Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Honorable Raymond Lohier

Congratulations to CB6 Public Safety Committee Chairman Ray Lohier, who has been confirmed to fill Justice Sotomayor's old seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (an incredibly prestigious appointment).

Ray is sharp, thoughtful, measured and civic-minded to boot.  The public is lucky to add a man of his caliber to the bench.  I feel honored to know him and look forward to great things from him in the judiciary.  Congrats!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brooklyn Community Board 6 Holiday Party TONIGHT 12/14

When I was new to the area and wanted to get involved in our local civic life I made a point to attend the CB6 Holiday party.  It's a great place to meet and socialize with some of the people who volunteer their time to make our neighborhoods a better place to live.  We have a fantastic and dedicated District Manager in Craig Hammerman - I'd put him up against any District manager in the city - but Craig and his staff get by on a shoestring budget.  So please stop by to partake in a little holiday cheer and help support the staff that does so much for our community.  True, times are tough and money is tight, but this is one charitable contribution that not only feels good but makes a direct investment in your own backyard.  See you tonight!

CB6 Annual Holiday PARTY!

Brooklyn Community Board 6 2010 Holiday Party

Tuesday December 14th
6:00 to 9:00 PM

The DRAM Shop
339 9th Street
(between 5th/6th Avenues)  - convenient to our beloved F train
Brooklyn, NY 11215

$30 per person
Cash Bar
All are welcome, bring a friend!

(The CB6 Holiday Party is a fundraiser for “Friends of Brooklyn CB6, Inc.,” our 501-c-3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of CB6. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please consider including a year-end charitable gift above the cost of the party. Checks should be made out to “Friends of Brooklyn CB6, Inc.” Thank you!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Hyper-Local Site: Welcome, Carroll Gardens Patch!

There's a brand new site focused on Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill: the Carroll Gardens Patch.

More news is good news when it comes to local coverage. All ready the patch has articles and opinion pieces up on Gowanus CSO remediation efforts, the Clean Ports Bill and greening the BQE trench, and the battle over condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

I'm looking forward to much more from our newest local blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gowanus Whole Foods Update

This just in - at first glance, many improvements to the previous plan, but we'll need to take a close look to see where further improvements can be made:

DATE: November 29, 2010

RE: Great News: Whole Foods Market moving forward with first Brooklyn store at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street

I am writing with some extremely positive news: Whole Foods Market is now officially moving forward with the development of our first ever Brooklyn store located on our property at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street! We want to thank you and the entire community for your patience as we've worked to revise our plans and clean up the property. We're also proud to have finalized a development plan and are confident that Whole Foods Market will be a terrific addition to the neighborhood.

While we will be happy to set up a meeting and/or provide you with more detailed information in the coming weeks about the proposed store and our plans, we wanted to share this good news and provide a brief overview of our intentions as soon as possible. Our commitment to Brooklyn and our desire to invest in the greater Gowanus community are stronger than ever, and as we hope you will see, our new development plan is extremely responsive to the surrounding neighborhood and its residents.

Our property, which was formerly home to a number of auto repair shops, warehouses and other industrial uses, has now been fully cleaned and remediated under the strict guidelines of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's brownfield program and is ready to return to a positive, productive, job-creating and community service use.

Our planned new store will be approx. 52,000 square feet, which is about 25% smaller than the store we had previously proposed for this site. We believe this site plan - which continues to feature a 40 foot public esplanade for our neighbors to enjoy - will simply work better within the parameters of the property.

We have reduced the number of parking spaces on-site from 430 to 248, which eliminates our previous need for a separate parking structure and allows all of the parking to be at-grade in a surface parking lot. The store will feature parking for both energy efficient vehicles as well as specially designated recharging stations for electric powered vehicles. The lot will also include bike parking in front of the store and along the promenade. Whole Foods Market will also offer delivery for area residents.

With parking now no longer needed on the store roof either, we have been presented with the opportunity to include one of the most exciting and innovative features ever included in a Whole Foods Market: A 20,000 square foot greenhouse located on the roof of the store that will grow fresh, organic produce right on-site!

Rather than construct the store below-grade as previously proposed, we now plan to build it above-grade, which will require a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals due to the physical hardships associated with site development (there is a high water table and, as you know, environmental cleanup requirements on the property). These factors have a large impact on the development costs that will be encountered on this site.

