Is Sunnyside Yards the Next Hudson Yards?

Sunnyside Yards (courtesy of New York City Economic Development Corporation)

One of the highest-trafficked railyards in the U.S., Sunnyside Yards in Queens, is the subject of NYC Economic Development Corporation’s planning for a future mega-development.

Sunnyside Yards (courtesy of New York City Economic Development Corporation)

The EDC held its third Sunnyside Yards community planning meeting last Monday night, and the masterplan for the 180-acre site is expected to be released this winter, Gothamist reports. Continue reading

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City Council Puts Brakes on Community Board Spending

Brooklyn Community Board 1’s SUV parked in front of the office, May 29, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This story was originally published on 9/17/19 by THE CITY. (By: Gabriel Sandoval and Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

Community boards now have to vote before making pricey purchases with a budget-boosting grant from the City Council, which recently placed sharp limits on how boards can spend the funds.

The new rules followed the THE CITY’s May report that leaders of one Brooklyn board bought a $26,000 SUV using taxpayer money allocated by the Council. Continue reading

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Climate Week Events Happening in North Brooklyn

The 4th Annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival is on 9/21

A series of climate change-focused events and meetups over the next two weeks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg will mark Climate Week NYC, which coincides with the UN Climate Action Summit. The events are helping draw attention to the global climate crisis and to spark action. A large-scale climate strike will happen this Friday at noon at Foley Square and over one million NYC students have been granted permission to skip class to participate.

The local events kick off tonight with a happy hour from the NY League of Conservation Voters and culminate with a Tidal Toast hosted by Newtown Creek Alliance and Broadway Stages. Here’s the full list of events from the North Brooklyn Chamber Environmental Initiatives Committee: Continue reading

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Williamsburg Playspace for 0-6-Year-Olds Returns for Fall and Winter Run

Kid and Playspace will return this weekend with a play session on Saturday, September 21, from 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. inside the gymnasium of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (1 Havemeyer St.) following a successful test-run last spring.

The independent, community-based playspace for young children ages 0-6 was started by North Brooklyn-based parents; play sessions are currently scheduled for select Saturdays beginning this weekend through March 28th, signup for the mailing list here. Continue reading

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Fashion Sundae Episode 8

It’s that time of the week where we take look at the styles and fashion spotted on the streets of Williamsburg for Fashion Sundae, from the lens of Watching New York. As the weather waffled last week between a pre-fall chill in the air and the remnants of summer heat, warmer layers such as winter hats and topcoats have started coming back into the mix. Check out this edition of Fashion Sundae:  Continue reading

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Williamsburg Loft Building’s Tenants See Hopes to Stay Fade

240 Broadway in South Williamsburg, on Sept. 12, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This story was originally published on 9/16/19 by THE CITY. (By: Claudia Irizarry Aponte)

In May, residents of Williamsburg’s 240 Broadway thought they’d won a fighting chance to stay in their homes, with the launch of an audit into their landlord’s long-ago transformation of their once-industrial building into apartments.

Tenants had pinned their hopes on the Department of Buildings revoking the structure’s certificate of occupancy, which they contended had been invalidly issued based on sub-par construction. That would allow the tenants to claim protection against eviction under New York’s Loft Law, which shields residents during and after conversions of the industrial spaces they call home.

But since then, tenants say, they’ve faced intensifying pressure to leave now that the Brooklyn building has been sold.

Soon after buying the building for $16.5 million, the new landlord, 240 Broadway Properties LLC, started issuing notices to tenants in the 24 apartments, demanding they vacate within 30 days.

So far, nine households have departed or are fighting eviction proceedings, while the remaining 15 wait anxiously as expiration dates on their leases approach. Construction has begun, according to holdouts, who say their gas has been shut off.

Tailor Arthur Arbit has worked in his 240 Broadway loft for more than 10 years, Sept. 12, 2019.
Tailor Arthur Arbit has worked in his 240 Broadway loft for more than 10 years. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

A representative for the building’s operator, Livingston Management, did not respond to THE CITY’s request for comment.

