Tomorrow night (6/12) at the Swinging 60’s Senior Center (211 Ainslie St), our local Community Board 1 will be having its monthly meeting from 6pm-8:30pm. If you cannot attend in person, you can live stream the meeting on PBS Thirteen’s YouTube channel. The meetings are open to all, and a range of topics will be discussed, including: Continue reading
As we mentioned last month, the regular CB1 meetings are a great opportunity to support our local community (or at least know what the hell’s going on around here) from the comfort of your own couch—so make some popcorn, throw back a few beers and throw on the livestream. Between committed neighborhood busy-bodies, awkward and often inane comments from the peanut gallery, and Dealice Fuller’s formidable facial expressions, the CB1 meetings are thoroughly entertaining. You can watch last night’s meeting (11/14) in full, here on YouTube. The agenda can be viewed as a PDF here. The next CB1 meeting will be held on December 5th at the Swingin’ 60s Senior Center (211 Ainslie Street) at 6pm, and will also be livestreamed via Thirteen.
Here are the highlights:
- Neighbors are concerned that the crowds from Painting Lounge (309 Roebling Street) could be a boon for “drug peddling and mayhem,” and that perhaps applying for a liquor license is a clever way for the humble-seeming business to disguise its true motive of actually operating as a bar. Others brought up that there are already two liquor stores nearby, and, citing prohibition, questioned whether the community is being too harsh: “Is this 2017 or is this 1917?” And:“Am I in some lala land where this quiet little place where women come and paint is the thing that’s gonna wreck a whole community?” A motion was passed to recommend denial on the lounge’s application for a beer and wine license.
- The question was brought up and not resolved… Should CB1 be recommending name changes to businesses with potentially offensive names? Xixa (241 S 4th St) is Yiddish for a non-Jewish woman, Traif (229 S 4th St) refers to non-Kosher food, and now there’s Greenpoint newcomer Ramen Mafia (opening at 208 Franklin Street).
Dealice Fuller is the Sassiest Woman in North Brooklyn, and Other Notes From Last Night’s CB1 Meeting
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):
This could get confusing… Stephen Levin and Stephen Pierson are going head to head at the Polish Slavic Center (176 Java St) tonight, Wednesday August 21, 2013 (7-8:30pm) for an epic STEPHEN VS. STEPHEN showdown.
FYI – Stephen Levin is our Council Member for the City Council District 33 (since 2009), which covers Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Boerum Hill, and parts of Williamsburg and Bed Stuy. His interests include transportation safety, education initiatives, and fighting against the effects of lead poisoning (he started his career by running a program for children with lead poisoning in Bushwick).
But Stephen L might have some serious competition from Stephen P, who is getting a lot of buzz lately for being young, hip and according to the NY Times, expertly dressed. Times reporter, Gina Bellafonte, wrote back in April, that Pierson “looks like modern Brooklyn.” What does modern Brooklyn look like?
When I met him for breakfast last week he was wearing low-slung skinny jeans, untied desert boots and a snug wool coat and carried with him another accessory of the moment — his 2-year-old daughter’s lunch. To support himself several years ago while he was writing a novel, he started to play poker and turned out to have a talent for it.
So this guy has written a novel, fathered a 2-year old daughter (so trendy right now), and wears tailored wool? But, wait, there’s more. He also started an art and literary magazine called Canteen, featuring contributors with tattoos (thanks NY Times, for pointing that out). AND he developed Canteen Arts, an after-school program for teens in Harlem. Conclusion? He’d do really well on eHarmony.
The two Stephens have a lot in common. They both went to Brown. They’re both in their 30’s. They’re both liberal Democrats. And they’re both incredibly white in appearance.
But the major difference lies in their allegiances. While Levin used to serve as Vito Lopez’s chief of staff (and is seen by some as Lopez’s political puppet), Pierson has voiced his opposition, criticizing Levin for never publicly condemning Lopez’s alleged sexual harassment of female staff members. Pierson even went so far as to tell the NY Observer that he believes Lopez to be”the most vile politician in Brooklyn politics.”
