Community

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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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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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…

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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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See Santa This Sunday (12/10) at The City Reliquary!

Santa Holiday City Reliquary 2017

North Brooklyn friends! Neighbors! Local NYC artifacts museum and good ol’ fashioned fun organization The City Reliquary (370 Metropolitan Avenue) is hosting their holiday party this Sunday, December 10th from 12pm-3pm. Expect holiday treats and beverages for kids and adults, and a visit from Santa!
Tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids 12 & under.
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Marina Aris: Building a Writing Community in Greenpoint

Marina Aris, founder of Brooklyn Writers Project
Marina Aris, founder of Brooklyn Writers Project

I first met Marina Aris two years ago when she invited me to take part in Indie Writers Day at the Greenpoint Library. Marina immediately impressed me not only with her in-depth knowledge about independent publishing, but more with her warmth and amazing enthusiasm about independent publishing. Her eagerness to help others realize their vision of successfully self-publishing their stories stood out. I participated again this year at Indie Day and saw that Marina was making major steps to create a Greenpoint writers center. Interested in writing? Then Marina’s story of how she created the Brooklyn Writers Project should interest you. Continue reading

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Dinner for a Cause: The Big Brooklyn Holiday Toy Drive!

Bk Toy Drive Dinner

The Big Brooklyn Holiday Toy Drive, a local organization that has helped distribute more than 22,000 toys to local children in need is hosting a fundraising dinner at Anella (222 Franklin St) next Wednesday evening (12/13). With two seatings at 6:30 and 8:30, the dinner will feature a seasonal 3-course prix fixe menu for $75 per person, with a carafe of wine included for each table of two. All profits from the night will go directly to the purchase of additional toys at wholesale. Tickets can be purchased here.

Cash donations can be made via their 501c3 partner NYC Together —click here or email [email protected] to make a contribution.

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CB1 Meeting Recap: Throwing Shade, Affordable Housing on Grand Street and Asbestos Near Transmitter Park

Talk to the hand! Chairperson Dealice Fuller raises her hand at the CB1 Meeting on December 5, 2017
Talk to the hand! Chairperson Dealice Fuller raises her hand at the CB1 Meeting on December 5, 2017

Last night, the Swinging 60’s Senior Center (211 Ainslie Street) hosted the final CB1 meeting of 2017, and despite the crummy weather and end of year throwaway vibe, the room was fairly full. If you’ve been following our lighthearted coverage the past few months, you are probably aware of how fun these meetings can be to watch, especially for neighborhood nerds who don’t feel like schlepping a few blocks to attend. And that’s also because you can watch the livestream from the comfort of your couch via PBS Thirteen on YouTube while you pop in a frozen Roberta’s pizza and down some nice wine from Dandelion (just me?) while yelling things at the screen like, “That man’s head is too big for his body!” (also, just me?). This particular meeting had a whole 26 people tune in to the livestream, and I have to say I’m thankful that Thirteen disabled the chat feature—a few meetings ago there was a troll on there typing in dirty words at random intervals, in a display of truly demented deference for locals getting organized and actually giving a shit about where they live.

Chairperson Dealice Fuller is one of the main reasons you should be watching the CB1 meetings, because she throws some amazingly timed shade. Last night was no different, so here are a few of her best gems:

“When I don’t see faces that often, I don’t remember names that well.” –Dealice Fuller (regarding a person in the audience who she didn’t quite recognize, and then an 80s sitcom-type “Ooooohhhhhhhhh….” [as in ‘Damn, that was cold’] went through the crowd)

“Please. How are you gonna have a meeting when people are talking in the middle of the floor?” – Dealice Fuller (to people chitchatting in the audience)

“Marty, we can’t have that, you know better.” –Dealice Fuller (Get ‘im!)

“We don’t know if we’re gonna wake up tomorrow and find the world still here.” –Dealice Fuller (on whether unexpected world events will interrupt future committee meeting dates)

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