The Department of Transportation’s newest pet project has been the DOT Art Initiative, which partners with artists and community organizations to bring some color into this concrete jungle. You might have caught last month’s “asphalt activation” at a Citi Bike docking station in Williamsburg. Now, the DOT has partnered up with New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and the non-profit Hester Street Collaborative to set up a temporary public art installation on the South Street median, starting at Rutgers Street.
New York State Senate
A bill that would help the smallest of small businesses tap into much-needed loans and funding has cleared the State Senate and Assembly. Today, the bill’s co-sponsor, State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes the Lower East Side and parts of Greenpoint, Williamsburg and the East Village, gathered with other boosters of the Small Business Support bill to call on Governor Cuomo to sign it into law. The measure calls on the state to prioritize micro-businesses (i.e. those with less than five employees) when awarding Small Business Revolving Loan Fund loans, and would waive application fees for approved “micro-loans” of under $5,000.
To meet with Debbie Medina, New York’s first Democratic Socialist candidate for State Senate, I was invited not to a campaign office, nor a public appearance, not even to join her on a campaigning stroll through the 18th district, but to Medina’s Williamsburg apartment– specifically, her dining room table. Here, she advised me not to take off my shoes. “You’ll ruin your socks if you do that,” she laughed.
It became clear to me immediately that Debbie Medina, who’s running her second grassroots campaign to snatch the 18th-district seat in the fall, isn’t at all like other politicians. For one, hers isn’t the sort of practiced, regal charisma that most politicos have– a perfect grin and an unerring face, both provided with extra protection from the elements by a layer of effervescent self-assurance so infectious that if you’re not careful it can briefly paralyze your capacity for doubt, and turn you into a nodding, agreeable dimwit.
Our glasses-wearing New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, repping parts of North Brooklyn and the LES not just in style but also in substance, posed some gnawing questions to the MTA today regarding the much feared L train shutdown. At a budget hearing in Albany, the senator echoed some concerns expressed last night at a meeting of North Brooklyn residents, business owners, commuters, and workers who are bracing for the “major disruption” that will be caused by the repair of two East River tunnels damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, MTA chair Thomas F. Prendergast had some relatively comforting answers.