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What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, April 26, 2023

April 26, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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MAYOR RELEASES LARGEST EXECUTIVE BUDGET
IN NYC HISTORY

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday released the Executive Budget For Fiscal Year 2024, considered the largest in the city’s history. The 2024 Budget protects critical programs for working New Yorkers and offers good news for libraries and other cultural institutions by not cutting funds. The budget also includes strategic investments that improve New Yorkers’ quality of life, including investments that create sustainability and resiliency programs, strengthen the city’s mental health resources, build out the college-to-career pipeline and uplift working people.

The city’s absorption of more than 57,000 asylum seekers prompted Mayor Adams to implement a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) in the Executive Budget to reduce costs and promote efficiency. The city anticipates that the cost of providing shelter, food, clothing and other services for asylum seekers will be $4.3 billion through the end of FY24.

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HALE AND HEARTY SOUPS BRAND IS REVIVED;
BUT ONLY IN MOBILE FORM

CITYWIDE — Hale and Hearty Soups, which at one time had a store on Remsen Street near St. Francis College and later moved to MetroTech Center, is back in business, reports EATER New York. Founded in the 1990s, Hale and Hearty had declared bankruptcy about six months ago but now has new owners, Hearty Acquisitions, operating under the auspices of kosher caterer Mauzone Food Service.  

Hale and Hearty will operate pushcarts and kiosks across the city, and packaged versions of its soups — which have included coconut shrimp — will soon be sold from grocery stores; but, alas, no new storefronts.

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WORKERS AT BROOKLYN MUSEUM PICKET ARTISTS BALL,
DEMANDING WAGE INCREASES

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Chanting “overworked and underpaid” and “Brooklyn is a union town,” staff of the Brooklyn Museum picketed the cultural institution’s annual Artists Ball last week for better wages, according to reports published in ARTNews and other publications. The union is fighting for sustainable wage increases of at least 9 to 10% or higher, with its members alleging that the Brooklyn Museum’s wages are among the lowest in comparison with other arts institutions, according to bargain committee member and the museum’s senior registrar Samantha Cortez, according to hyperallergic.com’s report.

Some of the ball attendees supported and marched with the picketers, including Suneil Sangziri, the fourth annual UOVO prize winner, filmmaker and researcher, Sangziri said that he, too, is a member of UAW, one of the unions involved in the wage dispute.

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HAITI CULTURAL EXCHANGE PRESENTS LITERATURE SALON

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Haiti Cultural Exchange is holding another session of its Salon D’Ayiti literature series this weekend, featuring readings, signings and discussions from a slate of Haitian and diaspora authors, including Edwidge Danticat, Ibi Zoboi, Kettly Mars and more; as well as opportunities to chat and mingle with the authors. The programming, on Friday and Saturday, will be trilingual in English, French and Kreyol — the Exchange notes that translations can’t be provided for the non-English events.

The free salon will take place at the Center for Fiction in Downtown Brooklyn on Friday, April 28, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday, April 29, from 11:20 a.m. to 4 p.m.; seating is first come first served, and information about author schedules can be found online on Eventbrite and on the Exchange’s website.

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BROOKLYN STUDENTS TO PERFORM AT CARNEGIE HALL

MIDTOWN — A group of ten Brooklyn middle school orchestra musicians will be performing at Carnegie Hall on Monday in the New York Pops’ musical tribute to Barry Manilow as part of the group’s Kids On Stage youth program, while two Brooklyn high schoolers will work as conducting apprentices at the concert. The concert and gala mark the 40th-anniversary celebration of the pop-music-focused Pops, and proceeds from the pricy event — tickets start at $225 and top out at a cool $100,000 — will benefit the orchestra and the organization’s PopsEd music education programs.

The young musicians are Tate Burns and Nicole Lui on percussion, Adrian Chen-Hwang and Ekaterina Chizhova on saxophone, Leilani Dumlao on cello, Aurora May Dumlao on violin, Quadiar Dunn on double bass, Claudette Eriksson on bass clarinet, Cielo Kiriyama on flute and Leo Pitaru on trumpet; the two Brooklyn conducting apprentices are LaGuardia student Anna Kapriyelov and Stuyvesant student Brandon Phillips.

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QUILTERS GUILD TO HOLD QUILT SHOW FOR 30TH ANNIVERSARY

PARK SLOPE — The Brooklyn Quilters Guild is holding its first major show in five years in celebration of its 30th anniversary this weekend, exhibiting a collection of 200 colorful quilts, along with auctions and workshops. The Guild will also be raffling off a blue-and-yellow sunflower quilt in order to raise money for UNICEF in support of Ukrainian refugees. 

