Riveting premiere of “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box” at Brooklyn’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center

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Adrienne Kennedy is brilliant.

She will make you weep.

Her first new play in a decade, “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box,” packs a devastating emotional wallop.

The just-opened play is making its world premiere at Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center in the Brooklyn Cultural District.

It is a searing work about segregation, sex, violence and a pair of seriously star-crossed 17-year-old lovers from small-town Georgia in 1941.

Kennedy, whom the New York Times has called “one of the finest living American playwrights,” delivers a breathtaking evocation of the Deep South in the grip of Jim Crow with her tale of Kay and Chris.

When the play begins, Kay is standing beside a railing at the top of a stairwell at her boarding school, gazing down at a school play that’s in progress. For a moment, you are reminded of Juliet on her famous balcony. Then, down below, her Romeo appears, namely Chris.


Motherless children

As you soon discover, biracial Kay, played by Juliana Canfield, is a motherless child.

Her dead mother was black and 15 years old. Her father was white and rich.

Not long after Kay was born, her mother shot herself in the head. Or did she?

Most of the black people in Montefiore, Georgia, think Kay’s father killed her mother – and kept her heart in a green glass box.

Chris, played by Tom Pecinka, is white. He is motherless, too. He has just come from his mama’s funeral.

Chris’ father is rich, one of the biggest landowners in southern Georgia, in fact.

Dear Old Dad has Nazi friends in Germany. He has three children whose mothers were black. He is the “architect of the town’s segregation,” Kennedy writes in her stage directions for the play.

In their initial scene together, Kay agrees to marry Chris.

Musings full of pain and perplexity

After that, they spend the rest of the play until the very end on separate parts of the stage, composing letters to each other that they speak as monologues.

Their monologues are musings full of pain and perplexity about their parents, which Canfield and Pecinka turn into mesmerizing theatre.

Kay and Chris are separated because she’s at Atlanta University and he has headed to New York City to become an actor. He’s in his dressing room at an amateur production of “Bitter Sweet,” a Noel Coward play that, by the way, is about star-crossed lovers.

At one point, Pecinka creates a particularly poignant moment by singing the song “Dear Little Café” from “Bitter Sweet.”

Coward’s play was turned into a 1940 movie starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Kay and Chris had both seen it back home in Georgia, sitting in separate, segregated parts of the movie theatre.

They have decided that when the war is over, they will go to Paris together, just like the characters in “Bitter Sweet.”


Echoes of 16th-century bloodshed

Throughout the play, there’s a third person on stage with Kay and Chris.

He’s sitting there even before “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box” begins.

He’s actually a mannequin, painted ghost-white and dressed in a man’s suit.

In the play’s early scenes, he’s like the proverbial elephant in the room. His presence, though unacknowledged, can’t be ignored.

He seems like a ghostly reminder of all those white people in Montefiore who will be outraged by the young couple’s plans to wed.

In due course, the mannequin’s identity is revealed. He’s a stand-in for Chris’ father, Harrison Aherne.

The actor who plays Chris also plays Harrison Aherne by speaking the elder character’s lines and moving the mannequin around a bit.

Pecinka and the mannequin interact in a pas-de-deux that’s arrestingly odd – and riveting to watch.

Most of Harrison Aherne’s lines in “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box” come from Christopher Marlowe’s late 16th-century play, “The Massacre at Paris.”

Pecinka reads some of them from a book as a clue to the audience that they are drawn from literature of old.

The lines are menacing and terrible. You are right to be frightened by them.

“The Massacre at Paris” is about French Catholics’ slaughter of thousands of Protestant Huguenots in 1572 and the French nobility’s use of this outbreak of religious warfare as a pretext to conspire murderously against one another.

The massacre occurred after the marriage of Huguenot leader Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois, the Catholic sister of King Charles IX of France.


An important voice in American theatre since the 1960s

Kennedy has been an important voice in American theatre since the early 1960s. When a new play of hers makes its debut, it’s a very big deal.

She has won Obie Awards for three of her plays starting in 1964 for “Funnyhouse of a Negro.” She also won an Obie for Lifetime Achievement.

Over the years, she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, been a visiting professor at Harvard and Berkeley and been commissioned to write plays for Jerome Robbins and Juilliard and numerous other theatres.

