The monthly Community Board 1 meetings are highly entertaining if you have even a passing interest in local goings-on, and as we’ve previously reported, if you don’t want to attend in person you can watch them from the comfort of your own home livestreamed via public channel Thirteen on YouTube. At the meetings, you get to find out who’s applying for liquor licenses, which block association has beef with which developer, and watch bright-eyed millenials with new business ideas get torn a new one (pass the popcorn). One of the most enjoyable parts of watching the livestream of the CB1 meeting is the closeups on chairperson Dealice Fuller’s face—this woman does not play. She’s badass and amazing. You can watch last night’s meeting in full here.
Here are the highlights from last night’s meeting (which ran over by about an hour): Continue reading →
If you thought the pilot composting program was good idea for Greenpoint then wait until you hear the latest news coming from the Department of Sanitation. The agency has officially upped its own ante by announcing that Greenpoint and Williamsburg streets will be getting nearly 200 new solar powered trash compactor bins in just a few short weeks.
Dubbed Big Belly Solar Compactors, these trash bins will be replacing the traditional green wire cans-a common fixture on nearly every major street corner in the neighborhood. So what makes these new compactors so great? A peek on the manufacturer’s website boasts Big Belly Solar’s trash bins can compact over 150 gallons of garbage compared to only 35 gallons of the standard-issued green trash can.
The company says Big Belly cans are aimed at reducing fossil fuels and are designed to be used without the use of hydraulic fluids. To date, Big Belly Solar Compactor bins have been such a hit they can be found everywhere–including 13 US cities, Scotland, the rest of the UK, and Sweden. Soon enough Greenpoint will be added to that growing list.
McGolrick Park is a hidden gem on the other side of McGuinness Blvd (#OSOM) but many local residents feel the park needs some major love, like updates to the playground and repair to the pathways. It doesn’t help that neighborhood punks have no respect, either; last year they set fire to benches and vandalized the statue.
This week’s CB1 ULURP hearing focused on the development at 77 Commercial St. which is just up Newton Creek from the Greenpoint Landing project that we covered last week. 77 Commercial street is currently a vacant commercial building that was purchased in 2012 by Manhattan-based developers, Chetrit Group. What makes this development notable is that it sits next to the long promised, but never delivered Box Street Park at 65 Commercial Street. Continue reading →
Tonight – August 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM there will be a Public Hearing on the 77 Commercial Street Project and an Informational Presentation on Newtown Barge and Box Street Parks at Automotive High School (50 Bedford Ave).
Like Greenpoint Landing, 77 Commercial St has also begun its ULURP process. (WTF is ULURP?) Approval of the proposal will mean 30-40 story towers in exchange for a park and affordable housing.
Aside from the impact on the character of the neighborhood as well as issues with infrastructure and transportation, the environmental issues at this site and the risk to public health are of great concern.
According to the convoluted and endless Environmental Assessment Statement issued on 8/1/13, the 77 Commercial St site is “currently or was historically a manufacturing area that involved hazardous materials” … “a site where there is reason to suspect the presence of hazardous materials, contamination, illegal dumping or fill or fill material of unknown origin.” When is the open house?!
Based on the findings in this statement, a detailed analysis of air quality, noise and hazardous material in respect to public health needs to be conducted. If you can get a word in edgewise this evening, it’s very important that questions with respect to these vital issues are addressed.
There are plans to convert the old Chopin Theatre at 910 Manhattan Avenue into a full-service gym! The existing Starbucks will remain on the ground floor where you can stock up on calories to burn off in the 13,700 square foot health club. While no pool is planned, there will be a full range of equipment, classrooms, locker rooms and sauna & steam rooms. At last night’s CB1 public hearing, a representative for the building owner stated that they have plans to develop and independently operate the gym with a capacity for roughly 250 people. The proposed operating hours are 5AM-12AM on weekdays and 8AM-9PM on weekends, which some neighborhood residents felt allowed the gym to be open too late. Perhaps most importantly, the building owner has plans to keep the majestic eagle perched on top of the building!
So, Greenpointers, is a gym the right use of space for the old theatre? What kind of classes would you take at the gym?
When I heard Lokal got a citation for serving Brunch on the sidewalk before noon on Sunday because it would prevent people from making it to church, I thought, “You gotta be kidding me!” Aetheism, laziness and in my experience hangovers are what stop people from attending. But let’s hear what my badass and hilarious preacher Ann Kansfield has to say:
Dear Members of Community Board 1:
This letter is in regard to sidewalk café seating, specifically the City prohibition against outdoor seating before noon on the Lord’s Day. The notion that sidewalk dining in some way restricts, inhibits or in any other way interferes with church attendance is utter hogwash. Consequently, I respectfully request that you not cite religious observance, specifically church attendance, as an argument against sidewalk dining. Unless a local clergyperson or other representative from a faith community actually complains about an issue, it is not an issue for us. To my knowledge, neither I, nor none of my clergy colleagues, have voiced any complaint about this issue.
