Community

NYPD Incident at Upstate Stock Raises Questions About PPE, Racism and Intimidation

Officers inside Upstate Stock last weekend. (Via Upstate Stock)

A video depicting an NYPD officer repeatedly asking a barista at Upstate Stock (2 Berry St.) why he can’t use the bathroom has led to several questions about the incident, including why the officer and his colleague are not, like many officers seen across the city, wearing mandatory face masks inside a business that requires protective measures.

 

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This is insane! We had 6 police vans parked in front of the store today. They hung out all day coming in and out. I, the owner Bram Robinson, was there from 8am until 2pm and they came in in groups of 10 trying to use our bathroom. We CLEARLY have instructions posted at the entrance that we have a 4 person limit and you HAVE to wear masks….none of them did. I told them numerous times to wait outside and obey the 4 person rule. This police officer came in after I left and and said he said 30 police officers are coming in to use the bathroom and my employee denied tbem. This is what happened…I am so sorry to my Baristas for being intimidated by this asshole. They basically shut down my business today, abused my employees, and I NONE of them wore masked in a private business that has spent months surviving while obeying all social distancing regulations.

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Upstate Stock owner Bram Robinson didn’t expect to be selling as much smoked salmon and kale (or donating as much hand sanitizer) as he did this spring, reformulating his store to sell provisions in the era of COVID-19. He also didn’t expect that while selling more than ever, to be losing “piles of money” and have his business at the center of a viral video that’s led to a debate over pandemic and racial concerns. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Floral Designer Maria Christina Nino

Maria Nino of MC Nino Designs in her Greenpoint studio.

If you’ve walked along West Street on the way to Transmitter Park, you may have already met Maria Christina Nino of MC. Nino Designs (65 West St.) as she casually chats with locals and their doggos in front of her design studio storefront.

Not your average floral designer, Nino has a hand in all aspects of wedding and event production from the flowers to the lighting, linens and more. And now with her storefront, she’s open for retail. Here Nino shares how she thrives in the face of all obstacles including the coronavirus pandemic. Nino also speaks about what she loves the most—the personal relationships she builds with her clients (especially her brides!) as she brings their dreams into reality.

 

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Centerpiecesample#formyseptemberbride#Heather#luvflowers#luvweddings#flowersbymariachristina#zncsolutions

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Greenpointers: With so many weddings and other large events on hold, how are you adjusting to this strange time?

All of my weddings for my brides are postponed, so I had to adjust in order to keep the studio open. I’m not primarily a retail store; I design weddings and events all over the world. But I kept getting inquiries about Mother’s Day, so I went and got flowers. Then we did social media, and I said, “Okay! We’re open for retail,” following CoVid requirements. I got such a great response for Mother’s Day because all of my clients and walk-ins already know my work and were excited. I thought we’d only do it once, but now the word is out—Maria is open for retail! Now people are calling and placing orders: flowers for anniversaries, birthdays or just because. So that’s really nice. Even though the pandemic has cast a black cloud over my business for my events, this is the silver lining. I’m doing retail and giving people fresh flowers. It creates a sense of normalcy to have Mother Nature coming in. It makes them happy! And if I can make someone happy for a week or two weeks (my flowers last long—cha-cha-cha!), that gives me so much joy. Continue reading

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McCarren Park Gatherings for George Floyd Continue Rain or Shine

McCaren Park demonstrators calling for racial justice and police reform this week.

A sixth gathering at McCarren Park in remembrance of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, will continue on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., according to organizers.

A vigil was held in McCarren Park last Friday by five local residents associated with the North Brooklyn Mutual Aid volunteer group. Demonstrations in the park have since grown with thousands of people attending this week holding signs honoring Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade.

“These gatherings were intended to give immunocompromised neighbors, those caring for elderly and those with children a way to stand in socially distanced solidarity with actions across the city, not as an alternative to them,” a representative from NBMA said.

Attendees are encourage to bring a sign, wear a mask or face covering and maintain at least six feet apart to keep with social distancing guidelines; an umbrella might also be a good idea given that Wednesday’s weather forecast predicts rain.

North Brooklyn has not seen the looting and vandalism that has swept across commercial strips in Manhattan such as SoHo following demonstrations.

On Tuesday night, a tense hours-long standoff between protestors and the NYPD on the Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge ended when protestors were allowed to exit on the Brooklyn side.

