A $340,000 “Angelmobile” has started cruising the streets of North Brooklyn, handing out free meals in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. The state-of-the-art food truck– funded in part by Norman Brodsky, the entrepreneur who drew ire from community activists when he held out on selling his valuable waterfront property for parkland— is more than just a mobile soup kitchen. Inside, it has an office space where a rotating array of neighborhood organizations can dole out social services.
“Everybody should be testing their soil before they garden,” said Allison Currier, an organizer at NAG. “North Brooklyn especially. That’s because if you’re a resident of Greenpoint or Williamsburg, in all likelihood you’ve got some lead on your hands.
NYPD Captain Peter Rose caused a stir last week when, addressing a rise in Greenpoint sex attacks, he seemed to tell DNAinfo that the NYPD was less worried about so-called acquaintance rape and more concerned with so-called stranger rapes: “Those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards,” he said. Acquaintance rapes, on the other hand, are “not total-abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets,” Rose was quoting as saying.
Since word leaked in January that the MTA was planning to shut down L train service for over a year in order to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, the residents, small businesses, and restaurant and bar owners who belong to the grassroots L Train Coalition have desperately wondered what the extended vacation will mean in real terms. For almost a year now, they’ve been locked in a push-and-pull with the MTA and elected officials, all in an effort to get the facts straight and prepare for the impact. At a meeting last night dubbed “What the L?”, coalition members took matters into their own hands and unveiled a report that proposes a 14th Street “transitway” that would be closed to private vehicles and other measures to stave off the L-pocalypse.
As of this afternoon, for the first time ever, you can make your way up to the tip top of the brand new William Vale hotel, clink glasses with your crew and look out over the expanse of Brooklyn from the Westlight, the new Williamsburg luxury hotel’s 22nd-floor bar with 360-degree views of the city skyline. Suddenly, Brooklyn will look almost insignificant and underdeveloped, teeming with pathetic, spartan life. Shift your godlike eyes down toward the Wythe Hotel and its unfortunate patrons will look like drunken, desperate ants. “Literally, that’s the Wythe– look how little it looks,” a PR rep laughed along with us.
It’s only been about two years since Stuart Solomon, Zack Wheeler, and Olivia Russin first secured a barebones warehouse in Greenpoint’s small sliver of an industrial corridor and turned it into a DIY show space called Aviv, so it’s been something of a shock to hear that the venue will be closing its doors at the end of October. Add the fact that Brooklyn recently lost another one of its heaviest hitters, Palisades, and Aviv’s passing will almost certainly mean that, as far as indie/underground/punk shows are concerned, there’s going to be a period of relative quiet to follow.
Depending on where you look, North Brooklyn is still replete with rusty reminders of its fairly recent manufacturing past, but as that history recedes farther off into the distance, pushed along by developers mining the cityscape for residential conversions (and now, slick new tech office space too), the memory of what stood there before is fading too. The area’s transformation has proceeded so quickly and dramatically that many new residents have no idea that they’re living next to an old pencil factory, or in some cases a Brownfield site.
The MTA has confirmed that any 24/7 closure of the L-train tunnel is “unlikely to begin before January of 2019” and is promising there will be a “new dynamic” with riders and residents as the agency decides how best to repair damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.
If you don’t know who the North Brooklyn Democratic District Leader is at this point, well, then you probably haven’t attended too many Community Board 1 meetings, and it’s also safe to say that you’re definitely not a member of the Brooklyn Young Democrats. But if you live in or around Greenpoint or Williamsburg and care to be involved in the future of the Democratic Party or the Progressive movement, rest assured there are easier ways to get to know Nick Rizzo than crashing a tedious land-use committee hearing.
For one, you could always convene with Rizzo on the Lower East Side, where you’ll find him working behind the bar at 151. It was clearly a slow night when I stopped by last week (he’d just finished doing the glamorous work of juicing some oranges), so Rizzo had some time to chat about Bernie Sanders, Elena Ferrante, and a rather awkward encounter at Vito Lopez’s wake, among other things.