Brooklyn Heights Blog » Health Dispatches from America's first suburb Sun, 12 Jul 2020 02:41:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DeBlasio Announces Hybrid Back-To-School Plans For September Sun, 12 Jul 2020 02:41:22 +0000

Amid the reports of dangerous spikes of Covid-19 across the country, Mayor DeBlasio announced on July 8th NYC public schools will open in September on a “hybrid” schedule. The tentative plan entails three versions of staggered in-school instruction. Protocols include mandatory masks for children, teachers, and staff and nightly deep cleanings of school facilities.

In a letter to families meant to instill confidence in the City’s strategy, School’s Chancellor Richard Carranza introduced a Return to School 2020 resource page. There, parents can explore three programming models.  Digital education publication, Chalkbeat also does a good job of breaking this down. The DOE site explains, “Principals and school leadership teams [SLT’s] will compare the different programming models to the specific needs of their students and communities to select a best-fit model.” Families also have the option of choosing full remote learning. Governor Cuomo, of course, has the final say for opening day on September 10th.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, the DOE encourages families to check Return to School 2020 throughout the summer.



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Phase 2 of Re-Opening Starts Monday, June 22; Alternate Side Rule Suspension Continued to 28th Sun, 21 Jun 2020 16:18:16 +0000

Tomorrow — Monday, June 22 — all of New York City will enter Phase 2 of re-opening from the restrictions imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Time Out NY has an excellent summary of what this will entail. Briefly: (1) in addition to take out and delivery, restaurants may offer outdoor dining; (2) barber shops and hair salons may open, with restrictions that include no walk-ins; (3) customers may now enter retail stores to shop, again with restrictions; (4) offices for professional, administrative, information technology, and real estate services may re-open; and (5) playgrounds will be open, with parent monitors sought to enforce social distancing (and good luck to them). Masks continue to be required, and social distancing rules remain in effect.

Alternate side of the street parking rules were to go back into effect Monday, June 22, but it has just been announced that the suspension will continue through next Sunday, June 28.

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Did Brooklyn Heights Lose Over 40% of its Population Because of COVID-19? Sat, 16 May 2020 23:56:23 +0000

According to this story by Kevin Quealy in the New York Times, which has a very interesting map and graph, because of the coronavirus pandemic,

[r]oughly 5 percent of residents — or about 420,000 people — left the city between March 1 and May 1. In the city’s very wealthiest blocks, in neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, the West Village, SoHo and Brooklyn Heights, residential population decreased by 40 percent or more, while the rest of the city saw comparably modest changes.

As the next paragraph notes, “[s]ome of these areas are typically home to lots of students, many of whom left as colleges and universities closed.” The Heights does have a substantial student population.

The estimates of population loss by neighborhood were based on “an analysis of multiple sources of aggregated smartphone location data.”


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BHA Launches “The Brooklyn Heights Together Community Relief Fund” Thu, 07 May 2020 00:39:59 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) has launched the “Brooklyn Heights Together Community Relief Fund” to support hourly workers who have lost or been furloughed from their jobs in Brooklyn Heights. The fund will pay out grants of $250 to each qualifying hourly worker, helping recipients to buy groceries, medicine, diapers/baby items, and pay utility or other bills.

The grants will be administered through the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC), a non-profit, non-sectarian organization located at 150 Court St. The AAFSC has been providing social services to a variety of immigrant and refugee communities throughout New York City since 1994. Its work was nationally recognized in 2019 by the USA Today Network and the Gannet Foundation. Many of our neighbors, including the families of the Yemeni immigrants who enrich the area around Atlantic Avenue with their fantastic cuisine and culture, rely on AAFSC.

“Our members began reaching out to us in the very first days of the crisis to see how they could help, especially right here in the neighborhood,” said BHA Executive Director Lara Birnback. “We knew we wanted to focus on some of the most vulnerable members of the larger community, the people who helped make our restaurants, shops, salons and other businesses such wonderful places.”

“Hourly wage earners, so many of whom are immigrants and refugees, have been hard hit by this crisis and are turning to the AAFSC as a trusted, culturally and linguistically competent resource for help,” said AAFSC President and CEO, Rawaa Nancy Albilal. “We are deeply grateful to be working with the BHA and our generous neighbors in reaching people who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

The BHA is working with additional local organizations and business owners to identify qualifying individuals and encourage them to apply for the grant. In particular, the Montague Street BID has been helpful in providing contact information for many businesses and is supportive of the Brooklyn Heights Together initiative. “Brooklyn Heights is more than the people who live here, it’s also the people who work here — and we have come together to support them now,” said Birnback.

