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What’s News, Breaking: Monday, May 22, 2023

May 22, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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REP. CLARKE BIDS PRESIDENT TO PARDON
20TH CENTURY ACTIVIST MARCUS GARVEY

CENTRAL BROOKLYN — Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-09/Central Brooklyn) on Monday led 22 of her colleagues in a letter to President Biden calling for the exoneration of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Jamaican-born activist who settled in NYC and after whom a street in Brooklyn’s Stuyvesant Heights neighborhood was named.

Garvey, who was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, was ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist who caught the eye of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Suspicious of Garvey, Hoover had him arrested; Garvey was convicted on charges of mail fraud, which many people believe were fabricated, and the government acted in bad faith in order to silence him.

Rep. Clarke, pushing for exoneration, wrote, “Nearly 100 years ago, Marcus Garvey was convicted of mail fraud in a case marred by prosecutorial and governmental misconduct. The evidence present and available at our disposal makes it abundantly clear that the charges brought against Mr. Garvey were fraudulent and executed in bad faith. A presidential pardon for Mr. Garvey would not only correct the historical record, but also shift the narrative at a time when African-American history faces the existential threat of erasure by extreme, far-right state legislatures,”

However, support for Garvey was not universal among Black Americans, who disdained his separatist views and distrusted his collaboration with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. A rift developed between Garvey and other prominent African-American civil rights activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois , who promoted racial integration.

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PAINTCARE OFFERS RECYCLING DROP-OFF CENTERS
FOR HOUSEHOLD AND COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS

CITYWIDE — A new, free paint recycling program has been launched in New York City that enables households and businesses to recycle leftover paint, stain, and varnish conveniently and sustainably. Operating the program is PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the industry through the American Coatings Association (ACA) to manage leftover colloid mixtures and associated fluids in states that have enacted paint stewardship laws, including one that the state legislature passed in 2019. This ensures that everyone who produces, sells, and uses paint works together to minimize, reuse, and recycle leftover paint. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides oversight for the program.

PaintCare makes it convenient to recycle leftover paint by establishing drop-off sites at local government facilities and paint retailers near residential neighborhoods. PaintCare sites accept both latex- and oil-based architectural paint products, including paints, stains, sealers, and varnishes. Paint must be dropped off in its original container with its original manufacturer’s label. Their online site locator shows dozens of drop-off sites along western Brooklyn, with the nearest ones to Downtown Brooklyn being Mazzone Paint Center. at 211 Smith St. near Baltic St. in  Boerum  Hill, and Ace Hardware, 470 Court St. in Carroll Gardens.

There is no cost to households and businesses when dropping off their unwanted paint for recycling. A small fee on the sale of new paint — called the PaintCare fee — funds all aspects of the program including paint collection, transportation, processing, and public education.

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SILVER CORPS PILOT PROGRAM OFFERS TRAINING
AND VOLUNTEER WORK FOR OLDER ADULTS

CITYWIDE — Silver Corps has been launched as a new workforce development pilot program for older New Yorkers that will increase financial mobility of this bracket of citizens, combat ageism in the workforce, and fill employment needs in local communities. New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez on Monday, May 22 launched the program, which will receive funding from AmeriCorps Seniors.

Silver Corps participants must be at least 55 years old currently unemployed or underemployed to be eligible. They must also be willing to complete a skills training in job readiness, and financial and digital literacy, and a specialized certification program, and to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per week at a nonprofit or city agency. During the volunteer portion of the training, a small stipend is provided to participants, and job placement support services are available based on the person’s tier. More information: To learn more about participating in the Silver Corps program, older New Yorkers can call Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) or email [email protected].

The Silver Corps launch makes New York City one of just two municipalities in the nation that has received funding to develop and launch this type of pilot for older adults, in which a dozen individuals are enrolled as part of the program’s first cohort.

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BPL’S OLDER ADULT OF THE YEAR STAYS ACTIVE
IN LIBRARY’S CREATIVE AGING CLASS

GRAND ARMY PLAZA —The Brooklyn Public Library’s Older Adult of the Year is Esther Poretsky, who was proclaimed at the BPL’s Aging Unbound celebration fair on Friday, May 19. Deputy Borough President Kim Council presented the award as part of the fair, which celebrated older adults.

A Brooklyn native, Poretsky at 75 is a regular participant in the Library’s Creative Aging classes—including writing, poetry and art—and an enthusiastic ambassador for the Library’s older adult programs. A Brooklyn native and retired kindergarten teacher, Poretsky first began visiting the Stone Avenue Library as a child where she remembers getting a blue library card designated for children.

