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What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

March 29, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BROOKLYN BISHOP WILL LEAD ROSARY FOR POPE FRANCIS’ RECOVERY

DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN —The Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn will be leading a Rosary prayer on Wednesday night, March 29, for the healing of Pope Francis, who was hospitalized earlier in the afternoon for a respiratory infection deemed to be non-COVID-related. Bishop Robert J. Brennan released a statement, “I, along with so many of the Catholic Faithful, pray for the Holy Father. In fact we will pray in a special way during the previously scheduled Lenten Pilgrimage at Corpus Christi where I will lead the Rosary at 7:30 this evening.”

Those wishing to participate in the Rosary can attend at Corpus Christi Church, 31-30 61st St, Woodside, NY in Queens.

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BELOVED G. ESPOSITO & SONS PORK STORE WILL CLOSE AFTER A CENTURY IN BUSINESS

CARROLL GARDENS — “The secret to a business lasting nearly a hundred years is love,” said George Esposito, one of the third-generation owners of G. Esposito & Sons’ pork and sandwich store, which is closing after a century in business, reports Eater New York. The store, founded in 1922 and originally on Columbia St. before moving to 357 Court St., will close after April 10 — the day after Easter Sunday — according to a sign posted in the storefront’s window.

Although no reason was officially given for going out of business, the Esposito grandsons in the Eater New York story alluded to the neighborhood’s steep rents and a decline in business. G. Esposito & Sons also sold sandwiches, specialty ravioli, and pizzas.

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LAUNDROBAR OPENS IN CROWN HEIGHTS

CROWN HEIGHTS — Laundry, hot dogs, beer and wine. A newly-opened laundromat in Crown Heights has all these amenities in one place, on Rogers Avenue near Montgomery St., reports Eater New York.  Named Pearl Lee’s Washtub, the laundromat at 314 Rogers, which opened earlier this month, is the brainchild of former nurse Theo DuPree, with the goal of taking the stress out of washing one’s clothes.

Pearl Lee’s Washtub also offers burgers, wine and, to brand-new customers, a free cup of coffee, presumably for the trek back home.

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COMMUNITY RALLIES AGAINST VACANT APARTMENTS

WILLIAMSBURG — Councilmembers Lincoln Restler and Jennifer Gutiérrez, tenant advocacy groups, renters and neighbors rallied last Thursday in protest of apartment warehousing, calling on landlords to put affordable units back on the market, before touring several vacant units in Williamsburg after the rally.  “Warehousing” is a term that describes the practice of landlords purposefully not renting properties in hopes of leasing them for higher amounts later or waiting for changes in regulations – something the rally’s organizers say is contributing to homelessness and economic inequality around the city, as well as driving rents up for struggling New Yorkers.

“Currently, over 60,000 New Yorkers are currently living in shelters while they await affordable housing, while at the same time, over 90,000 apartments are being kept vacant for long periods of time. This is the epitome of the deep inequities of our housing system, in which housing is primarily seen as a profit generator, rather than as a fundamental human right,” stated Gutiérrez.

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ART EXHIBIT OPENING IN GREENPOINT

GREENPOINT — Faurschou New York will be debuting its new exhibition, “Embrace the World from Within,” a joint project by the artists Louise Bourgeois, Miles Greenberg and Yoko Ono, on Saturday, April 1. Each artist will install their works in one of Faurschou’s three galleries, in mediums ranging from sculpture to performance to vegetation, highlighting various facets of the exhibit’s theme of “physical and metaphorical aspects of the embrace: From the merging together of bodies, becoming something more and new, to the act of acceptance and cover or by contrast as claustrophobic smothering.”

The exhibition is free for visitors, and will be on display at Faurschou until Sept. 17 of this year.