“He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box” is directed by Evan Yionoulis, who helmed an award-winning revival of Kennedy’s play “Ohio State Murders” for Theatre for a New Audience in 2007.

Canfield and Pecinka are both Yale School of Drama grads who studied with Yionoulis.

Canfield plays a recurring role in “Succession,” an upcoming HBO series. Pecinka has appeared in Shakespeare in the Park and other Off-Broadway productions.

* * *

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is staging “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box” by renowned playwright Adrienne Kennedy.

The play runs through Feb. 11.

TFANA’s venue, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, is located at 262 Ashland Place in Fort Greene.

For tickets, go to tfana.org or call 866-811-4111.

Who’s afraid of Starbucks? Not this Brooklyn coffee tycoon

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Starbucks was well underway in pursuing its manifest destiny to blanket the world with its coffee shops when Murat Uyaroglu, a Turkish immigrant living in Brooklyn, decided there was room in the business for him too. His angle: he would do it better, from the espresso to the decor. “I saw the game changing,” Uyaroglu says. “Coffee started being treated like wine; it’s special. It’s important where you get it, how you roast it, how you brew it.”

The recipe is working. This month Uyaroglu opened the fifth location of his coffee-bar-and-café chain, Hungry Ghost, on the ground floor of a high-rise apartment building at 80 Dekalb Ave. Set across the street from the LIU Brooklyn campus in Fort Greene, it’s the fourth Hungry Ghost within about a one-mile stretch. (The fifth shop is inside NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan.) By June, Uyaroglu plans to open two more shops in Brooklyn and another in Tribeca. But you can’t convince him he’s expanding too fast.

“People say, ‘What, are you crazy? You’re opening three locations in five blocks?’,” says the 39-year-old Uyaroglu. “Actually, I could do five in five blocks!” Creating a coffee-shop brand has a lot to do with understanding the flow of foot traffic in the neighborhoods, because commuters typically walk the same route every day, Uyaroglu explains. The many subway stations near Hungry Ghost locations help ensure that traffic flow, while having multiple locations provides fiscal flexibility–if one shop’s revenue is down, the others can help support the business.

Convenience isn’t enough, though, says the entrepreneur. The most important factor in building a customer base is the consistency of the product, Uyaroglu says. “If you do your job right, they’re always going to come back to you.” Hungry Ghost makes an obsession of quality, acknowledging on its website, “We seek out baristas who share our passion for coffee and are not afraid to chase the perfect [espresso] shot and coincidentally become very overcaffeinated.”  

Uyaroglu made a decision early on to focus on the brewing and serving rather than the roasting, choosing Stumptown Coffee Roasters as his supplier. The Portland, Ore.-based company, one of the pioneers of the third-wave, artisanal-coffee movement, has a roasting plant in the Red Hook neighborhood.

While many customers may grab-and-go, Uyaroglu designed his shops as places for people to linger, which he attributes to his Turkish roots. “You go to a café [there], you relax, see what’s going on, drink, talk, meet–and that was the idea,” says Uyaroglu, a native of Istanbul.

At age 12, still living in Turkey, he worked at his father’s electronics store and later at a tool manufacturer run by his father’s cousin. Though he joyfully just worked the cash registers and boxed products, Uyaroglu says he learned some of his most important business lessons during those formative years, including how to negotiate, he says, and “dealing with people, day to day, understanding how people react to certain conversations, and where you want to set your limits, without pissing people off,” he says.  

While in college in Turkey, he opened up an internet café, which he sold six months later at a handsome profit, he says. The next year, Uyaroglu relocated to Washington, D.C., to learn English and study business. There he met his future wife, a writer from Minnesota, and quickly lost all desire to return to Turkey.

The pair married three years later, and eventually moved to Prospect Heights. When he saw an opportunity in 2006 to take over the business of a nearby coffee shop on Sterling Place called Prospect Perk, Uyaroglu borrowed some money from his father-in-law and went about fixing up the place, including its coffee.

After five years of practice in getting the formula right, he decided his next act would be to take it up a level by designing a flagship store on Flatbush Avenue. He embraced the seemingly sanity-questioning strategy of investing heavily on the café’s interior design. “People said, ‘What are you doing? It’s a coffee shop, not a restaurant,’” Uyaroglu recounts. “But it paid off.”

