News

Art, Urban Equity and Brooklyn in Albany — The Hook-up 12/15

#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram
#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram

Last week, I had the privilege to see a remastered print of Ken Burns’ 1981 film, Brooklyn Bridge, at the Brooklyn Museum. The documentary had me feeling all the feelings for the Bridge and the borough. But it’s not just the Great Bridge that’s been inspiring Brooklyn this week. In fact, our very own Newtown Creek has been inspiring equitable urban greening and environmental activism here in the neighborhood, and around the country. For example, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk was cited as a project for the neighborhood that avoids environmental gentrification.

Further, brothers Gary and Sam Bencheghib took to the mighty waters of Newtown Creek in their series  #BroCleanBKLN. On December 2nd, the pair paddled both the Creek and Gowanus Canal to highlight pollution in Brooklyn, and advocate for cleaner waterways.  Continue reading

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Meet Captain William Glynn, the New Head of the 94th Precinct

Captain William E. Glynn
Captain William E. Glynn via Twitter

Captain William E. Glynn took over as commanding officer of the 94th Precinct on November 22nd, and formally introduced himself to Greenpoint at the Community Council Meeting on December 6th. At the meeting, he explained that his personal philosophy of community-oriented policing comes down to “names, faces, places,” and since he arrived, he has been getting to know members of the community. I sat down with Captain Glynn on Monday to learn more about his career as an officer, and about his vision for the future of the 94th.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity  Continue reading

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On the Struggle Bus: The MTA finally reveals its plans for L-Pocalypse

Alternate Service during L-Pocalypse via Free Williamsburg

As we reported earlier this week, the MTA has taken a glacial approach to coming up with an alternative transit plan for commuters who will be affected when L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn shuts down for 15 months beginning in April 2019. But, lo and behold! It’s here! The MTA’s transit plan.

The big fix? Busses and bike lanes.

  • The MTA plans to create a dedicated “busway,” and upgrade Select Bus Service along 14th street.
  • While the DOT refuses to designate bus lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge, the outer-deck of the span will be a dedicated HOV3+ lanes at rush hour, catering to busses, trucks and vehicles making right turns.
  • Bike traffic is expected to double, so 13th will feature Manhattan’s first two-way protected crosstown bike lane.
  • There will be new pedestrian space around Union Square, and bike parking on University Place
  • Delancey Street will get a protected bike link to the Williamsburg Bridge.

But, the MTA estimates that 80% of the 225,000 riders who take the L between Manhattan and Brooklyn every day will seek alternate subway routes, and thereby turn to the G and J/M/Z trains (oy!).

  • Commuters can expect increased service on those lines, as well as higher capacity G and C trains.
  • There will also be free MetroCard transfers between the Broadway G and the Lorimer and Hewes JMZ trains.
  • Free transfers will also be available between the 3 train at Junius St. and the L at Livonia Avenue.
  • On the weekend, and overnight, the M will run to 96th Street/2nd Avenue.

Read on for information about new ferry services and street improvements!  Continue reading

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THIS THURSDAY (12/14): NAG Environmental Happy Hour!

Muchmore's exterior

Via Neighbors Allied for Good Growth:

Do you want to get involved with a North Brooklyn neighborhood group? Do you care about environmental issues? Join us for a drink! The five-minute presentations are purposefully short so that you’ll have plenty of time to grab a drink and talk directly with the experts and your neighbors.

WHERE: Muchmore’s | 2 Havemeyer St
WHEN: Thursday, Dec 14th 6:30-8:30pm (presentations 7:00-7:30pm)

RSVP on Facebook

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William Sheridan Playground Will Have its First Community Meeting Tonight (12/12)

William Sheridan Playground
William Sheridan Playground via the NYC Parks Department

Friends of William Sheridan Playground welcomes all community members to the Auditorium of PS 84 (250 Berry Street) for a community meeting from 6:15-7:30 tonight. Friends of the Playground hope that everyone in the neighborhood, including “neighbors who don’t have kids enrolled in the school, local business owners and anyone else who would like William Sheridan to be a spot of fun and relaxation for them too.”

What: The first-ever meeting of Friends of William Sheridan Playground

When: 6:15-7:30pm

Where: The Auditorium of PS 84 (250 Berry Street)

Who: All community members

Food: Complimentary light fare and refreshments will be served

RSVP: here

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History of Greenpoint’s Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union

You may have noticed a Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union (140 Greenpoint Avenue and 100 McGuinness Blvd)  booth this weekend at our Winter Candyland Holiday Market. That’s because the PSFCU is a major supporter of the Greenpoint community as a whole, celebrating over 40 years in the neighborhood!

The PSFCU owes it community-oriented nature to the way it’s structured. Unlike banks, credit unions are member owned, which means a credit union is “an integral part of the community it serves; profits earned by a credit union serve all its members and the local community they represent, including various community organizations (schools, churches, scouting and student organizations, etc.).” This year’s donations included Greenpoint organizations like the Slavic Arts Ensemble, and The Polonia NY Soccer Club

PSFCU at our Spring Market 2017

The PSFCU has been serving Greenpoint since 1976, aiding immigrants new to the neighborhood who were turned away from traditional banks when they applied for home loans. What we know today as PSFCU was established as the “Industrial and Commercial Federal Credit Union” by the founders of Greenpoint’s Polish and Slavic Center (177 Kent St. and 176 Java Street).  Continue reading

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Need a Perfect Gift? Preview the Sugar x Spice Holiday Makers Market! (12/17)

sugar-x-spice-market_brooklyn-bazaar_greenpointers_mclarsenHoliday markets are a beloved Brooklyn tradition (you know we love ’em). This year, a brand-spankin’ new one is hitting the scene right here in Greenpoint! It’s the Sugar x Spice Holiday Markers Market (RSVP here for updates), happening this Sunday, December 17th from 1:00–6:00pm at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Ave.)