As always planned, the two-story, 19th century brick building situated at the property's corner at Third Avenue and Third Street - which is not owned by Whole Foods Market - will remain in place. The Whole Foods Market will "jog" around the existing building at that corner and Whole Foods has committed to investing in improvements to the building that will include a new roof and exterior repairs.

Finally, you should know that our commitment to local hiring, community investment and the creation of high-quality Whole Foods Market jobs (with excellent benefits) remains unchanged. This new store will create approx. 350 new jobs - fully 70% of which are expected to be full-time positions - and we look forward to working with you and other local stakeholders to ensure that the surrounding community has full access to these new opportunities.

As we hope you can see, we are extremely excited about the opportunity to finally provide Brooklyn residents with convenient access to their own Whole Foods Market. We believe we have developed a plan that is responsive to the surrounding community and look forward to sharing additional details with you in the coming weeks. Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cuomo: New York Will Take Their HSR Funds, Thank You

A few newly elected GOP governors ran against high speed rail . . . and have pledged to eschew hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal HSR funding.

Governor-elect Cuomo has an idea about where those funds should go.

Who knew that electing cretins in other states might be a boon to NY's rail infrastructure?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brooklyn Greenway Party Thursday at FIND

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is one of my favorite local activist organizations, and their annual fundraisers are consistently a great time. Attend the party this Thursday to support the terrific work they're doing to unite the people of Brooklyn with their waterfront. From BGI:

“FIND” Your Way to the Greenway...for BGI's Fall Party!
Thursday, November 4th, 6:00-9:00PM
We're excited to be partnering again with FIND Home Furnishings for a fall benefit to support the development of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. We will also be acknowledging Council Members Brad Lander and Steve Levin for securing BGI's first City Council funding, and Waste Management for supporting BGI's stewardship programs!
Join fellow greenway supporters for great food, drink, music and raffle prizes on Thursday, November 4th, 6:00-9:00PM. Tickets are just $25, or two for $40. Get your tickets today!
There will be plenty of room to spread out and raise spirits and funds over drinks & food from local restaurants, including 5 Burro, Lilla Cafe, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Rocky Sullivan's, Union Market, Fort Defiance, Six Point Craft Ales, Alma, Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies and Nine Cakes, along with live jazz music from Hot Johnsons in FIND's expansive showroom at 9th Street and the Gowanus Canal.
Don't miss your chance to win one of many raffle items from FIND, Brooklyn Winery, RICE, Rolling Orange Bikes, Massage Therapy by Gerald Pulis, Ground Up Designers, Urban Oyster, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Bar Tano, New York Water Taxi, Circle Line Downtown, Water Taxi Beach, and more!
Thanks to our major event sponsors aptsandlofts.com, Con Edison, FIND Home Furnishings, Industry City Associates, and S Clubs Fitness Spa & Lifestyle . Additional sponsorship provided by Brooklyn Bridge Realty, Cozen O'Connor and Waste Management.

Buy Tickets!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Tea Party, In A Nutshell

This is absolutely brilliant.

Please remember to vote on November 2 - this year I'll be voting for Democratic candidates on Row E (Working Families) to send a message to my (Democratic) Party: your base is the working class people that form the backbone of this society.  Ignore our needs at your peril.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Halloween Fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Attention area adults!  After you've had your fill of karaoke and cider at Carroll Park the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Junior Committee is sponsoring a Halloween party on Saturday in order to raise funds for the free public programming in the park.  Free programming is the lifeblood of a great public space - and who doesn't love a good Halloween Party?  Details below:


DATE: Saturday, October 30

TIME: 8:00pm-1:00am

LOCATION: One Brooklyn Bridge Park (360 Furman Street, entrance through retail on waterside of building)

Join the Conservancy's Junior Committee for our first Halloween party, at One Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Enjoy cocktails - including Blood and Sand, a signature Halloween cocktail provided by Highland Park Scotch Whiskey, music, dancing, a costume contest, video decoration by local artist Geoff Matters, festive atmosphere and more! All proceeds support free public programming in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
TICKETS: All ticket prices include admission, drinks, music, food, dancing and costume contest!

