Brooklyn Boro

Around Brooklyn: Coffee shops are on the ropes

June 1, 2020 Editorial Staff
There was lots of space on the Cherry Esplanade for visitors to spread out and soak up the sunshine. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
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Coffee shops are on the ropes

New York City has the most coffee shops per capita of any large city in the United States, from Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks to street coffee carts. However, due to the coronavirus, coffee shops are on the ropes. For example, Jonathan Rubenstein, founder of Joe Coffee Company, closed all 20 of his stores even before Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered restaurants to switch to takeout and delivery. Rubenstein feels that one thing will be a permanent change — more and more customers are buying coffee beans and making coffee at home, according to Gothamist.

Bistricer gets $386M loan for Greenpoint complex

David Bistricer has landed the largest residential construction loan of the year so far for his three-tower apartment complex in Greenpoint. The Bank of China and SL Green Realty provided Bistricer’s Clipper Equity with $386 million for his rental project at 77 Commercial St. Bistricer will use the financing to construct the buildings, which are slated to contain 720 units, according to The Real Deal.

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

Retirees getting COVID-19 in addition to workers

As of now, New York City has been locked down and shut off for more than two months. However, thousands of people are still testing positive for the coronavirus, although the majority don’t have serious symptoms. According to the state Health Department, the majority of new incoming patients had been “sheltering at home” and were retired or unemployed, but had other underlying health conditions. Otherwise, “The majority of people, it’s health care workers, it’s MTA workers, it’s postal workers,” Dr. Sylvie De Souza, head of ER at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, told The New York Times. A representative of Make the Road New York said that essential workers are “getting sick because they’re still out there working.”

Financial insecurity rampant in Brooklyn in wake of virus

Almost three out of four Brooklynites say they are worried about running out of money as the result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Public Health Solutions, a nonprofit that conducted the survey. Financial insecurity was most pronounced in the borough’s lowest-income communities, such as Brownsville and East New York. In addition, the survey said, nearly 20 percent of all Brooklyn residents applied for or used food stamps since the start of the pandemic. “The health and economic impact on these families is going to linger and last well beyond this crisis,” Lisa David, head of the organization, told the Brooklyn Paper.

Cuts to housing program could stymie developers’ plans

Cuts to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing program have halted some projects in their tracks, and developers fear they could jeopardize more ventures that are underway. City Hall plans to slash more than $1 million in capital spending. It means less funding for new affordable homes and also risks throwing off complicated financing plans and projects in the development pipeline. “The cut of 40 percent to HPD’s capital budget means we’re not going to be able to do all the projects in the pipeline,” Laura Masuch, executive director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, told Politico.

Landlord sues real estate broker

A Brooklyn landlord is accusing Compass, a residential real estate broker, of capitalizing on COVID-19 to get out of its lease. In a lawsuit filed last week, Stuart Venner said the company used the pandemic to ask for rent relief. Although Compass told the landlord it was “reducing its real world footprint,” Venner said the firm’s $1.6 million in venture capital funding is evidence that it should be able to pay the rent, according to The Real Deal. Compass had to close its office at the end of March.

Council introduces outdoor dining bill

The City Council late last week introduced new legislation that would require the city to identify streets, sidewalks, plazas and other open spaces where restaurants could set up shop outside. The bill guarantees that restaurants located in an area already zoned for sidewalk cafes will receive a temporary sidewalk-care license at no cost. The bill was introduced by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Brooklyn Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. The bill already has the support of other councilmembers, restaurateurs and restaurant associations, according to New York Eater.

Man dies after being stabbed in face and mouth

A man died after being stabbed in the mouth during a fight in Brownsville. Police said the victim was arguing with another man near the corner of Newport Street and Van Sinderin Avenue just before midnight on Thursday when he was knifed in the face and mouth. Someone took him to Brookdale Hospital, where he later died, according to the Daily News.

Tea is the focus at Bed-Stuy shop

Brooklyn Tea at 524 Nostrand Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant is thriving despite the coronavirus. It now focuses on “grab-and-go” by necessity, but also has growing online traffic. Owners Jamila McGill and Alfonso “Ali” Wright believe that tea is an important calming tool in these difficult times and that it also serves to boost immunity. “It really helps to calm you so you can get through that Zoom call without fussing at people,” McGill said, according to CBS New York.

Brooklyn music venues seek online support

Two and a half months into the coronavirus shutdown, Brooklyn’s music venues face an uncertain shutdown. Many of them are relying on online fundraising and bank loans to stay alive. One owner, Olivier Conan of the Park Slope bar Barbes, said that he doesn’t expect concerts to be up and running at normal capacity until spring 2021. Barbes, in particular, has raised $28,000 through online fundraising and has received $7,700 from the federal government. He added that some smaller venues are “too small to save,” according to amNewYork.

One killed, another wounded in Fort Greene shooting

One man was killed and another wounded during a shooting at a Brooklyn housing project early Saturday morning, police said. The two victims were inside a building on Monument Walk near Navy Street, part of the Ingersoll Houses, when someone opened fire on them. The two men went back to an apartment on the eighth floor. One was shot in the back, while the other was shot in the stomach. The man who was shot in the stomach was taken to New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, but could not be saved. The other was taken to the Brooklyn Hospital Center, according to the Daily News.

Brooklyn women charged with stealing medication

A pair of Brooklyn women are accused of stealing $3,200 worth of over-the-counter medication from three Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, pharmacies. Elena Bancroft Phillips and Tiffany Keiasha Bowe are each charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of theft and one count of corruption of minors, as they were both caring for a 15-year-old boy at the time. Police were called in when store workers saw two women and a teenager placing allergy medication from the racks into a Duffel bag, according to Lehigh Valley Live.

Coronavirus hospitalizations remain high

Coronavirus hospitalizations in two Brooklyn neighborhoods remain high despite deep declines elsewhere. Flatbush, East Flatbush and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens had a combined 144 patients checked into hospitals last week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will focus more resources on these ZIP codes, 11203 and 11226, according to Patch. “We’re going to focus on those zip codes, we’re going to focus on those communities and we want to slow the infection rate even in those communities,” he said.

Brooklyn pols hail passage of death benefits act

Two Brooklyn officials, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Peter Abbate, were present when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law providing death benefits to the families of frontline workers who lost their lives fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. “It is fitting that we passed this legislation just after Memorial Day, a day we honor those who have given their lives for their country,” said Gounardes.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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