Brooklyn Heights Blog » Government http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Sat, 19 Aug 2017 23:16:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Squadron Resigning From New York Senatehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84496 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84496#comments Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:49:04 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84496

In an opinion column in today’s Daily News State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes Brooklyn Heights along with Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens (where he resides with his wife and children) and much of lower Manhattan, announced his resignation from the New York Senate, where he has served since 2009. His resignation is effective this Friday, August 11. His replacement will be elected this November; meanwhile, he said, the balance between his party, the Democrats, and the GOP in the Senate will not be affected.

His decision came because of his frustration with “structural barriers, including ‘three men in a room’ decisionmaking, loophole-riddled campaign finance rules and a governor-controlled budget process.” While he called New York “a particularly seedy example” of government overwhelmed by moneyed interests and a culture of corruption, he noted that other states have similar problems. Following his resignation, he plans to join with entrepreneur Adam Pritzker and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University to “launch a national effort focused on addressing this crisis — joining others already doing important work toward 2018 and beyond.”

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NYC DOT Seeks Public Comments, Suggestions Concerning BQE Repairshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84241 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84241#comments Tue, 11 Jul 2017 02:29:48 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84241

We noted earlier that the New York State Legislature, which has an unfortunate stranglehold on many matters affecting New York City alone, in its recent session failed to pass the legislation required to expedite the urgently needed work to repair the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway that runs below Brooklyn Heights and the Promenade. We now have word, thanks to the Brooklyn Heights Association, that the New York City Department of Transportation has invited members of the public to comment or offer suggestions concerning the project during the approximately eighteen months that DOT will undertake a public planning process for the BQE repairs. Comments, questions, or suggestions may be sent to BQEAtlantictoSands@dot.nyc.gov or by phone to 212-839-6304.

The possibility remains open that the “Design/Build” option, which would greatly expedite and reduce the cost of the project, will be approved in the next legislative session.

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Thanks to Albany BQE Repairs May be Stalled; Made More Difficulthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84164 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84164#comments Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:16:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84164

The cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, below Brooklyn Heights and the Promenade, is in need of critical repairs. Concrete has eroded, exposing rusting metal reinforcements. The job will take years, and will require closure of at least parts of the BQE for long periods. Last year a City Department of Transportation Official told a community meeting that the work could be done without diverting significant amounts of traffic to Brooklyn Heights streets. Still, there may be other disruptions, including closing of portions of the Promenade.

The duration of the project could be shortened, and its onset brought forward, by a technique called “Design/Build” in which joint bids are solicited from designers and construction firms, who must collaborate on their bids and, if successful, proceed on agreed upon terms. When design and construction bids are made and awarded separately, it often results in misunderstandings between designer and builder or repairer, leading to delays and sometimes litigation. Since the BQE repair is under New York State jurisdiction, approval to use Design/Build must come from the State.

Unfortunately, the State Legislature adjourned without approving Design/Build for the BQE. As State Senator Daniel Squadron noted in his newsletter: “The budget failed to allow design-build for the BQE reconstruction, a failure that could add years to this difficult project.”

The Brooklyn Heights Association has made a strong statement on this issue, concluding:

Despite the failure to get the bill passed during the recent session, the BHA will continue to prominently advocate for this legislation when the legislature reconvenes. The stakes are too high for Brooklyn Heights and the entire borough to not press our case. NYCDOT estimates that design build will shorten the projected 5 year construction period of the BQE Rehabilitation Project, thereby reducing the duration of environmental impacts on the Heights community, and save city taxpayers $113.4 million. These savings can then be used on other critical infrastructure projects in New York City to further improve the quality of our lives.

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Cuomo Makes Brooklyn Heights Resident Joseph Lhota MTA Chairhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84120 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84120#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 19:50:23 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84120

The Eagle reports that Governor Cuomo has named Heights resident Joseph Lhota to serve as chair of the MTA. Lhota previously served as the MTA’s chief executive, and is credited with leading the agency’s quick response to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He later ran unsuccessfully as the GOP candidate for for Mayor, losing to Bill De Blasio.

In his new role, Lhota will serve as a non-executive chair, with a one dollar a year salary. He will retain his position as senior vice president, vice dean and chief of staff at NYU Langone Medical Center. Lhota will be engaged in the search for a new CEO for the MTA, and will be active in planning strategy for dealing with the system’s extensive problems.