Mischief Maker: $400 Friend Pack for 10 - (deadline pushed to 10/29 due to popularity)

Prankster: $100 VIP tickets (includes a special gift bag with the new book, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, Highland Park Scotch Whiskey, Conservancy-shirts and more!)

Trickster: $50 in advance/ $65 at the door
To buy tickets: https://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/index.cfm?objectid=EE3D2660-3048-7098-AFA3EB22366DD228
For questions, e-mail Samantha Dodds (sdodds@bbpc.net) or call 718-802-0603 x22
**Must be 21+ to enter

Halloween Karaoke at Carroll Park!

The Friends of Carroll Park are sponsoring two great, super fun Halloween events.

Costume Karaoke Party (this looks especially great)
Saturday, October 30th

Come dressed as your favorite rock star! Party with your friends and family near the park house from 5:00 – 9:00 and sing some of your favorite songs with Lion’s Roar Karaoke and their 10,000 song library. Hot cider will be available, and some snacks if we can muster them! Suggested donation of $1 per song to benefit Friends of Carroll Park.

Halloween Parade
Sunday, October 31

Gather at 12:30 p.m. in the park and we’ll parade up Smith Street toward Warren, then back down Court Street to the park. The first 100 kids to show up will receive free noisemakers. Step on out to have some fun showing off your costumes!
Both events are sponsored by Scotto Wines On Court Street

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fourth Avenue Walkabout - Saturday 11/6

Reproduced in full from the Park Slope Civic Council's press release because (a) I can and (b) it's a good program I hope you'll check out.


Park Slope Civic Council to Host a Walk along Fourth Avenue

To Discuss the Latest Developments on Growing Boulevard

Fourth is in flux -- Have your say!

Fourth Avenue is undergoing major changes that will impact the residents of Park Slope and surroundings communities, including the local environment, the commute to and from work, and even the ability to park. The Park Slope Civic Council wants to inform our neighbors about these prospective changes, and get more ideas about what should happen along this avenue on the rise.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2010, 9:30 a.m.

Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, under the east underpass of the subway station

(Rain date: Sunday, November 7, 2:30 PM)

* Learn about prospective plans for the Fourth Avenue / Ninth Street subway station

* Learn about improvements to safety along Fourth Avenue already underway

* Learn about plans to plant, beautify, and green along the corridor

* Learn about renovations to Washington Park (formerly JJ Byrne Park)

* Learn about proposals for the empty lot at Fourth Avenue and Sackett Street

* Give your ideas / feedback / suggestions for further, better improvements

Improvements to the Fourth Avenue corridor between the Prospect Expressway and Flatbush Avenue -- while slow to arrive -- are definitely coming! This is a chance for everyone to have a voice in what happens on Fourth Avenue.

To register for this event, send your name to fofa@parkslopeciviccouncil.org.

Moving Forward on Fourth is an outgrowth from the Park Slope Civic Council's forum on "The Future of Fourth Avenue," a wide-ranging, community-building discussion held earlier this year to help shape progress along this important part of the neighborhood. More information about the forum and the Civic Council's efforts along Fourth can be found at www.parkslopeciviccouncil.org/futureof4thavenue.

First Gowanus Superfund CAG Meeting Is Tonight

Didn't get your fill of the Gowanus at last night's CB6 meeting on the Flushing Tunnel?  Bop on over to the American Can Factory tonight at 7:00 for the first Community Advisory Group meeting on Superfunding the Gowanus Canal.

Pardon Me For Asking has the details.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brooklyn Do-Gooders - Vote Early, Vote Often!

The Brooklyn Community Foundation (formerly the Independence Community Foundation)  is the largest grant-giving organization in Brooklyn, and is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its new incarnation with a "Brooklyn Does Good" celebration. 

Nominees have been submitted from the community, and the community gets to vote for "Brooklyn Do Gooders" - up to five votes per day until voting closes on October 15th.  Winners will be feted at a celebration on November 3rd, and a $5,000 grant will be made to the 501(c)3 charity of their choosing in their name.  Altogether a great program.