The flagship location’s rustic-chic look–a classically Brooklyn style with exposed brick, tin ceilings and wood tables, chairs and floors–has a dash of postmodern sleekness and has become the template for all of Uyaroglu’s Hungry Ghost outposts. Many people have asked if the brand name is a reference to the insatiable spirits in Buddhist teachings, but the genesis is more serendipitous. A friend of Uyaroglu’s once suggested they meet at a New England diner called Friendly Toast, which Uyaroglu initially misheard. He later embraced the accidental coinage for his new shop because he associated it with caffeine culture and the hungry souls of artists.

With their coffee or tea, Hungry Ghost customers can enjoy imported French pastries, as well as breakfast offerings at the larger shops. Italian sodas and kombucha on tap add a further cosmopolitan touch. “People are not going to settle with mediocre options in New York,” Uyaroglu says.

One of the few things Uyaroglu feels ambivalent about is the issue of Wi-Fi usage in coffee shops, which has sparked a backlash among customers who feel the laptop-toting hordes take up too much table space. At Hungry Ghost, the smaller locations don’t give out Wi-Fi passwords at all; the larger ones do, but offer limited seating to those with laptops. “It’s a sensitive issue. We want to serve both clientele,” he says, including those who “want to go to a coffee shop and not feel like you went into a library,” and freelancers, who “shouldn’t feel alienated from the space just because you want to sit down with your laptop.” The forthcoming East Williamsburg café will span about 1,500 sq. ft., with plenty of seating for both kinds of customers, he says.

Uyaroglu and his wife, who now have two children, reside in Fort Greene, with easy access to Uyaroglu’s growing hospitality empire. It now includes a well-reviewed craft-cocktail bar, Sweet Polly, which the entrepreneur opened two years ago on Sixth Avenue, not far from the Hungry Ghost flagship. As with the coffee shops, attention to detail is paid at Sweet Polly, from the colorful cocktails to the décor and ambiance. Uyaroglu said he might open another bar sometime next year, but has to get the other coffee shops up and running first. “I don’t know what the end game is, really,” Uyaroglu says. “But, so far, one shop at a time, that’s my goal.”

Michael Stahl is a freelance writer and editor. A former high school English teacher, he has written for Rolling Stone, Vice, the Village Voice, Narratively, Splitsider, Outside Magazine and other publications.


Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation Law Committee helps co-op dwellers know their rights

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The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee hosted a public seminar on Monday for co-op dwellers titled “Co-op Living: Know Your Rights as a Shareholder and as a Renter,” during which an attorney explained the common problems that arise and how to handle them.

The Foundation Law Committee, which is chaired by Fern Finkel, is the public and philanthropic arm of the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) and regularly hosts public forums to inform the community of their legal rights.

“All of these programs are free to the public,” Finkel said. “I see a few attorneys and judges here tonight, but this is really meant for all of your neighbors, your friends and your community.

It’s really hard to get legal advice from practitioners in a field, but here is a great and unique opportunity.”

BBA trustee Jimmy Lathrop was the lecturer. He spoke for an hour and a half on the rights of cooperative shareholders and renters under the Martin Act and NYS Constitution. Afterward he stayed and spoke one-on-one with some of the more than 80 attendees.

“Jimmy Lathrop worked for a while for the BBA and has done extensive pro bono work,” Finkel said. “His credentials go on and on, but what he is really known for is his expertise and ability to handle complex matters in the housing court, landlord tenant court, co-ops and condos and a number of other fields. He has a wonderful office and a real ability to listen.”

In explaining the intricacies of dealing with co-ops, Lathrop started by explaining exactly how owning or renting in a cooperative building is different from typical buildings.

“Cooperatives are very unique ownership regimes where different property interests are created,” Lathrop said. “A cooperative corporation buys a building and the cooperative is actually the owner and then shareholders purchase the cooperative shares which are then personal property and the corporation enters into long-term leases called proprietary leases entitling each shareholder to occupy a particular unit.

“Cooperatives are bound by their rules, much like a Rubik’s cube there are only so many things you can do with a cooperative unless it’s included in the offering plan, the articles of incorporation and the bylaws,” he explained.

Lathrop said that the varying motivations behind cooperative owners often lead to conflicts of interest between dwellers and even between the owner of a cooperative and the co-op board.

