Community

Second L Train Open House is Wednesday (3/13) in Williamsburg

(Courtesy of Salim Virji/Flickr)

The MTA is hosting its second L train open house tomorrow (3/13) at the Williamsburg Northside School (299 N. 7th St.) from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Two additional L train open house sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, March 19: Grand Street Campus High School, (850 Grand St.), and on Monday, April 8: (14th St. Y), 344 E 14 St.

The current L train reconstruction plan is thin on finalized details, but a night and weekend repair schedule beginning April 26th where the L train runs in 20-minute increments between Manhattan and Brooklyn is expected. To help mitigate the problem, the MTA would like L train commuters to reconsider their station: Continue reading

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Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Monthly Meeting is Tonight (3/12)

The monthly Brooklyn Community Board 1 meeting is tonight (3/12) at the Swinging 60s Senior Citizens Center (211 Ainslie St.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The meeting will also be live-streamed and the agenda is available here:

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The Williamsburg Roots of the Adler Acting Dynasty

 

Stella Adler (Courtesy of PBS)

American theater and film acting owes a huge debt to Stella Adler who is perhaps the most influential teacher of the dramatic method in American theater history. Adler’s method went on to dominate American acting for more than half-a-century and is still the dominant acting method now. The roots of Adler’s success in teaching acting go back to her mother Sara Adler who founded The Novelty Yiddish Theater that once packed in audiences at 778 Driggs Avenue.

Those of you who know local history well might be familiar with 778 Driggs Avenue. It is the same building where Detective Frank Serpico was shot and nearly killed in the 1960s. Before the building was converted into an apartment house it was an entertainment venue for the huge Yiddish speaking community that called Williamsburg home.

The former building at 778 Driggs Avenue (via cinematreasures.org)

The Adlers were the royalty of the Yiddish theater. Sara Adler was born in the Russian Empire in 1853 and became a star of the Yiddish theater there until Yiddish performances were banned in 1883. She and her husband left for New York where they continued to act in the Yiddish theater. Sara divorced her first husband and re-married famous actor Jacob Adler in 1891 and they had six children. Continue reading

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NYPD to Host Community Forum Against Hate (3/14)

The NYPD Patrol Borough Brooklyn North is hosting a community forum and discussion on hate crimes and how residents can work together to stop the noted increase in hate crimes over the past year. The forum will take place on Thursday, March 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 179 Wilson Ave. in Brooklyn; RSVP at [email protected]

NYC experienced a 40 percent increase in hate crimes so far this year; 66 hate crimes in 2019 compared to 47 during the same period in 2018, with 64 percent categorized as anti-semitic, NBC reports.

Greenpointers recently reported on the string of local hate graffiti, a Manhattan Avenue-addressed hate letter, and vandalism at the Chabad of Bushwick.

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West Street Brownfield to Undergo Environmental Cleanup

The cleanup site (courtesy of DEC)

The environmental cleanup of toxins at part of the former American Manufacturing Company/Greenpoint Terminal site is slated to begin this month under the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Remediation at 47- 53 West St. and 2 – 24 Oak St. will last approximately five months and includes excavation of historic fill, backfilling and construction and maintenance of an “impervious cover (e.g., concrete) or two feet of clean crushed stone,” according to the DEC fact sheet. A community air monitoring plan will also be implemented during the cleanup.

Some site history from the DEC:

The site is 3.98-acres and is bordered on the west by the East River, on the south by Former Consolidated Freightways (BCP Site No. C224191), on the east by West Street, and on the north by Noble Street. It is currently used for storage of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, granite, and flatbed trucks. The site was previously occupied by five separate buildings that were demolished by a fire in 2006. The only remaining structure is an approximately 1,400-square-foot concrete silo, which will remain in place after RAWP implementation. Historically, the site was used as a shipyard, a manufacturing facility, a mill, and the Greenpoint Terminal Corporation facility.

Rendering of 11-41 West St.

Continue reading

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MTA to Host First of Four L Train Open Houses Tonight (3/7)

The MTA is hosting the first of four open houses focused on the L train tonight (3/7) at Our Lady of Guadalupe St. Bernard at 328 W 14 St. in Manhattan from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The other three open houses are also scheduled from 6-8 p.m.:

  • Wednesday, March 13: Williamsburg Northside School, 299 N 7th St.
  • Tuesday, March 19: Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand St.
  • Monday, April 8: 14th St Y, 344 E 14 St.

The L train is currently undergoing service disruptions on nights and weekends through March 18, and while a night and weekend repair schedule is expected to be implemented for approximately 15 to 18 months during repairs scheduled to start this spring, a final plan has yet to be approved. Continue reading

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Apply for Affordable Apartments at 123 Hope Street

(123 Hope St. rendering via Aufang Architects )

Applications for a fresh batch of 41 affordable apartments at 123 Hope St. in Williamsburg are opening on March 7th, with a May 6th deadline to apply; access the application here.

