Joe Lentol

Blame for Election Day Failures Placed on Board of Elections and Albany

Voting lines wrap around McGuinness senior center in Greenpoint on midterm election day 2018.

The outrage caused by widespread voting machine breakdowns throughout New York City on midterm election day is largely falling on the shoulders of Board of Elections Director Michael Ryan.

At Greenpoint’s polling sites wait-times exceeded two hours throughout the day, as ballot scanners overheated, jammed and simply stopped working. Greenpoint was not alone, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams counted 49 poll sites facing similar dilemmas.

Voter turnout increased 88 percent in NYC this year for the midterm elections compared with the 2014 midterms, but decreased by nearly one million voters compared with the 2016 presidential elections, according to Gothamist.

BOE director Ryan said that 56 ballot scanners were taken out of service on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., the 15-hour window which saw 1.9 million NYC voters — each with two double-sided ballots — overwhelm the eight-year-old scanners that were expected to be used for 10 years. 6,000 calls were made to 311 pertaining to election day woes.

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Lentol wants to Legalize Pot and Vittles is Serving Cannabis Coffee

Assemblyman Lentol
Assemblyman Lentol

Sure, Hawaii will literally pay New Yorkers to bliss out on the Islands, but why go so far afield when Greenpoint is getting hella chill? The will to relax comes straight from the top. Seventy-Five year-old Assemblyman Joe Lentol favors legalizing recreational marijuana in New York State through direct public referendum.  Continue reading

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Eckford Street Feral Cat Colony Needs New Home

Eckford St. Cat Colony
The Eckford Street Cat Colony. Photo by Shane Gill

Over a year and a half ago, Greenpoint resident Shane Gill began feeding a colony of feral cats on Eckford Street. The Cats had congregated at a construction site there, which lay dormant due to a stop work order. Now, construction is set to begin again, and the cats’ displacement is eminent. Gill reached out to the Greenpoint community for advice about how to help relocate his feline fellows, and Greenpoint residents responded with overwhelming support for our neighborhood cats.  Continue reading

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The City is Still Without a Plan for L-pocalypse and North Brooklyn is Trying to Hold Leaders Accountable

L-Pocalypse Press Conference
Photo by Victoria Varney

When it comes to the Zombie Apocalypse, you’re officially covered. The Pentagon has been prepared to resist the undead menace since 2011, when the headquarters of United States strategic command compiled a “Counter-Zombie Dominance” plan. This is absolutely a real thing. The document even carries the disclaimer, “this plan was not actually designed as a joke,” but instead as “a useful and effective training tool.” Other useful and effective tools that may help you in planning for the Zombie Apocalypse include the Center for Disease Control’s Zombie Preparedness Campaign, and this handy list of the 25 Best Majors for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about the eminent L Train Shutdown, the 15-month transit closure planned to take effect in April 2019, when the the MTA will repair the Canarsie Tunnel, it seems you may have no such survival guides. According to The Village Voice, the City and the MTA have no plan in place for how they’ll get the L Train’s 200,000 daily riders between Manhattan and Brooklyn and back again.

On Tuesday, December 5th, North Brooklyn community activists led by The L Train Coalition and local politicians, held a press conference at The West BK (379 Union Avenue) calling on the MTA and DOT to meet with community representatives before the end of the year. A media release for the event said, “the community needs a report of the current plans for transportation remediation, a serious discussion around help for local businesses, and any street use changes proposed by the Department of Transportation. We will also call for a commitment by the responsible agencies and their contractors to meet with a community advisory board on a monthly basis starting in January 2018.” The coalition also invited community members to get involved in the campaign.  Continue reading

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On the Waterfront and Off the Leash — The Hook-up (10/11)

Cruising on Newtown Creek. Via Freeport Princess
Conservationists Cruising on Newtown Creek. Via Freeport Princess

Greenpointers have been watching the changing East River Waterfront. A community development meeting on Wednesday allowed residents to hear from developers, and voice their concerns about on-going construction projects in North Brooklyn. While the luxury towers seem to leave a lot of Greenpointers out in the cold, this week The Brooklyn Eagle toured Level BK, in Williamsburg, offering a look inside.

Elsewhere on the waterfront, Newtown Creek Stakeholders took to the waterway for a cruise aboard the Freeport Princess. Business owners, residents, environmentalists, government representatives were all on board.

Transmitter Park is one of the great gems of the Greenpoint waterfront, but the oasis has turned terrifying for pet owners. A shaggy, unleashed, black dog has brutally attacked several other dogs in the park without cause or warning.  Continue reading

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Notes from Wednesday’s Community Development Meeting

Rendering of 21 India Street via Corcoran
Rendering of 21 India Street via Corcoran

On Wednesday, Greenpoint residents came together at the Polish and Slavic Center (176 Java Street) for a community development meeting organized by Councilman Stephen Levin. The meeting promised information about how new construction along the waterfront, will impact Greenpoint.