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IMMIGRATION ADVOCACY GROUP ENDORSES EIGHT BROOKLYN COUNCILMEMBERS

BOROUGHWIDE — Several City Councilmembers representing districts throughout Brooklyn received endorsements on Wednesday, March 28, from NYIC Action, the 501(c)4 sister organization of the New York Immigration Coalition. Councilmembers Jennifer Gutiérrez (D-34), Crystal Hudson (D-35), Chi Ossé (D-36), Sandy Nurse (D-37), Alexa Avilés (D-38), Shahana Hanif (D-39), Rita Joseph (D-40) and Justin Brannan (D-43) have “enthusiastically committed to championing NYIC Action’s policy platform, ‘2023: A Vision for New York City,’ a plan that works to protect the rights of all New Yorkers and pushes legislation initiatives that will help immigrants not just survive but thrive in New York.”

NYIC Action’s agenda centers on five policy areas that are critical to immigrants, including ending state support for detention; deportation and mass incarceration; creating healthy communities; securing quality education; building political power and guaranteed civil rights; and ensuring economic justice and good jobs.

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CLIMATE JUSTICE CRITERIA NOW IN EFFECT FOR IDENTIFYING DISADVANTAGED NEIGHBORHOODS

STATEWIDE — New York State’s Climate Justice Working Group has finalized the criteria for identifying disadvantaged communities, which includes much of northeast and eastern Brooklyn just beyond the downtown area. The criteria which have been enacted following the Wednesday, March 28 vote will guide the equitable implementation of provisions from New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) that prioritize disadvantaged communities by requiring reductions in air pollution and climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and targeting clean energy and energy efficiency investments.

The map delineated an area of the borough that includes the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and that stretches across Brownsville and East New York to the Queens County border; as well as sections north of Central Park and The Bronx. 

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U.S. SENATE VOTES TO REPEAL RESOLUTION THAT AUTHORIZED 2003 INVASION OF IRAQ

WASHINGTON, DC — Brooklyn’s own Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke after a 66-30 bipartisan vote on Wednesday to repeal the resolution that gave a green light for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and to return a basic war power to Congress, 20 years after an authorization many now view as a mistake. The Bush administration had drummed up support among members of Congress and the American public for invading Iraq by touting what was later shown be false intelligence alleging Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  “Americans want to see an end to endless Middle East wars,” said Schumer, who pointed out that the repeal “is a necessary step to putting these bitter conflicts squarely behind us.”

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed the repeal, warning that the U.S. still has “terrorist enemies.” The repeal’s passage in the GOP-led House of Representatives is less certain.

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STATE HEALTH DEPT. FACES MORE REVIEW AFTER 2022 AUDIT REVEALED COVID-19 BLUNDERS

STATEWIDE AND COBBLE HILL — State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office will conduct a follow-up review of the state Department of Health after a March 2022 audit exposed weaknesses in DOH’s ability to address the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes. DiNapoli’s initial audit found that not only was the DOH unprepared and limited in its ability to respond to infectious disease outbreaks at nursing homes, but also that, under the direction of the Executive (then-Governor Andrew Cuomo), DOH did not provide the public with accurate COVID-19 death counts in nursing homes.

Locally, a Cobble Hill family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Gov. Cuomo for his directive that prohibited nursing homes from refusing patients based solely on COVID-19 diagnoses — an order that endangered other residents, according to Brooklyn Eagle stories published in February 2021. The Arbeeny family pulled their father, Norman, out of the Cobble Hill Health Center after the directive took effect, but he had already become infected with COVID and died at home.

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MAN WANTED FOR LATEST IN SPATE OF HEAD-PUNCHING INCIDENTS

GOWANUS — An elderly man awaiting a subway train at Union St. and 4th Avenue was punched in the head, in what has become an alarming trend. The New York City Police Department is asking the public to help identify an individual in connection to an assault that occurred on Monday evening, March 27, around 8:42 p.m. within the confines of the 78 Precinct, Transit District. The victim, a 67-year-old man was standing on the northbound R train platform when an unknown individual arose from a nearby bench and, unprovoked, punched the victim in the head before fleeing the station to parts unknown.

The victim sustained injuries to his face and was transported to NY Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone with information on this individual, who is wanted in connection with a subway head-punching on Monday, should call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The assailant is approximately 5’6” tall, 170 pounds, with a dark complexion and medium build, and was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black face mask, gray pants and black & white sneakers. Photo: NYPD-Crimestoppers.

