greenpoint brooklyn

Bat Signal to Light up Domino Sugar Factory For “Batman Day” (9/21)

The Bat Signal (courtesy of silvery/Flickr)

The famous bat signal will light up landmark buildings around the world on Saturday night for Batman Day, including the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, the NY Times reports.

The event marks the 80th anniversary of the caped DC Comics character and the lighting starts this Saturday at 8 p.m., more from the NY Times:

The bat-signal will be projected onto the sides of landmarks in each of 13 cities for four hours, beginning at 8 p.m. locally. A Batman Bat-Tracker clock on the DC website is counting down to the first lighting at Fed Square in Melbourne, Australia. In New York, the signal will be projected onto the former Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The other cities on the bat-rotation are Tokyo, Johannesburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, São Paulo, Montreal and Mexico City.

The final lighting will be at City Hall in Los Angeles, the location of a bat-signal in 2017 to honor Adam West — the Batman of the camp 1960s television series — when he died, at age 88.



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State Fines Developers for Their “Gifts” to Mayor Mayor De Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This story was originally published on 9/20/19 by THE CITY. (By: Greg B. Smith)

On the same day would-be President Bill de Blasio unveiled a campaign finance reform plan he hopes to take national, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own fundraising tactics shadowed him at home.

A state watchdog agency on Thursday revealed three deep-pocket developers seeking favors from City Hall settled charges that they had made illegal gifts to de Blasio by writing five-figure checks to his now-defunct charity, the Campaign for One New York (CONY). Continue reading

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Greenpoint Landing Developers Broke State Law With de Blasio Donations

de Blasio (left) (courtesy of Kevin Case/Flickr) and Greenpoint Landing (right)

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political fundraising tactics are facing an ethics probe as real estate developers will have to pay fines for donating to de Blasio’s non-profit while seeking contracts with his administration, Politico reports.

De Blasio’s Campaign for One New York received donations from Greenpoint Landing Developers, Brookfield Financial Properties and Toll Brothers in 2015 while the developers lobbied his administration. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics announced on Thursday that the developers will pay a $65,000 fine for breaking state laws, Politico reports: Continue reading

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International Gallery Plans Permanent Exhibition Space in Greenpoint

Rendering of Faurschou New York at 148 Green St. (courtesy of Faurschou Foundation)

Greenpoint will be the home of the next gallery from the Faurschou Foundation which plans its grand New York City opening this November with a show at the new permanent exhibition space at 148 Green St.

The warehouse at 148 Green St. is undergoing renovations and will have 12000 square feet of space; most recently home to the wholesaler 79 South China Import INC., which relocated to Long Island.  Continue reading

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Kingsland Wildflowers Festival, Spirit Animal Opening, Art Book Fair — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (9/18-9/24)


# Environmental Justice & Health Working Group Meeting @ Dupont Senior Housing (80 Dupont St), 630pm, FREE, help develop community-based strategies to combat issues of air pollution, legacy toxins, toxic sites, and trash & waste, More Info
♫ Salsa by the Water @ Domino Park, 6pm, FREE, lessons followed by open dance, with a live DJ, More Info
♦ In Conversation with Crash, Daze and Charlie Ahearn @ Beyond the Streets (25 Kent Ave) 7pm, FREE, a discussion on art, expression and New York City culture from then to now, RSVP
♦ Documentary Screening: “Frank Serpico” @ Swinging 60’s Senior Center (211 Ainslie St), 7pm, FREE, film screening and a Q&A discussion with filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio, RSVP


♦ Poster Making Party @ North Brooklyn Neighbors (240 Kent Ave), 2pm, FREE, make a poster ahead of the  global climate strike; materials will be provided and kids are welcome, More Info
* Spirit Animal – Grand Opening @ Spirit Animal (20 Broadway), 7pm, FREE, celebrate the beginning of fall with amazing wines & bites, More Info
♦ Words With My Family @ Union Docs (322 Union Ave) 730pm, $10, films, and audio pieces in which makers bravely interview members of their own family with humorous, intimate and revealing results, Buy Tix
♫ Psychedelephant // Record Release + Listening Party @ Magick City (37 Box St), 730pm, $10-$25, Disco balls! Pretty lights and flowers! More Info Continue reading

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Group Floats Separate Swimming for Men and Women at Williamsburg Pool

The Metropolitan Recreation Center pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Mathew Katz/DNAinfo

This story was originally published on 9/18/19 by THE CITY. (By: Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

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 practice, which notched national attention, was widely criticized by everyone from The New York Times Editorial Board to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which argued the decision to keep any restricted hours violated the Constitution.

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.

Victoria Cambranes, a local activist who is running for City Council in the 33rd District, says the partitioned hours would benefit everyone from religious practitioners to survivors of sexual assault.

“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.”

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Climate Week Events Happening in North Brooklyn

The 4th Annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival is on 9/21

A series of climate change-focused events and meetups over the next two weeks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg will mark Climate Week NYC, which coincides with the UN Climate Action Summit. The events are helping draw attention to the global climate crisis and to spark action. A large-scale climate strike will happen this Friday at noon at Foley Square and over one million NYC students have been granted permission to skip class to participate.

The local events kick off tonight with a happy hour from the NY League of Conservation Voters and culminate with a Tidal Toast hosted by Newtown Creek Alliance and Broadway Stages. Here’s the full list of events from the North Brooklyn Chamber Environmental Initiatives Committee: Continue reading

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Williamsburg Playspace for 0-6-Year-Olds Returns for Fall and Winter Run

Kid and Playspace will return this weekend with a play session on Saturday, September 21, from 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. inside the gymnasium of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (1 Havemeyer St.) following a successful test-run last spring.