Brooklyn Public Library’s Creative Aging series provides participants multi-session classes in art and writing with professional teaching artists. The Senior Debate Team allows older adults to explore current events and practice speaking in public. The Library also provides extensive training and one-on-one sessions designed to help older adults remain current with computers and technology; and Books by Mail helps homebound seniors throughout the borough stay connected to the library and the community.

Apple Bank and United Healthcare sponsored the fair, which offered a wide range of interactive workshops on topics like poetry, storytelling, art and music, featuring a jazz performance with LA Blacksmith. Walter Perez and Leonardo Sardella, the founders of Friends of Argentine Tango, had the entire crowd on their feet for nearly an hour learning Latin dances including the Chachacha.

Left to right: Deputy Mayor Kim Council, BPL’S Older Adults Coordinator Lyman Claybor, honoree Esther Poretsky and Chief Librarian Nick Higgins. Photo: Brooklyn Public Library.

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BROOKLYN ARTIST WINS LG GUGGENHEIM AWARD

MANHATTAN — Brooklyn artist and Stony Brook professor Stephanie Dinkins was awarded the first-ever LG Guggenheim Award, along with a $100,000 honorarium, offered by the tech company LG and the Guggenheim Museum as part of a collaboration aimed at highlighting the use of technology in art, reports the Korea Herald. Dinkins’ work focuses on the intersection of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality, with diversity, equality and minority rights.

The Guggenheim spotlighted Dinkins’ work “Conversations with BINA48,” a performance project where Dinkins discusses the future of AI, as well as questions of identity and what it means to be human, with a cutting-edge “social intelligence” robot named BINA48, modeled after the appearance of black futurist Bina Rothblatt. The conversations are intended to highlight how human biases are shaping algorithms and to explore opportunities to evolve alongside AIs in the future. Other works by the artist include “Not the only one (N’TOO),” an AI chatbot that Dinkins trained using input from relatives to share the story of her family’s history with its conversation partners; and “Project al Khwarizmi,” a Brooklyn-based series of workshops designed to help communities of color engage with AI algorithms and create their own bots through art and conversation.

“Looking at issues of social justice, concepts of visibility and invisibility, and equity have always been a part of my practice. AI and algorithms present social issues that are too urgent to deny. Both are going to change our world so greatly that it’s imperative black people and other people of color are involved in making it. I see an urgency for this kind of thinking that’s greater than any urgency I’ve ever felt in terms of looking at ideas of equality, the world we’re building, and how you build that up to be something that works for everybody,” Dinkins told Conversation Project NY in 2018 in an interview on the workshop series.

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ROSE TO JOIN CARONE AT NEW CONSULTING FIRM

BAY RIDGE — Former U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who lost his southern Brooklyn seat to current Rep. Nicole Malliotakis in 2020 after a redistricting, will join Mayor Adams’ former Chief of Staff Frank Carone at Carone’s new consulting firm Oaktree Solutions, reports the New York Post, taking on the title of managing director for federal and international affairs. Rose previously worked as a private consultant, and in 2021 was named as a senior advisor on COVID to the Secretary of Defense; he also launched a campaign to retake the House seat from Malliotakis in 2022, but came up short on Election Day.

While Carone is currently barred from lobbying City Hall, Rose did not rule out working with Adams himself, according to the Post; Carone told the Post that Rose will be focusing on working with international clients who are trying to comply with U.S. laws, and said that he’s currently talking to potential customers in Ukraine and South Korea. 

Carone is the former head of the Brooklyn Bar Association, as well as a long-time Adams ally dating back to before his years as Borough President, and has said he intends to help Adams during his reelection campaign in 2025.

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EXPANDED ROLE FOR BROOKLYN HOSPITAL’S DR. SAM AMIRFAR

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Sam Amirfar, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Amirfar, who has been with TBHC since 2014 as an attending physician and Chief Medical Information Officer, was later promoted to Senior VP and Chief Information Officer, a role in which he will continue, which includes building, maintaining and securing clinical data throughout the hospital network.

Dr. Amirfar in 2018 implemented the Epic outpatient electronic health record, both on time and under budget. He supervised a five-time increase in patients using the EHR portal, a 10-fold reduction in report production time, and an improvement in payment processing times. These improvements were accomplished with a decreased operating budget of four percent over the past five years.

He holds bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University in anthropology and biological sciences, and completed his senior thesis on an ancient structure built by the indigenous Anasazi people of the Four Corners area of the American Southwest (the nexus of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah) and used it as a “Stonehenge of the West.” Dr. Amirfar holds medical degrees from the New York University School of Medicine and completed his internships and fellowships at Bellevue, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Weill Cornell Medicine.

“Given the importance of technology and data analytics in healthcare today, the integration of these two disciplines is becoming more relevant and crucial,” says Gary G. Terrinoni, TBHC’s President and CEO. “Dr. Amirfar is a proven leader in healthcare technology and is an excellent clinician and out-of-the-box thinker.”