Local politicians such as NY Assembly Member Joe Lentol and Senator Julia Salazar have called for the repeal of repeal of 50-a among other measures, to help aid the investigations of cases of police killings and deaths of people in police custody. “Passing these will help restore trust and promote transparency between our communities, the police and our criminal justice system. I am advocating to Assembly leadership to get these bills passed,” Lentol posted on social media.

A citywide curfew from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. is in effect through the morning of Monday, June 8th.

 

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Tonight: Same time (7 p.m.) same place (McCarren Park) 📷: @mewiley @apisukh

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A filled park was silent on their knees for 30 minutes last night at McCarren park. Do what you can. Spread the good words.

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McCarren Park. June 2. Brooklyn. . . . . . #georgefloyd #vigil #protest #greenpoint #brooklyn #nyc

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Meet Kristina Naplatarski, Native Greenpointer and Candidate For District Leader

Greenpointer Kristina Naplatarski is running for District Leader to unseat a 32-year incumbent. (Image courtesy of Kristina Naplatarski )

Never heard of a District Leader? Until 2017, neither had 25-year-old Greenpointer Kristina Naplatarski, who’s running for the position in the upcoming election. The lover of Five Leaves, Variety Coffee, Archestratus and Jimmy’s Dinner is a proud lifetime local, who still lives close to her mother and childhood friends near McGolrick Park, where you can find her exploring pockets of the green space on weekends. You’ll also find the Brooklyn Young Democrats-endorsed candidate near the bottom of your ballot on June 23rd, as Naplatarski runs for public office for the first time, inspired to oust a 35-year incumbent, Linda Minucci, and use her voice to amplify the concerns of her community.

A quick side note: a “district leader” and a “state committee member” can refer to the same position in certain districts. In the 50th Distrct the term is interchangeable, and will be listed as “State committee member” on the June 23rd ballot.

Empowered by the 2018 elections of U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and State Senator Julia Salazar, Naplatarski is continuing the momentum of voting in young, female voices by running for District Leader. Greenpointers chatted with Naplatarski to get to know why this position matters to her, and why the lifelong Greenpointer is adding her name to the ballot.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 


Why are you running for office? 

The decision to run for office was a very personal decision for me. I was born and raised in Greenpoint and have lived here my entire life. I graduated from the local public schools and my mom [a public school teacher] has always been very involved in community activism. For example, in the early 2000s, there was a plan to build a power plant  in Greenpoint, and the community rallied against it and stopped it. North Brooklyn has a history of [activism]. My upbringing led me into public service.

And why run for District Leader?

Currently, I work for City Council, so I’m already professionally involved in the government, but in my work life or personal life, I had never seen our District Leader. Via The North Brooklyn Political Democrats, I first heard what a District Leader was. I learned that the one we have has been in office for 32 years and had never shown up for the community. Planted a seed in my head and continued on. Following the 2016 election, with AOC and Julia Salazar, I saw women being put into power against really entrenched incumbents. If there is a chance of to bring some vitality and new leadership to he role of district leader, it’s going to follow the wave and be in 2020. 

So what does a District Leader do? 

District Leader is a very unique, kind of wonky position that many people don’t really know about. One of the things that make it especially special is that it’s a part-time, unpaid position. It’s a person that should really just care about the work and is doing it for the sake of the work. Historically, this position has been used by a person who is a ‘yes’ vote when it comes down to decision making at the county level. It could be someone who really cares, or a person who is very complacent and is just there as a pawn for Kings County Democratic Committee’s leadership. That’s the case we have now.  [I want to] tap into the work that’s happening on the ground. A lot of grassroots organizing goes on in North Brooklyn, we have very invested community groups and organizations. It’s a position that can help facilitate that work and be a bridge between the community and elected officials.

What would you want to accomplish as District Leader?

District Leader’s priorities should be what the community see as most important. My three issues and areas of concern right now would be environmental remediation, that’s been a constant threat, housing affordability and more responsible development practices. I’d also want to look at what The King’s County Democratic Party should look like. I’m running as a reform candidate for sure to bring more transparency and accountability to the Brooklyn Democratic Party and make it more engaging. 

Council Member Antonio Reynoso and Kristina Naplatarski (Courtesy of Kristina Naplatarski)

How would being an elected official change your day-to-day?

