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Around Brooklyn: De Blasio visited Park Slope Y minutes before gyms were closed

March 17, 2020 Noah Singer
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De Blasio visited Park Slope Y minutes before gyms were closed

Mayor Bill de Blasio was seen entering the Park Slope, Brooklyn YMCA minutes before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all gyms in the state due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the National Review. De Blasio is known for working out every morning for around two hours before heading to City Hall, and was spotted by a reporter at the YMCA yesterday. The mayor’s spokeswoman defended his gym attendance in a statement provided to a local NBC affiliate.  “The YMCA has been a huge part of [de Blasio’s] and his family’s life, like it has been for a lot of New Yorkers. It’s clear that’s about to change and before that, the mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time,” the statement read.

Levin calls on NYC residents to get tested

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Brooklyn Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights-Downtown Brooklyn-DUMBO-Greenpoint) is calling on all New Yorkers to organize to have 35,000 people tested for coronavirus by April 1. “When New Yorkers face a crisis, we come together in common cause. We did that after 9/11, we did that after Sandy, and we can do that right now,” he said.  Levin said that the first individuals to get tested should be older individuals presenting the symptoms of fever, dry cough, and/or shortness of breath. 

Lentol seeks to help bars, restaurants

Assemblymember Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg-Bushwick) has urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to adopt several measures to provide immediate relief to the state’s bar and restaurant industry.  “My Assembly district is comprised of many restaurants and bars that rely on day-to-day foot traffic for revenue,” he said. Lentol wants a halt in all commercial evictions, allowing bars and restaurants to retain sales tax as available funds, and advising commercial landlords to concede, promote or allow deferred payment of rent until the crisis has passed.

Jumaane Williams Is a slumlord, Post alleges

The New York Post recently said that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a supporter of tenants’ rights, has allowed a property he owns in Canarsie to deteriorate and rack up violations, unpaid water bills and unpaid utility bills. Records show he’s owned the two-family home on East 98th Street since 2005 and once lived at the address, although he allegedly neglected to register the address with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The house has also been repeatedly fined by the Department of Sanitation for violations, the Post said. Neighbors told the Post that it’s been a year since anyone lived at the address.

Brooklyn firehouse brings number of quarantined firefighters to 99

As the Brooklyn Eagle reported earlier, more than two dozen FDNY firefighters have been quarantined after a colleague at their Brooklyn firehouse tested positive for the coronavirus last week. With the Brooklyn development, the number of FDNY firefighters currently self-quarantining is 99, amNewYork said. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the quarantine was taken as a precaution. Officials said that the firehouse would be operational again by Saturday night following a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

What you can do to help in Brooklyn

Bklyner recently detailed some of the ways that Brooklynites can help during the coronavirus epidemic. One way is to help elderly and vulnerable people get needed supplies and prescriptions. Another way is to donate food from food pantries. Yet another is to give blood, as the supplies of blood are running low. Also, if you buy or order food, it helps to order locally. In addition, local Facebook groups are a great source of local organizing, and there’s a Brooklyn-wide coronavirus group on Facebook.

Doctor at VA Med Center tests positive for virus

A doctor at the Brooklyn VA Medical Center has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the New York Post. The March 11 memo obtained by the Post says the VA employee is quarantined at home and doing well. “Those who interacted with the employee are being contacted and the risk of infection is being assessed,” the memo says. A VA spokesman Friday confirmed to the Post that “an employee tested presumptive positive for COVID-19” on March 11.“In accordance with CDC guidelines and the patient’s clinical status, the employee is currently in home isolation, mitigating further risk of transmission to other patients and staff,” said the spokesman, Steve Piork.

Man robs cab driver in Southern Brooklyn 

Police are searching for the man who robbed a cab driver in Brooklyn, according to ABC7. It happened just before 1:30 a.m. on March 2 while the 31-year-old driver was parked near Van Siclen Avenue and Avenue W. Video showed the thief reaching through the driver’s window and grabbing his phone and approximately $300 in cash. Authorities say the suspect threatened to kill the driver, ABC7 reported.

Woman’s death in psych group home ruled homicide

The death of a woman at a psychiatric group home in Coney Island was ruled a homicide, according to the New York Post. Ann McGrory, 58, was found lifeless inside her companion Frank Thompson’s apartment at the Oceanview Manor, an adult assisted living home in Coney Island on Dec. 3, police said. When workers entered 64-year-old Thompson’s room at around 3:48 p.m., they first found him sitting on the bed and McGrory’s lifeless body lying on the floor with her pants down around her ankles.

Single-family home spotlighted on Brownstoner

A two-story wood frame house that looks somewhat out of place in the South Slope, which is home to many brick and brownstone rowhouses, is one of Brownstone’s Brooklyn properties of the week. The house, which is now painted yellow, is a legal two-family home but has been used by its current owner as a single-family home for 45 years, Brownstoner said. The home has two bedrooms, a “deep garden,” two wood-burning fireplaces, a new roof and a finished basement. It could use some work, Brownstoner said.

When everything’s closed, watch Brooklyn-themed films

The Brooklyn Paper has produced a list of locally-themed films and TV shows to watch while almost everything else is forbidden. One is “High Maintenance,” which follows a bicycle-riding weed dealer throughout his day. Another is “High Fidelity,” a film starring Zoe Kravitz as a lovesick record store owner in Crown Heights. “All Hail Beth” from Downtown arts organization BRIC focuses on a Brooklynite who wakes up one day as the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. And “She’s Gotta Have It” follows Fort Greene artist Nola Darling as she struggles to choose between her three lovers. There are quite a few others, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

Another ‘Bonnie’ heads to West Point

When asked how it was to finally hear from the United States Military Academy on her appointment to West Point, Dyker Heights resident Isabella Chirico stated, “I’m so happy and I really feel a sense of accomplishment and pride,” according to the Brooklyn Reporter website. The Fontbonne Academy student stated that she was ecstatic when she saw West Point’s “big white envelope” in the mail, knowing what was inside. As a four-year member of the student council and the current senior class president, Chirico rounds out her school resume as an Honor Roll student and a member of both the varsity basketball and softball teams.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.


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  1. Francesca Tate

    Oh there are also an abundance of classic movies that were filmed right here in Brooklyn, for those of us old enough to remember the 20th century. There should be, given all the film crews in our neighborhoods. Think “Moonstruck” (foremost among them), “Without A Trace,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Sophie’s Choice,” and even scenes from “Crocodile Dundee II ” (the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station.) Enough for hibernation. Now we just need enough popcorn.