Quadrum Global filed plans this week with the Dept. of Buildings for a 14-story, 150-foot tall residential building at 53 Huron St. (also known as 161 West St.) with 173 units spanning 178,000 square feet.
The development includes 86 enclosed parking spaces and would span 278,000 square feet at West Street between Huron and Green streets. The rendering envisions a yacht-friendly future for the building on the Greenpoint waterfront, which would neighbor the 40-story tower ‘The Greenpoint.”
When Greenpointers received a tip last week that someone was allegedly passing out flyers identifying hate symbols following the discovery of hate stickers on McGuiness Blvd, we posted an image of the flyer to Instagram and began to receive many messages from local Polish residents that the Kotwica symbol should not be placed in the same category as the Swastika and other hate symbols. We also received messages insisting that the far right in Poland has recently used patriotic symbology during rallies, including the Kotwica. The local debate even received the attention of staff at the Polish Consulate in New York and the Greenpoint-based Polish and English radio station and news site, Radio Rampa, posted on the matter.
It’s a fact that the Kotwica is a symbol of the underground Polish resistance fighters who fought against Nazi occupation in the 1940s. The symbol to commemorate the resistance fighters is also found in Greenpoint on a flag during summer months at the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union on McGuiness Boulevard and on a mural on Eckford Street around the corner from the Warsaw music venue.
Ben Shahn’s name today is obscure, but Shahn was perhaps one of the greatest artists ever to come out of Williamsburg. Born in Lithuania, Shahn grew up in the Southside in real poverty (1898-1969). Recognized during his lifetime as one of the greatest American painters of his generation, he was also a highly talented photographer, graphic artist, and lithographer.
Like many other Williamsburg celebrities, Shahn’s parents were Orthodox Jews who fled the poverty and Anti-Semitism of Eastern Europe. His father was a leftist political activist whom The Tsar’s forces arrested, imprisoned and sent to Siberia. In 1906, when Shahn was eight years old, his family immigrated to New York where they were reunited with Shahn’s father.
His artistic talent soon manifested itself. In Williamsburg, his fifth-grade teacher first noticed and encouraged his artistic development. The family, however, was very poor and despite his obvious talent, Shahn’s mother made him drop out of school at the end of the eighth-grade to work and help support the family. Shahn got a job as an apprentice in his uncle’s lithography shop, where he continued to develop his artistic ability. By age 19, Shahn had become a professional lithographer, but he was determined to learn even more, so he also started to study at New York University, the College of the City of New York, and the National Academy of Design.
He toured Europe as a young man and was deeply impressed with European painting, especially Cezanne and Matisse, whom he mimicked in his early work, but Shahn thankfully realized that he was an American artist, soon developing a uniquely American style of art. Later in life he called himself “the most American of all American painters.” His art, though, was highly critical of American life, often depicting American poverty and injustice. His first fame came with his series of paintings surrounding the extremely controversial execution of the Italian immigrant anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti in Massachusetts. Shahn, like many people around the world, believed that the two men were framed for their anarchism, and he created twenty-three protests images of the trial. Many of these, including the gouache Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco became famous amongst leftists around the world. One of those leftists was Diego Rivera, the celebrated Mexican muralist, invited him to assist him in creating his famed murals for Rockefeller Center. Under Rivera’s tutelage, Shahn mastered the demanding art of fresco or painting with dry pigments on wet plaster.
Greenpointer and undefeated heavyweight contender Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) faces former title challenger Gerald Washington (19-2, 12 KOs) in the co-main event taking place at Barclays Center on Jan. 26. You’re invited to the pre-fight meet and greet on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6.p.m. at Greenpoint’s Amber Steakhouse (119 Nassau Ave.).
