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.

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See ya around the neighb,

Jon Hanrahan
Author, e&c