L Train shutdown

L Train Shutdown Meeting This Wednesday! (5/16)

L train shutdown meeting flyer

This Wednesday evening, May 16th from 6:30-8:30pm the MTA and NYC DOT are hosting a town hall to discuss L-Train shutdown plans and the impact that the closure will have on our commutes and local businesses. Part of the plan includes increasing the number of cars on the ever-short G Train (it’s about time!), increasing ferry service, adding a few hundred buses to traverse the Williamsburg Bridge, and expanding bicycle access. Wednesday’s meeting will be held at Progress High School (850 Grand Street at Bushwick Ave).

More info can be found on the L Train Coalition’s site.

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NYU is in the Pencil Factory, The BQX isn’t in the Budget, and NYC blames Airbnb for Rising Rent — the Hook-up (5/11)

BQXRendering_Greenpointers_Cadkin
Not Today, BQX

Happy Friday, Greenpoint! Say hello to our newest neighbor: NYU School of Medicine. NYU has signed a 15-year lease for nearly 17,000sqft of space at 74 Kent Street, and will open a physical therapy and imaging center.

While we will be getting NYU, we won’t be getting BQX. Mayor de Blasio did not include the project in his budget for the next fiscal year, and the city’s Economic Development Corporation also declined allocate funds for the Gentrification Express.

Speaking of big budget items, the former Greenpoint Mechanics and Traders Bank at 144 Franklin Street is on the market for $6.5 Million.

If that sounds steep, the city hopes you’ll blame Airbnb. A study from the city Comptroller finds that airbnb listings have driven rents in Greenpoint up about $100/month. The Comptroller also blames the company for rent increases and homelessness across the city, a very steep charge to level against New Yorkers who share their homes on the platform because rent is so high in the first place.  Continue reading

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Small Biz Owners: What You Should Know About Commercial Leases, Workshop (4/25)

As a North Brooklyn resident you probably feel like you’re doomsday prepping for the impending L-Train Shutdown—and let’s not forget that local business owners are, too. No one is quite sure how much the clusterf-k of reduced transit options for more than a year will affect small businesses, but the general consensus is that it’s not gonna be pretty. On one hand we will have less tourists and foot traffic in the neighborhood (which many of us are rejoicing about), but on the other hand those people will not be patronizing local businesses.

The city is offering a workshop for small business owners, Signing A Commercial Lease: What You Need To Know on Wednesday, April 25th from 5-6:30pm at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center (211 Ainslie Street). The workshop is free, and lawyers will explain helpful tips on preparing to negotiate a fair commercial lease. More info and registration on Eventbrite. The workshop is part of NYC Small Business Services course series.

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Can We Kickstart our way out of L-Pocalypse with Pontoon Bridge?

A rendering of the proposed L-ternative Pontoon Bridge,, via Kickstarter
A rendering of the proposed L-ternative Pontoon Bridge, via Kickstarter

L-pocalypse looms just a year away, and the MTA doesn’t appear particularly interested in dealing with it, so New York residents have taken up the mantel of transit vigilantism, and moved forward with plans of their own. Last month Parker Shinn took to Kickstarter to drum up community support for an “L-ternative” Pontoon Bridge, which would run across the East River from North 8th Street in Williamsburg to East 10th Street in Manhattan. The Bridge would support 2 lanes of bus traffic, two lanes of bike traffic and command a $1 toll. It would also connect commuters to the Bedford Avenue L-train, and crosstown bus service along 14th street.  Continue reading

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The Sea Train: Will Ferries Mean Smooth Sailing Through L-Pocalypse?

Williamsburg Bridge (photo: Julia Moak)

The MTA has seen protests in Brooklyn due to its laissez-faire relationship with the impending L-pocalypse. In response, they’ve promised to make community engagement a “central priority” as the March 2019 L train closure nears. Part of that community engagement was on display last week, when the MTA and the DOT appeared before Brooklyn Community Board 1 to offer a joint presentation to this neighborhood offering new information regarding their plans for alternate service during the transit shutdown. In a word: Ferries.

While the proposed direct ferry route between North Williamsburg and Stuyvesant Cove isn’t technically new (it was part of the MTA’s original L-pocalypse mitigation strategy ominously entitled Planning Ahead for the Crisis), the agency offered new details on the route at last week’s meeting. During the presentation, transit honchos noted that ferry service along the route would run 6:00am-12:00am Sunday through Thursday, and that service may be extended until 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday nights.  Continue reading

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Plan to Ease L-Pocolypse at Lorimer Street Calls for Opening Long-Shuttered Entrances

A shuttered staircase at the Lorimer Street Station. Via Change.Org
A shuttered staircase at the Lorimer Street Station. Via Change.Org

As L-Pocolypse looms, various civic groups, like Riders Alliance and the L Train Coalition, are looking for ways to help riders weather the shutdown, and improve New York’s transit system in the process. One proposal from Alan Minor, of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, an organization that has been fighting on behalf of North Brooklyn for 20 years, urges the MTA to open the six closed staircases, and one closed entrance, at the Lorimer Street L/ Metropolitan G station.

