In 2013 Mayor Bill De Blasio was voted into office with pledges to reign in police violence and stop-and-frisk policing targeted at blacks and latinos. (Remember that emotional video about needing to have stop-and-frisk conversations with his son, Dante?) And since he took office, street-stops have continued on a downward trend–there were about 24,000 stops last year, a far cry from the peak of 685,000 in 2011 under Bloomberg.
Crime + Community
Many were surprised to find that, despite the wave of Bernie media attention, he buckled under the quiet, pragmatic Hillary voters hiding in plain site. For the most part, HRC prevailed easily in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. The East Village was as divided as we expected it to be, with Hillary faring better in Alphabet City than she did further west. Meanwhile Bernie won Greenpoint by a landslide, and there’s now a new dividing line in Bushwick (North Bushwick went to Bernie, South to Hillary).
More than 100 Chinatown residents and their supporters crowded onto the sidewalk in front of 83 and 85 Bowery yesterday afternoon, marching around the block and gumming up traffic. The rally was part of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown’s ongoing effort to draw attention to tenant harassment cases and push for height limits and rent stabilization in the neighborhood.
Bernie Sanders supporters showed up in droves today at the candidate’s Brooklyn rally, undeterred by the nippy cold weather and wind gusts that sent even the NYPD tugboat off of Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park a’bobbin (perfectly in-synch with the pump-up soundtrack’s reggae rotation, I might add). The mood was elated as the Brooklynite presidential candidate prepares to battle it out with Hillary Clinton for New York state delegates, a fight set to go down on her (sort-of) home turf less than two weeks from today.
Democratic District Leader Alice Cancel picked up two more endorsements today in the run up to a special election on April 19 to replace Sheldon Silver’s seat in the New York State Assembly. Both Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, downtown councilmembers, said Cancel was the right choice for the job.
“Alice knows the community, she knows our schools, she knows our small businesses, she knows about public housing and she’s worked with the tenants,” said Chin in her endorsement. “She’s a district leader that works with the elected officials. When there’s a problem in the community, she calls them.”
Public officials are demanding, in louder and louder voices, to know why and how the city quietly allowed a Lower East Side building once reserved for non-profit use to be turned into luxury housing. Today, local politicians gathered to push for stronger transparency and oversight, to prevent it from happening again.
The former schoolhouse at 45 Rivington was operated by VillageCare as an AIDS/HIV treatment facility, under a deed restriction established in 1992 that limited the building to non-profit usage. Since the HIV crisis has dimmed in the Lower East Side, the facility was no longer needed at capacity. At the end of 2014, VillageCare sought to sell it to a for-profit nursing-home operator, Allure Group, with local officials’ understanding that it would remain some kind of medical facility for the general population, likely for the many seniors in the neighborhood.
On Easter Sunday, the basement of Evergreen Baptist Church looked more like a karaoke bar than a typical congregation: Yellow and red lights illuminated the darkened room, and a big screen played music videos with lyrics blasting across it. People in the audience sang along, sometimes standing up from their seats and exuberantly waving their arms to the beat.
Daffodils are already peeking their heads up at the Elizabeth Street Garden, welcoming early spring-time wanderers to park their shopping bags on a bench amid the antique sculptures, or spread out on the grass. The park, once inaccessible, has been having a renaissance of sorts– often as a perfect Instagrammable respite for model-types weary of traipsing through Soho.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing proposal is one step closer to passing after he announced some changes earlier this week. The tweaks responded to many of the concerns expressed by city council members last month, including provisions for deeper affordability levels to help more low-income New Yorkers qualify for apartments. According to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the plan is all but certain to pass when it goes up for a vote next week.
Enter the basement of 294 Broome Street and you’re faced with a row of lockers and “mug shots” under bright lights. Jail cell bars open into a sparse studio with a graffiti mural of two figures escaping through a barbed wire fence. It almost feels like the police are about to take you in for questioning. Instead, this is where ConBody trainees “do the time” with prison-style bootcamp workouts.
The decorations are more than a gimmick. It was in solitary confinement that Coss Marte first dreamed up ConBody. He saw it as a chance to transition from busted drug dealer to a legitimate entrepreneur, helping provide jobs to other former inmates in the process.
Two men in their twenties were assaulted near Webster Hall on East 11th Street at 2:20 a.m. last Friday. The New York Police Department is looking for four men in connection with the event, who allegedly attacked the two victims with bottles and punched them, but didn’t steal any property.
Just a few weeks after volunteer org Arts in Bushwick surprised the neighborhood by announcing that Bushwick Open Studios would be held in October rather than in the summer, an anonymous entity has popped up with plans to fill the void in June, during the same weekend usually reserved for BOS. But little is known about the players behind the new arts fest, and neighborhood artists, gallerists and residents say they don’t know yet whether they’ll get on board.