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.
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 →
Democratic City Council Member Stephen Levin was re-elected to represent Greenpoint and the rest of the 33rd District on the New York City Council this Tuesday, November 7th. Levin received more than 18,600 votes, or over eighty-eight percent of the ballots cast. His opponent was a native Greenpointer, Victoria Cambranes, a novice politician who received some two thousand seven hundred votes, or about eleven percent of the vote. Cambranes cut into Levin’s victory total in 2013 when Levin received over ninety-one percent of the vote. Cambranes attracted some support because of her Polish and Latina background, but still fell far short of the very popular Levin.
Yesterday, when Joe Rickets, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade, who owned DNAinfo and Gothamist shut down those sites – putting 115 people out of work – following the reporters’ vote to unionize, we got another reminder of how easily a powerful individual can wantonly affect the lives of so many people according to his whims.
Powerful business interests have been flexing their muscles here in Greenpoint, too. Both the waterfront development firm Greenpoint Landing Associates, and the pharmaceutical conglomerate Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) scored some good press this week by making grants to the local community. Greenpoint Landing Associates donated $250,000 to the Greenpoint YMCA (99 Meserole Ave) to renovate the gym, fitness room and spin center. PhRMA pledged $2,000 to P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry Elementary to support the school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Continue reading →
For the past few years, City Council Member Stephen Levin has allowed the residents of District 33 to decide how to allocate at least $1 million of discretionary funds. And it’s time to submit ideas for next year! Need some inspiration? Here are winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). Or you can help Stephen Levin and his team brainstorm ideas at one of the upcoming neighborhood meetings!
Earlier this year, 3,789 people voted on which projects submitted by the community they would like funded. The winning projects include bus clocks with live, up-to-date arrival times at 12 stops along the B62/B32 bus routes; a STEAM Lab for Samuel Dupont Elementary School/P.S. 31 (75 Meserole St); and upgraded electrical wiring at Monitor School/P.S. 110 (124 Monitor St). With Cycle 7 ready to begin, there are a few ways to get involved. One is to submit your project idea–here are some winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). It’s an opportunity to get creative and really think outside of the box. What would make our community better for everyone? To begin that process, you can email District 33’s Participatory Budgeting Director Benjamin Solotaire ([email protected]). Or you can show up at 6:30pm tonight for the first Participatory Budgeting meeting at our district office, 410 Atlantic Avenue. Later on this year there will be opportunities to present your project to the Participatory Budgeting Committee with the top projects being voted on next spring. Here’s your chance to make a difference in the District 33 community.
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.
Cycle 6 of the annual Participatory Budget voting begins Saturday, March 25th, and goes until Sunday, April 2nd. “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Our City Councilman, Stephen Levin, chose to give us the voice on how to spend our tax dollars. In this vote, you have the opportunity to vote for as many as five project proposals; funding is granted based on which proposals receive the most votes and our district’s annual discretionary fund budget. The vote is open to anyone over the age of 14 who lives within our district (33), and this year, we can vote online! Of the 15 projects this year, here are the ones proposed for Greenpoint and Williamsburg: Continue reading →
Join new local podcast The Hook next Tuesday, January 10 at 7pm at Pete’s Candy Store for their inaugural episode of a new, live, one-on-one talk show. The first episode will kick off with NYC City Council member Stephen Levin for an intriguing sit-down with questions like:
“Is there hope in politics?” “Are there other cities you are envious of, politically?” “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” And… “When you played bass for an indie- rock darling of college-radio, named after a $10 toy synthesizer, was it awesome?”
Levin is one of the city council’s youngest members and part of the 33rd District which includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Recently, Levin was a key player in the city’s acquisition of the final parcel of land to complete Bushwick Inlet Park, a victory which took years of hard work and collaboration between residents and local government. Though, it should be noted that the process isn’t over, and we still have a long way to go until the day we see the park fully realized on our waterfront land.
According to The Hook, it is “a new political speakeasy, in which people of idealistic distinction are interviewed before a live audience, with ample space for interaction, surprise, and discovery. Moderated by former Open City Dialogues host Jamie Hook in the venerable back-room of Pete’s Candy Store, The Hook is an experiment in the politics of the local, an incubator for new community ideas, and a subscriber to the notion that all you have to do to belong is participate. Join us!”
Audience members will have ample opportunity to ask questions and participate, so bring your best inquiries for a chance to find out what’s what from a local politician in this era of political uncertainty.
This past Saturday, December 17th, Mayor de Blasio came to Bushwick Inlet Park to praise the community activists who after ten years of strugglefinally 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.
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.
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.