As it turns out, I have personally worked with a few of the candidates, and I encourage you to send your votes their way (either all or in part) daily:

Maria Pagano - Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association (and more)
Brian McCormick - Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
Dave "paco" Abraham - Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn Committee, tireless advocate for safer streets
Shannon Hummel - CORA dance
Rita Miller - CORD

Now get out there and vote like it's Tammany Hall!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Northeast Corridor Commission

I've been banging the drum for better regional rail planning for years.  This is the sort of talk that gets me excited:
Today, the Obama Administration is working to achieve a vision of similar scope and scale. As with the interstate highways during the 1950s, we haven’t yet drawn all the lines on the map. But we are on track to creating a modern, high-speed rail system that will support sustained economic growth.

President Obama and I welcome the ambition of Amtrak's thinking, and we hope to see it spread across the nation as Americans recognize and demand the benefits of high-speed rail.

Because this train will not be stopped. And I promise you: In less time than it took to plan and pave our vast system of inter-connected highways, you will see high-speed trains carry significant numbers of Americans within and between regions.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amtrak's Ambitious Plan for Northeast Corridor

I don't have much to add to what Yonah Freemark has written at The Transport Politic on Amtrak's proposal for true high speed rail on the Northeast Corridor, except that if it were up to me, the Obama administration would be pushing hard for a major infrastructure stimulus package.

As I've written in the past, the stimulus the administration has sought so far was at least a trillion short of what the country needs . . . and needs directed into infrastructure projects.  This proposal shouldn't be a 30-year plan . . . it should be a ten year plan and it deserves massive federal funding.


Be careful out there people.  Just spoke to my neighbor this morning, they suffered over $100K damage to their building.  Ouch.



1100 AM EDT TUE SEP 28 2010












Monday, September 27, 2010

New Van Service Along Old B71 Route

TLC Commissioner David Yassky came to the CB6 Transportation Committee to introduce this service on the night of the tornadoes.  It is very much a work in progress.  We all wish to have the B71 back.  In the meantime, Council Member Brad Lander sent out this note to mark the start of the new service - and to ask for your feedback.  So tell him (and tell me in comments, for that matter) - how is it?  Your feedback will help make the best of a difficult situation.  Brad's note to constituents is below:

Today is the first day of the new "Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program" that the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (NYC TLC) has launched to provide shared ride van service along the former B71 route bus route.

As I am sure you know, the B71 bus route, which ran along Union Street and Eastern Parkway, was eliminated by the MTA in June, over the vehement objections of neighborhood residents, as well as myself and my colleagues. This new "group ride" service will never be a full replacement for the B71 bus service, as it does not meet the needs of disabled commuters and does not take MetroCards or allow transfers. I plan to keep fighting for the restoration of the B71 and other essential bus routes.

Nonetheless, given that the MTA has eliminated the route, I am grateful to the TLC for offering this new service in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Waterfront District and Park Slope.

The vans will charge a flat fare of $2 per ride. Vehicles will be clearly marked with the words "GROUP RIDE VEHICLE" on their exterior, and will have unique identifying decals in several locations, so be sure to check for these markers before you get on board.

The new vans will make the following stops, although riders may also request to be dropped off at locations along the route that are not among the specified stops.

This is a pilot program, so we are eager to hear your feedback. Please contact my office at 718-499-1090 or lander@council.nyc.gov to let us know your experiences, opinions and ideas regarding this new program.

My colleagues and I will continue to fight for restoration of more complete MTA service throughout Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Waterfront District and Park Slope, but in the meantime I hope you will find the Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program useful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lawyer, Blogger, Civic Activist, Roadie

Helping out Mia on a job and gaining an even greater appreciation for her hard work and dedication.  This enormous tent will hold an audience of 2,000 twice a day for 10 days.  It's been amazing to see it go up over just a couple of days.  Hanging that backdrop was a huge pain in the . . . neck.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fresh New Look, Same Crappy Awesome Blog

It's been over three years since I started typing, with wildly varying frequency, some thoughts into this blog. I decided to spruce the place up a bit. The dark wood paneling and orange shag carpet were getting a bit dated and frankly, rather depressing.

I'm going to be somewhat indisposed for the next month, so posting should be no more sporadic than it has been for the past year or so. But I'm hoping to actually put a bit more time into writing over the next few weeks. There's a lot of policy issues at the federal state and local level that I'd like to address. As you might guess, a lot of it centers around infrastructure spending.