The quilt show will be held on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the BKLOFT26 venue; tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and more information can be found on the Guild’s website.

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JEWISH COUNCIL TO OFFER FREE ACCOUNTANT TRAINING PROGRAM

CONEY ISLAND — The Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island is hosting a 12-week Zoom course on office accounting for unemployed and underemployed people this summer. The program, funded by the state Department of Labor, will cover introductory and advanced bookkeeping and office management skills and is intended to help students join the workforce; the organizers will also assist students with finding employment after completing the course.

The class is free and runs from May 2 to July 12 on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; spots are limited, and applications can be submitted online.

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SUMMERSTAGE CONCERT LINEUP ANNOUNCED

CITYWIDE — The Capital One City Parks Foundation on Tuesday announced the SummerStage 2023 season lineup, presenting 80 free and benefit shows across the five boroughs starting on June 10. Fans can enjoy the summer season with established and emerging artists from across the globe playing salsa, jazz, reggae, soul and more; the concert series will also be shining a celebratory spotlight on the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

Brooklyn free show highlights include Brooklyn-based soulful R&B artist Nick Hakim on July 14 in Von King Park, along with The Coney Island Amphitheater presenting reggae artist Skip Marley on July 9; the Golden Oldies on the Boardwalk concert featuring The Duprees, The Coasters, Charlie Thomas’ Drifters with Jeff Hall and Bobby Wilson on July 16; and Jose Alberto “El Canario” performing with The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra including The Music of Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente on August 20; the full SummerStage lineup and more information can be found on the City Parks Foundation’s website.

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NOTIFY NYC PROGRAM ADDS NEW MESSAGE TYPES FOR OPT-IN

CITYWIDE — The New York City Office of Emergency Management on Wednesday, April 26, introduced new Message Types to its Notify NYC system, and are already requesting customer feedback on the changes. The new Message Types are Police Advisories, or law enforcement announcements tailored to the mobile phone user’s neighborhood from one’s local police precinct; and Basement Alerts, notifications to alert those living in basement apartments about life-threatening weather conditions with such phone calls going out to subscribers at any time, including during overnight hours.

Subscribers will need to opt-in via for either of these new message types, by visiting NYC.gov/notifynyc, logging into their accounts, and updating the notification preferences under the “My Account” tab. The customer survey link is accessible online.

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NEW BILL WOULD DECREASE NUMBER OF MANDATED
SCHOOL LOCKDOWN DRILLS

STATEWIDE — State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon on Wednesday introduced a bill which aims to improve the state-wide lockdown drill mandate by decreasing the mandated frequency of such drills, and ensuring that these lockdown drills help students both be and feel safe. Indexed as Senate Bill S6537, the legislation would seek to address that balance by requiring advance notice of lockdown drills to parents and guardians, allowing them to opt out, providing accommodations for students with PTSD, or other emotional or physical needs who could be traumatized, requiring school staff to provide age-appropriate explanations of the drills to the students, and offering thorough and standardized trainings on how to conduct the drills effectively and compassionately.

The bill would reduce the number of required drills from four to just one, amending the current law passed in 2016, whose four-drill mandate was the highest in the U.S. All schools in New York State below college level are also required to conduct 12 fire (evacuation) drills per year.

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RESTLER’S PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING WINNERS
FOCUS ON HEALING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

COUNCIL DISTRICT 33 — The three winning projects from City Councilmember Lincoln Restler’s Participatory Budgeting voting all contribute to the effort to protect the climate, according to an announcement made on Wednesday, April 26. The first winner, Plant Neighborhood Trees for Climate Resilience: New Trees Across District 33, will invest $420,000 to plant a total of 120 new street trees across Restler’s district, with a focus on areas where people are vulnerable to heat. ‘Gateway to Greenpoint’ New Green Space and Stormwater Diversion Project will contribute $350,000 towards the total cost of developing a public greenspace on a roughly 12,000 square-foot city-owned parcel at the corner of Greenpoint and Kingsland Avenues. And the Grounds Improvement Project for Gowanus Houses Community Center will contribute $250,000 to the  improvement of  landscaping and expansion of greenspace around the building for community enjoyment.

Said Restler, “Neighbors were actively engaged throughout the process, and put forward some terrific ideas!”

