train Thoughts & Trash Talk — The Hook-Up 7/29

Hey, it gets lonely on the G Track. (Via ReThink Studios)
Hey, it gets lonely on the G Track. (Via ReThink Studios)
Though full-size G Trains are very much on the agenda for the coming L Train shutdown, here’s another thought: extending the E to run along the G track to take the pressure off all of us out here.
 
Because the L Train shutdown is consuming all our thoughts lately, senator Daniel Squadron (plus 32 other officials) are calling on Cuomo, de Blasio, and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast to start working on better solutions now.
 
One more G Train thing and then we’ll stop. Apparently a small number of G Trains are being used as a test group for those futuristic digital display screens you see on other trains from the modern era.
 
Greenpoint’s getting new trashcans, and they’re going in the places community members have suggested. If there’s a spot you’ve got in mind that’s in dire straits for a garbage receptacle, call 311.
 
Things are changing at Five Leaves and Nights and Weekends — but hopefully only in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. Chef Ken Addington is leaving his post there, but he’s apparently got something else up his sleeve.
 
If sewage-related podcasts are your thing, check out this DNAinfo reporter’s chat with Zainool Ali, the manager of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
 
What about urban hikes? Are those your thing? On August 6, Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman will be taking interested parties through our industrial borderlands
 
Investors Bank recently cut the ribbon at its new location on Manhattan Ave. However, it’s already made moves in the community by getting in with local advocacy groups like the Greenpoint YMCA and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation.
 
There’s still time for CitiStorage owner Norm Brodsky to accept the city’s offer of $100 million, but his public auction of the land recently closed, and he’s been playing his cards close to his chest.
 
The Greenpoint entrepreneurs behind spice savant Greenpoint Trading Company are laying on the heat with an expansion into South Bushwick.
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Police Shooting of Armed Suspect Proves Fatal at the Cooper Park Houses

Candles were placed at the site of the shooting. Photo via DNAinfo/William Mathis
Candles were placed at the site of the shooting. Photo via DNAinfo/William Mathis

An armed suspect was fatally shot by police in front of the Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg on Sunday morning.

According to multiple media reports, officers responded at 7:44 a.m. to multiple 911 calls related to at least two armed robberies in the vicinity of the complex.

Witnesses say the suspect, a 42-year-old man named Jermaine Johnson, was threatening people with a gun before the police showed up.

Johnson fired at the cops five times before they shot back, according to the NYPD.

Cops say they fired 12 to 15 shots after Johnson opened fire on them, at least one of which fatally struck him in the torso.

He was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to authorities, Johnson was a Brooklyn resident but did not live in the Cooper Park Houses.

The New York Times spoke to several residents of the housing complex following the incident, who expressed a mixture of gratitude and concern over the use of lethal force.

“We have good neighbors here,” long-time resident Darlene Roman told the New York Times. “We’re working-class people who work hard. We’re safe here, except for today, when an intruder came to our neighborhood. But for the grace of God, we’re safe now. The police did what they had to do.”

When DNAinfo spoke to two of the victims who were accosted by Johnson that morning, they said he wasn’t behaving in a rational manner and was convinced that the victims were federal agents.

The NYPD recovered a .40-caliber handgun at the scene, which they say belonged to Johnson.

Neither of the two officers involved were injured.

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Pokemon Go Takeover, Evolved L Train & Turf Battles at Bushwick Inlet Park — The Hook-Up 7/15

The commute of the future. Via Van Alen Institute.
The commute of the future. Via Van Alen Institute.

2019 isn’t that far off, and it’s certainly not too soon to pit designers against each other to dream up alternative transit solutions for the dreaded L Train Shutdown. Although some fantastical entries included the above Donnie-Darko-esque translucent tunnel, the winning design involved small (and speedy) ferries jetting along Newtown Creek and the East River.

Because roving Transmitter Park on your own is not as fun as joining a marauding gang of eager Pokemon trainers, North Brooklyn will get to enjoy its very own Pokemon Go Bar Crawl next Saturday.
 