The independent, community-based playspace for young children ages 0-6 was started by North Brooklyn-based parents; play sessions are currently scheduled for select Saturdays beginning this weekend through March 28th, signup for the mailing list here. Continue reading

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Williamsburg Loft Building’s Tenants See Hopes to Stay Fade

240 Broadway in South Williamsburg, on Sept. 12, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This story was originally published on 9/16/19 by THE CITY. (By: Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

In May, residents of Williamsburg’s 240 Broadway thought they’d won a fighting chance to stay in their homes, with the launch of an audit into their landlord’s long-ago transformation of their once-industrial building into apartments.

Tenants had pinned their hopes on the Department of Buildings revoking the structure’s certificate of occupancy, which they contended had been invalidly issued based on sub-par construction. That would allow the tenants to claim protection against eviction under New York’s Loft Law, which shields residents during and after conversions of the industrial spaces they call home.

But since then, tenants say, they’ve faced intensifying pressure to leave now that the Brooklyn building has been sold.

Soon after buying the building for $16.5 million, the new landlord, 240 Broadway Properties LLC, started issuing notices to tenants in the 24 apartments, demanding they vacate within 30 days.

So far, nine households have departed or are fighting eviction proceedings, while the remaining 15 wait anxiously as expiration dates on their leases approach. Construction has begun, according to holdouts, who say their gas has been shut off.

Tailor Arthur Arbit has worked in his 240 Broadway loft for more than 10 years, Sept. 12, 2019.
Tailor Arthur Arbit has worked in his 240 Broadway loft for more than 10 years. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

A representative for the building’s operator, Livingston Management, did not respond to THE CITY’s request for comment.

Last month, the Department of Buildings informed tenants it could not find sufficient evidence to scrap 240 Broadway’s certificate of occupancy — undermining the residents’ claim on staying put in the increasingly upscale neighborhood.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” Arthur Arbit, a tailor who has lived in the building for 11 years and keeps his studio there, told THE CITY. “We’re just waiting for answers.”

‘I Feel Cheated’

The Department of Buildings began its audit into the century-old building’s certificate of occupancy in the spring, following inquiries from THE CITY.

In an Aug. 15 email to tenants, department representative Benjamin Colombo noted the examination uncovered “several deficiencies that were inconsistent with the approved plans and subsequent inspection” that led to the department’s 2003 green-light for the certificate of occupancy. Among the problems: non-compliant space heaters and lack of fire-rated construction.

But, he wrote, “There is insufficient proof to demonstrate that the deficiencies existed at the time of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.”

Britta Riley is unsure if her family will able to stay in their loft home at 240 Broadway.
Britta Riley is unsure if her family will able to stay in their loft home at 240 Broadway. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Colombo added that the department had written up the new owners for code violations, giving them until Sept. 12 to fix the problems.

Tenants argued that the certificate of occupancy had been erroneously secured in 2003 by Henry Radusky, an architect investigated and sanctioned for filing questionable paperwork on past projects.

They sought to follow the success of loft tenants in another Brooklyn Radusky building, whose certificate of occupancy was revoked as “unlawfully issued.” Those residents were able to apply for Loft Law protection, which includes rent stabilization.

“I can’t vocalize my frustration about the hard earned money — I have paid over $300,000 in rent — I spent for a city-certified property that turned out not to merit that certification,” Britta Riley, a resident of 240 Broadway, wrote in a June 24 email to the Department of Buildings.

Riley has lived in the building for the last 11 years and has two infant daughters. “I feel cheated learning that this supposedly city-certified building is so gravely out of code,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings, Andrew Rudansky, told THE CITY that the new owners are playing by the book.

“So far, the owners have been complying with DOB orders,” he said. “However, if they fail to continue this progress bringing the building into code compliance, we will take further enforcement actions, including additional violations and associated civil penalties.”

Facial Recognition Entry

Many long-term residents describe an increasingly difficult environment in the building.

While a partial stop-work order halted roof repairs, construction is still underway in the hallways. On a recent visit by THE CITY, dropped ceilings had been torn down in the hallways on the second and third floor of the six-story building, exposing decrepit tin ceilings, pipes, mold and dust.

A Health Department notice was put up on Thursday, Sept. 12. Photo: 240 Broadway Tenants Association

An inspection by the city Department of Health on Thursday found dust “caused by unsafe work.” A notice posted in the building that same day says the dust samples are being tested for lead.

The management company, meanwhile, is proceeding with a facial recognition security system, and demanding residents turn in their metal keys by Sept. 20, according to notices sent to tenants.

Asa Pingree, who lives in the building with his wife, teenage son and 2-month-old baby, received an eviction notice last month after his lease expired. Now he’s fighting the landlord in Housing Court. The 38-year-old furniture designer moved to the building in 2015 after losing a similar conversion battle at a nearby loft on Hope Street.

While Pingree hopes 240 Broadway will eventually achieve Loft Law status, he’s most worried about his newborn’s wellbeing.

“My main concern is they’re risking our health without actually improving our living situation,” he said.

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Two Rock Climbing Gyms Slated for 2020 Openings in Williamsburg and Greenpoint

Rendering of 1 Nassau Ave. courtesy of Cayuga Capital

A pair of rock climbing gyms will open in Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2020 if all goes according to plan.

A California-based 24-hour rock climbing gym is scheduled to open in April 2020 at 1 Nassau Ave. at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint across from McCarren Park.  Continue reading

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