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CITY SUED OVER ALLEGED OPEN STREETS ADA VIOLATIONS

CITYWIDE — A group of mobility-impaired people on Monday filed a lawsuit against the city over the Open Streets program, alleging that the restricted access to vehicles on their blocks makes it difficult for them to leave their homes — or for emergency services to reach them, citing two incidents in which ambulances were delayed by heavy metal fences blocking the mandatory 15-foot emergency access lanes. The lawsuit, led by advocacy org NYC Access for All, claims that the city did not do impact studies when determining which streets would join the program, that officials have ignored complaints, and that the rollout of the program has been left to under-trained volunteers, leading to improperly restricted emergency lanes and blocked curb ramps; several plaintiffs who suffer from illnesses or use canes describe struggling to move barriers and to reach street corners to take taxis or Access-A-Ride buses, as well as harassment by volunteers while driving.

The group is asking for a jury trial and wants an end to the popular outdoor program entirely, alleging that it constitutes a violation of their rights under the ADA, as well as of city and state human rights laws.

A photo purporting to show a planter blocking a curb ramp during an Open Streets event. Photo: NYC Access for All.

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POLICE SEEK MISSING GIRL IN BUSHWICK

BUSHWICK — Police are searching for missing girl Helen Perez, 11, last seen on the afternoon of Sunday, April 23, at her Bushwick home. Helen is described as Hispanic White, 4’9” tall and approximately 100 pounds with black hair; she was last seen wearing a black sweater, black sweatpants and multi-colored sneakers.

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). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Have you seen this girl? All tips given to police are strictly confidential.

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BROOKLYN UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN SINCE LAST YEAR, SAYS LABOR DEPT

CITYWIDE — Statistics released by the state Department of Labor on Tuesday show that New York City overall, as well as Brooklyn, saw a reduction in unemployment over the last 12-month period. NYC’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 5.2%, while Brooklyn’s dropped from 6.5% to 5.4% between March of 2022 and March of 2023 — a positive change, although Brooklyn’s unemployment rate is still the second highest of the boroughs, behind only the Bronx’s 6.9%.

The NYC jobs market has largely recovered from pandemic job losses, but some economists are worried about looming challenges from the drawbacks in the banking and technology sectors, as well as to the overall labor market as a result of progress in automation and artificial intelligence.

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GUTIERREZ ANNOUNCES INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

CITYWIDE — Councilmembers Amanda Farías and Jennifer Gutiérrez on Tuesday announced their Industrial Development Action Plan legislation, which would require the Department of City Planning, Department of Small Business Services, and the Economic Development Corporation to collaborate on a citywide plan to support industrial development, expand and retain industrial businesses and jobs, and coordinate to meet infrastructure, green energy and supply chain needs. The bill complements efforts to update the city’s manufacturing and industrial zoning regulations, unchanged since 1961, which officials believe hinder industrial growth by forcing competition with commercial uses and nightlife and restricting density.

“New York City’s industrial sector has the opportunity to be the modern beating heart of opportunity for working families, immigrants, and communities of color, while also growing our economy and supporting essential infrastructure that keeps our city running… A coordinated plan for industrial development and protection will enable us to unlock its full potential,” wrote Gutiérrez in a press statement.

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BROOKLYN MAN ARRESTED AT LAGUARDIA AIRPORT
FOR WEAPONS POSSESSION

LAGUARDIA AIRPORT — A Brooklyn man was arrested on Tuesday, April 25, at LaGuardia Airport, after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded .22 caliber handgun and more than 100 bullets in the man’s carry-on bag. The man, whose name law enforcement authorities had not released as of press time, claimed he had forgotten about the weapon and ammunition after having been at a shooting range. Port Authority Police were alerted to the handgun ammunition after the x-ray equipment triggered an alarm and the carry-on bag was closely inspected.

This was the second firearm that TSA officers have detected at the airport’s checkpoints so far this year. Last year, 6,542 firearms — 88% of them loaded — were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide.

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NEW REPORT FROM UNITED WAY SHOWS
50% OF NEW YORKERS STRUGGLE

CITYWIDE/BROWNSVILLE — Fifty percent of working age New Yorkers are struggling to cover their basic needs, according to a new report from the United Way of New York. Titled the 2023 NYC True Cost of Living report, this document reveals a 38% increase from the 2021 edition, equating to 1,298,212 households or 2,991,973 people, showing the profound economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on New York City working-age households, particularly among people of color, immigrants (particularly Latine) and single mothers.

Central Brooklyn neighborhoods particularly impacted include Brownsville and Ocean Hill.

