News

Unvaccinated Students Banned Following Measles Outbreak in Williamsburg

Following a measles outbreak of 39 confirmed cases in Williamsburg and Borough Park since October, the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene has banned unvaccinated schoolchildren from attending Orthodox Jewish schools in Brooklyn.

The highly contagious virus can infect people of all ages who lack a vaccination. The measles outbreak in Williamsburg stems from children who traveled to Israel, where the country’s Ministry of Health counted over 1,300 measles patients in November of this year. NYC health officials released a statement warning travelers to take caution.

As of December 5, there have been 39 confirmed cases of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn since October. The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional children from Brooklyn who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel.

If you plan to travel to Israel, protect yourself and your family against measles and get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at least two weeks in advance of your trip. If you have traveled to Israel and you have a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose and body rash, contact your doctor. You should call your doctor before going to their office to prevent exposing other people to measles.

As of Friday, Dec. 7, yeshiva students can only attend school if they are vaccinated, even if the student has an approved exemption and/or the yeshiva has no reported measles cases. Unvaccinated students can return to school after receiving the proper shots.

According to the Dept. of Health, pre-k and daycare attending children must have at least one measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and kindergarten through 12th-grade students must have two MMR shots.

Approximately 2 percent of children in the Orthodox community remain unvaccinated for either religious or medical purposes, NBC New York reports.

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Greenpoint Is Third Most Expensive Brookyln Neighborhood to Buy an Apartment

The Playground on Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

Greenpoint is now the third most expensive Brooklyn neighborhood to purchase a home in with a median sale price of $1,225,000, up 37 percent from last year’s $890,969 median sale price, according to Property Sharks’ year-end report. The study’s ranking lists Greenpoint as the 14th most expensive neighborhood citywide.

For the study Property Shark calculated sale prices on single-family homes, condos, and co-ops from January to November 2018.


By this measure, Greenpoint is currently the third most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn behind DUMBO (fifth most expensive in NYC) and Boerum Hill (seventh most expensive in NYC). The report explains that 14 units at 886 Lorimer St. sold for a median of $2.2 million, helping to bump Greenpoint’s average upward.

Rendering of 886 Lorimer St.

Greenpoint ranks 28th out of 50 for most transactions this year, far behind the Upper East Side, which had the largest number of deals this year with 2,150 transactions. Park Slope and Williamsburg take fourth and fifth place in the number of transactions citywide with 434 and 433 respectively.

The largest price drops this year for median sales prices in Brooklyn happened in the neighborhoods of Manhattan Beach (-24 percent) and Brooklyn Heights (-19 percent).

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Chanukah Celebrated at Chabad of North Brooklyns’ Menorah Lighting

 

(Photo courtesy of Peter Kirchhausen)

Chanukah celebrations are Dec. 2 – Dec. 10 this year, and in celebration of the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” a menorah lighting was hosted by the Chabad of North Brooklyn last night at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and N. 7th Street in Williamsburg. If you missed the menorah lighting in Williamsburg, a Greenpoint Chabad-hosted menorah lighting ceremony will take place this Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin Street. Check out the photos and video from the Williamsburg celebration below: 

Posted by Chilly Pete Kirchhausen on Thursday, December 6, 2018

 

Tony Argento, Rabbi Y. Nissim, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, 94th Precint Captain William Glynn(Photo courtesy of Peter Kirchhausen)

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N. 4 Street Retail Prices Soar Ahead of L Train Shutdown

N. 4th Street at Bedford Avenue looking West Google Maps)

N. 4th St. between Driggs Avenue and Kent Avenue had the largest increase in retail rental prices over the last year, where prices increased by 34 percent according to a REBNY study that looked at 16 of Brooklyn’s “prime retail corridors,” The Real Deal reports. Williamsburg’s N. 4th Street has seen a proliferation of corporate chains set up shop over the past couple of years including Whole Foods, Levis, Scotch & Soda, and Chipotle.

Bedford Avenue at N. 7 Street Google Maps)

Still, on nearby Bedford Avenue between Grand Street and N. 8th St. prices decreased by 11 percent to $351 per square foot. Rents in Williamsburg may drop further after the L train shuts down between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 months beginning in April 2019.

In Greenpoint, Franklin Street between Meserole Avenue and Commercial Street saw no change in the $74 per square foot price for groundfloor retail since last year, according to the study.