According to WNYC, the MTA has 119 closed entrances throughout the system. The MTA shuttered these access points when the subway fell into disrepair in the 1970s, but as ridership climbs toward its post-war high of 6.9 million riders a day, inaccessible entrances only contribute to the crowding and delays that plague the system.  Minor told WNYC in 2015, “This is a major cause of subway delays, because you’re forcing people to enter at basically one or two access points,” which causes people to bunch up when they get on the train, and to bottleneck along the platform when they exit.

With the impending L closure, Minor’s plan takes on a new urgency. The Lorimer/Metropolitan Station served over 15,000 people per weekday in 2016. That’s over 5 Million riders per year. According to the MTA, Lorimer/Metropolitan ranks 101 out of 422 stations in the system when it comes to ridership, which makes the station busier than many stations in Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Add to this that the station will likely see a surge in riders switching from the L to the G during the shutdown.

The Station’s closed staircases and entrance are situated on either side of Union Avenue at the intersection of Hope and Powers Streets, and at the corner of Union Avenue and Grand Streets. These defunct entrances are just a few of the 10 closed entrances, and 27 closed staircases in North Brooklyn, along G, L, J, M and Z lines. Minor’s plan to reopen the shuttered access points calls for full ADA Accessibility in the station, to make commuting easier for New Yorkers during the shutdown and after.

According to Second Avenue Sagas, the MTA is looking into opening the closed entrances, but non-committal on when, or if, it will follow through on the plan. The MTA has this to say on the issue: “As part of our efforts to accommodate growing ridership, we are studying and evaluating closed access points throughout the subway system and we’re looking at every idea for how to provide alternate service to L customers during any potential shutdown.”

You can sign Minor’s petition to “Expand access[ibility] to, at and from the Lorimer St L-Metropolitan Av G station complex.” on Change.Org here

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Cabaret, Cuomo and Climate Change — The Hook-up 9/22

Getting down at the House of Yes, where Mayor de Blasio announced an Office of Nightlife on Tuesday. Via House of Yes
Getting down at the House of Yes, where Mayor de Blasio announced an Office of Nightlife on Tuesday. Via House of Yes

A great New York Story occurred August 17th, 1858, when New Yorkers celebrated the first successful transatlantic cable between The United States and England with a party at City Hall. So thrilled were the New Yorkers of yore, that they decided to illuminate City Hall with torches, then set off fireworks over the building. City Hall caught fire, but nobody could alert the fire department, because the fire bell was on top of the burning City Hall. Ultimately, City Hall was saved, but the building lost its cupola, which has since been repaired. Undeterred, New Yorkers had another party at City Hall two weeks later, and they set off fireworks again. That is the city we live in. No matter what, New Yorkers just keep partying. And Mayor Bill de Blasio was at House of Yes in Bushwick on Tuesday to make it even easier to get down in the five boroughs. De Blasio established an Office of Nightlife, and a Nightlife Advisory Board. A Night Mayor will soon be appointed, although Gerard McNamee, former Director of Operations at Webster Hall, is running for the unelected position.  Continue reading

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Pricey Penthouses, Historic Preservation and a Panel on the L-Pocolypse — The Hook-up 9/15

Ready to move into Greenpoint's Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park
Ready to move into Greenpoint’s Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park

Even though The New York Times has decreed that 2017 is the “Year of the Renter,” The developers over at 868 Lormier on the Park are hoping you’re in the mood to buy. They’re asking $4.01 Million for a 3 bedroom duplex penthouse. If a sale closes at that price, it will be the most expensive condo ever sold in Greenpoint.

Meanwhile, developers were thwarted on Tuesday at 111 Noble Street in Greenpoint’s Historic District. The building’s owner failed to convince the Landmark’s Preservation Commission that the building was structurally unsound and needed to be demolished to make room for a modern apartment building.

Speaking of structurally unsound… The MTA. Last Thursday, Transportation Alternatives hosted a panel of city council members and community groups at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue) to discuss the coming L-Pocolypse, and how the city might make use of alternate transit to handle the L train closure. Continue reading

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Slashing In McGolrick, L-Pocalypse & Paulie Gee’s Server Injured — The Hook-Up 5/26

Franklin St & Greenpoint Ave. Photo: Megan Penmann
Franklin St & Greenpoint Ave sunset. Photo: Megan Penmann

According to police, a man was slashed and robbed in McGolrick Park Saturday night around 9:30pm. He had seen someone in a group of people drop a pack of cigarettes and went to return them—only to get his head smashed on a metal bar, slashed on his cheek with a knife and robbed of his iPhone, $250 in cash and a bracelet.

A Paulie Gee’s server was seriously injured after a cyclist struck her on the corner of Manhattan and India. Without insurance, she’s now facing $10k in medical bills and $25k of  bills and lost wages combined while she recovers. You can donate to her crowdfunding campaign to help her recover physically and financially. Continue reading

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Manhattan Ave Ticket Trap, Bearded Burglars, & Williamsburg Hate Crime — The Hook-Up 4/17

14th Street Reimagined - via TransAlt
14th Street Reimagined – via TransAlt

The L Train shutdown could totally transform 14th Street as we know it.

Think twice before you try parking on Manhattan Avenue between Huron and India. It’s a “ticket trap”.

Shooting so many movies and TV shows in Greenpoint and Williamsburg is both a blessing and a curse. It makes our restaurants and shops more popular, but isn’t always the most convenient. Continue reading

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