Visit the BHA’s website to make a tax-deductible, secure online donation. Or send a check to:

The Brooklyn Heights Association
Attn: Brooklyn Heights Together Fund
55 Pierrepont Street, #17D
Brooklyn, NY 11201

If you would like to apply for assistance from the Brooklyn Heights Together fund or wish to refer an applicant, contact:

Kerry Sesil | Director of Development and Communications
Arab-American Family Support Center
150 Court St, 3rd Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 718-643-8000

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DOE Announces New Remote-Learning Grading Policy Thu, 30 Apr 2020 23:29:55 +0000

It’s been 48 days since Friday, March 13th, the day students last attended NYC public schools before they were officially shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  (Private schools closed on Wednesday, March 11th just prior to their scheduled two-week spring break). Not that anyone’s counting. Oh, who are we kidding? EVERYONE has been counting, Parents and caregivers certainly have.

Families suddenly faced the daunting task of balancing working from home while schooling their children under lock-down. This unprecedented situation produced a variety of reactions, everything from screen time limits being tossed out the window, finding newfound, deep appreciation of teachers, mixing up a Quarantini, and ranting on YouTube, like this now infamous Israeli Mom. (She’s not wrong!) For those families whose children have special needs, the disruption of schedules, and much-needed, hard-won services, being “on pause” has been an uphill battle.

That said, on Tuesday the NYC DOE announced a revised grading policy that will take some of the pressure off. The nuts and bolts are outlined below. You can read the full announcement HERE.

The grading policy outlined below is in effect for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year only. Teachers will base students’ final grades on a holistic review of their progress before and after we started remote learning. Attendance will not be a factor in students’ grades. No student will receive a failing final grade.

  • 3K and Pre-K: No change. Students in 3K and Pre-K do not receive report cards or grades
  • K – 5th: Students receive final grades of either “Meets Standards” (MT) or “Needs Improvement” (N).
  • 6th – 8th: Students receive final grades of “Meets Standards” (MT), “Needs Improvement” (N), or “Course in Progress” (NX), if additional time is needed to complete the course.
  • 9th – 12th: Your school’s existing grading scale applies, but no failing grades will be issued. A “Course in Progress” (NX) will be issued instead, providing students with additional time to complete the requirements for the course. After final grades have been issued, students and families have the option to convert any or all passing Spring Semester 2020 final grades to ‘CR’ which indicates the course was passed and credit was earned but does not have a value in the student’s GPA.

There’s no official word, yet, on whether schools will re-open this academic year.  Governor Cuomo said during his Thursday morning briefing he would make an announcement by the end of this week (meaning by Sunday).  Though, in truth, it seems unlikely that kids will see the inside of a classroom anytime soon.  Be safe everyone. Be kind to your neighbors, stay home, wear a mask if you venture out, stay six feet away from everyone and everything. And if you must drink, drink responsibly.

The blog would like to send a huge THANK YOU to all of the essential workers.

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Mystery Sailboat at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina Houses Healthcare Workers Sat, 25 Apr 2020 00:56:25 +0000

Those of you who, like me, have taken solitary, or with spouse/partner, exercise on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade may have noticed a single white hulled sailboat docked at the ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina, located between piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This New York Magazine “Intelligencer” Article by Laura Van Straaten explains how it came and what it’s doing there. The boat, named Turning Point, belongs to Rachel Hartley, an ICU nurse from Virginia, and her husband, Taylor Hartley. When Ms. Hartley learned there was a critical shortage of ICU nurses in New York, she left her job in Virginia to come here, sailing north with Mr. Hartley. She now works in the ICU at NYU Langone in Sunset Park. Ms. Hartley invited two friends, a nurse and paramedic from Cleveland, Ohio, and another paramedic from Virginia, to join them and live on the boat. The Marina is giving them free dockage for two months, and they are receiving meals from Estuary, the restaurant in One Brooklyn Bridge Park that is also providing meals to frontline workers in Brooklyn hospitals.

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Donate to Provide Meals to Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Medical Staff Tue, 21 Apr 2020 22:23:13 +0000

Montague BID is partnering with Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Myrtle Ave BID, Atlantic Avenue BID, and local residents, to raise funds for meals from local eateries to be delivered to staff at The Brooklyn Hospital Center.

Since 1845, The Brooklyn Hospital Center has steadfastly served our community in ordinary and difficult times. With hospital cafeterias closed, healthcare workers have neither the time nor the resources to feed themselves while battling the overwhelming demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants are also struggling to stay in business. With your help, we hope to raise funds for delivery of meals to the Center, while providing some support for our businesses. DBP is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization – the full amount of your donation is tax-deductible. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Read the New York Times article about BHC staff’s Herculean efforts to save lives. Take to your windows and terraces at 7:00 p.m. every night to clap for these heroes. And then donate at this link.



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Stretching & Snuggling With The Cat Café Sun, 19 Apr 2020 18:32:48 +0000

While the good folks at the Brooklyn Cat Café have continued to rescue and care for animals over the last month, it has, like so many other neighborhood businesses, been closed to the public and suspended its popular classes.

But no more! In partnership with AirBNB Experience, the Café will begin offering its popular Stretch and Snuggle class online. The Café has been chosen by AirBNB as one of a small group of non-profits that the platform is featuring through a series of “social impact experiences.” The Café’s classes have nearly 100 five-star reviews (scroll down).