We've got 10% unemployment, tremendous borrowing capacity and near endless public works projects around the country that are crying out to be done. National High Speed Rail. Aging, ineffective sewer systems and power grids. Not to mention aging intra-city highways that could be replaced by tunneled alternatives (see, e.g, Gowanus Expressway, BQE) that would revitalize surrounding communities.

With the flight to quality in the markets today, US Bonds are in high demand. We always seem to be able to justify spending hundreds of billions on overseas military adventures. I'd like to see $1 Trillion invested in rebuilding our national infrastructure and putting Americans back to work.

Don't even get me started on the gibbering imbeciles preaching austerity - typically the same clowns who never met a war spending proposal or a tax cut for the rich they didn't like. That path leads to certain disaster. My plan might not solve all our problems, but at least we'll have something tangible for our money.

UPDATE: Calculated Risk, one of the best economics blogs out there, juxtaposes columns from Professor Paul Krugman and Professional Charlatan Alan Greenspan. Greenspan, who has been reliably wrong about everything for over thirty years and is one of the three people most responsible for the economic disaster in America, is of course preaching austerity. Of course the WSJ Op-Ed pages have never been fit to so much as line a bird cage or pick up your dog's poop with, so it is no surprise they would give him a soapbox. Greenspan should be pilloried and pelted with rotten produce for what he's done, yet he has no shame.

The Krugman column deserves your full read.

And because I can, here are some otters to cleanse the palate (h/t Naked Capitalism):

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Biking Rules!, Brooklyn Greenway and more at CGNA 6/14

For our last regular Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association meeting before the summer break we're covering a hot topic: bicycles.

As NYC has embraced more complete streets and livable streets initiatives, biking has made a comeback and is on the rise throughout the five boroughs. This welcome resurgence has not been without some friction: many people (drivers, bikers, pedestrians) are not aware of the rules of the road. When I was campaigning last year I recognized a lot of confusion (and occasional resentment) as the City took greater steps to share our streets among users. More than anything, people could use a primer on just what the rules are.

Are bikes allowed to ride on the sidewalk? (No!)
Are bikes allowed to ride in the street? (Yes!)
Can I double park my car in this bike lane? (No!)
How can I get a bike rack installed at X location?

On Monday night we'll have a representative from Transportation Alternatives on hand to talk about Biking Rules!, their educational program to educate all users, particularly cyclists, on the rules of the road.

And while we're talking about biking, we'll have a representative from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative to talk about the latest developments with the Greenway, a locally created, now federally funded (thanks Congresswoman Velazquez!) 14-mile bike and pedestrian facility for the Brooklyn waterfront.

We may also have a representative from DOT to talk about the new bike lanes you may have noticed in the neighborhood and now along Prospect Park West.

All told, lots of good stuff on bikes. And I get to chair the meeting this month, while our President Maria Pagano recuperates from ankle surgery. Jeff Gillooly was worth every penny! In all seriousness, wish Maria a very swift recovery - we need her back on her feet soon with all that's going on in Carroll Gardens.

CGNA General Meeting
Monday, June 14, 2010
Hannah Senesh Community Day School
342 Smith St between First and Second Places

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Late Reminder: Gowanus Canal Session TONIGHT

May 11, 2010
7:00 - 9:00pm
PS 32, 317 Hoyt Street (at Union)

Katia has more details posted at Pardon Me For Asking.

Carroll Street Station Armed Muggings

Wow. Two women were mugged at the Carroll Street subway station on the Coney Island-bound platform during last Friday's morning rush hour, the Brooklyn Paper reports.

I have a call in to the MTA for more information and will post more information when I have it.

Apparently the police have a perp description, but in the meantime please be aware of your surroundings.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2nd Annual PS 58 PTA Flea Market, SATURDAY 4/24

The 2nd Annual PS 58 PTA Flea Market
Saturday April 24th, 10-4, no rain date
PS 58 Schoolyard, Carroll at Smith

Even bigger than last year- more vendors, more food and more fun!

All vendor proceeds and donations go to the school. Stop by!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Hook Mercado

Oh yes. Mia and I will definitely be checking this out. I really miss the old atmosphere at the Red Hook Ballfields food vendors. The Parks Department did us all a serious disservice by forcing the vendors into trucks.
A seasonal outdoor weekend market will open on Van Brunt Street, the main drag of Brooklyn’s once-barren Red Hook neighborhood. Called Red Hook Mercado, for the Spanish word for market, it will include the open-air cooking of some of the vendors who cater to the weekend crowds at the Red Hook ball fields, as well as other well-known food vendors.

