NuHart site up for auction

It’s Friday the 13th, the site of a former plastics factory on Dupont St and Franklin St is up for auction, and this is the September 13, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter. What could possibly go wrong.

NuHart may get a NuStart this fall.

The NuHart site, in a New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation map.

Ten parcels of Greenpoint land, zoned for dense housing and notorious among some locals for the toxic remnants of its manufacturing past, may change hands following a “mezzanine [loan] foreclosure auction” scheduled for October 3, adding yet another possible impediment to eventual remediation and development at the contested site.

The property requires excavation, backfill and vapor mitigation before any construction can begin. Its owner — on paper, “Dupont Street Developers LLC” — has faced litigation from several parties, including several suits relating to at least $1.8 million in debt to contractors and tax lien holders, according to court documents. A recent article published by Bedford + Bowery explains Dupont Street Developers’ legal woes. Dupont Street Developers did not respond to e&c’s response for comment.

In March, the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published a “record of decision” concerning the site, an essential step that precedes remediation. The agency is aware of the scheduled auction, a DEC official told e&c in an email on Thursday, adding, “DEC will work to execute a legal agreement with any new purchaser to begin the process of preparing the remedial design and performing the cleanup.”

[h/t Greenpointers’ Aaron Simon]

What else is going on in Greenpoint?

Turmoil at one prominent local employer: “On Thursday morning, Kickstarter fired Taylor Moore, an employee who was one of the organizers of a unionization effort within the company. This was the second firing of a union organizer since last week, when Clarissa Redwine was also fired. . . Both had been heavily involved in the union effort since it began earlier this year. Moore and Redwine, according to four sources who work at the company, were both fired for what management alleged were performance-related issues.” (Slate’s April Glaser)

“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.” (Greenpointers)

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - No service between Broadway Junction and 8th Ave.


Thus concludes this September 13, 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

Cookies For The Haters

ciasteczka

Good morning to readers old and new, and welcome to this September 10, 2019 edition of East & Creek. The weather this morning is spooky, the sun has less and less to say every day, and 41 of the city’s elected positions will be vacant in 2021. That’s right — it’s primary season.

Victoria Cambranes launches 2021 bid for city council

Victoria Cambranes, a Greenpoint native running for city council, offers cookies to a group of protesters at her campaign launch on Sunday. [photo provided to e&c by Victoria Cambranes]

Victoria Cambranes, a Greenpoint native, DSA member, and local activist, will make her second run for the New York City Council in Brooklyn’s 33rd district in 2021, she announced on Sunday.

She will run to replace Stephen Levin, who was first elected to the council in 2009 and is term-limited in 2021. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that hundreds of New Yorkers are expected to run for municipal office in the coming years, enabled by term limits and emboldened by new, generous public financing for political candidates. Cambranes expects to face several challengers in 2021. Ben Solotaire, a community organizer in Levin’s office, has filed paper work with the Board of Elections for a potential run for his boss’s seat; he declined to comment to e&c.

In an interview with e&c on Wednesday, Cambranes said that she hopes to run as a member of an informal slate of progressive candidates, particularly those running to represent parts of Brooklyn that have seen recent real estate development. As Cambranes explained to e&c — and later elaborated in a speech on Sunday — she is running to encourage what she calls “considerate development” in the city. Skeptical of real estate and concerned about recent rezonings, including in North Brooklyn in 2006, Cambranes said she would roll back subsidies for private development and offer “zero votes” in support of “luxury towers” along Brooklyn’s waterfront. “There’s literally no space for any more of that,” she told e&c.

Instead, Cambranes hopes to preserve Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) within her district, as well as mom-n-pop commercial entities and small homeowners. And as for preserving and expanding New York City’s stock of affordable housing, Cambranes intends to ensure that NYCHA stays in public hands and encourage cooperative housing, community land trusts, share-to-buy public housing and other similar programs.