Instructor Ashley Soomai will lead participants through active stretching activities to lengthen and strengthen your body, providing plenty of time to stop and cuddle with whatever pets may be joining you. Café resident cats and rabbits will also join the class.

At a time when most of us are more sedentary than we’d like, the class will offer the chance to help you prevent injuries and increase energy, toning your body and your mind.

Cost of the class is $19 (benefitting both the instructor and the Café). Once you sign up, you’ll receive a link and instructions on how to join the class.

Classes will be offered:

Monday, April 20, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Wednesday, April 22, 8:00 – 9:00 pm

Thursday, April 23, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Sunday, April 26, noon to 1:00 pm

Thursday, April 30, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Sunday, May 3, noon to 1:00 pm

Reserve your spot here, and follow the Café on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Cat Café



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Starting May 1, No Composting or Electronics Pickups Sun, 19 Apr 2020 16:40:24 +0000

Our friends at Community Board 2 have advised us that, because of budget cuts related to COVID-19, the City Department of Sanitation will no longer pick up food scraps or yard waste for composting. Instead, they will be collected with other trash. Residents are advised to store the brown composting receptacles in secure places. This suspension of composting collection is presently scheduled to last through June 30, 2021. Also, the Department is suspending appointments to pick up electronic waste.

All other trash and recycling collections will continue on their normal schedule.

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Cobble Hill Health Center Has 55 Possible COVID-19 Deaths Sat, 18 Apr 2020 20:19:31 +0000

The Eagle carries an AP story reporting that the Cobble Hill Health Center, a nursing home located at 380 Henry Street, has topped the list of recent deaths in nursing homes in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 55 deaths reported to date. Cobble Hill LifeCare, which manages the Health Center, issued a press release dated yesterday that states, in part, as follows:

Although we’ve had an increase in deaths during the past few weeks, we have not been able to confirm that the deaths are specifically related to Covid-19. Any deaths we’ve reported have been based on the possibility of Covid-19 being a factor. Because Covid-19 testing in skilled nursing facilities has been extremely difficult to obtain, there is no uniform measure to determine conclusively whether Covid-19 was a contributing factor in a resident’s death.

Published lists of deaths in skilled nursing facilities are inaccurate and based on subjective criteria. It is our belief that there is a widespread underreporting of deaths due to Covid-19.

Nursing home operators interviewed for the AP story, which didn’t include those of the Cobble Hill facility although the story notes AP tried to contact them, said the large number of deaths reflected the fragility of the homes’ residents and the facilities’ difficulty in obtaining protective equipment.

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You Can Help Estuary Feed Local Frontline Workers Wed, 15 Apr 2020 02:18:17 +0000

Estuary, the recently opened restaurant in One Brooklyn Bridge Park, near Pier Five, is providing free, hot meals to healthcare and other frontline COVID-19 workers in Brooklyn. They have a GoFundMe page.

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Sahadi’s Closed for Shoppers: Take Out and Delivery Only Mon, 06 Apr 2020 13:02:51 +0000

Sahadi’s on Atlantic Avenue is closed for shoppers because the narrow aisles do not afford space for social distancing. Orders for pickup or delivery can be made hereUpdate: earliest deliveries are Monday, April 24; pick up times start on Friday, April 17, with limited slots available. See comments below.

The new Industry City store remains open for shopping from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. daily. Shoppers are asked to maintain proper social distancing.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB

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Keeping Virus Free While Shopping? The Eagle Has Suggestions From Local Residents Sat, 04 Apr 2020 02:42:41 +0000

Mary Frost of the Eagle has interviewed local residents about how they do their grocery shopping while avoiding COVID-19 contamination. She got responses from many local residents, including City Council Member Stephen Levin; Lara Birnback, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights AssociationKate Chura, executive director of the Montague Street BID; and Brooklyn Heights residents Beverly Closs, and Will Hasty. Your correspondent, while trying to keep things clean, needed some advice from these good people.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB

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Brooklyn Heights Artist Angela Rizzuti Wishes “Good Health” to All Thu, 02 Apr 2020 01:35:59 +0000

Angela Rizzuti, a Brooklyn Heights resident artist, graduate of the Parsons School of Design, and now retired Grace Church School teacher who taught your correspondent’s daughter there, made this little poster and displayed it in her window. The pastor of the Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church has told her he will base his e-sermon this Sunday on it. We at BHB join in Angela’s wish for all.

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Park Plaza Diner Closes for Now; Eyebrows Trivia & Karaoke Zooms Wed, 01 Apr 2020 20:05:03 +0000

The Park Plaza Restaurant was once-bustling with attorneys, courthouse, and Office of Emergency Management employees, college students, and regulars from the neighborhood. For many, the family-run Park Plaza was a second dining room where patrons and staff alike knew one another’s names. Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams frequently held meetings with constituents at a coveted corner table. Children ogled the cookies and cakes in the case near the cash register.

Sadly, once the COVID-19 crisis shuttered restaurants for dining-in, even take out orders weren’t enough to keep the beloved restaurant operational. The blog found this message on the diner’s website this morning.

