Around Brooklyn: MTA completes Verrazzano project
MTA completes Verrazzano project
The MTA recently announced the completion of a critical stage of roadway reconstruction for the Brooklyn upper-level approach ramp to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge from the Gowanus Expressway, an important part of the $143 million reconstruction of the Verrazzano’s upper-level approaches and roadways over the anchorages. The project was completed five months ahead of schedule. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are getting projects done in a safe way, and in many cases getting them done ahead of schedule, said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction and Development. Another part of this work was the recent addition of a fourth lane to the Verrazzano’s eastbound Gowanus approach.
Brooklyn attorney charged with real estate fraud
A former Brooklyn attorney was charged on Monday with real estate fraud after allegedly stealing deeds from the owners of properties in foreclosure. Sanford Solny, 63, is accused of collecting more than $600,000 in rent from properties in Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Flatbush after convincing the homeowners that he was negotiating a sale on their behalf so that they could avoid foreclosure. He allegedly met with most of the victims at his Borough Park office and told them they had to sign their deeds over to him so he could negotiate the sale, according to the New York Law Journal.
Doug Emhoff’s Brooklyn roots
Douglas Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband and an attorney, lived for the first few years of his life in a building on Ocean Avenue near Avenue J, a few blocks from Brooklyn College, although his family later moved to New Jersey and eventually to California. The area, predominantly Jewish during the mid-20th century, is now a mix of various immigrant groups, including Caribbean-Americans and Orthodox Jews. At the time, Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer were also growing up within walking distance, according to Curbed.
Brooklyn-style pizza comes to Hawaii
Pizza Mamo, which the Frolic Hawaii website describes as “Brooklyn-style pizza,” has opened in Chinatown, Honolulu. The site describes Brooklyn-style pizza as “a hybrid of Neapolitan and New York styles. It’s characterized by a large 16-inch diameter, a crust that’s crisp but flexible enough to fold in half, and toppings that are simple and flavorful … This is a serious pie.” The author, Thomas Obungen, has obviously visited Brooklyn in the past — he says that “the scent of melting cheese and the act of folding a hot slice in half gave me flashbacks to Roberta’s, Lucali and Di Fara pizzas in Brooklyn.”
Eastern District starts banking task force
Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York, headquartered in Downtown Brooklyn, plan to start a new task force to investigate and charge corporations and individuals who use the U.S. banking system to launder money. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Seth DuCharme announced the Bank Integrity Task Force in a memo sent last month to staffers in the Eastern District of New York. DuCharme said recent investigations show that criminals around the world are using U.S. banks to launder trillions of dollars, including wrongdoers who are tied to narcotics trafficking or terrorist financing. Such prosecutions have usually been the purview of Manhattan federal prosecutors, according to Bloomberg News.
Colton pays tribute to longtime aide
Assemblymember William Colton (D-Gravesend-Bath Beach-Bensonhurst-Dyker Heights) recently eulogized longtime aide Jeanette Givant, who suddenly passed away. Givant, who grew up in East New York, moved to Gravesend with her husband and originally began work as a crossing guard at P.S. 177 on Avenue P, her children’s school. In 1982, she began to work part-time in the office of the late Assemblymember Frank Barbaro. In 1996, when Colton was elected to the post, Givant began to work for Colton as a community liaison. In 2001, she was elected as a state committee member and district leader, and in 2003, she received the Women’s History Month Pace-Setter Award at City Hall.
Affordable housing lottery begins in East Flatbush
An affordable housing lottery is now open for 885 Rogers Plaza, a seven-story mixed-use development at 885 Rogers Ave. in East Flatbush. The building, developed by Anshel Friedman and designed by S. Wieder Architecture, is slated to contain 105 units in a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Eligible incomes range from $61,715 to $159,640. Amenities include a rooftop terrace, theater, a gym with a yoga room, bike storage and a shared laundry room as well as a 53-car parking garage, according to New York YIMBY.
Bridge Park art installation addresses climate change
Those who go to Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park may hear the sounds of the tides coming in. The sound, however, may not be coming from the East River. It will be part of “Waters of a Lower Register,” a work by the artist Allison Janae Hamilton, which will play on five 70-inch screens, beginning Dec. 16 and continuing until Dec. 20. The artist juxtaposes the rural area of Florida, her home state, which is also affected by floods, with New York City. The exhibit is meant to express the turmoil of this year, with its health crisis, frequent hurricanes and instances of racial injustice, according to The New York Times.
Masked robbers hit bar
Police have unveiled photos of suspects in a gunpoint robbery that happened in Bushwick in early November. On Sunday, Nov. 1, around 4:30 a.m., a 24-year-old man was inside Chaupetas Night Club/Bar on 87 Central Ave. when five men wearing masks entered the establishment brandishing guns. They demanded the victim’s property, then fled with four cellphones, a yellow metal necklace and approximately $700, according to the NYPD. Some of the crooks wore typical face masks, while others wore Halloween masks.
Fed Ex driver shot in Brownsville
A Fed Ex driver was shot on Monday at the Van Dyke Houses on Dumont Avenue and Powell Street in Brownsville. Police say the 44-year-old worker was seen going into a building to make a delivery, and was shot at close range when he left. He was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive, police said. Authorities said the shooting appeared to be targeted and is now under investigation. A Fed Ex spokesperson said, “The safety and security of our team members is our highest priority. We are gathering more information and are fully cooperating with investigating authorities,” according to ABC 7.
Luxury RE sales continue to rise
Brooklyn’s luxury real estate market is soaring, especially condos, according to Compass’ weekly report on contracts for properties asking $2 million or more. Last week, 26 deals were signed for a combined value of $88.2 million, the best week since early March, when 27 contracts valued at $89 million were signed. The most expensive contract was for a four-bedroom condo at One Prospect Park West, which went into contract at $5.99 million. The second-priciest deal was a condo at the Standish in Brooklyn Heights, known for its celebrity residents. It was asking $5.5 million, according to The Real Deal.
Adams, Cornegy want vaccines for hardest-hit communities
Borough President Eric Adams and Councilmember Robert Cornegy (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) have urged the city and state to prioritize the communities hit hardest by COVID-19 for distribution of the newly developed vaccine. This past Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York would receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by Dec. 15, which will be reserved for health care workers and residents of nursing homes during the first phase of distribution. Adams and Cornegy called for a data-driven, transparent and locally accessible distribution in subsequent phases of the vaccine rollout, including a public education campaign.
Compiled by Raanan Geberer.
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