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Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:44:14 EST

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Employees of the month: Tellers foil snake’s back-to-back attempted bank robberies

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:42:48 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Anthony Rotunno

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

Two brave tellers thwarted a would-be thief’s back-to-back attempts to rob a pair of North Brooklyn banks this week by refusing to comply when he demanded cash.

The lowlife first struck at a Bushwick financial institution on Knickerbocker Avenue near Stanhope Street on Tuesday, when he approached an employee around 10:02 am and slipped her a note requesting the green, police said, before asking “Are you going to give me the money?”

But the fearless worker denied his demand, and walked away from her station, cops said.

The man, empty-handed, then fled the bank on foot, heading towards Flushing Avenue on Knickerbocker Avenue, according to a report.

The nogoodnik reemerged on Wednesday at a Fort Greene bank on Myrtle Avenue near Vanderbilt Avenue around 4:46 pm, when he again walked up to a teller and handed him a note demanding bills, authorities said.

But that employee also did not acquiesce and left his station, and the unsuccessful snake fled on foot on Vanderbilt Avenue.

Authorities described the suspect as in his 40s and five-feet-seven-inches tall.

The attempted robberies followed a string of seven other holdups at financial institutions across Brooklyn, in which cops said a good-for-nothing stole cash using a similar letter-passing technique. But a preliminary investigation revealed that crook is not the same guy wanted for the recent Bushwick and Fort Greene crimes, a police spokesman said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

Reach Deputy Editor Anthony Rotunno at arotunno@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303.

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Sailing along: Industry returns to Navy Yard as massive developments move closer to completion

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:48:12 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThis old shipyard is cruising into its next life. Builders are hard at work finishing five projects that will transform Fort Greene’s once-industrial Navy Yard into a new commercial hub when all are completed by early next year. The developments will boost the job count at the nationally recognized historic site by more than 10,000, bringing the number of workers on the campus to its highest amount since the yard’s days as a ship-building facility, according to a honcho. “We’re in our largest phase of expansion since the navy left, essentially since World War II,” said Clare Newman, the executive vice-president of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency that facilitates construction projects on the site. “We’re going from 7,000 people working on the yard daily today, to between 17,000 and 20,000 in the next two to three years, which is a pretty extraordinary surge in growth in such a short period.” Here’s a look at the projects, which are in various stages of completion, going up on the 300-acre, East-River facing campus: Green Manufacturing Center Workers finished rehabilitating the building on Sixth Street between Morris Avenue and Market Street in 2016, and its four tenants are now inside, with their spaces in various states of completion, according to Newman. Companies already hard at work at the site include high-tech armor producer Crye Precision, which makes gear for the United States military, and a collaborative workspace full of growing technology firms, New Lab. And businesses still putting the finishing touches on their workplaces include gourmet coffee-pourer Brooklyn Roasting Company, which opened in nearby Dumbo in 2009, and chocolatier Mast Brothers, a local company that left a bad taste in some Brooklynites’ mouths in 2015 when foodies accused it of charging top dollar for subpar candy. Building 77 Navy Yard bigwigs celebrated the grand reopening of its second fully refurbished building last November, but tenants are still moving into the structure on Eighth Avenue between Paulding and South streets that will become a new center for local food-and-drink production upon their arrival. Future occupants include the Manhattan-based purveyor of smoked fish, bagels, and caviar, Russ and Daughters, and beer-maker Transmitter Brewery, which is moving its operation from Queens to a new headquarters inside the tower — the largest of the Navy Yard’s new developments. And Building 77, which will boast jobs for than 3,000 workers alone when fully active, will also feature a public space where locals can come to enjoy the many delicacies those laborers produce on its premises, Newman said. “What we’re trying to create here is a food-manufacturing hub where the Navy Yard can literally open its door to the surrounding community,” she said. “In a few months, you’ll able to come here and see beer getting brewed and babka getting baked.” Dock 72 The 16-story structure built from the ground up at 63 Flushing Ave., which sits along the waterfront near a stop on the citywide ferry service, is set to open this fall, if not before, according to Newman. Two-thirds of its space will house offices for design and technology companies and amenities for tenants that include an outdoor basketball court, rooftop conference center, and gym, she said, while the remaining third will be occupied by shared-workspace provider WeWork. Admiral’s Row Developers demolished all but two of the stately naval officers’ residences that once occupied the strip of Flushing Avenue between Navy Street and N. Elliot Place, and the newly built, five-story steel structure that will replace them — which will contain retailers including the highly anticipated outpost of beloved grocery store Wegmans — is well on its way to completion, Newman said. Navy Yard officials told [...]



Planks for the memories! Locals slam landmarks agency for threatening to rip up Coney Boardwalk’s iconic wood

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperCall it a wood-be landmark. Coney Islanders blasted the city Landmarks Preservation Commission at a Feb. 14 public meeting, complaining that landmarking the iconic Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk would do nothing to protect its signature wooden structure. Agency reps promised that alternate materials such as concrete and recycled plastic would still recall the appearance of the 2.5-mile, 95-year-old Boardwalk, but one local insisted that idea was preposterous, and those materials would change the essence of the walkway forever. “If the boards can be replaced by concrete that has a board-like pattern, are you seriously suggesting that that should suffice in terms of recalling what the Boardwalk was but no longer is?” asked Rob Burnstein, the president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance. “What makes it a Boardwalk is having boards.” The agency recommended the Boardwalk for scenic landmark status, which would protect its existence as a landscape and the general parameters of its physical presence, including its length and width, according to a spokeswoman. But even individual landmark status — which applies to the exterior of individual structures — would not necessarily protect the wood, because parts of its surface have been replaced with concrete and recycled plastic lumber beginning in 2009. But another local said that a wooden surface is a fundamental part of the Boardwalk, and that it is already a landmark in the minds of locals who logged miles of memories walking along it in years’ past. “The wooden nature of the landmark is absolutely integral to its identity and people’s experience of it. It’s an experiential question — it’s the experience one has when one is on the Boardwalk,” said Andrew Sillen, a member of the alliance. “My grandmother took me to that Boardwalk every Tuesday morning as a child, and I can tell you, the experience of a child who has grown up in a concrete jungle, to experience a natural material under their feet, that’s profound.” If the agency granted the Boardwalk scenic landmark status, it would only act in an advisory capacity in regulating and maintaining the Boardwalk, with the 11-member city Public Design Commission having final say in maintenance and material matters. But another local said that the commission would be unqualified to maintain the Boardwalk since it doesn’t even have a coastal engineer among its members — which a spokeswoman confirmed — possibly leading it to ignore the flooding and erosion problems that the concrete sections exacerbated during Hurricane Sandy. “Concrete is known to increase wave action, it doesn’t attenuate it in any form,” said Ida Sanoff, the executive director of the National Resources Protective Association. “We cannot ignore that this is a shorefront community and there are tens of thousands of units of housing that directly abut this Boardwalk.” Locals have led a years-long fight for both the wood and an environmental impact study, with the local community board even backing members of the alliance who file a lawsuit calling for an environmental impact study. But the Public Design Commission does not commission studies and relies on research by the Parks Department — which currently has jurisdiction over the Boardwalk — to determine the best approach to issues related to coastal erosion, according to a commission spokeswoman. Locals also suggested the Parks Department wanted a concrete Boardwalk because, at $126 per square foot, it is cheaper than the $144-per-square-foot wood, and that it would be more durable for the police and Parks vehicles that sometimes cruise down the walkway. Sillen said the landmarks agency was flouting its responsibilities by simply acting as a mouthpiece for the Parks Department. “It’s not the Landmarks Co[...]



Beer of the year: Breweries compete for the Ruppert’s Cup during Beer Week

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Bill RoundyBrooklyn PaperTheir Cup runneth over! Seven Kings County breweries will battle each other — and a handful of outer-borough brewers — to see who makes the best beer as part of New York City Beer Week, which starts on Feb. 24. The winner of the Ruppert’s Cup competition will not only be able to lord it over the other members of the New York City Brewer’s Guild, said the president of that group, but will hoist an enormous stein of suds. “If you win the Ruppert’s Cup, you get bragging rights,” said Kelly Taylor, the co-founder of Kelso Beer Company. “And it’s a pretty cool trophy.” The Ruppert’s Cup — named for 19th century brewer and Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert — is a five-gallon keg with a handle welded to the side, said Taylor, so it can hold a lot of beer. Each competitor for the Cup must craft a special brew, made entirely with ingredients grown in the state of New York. The grains native to the Empire State lend themselves to darker, more complex beers, said Taylor. “I think they lend themselves more to ales, because they’re a little richer, have a little more structure and depth of character,” he said, though he noted that inventive brewers have made a wide variety of brews with the ingredients. The hops native to New York can be used for almost any beer, said the head brewer of Gowanus’s Strong Rope Brewery. “They lend themselves well to any beer style you can think of,” said Jason Sahler, who will brew an India Pale Ale for the competition. “The quality of the ingredients has increased exponentially in the five years that they have been around. It’s up to the brewer now, to create something out of this new palette.” In addition to state malts and hops, Flatbush brewery Island to Island plans to use local apples and cranberries to make a fruity pilsner, while Coney Island Beer plans to serve a English barleywine with a whopping 10.5% abv. SixPoint will tap a curious New England-style India Pale Lager, Randolph beer will pour a French-style biere de garde, Greenpoint’s Keg and Lantern will brew two concoctions: a pale ale and a pilsner. Five Boroughs Brewing Company, based in Sunset Park, will make a “Rooftop Wheat” hefeweisen that is perfect for the coming spring weather, said its head brewer. “We called our beer Rooftop Wheat because we thought it was the perfect style of beer to enjoy on rooftops across the city as winter turns to spring,” said Nick Griffin. Each brewer will serve its entry at the Beer Week Opening Bash party on Feb. 24, but voting will not take place until the final event of Beer Week, at a tasting brunch at Randolph Beer in Dumbo on March 4. But the competition is not especially fierce, noted the Coney Island brewer Matt McCall. “The craft industry is one that is very inclusive and — to us brewers at least — not based on competition, as we think that anybody drinking craft is winning,” he said. “With that being said, the Ruppert’s Cup allows us to have some friendly competition between neighbors, and raise our game to the next level.” More than two dozen Beer Week events will take place in Brooklyn during the 10-day festival. Here are a few of the highlights: Opening Bash More than 30 beer makers from New York City, and another 50 of the best breweries beyond the boroughs, will serve unlimited samples to guests. Brooklyn Expo Center (72 Noble St. at Franklin Street in Greenpoint, www.nycbrewed.com). Feb. 24 at 6 pm. $80. Talking beer Members of the Kings County Brewers Collective, along with non-Brooklyn brewers from Grimm, Pipeworks, Barrier, and Equilibrium breweries, tell stories of the brewing life at this panel discussion. The Well (272 Meserole St. between Bushwick Place and Waterbury Street in Bushwick, www.thewellbrooklyn.com). Feb[...]