To our loyal customers. As of April 1, 2020 Park Plaza Restaurant will close indefinitely due to the covid -19 pandemic. This was a difficult decision but we feel the right one at this time. Our first priority is the health and safety of our customers and our staff.

We appreciate all the love and support we have received over the last few weeks from all of you. We will reopen when the time is right and will continue to serve the Brooklyn Heights community and beyond like we have been for 37 years.

Please use our contact us form for inquiries.

We at the blog are all thinking of Nick, Dimitri, Eve, Rosie and the entire Park Plaza staff and hope all of our neighborhood restaurants can re-open soon.

Tommy Kafkalas, aka Tommy Eyebrows, has been an entertainment staple at Park Plaza for close to three years.  Each week in the bar, he hosted Tuesday Night Trivia and Family Karaoke on Wednesdays. Early in the evening, the kids would knock out everything from “Let It Go” to “Old Town Road,” and “Hotel California” with full harmonies. Then at 8:00 pm it was “adult swim.” Drinks flowed, laughter and comradery ensued.

Last week, Tommy moved Karaoke to a Zoom conference as an experiment. Tonight, you can log on starting at 6:00 pm with Zoom ID: 387 867 5309 and belt one out. He’s also expanding his schedule. In an email to his mailing list, Tommy shared, “Next week I will be working alongside my Beard and Brows partner Tim to bring you events every day (except Sunday) to keep the morale up!”

Stay safe everyone. And don’t forget to #shoplocal when you can. As Tommy would say, “Eyebrows Out!”


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Seen From Promenade, USNS Comfort Arrives Mon, 30 Mar 2020 23:42:16 +0000

Alerted by PortSide NewYork’s mailing list that the hospital ship USNS Comfort should pass the Statue of Liberty at 10:00 a.m., your correspondent walked the short distance from his building to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at 9:57, carefully observing social distancing. The big ship – 900 feet long and 70,000 gross tons – was right on time.  It was a dreary, gray morning; the ship’s white hull and superstructure did not contrast well with the sky or water.

Comfort is now docked at Pier 90, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She has a full complement of medical personnel and 1,000 beds. Her purpose will be to handle the overflow of non-COVID-19 patients who would otherwise be treated in hospitals on land.

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Post Office Workers Walk Out for Lack of Protective Gear Sat, 28 Mar 2020 01:49:01 +0000

We have it on good authority – our mail carrier, who was here yesterday – that there may be no mail delivery for several days, because the Postal Service has failed to deliver sufficient protective gear – gloves and masks – to workers at the main Brooklyn post office (photo; By Beyond My Ken – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Can you blame them? We hope they get the needed supplies soon.

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Montague Bid Update-March 26th Fri, 27 Mar 2020 18:53:32 +0000

The Montague BID has another helpful update with additions to the businesses and services that are open with links to their websites.

The resource list is extensive and includes, but is not limited to, business supports and tools, social services, volunteer opportunities, ways to help your neighbors, housing, mental health and much more. The information is all on the Montague Bid website.

 THANK YOU to everyone that’s been sharing information and resources with us. Please keep it coming. E-mail us at with news, updates, closings, and resources. Follow us on Instagram @montaguebid and Facebook for updates. Stay well.”



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A MESSAGE FROM THE MONTAGUE BID Tue, 24 Mar 2020 19:00:26 +0000

“Thanks again to EVERYONE who has been sharing information and resources with us. Keep the information coming!

Here’s a list of businesses on Montague Street that are OPEN as of right now. Click the business name to go to their website. Things are changing so quickly, so be sure to check the business website and follow them on social media for up to the minute changes, menus, specials, hours, and closings.
Below the list are important updates for this week so far.
We’ll update things as we get information.

Stay well, Everyone.