As it was during her first run for council in 2017, public safety — and, particularly, street safety — is a priority for Cambranes. Community policing and sensitivity training are key, Cambranes told e&c, to ensuring that the NYPD polices “human crime” (e.g. sexual assault) just as it does property crime.

Cambranes is keenly aware that the district she hopes to represent stretches from Newtown Creek to the northern tip of the Gowanus Canal — that is, from one federal superfund site to another. In outlining a vision for a sustainable New York, she again emphasizes the need for “considerate development,” offering as an example the danger of overwhelmed sewers possible following a rezoning and redevelopment of Gowanus. On Sunday, she told likely supporters that she would support New York’s environment through a councilmember’s power over land-use decisions, budgeting and oversight over city departments like Sanitation and Transportation.

On Sunday, while explaining the public safety plank of her platform, Cambranes said, “We, as New Yorkers, need to show that we do not stand for hate; we do not stand for anti-semitism and bigotry; and we will stand up for it and put our bodies on the line. That is what it takes in today’s politics, in today’s America.” It was a direct reference to the small group gathered outside the venue, bearing signs and Polish flags, and chanting, “Say no to Victoria Cambranes.”

Cambranes, who is the daughter of a Polish immigrant, is reviled by members of the Polish diaspora living in and around New York City for her involvement in efforts to deplatform Holocaust revisionists and one far-right politician scheduled to speak in Greenpoint. “Victoria stop lying about Polish people,” one of their signs read. Some signs, reviewed in images sent to e&c by two people who attended the event, included anti-Semitic revisions of Polish history. Earlier on Sunday, some members of the group of protesters had demonstrated against “anti-Polish” policies at the Israeli consulate in Manhattan.

Cambranes interacted with the protesters briefly, offering them cookies and water. Later, she told e&c, she invited them in Polish to her next fundraiser, at which point they packed up and left.

What else is up in Greenpoint?

“Additional L train closures will affect Brooklyn commuters this coming weekend, the MTA announced on Wednesday. The L train will not run between 8th Avenue in Manhattan and Broadway Junction in Brooklyn from around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 through the weekend. The L train will resume service at 5 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16.” (Greenpoint Post’s Ryanne Salzano)

Queer Eye in Northside: “‘Wait. Oh, my God. Okay. Wait. This is it. This is IT.’ Antoni Porowski crouches on the dusty floor of Krajan Polish Deli, in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, before a yard-long shelf display of mayonnaise.” (Taste’s Anna Hazel)

Ya got something to say? Say it. Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 meets tonight at 6 p.m. at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center.


Thus concludes this September 10, 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

There Oughta Be A Law

Good morning! Whether or not it’s actually literally officially fall — it’s fall. Put on a sweater and take a gander at this here September 6, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter.

What’s up in Greenpoint?

Locals made up for lost time during a lengthy meeting on Wednesday of the NYPD 94th Precinct’s Community Council, the first such meeting in three months. The dozens of residents gathered in the basement of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Greenpoint heard complaints relating to off-leash dogs in McCarren Park and un-helmeted Revel riders, as well as allegations of miscommunication within the local precinct over an individual violating a court-issued order of protection last month.

Christopher Boissard, a convicted sex offender prohibited by court order from entering significant portions of Greenpoint, was spotted in the neighborhood in August, according to postings from local residents on social media.

Just as soon as locals described Boissard violating the order of protection, they reported hitting a brick wall: officers within the 94th Precinct, under the mistaken impression that third parties cannot report protection order violations, initially weren’t addressing the matter.

Boissard has since been arrested and indicted; a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney told e&c that Boissard had been charged with criminal contempt.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Greenpointer and victims’ advocate Deborah Spiroff welcomed the NYPD’s claim that the precinct had re-trained its officers in response to the confusion, and condemned what she characterized as a mishandling of the situation: “What it took to get here was unacceptable.”

Other issues raised Wednesday by community members included loitering near Huron Street Senior Housing, reckless driving by construction and film industry truck drivers, and safety surrounding construction work at the Greenpoint Ave subway stop.

