Williamsburg Landlord Mario Salerno Waives Rent for Hundreds of Tenants Due to Coronavirus

Williamsburg landlord Mario Salerno is waiving rent for all of his tenants for April 2020.

Lifelong Williamsburg resident and landlord to hundreds of tenants, Mario Salerno announced on Monday that he will waive April’s rent for all of his residential and commercial tenants.

Salerno’s gas station and auto body shop at 451 Lormimer St.

Salerno who is 59-years-old was born on Metropolitan Avenue and his father started a gas station at 451 Lorimer St. in 1959, which his family still operates as Salerno Auto Body ShopContinue reading

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Greenpoint’s Construction Sites Are Still Bustling

Greenpoint Landing construction continued on Monday morning

New York hit the “pause” button on all non-essential business last week to slow the spread of coronavirus, and on Friday the directive from Governor Cuomo was extended to construction sites.

The temporary measure to halt all non-essential construction in NY follows similar measures taken in Washington state and in cities such as Boston.

Exemptions for the construction ban include the building of hospitals, homeless shelters, infrastructure and transit projects, emergency repairs, and perhaps most consequently for Greenpoint, affordable housing.

Local residents once-again reached out to Greenpointers on Monday morning with photos and videos of construction workers in close proximity at Greenpoint Landing and at 53 Huron St.

A man who lives near Greenpoint Landing called the police this morning as he watched construction workers on site: “They (the NYPD) claim they went there and it is essential work. I told them that they are not working on the affordable building yet. They are working on the tower,” he said, adding that the police must witness unsafe working conditions to enforce the order.

“They are working in close proximity and they don’t have masks. The police told me they don’t have to. It’s hypocritical from the city. It is absolutely does not help the situation,” he said.

The Greenpoint Landing construction site was active on Monday morning.

Cuomo’s official “guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under recent executive orders” lists the following rules for construction sites: Continue reading

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Greenpoint This Week: Restaurant Worker Relief Center Opens, Condo Construction Halts, Supermarkets Adjust to Social Distancing, and More!

The North Brooklyn Angels’ Angelmobile parked on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint.

Happy weekend Greenpointers! For many of us everyday feels like the weekend lately, especially for those who have recently lost their jobs.

There are a number of places to find free meals in the neighborhood during the week in this time of uncertainty.

Gertie (357 Grand St.) in Williamsburg is feeding recently laid off restaurant workers for free on Tuesday – Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The restaurant worker “relief center” will offer takeout meals and care packages with hygiene products for those in need until further notice.

Every Monday from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. the North Brooklyn Angels’ Angelmobile is parked in front of St Anthony of Padua-St. Alphonsus church (862 Manhattan Ave.) where volunteers distribute freshly prepared meals for free; see the Angelmobile’s full schedule here.

And on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the Greenpoint Hunger Program hosts a free community dinner at the Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton St.); a food pantry is open on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the same location.

The ensuing weekend and warmer temperatures may bring the urge for you to go outside. In order to reduce crowding in NYC parks the city will block off select streets Friday through Sunday and has removed 80 basketball hoops from courts throughout the city, including the basketball hoops at McCarren Park.

A glance at a new map released by Mayor de Blasio’s office on Friday showing confirmed coronavirus cases by neighborhood may inspire you to further stay indoors to practice social distancing.

To respond to this pandemic, Assemblymember Joe Lentol has formed a COVID-19 Task Force bringing together community groups, leaders and experts to address immediate needs and solutions; Lentol’s office can be reached at: [email protected]

Stay safe Greenpointers, and in the meantime catch up on this week’s headlines from around the neighborhood: Continue reading

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Local Grocery Stores Adjust to Social Distancing

Associated Supermarket (802 Manhattan Ave.)

Shopping for groceries during a pandemic can be a fraught experience while trying to maintain social distancing, and some grocery stores in Greenpoint are adjusting their procedures to protect customers and workers.

To slow the spread of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends standing at least six feet from one another when in public. Grocery stores can quickly draw crowds during certain hours of the day and to help the flow of customers, crowd-control measures have been put in place at Greenpoint’s Associated (802 Manhattan Ave.) store.

A line is marked for customers at Associated (802 Manhattan Ave.)

