On Saturday evening, about 40 neighborhood activists and elected officials braved the ominously dark clouds in the sky and gathered on the concrete slab adjacent to the massive CitiStorage site on N 12th and Kent Street. Armed with sleeping bags, blankets, warm clothing, snacks, lawn chairs, and a banner proclaiming “Where Is My Park?”, they had one in-tent: to get property owner Norman Brodsky and the city to reach a deal to turn the property into parkland, once and for all.
“You really have to be quick crossing the street, or they’ll totally run you down,” a friend of mine laughed. “I’m actually really scared that someday they’ll catch me not paying attention.” He was right– even after dark last night, garbage trucks were still rumbling down Thames Street periodically, past his apartment and toward the Brooklyn Waste Transfer Facility, which neighbors are saying is a particularly devious garbage deposit. I was on my way to a community meeting that brought together activists, workers, residents, and local business owners– all of them concerned about waste inequity– inside La Luz, a storefront and pop-up venue space.
To get to the meeting, I had to cross directly in front of the garbage processing warehouse where, per usual, the massive doors were wide open (which activists and residents say is the case several times an hour), revealing voluminous mounds of stinky refuse. I picked up the pace, realizing suddenly that I was in the crosshairs of an enormous white trash truck and a frantic bulldozer– I felt the distinct possibility that I could be mistaken for a passing ant. Had it been summer, my friend assured me, this experience would have been a more nauseating one.
Starting this Thursday WILLiFEST kicks off with dozens of film screenings and events happening all over Williamsburg for four days. The fest is nothing if not diverse in its selection. This year, WILLiFest’s lineup includes documentaries, independent feature-length films, music videos, and international, short, and student films.