Police: Man found unconscious in running car tries to punch officers

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:47:17 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

72nd Precinct

Sunset Park–Windsor Terrace

Flail fail

Police arrested a man who allegedly tried to punch an officer who found him unconscious in a running car on 61st Street on Feb. 14.

Cops found the man passed out behind the wheel of a 2006 Honda Accord with keys in the ignition, engine running, and his foot on the accelerator near Fifth Avenue at 2:10 am, according to the report.

He vomited and opened the windows after the officers tried to rouse him, but when he finally exited the car, he ignored the officers’ commands and put his hand in his waistband, prompting an officer to try to remove them, authorities allege.

The man then allegedly tried to punch the officer and refused to be handcuffed, flailing and swinging his arms, the report states. Police also found a small bag of white powder and a cut straw with residue in his pocket, according to the report.

Phone a friend

A duo of thieves stole three iPhones from a Fifth Avenue phone dealer on Feb. 12.

The pair robbed the store between 51st and 52nd streets around 5 pm, when one distracted an employee while the other grabbed the phones and fled, police reported.

One-two punch

Police arrested a man who they say punched another man and stole his iPhone on Seventh Avenue on Feb. 13.

The man allegedly approached the victim at 56th Street at around 11:15 pm and punched him on his left arm before grabbing the phone and fleeing. Police arrested him the following day.

Didn’t make it far

Cops cuffed a man for stealing a woman’s iPhone on Eighth Avenue on Feb. 13.

The woman was near 61st Street at 10:45 pm talking on her phone when the man approached her on a bike and grabbed the phone before fleeing on Eighth Avenue towards 59th Street, according to a police report. Officers arrested him the following day.

— Julianne McShane

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Police: Knife-wielding man threatens guy for not supporting Trump

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:45:08 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

78th Precinct

Park Slope

He’s great, just fantastic

Cops arrested a man who they say pulled a knife on another guy for refusing to pledge allegiance to President Trump on Seventh Avenue on Feb. 6

The victim told police he was between Union and President streets at 5:15 pm when the suspect approached and asked if he supported the Commander in Chief and former “The Apprentice” star.

But when the man explained that he was no fan of the Don, the suspect responded by screaming “f--- you,” and pulled a knife on the victim, according to police.

The victim quickly dial 911, and the suspect fled rather than face police, but officers managed to catch up with him later that day and cuff him on menacing charges, cops said.

Bin burglar

A thief stole a Prospect Place resident’s brown compost pail from outside his home on Feb. 6.

The thief swiped the 70-year-old man’s city-issued brown bin, which costs $50 and is rodent proof to permit storage of compost, from outside his home between Fifth and Sixth avenues at 10:30 am.

Fight night

Investigators tracked down a man accused of slashing two guys inside an Atlantic Avenue arena’s management office on Feb. 2.

The suspect allegedly slugged one of the victims in the face following an argument inside the arena near Flatbush Avenue at 6:05 am, before snatching a pair of scissors and splitting open the guy’s cheek, according to police.

That’s when the second victim moved in to breakup the bloody brawl, causing the scissor-wielding suspect to scratch him on the forehead and on his left hand, cops said.

Police department sleuths tracked down the suspect two days later and charged him with felony assault, according to police.

— Colin Mixson

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Baddie socks bodega employee for cheap cigars

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:53:19 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

88th Precinct

Fort Greene–Clinton Hill

Up in smoke

A ne’er-do-well assaulted a Myrtle Avenue bodega employee for $3 cigars on Feb. 12, police said.

The baddie took the black and mild cigars from the grocery store near Washington Park at about 4 pm, and when the employee confronted him, he punched him in the face, causing a gash to his left eye, officials said.

The villain fled down Myrtle Avenue in a dark-colored Nissan sports utility vehicle, cops said.

Caught in the act

Cops cuffed a teen for threatening to cut two guys with a knife on Myrtle Avenue on Feb. 14.

The victims told police they and the suspect had gotten into a verbal argument near Saint Edwards Street at about 6:45 pm when the 15-year-old whipped out a knife from his waistband and tried to cut them both by thrusting it forward and swinging it, officials said. One of the victims picked up the knife from the ground after the suspect hurled it, cops said.

Street slashing

A snake slashed a man in the hand with a knife after getting into a fight at a Flatbush Avenue Extension restaurant on Feb. 16, police said.

The 52-year-old security worker told police he was outside the diner near Fulton Street at 11 pm when the cur started arguing with him after getting kicked out of the eatery. The baddie took a knife from his front pocket and slashed the victim in his hand, officials said. The criminal fled on foot down DeKalb Avenue and paramedics transported the victim to Brooklyn Hospital, police said.

Grab and go

Some sneak swiped a guy’s bag from a Flushing Avenue building on Feb. 10, cops said.

The 35-year-old victim told police he had placed his bag down against a wall inside the Navy Yard between Seventh and Eighth avenues at about 8:30 pm, with a bunch of camera equipment inside, and when he went back to get it at 2 am, it was gone, officials said.

Bye-cycle

Some jerk rode off with a guy’s electric bicycle parked on Myrtle Avenue on Feb. 13, police said.

The worker parked his pricey black-and-red electric bicycle unlocked on the street near Washington Avenue at about 10:20 pm, and when he went to get it 20 minutes later, it was gone, according to authorities.

— Julianne Cuba

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Sneak swipes woman’s purse on A train and uses her credit cards

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:53:19 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

84th Precinct

Brooklyn Heights–DUMBO–Boerum Hill–Downtown

Sneaky straphanger

A jerk swiped a woman’s purse as she was on an A train near Willoughby Street on Feb. 13, police said.

The 42-year-old woman told police she was standing on the train at about 9 am when someone tugged at her purse, and when she hopped off at Jay Street, realized her wallet was gone with her credit cards and cash inside, officials said.

The nogoodnik had time to make charges to her cards before she cancelled them, cops said.

Shop and steal

A baddie took a woman’s bag while she was shopping in a Flatbush Avenue Extension store on Feb. 16, police said.

The sneak grabbed the woman’s bag with her cash and credit cards inside after she had placed it on the floor inside the store near Concord Street at about 3 pm, according to authorities.

Grab and go

A crook stole a guy’s phone after bumping into him on Fulton Street on Feb. 11, police said.

The victim told police he was walking near Lawrence Street a little before 9 pm when the jerk snatched his LG G6 silver phone from his hand and then fled on Fulton Street, cops said.

Now that’s sick!

A malefactor stole a senior’s wallet while she was getting blood work done at a doctor’s office on Court Street on Feb. 5, police said.

The 74-year-old woman told police she had placed her wallet and jacket down on a waiting room chair inside the office near Joralemon Street while getting her blood work done at about noon, and when she came back, her jacket was still there, but her wallet — with her social security, health insurance, and state identification card inside — was gone, according to staff.

Cops reported there’s a camera in the waiting room.

Phantom robber

Some crook broke into a guy’s Pierrepont Street apartment sometime overnight on Feb. 15 and stole his laptop and other electronics, police said.

The victim told police the snake crept into his apartment near Pierrepont Place sometime between Feb. 15 at 3:40 pm and 6:30 am the next day and ran off with his HP laptop and other electronics, officials said. Police said there were no signs of forced entry and no damage.

— Julianne Cuba

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Sore spots: Parking outside Ft. Greene hospital snares ambulances, patients in traffic, staff claims

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperThese spots are to die for. The city must remove metered-parking spaces on DeKalb Avenue outside a Fort Greene hospital because they create traffic that delays ambulances and their sick passengers from getting treatment, the medical center’s staff demanded. “Our patients aren’t getting treated as fast as they should be,” said Brooklyn Hospital Center’s ambulance supervisor, Violet Rodriguez. “There are a lot of issues.” Hospital reps proposed creating a no-standing zone to replace 10 spots between Ashland and Fort Greene places on the side of DeKalb Avenue nearest the facility during Community Board 2’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee meeting on Feb. 15. There are currently metered-parking spaces on both sides of that stretch of DeKalb Avenue — a two-lane, Downtown-bound roadway that also features a bike lane and several bus stops on the B38 line, which, along with food truck operators who set up shop on the street and drivers who double- and triple-park, slow traffic near the medical center to a crawl, according to a Brooklyn Hospital bigwig. And the congestion frequently leaves ambulances trapped on the roadway as they approach the infirmary’s entrance, sometimes forcing paramedics to unload patients who need urgent care on the street, the executive said. “There’s a backup of ambulances and cars that are double parked on top of commercial traffic coming through. And if you have double-parked cars, you have to get the patients out at the sidewalk,” said Brooklyn Hospital’s vice president of external affairs Leroy Charles. Reps from the medical center also warned that a planned expansion of its emergency department — paid for by a $26.2-million grant from the state’s Department of Health — will only further congest the roadway outside the facility if a solution isn’t found before the work begins. “The traffic backs up and it’s creating problems, and will even more so when we begin construction of the emergency room in summer, or early fall, of this year,” Charles said. Many of the community board’s transit gurus, however, questioned whether axing the spots is an effective way to alleviate traffic, especially because the hospital reps’ proposal — while supported by anecdotal evidence and a letter from the Fire Department — didn’t include hard data to back up its claims. The committee members did not vote on the parking-removal request at the meeting, and instead suggested presenters hire an expert to survey the area for more evidence that losing the precious spots would result in substantial benefits. “We have to balance the concerns of residents who drive, and residents who bike, with other things,” said Transportation and Public Safety Committee chairwoman Juliet Cullen-Cheung. “Maintaining parking is a concern, but safety and ambulance access is also a concern.” But the health of sick and dying patients should always take precedence over a few measly parking spaces, according to the committee’s lone voice of dissent. “Why don’t you just vote and give them those spots right now?” asked member Cheryl Gelbs. “If there’s a child in an ambulance that needs to get in there, and we’re talking about someone losing a parking spot — ridiculous!” And street parking isn’t the only change Brooklyn Hospital honchos are pushing for in the area. The medical center’s leaders are set to sell its 21-story office-and-medical tower on Willoughby Street to a residential developer that will likely tear down the building to erect high-rise apartments overlooking Fort Greene Park.Reach report[...]



