News

Participatory Budgeting Meetings Tonight & Next Week (9/20 & 9/27)

For the past few years, City Council Member Stephen Levin has allowed the residents of District 33 to decide how to allocate at least $1 million of discretionary funds. And it’s time to submit ideas for next year! Need some inspiration? Here are winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). Or you can help Stephen Levin and his team brainstorm ideas at one of the upcoming neighborhood meetings!

Participatory budgeting has been going on in New York City for seven years now with District 33 joining during the second year. In short, “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Yes, voters directly decide which of the proposed projects they feel should be funded and the popular vote wins. Projects are funded until the available money runs out. Earlier this year, 3,789 turned out to vote with the winners including bus clocks along the B62/B32 bus routes; a STEAM Lab for Samuel Dupont Elementary School/P.S. 31 (75 Meserole St); and upgraded electrical wiring at Monitor School/P.S. 110 (124 Monitor St). Continue reading

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Achievable Goals: The New York Sorta Marathon Comes to McCarren Park 11/12

Zach Broussard, Future Marathon Runner. Via Kickstarter
Zach Broussard, Future Marathon Runner. Via Kickstarter

Why run when you could walk? That seems to be question guiding this fall’s newest athletic not-quite-feat: The New York Sorta Marathon. Organized by comedian and former Greenpointer Zach Broussard, the Sorta Marathon is the first short marathon. Instead of 26.2 miles, the length of a traditional marathon, the race clocks in at just .2 miles.

Broussard explores some hard truths about marathons in his YouTube promo video for the event, including this rock-hard reality: 26.2 miles is way too long for most people. Designed to be a race anyone can finish, the event’s Kickstarter page exalts, “finally, a marathon FOR THE PEOPLE.” Broussard knows that not all of us have the time or the ability to train for a traditional race, but that we all face challenges personally or globally. So, how can we feel good? Skip the running and go straight to the runner’s-high! He told me, “lots of our online experience is watching people brag about things that are sometimes out of our own reach. So I thought it would be fun to create an event that allowed literally anyone the chance to brag about some crazy accomplishment.” Continue reading

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Final Demolition of the Kosciuszko Bridge set for 9/24

The end of the old Kosciusko Bridge. Via Brooklyn Paper
The end of the old Kosciuszko Bridge. Via Brooklyn Paper

So far this summer, New Yorkers have reacted to the demolition of the Old Kosciuszko Bridge in a variety of expressive ways. There were the illicit parties held on the Bridge ahead of the scheduled July demolition, and the group of urban vigilantes ready to defend the bridge from demise with wolves and swords.

The city itself decided on a more muted end to the 1939 span that crosses Newtown Creek, connecting Greenpoint to Maspeth, Queens, than these events, or even the Bridge’s namesake, Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Revolutionary hero in both Poland and the United States, might warrant. Instead of the scheduled July explosion, the main span of the bridge was lowered onto a barge in Newtown Creek.

But, anyone who was hoping the bridge would go out with a bang can get psyched. According to Brooklyn Paper and DNAinfo, head of the 94th Precinct, Captain Peter Rose, has announced that the Brooklyn and Queens approaches of the old bridge will be detonated in a controlled explosion around 5am on Sunday, September 24.

That date is tentatively scheduled, and may be subject to change depending on a variety of factors including weather, but that hasn’t stopped the Newtown Creek Alliance from creating a map of the best places to watch the demolition. Check it out here to stake out your spot for the Big Bang!

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Future of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector Streetcar BQX is Uncertain

Image credit: Friends of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector

After a recently leaked city hall memo suggested that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed streetcar connecting Brooklyn and Queens may be both “unaffordable” and “unfeasible,” the future of the project is unclear.

Originally announced in February 2016, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, known as the BQX, would run along a 14-mile route, connecting Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Before hiring the former chairman of the Toronto Transit Commission, Adam Giambrone, to head the project, the city estimated the cost of the streetcar would be $2.5 billion, generating an estimated economic impact of $25 billion over the next 30 years. Utilizing existing rails from 20th century trolley cars, the trip from end-to-end would last about 30 minutes and cost you a swipe of your MetroCard. The route has yet to be finalized, but the city proposes the streetcar travel through Greenpoint via Franklin Street, Manhattan Avenue, or McGuiness Boulevard, necessitating the redesign of the Pulaski Bridge or the construction of an alternate path over the Newtown Creek. Continue reading

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Explore Kingsland Wildflowers’ Flourishing Green Roofs this Saturday (9/23)! Food, Beer, Talks, Tours & More!

Join The Kingsland Wildflowers Festival this Saturday, September 23rd (12-4pm) and explore three flourishing green roofs! Entering into its second year, the 22,000 square foot Broadway Stages’ rooftop space has been planted with a mix of indigenous grasses and wildflowers native to the New York landscape. Community organizations will be tabling and running activities to engage families and children. The festival offers access for Brooklyn residents to learn about environmental initiatives while exploring green infrastructure dedicated to native plants and birds.