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STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: FIDELITY MUST END ITS NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

STATEWIDE — The nation’s largest title insurance company, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. must terminate its no-poach (non-compete) agreements that prevented former employees from seeking work in the industry, after New York Attorney General Letitia James launched an investigation and brokered an agreement with the company. The investigation found that Fidelity and its competitors entered into illegal no-poach agreements where they would not solicit each other’s employees. The Attorney General’s settlement with Fidelity stipulates that the insurance giant will terminate any existing no-poach agreements, pay the state $3.5 million, and cooperate with OAG’s ongoing investigations in the industry.  

Fidelity issues its title insurance policies either directly through its own agency or through independent title insurance agencies, which are considered competitors in the labor market and which therefore should be able to compete for employees on the basis of salaries, benefits, and career opportunities. However, Fidelity’s no-poach policies with other companies prevented this.

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COURT LIFTS INJUNCTION IN WEED LAWSUIT, OPENING DOOR FOR BK SHOPS

STATEWIDE — A federal court on Tuesday granted a partial victory to the state, reports Spectrum News, lifting an injunction that has prevented entrepreneurs from opening recreational cannabis dispensaries as the state fights a lawsuit over the terms of its “social equity”-focused cannabis licenses. People who have been previously impacted by drug laws will now finally be able to seek permission to open recreational dispensaries in Brooklyn, as well as in central and western New York and the Mid-Hudson region; while the judge did not yet lift the injunction in the Finger Lakes region, officials expressed optimism about the decision and signaled that the state may consider upping the number of licenses available to operators.

Governor Hochul hailed the victory, writing in a press statement, “New York’s brand-new cannabis industry is making significant progress to promote social equity and right the wrongs of the past, creating the fairest and safest market in the nation… For the first time, New Yorkers in nearly every region of the state will have access to safer, high-quality, adult-use cannabis products.

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RESOURCE FAIR FOR BROOKLYNITES

MILL BASIN — The mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and Assemblymember Jaime Williams will host a resource fair at Williams’ district office, located at 5318 Avenue N, on Friday, March 31, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., offering one-on-one support in identifying city resource programs for Brooklynites and help with navigating the application processes. Members of PEU’s Tenant Support and GetCoveredNYC teams will be on hand to provide specific guidance around tenant rights and accessing health care.

This event is part of a long-term partnership between PEU and Assemblymember Williams to bridge the gap between New Yorkers and their government; every Friday, a PEU GetCoveredNYC specialist holds office hours at Williams’ district office to support district members with health care.

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FAMILY FUN THIS WEEKEND

Balloontopia + Easter Bunny: Balloontopia, a free interactive installation created by Brooklyn Bridge Parents and City Point, will fill over 8,000 square feet with more than 2,500 balloons transformed into sculptures, games, structures like pools and mazes, and events like a “balloon rainstorm.” Also featuring appearances from the Easter Bunny, balloon lovers can RSVP or drop in on Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn.

Luna Park Reopening: Beginning on Friday, March 31, Coney Island’s Luna Park is welcoming guests back for a season of unforgettable thrills and memories with brand new rides, including the Tony’s Express roller coaster and Leti’s Treasure log flume, joining the lineup of iconic attractions like the Coney Island Cyclone, the Thunderbolt and the B&B Carousell. Luna Park will be open every weekend until Memorial Day Weekend; while official celebrations to commemorate the start of the season will take place on April 2.

Smorgasburg Returns: The longtime traveling food festival is coming back this weekend, featuring dozens of vendors from a dizzying array of cuisines. Hungry New Yorkers can find Smorgasburg in the Oculus at the World Trade Center on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Breeze Hill in Prospect Park on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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PASSOVER FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR THOSE IN NEED

CITYWIDE — During the two weeks leading into Passover, which begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 5, the Met Council, America’s largest Jewish Charity dedicated to serving the needy, and the largest kosher food pantry system in the world, will be distributing more than 2.8 million pounds of Passover provisions to needy Jewish New Yorkers. Mass distribution initiatives have been set up across all five boroughs, and others in Westchester, and Delmar (serving the Capital region). Two Met Council sites in Brooklyn did a distribution on March 28.