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Nomiki Konst Will NEVER Accept Real Estate Money in NYC Public Advocate Race

Nomiki Kont, candidate for NYC Public Advocate

The New York City Public Advocate race grows more crowded by the week as Melissa Mark-Viverito has joined the growing candidate list that includes Council Member Jumaane Williams. The race was triggered after current Public Advocate Letitia James’ 2018 midterm election victory to become New York’s next Attorney General. An election date to elect the next NYC Public Advocate has yet to be announced, but the date will be set for sometime in early 2019 after James is sworn in as NY Attorney General.

Nomiki Konst is one of the NYC Public Advocate candidates that local media like to paint as an outsider despite her history of taking on corruption as an investigative journalist and as a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Unity Reform Commission.

Konst sets herself apart from the other Public Advocate candidates by pushing a progressive agenda that includes not accepting real estate lobby donations and committing to staying educated on city business deals prior to endorsing them. With the recent victories of other NYC progressives who also denied real estate money like Congresswoman-elect Alexandira Ocasio-Cortez and incoming New York State Senator Julia Salazar, Konst is running for local office at a time when the awareness of corporate influence on political decisions is elevated. Greenpointers reached out to Konst to find out what her policy positions are on current hot button issues in NYC like Amazon HQ2. Full disclosure: Nomiki Konst and I worked together briefly at the political news outlet TYT Network over the past year.

You have a long history as a watchdog, not only working as an investigative journalist, but as a Bernie Sanders surrogate during the 2016 campaign, and as a representative in the Democratic National Committee’s Unity Reform Commision. How would you utilize your experience investigating national issues to bring more accountability to New York City?

NK: The Public Advocate’s office has the unique ability to investigate separately from the Comptroller, for instance, to investigate conflicts of interest, to figure out where local sources of corruption are coming. And not just advocate for the city and New Yorkers, but specifically to be a check on the City Council, on the agencies as well as the Mayor’s office. So my experience on the Unity Reform Commission was incredibly powerful in that just like the Public Advocate’s office we didn’t have litigation power or the ability to subpoena, or present legislation really, but that’s a separate issue. So what I had to do was I had to be very creative about how we figured out where the corruption was coming from. And of course, being an investigative reporter I was probably a little bit more familiar with those strategies. So I first went to the budget and started looking through the budget, and I started figuring out what sort of conflicts of interests there were.

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A Stroll Down Historic Calyer Street

The houses at Calyer Street and Clifford Place (Google Maps)

Calyer Street has one of the most beautiful groups of landmark row houses in Greenpoint, where Calyer Street meets Clifford Place. These five Neo-Greek brick houses were built between 1879 and 1880. The quaint landmark houses seem to have jumped straight out of the Edward Hopper painting Sunday Morning. These houses delude you into thinking that Calyer Street is frozen in time—but change is coming quickly to Greenpoint, even to historic Calyer Street.

Perhaps no street is more historic than Calyer Street. The history of the street even predates its official opening, going all the way back to 1645 when the first European home in Greenpoint was built by Norwegian immigrant Dirck Volckerstzen 100 feet from where Calyer and Franklin meet. The house was built on a knoll, but was burned by the Native Americans in 1655 and rebuilt after the conflict had ended. The house and the hill it stood on were leveled to provide landfill for shipyards in the 1850s. Continue reading

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NYC Historian Mitch Waxman Discusses Amazon HQ2

“No Amazon LIC” graffiti in Long Island City, Queens (Mitch Waxman)

Mitch Waxman is a lifelong New Yorker and historian who for the past decade has traversed the area near the Long Island City waterfront at Anabel Basin where Amazon’s HQ2 is planned. In a recent post on his site Newtown Pentacle, Waxman revisits some of the photos he snapped of the future Amazon HQ2 campus, and Greenpointers reached out to Waxman to learn his point of view regarding the HQ2 announcement. He offered the disclaimer that he’s neither for or against Amazon’s HQ2 expansion into Queens and that his views are still developing on the deal as details emerge.

The area of Anabel Basin where Amazon’s HQ2 will be partially constructed is on contaminated land where a plastics manufacturer once operated, why would Amazon choose contaminated land to build on?

MW: There’s hundreds of state Superfund sites in Western Queens, and the people who have been moving into North Brooklyn and Western Queens over the last 20 years are breaking the old pattern. It used to be when you bought a house, you intended to be buried in your backyard, whereas the current population has very little intention of making New York their final stop. This is one stop on the trip of their lives and eventually, they’re going to settle elsewhere.

When you’re at Amazon’s new campus you’re down the block from the largest power plant in New York City that’s causing childhood asthma rates of historic levels in Ravenswood, Astoria and Queensbridge Houses. You’re on what abuts a brownfield, and a future Superfund site at Anabel Basin.