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Know a Spot, or Two, That Needs a Litter Can? Tell Council Member Steve Levinhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84102 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84102#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 03:12:03 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84102

In his “Word on the 33rd” e-blast today, City Council Member Stephen Levin has this message for constituents:

We all need to do our part to keep our community clean. Everyone one of us should be able to take pride in the streets and sidewalks that are extensions of our homes and workplaces. To this end, I’m asking the community for suggestions on areas of the community that could use some extra attention.

If you know a spot, or up to three spots, that could use extra litter baskets, please submit them here.

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Senator Squadron Community Convention This Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83573 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83573#comments Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:30:39 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83573

Consituents are invited to join State Senator Daniel Squadron and the 26th Annual Senate District Community Convention this Sunday, April 23rd from 2:00 – 5:00 pm at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers Street in Manhattan.

This years theme is Making the National Fight Local. Per a source from the Senator’s office, “the event will include a number of open conversation topics — from Government in Crisis, Safeguarding Progress, Protecting the Environment and Parks to Saving Healthcare.”

RSVP online via webform or call 212-298-5565.

Squadron 2017 Community Convention flyer (1) (1) (1) (1)

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Eric Landau Nominated for Brooklyn Bridge Park Presidencyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:25:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83449

The Eagle reports that Mayor de Blasio has nominated Eric Landau, who presently serves as deputy commissioner of public affairs and communications at the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, to be the new president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. Before taking his post at DEP, Landau was vice president of government and external affairs and special assistant to the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. If confirmed, Landau will assume the presidency as Brooklyn Bridge Park is undergoing its last stages of construction (photo: Pier 3). He will also inherit the controversy over the need for two high rise residential buildings on the Pier 6 uplands to provide revenue for future park maintenance.

According to the Eagle story, Landau is “[a]n advocate of environmental issues, open space and community voices, [who] also has experience in government and urban park planning.”

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It’s Participatory Budget Time Again-Vote for Worthy Community Projects in D33http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83339 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83339#comments Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:49:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83339

It’s Participatory Budgeting (or PB) time again and City Councilmember Steve Levin has “dedicated 1.5 million dollars to capital projects [in District 33] suggested and developed by community volunteers and you can help decide which ones get funded.”  Of the many proposals up for a vote are lockers for thirteen classrooms at M.S. 8 for a cost of $115,000.  The middle school currently has no lockers for the 6th through 8th students’ books and belongings.

Others proposed projects include repair of a Williamsburg toddler playground ($500,000), technology upgrades for two special needs schools ($250,000) in Bed-Stuy and Downtown Brooklyn and and STEAM and STEM labs for two schools in Williamsburg ($218,000 and $250,000 respectively) among others.  The full list can be found HERE.

District 33 residents 14 and over are able to vote online starting midnight on Saturday March 25th. Ballots may also be cast in person at several Brooklyn Heights sites (below) and others across the district found HERE.

P.S. 8 Robert Fulton School
37 Hicks Street
Monday, March 27th and Friday, March 31st
8:00AM – 10:00AM

Brooklyn Heights Library
109 Remsen Street
Tuesday March 28th
1:00PM – 3:00PM
Saturday, April 1st
11:00AM-2:00PM

Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street, Borough Hall Plaza
Monday, March 27th – Friday, March 31st
9:00AM – 5:00PM

Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket
209 Joralemon Street, Borough Hall Plaza
Tuesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 30th
8:00AM – 10:00AM

Want to volunteer to help with the process? Have questions? Contact Benjamin Solotaire at 718 875 5200 or bsolotaire@council.nyv.gov.

EDIT: The cost of the MS8 lockers has been corrected from $150,000 to $115,000.

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Update: Sanitation Town Hall Postponedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83331 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83331#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:59:04 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83331

We’ve just been advised by City Council Member Stephen Levin (photo) that, because of a scheduling conflict, the Sanitation Town Hall meeting, originally scheduled for this evening, has been postponed until Thursday evening, April 13 from 6:00 to 8:00, at St. Francis College auditorium, 180 Remsen Street. According to Council Member Levin:

The Department of Sanitation will be present to answer questions pertaining to the CleanUp NYC Initiative; Litter Basket Replacement and Additions; Increasing Collection; Street Cleaning Enforcement; Containerization; and Organics Recycling Expansion. There will also be free reusable bags for attendees.

