What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, January 25, 2023
NEW REPORT SHOWS BROOKLYN’S INCREASE IN OLDER, IMPOVERISHED ADULTS
BOROUGHWIDE — A new report published that the Center for an Urban Future published on Wednesday, Jan. 25, finds that older adults make up a larger share of New York City’s population than ever before, with New York’s 65-and-over population growing by more than 360,000 over the past decade, and with Brooklyn experiencing the second-highest increase of older adults, up by 104,507 persons, representing a 35.7% growth. Brooklyn’s older immigrant population grew by 46% over the past decade, while its U.S.-born older adult population increased by 24%.
Immigrants now account for 58% of Brooklyn’s older adults, up from 54% in 2011. Brooklyn also saw a large increase in the number of older adults living in poverty, with 81,085 older adults in the county now living in poverty, second-most of any county.
NEW STREETEASY REPORT: GREENPOINT IS THE SPOT FOR RENTAL DISCOUNTS
GREENPOINT — The top neighborhood in both Brooklyn and the city for renters to find a discount is Greenpoint, according to StreetEasy’s latest Market Report. Among the other findings: Priced-out buyers are pushing relief for renters further out, coupled with higher mortgage rates that are keeping would-be buyers in the rental market for longer, causing current rental inventory levels to stay too low. Moreover, increasing rent prices and higher mortgage rates have made it significantly more challenging for New Yorkers to break into home ownership on their own.
On a brighter side: Concessions are also making a comeback, with 15% of all rental listings citywide offering at least one month of free rent.
THE FOUNTAINS RENEWAL HOUSING COMPLEX REACHES FULL OCCUPANCY
EAST NEW YORK — The Fountains, a critical affordable housing development providing 1,163 affordable homes to New Yorkers in East New York, has reached 100 percent occupancy since its ribbon-cutting ceremony two years ago, reports The Arker Companies Real Estate Development. The $425 million, 7-acre development on the site of the former Brooklyn Developmental Center has helped revitalize the neighborhood with housing and supportive services for thousands of Brooklyn residents and a new public plaza, with 200 units reserved for senior adults 62 or older, and 192 apartments are reserved for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who have access to onsite supportive services provided by the Block Institute.
State financing for The Fountains included over $216 million in resources from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and more than $35 million from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
ASYLEE ADVOCACY GROUPS DENOUNCE MAYOR’S POSITION ON RIGHT-TO-SHELTER LAW
RED HOOK — Just two days after he announced a new Emergency Relief Center in the Red Hook Cruise Terminal, Mayor Eric Adams is being criticized for comments he made on Wednesday, Jan. 25, during WABC 77 Radio’s “Sid & Friends in the Morning,” when he suggested that asylum seekers are not entitled to New York’s Right to Shelter protections. Demanding that the mayor clarify his remarks, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless stated, “Anyone in need of shelter, including asylum seekers, is entitled to such, as prescribed by multiple long-standing court orders and local law. This is not a responsibility that Mayor Adams can decide to shirk, and he knows better.”
Ironically, Mayor Adams seemed to separate New York’s status of being a sanctuary city from the right-to-shelter law when he also told the ABC host (in response to a question),“When we talk about a sanctuary city, that is codified in law…The courts ruled that this is a sanctuary city. We have a moral and legal obligation to fulfill that.”
ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBES MSG’S ALLEGED MISUSE OF FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE
CITYWIDE — New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to know why Madison Square Garden has been using its facial recognition technology to deny admission to legitimate ticket holders. Her letter to Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation — also known as MSG Entertainment — is part of an investigation into the company’s reported use of facial recognition technology to identify and deny entry to all lawyers connected to clients in pending litigation related to MSG Entertainment, a policy that potentially violates local, state, and federal human rights laws, including laws prohibiting retaliation.
Attorney General James’ letter also questions the reliability and accuracy of MSG Entertainment’s facial recognition software, so that it is not misused to cause discrimination.
SCHUMER, JEFFRIES MEET WITH PRESIDENT ON DEBT LIMIT SHOWDOWN
WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries delivered brief statements to the media on Wednesday, Jan. 25, after meeting with President Biden at the White House to discuss the impending showdown in Congress on the subject of the nation’s debt limit. Schumer called on Republicans to outline their plans for handling the debt, while Jeffries said Democrats were ready to work with the GOP to have discussions about the future.
The fight over the debt ceiling could have dramatic economic consequences for the nation, as the U.S., having passed the Jan. 19 deadline, will struggle to pay its bills by June, according to Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, unless Congress takes action.
