Some Williamsburg residents are asking for more women’s-only hours at a local public pool, but with a compromise: Give men some alone time, too.
A group of local women — of various ethnicities and religions — got unanimous approval last Tuesday from Brooklyn Community Board 1 for three additional hours of women-only swimming at the Metropolitan Pool on Bedford Avenue. Also okayed: creating men-only hours.
The Parks Department, which did not respond to a request for comment, will have the final say.
“It’s not a contentious issue in our neighborhood,” said Jan Peterson, the chair of CB1’s Women’s Issues committee. “White, black, Hispanic, Polish — all the community leaders support this issue.”
Still, the vote threatened to reignite the controversy over the decades-old, single-sex swimming sessions that surfaced in 2016 after an anonymous tipster alerted the City Commission on Human Rights.
That triggered a review and spurred the Parks Department to shut down the women’s-only sessions, which were eight hours a week at the time.
The Commission reversed course a few months later, however, and the no-men-allowed swim times were reinstated, on a limited four-hour schedule that remains today.
The Parks Department shut down a request in March 2017 for the return of the full eight-hour schedule. The Williamsburg women believe now is the chance to reclaim their time — with a nod to offering men some privacy as well.
“We polled women of all ethnicities of women of all religions, of all ethnicities, ages: Jewish women, Muslim women, Hispanic women, Italian women, pregnant women, who just don’t want to swim with men,” said Maria Aragona, a lawyer who is behind the proposal.
“If I had a young daughter, I wouldn’t want to bring her to a pool where there might be a child molester,” added Aragona, a Williamsburg resident for 23 years.
Aragona, other members of CB1’s Women’s Issues Committee, non-board members of the committee, and representatives of at least two local elected officials will meet next week to draft a letter to the Mayor’s Office and the Parks Department with their revised proposal.
‘It’s a Disgrace’
The women’s-only sessions, also available at the St. Johns Recreation Center in Crown Heights, are open to all women. They largely serve the neighborhoods’ Hasidic population, whose beliefs forbid women from swimming with men.
Bella Sabel, a Hasidic woman in her mid 70s who has lived in Williamsburg since the early 1960s, said the women-only pool hours should never have been reduced.
“It’s a disgrace,” she said. “Something in the city functioning for so many years for the health of the women, and it’s just taken away from them for no good reason whatsoever.”
The women want three additional hours a week: one more hour each on Mondays and Wednesdays, and an additional hour for women and children on Sundays, for a total of seven. They are proposing the same amount of time for men, according to Aragona.
Aragona balked at the notion that the taxpayer-funded pool shouldn’t allow separate schedules for men and women on Constitutional grounds. “There are charter schools that are just for boys — those receive public funding,” she said.
“Because it’s a city-funded pool, it should be open to all New Yorkers,” she told THE CITY. “We’re not trying to glorify women or put them on any kind of pedestal. We want to make sure everyone who wants to use the pool is comfortable doing so, and that includes men as well.”
Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 (Greenpoint and Williamsburg) will hold its monthly public meeting tomorrow (6/11) at the Swinging 60’s Senior Center at 211 Ainslie St. starting at 6 p.m. The meetings have in the past been live-streamed here, and the agenda is as follows: Continue reading →
Brooklyn Community Board 1 (CB1) purchased a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV at the cost of $26,000 with funds intended to help NYC community boards. CB1 “was the only one of the city’s 59 community boards to use any of the $42,500 budget-booster to buy a vehicle,” a new report from THE CITY claims.
The Toyota purchase, which is “the board’s single largest expense outside of payroll” was cleared by CB1’s executive committee. The board’s base budget is $288,000.
THE CITY goes on to explain that CB1 board manager of 40 years Gerald Esposito whose salary last year was $123,535, lives four blocks away from where the SUV is parked in a designated space at the corner of Graham Avenue and Frost Street.
The eight-member executive committee’s decision to spend $26,000 on an SUV from a one-time $42,500 city grant raised questions from other CB1 members, as THE CITY reports:
Earlier this week, some board members said they were surprised and dismayed when they learned of the vehicle purchase during a recent CB1 meeting. The SUV marks the board’s largest single expense outside of payroll.
“What? A vehicle? What is it used for?” board member Ryan Kuonen recalled asking at the May 14 board meeting.
“To go different places,” replied Dealice Fuller, the board’s chairperson, according to Kuonen and two other people who attended the meeting.
I still can’t believe #BKCB1 bought a car. I heard it with my own ears. I can remember exactly how the chair sounded when she said “go different places” to explain why they needed a car. But it just seems unreal.
New limits that were approved by NYC voters last fall took effect this April to cap the number of terms members can serve. Under the new rule, community board members are limited to four consecutive two-term limits, and borough presidents are encouraged to find “persons of diverse backgrounds” to serve.
Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 (Greenpoint and Williamsburg) will hold its monthly public meeting tonight (5/14) at the Swinging 60’s Senior Center at 211 Ainslie St. starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will be live-streamed here and the agenda is as follows:
Explore some new places and neighborhood favorites this Saturday (6/23) during Total Williamsburg Immersion. $15 gets you 5 FREE Brooklyn Brewery beers at four great local bars, food and retail deals, and chance to be among the first to see the Brewery’s brand-new tasting room. Buy tix here [sponsored]
♫ Dan English, Harmony Tividad, Curt Oren, Sharleen Chidiac @ The Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St.), 7pm, $10, album release party, Buy Tix * Pleasure Principle: A Summer Solstice Celebration @ Space Ninety 8 (98 North 6th St.), 7pm, $60, custom Haute Chocolate fusing ritual, intention and pleasure + snacks and wine, Buy Tix ♫ Electric Sensei // Waterfall Strainer w/ Lowly Loverboi @ Tender Trap (66 Greenpoint Avenue), 7:30pm, $8, More Info ♦ Outdoor Film Night: Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) @ Nowadays (56-06 Cooper Ave.), 8pm, FREE, More Info ♫ FULL FLEX with Jyoty (Rinse FM), Darling Chuck, Melizards + more @ Good Room (98 Meserole Avenue), 9pm, FREE, More Info
♫ The Soundshop Solstice @ City Reliquary (370 Metropolitan Ave.), 6:30pm, FREE, In collaboration with the Soundshop and Make Music New York, have a relaxing evening of music in the City Reliquary’s garden at a start-of-summer soiree! RSVP # Fish CousCous with Victoria Granof @ Archestratus (160 Huron Street.), 7pm, $30, Join food stylist and cookbook author Victoria Granof for a CusCus Dinner! Buy Tix ♦ Intro to Archiving and Preservation for Film + Video @ UnionDocs (322 Union Ave.), 7:30pm, $10, Come to this panel hosted with New York Women in Film & Television and The Women’s Film Preservation Fund to get a handle on all of the basics of film and video preservation, Buy Tix ♫ Office Culture, twig twig, Maeve Thorne @ Wonders of Nature (131 Grand St.), 8pm, $10, More InfoContinue reading →
It’s a frigid Tuesday night in March, currently breezy, but there was a Nor’easter in the morning. The day and the commute hasn’t been easy. You probably feel like parking yourself on the couch, ordering a giant pizza and throwing back a few glasses of red wine. Well, a handful of Greenpointers staff did just that AND we watched the livestream of tonight’s Community Board 1 meeting. Every month, the CB1 meeting livestreams on YouTube via PBS Thirteen, and if you’re a little late or you miss it entirely you can watch it after the fact, from your damn couch. Our neighborhood is one of the lucky ones around town—not all Community Board meetings get the YouTube treatment. We’ve writtenbefore about how entertaining the meetings are—if the idea of a “real life episode of Parks & Rec” doesn’t hook you, then check out the cast of local characters and issues below. Continue reading →
The MTA has seen protests in Brooklyn due to its laissez-faire relationship with the impending L-pocalypse. In response, they’ve promised to make community engagement a “central priority” as the March 2019 L train closure nears. Part of that community engagement was on display last week, when the MTA and the DOT appeared before Brooklyn Community Board 1 to offer a joint presentation to this neighborhood offering new information regarding their plans for alternate service during the transit shutdown. In a word: Ferries.
Last night, the Swinging 60’s Senior Center (211 Ainslie Street) hosted the final CB1 meeting of 2017, and despite the crummy weather and end of year throwaway vibe, the room was fairly full. If you’ve been following our lighthearted coverage the past few months, you are probably aware of how fun these meetings can be to watch, especially for neighborhood nerds who don’t feel like schlepping a few blocks to attend. And that’s also because you can watch the livestream from the comfort of your couch via PBS Thirteen on YouTube while you pop in a frozen Roberta’s pizza and down some nice wine from Dandelion (just me?) while yelling things at the screen like, “That man’s head is too big for his body!” (also, just me?). This particular meeting had a whole 26 people tune in to the livestream, and I have to say I’m thankful that Thirteen disabled the chat feature—a few meetings ago there was a troll on there typing in dirty words at random intervals, in a display of truly demented deference for locals getting organized and actually giving a shit about where they live.
Chairperson Dealice Fuller is one of the main reasons you should be watching the CB1 meetings, because she throws some amazingly timed shade. Last night was no different, so here are a few of her best gems:
“When I don’t see faces that often, I don’t remember names that well.” –Dealice Fuller (regarding a person in the audience who she didn’t quite recognize, and then an 80s sitcom-type “Ooooohhhhhhhhh….” [as in ‘Damn, that was cold’] went through the crowd)
“Please. How are you gonna have a meeting when people are talking in the middle of the floor?” – Dealice Fuller (to people chitchatting in the audience)
“Marty, we can’t have that, you know better.” –Dealice Fuller (Get ‘im!)
“We don’t know if we’re gonna wake up tomorrow and find the world still here.” –Dealice Fuller (on whether unexpected world events will interrupt future committee meeting dates)
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 →