north brooklyn

Domino Park Adds Security Guards, Worrying Some Residents

A security guard at the southern entrance to Domino Park (Image via Ben Weiss).

Domino Park has stationed private security guards and barricades at its entrances, drawing complaints from community members about the policy’s optics and implementation.

The recent addition of new security measures at the park is due to an increase in public drinking, fireworks and other illegal activities on the Williamsburg waterfront, says Michael Lampariello, director of Domino Park.

“We are trying to strike the appropriate balance between allowing unfettered park access and ensuring public safety,” he said in an emailed statement.

Some residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, however, believe that the new security apparatus at Domino Park feels unnecessarily imposing.

“I am sure that many people would be wary to go through a security checkpoint to enter a park space,” said Lincoln Restler, who lives in Greenpoint.

A visitor exiting Domino Park (Image via Ben Weiss).

During a visit to Domino Park last week, the security guards were not fully wearing masks, not socially distanced and did not explain why they were searching his bag, Restler claims.

“I was seriously disappointed by the experience I had,” he said.

Restler isn’t alone in his complaints about the picturesque park on the Williamsburg waterfront. When Lucille, a white resident of Williamsburg who declined to give her last name, and a friend visited Domino Park a few weeks ago, guards allowed Lucille to enter but turned away her friend, a person of color. Both were carrying the same drinks, she says.

More recently, Lucille tried to enter Domino Park in the early afternoon with a cup of iced tea and a chocolate croissant. Even though bringing in food and non-alcoholic beverages isn’t against park policy, guards told her to dispose of her food and drink, stating that she could “get lunch at Tacocina,” she alleges, referencing Danny Meyer’s taco stand inside of the park. Continue reading

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Linda Minucci Is up for Reelection: Find Out Who She Is and Why She Is Running

Current 50th State Assembly District Leader and State Committee Member Linda Minucci (Courtesy of Linda Minucci)

Linda Minucci doesn’t like the spotlight. She’s an elected official, but holds some of the most obscure positions in the Democratic Party. Minucci is a county committee member, which according to her doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

As a former delegate to the Democratic state judicial convention, she says the process essentially rubber stamps judges who run unopposed during the state judicial convention.

Currently, Minucci serves as a state committee member, also known in some neighborhoods as District Leaders, making her responsible for staffing polling locations, vetting judicial candidates, registering voters and increasing voter turnout.

Causal political observers may not know what these unpaid positions are, but Minucci says she has enjoyed volunteering for the Democratic Party in relative obscurity for the past 35 years. 

Minucci would like to continue her hold over her small Democratic fiefdom. This year, she’s fighting off young upstart, Kristina Naplatarski, for female state committee member, a position also known as female District Leader. (She’s also on the ballot as a judicial delegate.) Continue reading

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Bushwick Inlet Park’s 50 Kent to Open in July

50 Kent Ave. will soon open to the public for the summer on a part-time basis. (Photo via @Adelamou)

The 1.8 acre bucolic-looking gassy parcel of land at 50 Kent Ave, known as the 50 Kent pop-up park, will open to the public on a part-time basis in July, according to the volunteer organization Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park.

Green space is a premium in North Brooklyn and access to the fenced-off 50 Kent park is welcomed news for quarantine weary residents who are utilizing local parks as summer approaches. A petition to open 50 Kent for public recreation began circling on Monday gaining over 300 signatures.

An opening date is set for Thursday, July 9th, when the fence will be unlocked for “passive use only” on Thursdays – Sundays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; dogs and sports will not be allowed, according to FBIP.

Continue reading

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Greenpoint This Week: Community Board 1 Strikes Again, Police Reforms Abound, NYC Candidates Make Their Pitch, and More!

A new mural in Greenpoint depicting Breonna Taylor, who was a victim of a police shooting in her home in Louisville this year (Image via Greenpoint Glass)

Happy weekend Greenpointers! The McCarren Park gatherings for George Floyd continued every night this week as police reforms swept through Albany with the repeal of 50-a, among other measures meant to increase accountability.

Protests over the North Brooklyn Pipeline will also continue on Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m. as National Grid’s new natural gas infrastructure makes its way toward Greenpoint.

The official start of summer is just under two weeks away as New York cancels all overnight summer camps, but NYC pools might reopen just in time for the ensuing sweltering temperatures. In other summer fun, tickets are now available for Greenpoint’s new drive-in theater with screenings of “Raiders of The Lost Arc” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” scheduled for this weekend.

As statues depicting controversial historical figures fall across the U.S. and world, and streets are renamed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, NY politicians seek to rename the Confederate-named streets surrounding a Brooklyn military base; speaking of which, the Kosciuszko Foundation has an idea for Fort Bragg.