Last month, the Department of Buildings informed tenants it could not find sufficient evidence to scrap 240 Broadway’s certificate of occupancy — undermining the residents’ claim on staying put in the increasingly upscale neighborhood.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” Arthur Arbit, a tailor who has lived in the building for 11 years and keeps his studio there, told THE CITY. “We’re just waiting for answers.”

‘I Feel Cheated’

The Department of Buildings began its audit into the century-old building’s certificate of occupancy in the spring, following inquiries from THE CITY.

In an Aug. 15 email to tenants, department representative Benjamin Colombo noted the examination uncovered “several deficiencies that were inconsistent with the approved plans and subsequent inspection” that led to the department’s 2003 green-light for the certificate of occupancy. Among the problems: non-compliant space heaters and lack of fire-rated construction.

But, he wrote, “There is insufficient proof to demonstrate that the deficiencies existed at the time of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.”

Britta Riley is unsure if her family will able to stay in their loft home at 240 Broadway.
Britta Riley is unsure if her family will able to stay in their loft home at 240 Broadway. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Colombo added that the department had written up the new owners for code violations, giving them until Sept. 12 to fix the problems.

Tenants argued that the certificate of occupancy had been erroneously secured in 2003 by Henry Radusky, an architect investigated and sanctioned for filing questionable paperwork on past projects.

They sought to follow the success of loft tenants in another Brooklyn Radusky building, whose certificate of occupancy was revoked as “unlawfully issued.” Those residents were able to apply for Loft Law protection, which includes rent stabilization.

“I can’t vocalize my frustration about the hard earned money — I have paid over $300,000 in rent — I spent for a city-certified property that turned out not to merit that certification,” Britta Riley, a resident of 240 Broadway, wrote in a June 24 email to the Department of Buildings.

Riley has lived in the building for the last 11 years and has two infant daughters. “I feel cheated learning that this supposedly city-certified building is so gravely out of code,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings, Andrew Rudansky, told THE CITY that the new owners are playing by the book.

“So far, the owners have been complying with DOB orders,” he said. “However, if they fail to continue this progress bringing the building into code compliance, we will take further enforcement actions, including additional violations and associated civil penalties.”

Facial Recognition Entry

Many long-term residents describe an increasingly difficult environment in the building.

While a partial stop-work order halted roof repairs, construction is still underway in the hallways. On a recent visit by THE CITY, dropped ceilings had been torn down in the hallways on the second and third floor of the six-story building, exposing decrepit tin ceilings, pipes, mold and dust.

A Health Department notice was put up on Thursday, Sept. 12. Photo: 240 Broadway Tenants Association

An inspection by the city Department of Health on Thursday found dust “caused by unsafe work.” A notice posted in the building that same day says the dust samples are being tested for lead.

The management company, meanwhile, is proceeding with a facial recognition security system, and demanding residents turn in their metal keys by Sept. 20, according to notices sent to tenants.

Asa Pingree, who lives in the building with his wife, teenage son and 2-month-old baby, received an eviction notice last month after his lease expired. Now he’s fighting the landlord in Housing Court. The 38-year-old furniture designer moved to the building in 2015 after losing a similar conversion battle at a nearby loft on Hope Street.

While Pingree hopes 240 Broadway will eventually achieve Loft Law status, he’s most worried about his newborn’s wellbeing.

“My main concern is they’re risking our health without actually improving our living situation,” he said.

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Greenpoint This Week: L Train Service Suspension, Cookies for Protestors, Rock Climbing Gyms and More!

TASTE Williamsburg and Greenpoint returns this Sunday.

Happy Friday (the 13th!) Greenpointers! It’s a good night to view the Harvest Moon as it coincides with today’s spooky date. Brooklyn Community Board 1 had its first public hearing in two months last Tuesday, and the full four-hour session is available here. If you want to support a good cause and sample local cuisine TASTE Williamsburg and Greenpoint is going down this Sunday, and here’s what’s happening this weekend. In the meantime, catch up on this week’s headlines:

An SUV crash killed a man in Greenpoint Thursday night. (Greenpointers)

A pair of new rock climbing gyms will open in 2020, including a 24-hour gym across from McCarren Park. (Greenpointers)

L Train service is suspended starting Friday night through Monday morning. (Pix 11)

