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Around Brooklyn: Gonzalez brings probe of social distancing enforcement

May 8, 2020 Editorial Staff

Gonzalez brings probe of social distancing enforcement

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has opened a probe into allegations of excessive force in the arrest of people accused of not social distancing. One viral video shows police restraining a 15-year-old in East New York last weekend. The teen was allegedly part of a group of four not maintaining social distancing, according to CBS2. The arrest of one of the three is now being probed by Gonzalez to see if the cops involved should be disciplined or face federal charges. The teen’s family held a press conference outside the 75th Precinct on Wednesday afternoon.

One store closes, two with same owner thrive

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Amy Bennett didn’t want to close her restaurant, Greene Grape Café annex in Fort Greene, but it was in financial trouble even before the coronavirus forced restaurants to curtail their activities. However, it’s hardly the end for Bennett, because on the same block, she owns Greene Grape Provisions and Greene Grape Wine and Liquors, according to amNewYork. These two have been declared “essential businesses” and have remained open.

Group sells Brooklyn nursing home for $58.8M

Riseboro Community Partnership has sold Buena Vida Continuing Care and Rehabilitation Center, which is close to both Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Woodhull Hospital, for $58.8 million, according to Multi-Housing News. Entities affiliated with TL Management and Fortis Business Holdings purchased the 240-bed facility. The home, built in 2001, provides long-term care and short-term rehabilitation with the help of physicians, nurses and rehabilitation specialists. Buena Vida residents have access to beauticians, barbers, daily newspaper delivery and religious services.

Brooklyn Muslim group feeds Manhattan homeless

For a group of Brooklyn Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is a time to give back to the community as well as to pray and fast. Muslims Giving Back, a group affiliated with the Bay Ridge Muslim Center, has brought food to Herald Square in Manhattan every night, according to Haaretz. “If you want doors to open, do good,” said Mohammed Widdi, coordinator of Muslims Giving Back. “Every single time I donate my time, Allah, would throw me another blessing. It’s ingrained in us.” Some of the food comes from donors like Hamza Deib, the 28-year-old owner of Brooklyn’s Taheni Mediterranean Grill. The halal food he donates is the same that he serves in his restaurant — on one night, rice, chicken, mixed vegetables and falafel for vegetarians.

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Mattress fire in Coney injures 21

A mattress fire inside a Coney Island residential building left 21 people injured, according to 1010 WINS. Officials got a call early Thursday about flames on the second floor of a high-rise building on West 25th Street. There were 19 people, including one firefighter, who suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said. Seventeen were sent to area hospitals. Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control by 3:30 a.m.

One dead, one wounded in separate Brooklyn shootings

One person was killed and another was wounded in two separate Brooklyn shootings on Wednesday, according to amNewYork. The first shooting occurred around 5:30 p.m. in the Sheepshead Nostrand Houses. Police from the 61st Precinct rushed to the scene, where they found a 25-year-old man shot in the right armpit. The victim was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he was in stable condition. The second incident occurred at 1144 Bergen St. in Crown Heights. Police from the 77th Precinct found the victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he later died.

Grand Prospect Hall owner dies of COVID-19

For decades, people heard the radio and TV ad for Park Slope catering hall the Grand Prospect Hall: “We make your dreams come true!” Unfortunately, the owner of the Hall, Greek immigrant Michael Halkias, has died of coronavirus. Halkias and his wife Alice had owned the opulent Grand Prospect Hall, which was built in 1892, since 1981. “Saturday Night Live” even parodied the commercial in 2019. “He was a big man with a big vision and an even bigger heart,” said State Sen. Andrew Gounardes on Wednesday night. “And of course, he made dreams come true for thousands of people who celebrated at his hall.”

James Madison HS finds unusual way to honor students

James Madison High School in southeast Brooklyn has several famous alumni, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Judge Judy and Carole King. Now, according to The New York Times, “the 750 graduating seniors at James Madison are just a little bit famous too.” Administrators and staff members at the school have printed their yearbook headshots, laminated them and hung them on the fence outside the school. This spring, high schools around the country are looking for creative ways to honor students who won’t have the chance to walk across a graduation stage.

Greenpoint couple begins food pantry

A new food pantry and delivery service, Food for Brooklyn, was launched by Greenpoint couple Blake and Laura Beth Comer several weeks ago, according to Greenpointers. The number of families on the service’s delivery route is already growing. Mr. Comer began by delivering groceries to families in North Brooklyn after coordinating with a friend who was volunteering with the Park Slope coffee shop-turned-food bank Roots Café. Since the Comers have four children, they say that they know firsthand the stress that results when a source of income is lost.

Park Slope store finds online success

Even though its storefront is closed, Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Park Slope is still thriving, according to amNewYork. The reason is that owner Ann Cantell has developed an online presence and following. The store, a neighborhood staple for 13 years, has a strong local presence and sells puzzles, assorted baskets, bottles, lunch bowls, shopping totes, aromatic candles, drinking cups and other items, amNewYork said. “As a small business advocate, I want all businesses to do well. When I do well, we all do well,” she said.

Adams supports Cuomo’s security deposit plan

Borough President Eric Adams has released a statement supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new order that allows renters to apply their security deposits toward next month’s rent. “Rent is the largest monthly expense for many New Yorkers, sometimes swallowing up half of their income or more. Yet even as COVID-19 battered our economy and swelled unemployment rolls, we left renters across our city and state with few options, causing widespread anxiety and frustration,” he said.

Booted from subway, homeless move to bus

The overnight shutdown of the New York City subway situation on Thursday night caused 20 homeless people to take shelter on an MTA shuttle bus in Coney Island, according to ABC7. The bus driver called police, but several of the homeless refused to go willingly and were eventually taken off the bus. An extensive cleaning operation then took place. Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that the city’s homeless outreach plan is working, but MTA officials say it’s a work in progress, ABC7 reported.

TV, film studio offers space to anti-hunger drive

A Greenpoint-based TV and film production studio has offered help to charitable organizations during the pandemic, according to the Brooklyn Paper. Broadway Stages has leased its East New York space to the Campaign Against Hunger on a pro-bono lease, allowing the hunger-fighting group to get its message out. At Broadway Stages, the campaign is able to repackage thousands of meals a week for distribution across the city. The three-month lease would be worth more than $100,000.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.


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