I would keep my day job working in communications for Council Member Antonio Reynoso, which luckily keeps me in North Brooklyn, and in the [political] world. I think the most important thing is being present and showing up. North Brooklyn has a very robust schedule of community meeting and actions and things to support. I want to show up to these as best I can and give these things equal weight, to keep my finger on the pulse of what people care about. It’s very fluid, like all organizing work. You need to be able to adapt to what’s happening on the ground and create quick responses and maintain an active dialogue with community residents about things they want to see and how we can achieve that. For example, writing a letter or setting up meetings with certain elected officials.

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Greenery Unlimited Returns This Weekend With ‘Almost Summer’ Sidewalk Plant Sale

Courtesy of Greenery Unlimited.

The indoor biophilic plant paradise next to Transmitter Park will hold a sidewalk sale this weekend with a variety of vegetables and herbs to mark the (almost) start of summer.

Greenery Unlimited (91 West St.) celebrated its grand opening in February 2019 awing plant lovers with an indoor irrigation mist machine and a gigantic living wall, not to mention an impressive array of plants available for purchase.

Following a brief hiatus of the brick-and-mortar store while focusing on home delivery during the coronavirus pause, Greenery Unlimited returns Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. with a sidewalk sale. Continue reading

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Overnight Repaving of Greenpoint Avenue Scheduled for Wednesday Night

Repaving on Greenpoint Avenue is scheduled to start Wednesday night.

The Department of Transportation is scheduled to repave Greenpoint Avenue from West Street to Eckford Street  starting Wednesday at  6 p.m. through Thursday at 6 a.m.

The top layer of the asphalt was removed from Greenpoint Avenue last week during an overnight street closure.

No parking signs were placed along the same stretch of the avenue on Tuesday night alerting drivers to move their vehicles by Wednesday at 6 p.m.

 

 

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Virtual Combined SLA Review and Public Safety Meeting for Brooklyn Community Board 1 is Tonight

Community Board 1 in Nov. 2019.

Brooklyn Community Board 1’s combined SLA and public safety committees will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday (5/26) at 6:30 p.m.

The agenda for the combined meeting is posted on the CB1 website, and virtual attendees can access the meeting here via Cisco Webex (password: pwTV9r9gbM2).

You can also join the meeting by phone by dialing 2+1-646-992-2010 0r +1-408-418-9388 access code: 718 064 380:

AGENDA: Continue reading

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Who’s on the Ballot in North Brooklyn for the June 23rd Primary?

2020 is the year of the pandemic, but before we were sequestered inside our homes it was another fairly typical election year. New York will still hold Democratic primaries on June 23rd, and arguably the most consequential contests of the year are in North Brooklyn where a number upstart candidates seek to unseat longtime incumbents.

Reminder: The Board of Elections began mailing absentee ballot applications this week, but If you’re already a registered NYC voter then you can complete the online absentee ballot application right now. The deadline to apply is June 16th.

With only a month away from a primary with national, state and local implications, who’s on the ballot in North Brooklyn? Continue reading

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Greenpoint Met Foods Employees Receive Mutual Aid Bonus for Work During Coronavirus

Thank you cards are delivered to Met Foods employees. (Image courtesy of Will Rahilly)

A fundraiser for Greenpoint grocery store employees raised over $6,000 as a thank you for their work during the cornoavirus crisis.

Members of the co-operative arts space Sunview Luncheonette launched the campaign in April to compensate the 19 Met Foods (131 Driggs Ave.) workers with bonus pay, raising $6,240.

Lead organizer Dylan Gauthier says that the owner of the grocery store is happy for his employees to be recognized and matched the donation. The campaign’s co-organizers are Birgit Rathsmann and Rick Karr. Continue reading

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Social Distancing Circles Added to Domino Park Lawn

Domino Park on Friday (Image via Amanda Dombrowski)

Painted circles were added to the Domino Park lawn on Friday to help park-goers stick to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The NYPD stepped-up enforcement at the Williamsburg park one week ago when Mayor de Blasio said he would be limiting the amount of people allowed to enter certain NYC Parks at once.

 

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New social distancing circles on the grass @dominopark 📷: @amanda.dombrowski

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Crowds have regularly gathered at North Brooklyn parks since the start of the pandemic as measures to deter visitors have included the removal of basketball rims, and the closure of tennis courts and fitness equipment at McCarren Park. Continue reading

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