BROOKLYN HOSPITAL CHAIN ADMITS DATA BREACH BEGAN IN JULY
BROOKLYN — The recent data breach and subsequent ransomware attack on One Brooklyn Health, a hospital system that administers several Brooklyn hospitals including Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, began significantly earlier than previously reported, with patient data exposed potentially since July according to a new investigation of the attack released by the group. TechTarget reports that the breach, which was discovered in November, resulted in some patient data being copied, including names and medical records, but that the full extent of the leak is not yet known as One Brooklyn’s investigation continues.
The associated “ransomware” attack in November resulted in the hospitals being forced to use pen and paper after being locked out of their computer systems, leading to what some staffers described as a chaotic environment.
CITY COUNCIL TO HOLD MEETING ON TRANS EXPERIENCE IN CITY JAILS
CIVIC CENTER — On Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 10 a.m., the City Council’s Committee on Criminal Justice and Committee on Women and Gender Equity will hold a joint hearing on issues facing transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex individuals in custody. The committees will seek answers from the administration on how it is responding to the TGNCNBI task force report recommendations and managing violent incidents against those individuals, and will also consider a legislative package that would address the needs of that population.
The hearing comes as the state legislature took action on Tuesday to protect New Yorkers from discrimination based on gender expression.
COUNCIL EDUCATION COMMITTEE TO HOLD HEARING ON ADMISSIONS
CIVIC CENTER — The City Council’s Committee on Education will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. on the Department of Education’s new admissions policy. Last fall, the Department of Education announced changes to the enrollment process for the 2023-24 school year, including moving the application timeline for middle and high school, reinstating the selective middle school admissions process and placing a greater emphasis on core course grades for admission into selective high schools.
The Committee will also hear legislation related to the establishment of a bullying task force, the distribution of IDNYC applications to high schools and bicycle safety. The meeting will take place at City Hall and will be livestreamed on the council’s official website.
BK LANDLORD JAILED AFTER IGNORING COURT
BUSHWICK — A Brooklyn landlord was jailed last month after repeatedly refusing to make repairs to a Bushwick apartment building he owns, reports Gothamist, and could face more time if the necessary fixes demanded by HUD aren’t made. Aron Stark owes more than $650,000 in fines after neglecting to keep the building in habitable condition and was arrested for contempt of court on Dec. 8, before being released a week later.
“A landlord being a tenant of a jail cell isn’t just rare, it’s nearly unheard of,” said activist Aaron Carr, founder of the pro-tenant group Housing Rights Initiative.
ARMED ROBBER PROWLING LINDENWOOD
LINDENWOOD — The NYPD is warning the public to be on the lookout for an armed robber wanted in connection with a series of armed muggings last week in Lindenwood. The robber, who is described as a tall, dark-complexioned man in his 30s, twice approached pedestrians at night before brandishing a gun and demanding their wallets, before fleeing on foot.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.
BALD EAGLES SPOTTED IN MIDWOOD
MIDWOOD — A sighting of a pair of nesting bald eagles in Midwood, captured on video by local resident Anthony Finkel, has generated excitement in the neighborhood, reports CBS News. The sighting comes as bald eagles have begun to move back into the city’s wild spaces, with other birds making their homes in Prospect Park as environmental preservation efforts have brought the species back from the brink of extinction.
“It’s an incredible thing. As far as we know, bald eagles have not nested before in Brooklyn. If they did, it was more than 100 years ago,” said David Barrett, an avian enthusiast who manages the Brooklyn Bird Alert Twitter account.
NYC BAR: CONGRESS SHOULD GIVE C-SPAN GREATER FREEDOM IN CAMERA COVERAGE
CITYWIDE — C-SPAN, which broadcasts proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives, should be granted its request for greater latitude in controlling camera coverage, declares the New York City Bar Association’s Communications and Media Law Committee, which sent a letter to House leadership urging the flexibility move. The NYC Bar’s committee underscored the Congressional history and commitment to transparency, dating back to when Congress still convened in New York — even before the ratification of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech.
The committee pointed out that C-SPAN’s recent coverage of the House debates – and the protracted vote earlier this month for House Speaker — shows that the public does pay attention to what happens in its House when it is given the opportunity to do so.
NAVAL CULINARY SPECIALIST SERVES UP SOME COMFORT FOOD
BROOKLYN — A naval cook from Brooklyn, Culinary Specialist Seaman Messiah Prince, is serving aboard Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Oakland (LCS 24) as the ship sails in the Natuna Sea Culinary Specialist Seaman Prince’s ship, Destroyer Squadron 7, is on a rotational deployment operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The Natuna Sea is the southernmost portion of the South China Sea and mostly within the territorial waters of Indonesia, also geographically divides the nation of Malaysia.
SUNY DOWNSTATE DOCTOR BECOMES PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP SCHOLAR
EAST FLATBUSH — A doctor and professor at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Brian McNeil, MD, MBA, FACS, has been named to the Class Of 2023 Presidential Leadership Scholars. Dr. McNeil, who is Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs & Associate Professor at SUNY Downstate, is part of a cohort that began this year’s program on Jan. 24 in Washington DC, where they will travel to participating presidential centers to learn from former presidents, key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics about a variety of leadership principles and exchange ideas to help maximize their impact in the communities they serve.