Future Superfund Site Anabel Basin has the same black mayonnaise in it that Newtown Creek does, the same combined sewer outfall problem that Newtown Creek does, it has all the good stuff that we would talk about in the area around the Pulaski Bridge. So why on earth would you choose this particular location to put Californians and Seattle people who are famously environmentally conscious, why would you put them there? Could it be that you’re going to be visible from the offices of the United Nations? Could it have anything to do with that Manhattan is the center of global investment and that putting yourself there means that you’re going to be a lot sexier to Goldman Sachs and everyone else who will cut you more preferential rates because you know them from drinking with them in a hotel?

The answer is that they came here for Wall Street and they came here to start bolstering their international presence and to start getting ahead of some of the regulatory environment that’s developing internationally around companies like Amazon.

Why is Mayor Bill de Blasio voicing a strong pro-Amazon stance given his progressive reputation?

MW: The “tale of two cities” for me is the tale of Manhattan and Long Island City. Long Island City is where he gets to do what he wants to do. Overbuilt, overdeveloped, not enough infrastructure.

He wants to borrow $18- $20 Billion from the city’s coffers for Sunnyside Yard deck. What they’ll do then is they will give the land away for a dollar an acre to the developers who paid them off to do the project, and the city taxpayers will pay the mortgage on $18 – $20 billion over a 25 year period hamstringing us from doing anything else we need to do.

Conventionally speaking, NYCHA needs $53 billion to bring its housing back up to snuff and to bring the roughly 1/10th of all available apartments that have been out since Hurricane Sandy back into service. If he was the man of the people that’s the direction he would go in.

De Blasio likes to blame all the problems of NYCHA on Mayor Bloomberg. Who was the public advocate during Bloomberg’s last two terms? Who was in the City Council during the last term of Giuliani and the first term of Bloomberg?

Why would Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo agree on something like the Amazon HQ2 deal after disagreeing on nearly everything else?

MW: Both of their political machines are getting fed by the deal. At the top of the food chain, there are people who are Democrats; like the Yankees, they’re just wearing hats.

Amongst the many, many, many things that I disagree with Donald Trump about, the firing of Preet Bharara just as he was drawing in on both the Mayor and the Governor, is something the Mayor and the Governor should fall down and kiss Trump’s feet for. If Preet had continued on with his investigation, I’m certain that the headlines we would be seeing every day would be simultaneous trials for the Governor and the Mayor.

There’s a lot to say about corruption in our city and state always. We have a one-party system. We have different factions of a single political party, and what I am not gonna to do to you as a fellow elected Democrat is put you on trial because you would do the same to me, and that affects the larger party.

Living in a Republic that ostensibly operates as a Democracy, there was no conversation, there was no argument. You had two people who are pro-development, neo-liberal capitalist-oriented Democrats, talking to a neo-liberal corporatist, and deciding for the community in the manner of Nelson Rockefeller, in the manner of Robert Moses, in the manner of Austin Tobin deciding for a community exactly what it is that they needed. And you know what? If you don’t like it you can get out.

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Lyft Buys Citi Bike, Plans Electronic Bike Expansion

Citit bikes (Shinya Suzuki)

The Citi Bike presence in North Brooklyn and New York City as a whole will continue to grow at a time when the program’s parent company Motivate will be acquired by ride-sharing company Lyft, in a plan that includes a $100 million investment by Lyft over the next five years, the Mayor’s office announced last week.

A statement from the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio explains that the investment by Lyft will repair the existing 12,000 Citi bikes and expand the fleet of both regular and electronic pedal assist bikes to 40,000 while doubling the current service area. Although the ‘vast majority’ (around 30,000) of the new Citi bikes will be electronic, Gothamist reports. NYC lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize e-scooters and pedal assist bikes last week, but Mayor de Blasio said he’s “seeing too many problems” with e-bikes, referring to the complaints his office receives over the handle grip throttle e-bikes that are popular with food delivery workers.    Continue reading

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Interactive Hologram Experience by Looking Glass Factory Featured at Greenpointers Market (12/2)

The artists and engineers from the Greenpoint-based 3D lab Looking Glass Factory will be presenting an interactive hologram experience with the Looking Glass at the Greenpointers Polar Vortex Holiday Market this Sunday, December 2, from 1–7 p.m. 

 

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You won’t want to miss the Looking Glass presentation where participants can touch and interact with digital 3D worlds and characters. In the Summer of 2018, the team launched the world’s first desktop holographic display for 3D creators and are excited to spread the word of the hologram with the greater Greenpoint community.

 

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