Though park advocates have been literally camping out in Bushwick Inlet Park and counting down the days left for CitiStorage owner Norm Brodsky to accept the city’s offer of $100 million, Brodsky recently thumbed his nose at them by putting the site up for public auction.
 
How depraved can you get? Someone allegedly set a homeless man on fire in Transmitter Park. The New York Post being the New York Post, it managed to crack a few jokes at the victim’s expense.
 
There’s something meta about being caught on film while robbing a film set. Police are looking for a man suspected of committing a string of robberies at mostly unlocked production studios around Greenpoint.
 
This architectural game-changer just had its grand opening in Williamsburg on Monday. 
 
After a $315,000 facelift funded by Nike, the McCarren Park skate park is back in action with more ways to do tricks (and keep it safe).
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When Greenpointers Groped in Public Search for Recourse

On a recent afternoon in June, Jane was walking home from the G train when an arm reached out and grabbed her breast in front of Mr. Berry on Manhattan Avenue. It belonged to one of several loud men in their 20s who were standing in a group on the sidewalk.

Enraged, Jane called 911 and started following and filming them as one of the men mooned her. While she waited for police to arrive, the men jeered at her from inside the Triangolo Pizza. Maddeningly, their smugness was validated when police arrived to take a report. They took Jane’s ID but none of theirs—she couldn’t confidently identify who had touched her, so the police told her they technically couldn’t do anything.

“I’m glad they responded quickly but I’m so frustrated nothing else could be done,” she said in an email to Greenpointers following the incident. “I’ve lived in Greenpoint for 8 years and I’ve never felt unsafe and never had any problems like this before. It makes me a little sad that I can’t say that anymore because of a group of idiots.”

Jane had reached out to us in a last-ditch effort because she felt as though she had no other recourse. Of course, that’s not exactly news—sexual assault is notoriously difficult to adequately punish, especially when the victim can’t say for a fact who it was.

But what happens when you successfully apprehend the perp? Continue reading

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Ironic Ironing, Free Citi Bike, & Film Favorites — The Hook-Up 6/17

Meet your local domestic hero. Photo: Sarah Francoise
Meet your local domestic hero. Photo: Sarah Francoise
This is some next-level Marina Abramovic shit. A Greenpoint dad is bringing his love for ironing to Pete’s Candy Store next month, offering to iron everyone’s clothes for free every Tuesday night in July.
 
Could Bedford Avenue be on its way to becoming a safe space for inebriated pedestrians? One local politician is suggesting it be turned into a pedestrian plaza and a right-of-way for the proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar.
 

What do you do to fight toxic waste? Plant more flowers. The city is planting more than 300 rain gardens in Sunnyside, Maspeth and Ridgewood to help relieve the overtaxed sewer systems.

 
This weekend, you can avail yourself of free Citi Bike. Don’t let this opportunity coast away.
 
An award-winning short from the Brooklyn Film Fest is all about that magical-realist charm of Greenpoint. Check out the review.
 
Well, that was quick. One bumbling (or opportunist?) driver was already caught in the bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge.
 
One band got booted from Northside over the drummer’s rape-apologist letter penned in defense of Brock Turner. Here’s some more deflection toward drinking culture.
 
Here’s a first look at the newly converted 108-year-old Eberhard Pencil Factory buildings that had been sitting vacant at 74 Kent Street for so long.
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Cartoon History, Park Drama & Hank the Dog — The Hook-Up 6/3

Via Julia Wertz
Via Julia Wertz

The more you know: now you can learn about Greenpoint’s pastry, vaudeville, and industrial history in comic book fashion thanks to cartoonist Julia Wertz.

Is McCarren Park the new hotspot for attempted abductions? This Reddit forum suggests it might pay to be extra careful when you’re leaving Matchless at 3 a.m.

In the next potential round of Cuomo v. de Blasio: the state might strongarm the city into giving the Williamsburg waterfront its long-awaited park. However, some people would rather it turn into an Industry City-esque Maker Park. 

If “Combined Sewage Overflow” didn’t mean much to you before, you’re about to get a very visceral idea of why people think Newtown Creek is so shitty. However, the Newtown Creek Alliance has news about how local residents can do their part by using less water when it rains.
 