The SUNY downstate urologist is among 60 national scholar leaders.
BROOKLYN RANKS 2ND-HIGHEST IN UNEMPLOYMENT FOR DECEMBER 2022
BOROUGHWIDE — Not so good to rank high: Brooklyn came in second-highest in New York’s unemployment rates, according to preliminary figures for December that the state Department of Labor released on Tuesday, Jan. 24. While New York State’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment held constant at 4.3% in December 2022, The Bronx came in highest, at 7.5%, followed by Brooklyn (Kings County) at 5.5%, followed by Hamilton County (upstate in the Indian Lake and Lake Pleasant area) at 5.3 % and Staten Island (Richmond County) at 5.0%.
Rates are calculated using methods prescribed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The State’s area unemployment rates rely in part on the results of the Current Population Survey, which contacts approximately 3,100 households in New York State each month.
GOOGLE BEING SUED FOR ALLEGED MONOPOLY IN ONLINE DIGITAL ADVERTISING
New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Google LLC (Google), charging that the Internet giant is monopolizing the digital advertising industry. She and the U.S. Department of Justice, and a bipartisan coalition of eight states allege that Google has engaged in a 15-year, organized campaign so it could obtain outsized influence at all levels of the ad tech industry, and has used its power to reduce competition and innovation, harming website publishers, advertisers, and consumers.
Through this lawsuit, the government plaintiffs are seeking to stop what they call Google’s anticompetitive practices and order it to sell off various ad tech tools to restore a competitive balance in digital advertising.
IRONDALE’S PRODUCTION EXPLORES BROOKLYN’S ABOLITIONIST HISTORY
FORT GREENE — Irondale Ensemble Project, marking its 40th anniversary offers a free performance of its original musical, “Color Between the Lines”— a work that uncovers the unknown stories of Brooklyn’s abolitionist struggle. “Color Between the Lines,” which was created as part of In Pursuit of Freedom, a collaboration with the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Weeksville Heritage Center, will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Irondale, resident in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at 85 South Oxford St. in Clinton Hill.
The ensemble has created a hyperlocal history lesson that explores racial tensions of past and present; and will perform the show in four parts, with discussion in between about how this time shaped the familiar Brooklyn of today—the people, the landmarks, and the streets that hold significant historical significance.
GLOBAL SCHOLARS SCHOOL HOSTS BREAKFAST ON NYC KIDS RISE SAVE FOR COLLEGE PROGRAM
SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — The P.S. 748 Brooklyn School for Global Scholars in School District 20 on Tuesday, Jan. 24, hosted and celebrated a NYC Scholarship Month event for families with students in kindergarten and first grade who are eligible to participate in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program. During the breakfast presentation about the Save for College Program, school staff worked with families to activate and view their students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts and to learn ways in which the Save for College Program is supporting their children’s college and career training in the future.
So far across geographic School District 20 — covering Bay Ridge, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst West — participating kindergarten and first graders already have over $650,000 saved for their college and career futures.
PRESENTATION TO CB7 ON PLANNED INSTALLATION OF LINK NYC KIOSKS
SUNSET PARK/WINDSOR TERRACE — The installation of LinkNYC kiosks within Brooklyn Community Board 7 will be a focus of the board’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1. NYC Office of Technology & Innovation and CityBridge will give a presentation on LinkNYC, an innovative communications network that has replaced pay phones across the five boroughs. Each LinkNYC structure provides super-fast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device-charging, and a tablet for access to city services, maps, and directions; and gets its revenue through advertising.
The committee’s virtual meeting agenda also includes a discussion on neighborhood loading zones in Community Board 7 and is accessible to interested parties via the CB7 website and YouTube channel.
PENSION FUNDS URGE BANKS TO SOLIDIFY EMISSIONS-REDUCTION TARGETS
CITYWIDE — Four banking institutions with a strong presence in New York are being urged to set and publish their interim science-based reduction targets for 2030, in shareholder proposals that City Comptroller Brad Lander and three of the New York City Retirement Systems (the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The shareholder proposals, made at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Royal Bank of Canada, call for an absolute reduction target aligned with a science-based net zero emissions pathway — a widely-recognized standard for evaluating whether companies are genuinely on a path to meet net-zero commitments.
While some other major U.S. and foreign banks have set absolute emissions reduction targets, the proposal state these four banks have only set targets to reduce the intensity of their emissions. Intensity reduction targets do not capture whether the company’s total financed emissions have decreased in the real world.