Fix isn’t in: Gov. doesn’t include process to speed up BQE job in revised budget

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperIt’s the road repair not taken. Gov. Cuomo did not authorize a method to streamline the city-led reconstruction of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway’s deteriorating triple cantilever in his second go at the state budget, sending local lawmakers in Albany back to square one in their fight to allow the design-build process. But Cuomo’s omission is not a dead end, according to the legislators in the state Senate and Assembly, who promised to push for the quicker fix as they and fellow pols craft each house’s own budget proposal over the next few weeks, before convening in mid-March to piece together a final document due on their boss’s desk by April 1. “We are disappointed, but this isn’t the end of the road,” said Brooklyn Heights’ state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon in a joint statement. “We will continue working with the governor’s office and our colleagues to ensure design-build for the BQE is authorized in the final budget that will be negotiated and enacted next month.” The pair of pols and a contingent of concerned locals demanded in letters and at rallies that Cuomo authorize design-build because they say the process — which secures one bid for the project’s construction and design instead of two separate offers for each phase — will fast-track repairs to a portion of the crumbling three-tiered structure that runs from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street by at least two years, and slash more than $100 million from the job’s price tag. Local transit honchos expect that, without using design-build, work on the expressway will start in 2024 and wrap in 2029. But if the streamlined process is allowed, they say that construction could begin as early as 2021 and end in 2026 — the year officials say they will need to boot the more than 16,000 trucks that travel the triple cantilever daily from the expressway and down local streets so that decaying roadway doesn’t collapse beneath their weight. It is not clear why Cuomo neglected to authorize the use of design-build in his original Jan. 16 budget proposal, or in the revision he released on Feb. 16. The governor has repeatedly stated his support for the process, which the state has used in its own projects including the construction of both the new Kosciuszko Bridge and a still-in-progress span named for Cuomo’s father. Both Republicans, including Bay Ridge state Sen. Marty Golden, and Democrats, such as Kavanagh and Simon, embrace design-build, and allowing the city to use it wouldn’t cost Albany a dime, according to its advocates. But the assemblywoman said the governor’s ongoing political feud with Mayor DeBlasio, which has included spats over the city’s subway system and local wildlife, seems a “natural inference” as to why demands for the process are hitting a roadblock. “Whatever the relationship between the mayor and governor, this is an immediate issue,” Simon said. “It’s not about politics, and there really shouldn’t be a city-state rivalry. This is a time when we should all be working together.” Working design-build’s authorization into the final state budget remains the best hope for its proponents, the assemblywoman said, since Albany will be consumed with negotiating the document’s finer points over the next month — leaving lawmakers little time to propose separate legislation — and because the city faces the tight deadline of later this spring to release its requests for proposal for the expressway’s rehabilitation. “The budget sucks all the air out of the room, but it arguably presents an oppor[...]



Joan of arts: Singer curates a women’s music series

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Adam Lucente

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

These musicians are hip!

A superstar of the Lilith Fair women’s music scene will launch a new concert series next month at the Bric House in Fort Greene. “One of Us” singer Joan Osborne curates the “Womanly Hips Presents” series, starting in March with a pair of performances from the Parisian neo-soul duo Les Nubians and the secular gospel group Birds of Chicago. Osborne said she hopes the concerts will promote women working in music today .

“With these shows I particularly want to elevate female voices and female artists,” she said.

“Womanly Hips” was the name of Osborne’s independent record label during the 1990s, and also of her touring company. Osborne, who lives in Boerum Hill, said she does not remember exactly what she was thinking when she came up with the name in the ’90s, but she suspects that it was part of affirming the female form.

“Maybe it’s because I have womanly hips and want to celebrate that fact,” she said.

The first concert in the year-long series will happen on March 1, with a performance by Les Nubians, a pair of Grammy award-winning sisters who combine African music with a unique brand of soul. Brooklyn funk band Igbo will open for the sisters, who now live in Brooklyn.

Osborne is a longtime fan of Les Nubians, and chose them them to launch the series because their eclectic music draws from traditions on multiple continents.

“I love the way they have a multicultural African, French, and urban mix of sounds,” she said.

One week later, Birds of Chicago, a husband-and-wife team that mixes gospel music with folk and soul, will play the second concert in the series. Osborne discovered the group’s music while she was on tour across the pond, she said, and she got in touch soon after.

“I was on tour in the Netherlands and the driver of the van played them,” she said. “I said ‘What an amazing singer. Who is this band?’ ”

More concerts will come later in 2018, said Osborne, who plans to join the bands at each show for a song or two.

Womanly Hips Presents: Les Nubians with Igbo at Bric House (647 Fulton Street between Rockwell Place and Ashland Place in Fort Greene, www.bricartsmedia.org). March 1 at 8 pm. $20 ($15 in advance).

Birds of Chicago with Victory at Bric House. March 8 at 8 pm. $20 ($15 in advance).

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260?2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.

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Elders’ escape: Seniors travel the world in new virtual-reality class

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneCall it a new kind of reality check. Bay Ridge oldsters can now see the world without leaving Southern Brooklyn thanks to a new weekly virtual-reality class that debuted at a neighborhood senior center last month. Elders previously intimidated by technology are especially amazed by the program at the Bay Ridge Center at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Fourth and Ovington avenues, according to the class instructor. “The seniors will often say, ‘I’m not good at technology, I’m not into it, I don’t like it,’ ” said Rachael Marotta. “But once you show them, they think it’s really cool.” Six lucky seniors who sign up early enough get to spend an hour each week wearing large goggles and headphones connected to an iPhone that projects three-dimensional, interactive videos of real-world scenarios — including strolls through the streets of Paris, Hong Kong, London, and Berlin — while Marotta guides them through what they’re seeing and helps with technical glitches. The instructor primarily uses the Ascape and New York Times virtual-reality apps in the class, which the elderly participants have also used to visually walk with a trio of orphaned elephants in Botswana; visit the traditional Hindu festival Holi, the Festival of Colors, in India; and sail with dolphins off the coast of California. But the seniors have also seen more affecting videos, Marotta said, including one on the Times app that tells the stories of displaced people fleeing war in southern Sudan, and another that shows the plights of Syrian refugees in camps. “Most of the videos are more fun or informative rather than serious, but we definitely do some that are serious as well,” she said. One Ridge oldster who attended the class said she most liked that she felt as if she was traveling the world without leaving her chair. “It’s very enjoyable, and you don’t have to go so far,” said Beatrice Carman, after viewing the Holi Festival. Another said the videos left him almost speechless, while inspiring his future travel plans at the same time. “It’s beautiful,” said Antoine Metwalli. “I cannot say anything except it’s amazing. It’s beautiful to see before I go to travel so I get an idea of where to go.” Most of the elders in the class generally share the feeling of being transported to another time and place, according to Marotta. “They feel like they’re really there,” she said. “And some of them are world travelers, some of them are not, so it’s been interesting to hear some people say, ‘I’ve been there before,’ when others have never left the U.S.” Marotta launched the class with the help of former Councilman Vincent Gentile’s $20,000 “Digital Inclusion” grant, which also funded a “tech fair” at the center last spring, and a weekly brain-focused computer-game class, taught by Marotta, that also debuted last month. Funding for the virtual-reality class lasts through June, but the center hopes to secure additional money to keep it going, according to the facility’s deputy executive director, Todd Fliedner. The virtual-reality experience helps the seniors develop greater empathy and awareness for different people and cultures around the world, even as it makes them more comfortable with using technology, Marotta said. “I think it really helps connect people, and it’s really interesting because seniors are kind of the people who are least likely to use technology, but they’re the group of people who can benefit the most.” she said.Reach repo[...]



Pickpocket swipes man’s phone in Beard Street store

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Adam Lucente

for Brooklyn Paper

76th Precinct

Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill–Red Hook

Pick back pocket

A good-for-nothing stole a man’s iPhone from his pocket at a store on Beard Street on Feb. 17.

The 35-year-old said he was in the store near Otsego Street at 7 pm, but when he returned home at 11 pm, he realized his iPhone 7-Plus was no longer in his back pocket.

Police said the man determined the phone was in the Bronx by using the Find My iPhone application.

Tools heist

A jerk stole a glutton of tools from a man at a Bush Street building sometime overnight on Feb. 15.

The man said he left the tools in the maintenance room of the building near Columbia Street at 4:30 pm, but when he returned at 8 am the next day, noticed they were gone. He said the thief took his tool bag, vice grip, knives, electric drill, wire cutter, screwdriver, and straightedge.

Stolen iPods

A punk stole a man’s iPods from a house on Bond Street sometime between Feb. 12 and 15.

The 42-year-old male victim said that two iPods and one iPod mini were removed from the desk of his home office between Sackett and Union streets at some point during the three days.