Though those gathered came with their respective bones to pick, NYPD’s Glynn remained sanguine, reporting that crime within the precinct year-to-date was down 15.9 percent over the previous year — 506 felonies so far this year, compared to 602 during the same period last year.

Charges seem unlikely in the July death of a cyclist in Greenpoint; the NYPD said Wednesday that the “unfortunate accident” was “still under investigation.” The NYPD also reported that, overall, collisions year-to-date in the neighborhood were down 12 percent from the same period last year.

And as for other matters:

Mark your calendars for a public meeting of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1, next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center. Preview the agenda here.

It’s a steal: “After an extensive renovation, one of Greenpoint’s humble 19th-century homes—one that was reportedly once owned by a ship’s captain—is now on the market for just under $5 million, making it one of the priciest properties for sale in the neighborhood.” (Curbed’s Amy Plitt)

On Saturday at the Brooklyn Expo Center, “one of the country’s largest regional antiquarian book fairs returns to Greenpoint for its sixth year.” (Greenpoint Post’s Allie Griffin)

Stephen Levin, who represents sections of waterfront Brooklyn ranging from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Heights, “asked Department of Corrections officials about parking, building density and an alternative to demolishing the current Boerum Hill jail during the City Council’s only public hearing on the mayor’s borough-based jail plan Thursday.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s Noah Goldberg)

Meanwhile in New York City…

Rats…

Garbage…

And a tomato.

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - “Normal” slow-down service.


Thus concludes this September 6, 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

In Case You Missed It

cześć jesień

And we’re back! Happy belated Labor Day, and welcome to this September 3, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter. We’ll properly dive into the fall hyper-local news season on Friday; today, let’s catch ourselves up on the past couple weeks.

What’s been up in Greenpoint?

The latest iteration of the Kosciuszko Bridge opened. Planners learned (or did not learn) lessons about bike lane connectivity and induced demand. Assemblymember Joseph Lentol announced funding for the completion of park space under the bridge. Late-night light shows and helicopters woke up several locals, including this newsletter.

Residents and locals pols rallied against the owner of 196 Huron St, who has allegedly delayed repairs and created an inhospitable (and occasionally dangerous) living space, and who is hoping to sell the six-unit building for $3.5 million. (NY1’s Dan Rivoli)

e&c learned that the Dept. of Buildings (DOB) placed a partial stop-work order on construction at 51 Ash St on Aug. 13; the site is expected to eventually include facilities for the North Brooklyn Boat Club. NBBC president Dewey Thompson told e&c:

“Broadway Stages is building the facility that will include our new community boathouse and they had DOB permits to begin but, because of the proximity of the Pulaski Bridge, DOT requested a review of the construction plans.  [Broadway Stages] is hoping to get the results of the review very soon, re-establish the building permit and break ground.”

Broadway Stages, which owns filming studios on Greenpoint’s east side, did not respond to e&c’s request for comment.

New Yorkers began submitting their ideas for the latest round of “participatory budgeting.” A City Council website shows only one idea submitted so far in Greenpoint; submissions are due by Oct. 11.

The North Brooklyn Parks Alliance announced a 5K featuring Greenpoint’s green spaces on Sept. 21. Some of those parks were subject of an excellent Curbed piece on park space development along Newtown Creek. (Curbed’s Nathan Kensinger)

Local blogger Heather Letzkus revived her Greenpoint-centric blog, New York Shitty, documenting an up-close, frustrating experience with the neighborhood’s NYPD precinct. (New York Shitty)

(The 94th Precinct will host its monthly community meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. at St. John’s, on Milton St.)

And finally, yesterday, according to the city government’s proprietary (and highly advanced) predictive models, Too Much Rain caused raw sewage to overflow into Newtown Creek.


Thus concludes this September 3, 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

Kicking Up Dust

szczęśliwych wakacji

Happy Friday! Quick note before this August 16, 2019 edition of East & Creek, the Greenpoint newsletter, kicks off: e&c is taking a real summer break — two weeks! This’ll be the last you’ll see of e&c until September. (Probably.) Anywhoooo,

What’s up in Greenpoint?