BANKS and ATM Machines
Variety Mart
Cohen Optical
Pearl Vision
Haagen Dazs
Food Delivery Services:
Brooklyn Heights Laundry
Montague Cleaners
(1) Staff at New York Small Business Development Center is available to help small businesses navigate disaster loan applications and answer all questions related to the current COVID-19 situation for small businesses. Contact the Brooklyn branch by phone at 718-797-0187 or by email at
(2) The federal government has authorized the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19. These loans will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis for eligible businesses in New York State. Click here for more information.
(3) SBA is offering assistance with loan applications online here, by phone at (800) 659-2955, or by email at Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call (800) 877-8339.
4) Information about Empire State Disaster Recovery loans and resources is available here
(5) New York State Entrepreneur Assistance Center is offering guidance and information here
(1) Credit Card Relief and Bank Information. Some banks and credit cards are offering relief from payments and interest rates. Click here to find out more.
(2) Meals for Kids. Beginning on Monday, March 23, the New York Public Schools will be distributing meals at more than 400 sites throughout the City. Click here for locations and more information.
(3) Google’s coronavirus website is up. Click here to see it and keep up to date
(4) Entertainment. Here are a few links to some free online entertainment to add some levity to your days and nights:
(1) As of today, March 22 at 8pm all businesses must close until further notice unless they are considered an essential business. Essential businesses and essential workers may continue to operate as normal unless a special restriction has been placed on them (e.g. restaurants may only provide take out and delivery. For a list of essential services and essential workers, click here
(2) Tips for Small Businesses Owners:
  • Talk to your landlord about your situation.
  • Call your insurance
  • Call your credit card company and see what they are offering
  • Keep written records of all of the above emails, calls, texts and conversations, when they happened, next steps and outcomes.
(3) Need free advice? The Brooklyn Small Business Development Center may be able to help. Click here for more information.
(4) The IRS/Treasury/Labor has announced help regarding Tax Credits and Paid Leave. It may be worth you chatting with your accountant. Click here for the website with more information.
(5) Grantspace has put together a resource page for artists and non-profits to find assistance for financial hardship. Go here and the NYFA is giving $5,000 grants to artists.
(6) The Hebrew Free Loan Society is offering interest-free loans. Click here for more information
(7) New York State’s Shared Work Program provides an alternative to laying off workers during business downturns Watch the video which explains how it works and how to apply, here’s the website
(8) NYC Small Business Services – Employee Retention Grant Program application process is now live. This program is available to New York City businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months. Businesses can access up to $27,000. For more information and to apply, click here
(9) The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans offers up to $2 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. For more information, click here
(10) Information about deferred mortgage and tax payments along with daily updates from Governor Andrew Cuomo, can be found here
(11) File for tax abatements here
(12) Information from Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York can be found here
(13) For information from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, click here
(14) Job Seekers click here to keep up to date on available resources
(15) The Montague BID Ambassadors have increased cleaning in public spaces, and are observing strict sanitary protocols such as frequent hand washing and social distancing.
(16) All events remain canceled until further notice. Follow our social media (Instagram and Facebook) for future event updates.
(17) If you have a need, an idea or something to share with the community, please reach out to us here.
(18) New York Police Department has continued normal operations and they are asking the public to call the non-emergency number 311 for any issues that are not life threatening, which will help keep the 911 line and staff available for emergencies.
(19) Stay safe and up-to-date. Follow the CDC webpage and WHO webpage and New York City’s webpage for the most up-to-date information.
(20) Need to get out for some exercise? The Parks are still open! Enjoy yourself and practice social distancing
(21) To receive text updates from the City, Text COVID to 692-692
If you or someone that you know needs personal help beyond what is mentioned above:
(1) Invisible Hands can help with groceries and prescription deliveries for vulnerable people. Visit to request assistance.
(2) If you are feeling extremely anxious, depressed or hopeless, text 741741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. This service is free, confidential and available 24/7. For more information, visit
Can you lend a hand?
(1) Restaurants need our help! Order takeout or delivery. Tell Congress restaurants need help. Text RECOVERY to 52886 #restaurantrecovery
(2) Shop local. Shop online. Many of our businesses are offering gift cards. Visit their websites or our Instagram feed @montaguebid to keep up to date on the latest information.
(3) Kindness. We’re all in this together.
  • Check on neighbors
  • Offer to shop for a senior in your building who may be vulnerable
  • Report price gouging to 311
  • Make eye contact and smile with people on the street while you’re social distancing — it goes a long way during times of isolation
  • If you have a doorman or maintenance person in your building, think about ordering them a meal or giving them a gift card
  • If you can, tip and thank delivery people.
(4) Invisible Hands: If you’re healthy and able to, sign up with the nonprofit to help deliver groceries, prescriptions and whatever else they may need to their doorstep. Visit them at
Special thanks to all of you who continue to support our neighboring business by purchasing gift cards, shopping online and ordering take out and delivery.
Click here to join Neil Diamond in a little Sweet Caroline handwashing song.
Stay well, stay safe and shop local.”
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No GreenMarket Tomorrow; May Resume Thursday Mon, 23 Mar 2020 14:20:20 +0000

Alert reader Ann of Orange advises us there will be no Borough Hall GreenMarket tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24 (and none at Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday, March 25) “while officials work out further containment steps,” but that they are “[e]xpected to reopen after that.” We’ll keep you posted. Update: reader KBells40 says the GrowNYC Blog indicates the Borough Hall market will be open Thursday. It also indicates that the Union Square market, which is closed today, will be open Wednesday.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park During PAUSE Mon, 23 Mar 2020 01:25:22 +0000

Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau has issued the following guidance for use of the park while New York is on PAUSE:

The health and safety of our staff, visitors, and community is our top priority. While the Park is open, please note that it is open for passive use and solitary recreation only. We encourage people to walk their dog, go for a run, or just spend a few minutes outside. While in the Park, please be sure to practice good social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet apart from others.

In the interest of everyone’s wellbeing, areas of the Park where social distancing is not practical (e.g., Pier 6 Volleyball Courts, Pier 2 Basketball and Handball Courts) are closed until further notice. All athletic permits for Pier 5 have been suspended, including Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Youth Soccer League.