The Calyer Building is getting a makeover. Not to worry, though — the more iconic-looking Green Point Savings Bank will remain intact.
 

Few are thrilled about the prospect of an L Train shutdown, but it seems as though the overwhelming consensus is “get the damn thing over with.” However, “getting the damn thing over with” might actually entail closing 14th Street to car traffic, giving buses and bikes their own dedicated space. 

They say 90% of success is showing up. Or is it 80%? Either way, Greenpoint Democratic district leader Linda Minucci is being taken to task by people who admittedly have a vested interest in seeing her challenger best her.
 
Grub Street is wading into contentious territory here, but here’s its definitive ranking of the best Polish food in Greenpoint.
 
Is this you? Some of your neighbors really wish you’d pick up after your dog. #dogpoopshaming
 
Hank. Hank is Greenpoint’s most popular dog name. #dognameshaming
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Everything You Need to Know As Development Prepares to Go Full-Throttle in Greenpoint

A rendering of a high-rise coming to Greenpoint Landing (via Brookfield Property Partners and Park Tower Group)
A rendering of a high-rise coming to Greenpoint Landing (via Brookfield Property Partners and Park Tower Group)

If the trucks, dust, and noise of recent months haven’t been self-evident enough, the Northwest corner of Greenpoint is now bracing itself for more of the above.

In a meeting held Tuesday between developers, city officials, and community representatives, Council Member Stephen Levin attested to the notion that we’re more or less exiting the warmup phase of the current development cycle and heading for the main event.

“The reality is that the pace of development has sped up over the last six months to a year,” he said. “Even since we first start meeting, the pace of development has really accelerated. That’s because the economy’s doing well, banks are lending, developers are getting in the ground, and things are moving.”

Organized by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), the meeting gave residents an opportunity to ask some tough questions and hear a slightly more unscripted perspective from developers.

Hot topics included Greenpoint Landing, the West Street project (what’s the deal with all those missing trees?), environmental remediation at NuHart, and the not-so-promising future of Greenpoint’s parking situation. The aftermath of the infamous Halloween rave also received some airtime (for those curious, fines will be levied, but the amount is still undetermined).

nuhartThat construction is inevitable (and that it’s inevitably a nuisance) is hardly breaking news, but it seems as though residents still have a window of opportunity to air their concerns and perhaps influence the direction some of this taking. The public comment period for the Nuhart State Superfund remediation, for example, is still coming up.

In the meantime, here are a few of the latest updates from the land of jackhammers drilling into toxic soil. Continue reading

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Bike Raves, Secret Seders & Even More Secret Puddles — The Hook-Up 5/13

Photo by Sunny Jhooty Photography via Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
Photo by Sunny Jhooty Photography via Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
A state study is claiming that there’s no obvious connection between pollution and the increased incidence of health issues in people living near Newtown Creek. But said residents are calling bullshit.
 
It’s no naked bike ride, but there are glowsticks involved. The Brooklyn Bike Rave is happening this Saturday night.
 
There’s a new 90-unit mixed-use residential development going up where seven buildings have been sitting (up til now) at 1050-1066 Manhattan Avenue and 154 Eagle Street. Of course, you can’t make an omelette without demolishing a few existing apartments (and tearing down that iconic J. Josephs & Sons Co. signage), but demolition permits haven’t been filed yet.
 
Passover might be pretty passé at this point in May, but this was too cool not to share. It seems as though the Sunview Luncheonette was home to a secret, alternative Passover Seder.
 
It’s been a while since Greenpoint first caught the attention of the New York Times trend watch, but now it looks like The Wall Street Journal has caught on.
 
It’s happening: the old Polonaise Terrace building is bringing in some new, well-known tenants. The Brooklyn Night Bazaar is moving in and creating a space that’s “much weirder than its predecessor.
 
There’s no place like home, and there’s no place where per-foot condominium sales prices are rising faster.
 
Have you seen this shirtless cyclist who attacked a driver with a bike lock?
 
 

There’s been a debate happening re: how viable that Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar is. A commissioned study seems to say it’s pretty viable.

A group of second graders at P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont won a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. Just look at those faces!
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