Open Thread Wednesday 1/22/14

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Andrew Porter

    I got up at the unheard of hour (for me) of 7:30am, out the door by 9 and walked to Trader Joe’s. Surprisingly uncrowded despite the lemming-like snow response, which causes an overwhelming urge to stock up on milk, eggs and bread. Home by 10:30, with enough foodstuffs to keep me going over the next several days.

    As I get older, I find I can usually overcome the urge to frolic in snow drifts, knock top hats off passing pedestrians with snowballs…

  • Andrew Porter

    Clark West from Fulton Street, during the Blizzard of 1888…

  • Still Here

    How cold was it, Johnny?
    Does anyone remember the response?
    ‘It was so cold that …….’

  • Alec

    Finally a forum where I can complain about people b$%$ing about the weather. For god sakes its just some snow. I applaud De Blasio for not closing the schools today (though his insistence on raising taxes for pre-k even when the governor says we can do pre-k without raising taxes is another issue). When I went to school here they didn’t close them EVER. The train never shut down, no matter what.
    The wussification of NYC should be alarming to any born-and-bred New Yorker. Where’d your balls go, NYC? Down with the towers? Washed out with Sandy? Man up already.

  • Lady in the Heights

    Amen! I got to midtown in 20 minutes from the Heights today. It’s a little snow, and it’s winter. It’s supposed to be cold. Heard that Brooklyn Heights Synagogue preschool is the only one open in the hood. If I was paying upwards of $10k and was stuck inside today with my 3 year old and lived within walking distance (as most do) I would be super-annoyed.

  • DIBS

    Yes, now he just wants to raise taxes on the wealthy for the sake of raising taxes on the wealthy. His socialism will continue to rear its ugly head.

    You were warned, New Yorkers. this is why many of my left leaning friends did NOT vote for him.

  • GHB

    Alec, it’s not just NYC. Growing up in the Jersey suburbs in the ’60s and ’70s, it was a major event to have a rare snow day off from school. Now, all they have to do is PREDICT snow, and all the closings start scrawling across my TV screen!

  • GHB

    The road conditions in the Heights are horrible this morning. Didn’t the snow stop before midnight? Didn’t hear a single plow.

  • Alec

    Perhaps this is all an unintended byproduct of our litigious “sue everyone” society…

  • Lady in the Heights

    Clark and Hicks were both being plowed at 8:15 am.

  • GHB

    Glad to hear it. I must have missed them by 15 minutes.

  • Still Here

    Saint Ann’s schools and Preschool open today

  • Brixtony

    Brooklyn Friends is also open today. I got to sing with a bunch of 2 year olds this morning. Lots of rosy cheeks.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Ah! Mr. Video III backintheday.

  • Marathoner

    25 Pierrepont looks great with the sidewalk shed removed

  • fff

    OK: Are we not going to discuss that Blue Diamond is gone?

  • David on Middagh

    The late and lamented Mr. Stereogram.

  • Andrew Porter

    Sort of. The Church of the New Jerusalem on the left, and other buildings on the right, all torn down by Robert Moses. In the distance on the left is 100 Clark aka 1 Monroe Place, still there in truncated form today.

  • TeddyNYC

    Yeah, better safe than $orry.

  • Jorale-man

    Have they taken down their signage now? I remember reading here that they were shut down late last year.

  • Arch Stanton

    It was just known as “Mr. Video” back then.

  • MonroeOrange

    OK: Am I the only one who is going to say it….This was a very unhappy ending!

  • BrooklynBugle

    Let’s all give them a hand!

  • Abominable

    Can we discuss some of our neighbors who didn’t shovel? There are a few buildings on Hicks, just north of Love Lane that couldn’t be bothered. And did Housing Works finally shovel?

  • David on Middagh

    I guess they lost their lucky charm…

    But maybe they’ll come back under new management as “Pink Heart”.

  • monty

    Cuomo is lying though. He has no funding lined up. He just doesn’t want to raise taxes before an election.

  • Heights

    How does CVS get away with never shoveling the sidewalk on Love Lane?

  • Brooklynite

    Watched a their walk up behind a man and grab his cell phone right out of his hands while he was on the phone. This happened at around 5:30pm today on the corner of Remsen and Henry. The perp ran east down Remsen with the victim running and while after him. Felt bad for the guy because he was wearing dress shoes and couldn’t run well after him. I was too far away to be able to help. Be aware of your surroundings everyone. I know it is very easy to get distracted while on your phones and the criminals know it too. FYI the thief was about 5’10, slim build wearing skinny jeans, a red backpack and a fur lined Elmer Fudd hat.

  • LICHsavesLIVES

    January 22, 2014

    Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Councilmember Brad Lander, Councilmember Stephen Levin, and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca:

    You have supported the LICH community—our doctors, nurses, hospital employees, and community members—since SUNY Chairman Carl McCall announced the decision to close the hospital a year ago. Your efforts, joining public demonstrations, meeting with officials, and even being arrested, have been a critical factor in keeping the hospital open. for that, we are deeply grateful.

    We share your belief that SUNY’s RFP process has not been conducted in the best interests of the health needs of our communities. It has been neither fair nor transparent. Indeed, no community stakeholders, not even our elected representatives, were consulted during preparation of the RFP or the evaluation of responses.