Educator and housing activist Peter Harrison announced his candidacy Tuesday for New York’s 12th congressional district, joining Lauren Ashcraft, Erica Vladimer and possibly others in a primary contest against long-time incumbent Carolyn Maloney. Harrison, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), plans to “make real estate money fucking toxic.” (Patch’s Sydney Pereira)

And meanwhile the local chapter of the DSA is actively seeking primary challengers to state legislators in Brooklyn, including local Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. Politico reports: “Lentol, whose district includes Williamsburg and Greenpoint, said he had ‘heard rumors’ of a potential primary challenge. In a statement, he said his record demonstrates a progressive agenda, pointing to his votes in favor of rent law reforms, voting reforms and driver's licenses for immigrants.” (Politico’s Danielle Muoio)

Construction permits for a six-story residential building at 390 Leonard St were granted Thursday by the Dept. of Buildings (DOB), city records show. The proposed development, which will include ten rental units, will be built near the BQE, in an area with several other comparable new developments.

And while we’re on the subject of new construction… last week e&c brought you the results of one freedom-of-information request to the city’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), for inspection reports filed by DEP employees in response to complaints about air quality in Greenpoint. (You can review those reports in this desktop-only [sorry] map.) On Wednesday, local Council Member Stephen Levin introduced city legislation to compel the DOB to regularly publish environmental monitoring data collected at all construction sites in the city.

In a Thursday press release, Levin said, “Nearly half of New York City apartment listings are located within a block of construction, with some of the most construction-dense neighborhoods in North Brooklyn.” His new legislation arose in part from conversations about development-related issues with local residents and environmental groups as well as in-person observations of construction emissions, according to Elizabeth Adams, Levin’s legislative director, who spoke with e&c in a brief phone interview on Thursday.

Environmental data, tracking both noise and air-quality, would be collected by contractors themselves. If passed, this legislation would bring about a new data portal on the DOB’s website — where New Yorkers can already review construction and demolition permits, as well as applications, violations and other documents related to development in the city. The DOB would publish environmental data at regular intervals throughout the year.

Adams also mentioned to e&c legislation previously introduced by Levin, to implement fines for the release of dust, styrofoam and other emissions by contractors or homeowners. Both pieces of legislation are currently in committee.

“There is a long history, especially in Greenpoint, of environmental harm,” Adams told e&c, adding, “We just don’t have enough information” about the environmental effects of recent construction in the area. Adams explained that concerns about particulate emissions from constructions sites — much like complaints about petroleum-like vapors in Greenpoint — merit close monitoring and open, public data.

Meanwhile in New York City…

A flood of lawsuits marked the first days of a window opened by the Child Victims Act, passed this year to allow individuals to sue over sexual abuse that occurred, in some cases, decades ago. (New York Times’ Sharon Otterman)

This year’s updates to New York’s rent regulations included a 20-dollar cap on application fees charged by landlords. Brokers now insist that the limit does not apply to them, highlighting at least one point of ambiguity in an otherwise stringent set of tenant protections. (The City’s Josefa Velasquez)

The city is making the first significant changes to its high school admissions process in more than a decade. But Chalkbeat reports: “It’s unlikely the changes will make the application process less burdensome, as [Mayor] de Blasio suggested. The crux of the admissions system will remain the same, requiring families to invest time and resources into researching and applying for schools in a process that is often difficult to track.” (Chalkbeat’s Christina Veiga and Alex Zimmerman)

A crackdown on homelessness in New York City’s subways is expected this weekend, following complaints from Gov. Cuomo about the issue. (WNYC’s Mirela Iverac)

The Rockaways’ sands are eroding, the community itself is changing, and relief funds aren’t always helping the local residents most in need of assistance. (Citylab’s Laura Bliss)

Your Subway Weekender

G - Normal service.

L - “Normal” slow-down service.


Thus concludes this August 16, 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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