“As with all corporations, cooperative corporations owe their shareholders fiduciary duties and these responsibilities sometimes conflict with duties the corporation acting as landlord owes to a proprietary lessee,” he said. “That means that sometimes the cooperative has to choose the needs of the many over the needs of the few.”

The event was sponsored by the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), which it broadcasted over the internet using Facebook Live. LRS plans to sponsor similar topics in the future and will broadcast them live as well.

“The Lawyer Referral Service is a one of a kind nonprofit legal organization,” Lathrop said. “It screens attorneys for experience and expertise; they’re all interviewed by the LRS. It’s among the most successful legal organizations for referral services. Roseann Hiebert has been given numerous accommodations for her work with serving a very large community of litigants here in Kings County.”

Upcoming events that will be hosted by the Foundation Law Committee include one coming up on March 26 that will cover consumer debt and bankruptcy. That lecture will be conducted by Richard Klass. Then on April 30, it will host a “Know Your Rights” seminar on criminal law in conjunction with the Brooklyn Defender Services. All events are held at the Brooklyn Bar Association.


Brooklyn judge will consider Trump’s anti-Latino remarks in DACA decision

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A Brooklyn federal judge said in court on Tuesday that he cannot make a decision regarding the status of young undocumented immigrants in the country on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program without considering President Donald Trump’s “incendiary” anti-Latino comments.

“The statements that were made during the election cycle were extremely volatile,” said Judge Nicholas Garaufis in court, referring to Trump’s recurring comments that had painted Latinos with a broad negative brush.

“This came from the top. This isn’t ordinary,” Garaufis added while DACA recipients in the audience nodded. “It’s not what we see from our leaders, I hope.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared in court, leading 16 other attorneys general motioning for a temporary injunction to stop the termination of DACA. The program is quickly approaching a March 5 deadline to cease after Trump called for its “orderly wind down” on Sept. 5, 2017.

A representative from Schneiderman’s office, Lourdes Rosado argued that the decision to end the program was fueled with bias, partly based on the many anti-immigrant and specifically Latino comments from the president. Of the 689,800 active recipients, known as “Dreamers,” roughly 94 percent are Latino.

When government lawyer Stephen Pezzi argued against the comments being used for consideration, Garaufis asked how he could decide by not taking into account the words by “the man who sits in the oval office.”

The plaintiffs, who are also made up of numerous Dreamers, called for the injunction because the possibly temporary injunction ruled by Judge William Alsup in California on Jan. 9 was not enough to protect all Dreamers.

“There are New Yorkers that are left out of the injunction record in California,” Schneiderman said outside the court. “No one has raised any argument that the Dreamers should not be allowed to stay here. These are people who work and play by the rules.”

Rosado argued that the rescinding of DACA would negatively impact New York, as its recipients combine to a large number of workers that contribute to the state economy.

In addition to the injunction, the government proposed dismissing the case, which is likely to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit. Part of their argument alluded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks that the program was unlawfully implemented.

Garaufis had a message for Sessions too.

“He seems to think the courts cannot have an opinion because he ruled,” Garaufis said about Sessions. “He’s not here is he? It’s better that he’s not.”

The judge did not yet deliver any decisions on Tuesday.

Dreamers have had a tumultuous past year, beginning with the tension pressed upon them from the election of President Trump with his hard-stance politics on illegal immigration.

Then roughly seven months into his presidency, he called for an end to the Obama-era immigration program unless Congress could work out a permanent solution.

Negotiations on the issue are now presented as a tipping point for the federal government’s spending plan, which lack of compromise on led to the Jan. 20 government shutdown.

Dreamers were among crowds of protesters who marched on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Prospect Park West home after Democrats were unable to keep the government closed over the immigration argument.

The government is currently being funded through Feb. 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address Dreamers’ future, but President Donald Trump has presented an ultimatum of approval of his $25 billion U.S. Mexico border wall.

“We cannot wait for Congress. We need the court, the courts to come out with a solution for us Dreamers,” Martin Batalla Vidal, a Dreamer and plaintiff said before pausing to cry. “We’ve been here all our lives. Going back to our country is going back to a country we don’t know.”

Brooklyn bank robber with bad memory turns himself in after seeing wanted poster

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A Brooklyn man with a bad memory was arraigned in federal court on Saturday for robbing a bank in Crown Heights after he recognized himself in a wanted poster and turned himself in.

