A Quick Note

East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter

Just a quick note from me before you get on with your Tuesday.

I am currently in the midst of a small pile-up of projects at my ~day job~, causing me to have very little time to devote to this particular project. I have to take a break from this here newsletter for a moment, but I’ll be back soon.

e&c

Diner for sale; schools over-crowded; new homeowner protection bill; pictures of poop plant

East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter | No. 47

What’s up in Greenpoint?

Local diner for sale: “The classic neighborhood diner Manhattan Three Decker (695 Manhattan Ave.) has been listed for sale. No closing date for the restaurant has been announced (Greenpointers is in the process of reaching out to the owners), but the writing is certainly on the wall for Three Decker fans to relive their memories while the diner still graces the corner of Manhattan and Norman Avenues in its current incarnation.” (Greenpointers)

State rep. proposes protections for homeowners near new development: Greenpoint’s representative in the state Assembly, Joe Lentol, introduced three bills last week meant to protect homeowners and their properties from nearby construction activity. “These safeguards are necessary to ensure that small homeowners are not stuck with a bill or a headache due to negligence from adjacent construction sites,” Lentol said in a press release, adding that the legislation comes in response to a “high volume” of complaints from within his district, which also includes parts of Williamsburg, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. One bill would require that applicants for construction licenses provide proof of a complete “commercial general liability insurance policy.” Another would require that developers establish and fund escrow accounts — with funding proportional to the number of properties neighboring a proposed building site — to cover legal fees and costs of damage to neighboring properties. A third would prevent developers from “self-certification” in a number of contexts.

A look at on-going problems with school over-crowding in Greenpoint: “Despite statistics from the Department of Education (DOE) that depict a large swath of northern Brooklyn as under capacity, Greenpoint’s Pre-K and elementary schools are filled to the brim, parents and elected officials say. Local parents argue that overcrowding affects not just children applying for pre-school, but currently enrolled students. And the ongoing development of luxury condo buildings in the neighborhood combined with the delayed construction of a K-8 school only exacerbate existing concerns.” (Greenpointers’ Ben Weiss)

Fight for protections for West Street bike lane continues: “A group of advocates — including bike store owners, Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York — sent a letter this month to the city's transportation and construction officials asking that they fix a West Street path that has become unusable for the walkers and riders it was designed for. The 1.2-mile lane, part of a plan to build 14 miles of "greenway" along the Brooklyn waterfront, is almost always filled with illegally parked cars because its only barrier is a short, often flat, curb that drivers can easily run over, advocates said.” (Patch’s Anna Quinn)

Look at these pictures of the ol’ neighborhood waste treatment facility: “On a crisp fall morning, I showered, brushed my teeth, and sent all that used water down the drain. Half an hour later, I was on the subway, following my wastewater to its next destination: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The plant treats wastewater from more than 1 million people on the east side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. It’s the largest of New York City’s 14 wastewater facilities, and features pairs of giant silver “digester eggs” that glisten in the sunlight. The plant only opens to the public a few times per year – I visited as part of Open House New York, a weekend-long event that grants entry to closed-off sites throughout the city.” (Business Insider’s Aria Bendix)

Thus concludes this October 29, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the twice-weekly newsletter about Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read the full archives here.

If you like what you’re reading, do this newsletter a solid and share it with a friend.

If you don’t like what you’re reading — or if you have any comments or questions — send an email to eastandcreek@substack.com.

See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c

Bill Murray tours the creek; library opening delayed; early voting tomorrow; Naplatarski launches campaign

Also, clean-up work complete at "Greenpoint Marina"

East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter | No. 46

What’s up in Greenpoint?

— environment — 

Bill Murray and Jimmy Kimmel went on a canoe tour of Newtown Creek this week, and learned a thing or two about combined sewer overflow. (Really.) The bits honestly aren’t that fresh, but the message about environmental stewardship is first-rate.

[NOTE: The original version of this newsletter said that it was Jimmy Fallon who had toured the creek. It was Jimmy Kimmel. e&c regrets the silly, sill error. Jimmies, forgive e&c.]

Now as far as far as “news,” the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation announced this week that a voluntary brownfield clean-up had completed at the waterfront site known as “Greenpoint Marina.” The remediation work, which began earlier this year, targeted groundwater, soil, and soil vapor contaminants including petroleum products, heavy metals, and other multisyllabic pollutants.

Left untouched by the environmental work was a former coal silo on the site — known to most locals as some variation on “That Skull Thing.”

