Antonio Reynoso

Lyft Buys Citi Bike, Plans Electronic Bike Expansion

Citit bikes (Shinya Suzuki)

The Citi Bike presence in North Brooklyn and New York City as a whole will continue to grow at a time when the program’s parent company Motivate will be acquired by ride-sharing company Lyft, in a plan that includes a $100 million investment by Lyft over the next five years, the Mayor’s office announced last week.

A statement from the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio explains that the investment by Lyft will repair the existing 12,000 Citi bikes and expand the fleet of both regular and electronic pedal assist bikes to 40,000 while doubling the current service area. Although the ‘vast majority’ (around 30,000) of the new Citi bikes will be electronic, Gothamist reports. NYC lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize e-scooters and pedal assist bikes last week, but Mayor de Blasio said he’s “seeing too many problems” with e-bikes, referring to the complaints his office receives over the handle grip throttle e-bikes that are popular with food delivery workers.    Continue reading

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North Brooklyn Celebrates Environmental Victories at Annual Party

The 7th Annual Party for the Parks in Williamsburg

In North Brooklyn open green space for public recreation is considered scarce. But the mood was celebratory at the North Brooklyn Parks Alliances’ annual Party for the Parks held on Oct. 18 at the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave.).

The passage of the Waste Equity Bill that will cut in half North Brooklyn’s waste processing by Oct. 2019 and the opening of the ultra-modern Domino Park on the Williamsburg waterfront highlighted a year of environmental victories in an area once defined by the burdens of industrial pollution.

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Pizza, Politics and Floodplains — The Hook-up (7/13)

We Scream for Vegan Pizza via AM New York

Happy Friday, Greenpoint! This week, in an effort to find the best vegan pizza in the city, AM New York landed in Greenpoint, at Screamers.

Meanwhile, Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who represents Williamsburg, and parts of Bushwick, has endorsed Cynthia Nixon for Governor of New York.

And, according to Patch, all of North Brooklyn’s new construction may be running a wet and wild risk, since North Brooklyn’s coastline is prone to flooding.   

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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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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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Can Small Businesses Survive in North Brooklyn? Not Without Our Help

Lost our Lease

In the past year covering Greenpoint happenings, I have written about more local businesses closing than I care to remember. A simple peek on Manhattan Avenue shows a smattering of empty store fronts–some shuttered for more than a year—waiting to be taken over by some business with deep enough pockets able to afford a new tier of astronomical rents. Out you go mom and pop. Adios working artists. Sayonara small fry.

Each MONTH an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 NYC small businesses lose their leases due to profiteering rent increases.  And as we’ve bared witness, the only ones who can truly afford to occupy these newly priced spaces usually come strapped with shareholders, millions of dollars in equity, and a black bottom line.

In fact, the crisis is so dire, under the Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure 83,211 commercial tenants received eviction notices, an estimated 240,000 small businesses closed, and NYC saw more than 2 million jobs lost.

Real estate speculation is nothing new, but when it finally swoops in like that long lost relative no one ever wanted to deal with, the affect can be devastating as it takes over our lives.

So you might ask: Is there any real way to stop this? The answer is yes, but you have to keep reading to find out how.

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