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Around Brooklyn: Brannan, Williams advocate ‘Heroes’ Fund’

October 19, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Brannan, Williams advocate ‘Heroes’ Fund’

Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst-Bath Beach) and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams have introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to enact legislation that would provide funds to essential workers who have been required to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution specifically supports the idea of a “Heroes’ Fund,” proposed by some Democrats in the U.S. Senate, that would offer all essential workers a $25,000 pay increase for the year.

Congregation scales back Hasidic wedding

The Brooklyn Hasidic congregation that planned a wedding at which 10,000 people were slated to attend has relented to an order from the state asking the group to cancel or postpone the wedding unless it is limited to 50 people. Now, Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar in Williamsburg says the wedding will only be open to family members. The groom is the grandchild of Satmar Grand Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitlebaum, head of the most powerful Hasidic dynasty in Williamsburg. The neighborhood is outside the COVID “red zones,” CBS News reported.

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

Cuomo’s zone boundaries bring ‘Border Disputes’

Owners of Brooklyn businesses near the boundaries of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s color-coded coronavirus restriction zones say they are losing customers to competitors only a stone’s throw away. For example, J&V Pizza in Bensonhurst sits about a block into the borough’s red zone. But two minutes away, neighborhood residents can enjoy outdoor dining in the orange zone. Christopher Ganim of Harbor Fitness in Mill Basin said, “We thought we were on the yellow side of the street, and they insisted we were in the orange zone and said we have 10 minutes to vacate the facility and lock our doors,” the New York Post reported.

A few office buildings under construction ranked by trade

Commercial Property Executive, a trade publication, recently listed the top five office buildings under construction in Brooklyn. They include the following:

Maimonides Medical Center’s Medical Arts Building in Borough Park, which is slated to house more than 100 exam and consultation rooms;

1508 Coney Island Avenue, a 10-story building that is slated to include three floors of nonprofit offices, two floors of co-working space, three floors of medical offices and retail space in the remainder;

141 Willoughby St., a 23-story building in Downtown Brooklyn that is scheduled for completion in 2022;

One Willoughby Square, another Downtown office building that is slated to come online in the last quarter of 2020; and

The Hall, a re-doing of a former printing press factory in the Wallabout district near the Navy Yard.

Eels in Prospect Park Lake a bit slippery, environmentally

The release of eels into Prospect Park Lake last month became a curiosity on social media, but they may become a problem because they’re not native to the area, experts say. New Yorkers free thousands of non-native animals every year, many of which quickly die. Based on the pictures of the eels taken by bystanders, officials have identified them as swamp eels from Southeast Asia, which have been found in at least eight other states. Once introduced, the eels eat almost anything, including plants, insects, frogs, turtles and other fish, according to CBS News. (Also see full on

Plastic bag enforcement starts

Enforcement of New York’s plastic bag ban is slated to start Tuesday after months of delays. The ban formally went into effect March 1, but enforcement has been delayed repeatedly by lawsuits and the coronavirus pandemic. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said last month it would begin again March 19. A group of grocers are trying to stop enforcement with a lawsuit, and the next hearing is set for Nov. 4.

Fifteen-story building planned for Red Hook

Permits have been filed for a 15-story building at 145 Wolcott St. in Red Hook. The site, currently occupied by a one-story commercial building, is near the F and G trains’ Smith-9th Streets subway station. The building, unusual for its low-rise neighborhood, is slated to have 210 apartments, most likely rentals, retail stores, offices, an art gallery and 314 enclosed parking spaces. DRAW Brooklyn is listed as the owner, and Christopher Short of Arquitectonia is listed as the architect of record, according to New York YIMBY.

Livonia Ave. station to be closed one-way

The Canarsie-bound platform of the Livonia Avenue station in Brownsville is slated to be closed from Nov. 16 through next March as part of a project to make the station accessible to people with disabilities. The overall Livonia Avenue station project includes the installation of two new elevators and a new above-platform passageway. The project is slated to be finished in early 2022. “We have been able to complete seven accessible station projects in just the past few months demonstrating that we can deliver work that makes a difference for our customers — even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction & Development.

Hey, behave! Brooklyn man accused of threatening knife fight in N.J.

A fight at a business in Cobblestone Village, N.J., led a Brooklyn man to grab a knife and threaten the victim with it, according to police. Two officers went into the store soon after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and found that Shentang Chen, 40, and another person had gotten into a dispute that became physical. During the fracas, Chen threatened the victim with a knife, police said. There were no injuries, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Gounardes, Abbate introduce early retirement incentive

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Peter Abbate recently introduced a bill that would provide an early retirement incentive for public employees. The legislation would allow some members of city retirement systems to retire with extra pension credit or to retire at age 55 with 25 years of service. The measure is designed to help avoid layoffs of public employees and is similar to the state’s 2010 Early Retirement Incentive program, estimated to have saved state and local governments $681 million over two years.

Man charged with trying to rape 85-year-old

Police have arrested a man whom they believe is responsible for the attempted rape of an 85-year-old woman in the laundry room of her apartment building in Bay Ridge. The incident took place around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday near Marine Avenue and Ridge Boulevard. Police said the man, whom they identified as Mario Pope, age 25, tried to sexually assault the woman and then left. He faces several charges including attempted rape, burglary, sex abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment, according to the Brooklyn Home Reporter.

Affordable development opens in East NY

A new affordable housing development at 315 Linwood St. in East New York recently opened to residents. The 10-story building, known as Linwood Park Apartments, contains 100 units of mixed-income housing as well as supportive facilities for low-income and formerly homeless residents. Residential amenities include a children’s library, a fitness room, a computer lab and a community room with a kitchenette. The supportive services for the formerly homeless will be provided by HousingPlus, a nonprofit social agency, according to New York YIMBY.

Marijuana ‘grow house’ found after fire breaks out

A marijuana grow house, or indoor forest of pot plants being grown for sale, was found by firefighters after they responded to a fire at 3232 Fulton St. in Cypress Hills on Saturday morning. The plants were surrounded by heavy-duty lighting and fans. It took more than 100 firefighters about two hours to put the blaze out. One nearby restaurant owner said, “I’ve been here eight years, and all the time it’s the smell of weed.” Police were seen carrying out bags of pot and putting them into an NYPD van, according to the New York Post.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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