Police said there are no signs that someone broke into the house.

— Adam Lucente

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Brute strikes man in the head with wooden board

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

68th Precinct

Bay Ridge—Dyker Heights

Boarded and stitched up

A good-for-nothing struck a man with a 2-by-4-foot wooden board on 71st Street on Feb. 17.

The assault occurred at Eighth Avenue, when the villain struck the man on the back of his head and on his left hand, causing bruising and a headache.

Cashed out

A cheap con used a fake $100 bill to pay for a food delivery to 68th Street on Feb. 13.

The no-goodnik used the faux cash to pay for the $17.20 delivery to Fifth Avenue.

— Julianne McShane

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UPS driver hits, kills woman in Ft. Greene crash

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

A United Parcel Service driver hit and killed a 27-year-old woman on Feb. 17 as she tried to cross Ashland Place in Fort Greene — just feet from Brooklyn Hospital Center, police said.

The motorist employed by the delivery service was driving its 1997 truck on DeKalb Avenue towards Flatbush Avenue Extension when he turned right onto Ashland Place and struck Sumiah Ali as she crossed the block around 6:30 pm, authorities said.

Cops said a preliminary investigation revealed Ali entered the crosswalk when the “Do not walk” signal was flashing, but could not say whether the motorist had a red, yellow, or green light.

Drivers, however, are required by law to give pedestrians the right of way when a signal is flashing, according to city code.

The 49-year-old motorist remained at the scene, according to officials, who didn’t immediately arrest him or slap him with any summonses.

Paramedics transported Ali, who lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, down the block to Brooklyn Hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead, cops said.

When asked about the right-of-way law, a Police Department rep said the investigation is ongoing and could eventually result in an arrest.

“I didn’t say anything about legislation,” said Sergeant Jones. “I didn’t say he wasn’t going to be arrested. The investigation is still continuing.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Ruff commute! Pooch begins Year of the Dog by jumping on subway tracks at Dumbo subway station

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

Talk about an underdog!

A wayward pup escaped from her owner and took off down the tracks at a Dumbo subway station on Friday — the first day of the Year of the Dog — stalling F-train service for roughly an hour until some transit workers came to her rescue.

Dakota, a poodle, got loose from a nearby dog run before the canine commuter headed into Dumbo’s York Street station, where she jumped off the platform around 3 pm and trotted along the tracks towards Coney Island, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The mass-transit-loving mutt managed to walk all the way to Bergen Street station — two stops away — before agency employee Sonya Hill took action and scooped her out of harm’s way, an Authority rep said.

Dakota’s 27-year-old owner brought the slobbery straphanger to the vet to be treated for a minor injury following her rescue, according to a New York Daily News report.

Transportation honchos diverted F trains down the G and D lines while workers pursued the pooch, fully restoring service a little after 4 pm once Hill retrieved the four-legged furball, according to the city’s transit police, which aided in the caper.

“Thanks MTA for the assist on the rescue, job well done by all, service back up and dog on the way to the vet for a minor injury — Appreciate everyone’s patience!” the cops said on Twitter.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Show of Hands: ‘Handmaid’s Tale: the musical’ at the Bell House

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThis show is ’maid in Brooklyn! A pair of Brooklyn comedians have put a peppy musical spin on the dystopian television series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and moved its story to the hip Borough of Kings. The Hulu series, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel about a world where the few fertile women are forced to become sexual servants, often features emotionally devastating rape scenes, but “Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical,” playing at the Bell House on March 8, drops them in favor of laughs and dance numbers, said one of its creators. “We lighten up a lot of those things. Part of the reason we wanted to do this is watching the show is so hard, through humor and satire it makes it less of a taxing experience for women to watch,” said Marcia Belsky, who lives in Bushwick and co-wrote the parody with Greenpoint comedian Melissa Stokoski. “We wanted to make it a little less rapey for our purposes.” The bleak nature of the show makes it especially funny that it would be adapted into a musical, just like recent Broadway shows “Groundhog Day: the Musical” and “Spongebob Squarepants: the Musical,” said the writers. “We were watching ‘The Handmaid’s Tale” together and joking about how everything becomes a musical, and how it would be funny if ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ did because it’s so dark,” said Belsky. Belsky and Stokoski re-imagined the story’s main character, a handmaiden named Offred, as a 20-something millennial who loses her job as a barista, and they traded the restrictions imposed by its theocratic army, such as women being forbidden to read or move about freely, for more lighthearted modern-day travesties, said Belsky. “Offred starts out as sort of typical musical theater heroine, naive and starry-eyed, excited to move to New York,” she said. “We sort of rewrite, for our own parody purpose, what a coup of this nature would look like: our social media taken away, my Sephora points went to zero — what would it look like for us?” And what better place to set a dystopian society than hipster Brooklyn, she asked herself. “We basically looked at shows like ‘Girls’ — pretty much every millennial female story takes place in Brooklyn, so why not ‘The Handmaid’s Tale?’ ” said Belsky. The musical also mashes up the characters from the series with real world figures and parodies of other television shows. Autocratic figure Aunt Lydia, for instance, who trains the handmaids to become submissive servants, is reinvented as Aunt Betsy Devos, named for Trump’s Secretary of Education. Another character is named Rory Gilmore, after the lead character from “The Gilmore Girls,” said Belsky. “It’s really hard to disassociate her from that character that we loved in middle school,” she said. Both Belsky and Stokoski see the show as an opportunity to comment on serious topics through a comedic lens, such the men’s rights movement. In the show, the coup is led by “Commander Fred, a sexually repressed elite East Coast man,” who convinces his fellow men’s rights activists that feminists are conspiring to make them hate their own penises. Fred strikes by means of a song titled “I Love My Dick,” said Belsky. “We try to not make anything too on the nose,” she said. “Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical” at the Bell House (149 Sev[...]



Common’s ground: Celebrated rapper to headline annual summer-concert series with Prospect Park show

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperAll music-lovers will find something in Common at this festival! Rap superstar Common will headline the upcoming semi-free summer-concert series hosted by local cultural organization Bric, its bigwigs announced on Feb. 14. The Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar-winning performer wowed attendees of Bric’s annual live-music event in 2016 when he took the Prospect Park Bandshell’s stage alongside jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and producers pursued the Chicago-based poet ever since until he agreed to return, an organizer said. “We began a dialogue backstage with Common in summer 2016 when he made a surprise appearance with Herbie Hancock,” said the festival’s executive producer Jack Walsh. The rapper’s free June 5 concert will kick-off the local arts-and-culture purveyor’s 40th Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival summer-music series, which honchos expect to release a final lineup for in May and will feature other no-fee and some paid acts, according to Bric spokesman Ron Gaskill. Common’s performance in Brooklyn’s Backyard will come roughly three months after he releases a new album in March as part of the “supergroup” August Greene, which is comprised of the artist and fellow music-makers Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The trio won an Emmy for Best Music and Lyrics last year for their track “Letter to the Free,” which appeared on Common’s 2016 album, “Black America Again,” and was featured in that year’s critically acclaimed documentary film “13th.” The performer — who raps alongside singer Andra Day in her track “Stand Up For Something,” which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song this year after appearing in the movie “Marshall” — received his first Oscar statue in the same category in 2014, when he and John Legend nabbed the honor for their tune “Glory” from the film “Selma.” And Common has taken home two of the 19 Grammy awards he’s been nominated for since 2001. He headlines the festival one year after pop-soul band Lake Street Drive kicked-off the concert series, and follows its past A-list opening acts who include “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan, rhythm-and-blues powerhouse Janelle Monae, and former Talking Heads leader David Byrne.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.Comment on this story. [...]



Heartfelt visit: Locals surprise Boerum Hill rehab center’s patients with Valentine’s Day party

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

The love doctors are in!

Patients recovering at a Boerum Hill rehabilitation center celebrated Valentine’s Day with a bunch of local do-gooders, who lifted the convalescents’ spirits with some singing, dancing, and handmade cards. The visit was a sweet treat for the residents, who couldn’t help but smile at the big-hearted Brooklynites’ display of affection, according to the woman who organized it.

“You should have seen those expressions — priceless,” said Laura Giromini Arrigoni. “It was a magical experience!”

Arrigoni, who lives down the block from the Hopkins Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare on Dean Street, said her urge to bring joy to the facility’s patients grew each time she passed by it, and that the day designated for love offered a perfect chance to put her plan in action.

“I always wanted to do something, but had no clue what to do,” she said. “So I thought, what about Valentine’s Day?”

The handcrafted greetings, which Arrigoni and volunteers delivered along with pairs of fresh socks, brought beaming grins — and even tears — to some residents, according to the organizer, who said others got down to tunes played by a guitarist and a drummer during the event.

And one 104-year-old who partook in the festivities told Arrigoni the secret to staying young, she said.