Associated instructs customers where to stand with taped markers on the ground. A bright blue rectangle with the word “LINE” greets customers waiting at the front of the store, and markers show customers where to stand near the registers during checkout. Continue reading

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Cuomo Calls Off ‘Non-Essential’ Construction Statewide

Construction waste recycling worker Sean Ragiel takes a break in Times Square after working at a job site, March 24, 2020. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will freeze most construction statewide in response to the pandemic virus sweeping New York, after outcry from workers and word of COVID-19 cases on job sites around the city.

On Friday the governor will decree most residential and commercial building temporarily off limits, according to a spokesperson for Cuomo’s office. Infrastructure and transportation projects will be allowed to continue, as well as emergency repairs, hospital building and work on affordable housing.

Until now, construction work has been classified as essential, exempt from a state “pause” that ordered the shutdown of a wide swath of workplaces.

Cuomo’s shift followed a rush of protest from construction workers and their family members. Significant numbers had begun refusing to show up for work, sources said. Word traveled on Facebook among workers about positive cases on job sites and an electrician’s death.

Stephen Jozef, 57, who had been working on Google’s offices at 111 8th Ave., died from the coronavirus Monday, his daughter said. The electrician was last on the site on March 6, leaving because he grew ill.

The carpenters’ union local released a statement Thursday asking elected officials to limit jobs to “truly essential” construction. “Our members’ lives are at stake,” it said.

Cuomo’s move came as some construction sites around the city temporarily closed for cleaning after workers tested positive for COVID-19 — including prized Cuomo public works projects at Moynihan Station and LaGuardia Airport. Both projects will continue under the new guidance.

Some in the industry feared that their coworkers have not yet fully appreciated the threat of the virus as work was allowed to continue.

“They’re being led to believe it’s no big deal,” one steamfitter said. Continue reading

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Laid Off Greenpoint Sommelier Creates Nude Paintings of Friends While in Quarantine

Painting by Amanda Geller

After getting laid off from her job as a sommelier at a Manhattan restaurant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Greenpoint resident Amanda Geller turned to her paint brush set and began working on a series of nude paintings of her friends.

“It started out as a joke when I asked my friends in a group chat if they wanted to ‘send me their nudes’ for me to paint,” Geller said. “Now after five days I have had around 30 people send their pictures — some that I don’t even know.”

Prior to mass social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses, Geller attended weekly figure drawing classes in the neighborhood. “I have received a lot of awesome feedback so far and have had the amazing opportunity to paint women of so many different body types,” she said, adding that she extends the invitation to the greater Greenpoint area.

Many of the women she has painted also work in the hospitality industry and have recently been laid off. “After the quarantine is over I plan to launch an online gallery showing and donate a portion of the proceeds to women in hospitality who have lost work due to the shutdown,” Geller said.

“Mostly the project is something fun during these crazy times that celebrates women and all types of beauty. A woman takes a nude when she is feeling sexy and fucking awesome and I love capturing that in a piece of art that they can show off and feel good about themselves.”

Read more of Greenpointers’ interview with the sommelier-turned-painter: Continue reading

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Basketball Hoops Removed From McCarren Park Court in Effort to Deter Groups

The McCarren Park basketball court (via Google Maps)

The basketball hoops came down Thursday morning in McCarren Park along with 79 other New York City courts to further deter groups from congregating and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The basketball court at McCarren Park is now without hoops

“Social distancing is taking hold with New Yorkers — but we’re seeing some issues when it comes to basketball courts,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday. “If you want to go shoot hoops with your kids, that’s fine. But we can’t have pick-up games. If people don’t follow the rules, we’ll take hoops down.” Continue reading

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Construction Continues as “Essential” Work Worrying Greenpoint Residents

Construction workers at 29 West St. this week

As construction sites continue to bustle with action along Greenpoint’s waterfront, the state recommends that everyone stay inside to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

All non-essential businesses have officially paused across New York so that everyone can socially distance while overly burdened hospitals treat the influx of infected patients.

Nail and hair salons, clothing and record stores, and many restaurants have closed, but residential and commercial construction work remains essential according to the list of essential businesses released last week by Governor Cuomo.