Some history from the DEC: “The Site was previously used as a shipyard beginning in 1887, a machine shop between 1905 and 1916, milling between 1922 and 2005, and coal storage in 1965. It was previously occupied by five separate buildings which were destroyed by fire in 2006.”

The site is owned by Pearl Realty, which owns other pieces of the former Greenpoint Terminal. No permits for future development at “Greenpoint Marina” have been filed yet with the Dept. of Buildings.

— politics —

Early voting begins on Saturday for this year’s November 5 election. (Which, yes, there is an election coming up and, also, yes, we have early voting now.) Most Greenpointers can vote early at 195 Graham Ave in Williamsburg — though you can check here, via the city’s Board of Elections, just to be sure. Ballots will include the general election for Public Advocate, several judicial elections, and five extremely text-heavy proposed changes to the city’s charter.

This newsletter recommends saving at least a minute or two for quiet study and contemplation before making the trip down to your polling location.

And onto the 2020 elections! Kristina Naplatarski, a Greenpoint native and staffer for councilmember Antonio Reynoso, launched her candidacy on Wednesday for the female district leader position within Brooklyn’s 50th assembly district. The volunteer role within the Brooklyn Democratic Party is, importantly, not a position in government; it has been held by Linda Minucci since 1984.

The first-time candidate described several key issues for her campaign, including housing costs, gentrification, development, environmental injustice, congestion, and the need for more parks. Naplatarski also provided some biographical details: avid, trained boxer, raised by a teacher-and-community-activist mother and a Bulgarian-immigrant-and-unionized-ironworker father in Greenpoint. She also decried Minucci’s “no-show” reputation, to applause.

And on Tuesday, New York State Assembly member Joe Lentol kicked off his re-election campaign, ahead of his first contest primary in nearly a decade. Emily Gallagher announced her candidacy last month.

— etc —

The late fees are going to be tremendous: “The completion date of the new Greenpoint Library has once again been pushed back due to construction delays and is now expected to open early in the new year. The new $20.8 million library’s original anticipated completion date was December 2018, but due unforeseen construction issues, it has been continuously pushed back further and further — first to summer 2019, then to fall 2019 and now to early 2020.” (Greenpoint Post’s Allie Griffin)

Scary stuff: “An annual horror film festival kicks off in Greenpoint Thursday that features eight days of more than 60 movie screenings, talks and events. FEARnyc will run from Oct. 24 through Halloween, Oct. 31 at Film Noir Cinema, located at 22 Meserole Ave.” (Greenpoint Post’s Allie Griffin)

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - “Normal” slow-down service.

Thus concludes this October 25, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the twice-weekly newsletter about Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read the full archives here.

If you like what you’re reading, do this newsletter a solid and share it with a friend.

If you don’t like what you’re reading — or if you have any comments or questions — send an email to eastandcreek@substack.com.

See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c

A Brief News Round-Up for a Cloudy Tuesday Morning

East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter | No. 45

What’s up in Greenpoint?

Not too much, apparently!

A new plant shop emerges from its plant truck chrysalis: In the newly opened Arid Room at Tula Plant and Design (59 Meserole Ave), rare cacti and succulents suck up the abundant sunlight from the south-facing windows. The expansion of the plant shop is a natural progression for owners Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez who started selling plants from a Tula-branded truck in 2016, before preparing and opening their Greenpoint retail space while having their first baby a few years later. (Greenpointers)

Greenpoint residents interested in their new library, set to open later this year, may want to attend a meeting of the Greenpoint Library Community Advisory Committee Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Anella. And Newtown Creek–area residents interested in the health of their creek may want to pencil in a meeting next Wednesday of the Newtown Creek Superfund Site Community Advisory Group.

And finally, DOB records show that the owners of a one-story parking building at 217 Franklin St. plan to replace the existing structure with a six-story residential building.

Meanwhile in New York City…

New York City has only ever had men as mayors. Could that change in 2021?: “As the top tier of 2021 New York City mayoral candidates begins to solidify – among them two borough presidents, the New York City comptroller and City Council speaker – one commonality is obvious: They’re all men.” (City and State’s Emma Whitford)

MTA to find the money for 500 new cops — but won’t have to scrimp for body cameras: “The city completed its rollout of body cameras on all uniformed patrol officers earlier this year, but hundreds of new cops deployed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop fare evasion and homelessness in the city's subway system will not be required to wear the devices.” (Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz)