The 136 unit, seven-story building was designed by Aufang Architects and features studios, one and two bedroom apartments with in-unit washers and dryers and stainless steel appliances.

123 Hope St. under construction (via Google Maps)

At the lowest price point, there are nine studios available at $1,231 per month for one to two occupants with an annual household income between $44,160 and $55,480 per year. Check out the full list of available units and income requirements: Continue reading

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Ben Jorgensen Gets His “Break” at Stuart Cinema (3/7)

“The Break”

In an alternate universe Ben Jorgensen’s debut co-starring role alongside the legends Martin Sheen and Valerie Perrine in the 1995 tennis drama entitled, “The Break” was a blockbuster that garnered universal acclaim; instead Jorgensen, who goes by the name Monk, recalls the review byline, “Gone with the Wind it ain’t.”

“I flew to Miami for the premiere with Rae Dawn Chong and the movie had limited distribution for one sad weekend,” he said. While “The Break” went on to air occasionally on Showtime, Jorgensen never had a screening with friends; his sweet redemption will take place with an upcoming screening of the film at Stuart Cinema (79 West St.) on Thursday, March 7th, at 8 p.m., where Jorgensen will read an excerpt from his autobiographical book that is in the works.

Stuart Cinema is the new affordable theater space near the Greenpoint waterfront for artists to screen their films at a fraction of the cost of many Manhattan theaters.

The synopsis from IMDB:

 A depressed and destitute Nick Irons, a tennis pro banned from the tour for slugging a player during a TV match, agrees to coach a bookie’s “head case” son, Joel, who wants to turn pro. The bookie wants his son to get out of tennis and contracts Nick to discourage him. Nick begins to do that but after an episode with his old flame, Jennifer, and after seeing the kid’s determination he decides to teach him all the tricks, both physical and psychological, of the trade. The two battle the kids of a famous coach, unfair refs., injuries, travel all over the southern US, while Nick tries to woo his love back, finally to reach the big championship tennis match where all is resolved in dramatic fashion.

Full disclosure: I met Jorgensen three years ago when he moved into my Greenpoint apartment for a few months and we’ve since become friends; our mutual friends in the neighborhood have learned of “The Break” through Jorgensen but have never watched the movie, so we ordered a copy for the screening,

When Jorgensen moved to New York City in 1977 from Australia with his mother Tina Date, they lived in an artist loft on Wooster Street in SoHo where his godfather Stephen MacLean would often visit. As a Greenpoint resident today, Jorgensen is right at home: “I feel that I’ve returned to the 70s in Greenpoint, it reminds me of the artistic vibe with a local flavor that used to be in SoHo,” he said.

Jorgensen began acting as a teen when he landed the starring role in a Calvin Klein “Obsession” ad campaign (which was parodied on Saturday Night Live) and went to study under Bill Hickey, Austin Pendleton and Reed Birney. He worked on the soap opera “All My Children” in the 90s as the day-time television pioneering gay teenager Kevin Sheffield, during a season that went on to win two GLAAD awards and an Emmy. Jorgensen is currently preparing his for his role as a gay mafioso in the queer play, “Death of a Mobster,” while putting the finishing touches on his autobiographical book “Name Dropping.”

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to Host “State of the District” in Upper East Side (3/10)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is hosting a “State of the District” presentation on Sunday, March 10, at Hunter College W714 (E. 68th Street and Lexington Avenue) from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Join me at my State of the District presentation this Sunday at 1pm! I’ll be discussing my legislative work in Washington, infrastructure investments in NYC, and the status of ongoing projects in #NY12. Hope to see you there,” Maloney posted on Facebook.


Maloney represents NY’s 12th Congressional District including parts of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Long Island City, Astoria, the East Village, Midtown East, and the Upper East Side.

The congresswoman recently doubled down on her backing of the failed Amazon bid to build a second headquarters in Long Island City in a deal that would have granted the trillion dollar corporation upwards of $3 billion in state and city tax subsidies in exchange for 25,000 high-paying jobs. Read the letter published in the NY Times addressed to Jeff Bezos last week that Maloney signed urging the Amazon founder to reconsider:

We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.

Continue reading

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Help Envision the “Gateway to Greenpoint” (3/5)

The Newtown Creek Alliance, Interval Projects and Evergreen Exchange are hosting a second visioning workshop for the “Gateway to Greenpoint” on Tuesday, March 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 520 Kingsland Ave. The meeting will give participants the opportunity to help plan the environmental development at the vacant lot at the corner of Greenpoint and Kingsland Avenues; RSVP here.

The vacant lot at Kingsland and Greenpoint Avenues (courtesy of Newtown Creek Alliance)

The 13,000 square-foot city-owned parcel is managed by the Dept. of Environmental Protection and was granted to the local community during the upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. Continue reading

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