Local residents began writing to Greenpointers last week about their concerns of the large groups of construction workers congregating and performing tasks side-by-side at work sites in the neighborhood. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: smallhome is Big on Dreams, Creativity, and Style

It feels funny to say we should welcome smallhome (100 Freeman Street) to the neighborhood, even though the brick and mortar storefront has only been around for a few months. But long beyond that period, its steadfast owner, curator, and artist Julia Small has been creating works and home goods at various shops and recognizable markets and pop-ups all over north Brooklyn. And while our Thursday Spotlight series often focuses on the denizens of the Pencil Factory and other kinds of fine artists, it feels important — especially during this tumultuous COVID period — to highlight the artists of many stripes who keep our vital small business scene thriving. Learn more about Julia’s diverse work and career below, and be sure to follow along on Instagram!

Greenpointers: Congrats on smallhome’s opening! How long have you been at 100 Freeman Street, and where were you beforehand?
Julia Small: I moved just down Franklin from Oak street last November. I had been in a pop up space I built out within the kid’s shop Flying Squirrel, and East Williamsburg (across from Artists & Craftsmen, Harefield Road) before that.

Continue reading

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Gertie to Launch Hospitality Workers Relief Center With Free Meals

Gertie (357 Grand St.)

The Williamsburg restaurant Gertie (357 Grand St.) will offer free meals for laid off hospitality workers as a result of mass closures from the coronavirus crisis.

Starting on Thursday at 4 p.m., Gertie will become a “relief center” for anyone who has recently lost their job in the hospitality industry, as the announcement posted to Instagram on Tuesday states: “Each night, we will pack hundreds of to go dinners that people can come to pick up and take home,”

Meals will be available Tuesday – Friday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on a first come first served basis. The pop-up relief center will continue indefinitely until the restaurant can no longer financially support the program.


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We desperately need funds and donations to keep feeding furloughed restaurant workers for the Restaurant Workers Relief Program by @LEEInitiative by @chefedwardlee @lindseyofcacek⁣ ⁣ You can contribute monitarily at www.leeintiative.org or through the link in our bio. Even $5 makes a difference.⁣ All donations go right back us and other participating restaurants in other cities and go directly into feeding our community. ⁣ We need supplies: diapers, baby food, tampons, toilet paper, canned food, shelf stable food⁣ We can only buy in limited amounts so we need you to help us⁣ Please order online at @amazon @target @walmart @instacart @meijerstores or any delivery service, buy supplies through your account and ship it to Gertie (357 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211) Big thanks to @chefedwardlee and @makersmark for making this happen

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Along with the Gertie team, partners include the Prospect Heights restaurant Olmsted (which is also operating a food bank) the Lee Initiative and Makers Mark:

Due to the closure of restaurants in NYC we have an urgent need for assistance for the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, without a paycheck and without a support system. Independent restaurants are at the center of the vibrant growth in America. For the past decade, we have relied on the stellar hospitality and positive PR of the independent restaurant scene to make this a city we are incredibly proud of. But now restaurant workers need your help more than ever. If we don’t take a stand and do something now, there will not be an independent restaurant industry to speak of when the corona-virus crisis is over.


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This is the incredible project we’ve been working on: While we are closing our doors to the public (except Saturdays), WE ARE HERE FOR HOSPITALITY WORKERS IN BROOKLYN!! Starting on Thursday March 26th in partnership with @makersmark and @leeinitiative @chefedwardlee @olmstednyc we will turn @gertienyc into a relief center with @natejackadler @caulofthewild @flippelman @_talialc_ for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and/ or pay. We are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Each night, we will pack hundreds of to go dinners that people can come to pick up and take home. Dinners are offered on a first come first serve basis. Limit 1 per person unless there is an emergency situation. We will also have essential supplies on hand. We will limit how much any one person can take of these supplies but they will be handed out free to those in need. We will continue to offer this program until we can no longer financially support the program. Restaurant Workers Relief Program Due to the closure of restaurants in NYC we have an urgent need for assistance for the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, without a paycheck and without a support system. Independent restaurants are at the center of the vibrant growth in America. For the past decade, we have relied on the stellar hospitality and positive PR of the independent restaurant scene to make this a city we are incredibly proud of. But now restaurant workers need your help more than ever. If we don’t take a stand and do something now, there will not be an independent restaurant industry to speak of when the corona-virus crisis is over. Details of the program are below: – Dinner pick up address: 357 Grand St. (on the Corner of Marcy Ave + Grand St) – This program will be offered Tues-Friday unless otherwise noted – Pick up time is 4:00 to 7:00 daily To support this program and our restaurant community donate to LEEInitiative.org #chefselevatingchefs #goodfoodforgood #LEEInitiative #toosmalltofail

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