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Sanitation Town Hall at St. Francis Tomorrow Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83314 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83314#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:52:05 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83314

Update: the Town Hall has been postponed to April 13 (see above). The Brooklyn Heights Association has advised us that there will be a Sanitation Department Town Hall Meeting tomorrow evening, Wednesday, March 22, starting at 6:00 p.m. at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street.

Let the Department of Sanitation know your issues with litter and trash. In addition, the placement of litter baskets and litter collection, street cleaning enforcement, and Organics Recycling will be among the discussion topics.

The Town Hall is sponsored by City Council Member Stephen Levin.

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Sen. Squadron, at St. Charles Jubilee Senior Center, Opposes Budget Cuts for Senior Serviceshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82893 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82893#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 03:00:07 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82893

State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes Brooklyn Heights, spoke to seniors at the St. Charles Jubilee Senior Center, 55 Pierrepont Street, today. He opposes proposed changes to the state budget that would redirect over $17 million in funds from senior centers and other services without any replacement funding. This, he said, could severely affect the services provided by centers like St. Charles Jubilee. He has a petition to save funding for senior centers; you can sign it here.

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Trump’s Muslim Ban Halted Right Here in Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82716 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82716#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2017 03:46:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82716

If you heard the roar of a crowd tonight, it was coming from the Eastern District federal courthouse on Cadman Plaza. At around 8:30 p.m., the chant “Let them stay! Let them stay!” was heard from a boisterous group of protesters outside the courthouse. Why were protesters outside the courthouse on a Saturday night? According to the ACLU facebook feed, it had filed an emergency petition for a stay against Trump’s executive order banning immigration from certain predominantly Muslim countries. The first legal challenge to that order was heard tonight, right in our backyard.

The ACLU named two men being detained at JFK airport as petitioners in its court papers. Earlier in the day, there had been a protest at JFK airport with crowds chanting, “Let them in! Let them in!” According to ACLU’s petition, one of the men, Khalid Darweesh, is an Iraqi who had been granted a Special Immigrant Visa as a result of his service to the U.S. military as an interpreter and engineer. The other is Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, an Iraqi who was granted a Follow-to-Join Visa to rejoin his wife and children who had been granted refugee status.

At around 9:30 p.m., thundering cheers came from Cadman Plaza that sounded like a Superbowl win. Shortly after, the ACLU announced that it had won and the stay was granted. The stay is nationwide but temporary, and saves people who have already landed in the U.S. or are currently in transit from deportation.

A few sirens were heard near the protest site, but so far, no signs of anything but a loud and impassioned protest. As of this writing at 10:30 p.m., the protesters are still celebrating the win and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”

 

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at St. Francis February 2http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82653 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82653#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:33:56 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82653

On Thursday afternoon, February 2, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be at Founders Hall, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, as part of the College’s Thomas J. Volpe Lecture Series. She will be joined for conversation by her former law clerk, Sparkle Sooknanan, a 2002 St. Francis graduate. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.; everyone is asked to be seated by 1:15 and the program will begin at 1:30 promptly. Security will be tight, so please don’t bring backpacks or large bags. Admission is free, but you must have a ticket; they may be obtained by e-mailing events@sfc.edu or calling 718-489-5372.

Given the President-Elect’s ambitious announced starting schedule, by the time of this event someone may have been nominated to take the place of the late Justice Scalia and join Justice Sotomayor on the Court. This may lead to interesting conversation.

Photo: public domain, via Wikipedia.

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Mic Drop: Hundreds Gather For Anti-Hate Rally in Adam Yauch Park with Beastie Boy “Ad Rock,” Electeds, Religious & Community Leadershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82299 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82299#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 18:10:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82299

When Adam Yauch Park was desecrated by anti Semitic and pro-Trump graffiti on Friday afternoon the community reaction was swift.  Law enforcement deemed the incident a hate crime and the City Parks Department immediately painted over the offensive tags.  State Senator, Daniel Squadron deftly organized a bevy of elected officials and religious leaders for the “Stand Up Against Hate” rally.  Within 24 hours, it was announced Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys and the Anti Defamation League would also participate. By Saturday morning, children had re-decorated the playground with messages of love.