With the June 23rd elections fast approaching, and mail-in ballots in process, hear campaign pitches from Assemblyman Joe Lentol and challenger Emily Gallagher.

Stay safe out there this weekend Greenpointers, and in the meantime catch up on this week’s headlines from around the neighborhood: Continue reading

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Greenpoint and Williamsburg Protestors Demand Mayor de Blasio Defund the NYPD

Protestors in Greenpoint and Williamsburg on Sunday (Image via Ben Weiss)

Thousands of protestors marched Sunday evening from McCarren Park to South Williamsburg in a protest marked not by silence but by full-throated demands to defund the New York City Police Department.

The march’s destination was a street in Williamsburg where City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was rumored to be staying during the pandemic with his “sweetheart,” explained Sandy Nurse, former candidate for City Council in District 37 and community organizer.

“The speaker needs to put into motion plans to make cuts to the [NYPD’s] budget,“ said Nurse, who was a part of a loose, black-led coalition that organized the march, in a phone call. “We wanted to take it to him personally.”

Image via Ben Weiss

The protest, which organizers called the “Defund the Police Party,” came on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement earlier that day that he would cut the police department’s funding. He declined to specify how much of its annual $6 billion budget he would slash. Continue reading

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Meet Kristina Naplatarski, Native Greenpointer and Candidate For District Leader

Greenpointer Kristina Naplatarski is running for District Leader to unseat a 32-year incumbent. (Image courtesy of Kristina Naplatarski )

Never heard of a District Leader? Until 2017, neither had 25-year-old Greenpointer Kristina Naplatarski, who’s running for the position in the upcoming election. The lover of Five Leaves, Variety Coffee, Archestratus and Jimmy’s Dinner is a proud lifetime local, who still lives close to her mother and childhood friends near McGolrick Park, where you can find her exploring pockets of the green space on weekends. You’ll also find the Brooklyn Young Democrats-endorsed candidate near the bottom of your ballot on June 23rd, as Naplatarski runs for public office for the first time, inspired to oust a 35-year incumbent, Linda Minucci, and use her voice to amplify the concerns of her community.

A quick side note: a “district leader” and a “state committee member” can refer to the same position in certain districts. In the 50th Distrct the term is interchangeable, and will be listed as “State committee member” on the June 23rd ballot.

Empowered by the 2018 elections of U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and State Senator Julia Salazar, Naplatarski is continuing the momentum of voting in young, female voices by running for District Leader. Greenpointers chatted with Naplatarski to get to know why this position matters to her, and why the lifelong Greenpointer is adding her name to the ballot.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Why are you running for office? 

The decision to run for office was a very personal decision for me. I was born and raised in Greenpoint and have lived here my entire life. I graduated from the local public schools and my mom [a public school teacher] has always been very involved in community activism. For example, in the early 2000s, there was a plan to build a power plant  in Greenpoint, and the community rallied against it and stopped it. North Brooklyn has a history of [activism]. My upbringing led me into public service.

And why run for District Leader?

Currently, I work for City Council, so I’m already professionally involved in the government, but in my work life or personal life, I had never seen our District Leader. Via The North Brooklyn Political Democrats, I first heard what a District Leader was. I learned that the one we have has been in office for 32 years and had never shown up for the community. Planted a seed in my head and continued on. Following the 2016 election, with AOC and Julia Salazar, I saw women being put into power against really entrenched incumbents. If there is a chance of to bring some vitality and new leadership to he role of district leader, it’s going to follow the wave and be in 2020. 

So what does a District Leader do? 

District Leader is a very unique, kind of wonky position that many people don’t really know about. One of the things that make it especially special is that it’s a part-time, unpaid position. It’s a person that should really just care about the work and is doing it for the sake of the work. Historically, this position has been used by a person who is a ‘yes’ vote when it comes down to decision making at the county level. It could be someone who really cares, or a person who is very complacent and is just there as a pawn for Kings County Democratic Committee’s leadership. That’s the case we have now.  [I want to] tap into the work that’s happening on the ground. A lot of grassroots organizing goes on in North Brooklyn, we have very invested community groups and organizations. It’s a position that can help facilitate that work and be a bridge between the community and elected officials.

What would you want to accomplish as District Leader?

District Leader’s priorities should be what the community see as most important. My three issues and areas of concern right now would be environmental remediation, that’s been a constant threat, housing affordability and more responsible development practices. I’d also want to look at what The King’s County Democratic Party should look like. I’m running as a reform candidate for sure to bring more transparency and accountability to the Brooklyn Democratic Party and make it more engaging. 

Council Member Antonio Reynoso and Kristina Naplatarski (Courtesy of Kristina Naplatarski)

How would being an elected official change your day-to-day?

