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Around Brooklyn: Is that free book also germ-free?

April 20, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Is that free book also germ-free?

Every spring, the stoops and sidewalks of Brooklyn host free books. However, this year, the stoop piles around Park Slope have been few and far between, according to the New York Times. The ones that do exist often have signs assuring passers-by that the books have been disinfected and are germ- or coronavirus-free. During a pandemic, the Times said, no one wants to go digging though someone else’s stuff.

Demand at Trader Joe’s is as heavy as ever

A Cobble Hill man has been updating neighbors about the line outside Trader Joe’s Court Street outpost using the Twitter handle @TraderJoesLine, allowing would-be shoppers to assess the wait time before heading to their beloved emporium. “It was really just boredom, looking out the window ever day, said Jacob Shwirtz, who lives across the street from the Atlantic Avenue food seller. Trader Joe’s has limited the number of customers permitted inside their stores in an effort to keep people a safe distance from one another, according to the Brooklyn Paper. These measures have caused the line outside to stretch around the block, Shwirtz said.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Red tape makes it hard to obtain medical equipment

First responders are being denied life-saving medical equipment by a maze of bureaucratic red tape, according to the Brooklyn Paper. A coalition elected officials and labor leaders lamented that “essential workers” are forced to jump through hoops to obtain basic face masks and rubber gloves. Some New Yorkers on the front lines of healthcare, transit, and law enforcement are forced to ration supplies — including reusing protective medical masks for seven continuous days, which stands in direct violation of guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control encouraging caregivers to change masks in between rooms of infected patients. “We can’t be using a business-as-usual model when there is urgency on the ground,” said Borough President Eric Adams.

Social isolation backfires in Bushwick

A Curbed writer recently wrote that his new home in Bushwick has no windows. That didn’t bother him the least — until the recent coronavirus shutdown. “When I return from my isolation walk, even when it’s light outside, it’s permanently pitch black in my room” he said. “Lately, I’ve begun to wonder how this might affect me in the long term,” he added.

De Blasio, entourage visit Coney Island Hospital

Doctors and nurses at Brooklyn’s Coney Island Hospital got a much-needed boost from the difficulties of trying to save patients afflicted with COVID-19 Thursday night when Mayor Bill de Blasio, city first lady Chirlane McCray and a large contingent of first responders shoed up during the nightly “7 o’clock cheer.” Members of the American Red Cross and staffers from Aramark, a provider of food services and uniforms, joined de Blasio and McCray to distribute 600 donated care packages of food and personal care products to health care workers.

Nurses at Kingsbrook demand more protective equipment

Nurses at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn are demanding more protective equipment for themselves and their colleagues amid what they say is a string of employee deaths there. “They have to do better, in order to save lives,” said Ada Brown, a certified nurse’s assistant who has worked at the 300-bed hospital in East Flatbush for five years. “The nurses are dying out. The CNAs, dying out. Everybody’s dying out.” Kingsbrook is a private hospital that serves the area’s low-income residents, including many who are black and of Caribbean descent. The hospital’s management did not return repeated requests for comment.

Adams praises Brooklyn companies that make masks

At least five local companies are making and selling protective masks in Brooklyn. Borough President Eric Adams on Thursday highlighted the companies’ efforts and called for city officials to boost those business through loans. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to buy masks made from outside the city, he said. It’s a “win-win” to support local businesses that produce the now-mandatory masks. The five companies are 5MMask of Bushwick, Debrief Me of Sunset Park, Does It Even Matter of Crown Heights, FVN Clothing of Crown Heights and MCM Enterprise of Sunset Park. Debrief Me recently shifted production from China to a Sunset Park factory.

Kushner Cos. faces crisis in Brooklyn

Kushner Cos., a real estate firm owned by members of Jared Kushner’s family, is staring down another crisis, according to Bloomberg News. The firm’s partnership in four Brooklyn office buildings barely covered debt payments last year. The coronavirus is exacerbating problems. “Dumbo Heights has been a huge success, and any suggestions to the contrary are absolutely false,” a spokesperson for Kushner Cos. said in an email. “Of course, rent collections during the pandemic will likely be similar as with all other landlords at this time. The properties are essentially 100 percent leased at rents far exceeding the initial underwriting at acquisition.”

Four-story residential building planned in Williamsburg

Permits have been filed for a four-story residential building at 97 Varet St. in Williamsburg, according to New York YIMBY. The site, currently a vacant lot, is located between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street, a short walk to the J and M trains’ Lorimer Street subway station. The building will have 10 residences, most likely rentals s. The structure will also have a mezzanine, rooftop and rear yard, New York YIMBY said.

Brooklyn, California schools to hold virtual contest

Next week, Studio City Harvard-Westlake, a California prep school, and Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Day School will be joining forces on a video call with 10 players from each team engaging in a physical challenge from their homes. “We challenged them,” said Poly Prep athletic director Rich Corson, who’s a former Harvard Westlake water polo coach. Harvard-Westlake coach Aaron Huerta had his 31 players do 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats and 100 lunges over a Zoom call. They were timed and the 10 fastest will advance to face Poly Prep.

Borough Hall subway station once had its own bank

Atlas Obscura, a website focusing on historical curiosities, recently focused on a bank branch within a subway station, specifically the Court Street-Borough Hall complex in Downtown Brooklyn. The bank in question was the Brooklyn Savings Bank, which lasted until 1990 and had its major locations at various places in Brooklyn Heights. The subway branch was an example of “commuter banking,” an important feature during the pre-internet days. You can still see signs such as “Commuter Banking” and “Banking Hours, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.” Stainless steel drawers for the exchange of documents are still located beneath the teller windows.

Brooklyn peacemaker shot after trying to break up fight

A good Samaritan in Brooklyn lost his life last week after attempting to break up a fight between his sister and a woman she was feuding with. According to the Daily News, the family of Shamar Davis is heartbroken after he stepped in to defuse what his aunt referred to as a “girl fight” between his sister and the friend of a neighbor. While the young man, Shamar Davis, didn’t get injured during the original altercation, a gunman laid in wait and then shot him in the hallway outside his family’s 13th floor apartment in Brownsville’s Tilden Houses. Police soon apprehended a suspect, Tejion Lee, who was hiding in a crash pad inside the same building with seven men and two women.

Rockrose pays $81M for Fort Greene site

Rockrose Development paid $81 million in cash to buy a development site in Fort Greene, according to The Real Deal. The family firm bought the property at 98 DeKalb Ave. and air rights from an adjacent property and plans to build a rental complex. The deal is the first major development in Brooklyn for Rockrose, which focuses mainly on large-scale projects in Manhattan and Long Island City. The property is eligible for Affordable New York, state’s tax abatement program that replaced 421a. A representative of Rockrose declined to comment.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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