When we arrived at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway today, the often hectic meeting point of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy was even more chaotic than usual– midday traffic jams were in full effect as trains rattled overhead at the JMZ transfer point and a crowd had gathered to hear a press conference held by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The racket was so loud that it was nearly impossible to hear at times, but the commotion was nothing compared to what went down here yesterday, when 33 people were plucked up from the area and rushed to the hospital after a “mass overdose.”
Crime + Community
On the northern side of Sara D. Roosevelt Park sits a large brick structure. Once a youth center, the Stanton Building was shut down during a time of high crime in the Lower East Side and is now used only for storage by the Parks Department. Since the late ’90s, there’s been talk of returning it to community use, but that has yet to happen. So, Wednesday afternoon, a group of local activists gathered outside of the building in what was the first of three events intended to stimulate collective planning about its future.
It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious.
You may have been shocked to hear, yesterday, that the NYPD raided an unassuming Bushwick bodega and uncovered what appeared to be a massive heroin operation.
But one Brooklyn resident told us he was “totally not surprised.” More than a year ago, Bruno Navarro posted the above photo of the Gates Candy & Grocery to Yelp with the caption “Get your fresh…candy?!”
President Obama officially declared the Stonewall Inn, long recognized as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, a national monument this morning, making it the first monument to the struggle for LGBTQ equality.
The Stonewall became the center of a new movement for gay rights in June of 1969, when patrons at the well-known gay bar fought back against one of the NYPD’s periodic raids. The ensuing riots and their aftermath inspired many to act and organize in support of LGBTQ rights, creating the first movement of its kind in America. The Stonewall Inn became a national landmark in 2000 and a city landmark almost exactly a year ago.
Capt. Vincent Greany, the 9th Precinct’s freshly minted top cop, was peppered with complaints last night about persistent quality of life offenses ranging from noisy rooftop parties to an excess of rats. In turn, he asked East Villagers for help finding someone who shot a 24-year-old in Alphabet City early yesterday morning.
Elected officials and neighborhood activists brought the contest over the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront this morning when they publicly posted their ultimatum notice for the developer hanging onto the would-be parkland.
An opening for the Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning proposal may finally be on the horizon. Last night, Community Board 3’s chair, Gigi Li, presented a new development to the Land Use Committee– after two years of sending resolutions supporting the plan to the Department of City Planning, its director, Carl Weisbrod, responded on June 7th expressing willingness to engage in discussion. Still, some community groups remain frustrated that the rezoning process isn’t moving fast enough to keep up with the quickening pace of high-rise development, while board members warned that unity from various stakeholders would be key to achieve comprehensive changes.
The mayor, governor, and thousands of members of New York’s LGBT community and their supporters gathered around Stonewall Inn yesterday evening for a vigil to mourn the 49 killed and dozens more injured during Sunday’s attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
There will be a formal vigil tonight at 7 p.m. at the Stonewall Inn for the victims of yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando at the gay nightclub Pulse. Speakers including governor Andrew Cuomo and mayor Bill De Blasio as well as leaders and activists from the LGBTQ community will address mourners and “call on Congress to stop standing in the way of reasonable gun control laws.”
With the streets of the Lower East Side reshaping themselves faster than any of us can keep track, it’s easy to become a wistful piner for the “good old days,” when a storied building with a 100-year-old storefront was your neighbor instead of all these fresh new high rises. (A teaser site for the Essex Crossing condo building on Broome Street was just released today; the first of its 10 buildings is expected to be finished in the fall.) One longtime resident, Clayton Dean Smith, decided to channel that urge to preserve the neighborhood into an artistic outlet. Maybe he couldn’t save all the buildings he’d come to love over his 16 years in the area, but he could use some of them for the backdrop of a short film that serves as a living time capsule of the neighborhood as it currently exists (or existed, only a year and half ago).