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SEN. MYRIE MOVES FORWARD ON CLIMATE NEGLIGENCE ACT AFTER SCOTUS RULING FOR STATE COURTS

CENTRAL BROOKLYN NEIGHBORHOODS — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for a bill that State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-20) has introduced to protect the environment. The April 24 SCOTUS ruling denied a request from five major fossil-fuel corporations to shield them from being sued in state courts for their role in the climate crisis, instead permitting state – rather than federal — to hear climate-related lawsuits against big polluters, according to a Reuters news report. Senator Myrie’s legislation package, currently in committee, will hold big polluters accountable and establish legal penalties for the harm done to communities.

The bill also prohibits deceptive and false advertising by fossil fuel companies, a common practice that can obscure the environmental hazards that its products cause.

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GREENPOINT LIBRARY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER AWARDED $100K GRANT FOR PROGRAMS

GREENPOINT — The Greenpoint Library and its Environmental Education Center (Greenpoint Library) have received a $100,000 grant for educational environmental programs from New York Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, who presented the award on Saturday, April 22, in honor of Earth Day. Funds from the grant will support environmental education and community engagement programs at Greenpoint Library, such as the Greenpoint Environmental History Project, gardening clubs for children, teens and adults, science and sustainability workshops and community environmental justice meetings, among other projects.

Joining Attorney General James and Commissioner Seggos on Saturday were Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Councilmember Lincoln Restler, Friends of McGolrick Park, North Brooklyn Parks Alliance and other community members.

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GANG MEMBER CONVICTED FOR KILLING OF RIVAL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict on Monday against 5-9 Brims gang member Marvin Pippins for shooting and killing rival Real Ryte gang member Sean Peart in Bed-Stuy in 2015, as the result of a feud between the two gangs. A law enforcement source said that while Pippins admitted to the murder at trial, he claimed the killing was not gang-related, but instead motivated by fear and revenge against Peart, who he believed to be his brother’s murderer — an argument rejected by the jury, as the victim had been in California at the time of the murder of Pippins’ brother.

Pippins, 32, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, murder-in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, narcotics trafficking and use of a firearm; he faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment.

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MTA TO ALLOW E-BIKES, SCOOTERS

CITYWIDE — The MTA on Monday adopted a policy that allows personal electric vehicles like e-bikes and e-scooters on MTA property and on board transit (with the exception of express buses), a move that supports city micromobility initiatives encouraging the use of bikes and scooters and that will increase access to public transit for people who do not live within walking distance of a transit station. The MTA also released a list of rules: no charging or riding in stations, fold vehicles if possible, keep walkways and doorways clear, and vehicles must be under 100 pounds and under four feet high and 80 inches long.

A full list of rules can be found on the MTA’s website; the authority also clarified that hoverboards and rented equipment like Citi Bikes are banned, and that none of these rules apply to mobility devices for people with disabilities.

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TASTES OF BED STUY EVENT

BED-STUY — Tastes of Brooklyn is highlighting Bed-Stuy as part of its local food walk series,  featuring more than 20 culturally rich and diverse chefs and bars offering cocktails, Caribbean fare, sweet treats, gourmet burgers, vegan food and more, as well as showcasing works from local artists. Tickets for the event can be bought online on Tastes of Brooklyn’s website; the food crawl will take place on Saturday, May 6, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In recognition of the disproportionately high rates of illnesses in Black and Brown communities linked to a lack of healthy food choices, the event is highlighting Seeds in the Middle, a charity that helps students and communities access and produce farm-fresh food; and the Lloyd Porter Dinner Parties program, where at-risk youth learn culinary arts skills from local chefs by cooking and serving fresh meals for their communities.

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DUMBO ART STUDIOS OPENED WITH A BANG

DUMBO — The DUMBO Open Studios program brought excited crowds to the streets of the artsy neighborhood last weekend to get good looks at the studios of more than a hundred local artists in a dizzying array of disciplines. Visitors interacted with the artwork and talked shop with the creatives at the Saturday and Sunday celebration, sponsored by Art in DUMBO and organizations including the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Triangle Arts, the New York Studio School and BRIClab.

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TEENS TO MARCH AGAINST DATING VIOLENCE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Teenage activists and survivors are holding a rally against teen dating violence this weekend at Korean War Veterans Memorial Park in Downtown Brooklyn, before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall. The 11th annual NYC Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walk will feature talks and testimonials from advocates and impacted people, and is sponsored by The Healing Center, an organization that works against family violence.