Stand Up Against Hate Pano

Crowd singing the National Anthem

Sunday morning was blustery and cold yet hundreds of residents along with numerous elected officials and religious leaders, packed the park for a demonstration of solidarity and the denouncement of hate in a post-election world.  Senator Squadron presided over the event.  In his opening remarks he emphasized, “Hatred has no place in our backyard, no place in our city and no place in our country.  Anyone who thinks the current political climate will allow oppression to win in this country is wrong.”

Daniel Squadron-Stand Up Against Hate

State Senator Daniel Squadron

Imam Khalid Latif-University Chaplain at NYU & NYU Islamic Center Director-implored, “For us as New Yorkers, if you see something say something has to mean something different today…in our city, we have to set an example that is different than the rest of this country…we in New York will always be together.” Brooklyn Heights Synagogue’s Rabbi Serge Lippe warned against the normalization of hate crimes and vandalism. He called upon Donald Trump to “forcefully and unequivocally denounce these behaviors and those who wish to use his name and election as a pretext stoke the flames of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred.” In part he closed with, “As Americans we cannot and will not ignore these actions, nor can we afford to be silent.  For our silence will be heard as indifference or worse permission for further acts of vandalism and G_d forbid, violence.”

Imam Stand Up Against Hate

Imam Khalid Latif

Numerous public officials made their own remarks including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander and Carmelyn Malalis the Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Human Rights Commission. More of their statements are included in the official event press release. But it was Ad-Rock from whom everyone was waiting to hear.

Ad-Rock Stand Up Against Hate

Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys

“I’m assuming that we are all here because we are thinking the same thing; spray painting swastikas in a children’s playground is a messed up thing to do!” began Horovitz. “And for many of us, it has special meaning because this park is named for Adam Yauch who was my friend and band-mate for over 30 years. But he was also someone that taught non-violence in his music and his life to all of us and to me.”

Continuing, Horovitz did not mince words and drew a direct line from the uptick in hate crimes across the country  to the outcome of the election.  He encouraged, “Do what you can,” and name checked several organizations to which citizens may donate and/or volunteer their time and skills. “Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy and lend your services to the causes you care most about.”  Finally, he evoked popular Beastie Boys’ lyrics to rousing cheers, “Because we can’t and we don’t and we won’t stop!” For his full remarks, watch Brooklyn Paper’s video in its entirety below:

Attendees came from near and far to participate in the rally. Hayley, a Brooklyn Heights resident and mother of three, reflected, “It is important to show our children that we will not tolerate hate speech in our community.  This is a playground where my son goes to shoot hoops with people of all races, religions and genders and it was heartbreaking to see it denigrated in such a sick way. It was meaningful to see such a rapid and emotional response from our elected leaders, the police and the Parks Department.”  Mike Kearney, Andrew Katz and Malcolm Riddle, co-founders of MCA Day traveled from Boston and the Washington, DC area respectively to participate.

MCA Day Guys Stand Up Against Hate

Fan who advocates for Beastie Boys’ street naming, LeRoy McCarthy (2nd from left) MCA Day founders Andrew Katz (center), Mike Kearney (2nd from the right) and Malcolm Riddle (far right).

SLIDE SHOW:

In addition to the speeches, throughout the event, the crowd was also led into renditions of the national anthem, the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” and Woodie Guthries’ “This Land is Your Land.”  Other celebrity attendees included musician, artist and activist Kathleen Hanna, (Ms. Hanna is also married to Horovitz) and actor and comedian Ben Stiller.  Love trumps hate, indeed.

*Photos & Slideshow Credit: (c) SongBirdNYC

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Adam Yauch Park Defaced With Hateful Graffitti – Electeds Organize “Stand Up Against Hate” For This Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82251 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82251#comments Sat, 19 Nov 2016 02:16:20 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82251

Hate is on our doorstep, where our children play. On Friday afternoon a resident alerted Senator Daniel Squadron’s office that Adam Yauch Park playground had been defaced with swastikas and the message, “Go Trump.”  The Daily News reports The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident and the Parks Department is in the process of removing the offensive graffiti.

AdamYauch_Defaced

Image courtesy Office of Daniel Squadron

In response, elected officials and community leaders immediately organized an event for this Sunday to “Stand Up Against Hate.” 