Representatives from Greenpoint Landing, The Greenpoint (21 India Street) and Heritage Equity Partners (25 Kent) presented the most recent developments regarding their on-gong construction projects, and took questions from community members. Then community organizations took the floor to discuss their recent work. Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Curb Your Litter, and Evergreen all turned out to detail their ongoing efforts on behalf of Greenpoint. Here are notes from the 2 hour meeting:

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Artists And Art Friends Unite: Loft Law Rally Tomorrow Night!

Rally for a Better Loft Law | Thursday May 25 | 7-9pm
@ San Damiano Mission | 85 N 15th St

If you know any North Brooklyn artists in live/work spaces, you probably know someone who is affected by the Loft Law. Artists and creatives are being pushed out of many NYC neighborhoods, including our own Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and luckily you can support the local art community to help artists stay put. On Thursday evening, all are welcome to join tenants, artists, elected officials and housing advocates to show support for the 2017 Loft Law “Clean-Up” Bill. Speakers will include state and local elected officials, loft lawyers, artists and tenant advocates.

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Mayor de Blasio Helps Community Celebrate Bushwick Inlet Park Victory

Mayor de Blasio

This past Saturday, December 17th, Mayor de Blasio came to Bushwick Inlet Park to praise the community activists who after ten years of struggle finally prevailed and forced the city to purchase the twenty-seven acre site for the park. De Blasio continually referred to the community’s victory and praised the local group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park for their tireless advocacy for the park. In his remarks the Mayor laughed about the persistence of local City Councilman Stephen Levin, who incessantly nagged him until the park was purchased. The Mayor spoke of the high cost of acquiring the land ($150 million just for the final piece), but said that the city was fulfilling its promise to the community to acquire the waterfront site.

Stephen Levin and Carolyn Maloney

A number of other local politicians spoke. Borough President Eric Adams mentioned that the park was proof of the city’s commitment to provide waterfront access to all the people of Brooklyn, not only those with the means to purchase luxury waterfront real estate. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney also addressed the gathering saying that the actions of community groups in gaining the park would serve as a future model. State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol reminded people that he had been an advocate for the park for a decade.

Joe Lentol

The mood at the gathering was celebratory, almost euphoric. Many of the people in the crowd had done the hard work of advocating for the park for years. They had made phone calls, signed petitions, and even slept out in the rain to gain the parkland, and they were in the mood to celebrate. As they walked home to Greenpoint, Stephen Chesler, Scott Fraser and some of the other people who fought the hardest to gain the park posed for pictures by the fence, which recently read Where’s Our Park? but now reads triumphantly, Here’s Our Park. Those words said it all.

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L Train Service Increasing In June 2017

L Train Illustration via @brooklyncartoons Instagram
Illustration via Emmett Truxes, @brooklyncartoons,

In a move that seems like it can’t come soon enough, the MTA has announced that it will start increasing L train service starting next June.

Beginning in June 2017, to accommodate the increased rider trends, the L line will have:

  • 11 additional weekday roundtrips between 9am – 7:30pm.
  • 12 additional Saturday roundtrips between 7am – 3pm.
  • 27 additional Sunday roundtrips between 7am – 8pm.

During these hours, L train service is currently running at more than 100% capacity (or “peak load point”) guidelines. The additional trains should help bump capacity down below 100%. Why it took the MTA this long to increase service on the ever-crowded L train is perhaps one of the great unsolved mysteries of North Brooklyn. Continue reading

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Lager Legislation, An Airbnb Nightmare, and The King of Greenpoint – The Hook-Up 10/07

firefighters
Firefighters responded to calls from multiple people who reported smelling gas near Franklin and Noble Wednesday night. After checking it out, firefighters determined that nothing was wrong.

After a string of recent robberies in Greenpoint, police are looking for four men. Images have been released of two of these men. Stay vigilant and be careful if walking late at night.

Ever wonder where McGuinness Boulevard got its name? It’s because of a man named Peter J. McGuinness, an influential character in the neighborhood’s history who, despite having never graduated high school, helped get such projects as the Meeker Avenue Bridge and McCarren Park Pool completed. Local historian and frequent Greenpointers writer Geoff Cobb has a new book coming out about him called King of Greenpoint, which is getting some attention!

After being forced out of their apartment of 23 years by nefarious landlords and forced to live in shelters and temporary housing for three years, a Greenpoint family has finally returned to their longtime home at 300 Nassau Avenue.

Ever wonder what an Airbnb nightmare looks like? Check out this story, on a Williamsburg family who rented out their duplex only to have $7k in damage occur.

Tired of feeling like your paycheck disappears faster than free pizza at Paulie Gee’s? Well, you may be on to something, according to this study from a real estate data company, which calls Brooklyn the most “unaffordable place to live in America”.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that North Brooklyn Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol originally introduced providing tax credits for brewers in New York City. Greenpoint Beer and Ale, Keg & Lantern, and Brooklyn Brewery all got shout outs from Lentol in the press release!

Greening Greenpoint hosted the Greenpoint Community Tree Summit on Monday at the McCarren Park Play Center.

The 94th Precinct hosted their monthly Community Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

t.b.d. (224 Franklin St.) hosted a fundraising event on Wednesday in support of Hillary Clinton.

Town Square is hosting Go Green Day, a volunteer afternoon on Friday, October 7 from 2-5pm in McCarren Park.

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