“Love,” Arrigoni said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Hizzoner only hope to save the Angel Guardian home, expert says

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:57:39 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperThe mayor must show mercy! Mayor DeBlasio is the only person who can save the more than century-old Angel Guardian home from its impending demolition, according to a rep from a private citywide historic preservation organization. “The best way to get this landmarked is to get Mr. DeBlasio to care about it,” said Kelly Carroll of the Historic Districts Council, at a Feb. 15 community board meeting on land marking the property. Carroll told members of the Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land Use Committee and locals from the Guardians of the Guardian organization — a civic group that called for putting affordable senior housing in the space — that the mayor could pressure the city Landmarks Preservation Commission, which awards designations, to save the city-block-sized home between 63rd and 64th streets, bound by 12th and 13th avenues. Such a designation would not have to be approved by the Sisters of Mercy, but the landmarks agency would likely still involve them in the process to keep the peace, according to Carroll. “It doesn’t make landmarking look very appealing to people when the government can do what they want with your property,” she said. But getting Hizzoner to care about the historic property is unlikely without some local help, since he rarely makes comments on historic preservation and his administration is so concerned with development of affordable housing, Carroll said, adding that Councilman Justin Brannan (D—Bay Ridge) could — and should — leverage his close relationship with DeBlasio to help save the home. “I am really hoping that our new Councilmember Justin Brannan, who has a direct ear to DeBlasio, can say, ‘This is really important, can you do us this one solid?,’ ” she said. Brannan’s district does not include the Angel Guardian home, but he has castigated the Sisters over the terms of the secret sale, alleging that the nuns were “giving our neighborhood the finger as they leave” and “spitting in the face of this community.” His chief of staff, Chris McCreight, told this paper that Brannan would be willing to bring the matter to the mayor’s attention to make sure plans for the building’s future best served the community’s needs. “Councilman Brannan remains committed to finding ways to ensure the Angel Guardian site continues to serve the needs of the local community,” McCreight said. “To that end, he has been in talks with many of the stakeholders is ready to roll up his sleeves and work with anybody, including Mayor DeBlasio, to make sure this site serves the neighborhood no matter who the owners are now or in the future.” The committee voted 6–0 at the meeting to support the Guardians of the Guardian’s landmarking application for the property, which the full board will vote on at the Feb. 26 meeting at the Norwegian Christian home at 7 pm. The board’s vote is not binding, but helps give the application more weight with the landmarks agency, according to Guardians of the Guardian member Fran Vella-Marrone. The executive director of the Historic Districts Council, Simeon Bankoff, also wrote a letter to the landmarks agency on Jan. 31 supporting the Guardians’ efforts, citing the property’s architectural and historical significance as well as Dyker Height’s lack of landmarked sites.Reach reporter Julianne Mc[...]



Two teens arrested for threatening to shoot W’Terrace schoolmates

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

Police arrested two 16-year-old boys who threatened to gun down their classmates at a Windsor Terrace charter school on Wednesday, about an hour after a shooter began a killing spree at a Florida high school.

The teens enrolled at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School on Fort Hamilton Parkway between E. Second and E. Third streets posted messages threatening to shoot their fellow students and faculty on Snapchat at 4 pm, cops said, a few minutes before Florida officials said via Twitter that they cuffed a suspect in the deadly massacre, which claimed 17 lives.

Officers met with school administrators on Thursday morning after someone called 911 in response to the violent social-media threats, then contacted the two boys’ parents, which resulted in one suspect turning himself in that day, according to authorities.

Cops arrested the second student at home the same day, and investigators later recovered an airsoft rifle, leading them to slap both teens with criminal-weapons charges, according to police, who said no other firearms were recovered.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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Big concerns: Proposed Franklin Ave. development in C’Heights ‘too tall’ for nabe, civc guru says

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperIt’s pushing the height limit in the Heights! A builder proposing a megadevelopment of six residential high-rises on the site of an old Crown Heights warehouse is pushing for a zoning variance that would allow the towers to rise as high as 37 stories — radically altering the predominantly low-rise nabe’s character, according to a local land-use guru. “We would like anything to be contextual with what’s in the area, so we spoke about a complex of that size — with two towers that are more than 30 stories tall — being generally too tall,” said Michael Liburd, the chairman of Community Board 9’s committee that oversees local development proposals going through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. Members of the civic panel discussed the project at a Feb. 13 meeting after learning that builder Continuum Company filed a preliminary application with the Department of City Planning for the up-zoning under Mayor DeBlasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which gives developers the right to build taller in exchange for providing below-market-rate housing. But the civic gurus tabled a formal vote on the proposal, choosing instead to hold one during its official public-review process, which is likely still a few months out, Liburd said. The block where the development at 960 Franklin Ave. between Montgomery and Sullivan places would rise is currently zoned for six-to-seven-story structures. The proposed complex features 1,450 units spread among its six buildings, which range from 15- to 37-stories tall, with half of the apartments offered at market rate, and the other half being so-called affordable housing. But there’s currently no plan to upgrade infrastructure in the area to accommodate the high-rises’ future residents, who will further strain already overutilized public systems, according to the community board’s chairman. “It’s too much,” said Musa Moore. “Too much for our community, our infrastructure, our sewer system — and we have the Q train at Prospect Park that’s already too crowded.” News of the super-sized complex comes in the wake of locals’ failed grass-roots attempt to upend the redevelopment of the nearby Bedford-Union Armory — which lawyers at Legal Aid are now fighting in court following Council’s November approval of the scheme — and as the board pursues a down-zoning for large swathes of Crown Heights in response to other projects, many of which are teardowns that demolish old homes of around two stories so real-estate firms can take full advantage of current building rights, which often permit six-story apartment buildings on side streets, Liburd said. “If we can get a wholesale down-zoning on everything, that’s what we want to do,” he said. The civic panel hasn’t approached the city or local pols about its down-zoning ambitions, however, and is still looking into strategies to protect the neighborhood’s character, according to Liburd. Continuum Company’s proposed Franklin Avenue project is a stone’s throw away from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, near the site where builder Cornell Realty requested a similar zoning variance last year to build two 175-foot towers. But Cornell quickly abandoned its plan in the wake of a massive public backlash, which included a p[...]



Super brawl: Marvel heroes fight forces of evil at Barclays Center

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperHe’s just a god from Brooklyn. The Norse god Thor will do battle with his villainous brother Loki at Barclays Center next week, alongside a longbox-worth of Marvel superheroes and their foes, including Spider-Man, the Green Goblin, Brooklyn kid Captain America, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Doctor Strange. The live-action show “Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes,” running for nine performances starting on Feb. 25, is so filled with stunts, action, and special effects that it leaves the Marvel films behind, said the Bedford-Stuyvesant actor who portrays the God of Thunder. “There’s a lot of combat, a lot of cool special effects. It’s a stunt show — if anything, it’s more like an action movie, but live in front of you,” said Gjermund Gjesme, who grew up in Norway, just like the mythical character he plays. He moved to the borough of Kings in 2014, after two years in the Norwegian military — a job he said helped prepare him for his onstage fights. “It definitely helps with my mental toughness, being able to be fierce and ready to deal with how hard it is to rehearse a production like this,” he said. “But I thought in my mind, if I’m getting a role in this production, it’ll be Thor.” To portray the stormy deity, Gjesme must don an elaborate, colorful costume that enhances his already impressive physique — but which makes the action a little more difficult, he said. “I have a muscle suit, helmet, and cape — it makes it extra challenging to perform the stunts, but it makes it look even cooler if you can do it,” said Gjesme. During the show, Thor and his buddies team up to wrestle control of a mystical McGuffin back from Loki, the God of Mischief, who plans to use its power to rule the world. The super-battles include a large ensemble of battle fighters, who wear about 100 outfits between them, according to costume designer Mark Koss. The superheroes’ super-sized bodies made dressing them a special challenge, said Koss. “One of the really difficult and wonderful parts of this show was how to create costumes that really could be active and move, are really durable and cool for audience members to watch,” he said. “They aren’t humans and therefore don’t have human proportions.” Rocket Raccoon and Groot, from the Guardians of the Galaxy, are the shortest and tallest characters in the show, respectively, and the producers put the characters on stage next to each other to emphasize their size differences, Koss said. “We tried to find the shortest actor we could to play Rocket and then dealt with the proportions,” said Koss, who added that Groot towers eight feet high thanks to two-foot stilts built into his outfit. “Rocket is always next to Groot to make Rocket feel shorter and Groot feel taller.” “Marvel Universe Live!” at Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Ave. at Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, www.barclayscenter.com). Feb. 22–24 at 7 pm, Feb. 23–24 at 11 am and 3 pm, Feb. 25 at noon and 4 pm. $19–$120.Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.Comment on this story. [...]



Struck again: Swindler robs Slope bank in seventh holdup this year, police say

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperA letter-writing thief suspected of robbing no less than seven Kings County banks this year continued his cash-stealing spree at a Park Slope financial institution on Feb. 14, cops said. The crook approached a teller at the Flatbush Avenue bank between Sterling Place and Eighth Avenue at 3:10 pm, before passing the employee a note that read “robbery” and “don’t try any funny stuff,” according to police. The worker gave the lowlife $1,100 in cash — without a dye pack — and the man fled to parts unknown, officers said. Authorities believe the Park Slope pilferer is the same guy who robbed six other banks in neighborhoods including Downtown, East Flatbush, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, and Greenpoint since Jan. 2. In each incident, the suspect handed a teller a letter demanding green, and then hightailed it on foot after receiving some ill-gotten cash, according to officials. Cops had yet to connect the Jan. 2 Boerum Hill robbery with the Greenpoint caper, which occurred on Jan. 9, when this newspaper first reported on the crimes on Jan. 11, because a police spokesman said the crook’s modus operandi of note-passing was too common to draw a link between them at the time. “That MO is something we have seen many, many times in the past,” the spokesman said. “It’s a tactic that is used a lot.” Investigators are also looking for a female acquaintance of the suspected swindler, who was spotted with the alleged thief on two separate dates that known robberies occurred. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.Comment on this story. [...]



The in-cider

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:40:21 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Bill Roundy

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

Bad Seed Brooklyn Taproom [585 Franklin Ave. between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights, (718) 975–0690, www.badseedhardcider.com]. Open Wed–Sun, 2 pm–midnight; Mon–Tue, closed.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.

