Assemblyman Joe Lentol

Assembly Member Joe Lentol Calls For Open Streets in Greenpoint and Williamsburg

The intersection of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue.

New York Assembly Member Joe Lentol is calling for the open streets plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio to include areas in Greenpoint and Williamsburg in order to ease overcrowding in parks.

Mayor de Blasio announced last Friday that the NYPD will enforce stricter social distancing measures on crowds in NYC parks, including limiting the number of visitors to Williamsburg’s popular getaway Domino Park.

On Tuesday, Lentol requested in a letter to de Blasio that the Department of Transportation identify local streets to reserve for pedestrian use as part of his plan:

“I am writing to request an expansion of the Open Streets program to my North Brooklyn Assembly District. The intent of this program is to provide the public with more open space at a time when it is desperately needed. The communities of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have seen large crowds in our parks over the past few weekends as the spring weather sets in. This is especially true at Domino Park, McCarren Park, McGolrick Park, Fort Greene Park and Transmitter Park.

In the interest of public health and in keeping with the spirit of social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, I call on you and the Department of Transportation to identify streets in North Brooklyn that can be temporarily converted for open space and pedestrian use in order to ease the burden on overcrowded parks in this community.”

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Voters to Decide Fate of MTA Development Site at Bushwick Inlet Park

40 Quay St. (courtesy of MTA)

A contested MTA-owned warehouse abutting the future Bushwick Inlet Park could be purchased by the state and preserved as park space instead of being developed into condos, New York Assembly Member Joe Lentol announced on Thursday.

Voters in November will decide on the Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond Act that would provide the state with $200 million in funding for land acquisitions.

The one-story, 72,600 square-foot building known as the mobile wash unit site at 40 Quay St. was explored as a possible development site as the MTA released a Request for Proposals for Development in the summer of 2019.

Rendering via Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

Over the past year, local leaders and activists called on the MTA to suspend development plans at 40 Quay St. to prevent another high rise apartment building and to extend the future Bushwick Inlet Park. Continue reading

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Greenpoint and Williamsburg Post Office Audit Results Are Here

The Greenpoint post office (via Google Maps)

Mail delivery in Greenpoint and Williamsburg from the U.S. Postal Service came under scrutiny last summer for reported missing and late mail in the 11211, 11222, and 11249 zip codes, leading to local politicians speaking out.

As the collective mail delivery woes led to outrage, Assemblyman Joe Lentol requested that the USPS Inspector General “conduct a thorough audit of mail delivery and its efficiency in North Brooklyn,” and last week the IG released the local mail audit results. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Activist Vies to Unseat 47-Year Incumbent Lentol

Greenpoint resident Emily Gallagher is running for state Assembly. (Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

This story was originally published on 12/23/19 by THE CITY. (By: Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

Emily Gallagher is no stranger to being a squeaky wheel.

The 35-year-old Greenpoint activist has tackled hyper-local issues like bike safety and the 94th Precinct’s response to sexual violence. She ran for district leader in 2016, losing by 344 votes.

Earlier this year Gallagher, a member of Brooklyn Community Board 1, suggested that the board use special City Council funds for a service that tracks constituent issues. The board revealed it bought an SUV instead.

“I try to choose battles that are activist battles,” she said.

Now, she’s taking on a longshot primary campaign to unseat Democratic Assemblymember Joe Lentol, a third-generation lawmaker who has represented Greenpoint and nearby areas for the last 47 years.

Gallagher is only the second person to challenge Lentol in a primary — and the first since 2010.

Lentol handily won that primary with 81% of the vote. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Elementary Schools Overcrowded, Residents Say

Photo courtesy of Ben Weiss

Last summer, Darla Childs, a Greenpoint resident of 16 years, was ready to leave the neighborhood. After months of trying to get her son into a Pre-K program at neighborhood public schools, she was at her wit’s end.

“He’s supposed to go to school in a month and we’re not enrolled anywhere,” she said in an interview with Greenpointers. Childs’ son, who has severe food allergies, had only been offered a seat in East Williamsburg, a 45-minute walk from her home. 

“I need him to be at a school that’s within walking distance so that I can meet an ambulance if there’s an emergency,” she explained.