The market’s 30+ vendors will include a full range of gift-ready wares, from eco-friendly clothing to artisanal dioramas, bath and body products, handmade jewelry, crocheted accessories, stationery, artwork and more.

Extra-festive fun awaits in the form of a free wintry photobooth, live performances, tarot card reading and other seasonal surprises. If that’s not enough to convince you, the first 20 customers are getting gift bags at the door… and they don’t even have to be on the “nice” list!

If you’re looking for the perfect gift or you just want to support small businesses and artists in our area, you owe it to yourself to come by this quirky, fun market. Did we mention? Admission is free! Be sure to RSVP here, and pop a note on your calendar! Read on for a preview of some of the creative, stylin’ vendors…

Continue reading

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The City is Still Without a Plan for L-pocalypse and North Brooklyn is Trying to Hold Leaders Accountable

L-Pocalypse Press Conference
Photo by Victoria Varney

When it comes to the Zombie Apocalypse, you’re officially covered. The Pentagon has been prepared to resist the undead menace since 2011, when the headquarters of United States strategic command compiled a “Counter-Zombie Dominance” plan. This is absolutely a real thing. The document even carries the disclaimer, “this plan was not actually designed as a joke,” but instead as “a useful and effective training tool.” Other useful and effective tools that may help you in planning for the Zombie Apocalypse include the Center for Disease Control’s Zombie Preparedness Campaign, and this handy list of the 25 Best Majors for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about the eminent L Train Shutdown, the 15-month transit closure planned to take effect in April 2019, when the the MTA will repair the Canarsie Tunnel, it seems you may have no such survival guides. According to The Village Voice, the City and the MTA have no plan in place for how they’ll get the L Train’s 200,000 daily riders between Manhattan and Brooklyn and back again.

On Tuesday, December 5th, North Brooklyn community activists led by The L Train Coalition and local politicians, held a press conference at The West BK (379 Union Avenue) calling on the MTA and DOT to meet with community representatives before the end of the year. A media release for the event said, “the community needs a report of the current plans for transportation remediation, a serious discussion around help for local businesses, and any street use changes proposed by the Department of Transportation. We will also call for a commitment by the responsible agencies and their contractors to meet with a community advisory board on a monthly basis starting in January 2018.” The coalition also invited community members to get involved in the campaign.  Continue reading

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Going Postal: The Woes of the South 4th Street Post Office

South 4th Street Post Office via Pinterest
South 4th Street Post Office via Pinterest

There are a lot of post offices in New York City, from grand Beaux Arts gems to inspiring Art Deco projects. A survey of New York post offices can offer a look at the changing tides of civic architecture and urban planning in the five boroughs. Or, entering a post office can mean leaping into a shadowy vortex of shoddy service and lost packages. It’s really one or the other.

North Brooklyn’s post offices have gained some notoriety for being less than user-friendly. Greenpoint’s own branch, the Greenpoint Post Office (66 Meserole Avenue) became a crime scene in October when one employee was charged with stealing packages, electronics and nearly $10,000 worth of stamps over a two year period.

But even a stamp heist can’t complete with the goings-on at Williamsburg’s South Fourth Street Post Office (263 South 4th Street), a location Yelp users have called “The Bermuda Triangle of post offices” and “Hell personified in a post office.”

The branch has received one star on Yelp, and a total of 283 scathing reviews. Is it the worst post office in the city? Many aggrieved users seem to think so. Want to show the branch a little love? Have a thing for post offices no dower mail carrier can dampen? Sound off with positive vibes for the Williamsburg PO in the comments.

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Suspects, Signage and Skyscrapers — The Hook-up (12/8)

Portable Train Signs
Via The NY Daily News

Here at Greenpointers, we’re gearing up for our Winter Candyland Holiday Market, and we hope you’ll join us on Sunday for the fun at the Greenpoint Loft (67 West Street). Meanwhile, around town, buildings are going up, criminals are being taken down, and the subway, as ever, is running with delays.

Most important, the NYPD has apprehended suspects in the last week’s violent robbery. The alleged attackers assailed a 61-year-old Greenpoint woman in the lobby of her building.

The case is being handled amidst changes at the 94th precinct, where Captain William E. Glynn has taken over command from Captain Pete Rose, who was promoted to Deputy Inspector.

Speaking of changes in the neighborhood, more permits have been filed for new towers on the Greenpoint waterfront, as industrial businesses in Williamsburg flee the neighborhood.

And, of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, which means the subway is being held due to train traffic ahead of us. While many North Brooklynites decry the lack of an official contingency plan for fast-approaching L-pocolypse, some are spreading information about the system in a novel way. The NYC Train Sign Company in Bushwick is making subway countdown signs for homes and businesses based on real-time MTA data. 

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