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12 June 2019

Angry residents bash Brooklyn community board for buying $26K SUV [✜]

"We went through established protocol,” [CB1 Board Chair Dealice] Fuller said.

This pretty clearly was not the case, and the Community Board has basically put out all the breadcrumbs to prove that. I expect that this is not over.

Brooklyn tough guy ‘Frenchie’ Ramos dies at age 76 [✜]

Frenchie Ramos, whose gym was at the corner of Marcy and Broadway (looking out on the platform of the Manhattan-bound J/M/Z platform), has passed away.

Sales Trouble at 184 Kent?

Interesting tidbit (I assume about 184 Kent) in a piece on the sale of Paul Manafort’s Soho condo:

“I think there are buyers who wouldn’t buy it or would be less interested because of it,” Harkov says, citing difficulties with selling off a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, property owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Several prospective buyers said they didn’t want to be a party to putting money in the family’s pocket.


An Old Brooklyn Church Seeks New Muscle to Save a Tradition [✜]

Katie Honan on the search for a new generation of paranzas (paranze??) to lift up the Giglio at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel's annual Feast of San Paolino.

5 June 2019

“The Greenpoint” Developer Offers India Street Elevated Walkway for Flooded Ferry Entrance [✜]

What happens if you rezone a neighborhood for thousands of new residents, but don't bother to plan any infrastructure around it?

As I understand it, India Street's catch basins don't tie into the City's sewer system, they never have. And the City doesn't have plans for these hookups for a number of years out. So people who wanted to get to the India Street Pier (and the ferry) were facing years of having to parkour over the plastic barriers to get to the pier. But now the developer of the "The Greenpoint" condominium is addressing the access to India Street via a temporary raised sidewalk while (as they should, even though the lack of infrastructure isn't their doing this is literally their front yard).

24 May 2019

Mayor de Blasio Calls for Probe of Community Board SUV Purchase [✜]

The Council was proud to provide community boards across the city with additional funding for the first time in years so they could better serve their neighborhoods

Presumably CB1 will better serve the community by driving them places.

Brooklyn Community Board Roils Over $26,000 SUV Splurge [✜]

The City (which is killing it in general) exposes CB1's not-so-secret decision to take the car behind door #1.

TL;DR - CB1 decided to use a City Council grant intended to promote community outreach and engagement to buy $26,000 RAV4 SUV.

Henry Miller’s Williamsburg Fantasy

Author Henry Miller spent the first decade of his life living at 662 Driggs Avenue. Geoff Cobb, writing in Greenpointers, recently took a look at an article Miller wrote in 1971 about his childhood home:

Though he had been away for five decades, Miller had a crystal clear memory, recalling many fascinating stories from that vanished world of his childhood.

Actually, Miller’s memory about Williamsburg was pretty shitty. He might have sent Pastor John Wells, a “rather pompous and aristocratic minister one of my first pieces of writing from Paris”, but Wells – who died in 1903 – certainly didn’t get it. Wells’ son, who inherited his father’s pastorate at the South Third Street Presbyterian Church, also wasn’t the recipient (Wells fils died in 1929, a year before Miller went to Paris).

The Wells’ church also never became a synagogue (the congregation exists to this day).

And Miller is certainly confused about where he went to high school – “I decided that I would go to Eastern District High School, which at that time was situated in McCaddin Hall on Berry Street or Wythe AVenue, I forget which. There was an Annex to it Situated on Driggs Avenue and South Third Street, just opposite the old Presbyterian Church”.

Eastern District High School was on Division Avenue back then (the building still stands, and is now a yeshiva). The “annex” that he refers to is probably John D. Wells Elementary School, at South 3rd and Driggs.

For more eloquent reminiscences, Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn yields this snippet about Fillmore Place:

It was the most enchanting street I have ever seen in all my life. It was the ideal street – for a boy, a lover, a maniac, a drunkard, a crook, a lecher, a thug, an astronomer, a musician, a poet, a tailor, a shoemaker, a politician. In fact this is just the sort of street it was, containing just such representative of the human race, each one a world unto himself and all living together harmoniously and inharmoniously, but together, a solid corporation, a close knit human spore which would not disintegrate unless the street itself disintegrated.


3 April 2019

City Hall's $369 Million Riverboat Gamble on Ferries [✜]

From the newly-minted local news site The City - how the City (of New York) got to the point of owning a fleet of ferry boats for its new public-private partnership with Hornblower. From what the article describes, the city's Economic Development Corporation passed over local operators with local experience and their own fleet of boats in favor of an out-of-town outfit that was able to offload the purchase of new boats to the city (not even EDC). It sure sounds like the locals got screwed in the bidding process, too.

1 April 2019

MTA Shuts Down Independent Review Of L Train Unshutdown Plan [✜]

I missed this Gothamist article last week. Despite repeated promises by the head of the MTA ("I have stated a number of times already in this meeting that a third party team will be engaged to report to the board and me, all of us, on what the best path forward is", Fredy Ferrer - January 2019), the MTA is NOT hiring a third-party consultant to review Governor Cuomo's L train tunnel plan. In a Trumpian twist, Ferrer now says that was all fake news, and the third-party consultant was only meant to monitor safety and environmental issues DURING construction ("the consultant was never [meant] to come back to the board with a comparison", Ferrer - March, 2019).

Maybe the consultants first job can be to tell us why all the MTA employees at the Bedford Avenue station are wearing dust masks all the time, but the air is safe to breathe for commuters.