Childs’ difficulty in enrolling her son in a nearby public school reflects a growing problem in Greenpoint. Despite statistics from the Department of Education (DOE) that depict a large swath of northern Brooklyn as under capacity, Greenpoint’s Pre-K and elementary schools are filled to the brim, parents and elected officials say. Continue reading

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From Greenpoint to Albany: Safe Way Home Act Awaits Governor Cuomo’s Signature

NY State Senate chamber (courtesy of Flickr/JVL)

A new state law that began in Greenpoint as a crowdfunding campaign to provide sexual assault victims free transportation home from the hospital following treatment is headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final approval.

The Safe Way Home Act (Senate Bill S3966A) unanimously passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly in June and the bill is headed to the Governor, whose 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda passed legislation this year including criminalizing revenge porn and strengthening workplace harassment protections.

Deborah Spiroff, a Greenpoint resident since 2004, and a volunteer for the past two years at Wycoff Heights Medical Center’s Violence Intervention Treatment Program raised concerns for sexual assault survivors who have no choice but to walk home alone after being discharged from the hospital.

“I’ve had more than one case where after the person has been treated they’re just released, and they literally were walking home from Wycoff Hospital at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning,” Spiroff told Greenpointers last winter when the bill was first introduced.

Sprioff launched the initial GoFundMe campaign raising $750 for survivors and began reaching out to local elected officials. State Assemblyman Joe Lentol introduced the Safe Way Home Act after meeting with Spiroff and State Senator Julia Salazar sponsored the bill.

“The creation of programs to better our communities frequently come straight from those experiencing problems,” Lentol said in a statement. “I am happy to say the Safe Way Home Act was yet another incredible achievement spearheaded from a constituent. Deborah Spiroff saw a problem and found a solution,” he said.

“Sexual assault survivors deserve the highest standard of care, and part of that includes a ride home after what is often the most traumatic day of the victim’s life,” Salazar said in a separate statement. “This is common-sense legislation that shows the positive results of people getting involved in their community and in their government. I am grateful to Deborah Spiroff for bringing this issue to my attention and to Assemblyman Lentol for working with me to pass this bill into law.”

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Town Hall With Senator Salazar and Assemblyman Lentol Set for Williamsburg (8/15)

A town hall hosted by state Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblyman Joe Lentol will take place in Williamsburg next week.

The “groundbreaking bills passed this year” and the “goals for next year’s legislative session”
will be the topics of discussion at the town hall happening Thursday, August 15, at Bushwick Inlet Park Community Room (86 Kent Ave.) from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

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North Brooklyn Development Meeting on Thursday 2/28

Greenpoint Landing construction begins on Commercial Street. Photo credit: Kim Masson

The next public meeting regarding real estate development and Superfund sites in North Brooklyn is happening Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Polish Slavic Center (176 Java St.) from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The meeting is hosted by Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, Senator Julia Salazar and NYC Council Member Stephen Levin.

Topics including the former Nuhart Plastics Superfund site and community air monitoring will be discussed with representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Environmental Remediation.

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Nightlife Town Hall with Assemblyman Lentol is Tonight (1/31)

Sunset at The Lot Radio. Photo: Megan Penmann
Sunset at The Lot Radio. Photo: Megan Penmann

Tonight, Assemblyman Joe Lentol is holding a public meeting to address comments and concerns related to nightlife in Williamsburg in Greenpoint at the Bushwick Inlet Park Community Room (86 Kent Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. Ariel Palitz, from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will also be in attendance.

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1.4 Acres of Green Roofs to Be Built at Broadway Stages in Greenpoint

Kingsland Wildflowers (courtesy of Assemblyman Joe Lentols’ office)

More green roofs will be constructed in Greenpoint thanks to a state environmental fund. Today, North Brooklyn’s State Assemblyman Joe Lentol announced a $1.5 million state grant awarded to Broadway Stages in a partnership with Alive Structures to construct a total of 1.4 acres of green roofs at three of their local soundstages.

The success of Kingsland Wildflowers green roof, which opened in 2016, demonstrated a way forward for the North Brooklyn area to transform rooftops at a large scale. In a statement, Assemblyman Lentol said that the green roofs will provide many benefits for the natural environment.

“Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages was a great success and is the perfect example that shows the potential of this project. I am very excited that this grant funded such a great project right here in Greenpoint. It will add green space, improve the environment and provide a natural habitat for countless beneficial insects and birds.”

The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund initially backed the Kingsland Wildflowers roof that was created through a partnership between the Newtown Creek Alliance, Broadway Stages, Alive Structures and NYC Audubon.

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