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Portraits of the past: Myrtle Avenue show of black history

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:10:47 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Alexandra SimonBrooklyn PaperThey are looking back at black history. An annual celebration of black artwork is happening now along Myrtle Avenue, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s commercial corridor. This year’s Black Artstory, produced by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, focuses on black people reconnecting with their ancestry, with the theme “Sankofa: Go Back and Get it.” The woman behind the title said that she hopes that the Black Artstory series of Friday night events will spur young people to learn more about their backgrounds. “Sankofa is important because most of us don’t know where we come from and it’s really needed for people in this generation as we can only go back so far,” said Ramona Candy, a visual artist and curator of the annual event. Candy, who is of Caribbean background, says that tracing her roots often hits a brick wall — she was raised by her Grenadian single mother for most of her life, but she has unanswered questions about her paternal Haitian side. Her interest in learning more about her roots has increased over the years, she said. “It’s specifically important to me because it tells you who are and who I am in this world,” said Candy. For the festival, she painted a 20-piece collage of portraits, titled “Our History, Our Pride,” featuring unknown but influential black people. The paintings, which are on display at the eatery Locals, will have its opening reception on Feb. 16, featuring a spoken word piece from playwright Daniel Carlton. The Black Artstory chooses a new theme each year, but its ideas are timeless, said another co-curator. “It’s funny because even though the themes are different every year, no matter what the theme is, it’s always relevant,” said Suhaly Bautista-Carolina. “Sankofa could’ve been last year, because we should always try looking into our past into to help us inform our present and future. The themes are always spot on and the conversation is always timely.” The festival’s final event on Feb. 23 will be the discussion “Currency, Current See,” about the history of financial systems built on black enslavement, and the roots of disparity in black finances. In addition to the Friday night events, Black Artstory includes a month-long artwork, with businesses along Myrtle Avenue putting paintings and murals from local artists in their front windows. The annual event not only gives people the opportunity to experience new artwork, but it introduces them to artists who live in their own neighborhood, said Bautista-Carolina. “People will also get to learn who are the new and emerging artists of the Diaspora are,” she said. “There’s an artist I met last year, and I have two works of her — but I wouldn’t have known her otherwise.” “Our History, Our Pride” [332 Myrtle Ave. between Washington Park and Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene]. Feb. 16 at 7 pm. Free. “Currency, Current See” [62 Flushing Ave. between N. Oxford and Cumberland streets in Fort Greene]. Feb. 23 at 7pm. Free.Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.Comment on this story. [...]



Five things to do in Brooklyn this week!

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:05:53 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.Brooklyn PaperFridayFeb. 16Jugs not drugsThis music really blows! The two-day “Mid-Winter Jug Band Rendezvous” kicks off tonight with a performance from Brooklyn’s Queens of Everything (pictured), and continues with a dozen international old-timey acts that use empty jugs and washboards in addition to guitars and fiddles. 8 pm at the Jalopy Theatre (315 Columbia St. between Woodhull Street and Hamilton Avenue in Red Hook, www.jalopytheatre.org). $15. SaturdayFeb. 17Out of timeIn his one-man show “Emergency,” about a slave ship from the 1700s that mysteriously appears in modern-day New York Harbor, actor Daniel Beaty takes on more than 40 roles, including reporters, baffled academics, and black militants, all in an examination of African-American life, and what it means to be free. The show has another performance on Sunday afternoon. 8 pm at Kumble Theater at Long Island University [DeKalb and Flatbush avenues in Downtown, (718) 488–1624], www.kumbletheater.org. $30. SundayFeb. 18Fun-employedComedian Anna Roisman found the silver lining of being out of work — lounging around the house in pajamas all day. She has spread the day-drinking gospel of the under-employed on her Facebook live talk show “The Unemployed Show,” but tonight she goes out of her comfort zone — and out of her Williamsburg apartment — to present a live version at Littlefield, with special guest Janeane Garofalo. 8 pm at Littlefield (635 Sackett St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, www.littlefieldnyc.com)]. $10 ($8 in advance). TuesdayFeb. 20Poo guruListen to the expert of excrement, the pundit of poop, and the wizard of whizzing deliver his lecture “How the Potty Trained Us” tonight. His talk will be flush with knowledge about the quirks of the human digestive system, and how regular placement of public potties can provide improvements to a city’s health and hygeine. 6:30 pm at the Kumble Theater at Long Island University (1 University Plaza at Dekalb Avenue Downtown, www.kumbletheater.org). Free. WednesdayFeb. 21’Toon inThe winner of the Oscar pool is determined by those minor categories, so up your chances by watching the Oscar-nominated Animated Short Films, screening all this week at Nitehawk. The nominees include Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” (pictured), the stop-motion “Negative Space,” Pixar’s “Lou,” the fairy tale “Revolting Rhymes” and the photorealistic “Garden Party.” 10:10 pm at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Ave. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384–3980, www.nitehawkcinema.com]. $12.Comment on this story. [...]



Shocker! Pier 6 towers, months into construction, ruled legal by judge

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThey’re well on their way — and here to stay. Two polarizing towers already rising at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 can legally go up inside the green space, a judge decided on Thursday. The ruling came after builders RAL Development Services and Oliver’s Realty Group began construction on the high-rises last summer, months ahead of Justice Carmen Victoria St. George’s much-anticipated decision because her predecessor Justice Lucy Billings said in July that work on the project could proceed as long as it could be “undone.” St. George threw out the suit that civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association filed against the meadow’s bigwigs and the developers constructing the 15 and 28-story high-rises at the foot of Atlantic Avenue in a 46-page ruling that’s a big win for the park, its head honcho said. “We are pleased with the judge’s decision, which ensures that a public investment enjoyed by millions and envied in cities across the globe will thrive long into the future,” said Eric Landau. The 15-story tower already topped out by the time St. George ruled, and a website hawking the 126 luxury apartments inside the taller, 28-story building, dubbed Quay Tower, launched last month. Heights Association members took the park to court in July 2016, charging that its honchos violated their own terms for choosing the towers’ builders, and that the smaller high-rise — which will contain 100 units of so-called affordable housing — violates Brooklyn Bridge Park’s governing document, the 2006 General Project Plan, which permits development in the green space only to raise money for it. But Bridge Park attorneys argued that the cash-strapped meadow needs the towers to generate funds that will pay for the restoration of the wood piles that support Pier 6, which crustaceans are gnawing away. St. George took over the case in August after Billings said she was reassigned to oversee asbestos litigation. She twice delayed what were supposed to be litigants’ final arguments before presiding over their last day in court on Nov. 15 — seven months after the case’s first public hearings began. It is unclear why the judge took so long to rule. This reporter made several calls to her chambers, none of which were returned. The Heights Association’s head honcho said its members are disappointed with St. George’s decision, which he said validates park bigwigs’ dishonest reason for building the towers, and that the group is exploring the next steps it may take. “Although the BHA greatly appreciates the time and effort the court devoted to its claims, it is frustrated by an outcome that permits the state and city to flout the commitments they made repeatedly to the community that they would only permit private real estate development at Pier 6 if, and to the extent, the development were needed to serve the Park’s fiscal purposes,” said Peter Bray.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Sign of change: Rendering shows new letters atop old Watchtower building in Bklyn Heights

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperWatch the sky! Neon-red letters that spell the new name of the massive office-and-retail complex planned for the former Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters could float above Brooklyn Heights where the Watchtower letters once hovered, renderings show. Workers tore down the 15-foot characters that formed the religious group’s iconic sign from the framework atop the Columbia Heights edifice last December as part of its new owners’ — who include President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — plan to transform the building into the multi-use space dubbed Panorama. And a drawing on the property’s website shows very similar letters spelling out the new name atop its East River-facing roof. A rep for the developer said that sign is only hypothetical because whatever eventually gets hoisted onto the now-barren framework — which still features the blinking time and temperature — must first get the green light from the Department of Buildings. But a sign for Panorama, or one advertising a future tenant of the complex, could float above it some day, according to the rep, who said the scaffolding may even remain empty. One of the building’s new owners, however, told this newspaper that the removal of the Watchtower letters presented an opportunity to bring a “new beacon to the Brooklyn skyline” back when the old characters came down. Developers Kushner Companies, Livwrk, and CIM Group — collectively called Columbia Heights Associates — purchased the former headquarters for $340 million in 2016, and unveiled plans to transform the buildings last year. The owners filed an application last March to replace the Watchtower sign with characters spelling “30 CH” — shorthand for the complex’s address, according to the buildings department — but agency honchos rejected the proposal months later because it was incomplete, according to a spokeswoman. A new application has yet to be filed, the agency rep said, and the city must review any future sign proposals to ensure they comply with zoning and construction codes.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Inconspicuous construction: Builder of massive 80 Flatbush project tweaks one tower’s look to better fit nabe

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThis unprecedented megadevelopment just wants to blend in! Luxury builder Alloy Development unveiled a new look for its massive 80 Flatbush project on the edge of Boerum Hill this week, changing the facade of the shorter of its two planned high-rises to more closely resemble that of its landmarked neighbor, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower. Honchos originally proposed an all-glass exterior for the 38-story building on the lot bounded by Flatbush and Third avenues, and State and Schermerhorn streets, but cut some reflective panels in favor of bricks that mimic the look of the Hanson Place structure erected in the late ’20s after receiving months’ worth of community input, according to the company’s chief executive. “We’ve refined our plans based on productive feedback received through more than 100 meetings with local stakeholders,” said Jared Della Valle. “We think the project’s better for it, and appreciate the engagement.” The street-level exterior of the smaller tower will feature the brick facade, which will also keep the building’s appearance more in line with those of the townhouses that comprise the historically low-rise nabe, according to Alloy. But plans for the controversial project’s taller, 74-story high-rise, which is expected to be among the borough’s tallest, remain unchanged in the new renderings, which also show that honchos nixed a State Street loading dock, one of two planned for the project. The towers — which will contain a total of 900 units, 200 of which will be so-called affordable housing — are two of five buildings that comprise the megadevelopment. A third new structure proposed for the lot will house a 350-seat elementary school as well as a future home for the on-site Khalil Gibran International Academy high school, which currently occupies a crumbling 19th-century former Civil War infirmary that the builder plans to keep and refashion into a cultural space. And the developer will rehabilitate another Schermerhorn Street structure already on the triangular plot, where office and retail space will fill the parts of the buildings not devoted to residences or classrooms. A rep for Alloy said it expects to finish the 38-story tower and welcome students to the schools in 2022, before wrapping construction on the super-tall tower in 2025. Before the builder can break ground, however, the city must approve the project through its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. But the City Planning Commission has yet to kick-off the lengthy process, and it’s anyone’s guess when it will start, according to the chairwoman of Community Board 2, which will hold a meeting on the development once the land-use-review process begins. “Right now we don’t know when it’s going to be certified, so we haven’t even identified a place to hold a public hearing,” Shirley McRae said at a Wednesday board meeting.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Lit up on screen: Library’s film fest looks at writers