The rally will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street before marching to City Hall at noon; more information about the walk-a-thon campaign can be found on The Healing Center’s website.

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LIBRARY TO HOST INCLUSIVE FASHION SHOW: ‘PEOPLE’S BALL’

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting The People’s Ball this Sunday at the Central Library: a fashion-forward ode to inclusivity that invites New Yorkers of all stripes to flaunt their unique styles on the catwalk and dance the night away to music by singer Cunio and DJ Rimarkable. Hosted by actress Delissa Reynolds on the eve of the Met Gala, the free event declares that fashion is not found in exclusivity, but in the everyday New Yorker and the colors, textures, and styles that make up the city’s urban runway; and features special guests Dapper Dan, Cindy Campbell and the 2023 People’s Heroes nominees.

The ball will take place on Sunday, April 30, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; RSVP tickets are sold out due to “overwhelming demand,” but the library invites guests to join and pose on the Plaza, as standbys will be admitted as capacity allows.

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TEACHER AT YESHIVA OF FLATBUSH WINS YOUNG PIONEERS AWARD

FLATBUSH/MIDWOOD — A Brooklyn teacher is one of five recipients of the 2023 Robert M. Sherman Young Pioneers Award, presented through The Jewish Education Project, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering educators to create transformative Jewish experiences. Brooklyn resident Tziri Lamm, a veteran educator with 15 years of experience teaching in day schools with a background in English, STEM, educational technology and computer science, and the incoming Director of General Studies at Barkai Yeshivah High School that opens in September, won in part for creating several meaningful experiences at Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, such as the “Little Red Box,” a kindness initiative whose mission is to spread positivity across the school. 

Named for the former CEO Robert M. Sherman and launched in 2012, this award has recognized more than 40 Jewish educators, under age 40, from greater New York, that push the boundaries in Jewish education.

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GRACE CHORALE WINS BROOKLYN ARTS COUNCIL GRANT FOR ‘WE WILL RISE’ PROGRAM

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS AND BOROUGHWIDE — Grace Chorale of Brooklyn’s program “We Will Rise: Music of Resilience, Justice, and Hope,” was among 280 Brooklyn arts organizations and individuals who were allocated a total of $1,657,000 for their programming from the Brooklyn Arts Council. “We Will Rise,” featuring three works by women composers, was performed at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and Pro-Cathedral in late March, under the direction of Jason Asbury.

Other awardees included the Prospect Heights-based Brooklyn Accordion Club, the Brighton Ballet Theater Company in Brighton Beach, the multidisciplinary Dancers Unlimited based in Downtown Brooklyn and the interdisciplinary STooPS art project in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

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‘PATTY DUKE’ HOUSE DAMAGED IN MASSIVE FIRE

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The Remsen Street apartment building where “The Patty Duke Show” was filmed in the 1960s was devastated in a fire on Sunday night, April 23. More than 12 FDNY units responded to the blaze, and three firefighters were injured in the fire that broke out around 8:45 p.m. on the fifth floor of 8 Remsen Street, which is in a cul-de-sac at the western end of the street that is closest to the Promenade.

The Patty Duke Show, which aired from September 18, 1963 to April 27, 1966, followed the life of a loquacious teenager Patty Lane (played by Patty Duke, who also doubled as Patty’s identical-twin-cousin Cathy Lane, European and Southern Belle with a completely different persona and tastes.

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MAYOR ADAMS SPEAKS AT NYPD ACADEMY GRADUATION

MANHATTAN — Mayor Eric Adams, himself a retired police captain, delivered remarks at the NYPD Academy Graduation on Monday, April 24. Reflecting on his own 1984 graduation and oath of office to the then-NYC Transit Police, Mayor Adams said, “…Let’s treat the residents the way we want our families to be treated. Let’s make sure that we show the level of professionalism that’s expected of a police department that sets the tone for global public safety across the globe.”

The mayor added, “There are going to be those individuals who expect for you to be perfect. But you are in a good place because you have a mayor that’s perfectly imperfect so he don’t expect you to be perfect. He just expects you to be dedicated and committed and honest and forthright and serve and protect the people of the City of New York.”

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GOVERNOR LAUNCHES SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK

STATEWIDE — Saturday night’s electrical storms in the NYC metropolitan area seem to have ushered in Governor Kathy Hochul’s launch on April 24 of Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York State. Gov. Hochul leads the annual observance to highlight the urgency of New Yorkers establishing a plan with their families and staying informed when severe weather strikes.