As foods containing leavening agents such as yeast or vinegar are prohibited during this spring festival the free Passover packages include Matzah, kosher for Passover chicken, gefilte fish, eggs, tuna, grape juice, apple juice, tomato sauce, apple sauce, jam, oil, pickles, lemon juice, macaroons, imitation vinegar, sugar, potato starch and produce.

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SENATE COMMITTEE NOD: BILL WOULD EXEMPT EMERGENCY VESSELS FROM WATERWAY TRAFFIC LAWS

SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — A bill to amend the waterway navigation law so that it explicitly articulates an exemption for legitimate city safety personnel vessels has passed the New York State Senate’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-23) whose district spans several waterfront neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn (Dyker Heights to Sheepshead Bay) and Staten Island and who sits on the aforenamed committee, sponsored the bill that, if passed, will rectify an oversight providing an exemption from certain laws for operators of bona fide law enforcement and fire department vessels responding to emergencies on the navigable waters of the state.

“Our first responders need to be able to get to an emergency as efficiently and swiftly as possible. The fact that our current law does not account for first responders traveling via waterways has been an oversight for far too long,” said Senator Scarcella-Spanton.

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MAN SCALES BURNING BUILDING TO SAVE KIDS

EAST NEW YORK — Onlookers on Friday captured video of local hero Juan Dilone climbing the outside of an East New York townhouse to rescue children from a fire, reports CBS News, ultimately managing to get three children — one a three-month-old baby — to safety, before firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. Dilone climbed up to a third-story window to ferry the children from their parents to helpers on the ground below; rescue workers were later able to save the parents and a fourth child, after which the entire family was taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

“I’ve been climbing since I was a baby back home, you know. Climb trees, jumping around, so it was like normal,” Dilone told CBS, crediting his childhood in the Dominican Republic for his Spiderman skills, as well as thanking God for putting him in the right place at the right time.

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BROOKLYN COMMUNITIES COLLABORATIVE APPOINTS TORIAN EASTERLING TO ITS BOARD

Dr. Torian Easterling. Photo: NYC Health Department.

SUNSET PARK — Dr. Torian Easterling, a senior administration official at One Brooklyn Health, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors at Brooklyn Communities Collaborative (BCC) – a non-profit focused on strengthening health and wealth in Brooklyn. Currently the senior vice president of Population and Community Health and the Chief Strategic and Innovation Officer for One Brooklyn Health, Dr. Easterling, brings years of experience as a leader in health care and public health to BCC’s board, and previously served as Chief Equity Officer at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Dr. Easterling’s addition to the board formalizes a long-standing relationship with BCC, both as an ally for health equity and an early collaborator on participatory action research. Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan last September told Bloomberg News that Easterling “has been a steadfast champion for health, equity, and justice.”

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RIBBON-CUTTING FOR NEWLY-UPGRADED RED HOOK PARK’S GYM

RED HOOK — A ribbon-cutting was celebrated on Tuesday, March 28 for the Red Hook Recreation Area’s gymnasium, which received a major upgrade thanks to an anonymous donation of $115,000 made through the Adopt-a-Park program. NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue joined funder representative John P. L. Kelly and Councilmember Alexa Avilés for the ribbon-cutting on the gym, which now has a new maple wood floor, furnished with a new scoreboard, wall padding, rubber flooring, paint, and decals. New lockers will arrive by this summer.

The wider Red Hook Recreation Area also contains handball courts, baseball fields, a soccer and football field, picnic tables, the adjacent Olympic-sized pool, and new trees and plantings.

Photo: NYC Parks-Malcolm Pinckney.

