Two years ago, the NYC Department of Transportation began conducting a Traffic Study to assess street safety conditions in North Brooklyn. The study focused on issues like street design, traffic flow, public safety and environmental impact, and was funded by Councilman Stephen Levin’s office. To complete their findings, the DOT solicited community input, and received over 400 unique comments and suggestions from North Brooklyn residents. Now, the DOT is back in our part of town with suggestions gleaned from the study. The agency presented its findings to BK Community Board 1 on April 10th. Continue reading
The old adage tells us that “you can’t fight city hall.” Often, in New York, it can feel like it’s residents vs. the City, but sometimes, Gotham and its elected officials are on the same page. One of those times is during participatory budgeting, when “community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” It’s a rare instance when the City Council gives New Yorkers “Real Money. Real Power.” to improve their communities. So get ready to wield that power, because the next participatory budgeting vote will take place April 7th- April 15th!
There’s a million dollars on the line, and you can vote for up to 5 projects that will receive the funds. The proposed projects call for improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces subject to “discretionary funds.” All projects were suggested by community members, and the winners will be chosen by the community!
Out of 150 proposed projects, neighborhood volunteers whittled the choices down to 9 projects you can vote on, based on “equity, feasibility, cost, and need.” And it’s not to late to help out! If you’d like to volunteer as a poll worker, you can RSVP here!
Read on for your 2018 PB Projects and voting sites! Continue reading
Spring is approaching, and you know what that means- it’s Armory Week in New York! In addition to The Armory Show, the other fairs Volta, SPRING/BREAK, Art on Paper, NADA, Independent, and SCOPE are happening all around the city. Our team at Greenpointers created a road map highlighting some North Brooklyn artists and galleries that will be exhibiting throughout the week, along with when and where to catch them. Enjoy!
March 6-12: SPRING/BREAK Art Show (4 Times Square)
- Hiba Schahbaz (Bushwick): The Garden curated by Field Projects; Room 2362; also exhibiting at Art on Paper with Sugarlift; Booth 417
- Carolyn Salas and Maureen Cavanaugh (Greenpoint): Here Now curated by Adam Parker Smith; Room 2370
- Brian Willmont (Greenpoint): Milk Thieves curated by Alison Sirico; Room 2374, and Human Now curated by Kara Brooks; Room 2319
- Kawita Vatanajyankur: Rituals of Otherness curated by Alexandra Fanning (East Williamsburg); Room 2232
- Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference presented by Helen Toomer (Williamsburg); Room 2221; Daily performances will take place at 1pm and 4pm
- Caris Reid (former Greenpointer): Crystal Visions curated by Sarah Potter; Room 2364/2365
- Eric Lee Bowman (Greenpoint): What’s Past Prologue curated by Kristin Sancken; Room 2369
As the MTA’s planned 15-month suspension of L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan draws near, all 200,000 daily riders of the L-pocalypse have been asking the same question: how will we get across the river? Brooklynites have been asking that question for generations, and personal ingenuity, along with municipal planning, has yielded several answers. All we can say for sure is that this is not the first time aggrieved Greenpointers have been up in arms over inadequate inter-borough transit. I’m just glad we don’t have to take a rowboat.
The rowboat commute was the first in a line increasingly efficient methods of getting from Greenpoint to Manhattan that includes horsecars, trollies, ferry services, elevated trains, and the dawn and growth of the subway. Step in, stand clear and read on for a history of transit in North Brooklyn. Continue reading
North Brooklyn Angels, a hyper-local, volunteer-powered, non-profit, mobile hunger program has spread its wings in the neighborhood. Built on the direct action of neighbors helping neighbors, North Brooklyn Angels is working to fight hunger, food insecurity, and poverty in North Brooklyn, and help build an equitable, diverse neighborhood. They have served over 16,000 hot meals since they began operating last June. Since January 2nd, North Brooklyn Angels has been cooking all of its meals in the newly opened commercial kitchen in the basement of Mount Carmel Hall.
North Brooklyn Angels is a small organization with deep local roots hoping to make a big impact. Executive Director Ryan Kuonen explains “The program was a dream of a Greenpoint old timer, Neil Sheehan. Born and raised here in a large Irish Catholic family, he has spent his life feeding people. He teamed up with local Episcopalian Pastor, John Merz, who was running a soup kitchen that was going to be displaced from its physical location. He has been a big part of Occupy Wall St & Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and was really motivated to be part of a mobile soup kitchen project.” Kuonen joined the project in 2016, and is the only full-time employee. Claudell Lewis, Alan Minor and Felice Kirby work part-time, and volunteers provide the rest of the energy, serving, cooking, and even driving North Brooklyn Angels’ beautiful blue truck, known as the “Angelmobile.”
The Angelmobile is a 40-foot food service truck equipped with office space. With it, North Brooklyn Angels hopes to “create a busload of hope, love, & nutrition, serving people hot, healthy meals at strategic locations around the neighborhood and providing a mobile office space for the many wonderful charitable & human service programs already operating in the neighborhood.” Continue reading
If you’re interested in North Brooklyn parks and have some time to dedicate to a good community cause, then this gig with the North Brooklyn Open Space Alliance might be for you!
The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn is seeking someone to manage the growing group of generous, dedicated volunteers working to make their neighborhood parks and community better. The Volunteer Coordinator is a new position and is responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, rewarding and retaining the individuals belonging to OSA’s Volunteer Corps. The Volunteer Coordinator will help volunteers engage in opportunities that meet their interests. He / she will track volunteer performance data, and create program reports for the community, the OSA board and staff and its funders. The commitment is 10-15 hours per week. The role is ideally suited to a retiree or a homemaker willing to make a long-term commitment. Experience managing individuals and/or a team is required. Experience managing volunteers is preferred. Please contact OSA Executive Director Joe Mayock if you’re interested in learning more.
Although the former Domino Sugar refinery on Kent Avenue does not lie in Greenpoint, the building and the firm that ran it, Havemeyer and Elder, cast a long shadow over local history. Having spent the summer researching the plant for my upcoming book The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, it is hard to express how much suffering is associated with the refinery.
The plant, which was opened in 1858, employed thousands of Greenpointers over its almost a century-and-a-half of existence. Much of the reason that we have a Polish population today is because the refinery had a policy of hiring Slavic men, principally Polish, who could not recount to outsiders the misery that working in the plant entailed. They worked in horrendous conditions that we can scarcely imagine today. Continue reading
New York City Council Member Stephen Levin is hosting a North Greenpoint Development meeting at the Polish Slavic Center (176 Java Street) on Wednesday, 11/8 at 6:30, where community members can engage with local developers around how new construction in the neighborhood will impact Greenpoint.
When: Wednesday, November 8, 6:30pm
Where: Polish Slavic Center (176 Java Street)
Who: Anyone interested in, curious, or concerned about how new construction will impact the neighborhood.
RSVP: [email protected]
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
Every Thursday from 7-10pm in October, you can get to know North Brooklyn and its culture and history a little better with FREE bike tours hosted by Brooklyn Bicycle Co. and Loudest Yeller Bike Tours. Bring a neighbor or friend, or kids—ages 10 and up are welcome! The biking is super easy, and all skill levels are welcome. The tours leave from 141 South 5th Street at 7pm. Pro tip: be ready to eat some ice cream along the way.
What to bring: Bring your bike if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can borrow a Brooklyn Bicycle Co. cruiser. They’ve got bikes that fit everyone from 4’11 to 7’6, as well as helmets. If you need to borrow a bike please send a message ahead of time by emailing [email protected].