Thanks to Barbara Brookhart for passing this on.

9th Street Bridge Overnight Closure May 6-7

From CB6 District Manager Craig Hammerman:

Please be advised of the following upcoming planned bridge closure...

9th Street Bridge Over Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

The NYC Department of Transportation Division of Bridges will fully close the 9th Street Bridge over the Gowanus Canal on Thursday, May 6, 2010 from 11pm until Friday, May 7, 2010 at 5am.

This closure is necessary to adjust counter weights and repair the lock system. Due to the full bridge closure traffic will be detoured to the Hamilton Avenue Bridges.

Additional information available by clicking here, or at the following link:

YES! Espada Slush Operation Raided By FBI, IRS

Fare Hike Four member and Senate turncoat cum Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada may finally face justice. In a state with no shortage of seedy political actors, Pedro Espada may be the sleaziest of them all. He is an out and out scumbag, thief, liar, and worse.

Espada conspired with Hiram Monserrate to swing control of the Senate to the Republicans, and ultimately extorted his current leadership position. He conspired with Monserrate, Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz (each of whom have primary challengers I'm supporting this year) and Senate Republicans to block sustainable transit funding last year. He is directly responsible for the upcoming bus service cuts in Brooklyn.

Espada claims to represent a Bronx district, but in reality lives in a fancy house in Westchester. Perhaps that's why he has shown little sympathy for the needs of working New Yorkers: he lives in the suburbs! And for many years Espada has been operating a crony and family controlled slush fund in the form of Soundview Healthcare Network, which he has bled millions in public funding.

I am excited beyond words that Espada, a public menace, might finally be brought to justice. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's actions yesterday and the raids by federal agents this morning give me a renewed sense of hope.

FBI, IRS raid state Sen. Pedro Espada's Bronx clinic

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park Meeting Tomorrow 4/21

Via Cobble Hill Association:


Regina Myer, President of the BBP Development Corporation, will be coming to discuss the transfer of the park to the city and update the community on development plans and activities for Pier 6.

6:30 PM

We encourage residents to attend this meeting and ask questions about this transfer, the continuing lack of community input on park elements and design (particularly the recreational facilities for which our association has long advocated), the extraordinary costs to build and maintain this park, and the continuing endorsement by the Mayor of private housing inside park borders.
Posted by Dave 'Paco' Abraham at 4/20/2010 01:01:00 PM

Monday, April 19, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Rehab Is Coming

Most people are blissfully unaware that a major rehab of the Brooklyn Bridge is coming up. The bridge is due to have it's lead paint blasted off in specially designed vacuum enclosures, and then to get a jaunty fresh coat of paint.

I'll have more on the Brooklyn Bridge rehab later - I have an independent report that I've been meaning to post about for oh, about a year. Interesting stuff.


City Charter Revision - Brooklyn Meeting Tuesday 4/20

Is it just me or has this gotten next to zero publicity? I consume a lot of news, and this would have slipped right by me if fellow CGNA board members hadn't emailed about it.

This is a big deal; it's not every day that the City Charter is revised. Details below:

Tuesday, April 20

• Place: St. Francis College, Founders Hall, 180 Remsen Street (between Court and Clinton Streets), Brooklyn, NY 11201-4398
• Time: Public Hearing to begin at 4 p.m., Public Meeting to begin at 6 p.m.
• Directions: By subway, take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Borough Hall, or A or C to Jay Street or R to Court Street. By bus, take the B25, B26, B38, B41, B51, or B52 to Court Street, or B37, B45 or B75 to Livingston Street or B54, B57, B61 or B67 to Jay Street or B103 to Adams Street.

The meetings and hearings are open to the public and anyone may sign-up to speak during the hearing segment of the evening. Individuals who wish to give testimony may begin signing-up one half-hour before the hearing. Everyone wishing to speak will be afforded an opportunity no matter what time they arrive during the hearing. Written testimony is encouraged and can be submitted at the hearings or submitted through the Contact the Commission link on the Commission’s website at www.nyc.gov/charter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brooklyn Greenway - Red Hook Workshop TONIGHT

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is one of my favorite organizations in our fair borough. Against the odds, local activists formed a nonprofit to advocate for a 14-mile continuous Greenway to connect Brooklyn communities from Greenpoint to Sunset Park to our waterfront and parks. BGI's efforts have paid off big, and the Greenway momentum is gaining steam: thanks primarily to Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, more than $20 million of Federal funding has been secured for the project. NYC DOT has agreed to build the greenway - and now YOU have a chance to put in your two cents.