After 97 – 99 Clay St. was sold to developers in 2014, the 25 rent-stabilized tenants in the building reduced to five, following what current tenants claim has been a sustained effort by the new landlords to push them out through untenable demolition and construction conditions. “The first thing that happened is that they changed the locks on Christmas day and didn’t tell us,” said Gretchen, who wishes to withhold her last name and continues to live in a rent-stabilized studio at 97 Clay St. despite alleged harassment.”We live between a halfway house and two homeless shelters and there was no front door for two months,” she said adding that one of the other tenants is a wheel-chair bound senior citizen, making him especially vulnerable.
“They let everything get very run down and then started offering buyouts. They first offered me $4,000 and I said no.”
The new landlords originally planned to raze the building to make way for new construction, but with at least one tenant remaining in each of the buildings, the owners had to settle for renovations instead. Around February 2018, tenants say that demolition commenced and the living situation became increasingly hazardous. Complaints to the management company, Perfect Management, would simply result in a visit from the building’s super who tenants say has acted hostile toward their complaints. Perfect Management has not yet responded to Greenpointers.
A series of stickers with anti-Semitic and hate speech were discovered along McGuinness Boulevard on Sunday morning by a Greenpoint couple who took photos and peeled the stickers before tipping off Greenpointers. The 94th Precinct has been notified and is investigating the spread of the stickers.
In 2018, New York City was the safest of all major U.S. cities as the murder rate declined to a historic low, but the NYPD documented over 350 hate crimes last year, an increase of approximately 5 percent from 2017. And hate crimes targeting Jewish people skyrocketed by 22 percent last year, according to the NY Times.
One troubling trend in 2018 was a rise in reported crimes motivated by bigotry. As of Dec. 23, hate crimes reported to the police rose 5 percent to 352 incidents. Reported crimes targeting black people because of their race increased by 33 percent, while anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 22 percent, the police said.
Manhattan Avenue isn’t the only Greenpoint shopping corridor experiencing a rapid change in its businesses. The stretch of Franklin Street from N. 15 Street to Commercial Street has seen a shakeup in the past year with the closings and openings of longtime and new businesses. Here’s the latest:
Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. (7 N. 15th St.) and Northern Territory (12 Franklin St.) share the same block that is soon-to-be-razed to make way for a new office building. Northern Territory is closed for the winter and will reopen for the final year at its current location this spring. Meanwhile, Greenpoint Beer celebrated its final night on New Year’s Eve at its current location and the owners are busy preparing their new 1150 Manhattan Ave. location for a tentative spring opening.
Just across the street from Northern Territory, the House of Vans (25 Franklin St.) concert venue and skate park opened in 2010 and closed last August with a goodbye set from NYC legends Interpol. The space is now on the market for $77,000 per month.
Shayz Lounge (130 Franklin St.) announced on Thursday that January 20th will be the neighborhood bar’s final night of operation after spending a decade in Greenpoint on Franklin Street. Continue reading →
Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo will take a break from striking backroom deals with monopolistic billionaires and make a surprise announcement during a press conference today at 12:45 p.m. in Manhattan regarding the L train shutdown, Gothamist reports. Just two weeks ago Cuomo submerged himself into the Canarsie Tunnel that runs between Manhattan and Brooklyn to take a hard look at the reconstruction plan with a team of experts. As of now, the plan (four years in the making) is to shut down the tunnel to train traffic for 15 months begging at the end of April 2019.
A potential switch may be a three-year shutdown with one track remaining in operation, Gothamist reports:
MTA sources told Gothamist that they have heard rumors that the governor was planning on altering the L train shutdown. “We usually have provisions that allow us to get out of contracts at any given time, but there’s been a fair amount of work done already,” one source said. “If there’s a new plan only the very upper management knows what that is.”
Another source in contact with city decision makers said the governor may switch from the 1.5 year total shutdown timeline to one that would last 3+ years by partially shutting down one track.
Update: The NY Times reports that a full Canarsie Tunnel shutdown will not happen. Specific details are still to be announced.
Brooklynites, rejoice! Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to cancel the full shutdown of the L train between Brooklyn and Manhattan. https://t.co/7VzrGhzEzA