I would keep my day job working in communications for Council Member Antonio Reynoso, which luckily keeps me in North Brooklyn, and in the [political] world. I think the most important thing is being present and showing up. North Brooklyn has a very robust schedule of community meeting and actions and things to support. I want to show up to these as best I can and give these things equal weight, to keep my finger on the pulse of what people care about. It’s very fluid, like all organizing work. You need to be able to adapt to what’s happening on the ground and create quick responses and maintain an active dialogue with community residents about things they want to see and how we can achieve that. For example, writing a letter or setting up meetings with certain elected officials.

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Williamsburg Landlord Mario Salerno Waives Rent for Hundreds of Tenants Due to Coronavirus

Williamsburg landlord Mario Salerno is waiving rent for all of his tenants for April 2020.

Lifelong Williamsburg resident and landlord to hundreds of tenants, Mario Salerno announced on Monday that he will waive April’s rent for all of his residential and commercial tenants.

Salerno’s gas station and auto body shop at 451 Lormimer St.

Salerno who is 59-years-old was born on Metropolitan Avenue and his father started a gas station at 451 Lorimer St. in 1959, which his family still operates as Salerno Auto Body ShopContinue reading

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Greenpoint This Week: Greenpointers Valentine’s Market, New Library Sneak Peek, East River Park Renamed, and More!

Greenpointers Valentine's Day Market 2018
The Greenpointers“Love Grows in Brooklyn” is this Sunday (2/9).

Happy Friday Greenpointers! We can hardly wait as we prepare for the Greenpointers Valentine’s Market this Sunday from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. under the rustic wooden beams of the Greenpoint loft (67 West St 5th Flr).

Shop from and meet 60+ of Brooklyn’s best indie crafters and enjoy lots of FREE activities including face painting, henna tattoos, massages, tarot card readings and a special Valentine’s scratch-off station for kids.

Also this weekend, Greenpoint’s undefeated heavyweight boxing contender Adam “Babyface” Kownacki is returning to the neighborhood for a meet and greet with fans on Saturday at Dunne’s Polemost Liquors (698 Manhattan Ave) at 4:30 p.m. ahead of his big fight scheduled for next month in Brooklyn.

For more weekend events check out what’s happening and in the meantime catch up on this week’s headlines from around the neighborhood: Continue reading

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Vote For The Next Book That North Brooklyn Reads

The Williamsburgh Library is participating in North Brooklyn Reads

What book should North Brooklynites read together this year? The Brooklyn Public Library is currently seeking votes to answer that question and has curated a neighborhood-centric list of titles to pick from; you have until Friday (tomorrow) to vote in the “North Brooklyn Reads” poll.

The list of literature to pick from includes works from local authors such as Greenpointers’ Geoff Cobb, whose The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King tells the story of the American sugar industry and the Havemeyer family’s world famous Domino factory. “It is a tale of greed, crime, wealth, power and corruption, but it is also the story of Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” the book’s description reads.

A landmark Grenpoint building makes an appearance on the list with Kate Christensen’s The Astral: A Novel.  In the book, poet and Astral (yes, that Astral) resident Harry Quirk attempts to save his failing marriage and win his wife’s heart back amongst a backdrop that is all too familiar for Greenpointers.

Solos by Kitty Burns Florey is set in Williamsburg where a mystery unravels according to the official book description:

Emily Lime and her equally palindromic dog, Otto, live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (zip code 11211), in a warm community of friends and fellow artists. Her life becomes more complicated when she falls in love with Marcus, a dog-walker and fellow Scrabble nut, whose father is Emily’s shady ex-husband who wants the lovable Emily dead. A mystery unravels, a valuable lost cache of paintings is found, and Emily’s life changes in ways she could not have anticipated.

Hipster Death Rattle by Ritchie Narvaez also set in “uber-hip” Williamsburg, is a gruesome murder mystery:

Murder is trending. Hipsters are getting slashed to pieces in the hippest neighborhood in New York: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While Detectives Petrosino and Hadid hound local gangbangers, slacker reporter Tony Moran and his ex Magaly Fernandez get caught up in a missing person’s case—one that might just get them hacked to death

The Bushwick, Leonard, Williamsburg and Greenpoint (upon opening this spring) libraries will participate with readings of the chosen literature:

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Park Designs to be Presented at CB1 Parks and Waterfront Committee Meeting (1/27)

Bushwick Inlet Park’s future expansion includes the Motiva site which is adjacent to the former Bayside tank site.

Designs of four North Brooklyn parks will be reviewed at the Brooklyn CB1 Committee on Parks and Waterfront meeting scheduled for next Monday.

The meeting is open to the public and takes place on Monday, Jan. 27th at 6:30PM at the Bushwick Inlet Park building (86 Kent Ave.). Continue reading

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