State Senator Daniel Squadron, Congresswoman Velázquez, Councilmembers Brad Lander & Stephen Levin, elected officials, community and faith leaders invite the community to denounce hate in our neighborhood and across the country. 

The gathering  is scheduled for this Sunday at 11:30 am at Adam Yauch Park, located on State Street between Columbia and Willow Place.

UPDATE: Per a press release on Sunday morning, the blog can confirm the attendance of Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock), the Anti-Defamation League, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Numerous music industry publications have reported the incident including Billboard and Pitchfork. Adam Yauch, a.k.a MCA was a founding member of the seminal hip-hop group, The Beastie Boys.  Like his two surviving band mates, Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) and Michael Diamond (Mike D), Yauch was Jewish.  The park was posthumously renamed in Yauch’s honor in 2013 after his death from cancer in May 2012. Horovitz is scheduled to attend.

Officials announced the event via social media.  In one of several tweets, Daniel Squadron invited the President-Elect.

DanielSquadronTweet

Councilmember Brad Lander released a statement via his Facebook page, “Yet more hatred and anti-Semitism from Trump supporters. Swastikas on the playground equipment in Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn Heights.

Adam Yauch is weeping for our country. His mom was Jewish. He was a practicing Buddhist. He spoke out against Islamophobia. And though some of the Beastie Boys early lyrics were homophobic and misogynist, they later apologized, in an open-heared and earnest way. “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/The disrespect to women has got to be through.”

#NeverIsNow #WeveSeenThisBefore

*Cover photo Flickr Creative Commons/Sam Beebe

 

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Vote on Tuesday!http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82143 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82143#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 03:10:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82143

This year’s general election is this coming Tuesday, November 8. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The locations of polling places for many, though not all, Brooklyn Heights residents have been changed, even from where they were for the primary elections earlier this year. If you’re a registered voter, you should have received a postcard notifying you of the location of your polling place. If you didn’t receive one, or have lost it, you may look it up by entering your home address at this website.

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City: BQE Repair Can Avoid Diversion of Traffic to Brooklyn Heights Streetshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82114 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82114#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 03:41:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82114

The Brooklyn Paper reports that City Department of Transportation project manager Tanvi Pandya told local residents at Monday evening’s community meeting on BQE reconstruction that testing by DOT shows that the cantilevered stretch of the highway that parallels Brooklyn Heights and sits partially below the Promenade can last another ten years before repairs would demand the BQE’s complete closure over that portion in order to do vital repairs. The Brooklyn Paper story quotes Bob Collyer, Deputy Commissioner of Bridges for the City, as saying there is no plan to completely close the BQE or Furman Street during the repairs, which would cause diversion of traffic to local streets. Instead, he said, three lanes of the highway would be kept open at all times.

The repairs are scheduled to start in 2024 and end in 2029, unless Albany, the millstone around New York City’s neck, approves the use of the same contractor for design and construction, in which case it could start in 2021 and be done by 2026.

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City Approves Demolition of Former Brooklyn Heights Branch Libraryhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82105 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82105#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 03:44:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82105

The Eagle reports that the City’s Department of Buildings has approved the application of the developer Hudson Companies to demolish what had been the Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The building has been vacant since late July, when staff and contents were moved to an interim facility in Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, at 109 Remsen Street, pending Hudson’s construction of a new library to be housed in a 36 story mixed use residential and commercial building at the site of the former library, 280 Cadman Plaza West.

The Eagle story notes that some local residents, including BHB reader and commenter Justine Swartz, have raised concerns about preliminary work already underway at the site possibly causing asbestos contamination. A Hudson spokesperson said that the asbestos abatement work has not yet begun, and will be conducted in accordance with strict City Department of Environmental Protection standards. State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon responded to concerns and contacted Hudson, who took her on a walk through the site. According to the Eagle, she agrees with those potentially affected that there are “legitimate concerns”, but also believes that “the developer and the library are taking them very seriously” and that DEP officials will be vigilant in enforcing compliance with regulations.

The Eagle also notes that the DOB’s approval comes before Hudson has closed on the purchase of the property, but quotes a Hudson spokesperson as saying ” it’s important to Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to get the project started so that the new larger [presumably this means larger than the interim facility] library can be open to the public as soon as possible.” In addition, “[s]hould the project cease for any reason, Hudson is required to restore the site to the pre‐demolition state (minus the asbestos) at its own cost.”