Additionally, Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center, Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO, and Brooklyn Pubic Library Annex are all closed until further notice.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB

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Special Hours for Seniors Only at Local Grocery Stores [EDITED WITH MORE STORES] Thu, 19 Mar 2020 02:45:48 +0000 Of course, the best thing for everyone would be to stay inside as much as possible. But for people over 60 and others more vulnerable to COVID-19 who must shop for themselves, the following local grocery stores will provide special hours for those folks only at:

Key Food, 169 Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn Heights):
7:00 am-9:00 am (unable to confirm, please call ahead)

Stop and Shop, 625 Atlantic Avenue (Atlantic Center):
6:00 am-7:30 am

Whole Foods, 214 3rd Street (Gowanus):
7:00 am-8:00 am

Target, 139 Flatbush Avenue (Atlantic Center):
Every Wednesday, 8:00 am-9:00 am


All Trader Joe’s:  9:00 am-10:00 am

All Walgreen’s:  Tuesdays 8:00 am-9:00 am (with discounts for 55 and over all day Tuesday)

Also, Trader Joe’s staff “will maintain an additional line outside the front door for our senior customers. This will ensure that those customers in need will have an expedited entrance to the store to help make their experience a more positive one.”

Why senior hours? Stop & Shop explains in this press release that:

  • These hours are to help our more vulnerable customers shop in a less crowded environment, if they prefer.
  • We plan to make these hours available EVERY day during this period, so it’s not necessary for everyone to come on the first day. This could result in large crowds, the very situation we are looking to prevent as it will make it more difficult for customers to practice social distancing.
  • While we recognize we may be experiencing product shortages in some areas, our stores receive deliveries throughout the day so our shelves will be replenished for shoppers at all hours. We are making our best efforts to have products available across high-demand categories throughout the day.
  • Stop & Shop has implemented added cleaning and sanitation efforts, which will continue throughout the day at all stores.
  • Finally, when you shop for your family, be sure to keep other families in mind. Shop responsibly and buy just what you need.

Let’s all drop a note for our elderly and vulnerable neighbors and ask if they need anything. We’re all in this together.

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DeBlasio Finally Closes NYC Public Schools Sun, 15 Mar 2020 22:59:42 +0000

After mounting pressure, NYC Mayor Bill Deblasio finally made the decision to shutter NYC public schools effective Monday, March 16th.

This is a decision I have taken with no joy…I regret to have to announce that our public schools will be closed. There is no school tomorrow and we will be suspending our public schools until after our Spring vacation…We will make a first attempt to re-open our schools on Monday, April 20th. But I have to be honest, we are dealing with a lot of unknowns and a lot of challenges. …We may not have an opportunity to re-open them for the remainder of the school year.”

The goal is to roll out remote learning on Monday, March 23rd. In addition, DeBlasio plans to set up multiple “specialized sites” within the five boroughs to support the children of “essential workers” such as Transit, Healthcare, First Responders, etc. Schools will also be outfitted as “grab and go” locations for much-needed meals. The DOE will also be working to supply technology to as many children as possible.

The DOE lagged behind private schools such as St. Ann’s, Brooklyn Friends, Poly Prep and Packer who all closed their doors last week. The United Federation of Teachers had also threatened a lawsuit if NYC schools were to remain open on Monday.

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More Coronavirus Updates: Borough President Adams, BPL, BHS, BBP Fri, 13 Mar 2020 01:56:23 +0000

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (photo) has announced that, starting this coming Monday, March 16, all events at Borough Hall are cancelled, excluding “Grow Brooklyn Free Tax Prep, for which appointments remain necessary, pending eligibility.”  The Constituent Assistance Center won’t be available for walk-ins, but can be reached through email – – or by calling 718-820-7800.

The Brooklyn Public Library is suspending “public programming and events” from tomorrow, March 13 until March 31. More details are found on the BPL website. This decision was made in conjunction with the New York and Queens public libraries, who, along with BPL, issued this joint statement:

The decision to cancel library programs was not taken lightly, as programs such as story times, technology training classes, and English language classes are lifelines for so many. But considering the current situation, and the need to limit large crowds, this was the most responsible path forward to support the health and well-being of our communities.

Libraries will remain open during their normal hours, and will “continue to offer access to books, public computers, wi-fi, expert staff recommendations, and a variety of resources and computers dedicated to the Census.”

Brooklyn Historical Society will be closed to the public and all public programs cancelled from March 13 through March 31. Any registration fees or ticket purchases for these events will be refunded. BHS says: “This decision was not made lightly. We know that this is the best way to support ongoing efforts to protect our city and its inhabitants.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park will, of course, remain open, but the Environmental Educational Center will be closed from March 13 to 31.


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East and West Wellness Heads South Thu, 12 Mar 2020 21:13:10 +0000

I can’t remember who wrote in the comments a while back about the good experience that they had at East and West Wellness on Clark Street, but based on the signs on the door, I hope that person is doing OK…

Seen on Wednesday evening:


Seen on Thursday morning:



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Dog Poop Vigilante Redux 2020 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 01:55:12 +0000

[Warning: Do not read this while eating, or if you generally have a weak stomach.]

