So many of the wealthy in today’s world are both so selfish and self-interested that it’s easy to believe that rich people do not think of those who have nothing. The story of Grahams Polley, the great Williamsburg philanthropist, however, shows that wealth and concern for the poor and for public education are not mutually exclusive. Polley only lived to be thirty-four years of age, dying in a riding accident in 1860 and leaving behind a wife and ten children. His charity was legendary and left a legacy still felt today.
Polley was born in Manhattan to a poor family. He never had the chance to go to school for himself and he never learned to read or write, but he died as a bank president with a fortune of $40,000. He was determined to use his wealth for the public good and his chief interest was ensuring that all of Williamsburg’s children got educated. Continue reading →
So a lot is going on with the Newtown Creek Environmental Benefit Project. Or nothing is going on with it. It really depends on who you ask.
Wednesday night (4/23), a progress meeting on the project was held in Long Island City. Michelle Moore from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) kicked things off, and almost immediately voices were raised questioning funding and lack of progress. Even Joseph Lentol, the New York State Assemblyman that represents Greenpoint, expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress with the project so far. Continue reading →
As a product of the NYC Public Education system and an art lover, I am excited to let you know about a Benefit for Public School Art Programs, taking place at Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave) tomorrow February 25, 2014 at 8pm.
Kids need art, and we all know that art programs are underfunded. This article on the importance of art in child development from PBS.org cites that, “art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life.”
The Framework Plan for Greenpoint Landing actually shows the school one block East of the location where they plan to build. The school building will be located at 219 West Street, not Franklin Street, as this map shows.
Greenpoint Landing, for those readers who are unfamiliar, is the proposed and now, approved, project that encompasses 20 acres of the Greenpoint waterfront, and will include the construction of ten 30-40 story towers, as well as a new school and a public park.
The final vote on the project was cast on Tuesday 12/10 by the City Council, and although Council Member Stephen Levin won some benefits through his negotiations, many questions remain unanswered.
The vote was based on a hearing that took place the previous week at City Hall, where the developers presented their plan, answered questions from Levin, and heard testimonies from those opposed and supported the project. But due to a last minute location change and an overlap of several meetings, at least 10 of those speakers who were called to testify were not available by the time they were called upon. Continue reading →
I got two gem emails this morning – one that made me wonder why I blog and the other that made me realize why I blog. The first had the subject line “Hipster” and when I opened it it said in bold “I HATE YOU.” (The fact that I am even protecting the identity of this loser is beyond me.)
Then the sky opened and an anonymous email came from an address named “Be Kind To Children” with the subject line “Mean Monster Principal at PS 31 Brooklyn Is Anti-Halloween” Continue reading →
Come to PS 31, 75 Meserole Ave on Thursday, May 30th from 4-7pm and enjoy their Spring Fling celebration.
This fundraising event, which is open to the public, will have tons of exciting of things for you and your family. Come see us in the playground and get your face face painted, jump in the bouncy house or enjoy some arts and crafts. These will be just a few of the fun activities they are going to have. Tickets are $1 each or 12/$10 but also vary in price.
Greenpointers worked with the PS31 to design the mural which will be shown in the school yard during the celebration. It is a take on Matisse’s Flower Mural at the National Gallery. The students were given pieces of the mural to color in. The mural will be hung up piece by piece for a huge piece of group work of art.
PS 31 Fiesta de Primavera
Venga PS 31, 75 Meserole Ave, el Jueves, 30 de Mayo de 4-7 pm y disfrutar de la celebración de la Fiesta de Primavera.
Este evento de recaudación de fondos, que está abierto al público, tendrá toneladas de cosas para usted y su familia. Venga a vernos en el patio de recreo y pinte su cara, salta en la casa hinchable o disfrutar de artes. Estos serán algunos de la diversión actividades que van a tener. Los boletos cuestan $1 o 12/$10 pero también varían en precio.
Greenpointers trabajo con PS31 para diseñar el mural que se mostrará en el patio de la escuela durante la celebración. Es un mural de flor de Matisse que esta en la Galeria Nacional. Los estudiantes recibieron piezas del mural para colorear. El mural se cuelga pieza por pieza y se hace una enorme pieza de obra de arte.
Have you ever wondered about the little elementary school at the corner of Norman and Eckford Streets? Three fun facts you should know: it was formerly a hospital; it is the oldest continually operating elementary school in Brooklyn; and the first ever benefit for the art education at PS 34 The Art Party happens this coming Wednesday May 22, 2013 at 7pm at From The Source (69 West St).