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Senator Squadron’s Community Town Hall at Brooklyn Law School Wednesday Evening, November 10http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82066 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82066#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2016 02:08:59 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82066

State Senator Daniel Squadron will hold a Community Town Hall on Wednesday evening, November 10 from 6:00 to 7:00 at the Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge, 250 Joralemon Street, between Court Street and Boerum Place. The purpose is to

[f]ollow up to Senator Squadron’s Community Convention, at which many neighborhood issues were discussed, including parks, healthcare, development, quality of life, and buses and subways. Join to discuss progress we’ve made, what’s next, and what else is happening.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to 212-298-5565.

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Sen. Squadron Gives Update on Noise From Watermark Barhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81373 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81373#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 03:24:09 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81373

We’ve been contacted by State Senator Daniel Squadron’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, Zeeshan Ott, who gave us the following information regarding the Watermark Bar, which was the source of the noise assaulting Brooklyn Heights one week ago. There was a meeting between Squadron’s office, Brooklyn Community Board 2, Manhattan Community Board 1 (lower Manhattan is also affected by the noise), the Brooklyn Heights Association, and Manhattan NYPD Precinct 1 (which has jurisdiction over Watermark), on the one side, and Watermark. He advised us that Watermark, which has an event scheduled this weekend and another the following, has agreed to direct its speaker away from Brooklyn, and to send out sound engineers to measure noise. They have also provided an e-mail address, events@watermarkny.com, and phone number, 646-632-2547, to which you may send noise complaints. Please also contact Sen. Squadron’s office at zeeshan@danielsquadron.org with any complaints.

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Update on Voting Location for North Heights Residentshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81299 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81299#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 15:23:49 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81299

Following up on our earlier post, the Brooklyn Paper reports that, thanks to the efforts of Toba Potosky and residents of Cadman Towers, as well as Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and Borough President Eric Adams, the location for voting in the November 8 presidential election has been moved to the Community Room at 10 Clinton Street.

Voting in the primary election to be held on Tuesday, September 13 will still be at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, 283 Adams Street (corner of Johnson Street), but as the Brooklyn Paper story points out:

[F]ortunately there are no contested races in [our] district — no one is challenging incumbents Simon, state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), or Democratic District Leaders Anne Swern and Josh Skaller, and no other party has any contested races, either.

Those who can’t make it to the polling site or secure an absentee ballot in time will however miss out on voting for judicial delegates — the party representatives who elect people to the state State Supreme Court.

The story quotes Potosky as thanking local electeds and the Board of Elections for their prompt and positive response.

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About That Voting Location SNAFUhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81278 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81278#comments Wed, 31 Aug 2016 02:41:39 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81278

A while back, my wife and I received postcards from the Board of Elections telling us that our polling place was, at it had been for the past several elections, the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, at 280 Cadman Plaza West. The only problem was, the library is now closed and slated for demolition. (This doesn’t affect voting locations at all places in Brooklyn Heights. If you weren’t in the area that previously voted at the Library, you may ignore this.)

A few days ago, we received new cards from the BOE, telling us that the voting location had been changed to the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice (photo) at 283 Adams Street. As the Eagle reports, this raised a predictable (and in our view justified) storm of protest over moving the polls to a location less convenient for most voters. By dint of a little exploration, I determined that the best way to get to this location from the Heights is via Johnson Street (the school is located on the southeast corner of Adams and Johnson), which is the street that runs between the Post Office Building and the Supreme Court Building, and ends at Cadman Plaza West. You can get to the end of Johnson Street by crossing Cadman Plaza West at Pierrepont Street or points south and turning north, or from Clark Street or points north and turning south. This avoids the treacherous Adams/Tillary Street crossing.

The next election is coming soon: September 13. It’s a primary election for State Assembly, but we’re not aware of any primary challenge to Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. We’re also not aware of any contest for a GOP challenge to her in the general election. There may also be elections for male and female district leaders in both parties, but again we are not aware of any contested positions. If we learn otherwise, we’ll let you know.

The Eagle story quotes Cadman Towers president Toba Potosky as saying he had been told by a BOE representative to whom Assembly Member Simon’s office had “put me in touch with a BOE representative who said they will consider moving the polling location after the Sept. 13 primary in time for the general election on Nov. 8.”