Long time readers may recall the dog poop vigilante of 2011 who took matters into her own hands and taped signs around two lumps of dog feces left on Hicks St. reading, “Pick up your sh*t or don’t have a dog” and “What kind of lazy person leaves dog sh*t?” Why was she driven to such extreme measures? Her one-year-old almost picked up a log with his bare hands.

This morning, while walking through Cadman park at about 9:00 a.m., I came upon a fresh, still-wet pool of dog diarrhea that showed a half-hearted, shameless, and narcissistic attempt at clean up. If you’ve ever been to Cadman park on a nice day, you’ve seen the masses of kids rolling around on the turf.

20200309_190924I mean, look at that. I couldn’t just leave that there for someone’s toddler to roll in it or grab at it. So, I marched to the field office behind the monument and spoke to a Parks worker. She was very nice and grateful for the heads up and said, “We’ll be clearing the litter soon anyway.” Not trusting how long that would take, I went back home, printed a sign, and covered up the biohazard. By that time, there were already four tiny tots toodling around on the turf.


Asked for comment, the O.G. dog poop vigilante said, “It’s nice to see that someone has carried the torch to keep curious toddlers safe from disease in the Brooklyn Heights community.”

To the very selfish, very reckless offender: The EPA classifies dog poop as a toxic pollutant in the same category as chemical and oil spills. If your dog is sick and has diarrhea, I’m guessing it’s even more hazardous. Do you really need a lesson on zoonotic diseases given the recent news?

To all dog owners who use Cadman as a dog run before 9:00 a.m.: Please look out for each other. As one reader commented in the past, “If you see sh*t, say sh*t.”


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BHA Annual Meeting: BQE, Clark Street Station, Empty Storefronts, and More Sat, 29 Feb 2020 22:27:01 +0000

Wednesday’s Brooklyn Heights Association annual meeting began with a summary, by BHA President Martha Bakos Dietz, of BHA’s accomplishments during the previous year.  First among these was the apparent elimination of the city Department of Transportation’s plan to demolish the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and replace it with a temporary six lane highway. Both the expert panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have now rejected that plan. Still, Ms. Bakos Dietz said, there is work to be done. The BHA has joined with A Better Way NYC and the Cobble Hill Association to form the Coalition for the BQE Transformation which, in conjunction with other affected community groups, will strive to assure a plan for the future of the BQE that respects the needs of these communities and realistically reflects future transportation needs. In the photo above (by and © Andrew Porter) Ms. Bakos Dietz is shown holding the new poster designed for the Coalition, which she said can now replace the “No Highway to Hell” posters.

The planned eight month closure of the Clark Street subway station to replace its three decrepit elevators will, Ms. Bakos Dietz said, begin sometime in 2021. The Transit Authority has given assurances that it will take steps to help the merchants whose shops line the arcade outside the turnstiles by putting up signs that inform the public that the arcade, and the shops, are open during the construction.  During the later question and answer session, someone noted that during an earlier and shorter closure of the station about twenty years ago, the merchants had been given rent abatements.

The Brooklyn House of Detention is outside but close to the Heights, and plans for its expansion, in conjunction with the City’s planned closure of Rikers Island, are a concern for Heights residents. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the existing House of Detention is now closed and will be demolished. Its replacement, scheduled to be completed in 2026, will, thanks to advocacy by the BHA and other community groups, be much lower than the City’s original plan.

Rats have been a problem on the Promenade. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the City Parks Department will provide twenty rat-proof trash receptacles, and increase extermination efforts. During the Q&A period, a Heights resident said the area below the circle at the north end of the Promenade and the walkway paralleling Columbia Heights is a dumping ground for trash and an ideal rat habitat. Andrew Porter pointed out that this area, which is adjacent to the BQE, is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. Ms. Bakos Dietz said, “We have lots of experience dealing with them.”

Finally, Ms. Bakos Dietz said there is a six month moratorium in effect on film shoots in the North Heights; when it expires a six month moratorium for the South Heights will become effective.


Ms. Bakos Dietz was recognized for her three years of service as the BHA’s President. Following her report, WNET-13 host and Heights resident Tom Stewart (in red tie in the photo above by C. Scales for BHB; at left in the photo is BHA Executive Director Lara Birnback) presented awards for community service. The first was to architect, urban planner, and Heights resident Marc Wouters (at right in photo above) for his work with the BHA in designing alternative routes for the BQE.


The other was to a group of local residents who formed the Promenade Gardens Mapping Project to map the locations of plantings in the Promenade Gardens. The map will be a useful resource should BQE work cause damage to the Gardens. Members of the group are in the photo above (by and © Andrew Porter), with Mr. Stewart standing behind them.