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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH STORY NIGHT AT BORO HALL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — This Thursday, March 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso will celebrate the “Women Who Tell Our Stories” with an evening of comedy and storytelling at Brooklyn Borough Hall in honor of Women’s History Month. Comedians Chanel Ali and Sara Hennessey from the Brooklyn Comedy Collective will perform stand-up sets, followed by a workshop led by artist Kira Joy Williams from the Laundromat Project honoring the radical history of the Black women storytellers who used quilting to preserve cultural memory and communicate across physical distances and generations.

Williams will first share her oral history and visual storytelling project, Home is in the Stories, highlighting stories shared with her by Black women in Brooklyn; participants will then be invited to partake in an interactive version of this project, sharing their stories of home and capturing portraits of one another before working with the artist to fashion a collective, photo-based story-quilt.

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GROUP OF YOUTHS BEAT OLDER MAN IN BAY RIDGE

BAY RIDGE — In the early morning of Monday, March 13, a 60-year-old man was walking in the vicinity of 8th Avenue and 70th Street when he was approached by three unknown male individuals, who pushed the victim to the floor while punching and kicking him and forcibly removed the victim’s keys, cellphone and approximately $650; two unknown female individuals also acted as lookouts during the incident. The group fled westbound on Bay Ridge Avenue, while the victim was transported to an area hospital for injuries to his leg and face.

Anyone with information regarding 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.

Police released photos of the alleged perps.

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TENANTS AND ADVOCATES ALSO RALLY HERE TO PASS ‘GOOD CAUSE’ BILL IN ALBANY

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Meanwhile, tenants, advocacy groups and elected officials in favor of the Good Cause bill will also be rallying in front of “Brooklyn Eviction Court” (NYC Housing Court in the Civil Court Building at 141 Livingston St.) on Thursday morning, March 30, to get this legislation passed before the next day’s budget deadline. Good Cause would protect tenants from unjust evictions and unconscionable rent hikes, and statewide tenant Right to Counsel would guarantee tenants legal representation in eviction cases. Kings County had 30,480 evictions filed last year, and rents in Brooklyn have spiked more than 30% since last year.

The group will also rally in support of a longtime tenant activist Fidele Albert, demanding that her own eviction case be dropped in what they call an abusive and retaliatory-landlord case. Following the rally, community members will occupy Brooklyn Housing Court in support of Ms. Albert.

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NYPD NABS SIX IN ATM BURGLARY RING

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The NYPD has taken down a burglary ring of six men — all but one of whom are Brooklynites — for the alleged theft of 19 ATM machines and other property from stores and bodegas in this borough, Queens and the Bronx, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Tuesday when he indicted the group. The 92-count indictment covers incidents from June 2022 until January 2023, when four of the defendants were arrested in LaGuardia Airport following a 30-minute high-speed chase. Many of the heists were captured on video surveillance; and during one incident, the defendants trying to flee apprehension instead drove into an occupied unmarked police car, injuring two officers.

Four of the defendants were arraigned on Tuesday, March 28, in Kings County State Supreme Court, with Justice Danny Chun presiding; the other two will appear in court on a date to be scheduled.

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GANG MEMBER CONVICTED FOR ARMED CARJACKINGS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Gang member Dieuverson Caille, 22, was convicted on Monday by a federal jury in Brooklyn on all counts related to a year-long carjacking spree: one count of conspiracy to commit carjacking, three substantive carjacking offenses, and three instances of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of those carjackings. The trial determined that on at least four occasions, between Aug. 28, 2020 and June 20, 2021, Caille and his co-conspirators robbed and assaulted victims at gunpoint; one victim was pistol-whipped, while another was mowed down by Caille, who was driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police.

The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States Circuit Judge Denny Chin sitting by designation; when sentenced, Caille faces a mandatory minimum of 21 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

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SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND: $2M FOR VISION-IMPAIRED TRANSIT APP

CITYWIDE — Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday announced that the MTA will receive $2 million in funding to expand a pilot program that helps blind and low-vision riders, as well as commuters with limited English proficiency, better navigate the NYC bus and subway system. The grant, funded by last year’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, will go toward adding more bus stops and subway stations capable of using the NaviLens and NaviLens Go phone apps, which use an algorithm to translate colorful, unique QR-style codes into audio or text and allow customers to determine key information, including real-time arrival data, the accurate location and distance to the nearest stop, crowding levels and boarding areas.