Festival Details

When? Saturday, September 23rd 12pm-4pm
Where? Broadway Stages (520 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn 11222)
RSVP on Facebook

Activities

Tours of green roofs with wildlife and plant experts
Interactive activities for kids and families
Music, food, and beer from local breweries
Partner community organizations discussing local conservation projects
Panoramic views of Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Queens

How to get there: Kingsland Wildflowers is accessible by the G train (Greenpoint Avenue stop)-Check weekend MTA schedules!, and by the B24 bus at Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue. Continue reading

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Pricey Penthouses, Historic Preservation and a Panel on the L-Pocolypse — The Hook-up 9/15

Ready to move into Greenpoint's Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park
Ready to move into Greenpoint’s Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park

Even though The New York Times has decreed that 2017 is the “Year of the Renter,” The developers over at 868 Lormier on the Park are hoping you’re in the mood to buy. They’re asking $4.01 Million for a 3 bedroom duplex penthouse. If a sale closes at that price, it will be the most expensive condo ever sold in Greenpoint.

Meanwhile, developers were thwarted on Tuesday at 111 Noble Street in Greenpoint’s Historic District. The building’s owner failed to convince the Landmark’s Preservation Commission that the building was structurally unsound and needed to be demolished to make room for a modern apartment building.

Speaking of structurally unsound… The MTA. Last Thursday, Transportation Alternatives hosted a panel of city council members and community groups at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue) to discuss the coming L-Pocolypse, and how the city might make use of alternate transit to handle the L train closure. Continue reading

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The Coolest Church in Greenpoint: An Interview with Pastor Amy of the Park Church Co-op

Pastor Amy Kienzle at the Park Church Co-Op. All photos by Ian Hartsoe.
Pastor Amy Kienzle at the Park Church Co-Op. All photos by Ian Hartsoe.

Judgment-free dance parties. Concerts. Farmers Markets. Storytelling Events. It might sound like Greenpoint just got a sweet new venue, but actually, all these events take place at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street), which is hands down the coolest church in Greenpoint. In 2015, the Park Church Co-op emerged out of what had been Messiah Lutheran Church, opposite McGolrick Park. At that time, Greenpointers sat down with Pastor Amy Kienzle, to learn more about the shifting nature of the congregation on Russell Street, and the Co-op’s open, community oriented approach to spirituality. I sat down with Pastor Amy last week to find out how the Co-Op has grown into one of the most exciting community spaces in the neighborhood.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Bugs, Bulls Fans and Back to School — the Hook-up 9/8

Transmitter Park, a leafy oasis on Labor Day or any day. Photo by Lucie Levine
Transmitter Park, a leafy oasis on Labor Day or any day. Photo by Lucie Levine

Even though Labor Day began as a New York City tradition, lots of us like to get out of town over the holiday. If you were off soaking up the last days of summer outside of the lush tropical paradise that is North Brooklyn, catch up on local news here!

Those who stuck around Greenpoint this holiday weekend had the opportunity to sample some unusual eats during the first annual Brooklyn Bugs Festival, “NYC’s first festival dedicated to edible insects.”

Meanwhile, at Mingstar Liquor (598 Grand Street) they were in a decidedly less festive mood on Monday night when a man in a Chicago Bulls cap held up the store, and walked off with $1,500.

School doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but parents in Greenpoint were gearing up even before the weekend began. Last Thursday night, moms, dads and caregivers went full rock-concert and came out with folding chairs and tents, ready to stake out a spot in line to register their children for the Early Childhood program at the Greenpoint YMCA (99 Meserole Avenue).

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Newtown Creek Alliance is Looking for Volunteers this weekend

Newtown Creek Alliance Going for the Knockout
Newtown Creek Alliance Going for the Knockout. Via Newtown Creek Alliance’s facebook page.

Didn’t Catch the match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor? No worries, you can have a knockout of your own this weekend! Newtown Creek Alliance is looking for volunteers to help with its Knotweed Knockout at Penny Bridge. 

Via Newtown Creek Alliance:

A continuation of our cleanup work at the Penny Bridge site, we are looking for volunteers to help us with weeding and path-making. The vicious Japanese Knotweed, along with other weeds are overtaking portions of the site and we will focus heavily on removing the plant from certain areas for path-making and planting of native pollinator species.  Gloves, shovels, trash bags and all other needed materials will be provided. 

Saturday, September 9th
Sunday, September 10th
11am to 3pm
Location: Where Meeker Avenue dead ends at Newtown Creek (Greenpoint)

You can find a map to the location here.

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VENDOR CALL! Festival of Lights Fall Market! (Sunday, October 1st)

Poster design by Jen Keenan (@charming_nyc)
Hey creative crafters and makers of food, art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, etc! Sell your products at our Festival of Lights Fall Market on Sunday, October 1st, 2017!
We are expecting 3,000+ shoppers to join us for a day full of free fun activities, live music, and shopping in one of the most beautifully restored historic spaces in Brooklyn.
Greenpoint Loft will glow with lanterns and light as we celebrate harvest, renewal, community, and creativity. We want to immerse ourselves in positive vibes and fun as we always do in our markets!
Hot buttered rum with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum will be back! Plus live music, refreshing craft beer by Greenpoint Beer & Ale, illuminated photo booth design, and free fun activities like henna, massages, rooftop yoga, tarot card readings, nail art, and more!)
We have limited space so the faster you sign up, the better chance you have to secure a spot.
NOTE: Vendor spaces are reserved for local independent makers and small businesses. If you are a corporate level business and want to be a sponsor, please apply here.

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