Two observations might be additionally relevant. If there were so many church-going people in Greenpoint and Williamsburg that sidewalk seating would interfere with church attendance, all of our churches would be packed full of people. This is not the case.
Sunday morning worship at the Greenpoint Reformed Church is so exciting and my sermons are so riveting and life-changing that sidewalk seating in no way keeps our congregation from attending services here. We simply traverse along the empty portion of the sidewalk and are able to get to church.
Lastly, regarding the law itself. By only pertaining to Sundays, the law clearly discriminates against others who observe Sabbath on other days of the week. Therefore, it would be my hope that the community board would petition the City to eliminate the law all together.
Coverage of Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Public Hearing & Board Meeting 10/5/2011
Waterfront Concerts The waterfront concerts by Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, was a main topic. The concerts will move north, from the state-owned East River State Park to a paved lot owned by the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation (Kent Ave @ N 11th & 12th) The new location has several benefits, including fewer residents and since it’s city-owned more of OSA’s revenue ($90,000/year more in state licensing fees) will go towards improving CB1 parks.
The concerts stir up strong emotions on all sides but OSA has local support because it engages the community board and is proactive when addressing neighborhood concerns. Neighbors raised specific concerns about the events that followed this summer’s Widespread Panic show, where NOX-peddlers and unruly crowds were the last straw for many locals. Previous complaints of littering on side streets have been addressed by offering volunteers free tickets in exchange for neighborhood clean-up after shows, and this practice has been successful and will likely be continued next season. A call was made for access to OSA’s accounting to see how revenue goes toward local parks. Another public hearing regarding the concerts will be held on 10/20 @ Swinging 60s Senior Center (211 Ainslie) 6:30.
If you been at The Charleston or within blocks, you know it’s frequented by people who enjoy drinking, smoking and not using their inside voices. A few community members would like to see the renewal of their sidewalk cafe permit (which allows tables out front) denied. They presented legitimate concerns: the sidewalk is already narrow by bike racks and trees, so the space in between is frequently occupied by smokers overflowing from the table area. This raises concern for sidewalk permits for bars in general, even those that are more considerate. It would be a surprise to see the tables in front of The Charleston much longer as they didn’t show up to defend their permit renewal.
Transportation The corner of Greenpoint & Humboldt will be given the honorific name of “Cosimo’s Way” to honor the late Cosimo Tristani’s service to the community. The presentation given by Andre Aviles, his friend from ages seventeen to sixty-three, was moving and heartfelt.
More controversial was the talk of street redesigns concerning the Greenpoint Ave. bicycle lanes. Specifically, the transportation committee voiced strong disagreement, backed up by a contested motion from the community board as a whole, not to support a street redesign proposal for Greenpoint Ave. from McGuinness to the bridge that would involve the loss of all parking on this stretch, about 50 spaces. It should be noted that this proposal, made by DOT, was preliminary and discussions are ongoing. It was recognized that the current layout is dangerous to both cars and cyclists and changes must be made.
As someone who bikes regularly on Greenpoint Ave, something needs to be done on this stretch. The most serious dangers are speeding drivers who swerve into the bike lane to avoid waiting for car ahead making left turns. However, it is important that the redesign protects the bikes lanes better without sacrificing all parking or loading zones for businesses.
Redesigns are also planned for the Greenpoint Ave Bridge and the Queens side of Greenpoint Ave, which is plagued by double-parking and a headache-inducing traffic pattern.
Filming in Greenpoint Greenpoint is well-known as a filming destination and the community board seemed united in its criticisms of the burdens of filming on the neighborhood. The main complaint stems from the loss of parking, especially for businesses on Manhattan Ave. Specifically, complaints were raised about the tendency for crews to clear streets hours prior to shooting, leaving locals wondering why businesses lose loading areas for 12 hrs in order to shoot a ten-minute shot. If you film in Greenpoint, a word of advice is to meet the community board and explain your position. The board spoke very favorably of one company that approached them prior to filming. The film industry creates good jobs for Greenpointers and New York, so the “go back to Hollywood” sentiment expressed by some was lacking nuance.
October 20, 6:30 pm (211 Ainslie Street) Public hearing regarding Open Space Alliance and waterfront shows October 25, 6:30 pm @ Community Board (435 Graham) Land use committee meeting, including a discussion on expanding the Greenpoint historic district. October 27, 6:30 @ Community Board (435 Graham) Public safety meeting. More detailed info on local safety issues and liquor licenses.
If you live in Williamsburg or Greenpoint and care about liquor licenses, you’ll want to attend tonight’s Community Board 1 Public Safety meeting. Up for consideration or renewal: Spuyten Duyvil, Mugs and the Graham Avenue Planet Thai. Thursday, 6:30 p.m., CB1 District Office, 435 Graham Avenue.
Hopefully all the anti-liquor license community activists will be too busy harassing Mikey at the Polonaise to complain or endanger the renewal of booze slinger cards.