While NaviLens helps visually impaired commuters by reading out signs and providing train arrivals in audio to help blind or low-vision users navigate the station, the NaviLens Go app provides sighted users visual in-station navigation, trip planning information, train arrivals and service status information in up to 34 different languages; so far, the program has been tested at the Jay St-MetroTech Station in Downtown Brooklyn and along the M23 SBS Manhattan bus route.

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SCHOOLS PARTNER WITH SPECIAL OLYMPICS TO EXPAND ACCESS

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and Special Olympics NY President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman on Monday announced an expanded partnership between NYC’s public schools and Special Olympics New York, ensuring access to Special Olympics sports at all city special-needs public schools. Through this partnership, more than 1,700 students with disabilities will now be able to participate in Special Olympics track & field, volleyball and basketball during their school day, while an additional 200 high school students with and without disabilities will participate in an after-school unified basketball league and 200 middle school students with and without disabilities will participate in a unified bocce league.

Special Olympics NY has committed to giving $50,000 in funding, as well as supporting the training of educators and coaches and providing sports equipment and team uniforms, while the City of New York is contributing an additional $300,000 to fund these initiatives.

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BROOKLYN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO WEGMAN’S HACKING

ROCHESTER — U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced on Monday that Brooklyn man Maurice Sheftall, 24, has pleaded guilty to fraud and related activity in connection with computers and was sentenced to three years’ probation and payment of restitution totaling $41,441. An FBI investigation uncovered that between January and July 2021, Sheftall obtained the Wegmans grocery store website log-in credentials of more than 50 people and used the customers’ saved credit card information, without their knowledge, to order groceries and have those groceries delivered to himself and his associates, ultimately placing 25 fraudulent orders with a value of $9,297.05; Sheftall’s restitution payment reflects the costs of reimbursing his victims, as well as those of credit monitoring services for victims and dark web monitoring to determine where and how Sheftall obtained the customer account information.

Wegmans was ultimately hit with a $400,000 payment of its own last year after an investigation concluded it had been lax in its approach to safe data storage and had exposed millions of customers to identity theft risks; State AG Letitia James at the time remarked, “Wegmans is paying the price for recklessly handling and exposing millions of consumers’ personal information on the internet. In the 21st century, there’s no excuse for companies to have poor cybersecurity systems and practices that hurt consumers.”

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DEVELOPERS SQUABBLE OVER DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN HOTEL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Private equity loaner Cingulate Group has filed suit against the owners of an unfinished hotel in Downtown Brooklyn, reports The Real Deal, alleging that the owners defaulted on a loan and failed to disclose important information, and is seeking a $5 million judgment from the courts. The hotel, which features a distinctive black-and-white-striped mural on its side, is no stranger to controversy after a second lender moved to foreclose on the property in November of last year, a process currently under negotiation.

The hotel is currently 80% complete and remains so reportedly due to pandemic-related shortages of materials and labor, as well as cost overruns.

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DUMBO CONDO SELLS FOR $4.8M

DUMBO — A DUMBO condo in the high-end Olympia building was the priciest home sold in Brooklyn last week, according to a report from Compass, reports the Real Deal. The unit features two bedrooms and two bathrooms and sold for $4.8 million, but the buyers will have to wait to move in as the building is still under construction, expected to finish up later this year.

Sales began at the building, which sits immediately adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, in October 2021, with sky-high asking prices soon earning it the title of the most expensive building in Brooklyn — although one frequently contested by other luxury projects, such as the Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park or the celebrity-favored Standish building in Brooklyn Heights.