Workshop: Red Hook (CB6)
Tuesday, April 13th
Red Hook Recreation Center
155 Bay Street

RSVP to brooklynwaterfrontgreenway@dot.nyc.gov.

CBID Honors South Brooklyn Coalition

The Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats had their Annual Awards Dinner this past Sunday night. Among the honorees was a confederation of community activists that spanned several neighborhood civic organizations (dubbed the South Brooklyn Coalition for the sake of brevity) who united to support Superfund designation for the Gowanus Canal. Katia has the summary, pics, and video.

The dashing fellow in the blue shirt? That's me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Earth Hour; Lights Out March 27th

From our esteemed colleague Paco at the Cobble Hill Association:
On March 27th, from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, a world wide event will take place called Earth Hour. It is a simple yet bold way to acknowledge climate change: turn off your lights. In 2009, nearly one billion people in 4,100 cities in 87 countries in each of the seven continents turned off their lights to observe Earth Hour.
And the best part is it won't cost you a cent.


The Intersection of Luxe & Fail

The once mighty Boymelgreen empire continues to crumble. Boymelgreen's bank LibertyPointe last week became the first New York Bank to fail in 11 years; a win by a nose, as the FDIC devoured another NY institution, Park Avenue Bank, the very next day. Unlike Park Avenue, however, LibertyPointe's failure was not immediately followed by criminal indictments. So they've got that going for them.

Boymelgreen is perhaps best known in Brooklyn for foisting the NOvo on 4th Avenue, as well as developingt 75 Smith (aka Luxe & Pop, across from the jail), and the ill-fated Gowanus Village concept that was never developed. A good thing, actually, since the Gowanus Village site will almost certainly require significant remediation during the Superfund process.

Boymelfail Link

Park Avenue Bank

Full Schedule Tonight - CGNA, Hate Crime Vigil

We'll be shutting down the CGNA meeting early tonight to stand with our electeds and community leaders to send the message that Carroll Gardens will not accept hateful intolerance.


CGNA Monthly Meeting, 7:00 @ Hannah Senesh Day School

followed by

Hate Crime Vigil, 8:30 @ Luquer Street and Hamilton Avenue

From the Brooklyn Pride Center:

As you may know, a member of Brooklyn's LGBT community was recently assaulted in Carroll Gardens by a group of men shouting hateful, homophobic epithets. There will be a rally on Monday, 3/15 at 8:30pm. Join us and send the message that hate crimes against LGBT people or any other group will not be tolerated.

Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City
The Brooklyn Community Pride Center


Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
Congressmember Nydia Velazquez
Congressmember Yvette Clarke
State Senator Daniel Squadron
Assemblymember Joan Millman
NYC Councilmember Brad Lander
NYC Councilmember Sara Gonzalez
NYC Councilmember Rosie Mendez
NYC Councilmember Danny Dromm
NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

In a vigil to condemn these hateful acts and demonstrate the strength and unity of our community on

Monday, March 15, at 8:30 p.m. at Luquer Street and Hamilton Avenue

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scarano Banned; Good People Everywhere Rejoice

The NYT reports (via Brownstoner) that Robert Scarano, Architect and posterboy for everything that is wrong with self-certication, has been banned from filing construction plans with DOB.

Scarano of course is best known to Carroll Gardeners as the scurrilous fiend responsible for 333 Carroll Street (aka The Carroll Gardens Hell Building), the Satori (aka The Gowanus Bunker), and for the original Heavy Metal design of 360 Smith. Reviled by contextual development afficinados, people of good taste, and those who believe in complying with our building laws, Scarano was specifically targeted by then-Councilman Bill deBlasio for his flagrant, repeated and unrepentant abuse of the zoning code.

Scarano could conceivably be described as an honorary founding member of CORD, as his 360 Smith design proved to be a rallying point that the group coalesced to oppose. (I kid, I kid . . . sort of.)

