McGuinness Blvd

32 Year Old Woman Fatally Struck on McGuinness Blvd Sunday Night

Fatal Accident on McGuinness Blvd & Nassau Ave © Miguel Rodriguez

It is with extreme sadness that we report that 32 year old Nicole Detweiler was killed last night on McGuinness Blvd and Nassau Ave in Greenpoint after being struck by two vehicles, a BMW and a box truck. The driver of the truck was arrested for driving without a license.

Our hearts are with Nicole’s family and friends at this terrible time.  Continue reading

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How Many Seconds Before You Die? McGuinness Blvd. Crossing Guide

This isn’t a joke. Crossing McGuinness Blvd. can often be a near death experience and for some deadly. A speed survey confirmed that speeding cars are out of control with over 66% of cars going over the speed limit with accidents averaging at over one per month involving mostly cars and pedestrians. According to the DOT report:

From 2005 to 2009 there were 57 crashes on McGuinness involving pedestrians or bicyclists … Of those, 44 crashes involved pedestrians, with one resulting in death. The remaining 13 crashes, involving cyclists, resulted in three fatalities.

Some of the more dangerous intersections are getting a make-over, with narrowing lanes and countdown signals, plus speed cameras are going to be tested. It’s a start.

Still, McGuinness is a very anti-pedestrian street. The very location of the roadway, flanked by the LIE and BQE, leaves drivers in highway speed mentality and the lights don’t give pedestrians much time to cross.

Even though safety measures are being created, as pedestrians we need to look out for ourselves and carefully cross the street.

I hung out on McGuinness Blvd at Driggs Ave with a stop watch at about 10am on a Friday morning, when there is a decent amount of foot and car traffic, then went again at 10pm the same night.

How much time do you really have to safely cross McGuinness Blvd?

GREEN LIGHT: During the day, cars on McGuinness have about 1 min. 5 sec. to pass before it turns red, and about 1 min at night.


RED HAND: Pedestrians, wait over 1 minute.

I know it’s obvious, but we are all guilty of running against the light. Don’t be an idiot! It’s better to be late than dead. When you see that red hand, don’t risk it – even if there is no traffic.

TOTAL TIME TO CROSS FOR PEDESTRIANS = *45 sec. in am, 55 sec. in pm
*includes white hand signal plus countdown

WHITE HAND: Lasts 20 sec. before countdown signal begins in am, 30 sec. in pm

25 SECOND WARNING: At a normal pace, you can make it safely across the two lanes without having to wait on the dangerous divider.

17 SECOND WARNING: At a fast paced walk, you can make it safely across.

9 SECOND WARNING: At a fast jog you can make it across, but don’t risk it.
What if you trip?

The most appalling moment I ever witnessed in Greenpoint was a man who ran to make the light while pushing a stroller in front of him.

mcguinness blvd greenpointDON’T WAIT ON DIVIDER
If a car skips the curb you are dead meat. Don’t risk it.

Impatiently standing on the street is just as dangerous as waiting on the divider. Stay on the sidewalk as far from the edge of the curb as possible. In the event of a crash be as far away from McGuinnes Blvd. as possible.

This article was created with pedestrian safety in mind, but I hope drivers who read this realize that they pedestrians, too. As drivers, if we keep that in mind, and as pedestrians if we safely follow street crossing guidelines, McGuinness Blvd. can be a much safer place for everyone.

How about we rip up the pavement and replace it with sod and turn McGuinness Blvd. into a pedestrian walking mall, with a lane for bikes and emergency vehicles?

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Brooklyn Community Board #1: Meeting 10/5/11

Girl Talk - Williamsburg Waterfront
© Bao Nguyen

Coverage of Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Public Hearing & Board Meeting 10/5/2011

Waterfront Concerts
The waterfront concerts by Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, was a main topic. The concerts will move north, from the state-owned East River State Park to a paved lot owned by the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation (Kent Ave @ N 11th & 12th)  The new location has several benefits, including fewer residents and since it’s city-owned more of OSA’s revenue ($90,000/year more in state licensing fees) will go towards improving CB1 parks.

New waterfront venue
Paved Lot, New Venue For Waterfront Concerts

The concerts stir up strong emotions on all sides but OSA has local support because it engages the community board and is proactive when addressing neighborhood concerns. Neighbors raised specific concerns about the events that followed this summer’s Widespread Panic show, where NOX-peddlers and unruly crowds were the last straw for many locals.  Previous complaints of littering on side streets have been addressed by offering volunteers free tickets in exchange for neighborhood clean-up after shows, and this practice has been successful and will likely be continued next season.  A call was made for access to OSA’s accounting to see how revenue goes toward local parks.  Another public hearing regarding the concerts will be held on 10/20 @ Swinging 60s Senior Center (211 Ainslie) 6:30.

© Serious Eats

The Charleston
If you been at The Charleston or within blocks, you know it’s frequented by people who enjoy drinking, smoking and not using their inside voices.  A few community members would like to see the renewal of their sidewalk cafe permit (which allows tables out front) denied.  They presented legitimate concerns: the sidewalk is already narrow by bike racks and trees, so the space in between is frequently occupied by smokers overflowing from the table area. This raises concern for sidewalk permits for bars in general, even those that are more considerate. It would be a surprise to see the tables in front of The Charleston much longer as they didn’t show up to defend their permit renewal.

