Community

Greenpoint Library Community Forum Is Tonight (7/1)

A public forum on the Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Ave.) will take place tonight at the Pencil Factory building (61 Greenpoint Ave, 6th floor) at 7 p.m.

The note posted on the Brooklyn Public Library’s website regarding tonight’s meeting reads: Continue reading

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Your Guide for Special Events This Weekend (6/8-6/9) for Greenpoint Open Studios!

Blast from the past: Juan Miguel Marin adding a new piece to his ongoing series titled “Drawing Under The Influence” live outside of his studio at The Pencil Factory during GOS in 2018.

Back for its sixth year and stronger than ever, Greenpoint Open Studios will bring the neighborhood an art-filled weekend this Saturday and Sunday (June 8th & 9th) with more than 350 local artists opening up their studios to the public — plus parties, special events, and some stellar artist-organized workshops. We will also, hopefully, be bringing the sunshine. Continue reading

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COUNTDOWN: One Week Until Greenpoint Open Studios (Sat 6/8-Sun 6/9)

Get ready because in just one week Greenpoint Open Studios (GOS) is returning to the neighborhood June 8th – 9th with more than 350 local artists opening up their studios to the public to showcase their works. What should you expect?
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Are We Ready to Celebrate Walt Whitman as Brooklyn’s Gay Poet?

Walt Whitman
(via Wikimedia Commons)

This week all over Brooklyn, there will be celebrations honoring Walt Whitman. With the 200th anniversary of the birth of Brooklyn’s greatest poet, one has to ask the question: Was Walt Whitman gay and does his poetry celebrate the joys of being gay? Reading his poetry there are so many clear homoerotic images that many students of Whitman conclude that despite the fact that Whitman never came out as gay, he was gay, or at least bisexual.

Were Whitman to return to Brooklyn today, he would probably be pleasantly surprised by the many Brooklynites who live an openly gay lifestyle.

During Whitman’s time admitting to a gay relationship was taboo, but he hinted at it in a letter he wrote at the end of his life with his discussion of “fervent comradeship.” In the passage below he seems to suggest to a time when gay relationships would be accepted by the broader American society:

Many will say it is a dream and will not follow my inferences: but I confidentially expect a time when there will be seen running through it like a half-hid warp through all the myriad audible and visible worldly interests of America, threads of manly friendship, fond and loving, pure and sweet, strong and life-long, carried to degrees hitherto unknown, not only giving tone to individual character and making it unprecedentedly emotional, muscular, heroic and refined, but having the deepest relation to general politics. I say democracy infers such loving comradeship as its most inevitable twin or counterpart, without which it will be incomplete, in vain and incapable of perpetuating itself.

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Tonight: East River State Park and Kent Avenue Town Hall

East River State Park entrance (Google Maps)

Local elected politicians are holding an East River State Park and Kent Avenue town hall meeting tonight in Williamsburg.

The town hall takes place tonight (5/28) at the Bushwick Inlet Park community room (86 Kent Ave.) at 6 p.m.

State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, NYC Councilman Stephen Levin, and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney are sponsoring the meeting.

 

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$26,000 SUV Purchase by Community Board Raises Questions

(courtesy of Y.Leclercq)

Brooklyn Community Board 1 (CB1) purchased a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV at the cost of $26,000 with funds intended to help NYC community boards. CB1 “was the only one of the city’s 59 community boards to use any of the $42,500 budget-booster to buy a vehicle,” a new report from THE CITY claims.

The Toyota purchase, which is “the board’s single largest expense outside of payroll” was cleared by CB1’s executive committee. The board’s base budget is $288,000.

THE CITY goes on to explain that CB1 board manager of 40 years Gerald Esposito whose salary last year was $123,535, lives four blocks away from where the SUV is parked in a designated space at the corner of Graham Avenue and Frost Street.

The eight-member executive committee’s decision to spend $26,000 on an SUV from a one-time $42,500 city grant raised questions from other CB1 members, as THE CITY reports:

Earlier this week, some board members said they were surprised and dismayed when they learned of the vehicle purchase during a recent CB1 meeting. The SUV marks the board’s largest single expense outside of payroll.

“What? A vehicle? What is it used for?” board member Ryan Kuonen recalled asking at the May 14 board meeting.

“To go different places,” replied Dealice Fuller, the board’s chairperson, according to Kuonen and two other people who attended the meeting.

New limits that were approved by NYC voters last fall took effect this April to cap the number of terms members can serve. Under the new rule, community board members are limited to four consecutive two-term limits, and borough presidents are encouraged to find “persons of diverse backgrounds” to serve.

 

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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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Councilmembers Call for Full Funding of Hate Crimes Prevention Office

Council Members  Robert Cornegy, Brad Lander, Rafael Espinal, Andrew Cohen, Mathieu Eugene, Mark Levine, Chaim Deutsch, and Speaker Corey John joined a press conference on Monday with the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn  (courtesy of UJO Williamsburg).

More funding is needed for the newly created Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, a group of NYC lawmakers announced yesterday at a press conference on Monday in Williamsburg.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will allot $336,000 in funding in the city’s $92 billion budget for 2020, but the city council says that the hate crimes prevention office will need $475,000 for its first year and $713,000 annually thereafter, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The NYPD’s statistics for 2019‘s first quarter show a 67 percent total increase in reported hate crimes compared to the first quarter in 2018.

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“Dance and Be Free” With Good Move in Williamsburg

Photos by Hayley Hill & Lauren Damaskinos, courtesy of Good Move

Warm weather is (finally)  just around the corner. If rising temps make you eager for a new work out routine, Good Move is the answer. Located at 56 Marcy Ave, Good Move is the brainchild of Jules Bakshi, a seasoned wellness/fitness guru, professional dancer, and choreographer. Good Move is encouraging of all levels and has a mindful approach when it comes to its curation of classes. From its namesake class, “Good Move” to adult beginner dance (known affectionately as “Hot Bitch”) to good ole pilates, all classes are built to be inclusive and empowering. Bakshi picked the location because she adores this community and all its small business owners.

Photos by Hayley Hill & Lauren Damaskinos, courtesy of Good Move

“Gertie, has been a haven for me while I get the studio up and running. It’s so very comforting to walk in at any time of day and see some friendly faces, they’ve seen me on some rough days and nights and always offer an ear (or a drink!). It’s a really cool, supportive community of founders and makers.” It also helped that the location was about 12-minute walk in sneakers, and 18-minute walk in heels from her home, a must on this long-time North Brooklyneer’s list.

This is the place for you if you feel shy about sashaying in public. Inclusivity is the foundation of this studio with Bakshi working for years to create a “safe space where anyone can experience the pleasures of movement,” with the goal for you to “shake off your day or your week, and just keep on shaking and dancing til you feel alright.”

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