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Pols Condemn Hit-and-Run Drivers After Weekend Deaths of Two Brooklynites

City councilman Stephen Levin speaks during press conference.

“There is a no more senseless or inhumane action than to leave a body in the street,” declared city councilman Ydanis Rodriguez at a news conference earlier today at the Greenpoint intersection where 27-year-old Neftaly Ramirez was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early Saturday morning.

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Pols Get Amped For Electric Bus Service During L Shutdown

Would electric buses soften the blow of the approaching L train shutdown? City Council members Rafael Espinal and Stephen Levin think so, and yesterday they called on the MTA to make it happen.

Aside from being an inconvenience for more than 200,000 daily commuters who ride the L train daily, the 15-month shutdown planned for 2019 will also cause an increase in carbon emissions as the subway is replaced with more car and bus traffic. Electric buses would solve the problem of noxious bus fumes while pushing the city closer to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly public transit system, the council members said during a press conference.

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5 Ways New Yorkers Can Fight the ‘Shocking Turn’ Our Country Has Taken

(Flyer via office of CM Stephen Levin)

(Flyer via office of CM Stephen Levin)

You might have noticed that since the election, stories of hate crimes and swastika sightings have been everywhere. But the increase isn’t simply due to a greater public interest in issues like police brutality and racially-motivated violence– hate crimes themselves have actually been on the rise. And quantifiably so: in the first 10 days after Trump’s victory, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 “bias-related incidents” across the country. (And yet, the government itself has no reliable way of tracking hate crime. “That’s because reporting of hate crimes is voluntary, not mandatory,” CNN reported yesterday.)

As New Yorkers, we live in one of the most progressive and diverse cities in the nation, so we might think that hate crimes only happen in rural America, and are therefore not our problem. Unfortunately, that’s just patently false. Back in November, Governor Cuomo said that the “ugly political discourse” of the campaign trail has only gotten worse, having transformed into an all-out “social crisis” of hate crime and intolerance. “This fear and this anger, misdirected, seeks an enemy,” he said. “It seeks a target and that target has become people who we see as different than ourselves.” Recently, Cuomo launched a Statewide hotline for reporting “incidents of bias and discrimination.” According to the NYPD, hate crimes have been on the rise in the last year right here in New York City– as of November 13, 328 had been reported since the start of 2016. (As Gothamist noted, that’s a 31.5 percent increase since 2015.)

Ok, that’s a little overwhelming. So how can we even begin to respond to awful garbage like this?

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The Future of ’80/20′ Affordable Housing Hangs in the Balance: Can 421-A Be Fixed?

(Photo: C Ceres Merry)

(Photo: C Ceres Merry)

You may not have realized it, but the city has been in the midst of a “developocalypse” since January, when the state’s 421-a program expired. For decades, the program had fueled development by excusing building owners of property taxes for up to 25 years so long as they devoted at least 20 percent of their units to affordable housing. Earlier this month, it was announced that the stalemate that brought on the developocalpyse, or at least that’s how developers understood it, was over. As the state legislature now mulls over whether to approve the reauthorization of 421-a, City Council members are seeking ways to fix it, and make sure the program fulfills its original mission of creating affordable housing.

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City Strikes a Deal to Pay $160 Million For Final Parcel of Bushwick Inlet Park

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

After over a decade of uncertainty, the city has struck a deal to acquire the final 11 acres needed to complete Bushwick Inlet Park. The parcel of land on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront, a subject of controversy for years, will be purchased for $160 million, according to announcement from the mayor’s office.

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Participatory Budgeting Time! Tell the City Where, Exactly, It Can Stuff Your Tax $$s

(Map via NYC City Council)

(Map via NYC City Council)

As Participatory Budgeting has been adopted here in New York City over the last few years, residents of each participating district can now vote on how to allocate a minimum of $1 million of the city budget to the local improvement efforts they they care most about. In North Brooklyn, the budgetary contenders chosen by neighbors include projects in schools, parks, playgrounds, transportation, and public housing. (Sorry, Lower East Side and East Village– you’re left out again this year.)

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Is the Future of Williamsburg Industry Worth Betting for an ‘Experiment’?

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits's waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits’s waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Already ground zero for some of the city’s most dramatic rezonings, Williamsburg is facing yet another contentious development: an eight-story, 480,000-square-foot office complex known as the Brooklyn Generator. On Tuesday, Community Board 1 met to vote on whether or not to support the creation of a special mixed-use zone that would allow developers to move forward with the massive project. And they didn’t take the matter lightly. “This is going to affect us for the rest of our lives,” CB1 chairperson Dealice Fuller said of the board’s decision.

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Now You Can See Everywhere Girls, Broad City and All Your Other NYC Shows Have Shot

Shoot for Girls at Cafe Grumpy (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Shoot for Girls at Cafe Grumpy (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Who needs a Girls tour bus? Finally, the diehard couch potatoes among us will be able to check out every haunt Ilana, Aziz or Lena have graced on their shows. And New Yorkers fed up with getting the hand from power-tripping PAs have some data-driven ammo when they complain there are too many film shoots in their neighborhood.

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City Council Grills Mayor’s Affordable Housing Plan, Fearing Williamsburg-Style Gentrification

(photo by Kavitha Surana)

(photo by Kavitha Surana)

City Council members pushed Mayor de Blasio’s new rezoning plan to prioritize deeper affordability during a hearing yesterday on a key pillar of his effort to add 200,000 new affordable units over 10 years. If passed, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing would require new constructions in certain neighborhoods to set aside 25-30 percent of the units as permanently affordable.

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NuHart Building Co-Owner on the Superfund Rave: “I Panicked”

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

The NuHart Plastics Building (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The massive Halloween rave shutdown by the Fire Department in Greenpoint over the weekend stole the show once again, this time at Monday evening’s Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) meeting about the oversight of hazardous waste cleanup at a former plastics manufacturing site in the neighborhood.

The building of interest, 280 Franklin Street (aka the NuHart Plastics building) is a Superfund site that was recently bought by a group of developers (DuPont Street Developers, LLC) hoping to turn it into a residential and retail site. Things got pretty, pretty weird at the meeting– to the point that Michael Roux, a geologist hired by the developers as an environmental consultant, fielded most of the questions about why on earth nearly 5,000 ravers were almost allowed to party on a Superfund site. At one point he slipped up, referring to the former plastics factory as a “venue.” The audience erupted back. “It’s not a venue!” one neighbor shouted. “It’s a toxic waste site!”

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McGolrick Park’s Gritty Playground Is Getting a Million-Dollar Makeover

(Photo: McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance Facebook)

(Photo: McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance Facebook)

As the Mayor’s office allocates $130 million to improving neglected parks, one Greenpoint mother on a mission is celebrating the $1.3 million that will go toward a playground that has long made her worry about her daughter’s safety.
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New Bill Aims to Curb the Amount of Trash Being Trucked Through North BK

(Photo: Ilyse Liffreing)

(Photo: Ilyse Liffreing)

North Brooklyn handles almost 40 percent of the city’s trash, and a couple of City Council members think that just plain stinks. They’re introducing a bill that would dramatically curb the amount of garbage being hauled through Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick.
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