Juan Carlos Marrero, a 40-year-old from Brooklyn, was charged with robbing the Chase Bank on Utica Avenue in Crown Heights on Jan. 20 at approximately 9 a.m.

That morning, according to the criminal complaint, he approached a teller, put a backpack on the ground next to himself, passed the teller a black plastic bag before he said, “I don’t know what’s in the backpack, but it’s loaded. Give me everything you have. Put it in the bag.”

Marrero told the teller that his family was being held hostage in order to get him to rob the bank, according to the complaint.

After the teller informed Marrero that there was no money to surrender, Marrero left the bank without the backpack, according to the complaint. Investigators found two white plastic bottles and computer parts in the bag.

The defendant turned himself in five days later after he recognized himself on a wanted poster in connection to the robbery. When he met with police officers the next day, he confirmed that he was the person in surveillance photos. He was then read his Miranda rights and spoke with officers.

Marrero told investigators that he had no memory of the event.

Fontbonne students earn praise in science talent search

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Two enterprising Fontbonne Hall Academy students are winning praise for the research papers they submitted to a nationwide science competition.

Fontbonne seniors Kristina Scarfo and Teressa Martinelli were both awarded badges for the work they handed in for the Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the country’s oldest science and math competitions for high school seniors.

Scarfo earned the Regeneron Science Talent Search Research Report Badge, an honor given to the student who produces a well-written, college-level, research report based on independent science research. She worked in consultation with Dr. Philip Schatz of Saint. Joseph’s University on her paper “Gender Differences in Concussion Symptoms as Reported by Youth Athletes and their Parents.”

Martinelli, who was also awarded the Report Badge, submitted a paper titled “Increased Risk of Attentional Bias in First-Time Parents Exhibiting Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression During Pregnancy.”

She worked for two years under the mentorship of Dr. Clancy Blair at New York University to produce her research paper.

In addition to the Report Badge, Martinelli earned a Student Initiative Badge in the talent search.

Scarfo and Martinelli are members of the Science Research Program at Fontbonne Hall Academy, a three-year sequence of classes that allows students conduct their own unique scientific investigations while working under the guidance of a research scientist.

Students in the Science Research Program enter their research papers into the Regeneron Science Talent Search as well as other competitions during their senior year.

Located at 9901 Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Fontbonne Hall Academy is a Catholic high school for girls. The school is sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, a religious order of nuns.

“For 80 years, Fontbonne Hall Academy has been preparing young women to become professional leaders who serve their communities with confidence and compassion. We challenge our students to achieve their highest intellectual and creative potential in science, math, the arts and humanities by providing them with the tools necessary to achieve success in their college studies and their chosen career,” Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric wrote in a message on the school’s website.


For more information about academic programs at the school, visit www.fontbonne.org.


Panda Express to donate profits to P.S.-I.S. 104

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The owners of a new Asian-inspired fast food restaurant opening up in Bay Ridge are making themselves at home in their new neighborhood by doing a good deed for local school children.

Panda Express, which is set to open at 416 86th St. on Friday, Feb. 2, is donating 20 percent of its opening day profits to P.S./I.S. 104, an elementary-intermediate school in Bay Ridge.

It’s perhaps no accident that P.S./I.S. 104 was selected by the owners of Panda Express to receive a donation. Located at 9115 Fifth Ave., the school has a longstanding tradition of recognizing the accomplishments of civic do-gooders in Bay Ridge. The PTA hosts a Brotherhood Tea each year and presents an award to a community leader.

The California-based owners of the Panda Express restaurant chain announced the donation plans this week.

The grand opening of the new eatery will also include workers handing out fortune cookies and coupons to shoppers on 86th Street.

“We look forward to introducing our delicious American Chinese comfort food to even more guests in the area. As we continue to expand our footprint on the East Coast, our associates feel honored to bring our community-centric culture and signature service to Brooklyn,” Yingying Chen, area coach of operations for Panda Express, said in a statement.

Panda Express will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The menu items include Original Orange Chicken, SweetFire Chicken Breast, Honey Walnut Shrimp and Shanghai Angus Steak.