JEFFRIES TO DELIVER FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS AS HOUSE LEADER
FORT GREENE — U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, unanimously elected as Democratic House Leader in December, will deliver his tenth annual address at a Community Inauguration on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Brooklyn Technical High School. Other elected officials will also be in attendance, and members of the public who wish to join can RSVP for the speech on Jeffries’ official website.
Doors will open at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
GOLDMAN CALLS OUT GOP’S STEFANIK ON SANTOS LIES
COBBLE HILL — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill-Redhook) issued a strongly worded press statement on Monday calling for House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (Adirondacks) to answer some tough questions on the extent of her knowledge of George Santos’ lies about his background. Goldman asserts in the statement that a top political aide for Stefanik was closely involved in campaigning for Santos in the most recent election cycle and that she personally helped convince suspicious donors that the freshman GOP rep was trustworthy, and demanded that she cooperate with the investigation launched in part by himself two weeks ago.
“It is one thing for a fabulist like George Santos to defraud the voters to get elected to Congress. It is altogether something different if he does so with the aid and support of top House Republican leadership. Ms. Stefanik owes it to the American people to come clean about what she knew and when she knew it,” concluded Goldman.
SCHOOLS TO USE NEW FUNDING FORMULA FOR DISADVANTAGED KIDS
CITYWIDE — The Department of Education and the Mayor on Monday announced several proposed changes to the city’s schools budget for the next year focused on increasing equity within the public school system. The changes, which will be applied to the Fair Student Funding formula, will increase resources for kids who are living in temporary housing and who are struggling with special needs, such as disabilities or English language learning.
The City Council praised the move, with Speaker Adrienne Adams and council Education Chair Rita Joseph releasing a statement in support, saying “Today’s announcement should be a start of efforts to ensure resources are invested in our system where they are most needed. It is critical that the voices and vital insights of parents, students, and educators guide the department to meet the needs of our school communities.”
CITY TO LAUNCH FUND FOR PANDEMIC-HIT SMALL BUSINESSES
CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Small Business Services commissioner Kevin D. Kim, in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, on Monday announced the creation of the $75 million NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, the largest public-private loan fund directed at small businesses in the city’s history, which will offer approximately 1,500 local businesses loans up to $250,000 at a below-market rate of 4%. Flexible terms will address historic barriers to ensure broad access to the fund by eliminating credit score minimums, not requiring application fees, serving start-ups and leveraging the deep roots of local organizations to reach businesses in historically disadvantaged and immigrant communities.
“Our efforts to cut red tape and jumpstart our recovery are already delivering results: We saw 13,600 new businesses open in the first half of 2022, including 1,800 new storefronts. This new loan fund will help us build on that progress and represents the next great step forward in our city’s partnership with our entrepreneurs and small business owners,” said Mayor Adams in a press statement.
TWO MEN SHOT IN FLATLANDS, ONE DEAD
FLATLANDS — On the night of Saturday, Jan. 21, police responded to a 911 call of shots fired in Flatlands, where a preliminary investigation determined that two males had been struck by gunfire at the location. Both victims were transported by private means to Mount Sinai Brooklyn, where the first victim, a 30-year-old male who had sustained a gunshot wound to the torso, was pronounced deceased; while the second victim, a 28-year-old male who had sustained a gunshot wound to the right shoulder, was in stable condition.
Police say that the identity of the deceased is pending family notification; there are no arrests in regard to the ongoing investigation.
CENTRAL BK HARD HIT BY EVICTIONS SINCE BAN LIFTED
CROWN HEIGHTS — Central Brooklyn neighborhoods have been among the hardest hit by evictions since the pandemic-era moratorium was lifted last year. Patch reports that while evictions are overall below pre-pandemic levels across the city, instances have steadily increased every month since the ban’s end, reaching 660 in November for a year total of more than 4,400.
The neighborhood with the most evictions was Crown Heights north, closely followed by Flatbush and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
LION DANCERS TO PERFORM AT ALBEE SQUARE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Choy Lay Fut Lion Dance team will be performing at Albee Square in celebration of the lunar new year this upcoming Saturday, Jan. 28. Attendees who snap a selfie with the dancers and post it on Instagram will also have a chance to take home lucky red envelopes containing small prizes.
The dancing will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Albee Square, and is free to attend.
FIRE CLAIMS TEEN’S LIFE IN FLATBUSH
FLATBUSH — On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 22, emergency responders answered a 911 call about a residential fire at an apartment building near Holy Cross Cemetery. After FDNY extinguished the fire, three people were removed from the scene and transported by EMS to a nearby hospital — a 50-year-old woman and 21-year-old man are both in stable condition while 13-year-old Dillon Waldren-Dickson succumbed to injuries sustained in the fire and was pronounced deceased.
The FDNY Fire Marshall will determine the cause of the fire, and the investigation is ongoing, say police.
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