We’ll keep you posted on developments.

Photo: Claude Scales

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Registered Democrat? Vote in Congressional Primary Tuesdayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80298 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80298#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 01:44:56 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=80298

This Tuesday, June 28, voters registered as Democrats may vote in a primary election to determine who will be the party’s nominee to represent New York’s Seventh Congressional District, which includes Brooklyn Heights and surrounding neighborhoods (see map here). There are three candidates: incumbent Rep. Nydia Velazquez; Jeff Kurzon, an attorney; and Yungman Lee, a banker and attorney. Learn about the candidates here. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. If you’re not sure where to vote, go here.

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BHA Urges Action To Defeat Proposed “Upzoning”http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80097 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80097#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:55:38 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=80097

Update: We’ve been advised by the New York Landmarks Conservancy that the “upzoning” bills will not be acted on in this legislative session.

The Brooklyn Heights Association has alerted us to a “massive rezoning” proposal that would allow much taller residential structures to be built in many areas of Brooklyn and other parts of the city, including Downtown Brooklyn, adjacent to Brooklyn Heights. According to the BHA:

The passage of these bills, introduced at the behest of Mayor DeBlasio, would severely tax the city’s already overburdened transit system, road network, parks and public schools and deprive neighboring areas of light and air. It would return no benefits to the affected communities.

Proponents of the “upzoning” say it is necessary to increase the availability of affordable housing. Nevertheless, the BHA points out, the rezoning proposal does not have any requirement that developers include affordable units in their buildings.

The rezoning proposal is included in two companion bills pending in the state legislature: S 5469 in the Senate and A 7807 in the Assembly. The BHA urges those concerned to contact the following legislators quickly, as the bills may be voted on this week:

Assemblyman Keith Wright:
Wrightk@assembly.state.ny.us
District Office: 212-866-5809
Albany Office: 518-455-4793

Asemblywoman Jo Anne Simon:
Simonj@assembly.state.ny.us
District Office: 718-246-4889
Albany Office: 518-246-4889

Senator John Flanagan:
Flanagan@nysenate.gov
Albany Office: 518-455-2071

Senator Daniel Squadron:
Squadron@nysenate.gov
District Office: 718-875-1517
Albany Office: 518-455-2625

If you’re wondering why this local matter is being acted on at the state level, according to the BHA “the Administration is attempting an end run around local zoning controls.”

Update: We’ve been advised by Sen. Squadron’s office that he opposes the bill.

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Brooklyn Heights Ass’n Continues Pier Six Towers Fighthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79880 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79880#comments Sat, 04 Jun 2016 17:41:54 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79880

As we previously noted, the City, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, intend to have the BBPC’s board vote on a modified plan for the two residential towers planned for the Pier Six uplands this coming Tuesday, June 7 and, presuming the board approves, proceed with the construction. As we also noted in our earlier story, the head of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Park Committee sought a meeting with Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen to discuss an alternative plan supported by the BHA and other civic groups. We are now advised by the BHA that Ms. Glen has refused to meet with them. According to the BHA:

While we continue to reach out to and raise new ideas with BBPC Board members directly, we have been forced to prepare for litigation. We are fortunate that Jenner & Block LLP, one of the foremost litigation firms in the country, has agreed to represent us on a pro bono basis.

The BHA goes on to urge members of the community to contact members of the BBPC board, who are listed here, and “ask that they not approve any proposal that includes building towers now.” It also urges anyone who is able to attend the BBPC board meeting, to be held at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 7 at the NYU Dibner Pfizer Auditorium in 5 MetroTech Center. While the vote will probably take place before anyone from the public is allowed to speak,

your presence alone will send the message that our community expects our public agencies and leaders to keep the commitments they make.

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City Ready To Move On Pier 6 Developmenthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79831 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79831#comments Thu, 02 Jun 2016 03:50:20 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79831

As we noted earlier. despite the State’s refusal to approve a planned modification to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s development plan to include affordable housing in the two planned high rise buildings sited near the Park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance and Pier Six, the City believes it may move ahead with the development. The Eagle reports that the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation will vote next Tuesday, June 7, on a modified proposal for the two towers. The “tweaks” to the plan include slightly reducing the number of affordable units and increasing the number of market rate ones, and moving a pre-K school from one of the buildings to a “nearby” location.