A partnership between New York State, the National Weather Service, local and volunteer agencies and private sector organizations, the annual awareness campaign aims to educate New Yorkers about the hazards of severe weather during the spring and summer months; by definition, this includes flash flooding, hail, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes — which have caused damage to Brooklyn in past years.

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APPLY FOR COMMUNITY PROJECT GRANTS TO PREVENT BIAS AND HATE CRIMES

CITYWIDE — The Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and the City Commission on Human Rights have launched their Community Project Grants to Prevent and Address Bias and Hate. Individuals, groups, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and other NYC entities can apply for grants up to $5,000 to implement creative projects promoting community respect, prevent hate violence, with the goal of addressing hate crimes, bias-motivated incidents, and discrimination through pathways outside of law enforcement and the criminal legal system. Applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis through May 17, 2023.

Applicants may propose projects including, but not limited to, community workshops, educational videos, events, conferences and social media campaigns.

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PANEL DISCUSSION AIMS TO CONFRONT AND STAND UP TO ANTISEMITISM

CITYWIDE — The Brooklyn Borough Director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Office invites New Yorkers to a panel discussion on May 1 focused on “Confronting Antisemitism: Communities Standing Up, Together.” The conversation, taking place at the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center, at 7 p.m. next Monday, will highlight community efforts to combat antisemitism with a unified voice. Speakers will include former white nationalist R. Derek Black, the Rev. Edward-Richard Hinds of GodSquad/ the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, Hanadi Dolah of the Interfaith Center NY, Heather Fife of the Professional Performing Arts School and Rabbi Kaplan of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Among the questions to be discussed: “How can we use education, community organizing, and social media to inspire young people — and changemakers of all ages — to build bridges across these divides and bring our city together?”

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‘TAKING THE LEAD ON LEAD’ REPORTS ON PROGRESS IN FIGHTING EXPOSURE

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, April 25, released a new report, titled “Taking the Lead on Lead” that highlights the city’s efforts in the fight against exposure to this dangerous metal. The report provides updates from every city agency with lead-related compliance requirements to proactively monitor and mitigate lead exposure, and serves as a measure of progress since “LeadFreeNYC” — the city’s roadmap to eliminating childhood lead exposure — was released four years ago. Moreover, Mayor Adams on Tuesday also appointed Jasmine Blake as the city’s new citywide lead compliance officer to monitor ongoing compliance at city agencies.

Heavy, malleable metal with the atomic number 82, abbreviation Pb on the Periodic Table of Elements, lead turns gray when exposed to air; its dust is toxic to humans and many animals.

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MAYOR’S NEW ‘LEAD CZAR’ WILL STEER COMPLIANCE MONITORING

BROOKLYN — Jasmine Blake, whom Mayor Eric Adams has tapped as the city’s new ‘lead czar,” will take on the role of citywide lead compliance officer while continuing to serve as chief of staff in the office of the chief housing officer, which sets the Adams administration’s housing strategy and oversees several agencies, including NYCHA, HPD and the New York City Housing Development Corporation. Identifying herself on her LinkedIn profile as being from Brooklyn, Blake first worked with lead compliance monitoring at NYCHA, where she was the deputy chief communications officer and oversaw public management and engagement for the Authority while it established NYCHA’s debut lead compliance program.

Blake brings to her expanded role 15 years of government, political and strategic communications experience, including as vice president for public affairs at BerlinRosen, where she managed that firm’s affordable housing portfolio.

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DISABLED WIN SETTLEMENT TO MAKE MTA ACCESSIBLE

CITYWIDE — The Southern District of New York and the State Supreme Court on Monday granted final approval to a settlement agreement requiring the MTA to dedicate nearly 15% of its budget to adding elevators or ramps to at least 95% of the system’s inaccessible subway stations, resolving two lawsuits alleging violations of the city’s Human Rights Law related to the inaccessibility of the current subway system and the consistent renovations of subway stations that ignored stair-free access. In total, the MTA committed that in addition to the 81 stations currently slated for accessibility upgrades in the 2020-2024 Capital Program, 85 more stations will be accessible by 2035, another 90 by 2045 and the final 90 by 2055 — up from only a quarter of stations that are accessible today.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was 15 years old. I am thrilled that the subways will be more accessible for the next generation of 15-year-old disabled children to ride the subway in their city like every other New Yorker. But it doesn’t stop here MTA, let’s keep going!” said plaintiff Jessica De La Rosa, who uses a wheelchair.


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