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Around Brooklyn: Velazquez joins anti-pipeline campaign

October 21, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Velazquez joins anti-pipeline campaign

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn), as well as State Sen. Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Maritza Davila, Comptroller Scott Stringer and others, all slammed a controversial gas pipeline being built in North Brooklyn at a rally on Monday morning, saying it threatens the health and safety of communities across the route. “The history of this community has been environmental racism. We have fought corporate America time and again,” said Velazquez. “I would say to the Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York City, when is the right time? People don’t want to hear about future goals. This is about our lives. This is about our planet.” The pipeline is being built by National Grid, which is seeking to raise monthly bills for 1.85 million Downstate residents to pay for the pipeline, according to Sane Energy Project.

Old Stone House to launch group art exhibit

The Old Stone House and Washington Park will launch its latest contemporary group art exhibition, “Against Doom TV,” with a live Zoom event led by artists Amy Khoshbin and Macon Reed on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., followed by an outdoor screening and performance on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. “Against Doom TV” is an interactive variety show bringing together artists, organizers and candidates to imagine the future. Creators Macon Reed and Amy Khoshbin explore the potential of collaborative installation and performance to promote both activism and healing during this tumultuous time leading up to and after the 2020 election. Flipping the script on online platforms and passive TV watching, they tap into the history of artists using the absurd and play to fight oppressive forces and “envision the future together and make it our reality.”

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

Adams seeks ‘Brooklyn’s COVID heroes’

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has scheduled a new round of awards for “Brooklyn’s COVID Heroes,” an initiative aimed at recognizing heroism by those who helped the borough during the pandemic. The first round of awards celebrated 80 people and organizations with a ceremony at Borough Hall last month. Now, Brooklynites can nominate additional “individuals, groups and organizations whose generous efforts directly contributed to the safety and well-being of Brooklyn’s residents and institutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic” on an online form, according to Patch.

Inside the BPL’s new Greenpoint library

The Brooklyn Public Library’s recently opened new Greenpoint branch is about twice the size of the old branch that stood on the same spot. “The old one is about 7,500 square feet, and this is about 15,000 interior square feet, so we have double the interior size plus a lot more outdoor space,” said Ames O’Neill, the project manager for the Brooklyn Public Library system. The $23 million Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center has been under development for five years. The old branch was demolished three years ago, according to NY1 News. The BPL received a $5 million grant from the Greenpoint Environmental Fund to help build the library.

Bedford Ave. station rehabilitation finished

Officials from the MTA on Tuesday announced the completion of station rehabilitation at the L train’s Bedford Avenue station. This is the part of the Canarsie Tunnel project between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and it also includes upgrades at 12 additional stations. “Bedford Avenue station is one of the busiest stations in Brooklyn, so a significant number of people will benefit from these upgrades,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit interim president. “While the tunnel rehabilitation was a big part of the project, the improvements along the corridor are just as important to provide more reliable service.”

Small home sales drop 57 percent

Sales of one- to three-family homes in Brooklyn during the third quarter suffered a massive slowdown, with the number of deals dropping by 57 percent from the year-ago period. From July to September, 582 sales closed in Brooklyn, totaling $600 million. That’s down from 1,356 sales totaling $1.4 billion during the same period last year. However, prices remained high. The average Brooklyn sale price for this segment of houses was $902,000, up 3.8 percent from a year ago, according to The Real Deal. The most expensive sale in Brooklyn’s one- to three-family market during the past quarter was at 314 Hicks St. in Brooklyn Heights, which closed for $5.9 million.

De Blasio expresses regrets over COVID-19 handling

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently met with Jewish community leaders at Gracie Mansion to discuss measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus in areas of Brooklyn and Queens with large Jewish populations. “It was a very moving meeting, a very productive meeting with a group of leaders from Brooklyn and Queens, some of whom I’ve known very, very well for as much as 20 years, and a very honest meeting,” de Blasio said. The mayor said he expressed his “regrets” about the approach he took in responding to the recent uptick in positive cases, which led to tension between city and state government and residents of the “red zones” with higher levels of COVID-19, according to the Jewish Insider.

Diocese is considering appellate option

After a federal judge sided with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in its fight against the state’s latest restrictions on houses of worship, the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese is “extremely disappointed” but is considering its “appellate options,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said. “We believe we presented a strong case in support of our right to worship,” he said in an Oct. 16 statement, according to Catholic News Service. “It is a shame our parishioners in the red zones cannot return to Mass when the judge acknowledged we have done everything right.”

Woman found dead on subway car

A woman was found dead, face down, on a D train at the Stillwell Avenue station in Coney Island shortly before 1 a.m. early Friday, police said. It appeared that she might have been dead well before that time. There were no other details readily available about the woman or whether she had any injuries that could have been related to her death, according to NBC 4.

Trump’s dad was a hero to synagogue

When congregants enter the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Gravesend, they pass a small plaque that honors “Fred Trump, Humanitarian.” The plaque, inscribed in 1956, reminds one of the unknown friendship between Fred Trump and this enclave of Jews in Brooklyn. In the 1950s, Brooklyn’s Jewish community was exploding, partially because of Holocaust survivors who had recently arrived from Europe. The synagogue, which had been meeting in a garage, was outgrowing its home. Fred Trump donated some land to the congregation, officially transferring it to the Jewish center for $10. He also financed much of the construction costs, according to the New York Post.

Artist-decorated boulder might disappear

In March, excavations for a much-contested gas pipeline under North Brooklyn uncovered a massive boulder, which was placed at the corner of Montrose and Manhattan avenues in Greenpoint. Soon after it surfaced, two local sculptors, Pam Lins and Halsey Rodman, started gluing ceramics to the boulder as an impromptu art installation called The Rock. Since then, more than 20 artists have added artwork to the boulder. Recently, however, Lins and Rodman was contacted by a contractor for National Grid, who told them that they would need to move The Rock sometime soon. The Sculpture Center and MOMA PS1 in Long Island City have shown interest in displaying the installation but are not able to cover the cost of moving it, according to Hyperallergic.

Brooklyn man arrested for driving while high

On Oct. 19, New York State troopers on the New York State Thruway near Warsaw, New York, arrested Gabriel Balogun of Brooklyn for driving while impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, speeding and passing in a no-passing zone. When they pulled him over for speeding and passing on double solid lines, the troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana in the vehicle. Balogun was placed under arrest after failing multiple sobriety tests, according to the state police website.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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