The corner of Greenpoint & Humboldt will be given the honorific name of “Cosimo’s Way” to honor the late Cosimo Tristani’s service to the community. The presentation given by Andre Aviles, his friend from ages seventeen to sixty-three, was moving and heartfelt.

© Brooklyn Paper

More controversial was the talk of street redesigns concerning the Greenpoint Ave. bicycle lanes.  Specifically, the transportation committee voiced strong disagreement, backed up by a contested motion from the community board as a whole, not to support a street redesign proposal for Greenpoint Ave. from McGuinness to the bridge that would involve the loss of all parking on this stretch, about 50 spaces.  It should be noted that this proposal, made by DOT, was preliminary and discussions are ongoing. It was recognized that the current layout is dangerous to both cars and cyclists and changes must be made.

As someone who bikes regularly on Greenpoint Ave,  something needs to be done on this stretch. The most serious dangers are speeding drivers who swerve into the bike lane to avoid waiting for car ahead making left turns.  However, it is important that the redesign protects the bikes lanes better without sacrificing all parking or loading zones for businesses.

Redesigns are also planned for the Greenpoint Ave Bridge and the Queens side of Greenpoint Ave, which is plagued by double-parking and a headache-inducing traffic pattern.

Filming in Greenpoint
Greenpoint is well-known as a filming destination and the community board seemed united in its criticisms of the burdens of filming on the neighborhood.  The main complaint stems from the loss of parking, especially for businesses on Manhattan Ave. Specifically, complaints were raised about the tendency for crews to clear streets hours prior to shooting, leaving locals wondering why businesses lose loading areas for 12 hrs in order to shoot a ten-minute shot.  If you film in Greenpoint, a word of advice is to meet the community board and explain your position.  The board spoke very favorably of one company that approached them prior to filming. The film industry creates good jobs for Greenpointers and New York, so the “go back to Hollywood” sentiment expressed by some was lacking nuance.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 Website

Upcoming dates:

October 20, 6:30 pm (211 Ainslie Street)  Public hearing regarding Open Space Alliance and waterfront shows
October 25, 6:30 pm @ Community Board (435 Graham) Land use committee meeting, including a discussion on expanding the Greenpoint historic district.
October 27, 6:30 @ Community Board (435 Graham) Public safety meeting.  More detailed info on local safety issues and liquor licenses.

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McGuinness [Shelter], Sharing

On August 19th, The Brooklyn Eagle speculated that an empty building near the northernmost point of McGuinness Blvd in Brooklyn had been bought by a developer, Triumph Hotels, in the knowledge that the building would likely be bought by the city to be made into a homeless man’s shelter. The residents of Greenpoint – and Councilman Steve Levin, and Assemblyman Joe Lentol – have, after all, been protesting the idea for months.

Previously, Steve Levin had said of the idea that the neighborhood “as a community [is] inundated with services that we provide to the rest of the city … on a level that no other neighborhood has to do.”

Activists and politicians have pointed out that, in care for the homeless and struggling alone, Greenpoint organizations have attempted to care for the neighborhood’s already large homeless population, through: the Greenpoint Reformed Church, Most Holy Trinity, Community Board 1, and the Outreach Project – not to mention the Greenpoint Hotel and the three-quarter house on Clay Street.

On the 22nd, The Real Deal reported City Comptroller John Liu’s office as stating that, “a fair, transparent and equitable siting process” would occur.

…And speaking of sharing: a recent article on DNA Info reported on protests by UES residents against an upgrade to the already existing garbage facility at 91st Street.

Writer Amy Zimmer points out that the upgrade is “intended to reduce the burden on neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, like the South Bronx and Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, that have a disproportionate number of trash facilities.”

When imagining the enormous number of waste transfer vehicles rumbling around Greenpoint’s and Williamsburg’s children at all hours, the idea that “Upper East Siders are outraged by the possibility of trucks rumbling just feet away from where their kids play ball” makes one envious. (Italics all mine.)


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Tres Toros Taqueria

Update 7/21/11: The space has opened under the name El Toro Taqueria.

Got a tip from reader Caius about a possible new restaurant opening up on Driggs & McGuinness:

Tres Toros Taqueria submitted by reader Michelle

A deli/convenient store closed down recently and papered up the windows. this past week i noticed even though the windows are still papered, a new sign has been placed above the store called “Tres Toros Taqueria”. Just a tip if you haven’t heard anything, or if you have any other info.

A quick Google search revealed a mission style Mexican joint called Dos Toros Taqueria in the East Village… Perhaps this is their third location? Or maybe just a coninkidink.

Tres Toros Taqueria – Opening Soon
254 Driggs Ave

Update 7/10/11: Got the following email from the owners of Dos Toros Taqueria, so it’s not one of theirs:

Hey Justine,

Sorry to say there are no brooklyn plans as of yet. Number three is coming down the pipe, but it’ll be upper east side. This is pretty weird – I guess someone is opening a place called Tres Toros? Or it’s a joke?