His comeuppance was long past due.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Future of 4th Avenue Forum - March 4

The Park Slope Civic Council is hosting a forum on the Future of 4th Avenue this Thursday night. The event is being coordinated by PSCC Livable Streets Chair and transit guru Michael Cairl, and will focus on a vision for the future of this key Brooklyn artery. The forum goes beyond Park Slope/Gowanus to include Sunset Park and look at the broader picture presented by this key piece of connective infrastructure.

As Cairl says, this will be the beginning of a conversation about the future of 4th Ave. There is a tremendous potential here, but the corridor is currently facing a number of issues, from traffic to streetscape to zoning. The most recent (and controversial) rezoning, for example, has had the paradoxical consequence of creating dead spaces on the street where new residential towers have gone up, due to ground level parking and mechanicals.

And given that 4th Avenue features excellent subway access, these structures point up the absurdity of requiring onsite parking construction in new buildings. City Planning currently forces developers to suburbanize New York - a practice that must end.

This should be an excellent forum.

The Future of 4th Avenue
Thuresday, March 4, 2010, 7-9pm
St. Thomas Aquinas Church @ 4th Ave and Ninth St.


Gowanus Superfunded

Via Pardon Me For Asking, some good news for the polluted Gowanus Canal.

I saw the rumor this morning via the Courier and had my fingers crossed. My view has always been this was the only possible outcome from the moment DEC made the request to EPA to list the Gowanus Canal.

Opponents of Superfund were laboring under the illusion that Superfund designation would leave a cloud over the Gowanus . . . when in reality Superfund cleanup was the only way to clear the air once the referral was made. The die was cast when DEC had the integrity to make the request; Gowanus and Superfund would be discussed in the same breath thousands of times over the ensuing months. But the designation only acknowledges the underlying issue: the Gowanus Canal is heavily polluted. We could bury our heads in the muck like (soon to be) mutant ostrich, or face the issue head on.

Now let's get about the process of cleaning up.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Cobble Hill Association Happy Hour

What the title says - CHA happy hour this week:

When: Wednesday March 3, 6-9pm
Where: Watty & Meg, corner of Court and Kane Streets

No word on whether Norah Jones will be there to take questions about window treatments.

Squadron Steps Up: Carroll Gardens Courtyards Must Be Protected

Hats off to Senator Dan Squadron, for recognizing how important it is to preserve the courtyards that are the signature of Carroll Gardens.

Pardon Me For Asking has the statement - forgive the formatting, I'm having some technical difficulties.


Monday, February 8, 2010

F Train Weekend Shuttle Schedule - Mark Your Calendars!

Given the scope of the work that is being done on the Culver Viaduct (the elevated tracks between Carroll Street station and the 4th Avenue Station), 7 weekends in 2010 is not that bad. The bad news? Two of those weekends are right around the corner. The good news? I'll be out of town for one of them. :) (below from MTA via Senator Squadron's office)

Below, please find the weekends in 2010 when MTA NYC Transit will need to suspend F and G service between Jay Street and Church Avenue, due to the ongoing Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project. There will be more weekends in 2011, which I will be able to give you specific dates for later this year.
A shuttle bus will replace F G service between Jay Street and Church Avenue and will operate both local and express. Hours of operation for each weekend are 12:01 a.m. Saturdays through 5:00 a.m. Mondays.

February 20-22
February 27-March 1
May 8-10
May 15-17
May 22-24
November 13-15
November 20-22

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Signal Timing at Atlantic and Court Street Intersection

This should improve pedestrian safety at this busy intersection. From NYCDOT:

Please be advised that yesterday, January 28th, NYCDOT changed the
signal timing at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street.
The new signal phasing replaces the former "lagging" westbound left turn
phase (which followed the east-west phase on Atlantic Avenue), with a
"leading" westbound left turn phase, (which precedes the east-west phase
on Atlantic Avenue) . During this leading phase, westbound through
movements have a green light as well. A leading pedestrian interval
(LPI) across Atlantic Avenue is also provided to minimize conflicts
between crossing pedestrian and vehicles turning from Court Street to
Atlantic Avenue.

We believe these changes will make the intersection more legible to
pedestrians and promote their safety. We would be interested to hear
any feedback you receive on these changes.