    We are asking that the current RFP process be dismissed and that it be replaced by a new RFP process that, at a minimum, includes stakeholder voting power and that could result in a genuine hospital operator maintaining LICH as a hospital.

    SUNY did not consider community health needs in its decision to close and sell LICH.

    How can New York State close a hospital without carefully analyzing the result? There has been no assessment of health needs and no account of demographic changes in western Brooklyn. As we were reminded during Hurricane Sandy last year, a full-service hospital plays a vital role during regional disasters, yet no disaster-preparedness assessment has been done.

    In deciding to close LICH, SUNY has disregarded the impact on transportation-starved Red Hook—designated a Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—and on other hospitals and emergency rooms in the area.

    The RFP’s financial requirements improperly discouraged responses from full-service hospital operators.

    Simply put, the decision to sell LICH was first and foremost a response to SUNY’s financial distress. As Controller DiNapoli’s January 2013 audit makes clear, SUNY’s real problem is that Albany slashed its financial support to SUNY Downstate: “Between 2010 and 2011, direct State tax support from SUNY to the Hospital [Downstate] went from $36 million to $27 million; a decline of $9 million. Moreover, between fiscal years 2007-08 and 2011-12, annual State support decreased by $23.5 million.”

    We believe that SUNY’s RFP substantially misrepresents LICH’s true liabilities. This conclusion is supported by Controller DiNapoli’s audit and Justice Carolyn Demarest’s Decision and Order of August 2013. According to the controller’s audit, LICH’s operating losses for all of 2010 were $4.7 million. According to Justice Demarest, “SUNY-Downstate’s actual losses attributable to LICH approximate $30 million dollars at this time,” i.e. by August 2013.

    At the December 2013 meeting of SUNY Trustees, Chairman McCall presented a very different picture. He offered a slide entitled “LICH Liabilities,” which claimed, without support, that LICH’s liabilities totaled $513 million and therefore justified the selection of RFP respondent Fortis Property Group, a real estate developer:

    NYS PIT bonds as of 9/30/2013 ….. $118 million
    SUNY loan ….. $75 million
    Cost to exit LICH ….. $180 million
    Othmer Endowment ….. $140 million
    Total $513 million

    Chairman McCall’s use of these figures is disturbing:

    The PIT bonds are a liability for a real estate developer but not for a hospital operator: they only need to be repaid immediately if a not-for-profit entity does not operate LICH.

    The SUNY loan, according to SUNY’s own records, was a line of credit for Downstate Medical Center and has absolutely nothing to do with LICH. This is demonstrated by at least three sources: the SUNY Board’s minutes for June 12, 2012; the SUNY Financial Fact Book for the June 30, 2012 financial year; and this remark by SUNY’s Interim Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chancellor Robert Haelen at the January 13, 2014 meeting of the SUNY Board: “The loan to Downstate was $75 million and that was a loan to the operation of Downstate the hospital there. It was not made at the time for LICH. Okay, so it was separate, and the Sustainability Plan has built into it a way to repay that 75 million.”

    The $180 million exit cost is a mystery without documentation or explanation.

    The Othmer Endowment should be a $140 million asset, not a liability. It is a liability only if the money is gone. The redirection of the Othmer Endowment funds is spelled out most clearly in section 7.10 of the Asset Purchase Agreement that governed SUNY’s acquisition of LICH in 2011. In the Agreement, SUNY agreed to repay $24.6 million that Continuum owed to the Othmer Endowment. Another $85.7 million was used to set up a malpractice trust in case money was needed to settle pre-SUNY malpractice cases.

    There is no public accounting of the Long Island College Hospital Malpractice Fund, a not-for profit entity, except for a postponement for filing its 2012 federal tax return that expired on November 13, 2013. An unknown portion of that money—possibly a very large sum—automatically reverts back to SUNY under section 7.10(e) of the Asset Purchase Agreement. The malpractice fund’s remaining assets need to be revealed to the public. SUNY must account for this money before making any further representation of LICH’s liabilities.

    By inflating LICH liabilities, SUNY insured that no hospital operator would respond to the RFP. Medical services would, instead, only be an afterthought to a condo development. We believe that health care comes first. Excess properties should be developed if needed to support the mission of a hospital. Making medical services an appendage to a condo development demonstrates exactly the opposite outcome that a proper RFP would have produced.

    We want to help you develop a better RFP process and a better healthcare solution.

    We can do better. We have a duty to ensure that healthcare needs come first—before capital returns for developers. We want to work with you to protect the health of our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable, who will, inevitably, suffer the most from inadequate healthcare in western Brooklyn.

    Howard Kolins, President, Boerum Hall Association; Roy Sloane, President, Cobble Hill Association; Alexandra Bowie, President, Brooklyn Heights Association; William Ringler, Riverside Tenants Association; Gary G. Reilly, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association; Charlene Nimmons, President, Wykoff Gardens Association, Inc.

  • brixtony

    ALERT – do not use the sidewalk on Middaugh next to the Chapin playground. Izzy got a shock today – just from the sidewalk itself – she’s fine, but yelped and leaped into the air. This has happened before and I gather has been reported to Co Ed. I will call too. The spot is between the two trees closest to Willow (going east).