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Homeless Shelter Part Deux

In case you haven’t heard, another group has their eye on the 400 McGuinness Blvd location to be used as a homeless shelter. Not even two months after HELP USA’s plans were withdrawn, BRC is planning pretty much the same setup – a 200 bed shelter.

Here we go again…

Homeless Shelter Community Meeting
Tuesday April 5, 2011 6:30 p.m.
Polish National Home
261 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

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Community Meetings

There are two big community meetings coming up regarding opposite ends of the neighborhood.

First up tonight Wednesday February 2nd is the Nassau Avenue/Monitor Street Reconstruction Project Community Forum. A close friend of mine had mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that everyone on Monitor Street had gotten a letter stating they had to move their property back a couple of feet (basically to the bottom of the stairs). Needless to say the people on the block were a little pissed.

From Joe Lentol’s Facebook page via CB1 Yahoo Group:

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Councilmember Steve Levin, and Senator Martin Dilan will be hosting a community forum on the reconstruction of Nassau Avenue, Wednesday February 2, 2011 6:30PM at Lutheran Church of the Messiah (129 Russell Street) in the Community Room.

Representatives from the NYC Dept of Design and Construction and NYS Dept of Transportation as well as the MTA and 94th Police Precinct have been invited to respond to your concerns.

For further information, please contact Assemblyman Lentol’s office at 718-383-7474

Community Forum on Nassau Ave Reconstruction
Wednesday February 2nd at 6:30pm
Lutheran Church of the Messiah – Community Room
129 Russell Street

Next Tuesday February 8th, the trio of Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Councilmember Steve Levin, and Senator Martin Dilan will again be hosting a Town Hall meeting at the Polish National Home regarding the controversial Homeless Shelter proposed at 400 McGuinness Blvd.

Town Hall Meeting on Homeless Shelter
Tuesday February 8th at 7pm
The Polish National Home
261 Driggs Ave

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Letter Campaign: Proposed Homeless Shelter

Reader Christine emailed me these items that were in the St Stan’s bulletin regarding the proposed homeless shelter. I strongly suggest everyone taking the time to read, distribute, share and send the letter to our councilman:

Stephen Levin
410 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
[email protected]

Dear Council Member Levin,

I am writing to express my opposition to a proposal to site a 200-bed assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. As a Greenpoint resident I urge you to reconsider this project.

The proposed assessment center will not alleviate the homelessness problem that our neighborhood already faces. Greenpoint’s significant homeless population is primarily made up of Polish-speaking, chronic public inebriates. Many of these men have deep roots in our community, and I believe it is important to have a shelter to accommodate them and allow them to begin recovery.

In the recent winter weeks, many of these men have bee seen sleeping in the Greenpoint parks, on the waterfront street-ends, and under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Without adequate shelter, these men are in grave danger this winter. In fact, one homeless man died while sleeping in McCarren Park on December 9, 2010, when the low overnight temperature was 23o F. Instead of dealing with our neighborhoods’ homelessness issues, the assessment center would add to our problem by introducing 200 more homeless men to the area.

Furthermore, the site itself is isolated from active street life and public transportation. The proposed assessment center is located at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge, on one of Brooklyn’s most dangerous thoroughfares. The nearest subway station is eight blocks away.

Greenpoint already bears more than its fair share of city services. Our neighborhood is home to the City’s largest sewage treatment facility, a number of waste transfer stations, a federal Superfund site, and dozens of other environmental concerns. This center would be one more area in which Greenpoint was asked to shoulder a disproportionate amount of city services.

I urge you to help the men in our neighborhood instead of adding to our community’s homelessness problem. I strongly believe that a 200-bed assessment enter is the wrong facility for Greenpoint.



Street Address

City State Zip code

Click and print the information and form letter below.

Letter from Father Robert Czok
Letter from Homeless Associates
Form Letter to Council Member Stephen Levin

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Proposed Homeless Shelter Meeting: TONIGHT 12/13/10

I just got word from a concerned parent named Tara that there is another proposed homeless shelter meeting scheduled for TONIGHT 12/13/10. Info below:

Can you please post about the meeting tonight regarding the 400 McGuiness Blvd Homeless Shelter. It is tonight Monday December 13th at 6 – 8 pm at the Polish National Home located at 261 Driggs Avenue.

Tara Greenpoint Resident with Kid!

UPDATED 3:04pm: Meeting is at the Polish and Slavic Center Hall of CPS at 176 Java Street Tel: 718-383-5290

Thanks to Marisha who sent me this update:

Dear Friends,

I’m not sure what your position on this is, but regardless – wanted to remind you that the town hall meeting to discuss the proposed 200 bed men’s homeless shelter at Clay Street and McGuinness Blvd takes place tonight, 6-8pm, Polish Slavic Center, 176 Java Street.

The invitation was sent by Senator Martin Melave Dilan and Council Member Stephen Levin. RSVP to 718-875-5200 or [email protected]. Feel free to forward this. Thanks.

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