Following the community awards there was a panel discussion on the topic “Empty Storefronts and Our Commercial Corridors: How Can We Help Great Local Businesses Survive and Thrive?” The panelists were (left to right in the photo above, by and © Andrew Porter): Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of CommerceDeborah Marton, Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute and a Heights resident; and Nur Asri, Senior Research Analyst at Streetsense. The moderator, at right, was New York Times reporter and Heights resident Eliza Shapiro.  It quickly became evident that the panelists didn’t think there was any primary cause of the proliferation of vacant commercial properties, or any single or easy solution. High rents have been an important contributing factor, but they have recently been declining. On line shopping has disrupted retail for items like clothing, and even groceries, but it hasn’t affected the demand for restaurants or for services like barber shops and hair stylists, nail salons, and urgent care facilities. Some traditional stores survive because they provide good value and service, and because of a loyal customer base. In some neighborhoods, like Williamsburg, new construction has increased the supply of available commercial space while in others, like Brownsville, spaces that become vacant find few takers. High property taxes, regulations and bureaucratic inefficiency, an example being the long waiting time for liquor licenses, are an impediment to new business formations.

The panelists were unenthusiastic about the efficacy, or desirability, of a “vacancy tax.” During the Q&A, an audience member noted that an owner of a vacant property could, assuming they had another property or properties generating income, get a tax write off for the vacant property.  One panelist suggested that property owners should be encouraged to allow temporary “pop-up” users of vacant spaces.  Perhaps most important was the advice to be loyal to any local business that you love.

For more detail on the BHA Annual Meeting, see  Mary Frost’s Eagle story.

Addendum: an item I should have added to the original post was that, during the Q&A, one audience member raised a perennial issue; that of helicopter noise. He asked if there was any reason helicopters had been hovering above Remsen Street. Another person suggested that an increase in helicopter use of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport might lead to hovering while waiting for landing space. Someone else mentioned the Uber helicopter service from downtown to JFK. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the BHA is aware of the problem, and has contacted the organizers of Stop the Chop to plan a response.


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Mulchfest This Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Plaza Wed, 08 Jan 2020 23:28:21 +0000

It’s that time of year again when ornaments and stockings are put away and your once green, fragrant tree drops dry needles all over your apartment. Bring your formerly festive tree to Brooklyn Bridge Plaza this Saturday, January 11th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Mulchfest. Trees must be free of all decorations and netting.

“Watch your tree get chipped in front of you, and get a free bag of mulch to take home.” Then grab a hot chocolate and check out the “Touch-A-Truck” event at Water and New Dock Streets.

Photo credit: KissClipart/Creative Commons


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Electeds Ask de Blasio and FAA to Ban Non-Essential Helicopter Flights Tue, 05 Nov 2019 04:18:27 +0000

We previously noted that three Congressional Representatives, including Nydia Velazquez, who represents Brooklyn Heights, co-sponsored a bill introduced in Congress that would effectively ban all non-essential helicopter flights, including tourist and commuter flights, over all boroughs of New York City. AM New York reports that these same Representatives, along with three others, all from the New York City area, have written to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him to ban such non-essential flights

because of the risk to New Yorkers’ quality of life, health and safety, saying they’d already written to him about the impact of helicopters several times over the course of his administration.

The AM New York story also notes that these Representatives had earlier written to the Federal Aviation Administration, asking it to use its authority to ban such flights.

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Bill to Ban Non-Essential Helicopter Flights Over City Introduced in Congress Tue, 29 Oct 2019 02:32:13 +0000

The Eagle’s Mary Frost reports that three U.S. Rrepresentatives, all of whom serve districts at least partly in Brooklyn, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (photo), whose New York 7th District includes all of Brooklyn Heights, and Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, have introduced the Improving Helicopter Safety Bill of 2019. If enacted, the bill would ban all non-essential helicopter flights over New York City. The Eagle story quotes Rep. Maloney, the bill’s chief sponsor, as saying its prime motivation is safety:

I truly, deeply believe that non-essential flight should be banned from New York City. It is just too densely populated, it is too dangerous, and there is absolutely no safe place to land.

What flights does the bill consider “essential”? According to Rep. Maloney’s website these are essential:

law enforcement, emergency response, disaster response, medical services, or for the public interest; does not affect military aircrafts [sic].

“Eye in the Sky” traffic monitor flights by news media are considered “for the public interest.” Flights considered “nonessential” are those by

any helicopter flown by a pilot with a Part 135 or Part 91 license (i.e. any private or commercial pilot) whose purpose is not “essential”

which would include tourist or commuter flights, including the Uber flights from Manhattan to JFK. Nonessential flights would be prohibited from

flying in covered airspace of any city with a population of over 8 million people and with a population density of over 25,000 people per square mile—including waterways within the city’s jurisdiction.

LaGuardia and JFK airports are excluded from “covered airspace” but helicopters must “fly through the shortest, most direct routes possible to access or depart from airports.”

While this legislation does not address the issue of helicopter noise, if enacted it would of necessity have the effect of reducing it noticeably. In Gothamist’s estimation, “[t]he fate of this new attempt at a ban is up in the air, for now.”

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