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Alexandra SimonBrooklyn PaperCall it motion picture literature. A new film festival will showcase the private lives of some of the world’s most popular writers. The inaugural Lit Film Festival, debuting on Feb. 20 at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch, will screen a dozen films that examine their work of authors and their lives behind the pen, said the series programmer. “Some of these of films are interesting because we are really looking at these subjects, their literary work, and the characters they conceived — and I think that is a very important part of literary heritage,” said Jakab Orsos. The festival also gives new life to films that have languished in obscurity, said Orsos. “I had the had idea after watching and learning about different documentaries, and it was nice to look into these films more, because most of the time they are broadcast once or twice and they disappear,” he said. One of those old films is 1989’s “James Baldwin: Price of the Ticket,” screening on Feb. 22, a documentary that uses archival footage of the novelist and black gay activist, who died in 1987. The opening day of the festival will feature a keynote address by Rebecca Miller, who directed an intimate documentary about her father, famed playwright Arthur Miller, who wrote “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible,” and the former husband of Marilyn Monroe. Her film, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” will show on Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm. Other films look at the lives of authors Alice Walker, Susan Sontag, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and William S. Burroughs, along with one that examines the birth and legacy of the comic book character Wonder Woman. Orsos hopes that the festival will help people to appreciate how difficult it is to make an interesting, in-depth film about a writer. The event will not only examine how the directors took on the person they profiled, but why these films are becoming necessary in the coming years, he said. “It’s a very risky genre that can be utterly boring, but they took the risk and approached the subjects with liberty,” said Orsos. “The filmmakers have to have a deep understanding to give viewers a wider view of the writer, and for the future we are somewhat identifying a hidden genre, which is almost a new genre.” “Literary Film Festival” at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [10 Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 230–2100, www.bklynlibrary.org]. Feb. 20–25 at various times. Free.Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.Comment on this story. [...]



Not amused: Judge puts woman behind bars for theft of more than $1 million in theme-park passes

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

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Whiplash set in for this theme-park fiend.

A woman will spend three years behind bars for using a Red Hook charter-bus company’s credit card to buy more than $1 million in amusement-park tickets, a Supreme Court justice ruled on Wednesday.

51-year-old Staten Island resident Rosemarie Bader pled guilty last month to purchasing more than 36,000 passes to New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure — home of the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka — and Pennsylvania’s Dorney Park, which she hid in a safe inside charter service Best Trails and Travel’s Sigourney Street office.

The adrenaline junkie, a 16-year employee of the company, worked as a sales director and coordinated its trips and admissions to the amusement parks. But a 2016 audit revealed she ordered significantly more entry passes than the service’s vehicles had seats, and the bus company canned the thrill-seeking Staten Islander in October of that year.

Investigators later discovered that Bader favored the Pennsylvania park, for which she purchased about 23,000 tickets, over its New Jersey competitor, which she only bought a trifling 13,102 passes to.

The woman will also have to reimburse her employer for the $1 million and change she swindled in ill-gotten admissions, according to Brooklyn’s top prosecutor, who said she could’ve been locked up for as many as 25 years for her crime, which could have bankrupted the mom-and-pop bus company.

“Losses such as this can be devastating to small businesses.” Eric Gonzalez said. “Today’s prison term holds her accountable.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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Dedicated villain: Man burgles woman’s W’burg home after several attempts at breaking in

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Anthony Rotunno

Brooklyn Paper

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A committed crook swiped electronics, a purse, and cash from inside a Williamsburg woman’s apartment after throwing himself at its door and then prying it open to break into the unit on Tuesday.

The suspect entered the 45-year-old victim’s building near Meserole Street and Manhattan Avenue around 2:38 pm, and proceeded to scope out the hallway outside the ground-floor apartment before glancing at a security camera and smashing his body against the unit’s front door, surveillance footage shows.

The thief’s brute force did not open the door, however, and he proceeded to pry it ajar, cops said.

Once inside, the man grabbed an iPad, a laptop, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, purse, and cash, according to a report.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

Reach Deputy Editor Anthony Rotunno at arotunno@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303.
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Sidewalk wars: Transit agency ignoring parents’ concerns over ‘death trap’ gas station, locals say

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperTheir absence added fuel to these parents’ ire. City transit honchos were a no-show at a meeting about safety plans for the Fourth Avenue “death trap” gas station just a block from an elementary school in Sunset Park, and the Department of Transportation is keeping locals in the dark, said one parent at the Feb. 9 meeting at PS 172. “It’s easy for the [Department of Transportation] to duck and hide when nobody’s holding them accountable and responsible to the parents,” said Arsenia Reilly-Collins, who lives on 31st Street. “We have no idea what their design plan is. How do they do that with no parent involvement?” The agency didn’t send a representative to the meeting at PS 172, but called its principal Jack Spatola beforehand to tell him it was drafting a safety-design plan to prevent motorists from illegally driving and reversing onto the unmarked sidewalks in order to reach gas pumps at the Speedway station between 30th and 31st streets, according to Spatola. Two other parents at the meeting echoed Reilly-Collins’ concerns while outlining the traffic dangers before Spatola, a Speedway attorney, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, two officers from the local police precinct, and a rep for Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park). But re-hashing their worries was useless without a rep from the transportation agency there to hear them, according to the parents and Ortiz, who also accused the city of deliberately ignoring the community in the planning process. “We are being kept out of this,” he said. In a story this newspaper’s sister publication, the Bay Ridge Courier, broke earlier this month, Reilly-Collins and other concerned parents called for permanent bollards, barriers, or at least clear pavement markings designating where the gas station lot ends and the sidewalk along Fourth Avenue begins. Spatola called for more “school zone” signs in a two-block radius around the learning house, as well as a crossing guard with extended hours and a second guard on 31st Street. But the transportation agency did not even take the initiative to install temporary, stop-gap safety measures while formulating a longer-term plan for the station, attendees complained. Instead, the police department installed short-term plastic barriers after this reporter called with questions about the safety issues. But the parents said those barriers are too flimsy, and that they’ve even seen cars crash into and drag them. “The police should be doing other things, but they have to focus on this, because the [transportation agency] is punting it around,” Reilly-Collins said. A spokeswoman for the agency said a rep was not at the meeting due to last-minute schedule changes, and said that it is drafting design options for the gas station that officials will review with the facility’s owners. Speedway reps are working to set a meeting with the transportation agency for the near future, according to a company spokeswoman. But the parents said they have no plans of backin[...]



Moon market: Locals usher in the Year of the Dog early at beep’s pre-holiday bazaar

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:24:10 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperWho’s a good year? Brooklynites got a head start on their Year of the Dog celebrations during a Feb. 10 Lunar New Year event outside Borough Hall. The new year doesn’t officially begin until Friday, but the borough president kicked off the festivities early — and will continue them well past the official holiday — as a tribute to Kings County’s significant Asian-American population, he said. “We derive strength from the rich diversity of our borough,” said Adams. “This month’s collection of Lunar New Year programming is a testament to how important it is to keep heritage alive, as we build one Brooklyn that is a rich tapestry of culture and community.” Dancers from the Buddhist organization NY Lotus Light Association performed a traditional Lion Dance at the beep’s outdoor Lantern Flower Market — the first pop-up bazaar of its kind in Kings County, according to the event’s co-host. “This is the first time that a Lantern Flower Market has come to Brooklyn, and there is no better place to host it than the People’s House,” said Winnie Greco, head honcho of Chinese-culture promoter the Sino America New York Brooklyn Archway Association. Some visitors who came out to enjoy the festivities on the rainy day picked up candy, fresh flowers, and fruit in keeping with traditional Chinese Lunar New Year preparations, according to a spokesman for the beep, while others snapped selfies with costumed characters. And those who missed the fun can ring in the Year of the Dog at the beep’s next Borough Hall bash, on Feb. 22, which will feature more live performances, traditional Chinese food, and an awards ceremony to honor local Asian-Americans who give back to their community, Adams said. The Lunar New Year is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which is determined by the cycles of the moon and movement of the sun, and the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, which are related to different animals and change every twelve months.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Kings return: Hizzoner delivers annual address in Bklyn, but boro plays minor role in speech

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperBrooklyn was seen but not heard. Mayor DeBlasio returned to his old stomping grounds on Tuesday to deliver his fifth State of the City address at Kings Theatre, but Hizzoner barely mentioned his home borough in the speech, except for shout-outs to the beep and the historic Flatbush playhouse. The second-term mayor instead unveiled lofty goals to make New York City the fairest in the country by expanding free education to its youngest citizens, addressing the long-forgotten needs of public-housing residents, and strengthening police-community relationships — a renaissance similar to the once old-and-decaying Flatbush Avenue theater’s 2013 transformation into a multimillion-dollar venue, according to Borough President Adams. “This theater was a gem that had to be brushed off to see its original beauty, and that’s what the city is going through,” he said. “The mayor has done an excellent job of going into the crevices of communities that have historically been denied some basic services — doing 3-K, looking at NYCHA, and looking at the whole stop-and-frisk issue is really what we need a mayor to do.” DeBlasio spent much of his hour-long address laying out a 12-point plan dubbed “Fairest Big City in America,” in which he touched on other bullet-point initiatives that included the need for more affordable housing and better-paying jobs, curbing the local opioid epidemic, and advancing his plan to close the jails on Rikers Island. The former Park Slope councilman then shifted the focus of his address to strengthening democracy in the city, blasting the Board of Elections for using an outdated system that leads to low voter turnout. “You’ve heard being customer-friendly? Our voting system is about as customer-unfriendly as it could be,” the mayor said. “It’s not modern, it’s not fair, and it needs to change now.” DeBlasio proposed a 10-point plan to modernize local elections that included hiring the city’s first-ever “chief democracy officer,” who will be charged with registering 15-million New Yorkers to vote over the next four years and with engaging more youths in civic processes, he said. “We’ve got to prove to our young people that they’ve got the power to change the world around them. When people feel empowered, they participate,” he said. “When they can see the impact they’re making, they come back for more.” The pol who now holds DeBlasio’s old Council seat applauded the mayor’s push for democratic reform, but implored Hizzoner not to forget residents’ opinions as he works to implement his plan. “It a vital time to re-energize our democracy. I hope the conversation will be open as opposed to just, ‘Here’s the democracy agenda, I am dictating it and now you will follow it,’ ” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope). “If we can have an inclusive conversation, then I think it[...]