Come meet your neighbors, purchase amazing art, eat, drink, and dance in support of art education at PS 34 this Wednesday, May 22nd. Tickets at $40 and can be purchased at Cup at (79 Norman Ave), Greenpoint Toys (738 Manhattan Ave), or at the door.
Recently, I took an amazing Public Speaking Workshop with a fantastic teacher named Andrew Linderman and got so much out of the experience that I want to offer the class to Greenpointers readers.
If you want to communicate more confidently and convincingly, perhaps to make a presentation at work or to tell a great story in an effective way, then take this class! I promise that you will leave this workshop a better public speaker and you will learn a lot about yourself and maybe make some new friends. It was really a lot of fun, too!
Class: Public Speaking Workshop Date: Monday, June 3rd 2013 Time: 7-10pm Location:Dobbin Project Space (50-52 Dobbin St, Greenpoint, BK, 11222) Price:$45
Course Description: Need to feel confident speaking in front of group of strangers? Come across as more genuine and less robotic? Want to finally overcome your fear of public speaking?!?
In this 3-hour workshop, participants will get expert coaching and feedback on ways to strengthen their presentation skills, from techniques to calm frayed nerves to exercises designed to build confidence and improve focus. The class is limited to 16 people, so participants are guaranteed lots of time to practice and plenty of instructor feedback. Everyone will leave this workshop with experience speaking in front of a group and valuable insight into how to be a powerful communicator.
Preparation: If you have something short (1-2 mins) that you’d like to work on, bring it in! Otherwise we can generate some content in class.
Andrew Linderman has a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. Andrew currently teaches storytelling with the Brooklyn Brainery and The Moth, and is the executive producer of Local Stories, a monthly storytelling series featuring writers, comedians and performers from all over New York City. Prior to his work as a storyteller, Andrew trained as an actor and improvisor at the Upright Citizens Brigadeand the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. Andrew has also worked as a city planner, a radio DJ and an economist and has lots of stories to tell.
Recently a writer doing research on a book about Greenpoint interviewed me about life in Greenpoint and the Polish community came up. I explained how unique NYC is in that Polish immigrants could live here and never learn English. They could read the paper, get groceries, go to the doctor, work, get legal services – all in Polish.
It reminds me of my Aunt Grace who immigrated from Italy and lived in Ridgewood for 50 years, getting by with hardly any English. At age 70 she decided to get her American citizenship, and during the interview when they asked her who the first president of the United States was, she said, “Ronald Regan – very nice man.” Aunt Grace somehow passed, and I hope they’ve become stricter on the exam.
While I’m doing a poor job selling it, learning English is a good thing and will help create more opportunities for education, work and socializing. And of course – the ability to read this fine blog!
St. Nicks Alliance is offering FREE English classes for speakers of foreign languages, at both the Williamsburg (850 Grand St.) and Greenpoint (424 Leonard) Beacon Centers. They begin Saturdays – March 16th from 10am-1pm & Mondays – March 18th 6:30-8:30pm, respectively. Each class has 12 sessions. Classes are for beginning and intermediate English learners, and are open to those 18 or older.
Register in person on weekdays from 1-6pm at the Williamsburg Beacon, and from 1-7pm at the Greenpoint Beacon.
For more info, call the Williamsburg Beacon at 718-302-6827 x10, or the Greenpoint Beacon at 718-388-5585.
Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents Our Public Schools! or WAGPOPS! is an organization formed in 2011 by parents of public school students in North Brooklyn’s District 14.
The group, which is the focus of a recent Village Voice story, consists of hundreds of parents and community members “who support and promote schools that are of, for and by the community.”
Just this month, WAGPOPS filed a lawsuit against SUNY, in an attempt to stop Citizens of the World Charter Schools, which is trying to make inroads into District 14, from opening two new charter schools in North Brooklyn in Fall 2013.
The following interview was conducted via email with Brooke Parker, one of WAGPOPS’ founders:
GP: What does WAGPOPS do? When and in response to what was the group formed?
Brooke: Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents: Our Public Schools! was formed by a group of parents who met on the brooklynbabyhui, a private listserv for local parents of infants and toddlers. In December 2011, “Success Academy Charter Schools” launched a super-expensive ad campaign with “Success Academy” posters all over the Northside subways. Parents on the listserv then discovered that Eva Moskowitz’ husband, Eric Grannis, was trying to recruit parents off the brooklynbabyhui to push for more charter schools in North Brooklyn. We began emailing each other off-list, only meeting in person months later. None of us expected to become grassroots activists, but like the neighborhood residents who fought Radicac, we responded to a real threat to our neighborhood public schools and became more outraged the more we learned.