The Eagle story quotes Martin Hale, head of People for Green Space Foundation, which has fought development of the two sites, as saying the State “made clear that it expected the city to work with the community and its elected officials prior to allowing any development to proceed”, and that “[w]e hope the state will now intervene to stop this city action.” Carolyn Zeigler, chair of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Brooklyn Bridge Park Committee is quoted by the Eagle as saying she has requested a meeting with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to discuss an “alternative solution” supported by the BHA and other civic groups.

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Council Member Levin’s Town Hall Meeting Thursday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79766 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79766#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 01:44:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79766

City Council Member Stephen Levin will hold a Brooklyn Heights Town Hall this Thursday evening, May 26, from 7:00 to 9:00, in the Second Floor Community Room at 140 Cadman Plaza West. Update: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon will also be there. Among the topics to be discussed are: (1) “out of control development including the latest on Brooklyn Bridge Park”; (2) “the Brooklyn Heights Library debacle”; and (3) “more people but where are the services”?

Come share your thoughts on issues facing the community, as well as propose potential solutions. There will also be an announcement on the introduction of new litter baskets to the area.

See Council Member Levin’s The Word on the 33rd (Council District) here.

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State Scuttles Pier Six Towers Plan; Park Execs Got Hefty Raiseshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79670 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79670#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 04:14:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79670

Politico New York reports that the Empire State Development Corporation, controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and with authority over development at Brooklyn Bridge Park, has decided not to approve a proposed modification to the Park’s plan that would have allowed construction of two residential towers, including a substantial affordable housing component and a space for a pre-school.

It is important to note that this does not mean that no residential towers may be built on the sites near the Pier Six entrance; it merely disapproves the proposed modification to the plan. It leaves the original plan, calling for two residential towers, in place. Its practical effect is to send the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation back to square one, needing to seek another developer or developers with new plans fitting the original Park plan.

According to the Politico story, the ESDC’s thumbs-down was because of the ongoing warfare between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The story quotes “three sources involved in the deal” as saying the disapproval followed revelation of the donation made by the developers and their lobbyist to Mayor de Blasio’s “Campaign One New York”.

In another Park related matter, Crain’s reports that Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation executives “received raises as high as nearly 50% between 2013 and 2014″. The Crain’s story points out that these new salaries, approved during the Bloomberg administration, are “roughly in line with those of counterparts at the city Department of Parks and Recreation and other organizations.” However, the story also notes that “the {Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation] board did not appear to have discussed the raises in any public meetings”; although a Park spokesperson is quoted as saying “the compensation was approved as part of the [Park Corporation’s] operating budget in a public meeting.”

Crain’s also quotes Dick Dadey, head of Citizens Union and a member of the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, an organization independent of the BBPC, as saying that an organization such as BBPC must be “transparent about wages”, and that this is especially important when it is “under attack” over funding needs.

Update: Financial analyst and One Brooklyn Bridge Park resident Ren Richmond, a director of People for Green Space Foundation, an organization that has fought to prevent residential development at Pier Six in order to provide more park space, has given us this statement:

The community and its elected officials were blind-sided by a back room deal between the City and a big money developer. The deal fell apart when questions were asked about some of the developer’s incestuous relationships that just do not pass muster.

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Senator Squadron 8th Annual Community Convention This Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79577 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79577#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 16:14:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79577

State Senator Daniel Squadron wants to know what issues are most important to you.  Join him in conversation at the Eighth Annual Community Convention this Sunday, May 15th, 2:00 – 5:00 pm, PS124, The Yung Wing School, 40 Division Street (bet Bowery & Market), New York, NY.  RSVP online or by calling 212-298-5565.

Squadron 2016  Community Convention flyer.indd

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Democrat Or Republican? Vote Tuesday!http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79298 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79298#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 02:35:54 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79298

If you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican (but not as an independent), your vote in tomorrow’s Presidential Primary can help to determine who your party’s nominee will be for the general election in November. In case you’ve been in an isolation tank for the past several months, the Democratic contestants are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and the Republicans are Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. If you’re not sure where to vote, go here.

There will be another primary election on June 28 to determine candidates for Congress and local offices.

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