Community

The Local Roots of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” Celebrated

 

Arguably the best piece of literature ever written about North Brooklyn, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” Betty Smith’s classic tale of a girl coming of age in early 20th century Williamsburg, will be celebrated on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. at the Leonard Street Library (81 Devoe Street). The book’s 75th anniversary of publication celebration will include live music, a panel of New York authors and Greenpoint’s own Amy Marino, the talented artist whom publisher Harper Collins chose to design the book cover.

Betty Smith, author of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”

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Sto Lat Celebrations Mark 100 Years of Polish Independence

Paderewski Days in New York.

This Sunday Nov. 11, marks the centennial of Polish independence, and a series of cultural events in NYC will mark the occasion over the next two weeks. “Sto lat” translates to “100 years” in Polish and is the common phrase to wish someone happy birthday.

The U.S. helped secure Poland’s independence at the end of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson expressed America’s support for a Polish state in his Fourteen Points peace plan. Today, Polish and American relations are generally considered strong: President Andrzej Duda recently offered $2 billion toward constructing an American military base to be named “Fort Trump” in Poland.

The NYC Council voted earlier this month unanimously to recognize important Polish cultural figures and dates. Resolution 420 establishes Nov. 11 as Polish Independence day in NYC; Resolution 421 establishes Oct. 11 as Casimir Pulaski Day, and Resolution 422 establishes Tradeusz Kosciuszko Day as well in NYC.

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Blame for Election Day Failures Placed on Board of Elections and Albany

Voting lines wrap around McGuinness senior center in Greenpoint on midterm election day 2018.

The outrage caused by widespread voting machine breakdowns throughout New York City on midterm election day is largely falling on the shoulders of Board of Elections Director Michael Ryan.

At Greenpoint’s polling sites wait-times exceeded two hours throughout the day, as ballot scanners overheated, jammed and simply stopped working. Greenpoint was not alone, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams counted 49 poll sites facing similar dilemmas.

Voter turnout increased 88 percent in NYC this year for the midterm elections compared with the 2014 midterms, but decreased by nearly one million voters compared with the 2016 presidential elections, according to Gothamist.

BOE director Ryan said that 56 ballot scanners were taken out of service on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., the 15-hour window which saw 1.9 million NYC voters — each with two double-sided ballots — overwhelm the eight-year-old scanners that were expected to be used for 10 years. 6,000 calls were made to 311 pertaining to election day woes.

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Sto Lat: 100 Years of Polish Independence and the End of World War I

The Polish flag

“Sto lat” means 100 years in Polish and many Polish people will be celebrating the anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I this weekend.

Sunday (11/11) marks the 100th anniversary of WWI , and with a special resonance for Polish people. One of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, self-determination for small nations, meant Poland would re-emerge again as an independent nation after 123 years of being swallowed up by Prussia, Austro-Hungary and Russia.

100 years ago, Greenpoint had a huge Polish community, which sent many of its young men to fight in the Great War. Many of those local Polish lads did not come home. One of the fallen has always intrigued me. Frank Baliszewski, who lived in my house at 2 Clifford Place, died on October 4, 1918 from wounds he suffered in battle in France. I know little else about him, but I have often wondered about Baliszewski. His name still stands on a monument outside his parish church, St. Stanislaw Kostka (607 Humboldt St.).

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Former Greenpointers Address NYC Homelessness With ‘Backpacks For The Street’

Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner, founders of Backpacks For The Street

Amidst a citywide housing crisis and rampant gentrification, the time is now to address homelessness in our community. Former Greenpointers and longtime couple, Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner, launched the Backpacks For The Street (BFTS) initiative in February 2018 as part of Together Helping Others, their full-service non-profit for the homeless.

BFTS distributes backpacks to the homeless full of essentials many of us take for granted, such as food, toiletries, clothing, and water bottles, as well as information about food pantries, health services, shelters, and other resources.

Jeffrey and Jayson, along with their team of volunteers, will bring the program to Greenpoint, starting in McCarren Park, on Friday, Nov. 16, from 7-11 p.m. During the planning process, the Euro Chemist Pharmacy (669 Manhattan Ave.) has been instrumental in providing storage space, driving to pick up supplies, and donating money to BFTS. Continue reading

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Meeting Tomorrow (11/8) on 600-Seat Elementary School Next To Superfund Site

Nuhart Plastics Superfund Site

New York City Council Member Stephen Levin will hold a public meeting to hear feedback from Greenpoint parents on the plans to build a 600-seat elementary school on a vacant lot across the street from the Nuhart Plastics Superfund site (280 Franklin St.), which will be remediated in the next few years after the proposed cleanup plan (PDF) is approved. The meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dupont Senior Center (80 Dupont St.). The school would take around three to five years to complete following approval. Continue reading

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Broken Machines, Two-Hour Lines Setback Voting in Greenpoint

As a wave of eager voters arrived at their poll sites across New York City today, tens of thousands of Brooklynites faced extended lines with wait times over two-hours due to malfunctioning ballot scanners. The resiliency of NYC voters was on full display as they waited through the chaos, likely wondering why New York doesn’t have early voting.

The line at John Ericsson Middle School 126 (424 Leonard St.) in Greenpoint wrapped down the hall outside of the voting room and the wait time was over two hours at 2 p.m., after four out of six ballot scanners stopped working.

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Where’s the Midterm Elections Party?

Election night party at the Brooklyn Bazaar

The 2018 midterm elections are a high stakes affair, with the Democratic party poised to take back Congress (and potentially the Senate). So grab a friend or two, most importantly vote and then check out one of the local viewing parties:

Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Ave.)

The Midterm Election Viewing party at Bazaar w/ Drink Specials

8 p.m. – Free

 

Bar Uni (674 Manhattan Ave.) 

VOCÊ – Election Day Edition

7 – 8 p.m. – ambiance + live music + playing the #actuallycurious card game from Curiosity Lab
8 – 8:30 p.m. – featured speakers, economist Esben Baek + poet Michele Hatchette
8:30 – 8:45 p.m. – Musical intermezzo with Xavier White + results watching
8:45 – 9:15 pm. – featured political guest, new state rep Julia Salazar + conversation between guests and audience
9:15 – 9:30 p.m. – musical intermezzo with Andrew Milea + results watching
9:30 – 10: p.m. – mini haiku duel (4-8 poets duel, first come first served for signups)
10 p.m. – ??? – discussion, celebration, therapy, and meeting new friends

7 p.m. – close – Free

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Elections Are Tomorrow (11/6), It’s Time to Vote

(Courtesy of Brett Nielson)

It’s time to study up on your ballot options, find your poll site and vote tomorrow (11/6) in what is regarded as one of the most consequential midterm elections in history. Our traditionally blue state registered 108,801 Democrats and 5,077 Republicans between Nov. 1, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2018; the youth vote is also expected to increase, unlike recent midterm elections.

Here’s a rundown on the federal and state candidates, and the three local ballot initiatives.

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