Brooklyn Boro

Around Brooklyn: 100-year-old WWII vet wins fight to remain in home

June 26, 2020 Editorial Staff
Here’s the Marine Fire Boat Station and hose shed, which stand alongside the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
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100-year-old WWII vet wins fight to remain in home

An Army veteran who celebrated his 100th birthday this month has won the fight to stay in the Bed-Stuy brownstone that his family has lived in for generations. During World War II, James Been served as a radio operator in an all-Black regiment known as the Harlem Hell Fighters. Last year, Been was shocked to find there was a foreclosure case filed against him related to a $100,000 home equity loan he took out in 2006. Thanks to efforts from Been’s lawyers, JPMorgan Chase, which holds the mortgage on Been’s home, decided not to evict him, based on his Army service and his age, according to Bk Reader.

Subway stations to be renamed for college

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the subway system’s Franklin Avenue and President Street stations in Brooklyn will be renamed Franklin Avenue-Medgar Evers College and President Street-Medgar Evers College. The names will honor the contributions of the historically Black CUNY college as well as the late 1960s civil rights leader Medgar Evers. “New York is proud to be home to Medgar Evers College — an incredible institution providing high-quality, career-oriented educational opportunities to diverse student body.” The renaming comes 50 years after the school’s founding, according to the governor’s office.

Four-story building planned for Williamsburg

Permits have been filed for a four-story apartment building at 204 Withers St. in Williamsburg. The site, currently occupied by a four-story house, is four blocks from the L train’s Graham Avenue subway station. The building will have seven residences, most likely rentals, as well as a rear yard. Mateusz Rostek is listed as the developer, while Flushing-based L&C Associates is the architect of record, according to New York YIMBY.

Public Library to reopen a few branches

Brooklyn Public Library system plans to begin the first phase of its reopening on July 13. Library-goers must reserve their books over the phone and then pick them up. “While our virtual library will continue to offer expanded digital collections, we know there is nothing quite like the pleasure of grabbing a new book in the summertime,” said Linda Johnson, CEO of the borough’s library system. Branches that are slated to reopen (sort of) include Bay Ridge, Bushwick, Kings Highway, Central Branch, New Lots, Flatbush and Red Hook, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

Music school hits sour note with Landmarks Commission

The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday denied the Brooklyn Music School’s plans to more than double in size. Almost all of the commissioners participating in the two-hour virtual hearing voiced reservations about the scale of the school’s planned 24-story building on St. Felix St. The development team needs the Commission’s approval because the site is part of the BAM Historic District. Bryan Kelly, executive director of Gotham, the developer, defended the building, saying, “We believe it blends in with the old while creating a positive new addition to the neighborhood,” according to Architect’s Newspaper.

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens brewery seeks to expand

A well-known Prospect-Lefferts Gardens brewery is raising funds to expand into a full-sized commercial kitchen. DaleView Biscuits and Beer’s owner-brewmaster, Chris Gandsy, says he wants to expand so DaleView can produce more food, start wholesaling its gluten-free biscuits and expand its barroom. Gandsy is crowdfunding through the investment service Mainvest, which allows community members to invest in the business, according to amNewYork.

Black Lives Matter mural painted on Fulton Street

A new Black Lives Matter mural has been painted on a stretch of Fulton Street between New York and Brooklyn avenues. The name is spelled in yellow block letters, followed by more than 150 names of victims of race-based killings, such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Volunteers began painting the mural on Saturday. Among those present were Spike Lee, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and State Attorney General Letitia James, according to

Rose, other pols meet with Chinese-American leaders

U.S. Max Rose, State Senator Andrew Gounardes, City Councilmember Justin Brannan and Assemblymember Peter Abbate recently hosted a virtual roundtable with Chinese-American community and business leaders to discuss efforts to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we talk about the economy, there’s no secret that restaurants owned by Asian-Americans were some of the first to shut down,” Rose said. “They need our help, and I’m continuing to fight to ensure that they have the relief and help they need and deserve.”

Adams holds walk-through at Maimonides

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Thursday conducted a walk-through at Maimonides Medical Center and met with Maimonides CEO Kenneth Gibbs to learn about the important safety measures the hospital has put in place after the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The visit comes as New York continues its phased reopening and the overall infection rate continues to fall throughout the five boroughs. Recent reports indicate that people have been delaying medical care and emergency treatment due to fears of contracting COVID-19.

De Blasio: City may need sweeping layoffs

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials warned on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is putting such tremendous stress on city finances that they might have to carry out cuts to infrastructure spending and lay off as many as 22,000 city workers. “To be clear, this is a four-alarm fire,” said MTA Chair Patrick J. Foye. The mayor said the administration was now looking for another $1 billion in savings, according to The New York Times. The City hasn’t seen layoffs since 2012.

Mets to use MCU Park as overflow site

The New York Mets are planning on using MCU Park, home of the short-season Class A Brooklyn Cyclones, as an overflow site during training camp, which starts this week, and as the workout home for their in-season squad of backup players. This highly unusual arrangement is part of the pandemic-induced contingency plans implemented by Major League Baseball, according to Newsday.

Who kept the dogs out?

Brooklyn dog owners are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio do reopen local dog runs as the City reopens. They say that if officials can unlock playgrounds, they should do the same thing for dog runs. Dog runs have been closed since the beginning of April, when city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver closed them down due to the pandemic. “I can go to my dog run and stay 6 feet away from other dog owners, and my dog can get the exercise he needs,” Amy Willard, who helps maintain a dog run in Bushwick, told the Brooklyn Paper.

Georgia isn’t on their minds

People traveling to states with high coronavirus infection rates will have to quarantine themselves when they return to New York. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have issued a travel advisory for people traveling to states like Texas, Georgia and Florida. “We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate to go down,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We don’t want to see it go up.” In New York, total COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide fell to 1,071 on June 23, the lowest number since mid-March, according to Newsday.

Brooklyn leads state in unemployment applications

Brooklyn now has the highest number of people applying for unemployment in the state, according to government figures. Last week alone, the State Department of Labor reported 13,488 unemployment insurance claims in the borough. Businesses are still struggling to survive, according to CBS New York.

Cop cars to leave playground

The Parks Department is bowing to Clinton Hill residents’ demand that the NYPD’s 88th Precinct vacate a playground that cops have been using as a parking lot. Police have been parking both departmental and personal vehicles at the Classon Playground since the beginning of the month. While the Parks Department has allowed the NYPD to park cars at some of its sites, “This is only temporary, and the vehicles will be moved by the end of this week,” a Parks spokesperson said, according to Streetsblog.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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