From opening day through March 27, the restaurant will serve a limited time menu featuring a “WokSmart” entree that has strips of all-white meat chicken breasts, diced Chinese sausage, red and green bell peppers, celery, fermented black beans and whole dry chili peppers in a savory sauce.

As Panda Express establishes a foothold in Bay Ridge, it will continue to explore ways it can perform charitable endeavors in the community, the restaurant’s representatives said.

The new eatery, located in the heart of the Bay Ridge 86th Street Business Improvement District, will provide jobs for more than 20 Brooklyn residents, representatives said.

Founded in 1983, Panda Express is part of the Panda Restaurant Group. The company owns more than 2,000 locations throughout the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico, Guam, Guatemala, Canada, Mexico, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea.

For more information on Panda Express, visit www.pandaexpress.com.


DA Gonzalez doesn’t think Brooklyn will need new jail if Rikers closes

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If New York City follows through on its plan to close Rikers Island within the next 10 years, it will have to build alternative jail sites throughout the boroughs to house inmates. However, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is confident that Brooklyn will be able to use the existing prison, located on Atlantic Avenue, to house additional inmates.

“I’m lucky,” Gonzalez said during an interview with supermarket magnate and radio host John Catsimatidis. “The political issues of where a jail would go or how we can house people in the boroughs don’t really apply to Brooklyn.”

The current plan to close Rikers Island would require the city to cut down the total population of inmates at the facility and then house them in each of the boroughs.

The existing facility that Gonzalez and members of the Committee to Close Rikers Island have in mind for Brooklyn is the House of Detention, located on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Boerum Place. However, that facility currently houses 815 inmates and would have to be expanded.

This is not the first time the first time the city has attempted to increase the size of the House of Detention. When it reopened in 2008 after being closed for several years, a renovation plan that was proposed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others would have increased its size to approximately 1,500 beds. Residents, community groups and politicians fought the expansion plan, though, and it was ultimately killed with the help of then- NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson.

At the time, Community Board 2 and other groups opposed the expansion because of concerns about visitors loitering on the streets, complaints about visitors allegedly leaving guns and contraband on nearby residents’ property, and double- and triple-parked cars.

However, in the last 10 years since the House of Detention has reopened, CB2’s District Manager Robert Perris said the jail has been a “good neighbor,” so the board wouldn’t reject an expansion plan outright. However, it has still not decided if it is for or against the proposal.

“Before it reopened, [the House of Detention] made physical changes, they built a new visitor center, so the complaint of people loitering in the street went away,” Perris said. “It’s the community board’s position that they are not a bad neighbor in a downtown setting where the courts are located.”

The biggest issue that remains is street parking. Although Perris said that double- and triple-parking hasn’t been an issue, there still is a problem with illegal parking-placard abuse by prison guards. This could be exacerbated by expanding the capacity of the jail.

Ultimately, the community board may oppose the plan out of fear of losing parking spots, which could hurt businesses on Atlantic Avenue.

Expanding on Brooklyn’s current facility would require a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). This complicated process requires approval from the community board, the borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio.


Justices Eng and Silver honored by New York State Bar Association

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Judges Randall T. Eng and George J. Silver were among the four judges who were honored by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) during its annual meeting in Manhattan last Friday.

The other two judges were Hon. Paul G. Feinman and Hon. Karen K. Peters. All were honored by the NYSBA’s Judicial Section.

“This year we recognized four judges who represent the exemplary judicial bench that this state has,” said Judge Conrad Singer, presiding member of the Judicial Section. “The Judicial Section is pleased to honor these outstanding jurists and their contributions to the legal profession.”

Eng, who retired last month as the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, located in Brooklyn Heights, received the Lifetime Achievement Recognition. He was the second Asian-American judge to serve on the state appellate court.

Silver, who is currently serving as the interim administrative judge for the Bronx Supreme Court, received the Advancement of Judicial Diversity Award. He had previously served as deputy chief administrative judge for the NYC courts. He was honored for his work with the NYSBA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion; and the Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section’s Executive Committee. His work with the NAACP was also cited.

Feinman received the Distinguished Jurist Award after he was appointed to the NYS Court of Appeals as an associate justice last year. He is the first gay judge on the Court of Appeals.

Peters received the Lifetime Achievement Recognition after retiring as the presiding judge of the Appellate Division, Third Department. She is court’s first female presiding justice.