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THE KING’S COLLEGE STUDENTS FACE EVICTION FROM LUXURY DORMS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A group of students at Manhattan’s The King’s College dorm in a Downtown Brooklyn luxury highrise face eviction after the college failed to make good on rent, reports the Brooklyn Paper, despite each student having paid the school $7,200 per semester in “room charges” — money the students say was used to pay for other expenses, leaving themselves and their landlords high and dry. Students have begun receiving notices demanding payment from building management, which told the Brooklyn Paper that the college has not responded to any attempts made to reach out; King’s did not answer questions from the Brooklyn Paper but issued a statement earlier this month on its website asserting that a large budget shortfall might force it to close for good after this semester.

“The student body as a whole hasn’t felt the school has been very open and transparent with these financial troubles. I feel like they tried to downplay it as much as they could until it got too much,” sophomore Kayleigh Burrell told the Brooklyn Paper.

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FDNY CHIEFS ACCUSE COMM. KAVANAGH OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IN LAWSUIT

CITYWIDE — The group of FDNY chiefs sparring with FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh on Thursday filed a stunning additional lawsuit alleging that the commissioner routinely engaged in age discrimination against FDNY employees approaching the age of 60, forcing them out of their positions through demotions, defamation and retaliatory actions. The chiefs are seeking reinstatement to their former posts as well as damages and fees; Kavanagh, prior to the new lawsuit’s filing on Thursday, defended her actions, stating she simply wanted “her own team,” reports the New York Post, in addition to her previously cited commitment to diversifying the fire department’s ranks.

The suit further alleges that, on top of forcing out senior staff members of color, Kavanagh in 2018 passed over a more-qualified female candidate to award a high-paying position to Lt. Jon Paul Augier despite his numerous discrimination accusations, including an incident in which he reportedly harassed African American firefighters by hanging a noose in their firehouse — which, according to the suit, Kavanagh responded to by stating “he’s not like that anymore.”

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#WHATSGOODNYC: TOURISM BUREAU DEBUTS ITS NEW NAME AND LOOK

CITYWIDE — NYC & Company Is Now New York City Tourism + Conventions. During its annual meeting on Tuesday, March 28, Fred Dixon, president and CEO of the City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau, debuted its new name and brand identity. The new name and brand system was launched in conjunction with a social campaign, #WHATSGOODNYC, harnessing the “opinion power” of the City’s 8.5 million New Yorkers, and offering them a chance to share their points of view on “what’s good” and what to experience across the city’s five boroughs.

The new brand system, aimed at travelers from around the world, includes a new strategy and comprehensive visual identity system, with a new logo, color standards, typography, art direction, and graphic elements.

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LANDLORDS URGE GOVERNOR AND STATE LEGISLATURE TO PASS ‘GOOD CAUSE’ EVICTION PROTECTION BILL

STATEWIDE — More than 100 landlords — many of them in Brooklyn —who collectively manage at least 5,000 properties across New York State have sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders urging them to pass the Good Cause eviction protections, on the grounds that they help tenants and smaller landlords alike challenge steep rent hikes and unjust evictions. The letter, which some of the Goo’Sd Cause proponents see as a rebuke to corporate property owners and absentee slum landlords, declares that Good Cause would be an asset for small landlords, leveling the playing field for those struggling to compete in a market increasingly dominated by corporate investors and private equity firms.

However, Governor Hochul has thus far refused to take a position on the Good Cause Bill — even though tenant constituents have confronted her on it and even though it remains a top priority for Albany.

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BROOKLYN REP. GOLDMAN DEMANDS THAT PRESIDENT NOT REGRESS TO IMMIGRANT FAMILY DETENTIONS

NATIONWIDE — Congressmember Dan Goldman (D-10/Brooklyn) is demanding that President Biden maintain his commitment to not reinstate the cruel and inhumane practice of detaining immigrant families and children, and instead to continue expanding legal pathways and invest in community-based alternatives to detention. In his letter to Biden, Goldman wrote, “The Biden Administration has made incredible headway towards repairing our immigration system through new legal pathways for migrants and community-based alternatives to detention and we cannot go backward on that progress.”

Pediatric psychologists hold their ground on the point that no amount of time in detention is safe for children.


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