2021 City Council candidate and Greenpointer Victoria Cambranes met her protestors with cookies at her campaign launch event. (Brooklyn Eagle)

An “ultimate itinerary” of Greenpoint dining including, you guessed it, Peter Pan, Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop and Di An Di. (Eater NY)

The facade of Greenpoint Landing tower Two Blue Slip nears completion. (YIMBY)

Get $15 Off TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint happening Sunday! It’s going to beautiful out this SUNDAY, September 15th so why not hang out on the Williamsburg waterfront while supporting local businesses and a good cause? TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint (1-4PM) is back to present some of the best of what North Brooklyn has to offer so you can eat your way through this Sunday’s Funday. (Partner)

Franklin Streets newest clothing boutique, Only NY, got its start in the LES. (VICE)

Kickstarter, the Greenpoint-based B corporation, fired two union organizers. (Buzzfeed News)

Food writing courses are launching at Archestratus in Greenpoint. (Edible Brooklyn)

Domino Sugar 45-story development One South First opens for leasing with studios starting at $3,479/month.

A man was randomly punched in Williamsburg in August. (Brooklyn Paper)

The Greenpoint waterfront is attracting condo buyers. (NY Times)

Greenpoint-based The Wild Honey Pie celebrates is celebrating its 10th anniversary. (amNY)

“Smoldering and hot cables” resulted in frequent L train delays this week. (THE CITY)

The McKibbin Lofts building in East Williamsburg has $278,400 in unpaid penalties operating as a hotel. (Commercial Observer)

200 Kent Ave‘s rectangular glass facade is now in place. (YIMBY)

Record shop Halcyon opened a new Williamsburg location. (Resident Advisor)

The Wythe Hotel is getting a new French brasserie from Chez Ma Tante chefs. (Eater NY)

You’re invited to a free open house on Saturday, September 14 to try fitness classes, take a tour, meet staff and learn more about the Greenpoint YMCA. (Sponsored)

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Greenpoint Security Guard Killed by SUV Crash Thursday Night

The Time Warner facility near the intersection of Provost Street and Paige Avenue (via Google Maps)

A driver of an SUV lost control and veered off of the road striking and killing a security guard who was inside a security booth near the intersection of Paige Avenue and Provost Street around 8 p.m. on Thursday night, NY Daily News first reported: Continue reading

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Two Rock Climbing Gyms Slated for 2020 Openings in Williamsburg and Greenpoint

Rendering of 1 Nassau Ave. courtesy of Cayuga Capital

A pair of rock climbing gyms will open in Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2020 if all goes according to plan.

A California-based 24-hour rock climbing gym is scheduled to open in April 2020 at 1 Nassau Ave. at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint across from McCarren Park.  Continue reading

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TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint, Oyster Monitoring, RISO Printing — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (9/11-9/17)


# 18th Ward Brewing Soft Opening @ 18th Ward Brewing (300 Richardson St), 4pm, FREE, More Info
♫ Salsa by the Water @ Domino Park, 6pm, FREE, lessons followed by open dance, with a live DJ, More Info
♦ Opening Art Experiments Session for Kids @ Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St) 3pm, FREE, children are invited to use the materials in the studio to create ideas at their own pace, RSVP
♫ Koffee @ Brooklyn Steel (319 Frost St), 7pm, $35 (suggested), Buy Tix


☺ Forward Union Presents Cry Until You Laugh @ Kickstarter HQ (58 Kent St), 630pm, $10-$25 suggested, enjoy a stunning Brooklyn rooftop (thanks, Kickstarter HQ!) for a night of sadistic comedic relief, Buy Tix
* Debate Watch Party w Senator Julia Salazar @ The Well (272 Meserole St), 6pm, FREE, a watch party of the third Democratic Debate More Info
♦ Taste of Iceland in New York City: “Shortfish” Screening @ Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole Ave) 7pm, FREE, a film from an up-and-coming Icelandic filmmaker, More Info
♦ A Theatrical Poetry Event by Open Heart Surgery Theatre @ WORD (126 Franklin St), 6pm, $5, live music and excerpts from the US premiere of “This Is Why We Live,” opening September 19th at La MaMa, More Info Continue reading

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