Band of boobs: ‘Dumbest band in Brooklyn’ rocks Freddy’s

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Winnie McCroyfor Brooklyn PaperHow Sweet Tits is! A lesbian punk rock quartet will offer a sneak peek at the vulgar, hilarious songs from its upcoming album during a concert at Freddy’s Bar on Feb. 17. The Brooklyn band Sweet Tits, which blends high musical talent and lowbrow humor, models itself on the fictitious British heavy metal band Spinal Tap, according to its lead singer. “If I could write a song even half as good as ‘Big Bottom’ in my lifetime, I’d retire happy,” said Lola Rocknrolla, who lives in Fort Greene. In addition to Lola Rocknrolla, on vocals and saxophone, the band includes Alicia Godsberg on guitar, Sandy “Candee” Brockwell on bass, and Kiki Barrera on drums. All are skilled musicians, and several also have a background in improv comedy. The band started in 2013 with a simple ambition: to pick up chicks, said Lola. “Alicia was heartbroken over her ex-girlfriend and I was dealing with my wife leaving, so we started this crazy band to attract chicks who’d show us their boobs, and throw their underwear at us,” she said. The band played its first show at New York City Pride, and were slightly chagrined to see a 12-year-old girl head-banging to their profanity-laden songs. Still, Pride remains the band’s favorite gig. With hits including “Your Pussy Just Blew My Mind,” the band often plays at gay bars and burlesque spots in Manhattan, but its Brooklyn home is Freddy’s, a quirky dive bar renowned for its tater tots, said Lola. “It’s got a great vibe; we play there every New Year’s Eve,” she said. “Alicia proposed to her now-wife there two years ago to the song ‘Disco Pussy,’ a sort of love song to vaginas. They got married [at Freddy’s], and we all ate tater tots at their wedding.” The band is currently working on its second album, “The Tits Keep on Comin.’ ” Candee said that her favorite song on the album is “Chopper Punk Rocker,” a love song to her dog, while Lola favors “Sleep With the Band,” which recounts the band’s origin story. Guitarist Alicia especially enjoys shredding on the tune “Fisting on the First Date,” but they all agree that the vulgar ode to a female body part “C---” is their current favorite. “Most of our music is really stupid,” said Lola. “We vow to be the dumbest band in Brooklyn, if not in the world.” Sweet Tits at Freddy’s Bar [627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Greenwood Heights, (718) 768–0131, www.freddysbar.com). Feb. 17 at 10:30 pm. Free.Comment on this story. [...]



Bee is for Brooklyn! Rooftop farm teaches urban honey harvesting

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Adam LucenteBrooklyn PaperThis workshop has a lot of buzz! A rooftop farm in the Brooklyn Navy Yard will teach urbanites the secret to raising bees and harvesting their honey while in a crowded borough. And those who take the “Introduction to Beekeeping” class at the Brooklyn Grange on Feb. 18 may learn something from the way the industrious insects work together, said one of the farm’s founders. “They all work collaboratively to the benefit of the organism,” said Anastasia Plakias. “In a city like New York, it can feel like we’re working against each other.” Brooklyn Grange keeps 30 beehives at different rooftop locations throughout the city, and its bee classes are among its most popular events, said Plakias. The class on Feb. 18 is designed for those who are totally new to the subject, covering bee anatomy, their role in the environment, and how much outdoor space you need to keep a beehive — which is less than you might think, said its teacher. “Four by four feet is enough space to keep a beehive,” said Carin Zinter, a professional beekeeper. “It’s not space intensive.” Bees also require a source of fresh water near the hive, she said, and beekeepers must register their hives with the New York City Department of Health. Bees are dormant for the winter, so the beekeeping season in Brooklyn usually begins in April. But those seeking sweet returns must be patient, said Zinter — beekeepers typically harvest honey in the fall of the year after starting the hive. During the first year, the hive will need all its honey as a food source to survive the winter. Those who do not keep bees can still support the busy buzzers by buying local, said Zinter. “If you buy local honey, it supports local beekeepers,” she said. “People sometimes don’t think about where the honey they buy comes from.” Brooklynites can also support the green spaces that bees need, said Zinter. “Rooftop farms, gardens, parks. Support these spaces anyway you can,” she said. Zinter and Brooklyn Grange have a bee in their bonnet about the honey producers, bee-cause bees pollinate a wide variety of the vegetables and fruits that humans eat. “They’re out there pollinating our food and plants,” said Plakias. “They’re critical to the ecosystem.” “Introduction to Beekeeping” at Brooklyn Grange (63 Flushing Ave. at Clinton Avenue in Fort Greene, www.brooklyngrangefarm.com]. Feb. 18 at 11 am. $45. Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260?2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.Comment on this story. [...]



On BPR: Marine Park needs to go historic!

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Moses JeffersonBrooklyn PaperMarine Parkers need to band together and turn their quaint neighborhood into an historic district before developers turn it into the next — gasp! — Sheepshead Bay! That was kind of the claim longtime real-estate agent (yes, a real real-estate agent!) Jerry Minsky made on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio, during which host and editor-in-chief Vince DiMiceli looked southward to find out how the out-of-character Marine Park Monstrosity could have possibly been constructed in the 1930s-era neighborhood of tree-lined streets and homes with front yards and driveways. And the Brooklyn-born Minsky, who’s been selling and renting homes here for more than 30 years and recently moved to Marine Park from his Fort Green brownstone (which he astutely bought in 1989, thank you very much), pulled no punches in claiming this over-development is surely a bad omen. “This is a sign of slow but steady changes that will continue to happen,” Minsky, of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said. And the only way to save the Marine Park we all know and love is to have the city protect the neighborhood from overdevelopment by landmarking its beautiful one-and-two family homes — something Minsky said deserves consideration. “Marine Park has enough continuity of original tudor townhouses built in the ’20s and ’30s to be certified an historic neighborhood,” he said. Neighbors have already complained to reporter Adam Lucente, who was also on the show along with deputy editor Anthony Rotunno, that they fear Marine Park could soon start to look like overdeveloped Sheepshead Bay if something isn’t done soon, and DiMiceli hinted that the Monstrosity could be the lightning rod residents need to see the future — and change it, whether or not Sheepshead Bay is a bad place. “It takes a lot to get people to organize and create an historic district,” DiMiceli said. “But tell me what’s wrong with Sheepshead Bay.” Minsky said that like Marine Park and Fort Greene, the neighborhoods are now apples and oranges — even if he had a soft spot for the Sheepshead of his youth. “There was a big dating scene going on over there,” he said. The gentlemen failed to get into the ongoing battle over who has the best roast beef in Southern Brooklyn — Brennan and Carr or Roll ’n’ Roaster — but did dedicate an hour to what comes next in Marine Park. So if you’ve got the time, we’ve got the podcast. Take a listen right now! Comment on this story. [...]



Supporting my teen during trauma

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Stephanie Thompsonfor Brooklyn PaperThe other day, my broken 14-year-old looked up at me from the bath, his shattered leg hanging off the edge of the tub, and jagged stitches exposed on his left arm where the plate went in after his horrific skiing accident. “I’m starting to have some PTSD,” he said. “I can’t stop thinking about it.” My stomach dropped and I cleared my throat against the acidic taste that suddenly rose up. “What part?” I asked. “The accident itself or…” I didn’t go through all of it, the many pains and indignities he’d suffered in the aftermath of his skiing fall two week ago, but he got it. “I guess all of it?!” He shrugged. “What do I do?” Ugh. Dreaded day. Being asked for advice on how to deal. I tried to throw a few things out there. “Stay in the moment,” I said. “Meditation is about not looking back or forward.” He rolled his eyes. “But I can’t not think about it, I can’t help it.” I nodded. “Try to picture beautiful things instead,” I said. “It’s called ‘creative visualization.’ ” He started to glaze over, and I stopped. Ugh. I was really bad at this. As many years as I’ve spent working with traumatized kids from shelters and foster care, as many different approaches as I’ve taken and hired others to take, having my own child suffer a trauma and trying to help him through it is tough. Then, like a one-two punch, my 16-year-old’s close friend died, suddenly, hit by a car crossing the street. I had just brought him to see her, in Boston. It was unfathomable, terrible. It made no sense. Grief suddenly surrounded us. So what are the things that help people get through traumatic times? What could help my son? I wrote them down: 1. Love. I realize the very best thing I can do is focus on loving and supporting him, and to help him focus on all the love and support around him. That seems paramount. Sometimes, that love — shown in your eyes, in your touch, in your voice — is almost all you can do. 2. Listen, and don’t judge. “Should” or “shouldn’t” is always a giveaway that you’re headed down a dangerous path. I just needed to shut up and listen, for once. The desire to offer solutions to the impossible-to-answer question of “Why do terrible things happen?” is misguided. I have no answer. No one does. Just let him express himself. 3. Express, in all the magnificent forms. Words — talking, writing — can work. I sent my son some grieving poems I found online and suggested maybe he wanted to write one of his own. But when words don’t work, there’s: Music. Beautiful or even bad music, it doesn’t matter. Listening is good, but playing music is even more cathartic. Drums, tambourines, harmonic[...]