Bernie spoke at 2020’s largest rally last weekend in Queensbridge Park. His campaign dropped the ball on outreach to Queensbridge residents:As Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his supporters flocked to Queensbridge Park for a campaign rally Saturday, residents who live across the street in Queensbridge Houses — the nation's largest public housing project — were in their monthly tenant association meeting. No one had told them about the Sanders rally, they said. April Simpson, president of the Queensbridge Tenants Association, said she got a call from the Sanders campaign only the day before to inform her about the rally and ask if she was attending.” (Patch’s Maya Kaufman)

Which one of you did this: A G train suffered a minor delay in Brooklyn on Sunday evening when a young man dropped his skateboard onto the track bed. The skateboard tripped the northbound G train’s emergency brakes at the Bedford-Nostrand stop in Bedford-Stuyvesant at around 8:50 p.m. It took five minutes for MTA workers and the train crew to recover the board and get the train moving again. The skateboard was returned to its owner broken in two. ‘Sorry, guys,’ the board’s owner told a car full of frustrated passengers.” (Daily News’ Clayton Guse)

Thus concludes this October 22, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the twice-weekly newsletter about Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read the full archives here.

If you like what you’re reading, do this newsletter a solid and share it with a friend.

If you don’t like what you’re reading — or if you have any comments or questions — send an email to eastandcreek@substack.com.

See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c

Local residents and pols call on Blaz and Cuomo to block development at 40 Quay

Forgive the late, late evening edition!

East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter | No. 44
The MTA’s property at 40 Quay St., in orange. Bushwick Inlet Park — or, what will eventually become Bushwick Inlet Park — in green. (image by e&c)

A cash-strapped MTA’s plan to raise funds by leasing its property at 40 Quay St. in Greenpoint for development faces opposition from some local residents and politicians, who hope to see the spot incorporated into Bushwick Inlet Park — rather built into a waterfront residential tower.

Several local residents, along with Assembly member Joe Lentol and representatives from the offices of State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Council member Stephen Levin, made their case to MTA chairman Pat Foye in a meeting on September 9. The transit leader was receptive to the pitch for park-use instead of housing at 40 Quay St. but insisted that his agency still needed a revenue-earning use for the property, according to two people who attended this meeting.

In a letter sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday, Lentol, Levin, Kavanagh, and U.S. Congressperson Carolyn Maloney called upon the mayor to consider “having the City purchase or otherwise acquire the land from the State.” And in a phone interview with e&c on Friday, Lentol said that he had spoken with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the matter.

“I think the governor and the mayor have to be convinced that it's in their best interests as well as the community's to do this,” Lentol told e&c. “We need more park land,” he said, adding, “What we don’t need is really another tower on the other end of the Bushwick Inlet Park.”

The long-time Greenpoint rep emphasized that a new source of revenue, like a millionaire’s tax or a capital gains tax, would provide a better fix to the MTA’s serious financial troubles, calling the agency’s real estate solution “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

“Even if we make a little bit of money, it’s not a stream of revenue that the MTA needs in order to make the subway system whole again. We’re going to need a lot more money than that,” Lentol said on Friday.

Emily Gallgher, who is challenging Lentol in the 2020 Democratic primary, echoed this point on Twitter on Thursday, writing, “There are so many ways the MTA is flagrantly misspending that a one time cash injection won’t fix.”

The MTA currently maintains a “mobile wash unit” at 40 Quay St. During the summer, the agency issued an RFP, saying that the upzoned waterfront site “presents a significant opportunity to develop a large mixed-use project.” Proposals were due to be submitted by an extended deadline of Sept. 9. Earlier this month, an MTA spokesperson told e&c that the agency typically takes up to six months to consider proposals for a project of this magnitude.

What else is up in Greenpoint?

She’s a RuPaul alum, and she’s a Greenpointer: “Have you ever heard a strain of violin music in the night air while walking through the streets of Greenpoint? Yeah, that's probably Thorgy Thor. . . Patch spoke with this extravaganza of a drag star about making music in Greenpoint as part of our Local Legends series, where people who make New York City great discuss the neighborhoods they call home.” (Patch’s Kathleen Culliton)

A nor’easter blew through the area on Wednesday, causing all sorts of trouble in Greenpoint — including a deluge of CSO into Newtown Creek and the East River and pooling on India St., near the Greenpoint ferry landing:

India Street is "pooling" with tonight's stormy weather. 📷: @mfpage
October 17, 2019

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - “Normal” slow-down service.

Thus concludes this October 18, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the twice-weekly newsletter about Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read the full archives here.

If you like what you’re reading, do this newsletter a solid and share it with a friend.

If you don’t like what you’re reading — or if you have any comments or questions — send an email to eastandcreek@substack.com.

See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c

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