The Stephens have also managed to secure the alliances of two rivaling hassidic groups in Williamsburg. This could get ugly.
This debate is sure to have it all: angry Hassids, sex scandals, promising young white men, AND a Brooklyn fashion showdown. Sounds like a good pitch for a Williamsburg nightclub. But, let’s take a moment to address the real question at hand–which Stephen is the most eligible bachelor? The sweater-wearing, sensitive, artsy, Stephen P, or the classic navy suit sporting, non-profit poster boy, Stephen L? You decide, Brooklyn.
When opening a new bar, coming away with a positive experience from a community board meeting presided over by a group hawkishly vigilant of both new liquor licenses and rapidly-vanishing parking spaces is no small feat, especially if in addition to drinks you’re trying to serve up a new pedestrian plaza.
However, sitting down with Etan Fraiman, who recently opened bar/restaurant Battery Harris on the once-desolate corner of Frost & Meeker along with partner David Shapiro, makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world – all you need is a little help from the DOT and a willingness to see your business in the greater context of the streetscape.
The owners of Battery Harris were actually tipped off to the DOT’s Pedestrian Plaza Program by the community board itself, and had nothing but praise for the city agency that not so long ago was referred to by many as “the department of No” for their conservative attitude towards innovation in street design. Continue reading
“We’re creating a neighborhood on the waterfront.”
These were the poorly-chosen words of Melanie Meyers, a representative for the Greenpoint Landing development. She appeared alongside representatives of the development at 77 Commercial Street and from various city agencies before a room filled beyond capacity at the McCarren Recreation Center on Monday evening to present preliminary plans for the developments threatening to deposit over 6,100 units of additional housing upon the north Brooklyn waterfront across the next decade. While it’s unclear what, if any, new information was conveyed to the public at the meeting, the response from the audience was clear: Greenpoint already has a neighborhood, thank you very much.
The details of the developments remained vague on many points, but the general outlines of their deal with the city are coming into focus. In exchange for development rights (purchased for what Ms. Meyers estimated for Greenpoint Landing at $8 million for 295,000 square feet, or about $27 per square foot) Greenpoint will be tossed the proverbial bone in the form of 631 units of affordable housing, 4.5 acres of city-owned park, about 2,000 square feet of publicly-accessible waterfront, and a 640 seat school. Part of this deal involves acquiring air rights from the MTA property at 65 commercial street; in order to use these air rights to build a 30-40 story tower instead of a 15 story tower, 77 Commercial still needs to secure an exception to allow for the soaring heights of R-8 zoning instead of its current R-6.
Aside from clarifications to these numbers, representatives of the developers did not meaningfully answer any questions or address any neighborhood concerns. Chief among those raised was the impending specter of a socioeconomically divided Greenpoint, with the waterfront belonging to the wealthy in towers whose business would be conducted in Manhattan and the rest relegated to their shadows cast on Manhattan Avenue. Transportation, which weighs heavily on the mind of any rush-hour G train commuter, was mentioned but met with a familiar response: we’ll do the studies when required by the development process. All of these non-answers served only to reinforce the main sentiment that this development is incongruous with the neighborhood and is not part of a comprehensive plan but rather is a short-sighted capitalization on valuable, newly-available waterfront.
People seemed dismayed by the lack of clear intentions coming from the developers coupled with a lack of clear leadership from representatives. Stephen Levin, District 33 representative, offered vague advice to ‘organize, organize, organize’ but appeared primarily interested in making it clear to voters that he was not in office when the 2005 rezoning was pushed forward. Similarly, Christopher Olechowski, representing community board 1, made it repeatedly clear that they had rejected in its entirety the development plans for the waterfront only to have them pushed through by the city regardless. If we wish to have a say in anything more meaningful than the placement of a park bench or two, it is clear that we will need to align the powerful undercurrents of resistance felt at this meeting, and do it quickly.
I have done my best to record all numbers accurately as I heard them, but please correct me on any mistaken details.