Dr. Sam Amirfar, Chief Medical Information Officer and now also Chief Medical Officer.
Photo: Brooklyn Hospital Center.

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REP. GOLDMAN: UNIVERSITIES IN NYC SHOULD OPEN DORMS
TO MIGRANT FAMILIES THIS SUMMER

CITYWIDE — Public and private universities in New York City are being asked to take an inventory of dormitory or campus housing that could be made available over the summer for migrant families. Congressmen Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) and Jamaal Bowman (D-16/Bronx and Westchester Counties) on Monday, May 22, urged the leaders of City colleges and universities, including the chancellor of City University of New York and NYU president, to work cooperatively with local, state, and federal leaders to help provide housing for asylum seekers, and to conduct an audit of available space on their campuses that may be suitable to provide shelter for new arrivals.

The Congressmen wrote, “During the summer, many of your institutions have empty dorm rooms, student apartments, and other potentially appropriate places for shelter that can serve as much-needed temporary housing for migrants. We also ask for your help as we work with local leaders to provide food assistance and other necessities as well as pro bono legal assistance to migrant families arriving in New York.”

However, the legislators’ statement may be based on assumption, as the City University of New York has graduate-level housing that is based on a 12-month license, according to the CUNY web pages on housing; and SUNY Downstate’s web page on Summer Housing. Thus students continuing coursework over the summer might not be vacating campus housing in all cases. There’s also the question of where migrant families would live once students move back in for the fall semester.

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MAN STABBED IN DOMINO PARK

WILLIAMSBURG — Police are searching for two perps who sent a 24-year-old man to the hospital after a Williamsburg fight last Thursday, May 18. The suspects engaged the victim in a dispute around 3:00 p.m. in Domino Park, on the waterfront, then stabbed him once in the back and kicked him multiple times. The individuals were last seen fleeing the location heading southbound on Kent Avenue on foot; while the victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition by EMS.

The first individual is described as a male in his late 20s with a light complexion and a goatee, around 5’5” and 150 pounds; and was last seen wearing a green baseball cap, black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants and white sneakers. The second individual is described as a male in his late 20s with a light complexion, braided hair and a goatee, around 5’5” tall and 165 pounds; and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue sweatpants and white 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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Two men suspected of a stabbing at Domino Park. All tips submitted to police are strictly confidential.

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MISSING GIRL, AGE 10, IN OCEAN HILL

OCEAN HILL — The public is asked to be on the lookout for missing girl Aliyah Rogers, 10, last seen around noon on Saturday, May 20 inside her residence at the Kingsborough Houses. Aliyah is described as a girl with short black hair, 5’0” in height, and around 100 pounds. 

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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Have you seen Aliyah? All tips submitted to police are strictly confidential.

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UNKNOWN BANDITS STEAL NYPD CAMERAS, EQUIPMENT

BROWNSVILLE — Police are scratching their heads over a theft of NYPD equipment from a downed light pole by two mystery bandits on the morning of Sunday, May 7. Video footage shared by police shows an “unknown truck” pull up to the downed pole outside the Super Pioneer Supermarket before two people exit it; cops say one of the suspects then stripped cameras and other gadgets from the pole and loaded them into the truck. The individuals then fled eastbound on East New York Avenue.

Police did not elaborate on what equipment was stolen in the incident, but the cameras do not appear to be labeled as NYPD property in Google Maps images linked by police. A 2020 report by Amnesty International found that East New York was the most-surveilled neighborhood in the city, with 577 cameras capable of facial recognition scattered throughout its intersections. While the pilfered camera was not noted in the nonprofit’s surveillance heat map, historical images provided by Google show that it was installed between Nov. 2020 and July 2021, after the release of the report.

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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Do you recognize these men? All tips are strictly confidential.

 

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‘EPHEMERAL TATTOO’ STUDIO OFFERS INK THAT FADES IN UNDER A YEAR

WILLIAMSBURG — The Ephemeral Tattoo tattoo shop is offering New Yorkers a chance to dip their toes into body art with a proprietary ink formula that fades away after just months, reports Boing Boing. The Williamsburg studio’s founders say they tested more than 50 different versions of the ink before settling on their final version, currently available only in black, which is supposed to slowly disappear over the course of nine to 15 months, although the precise times vary depending on skin type and ink placement – the studio’s website states that 70 percent of the tattoos fade in under two years.

Standard tattoo ink works by injecting ink particles under the surface of the skin, where they bond into clumps too large for the skin to expel naturally. Ephemeral says that their ink’s particles biodegrade naturally, allowing the skin to break them down and push them out over time.

An Insider Beauty reporter visited the studio to test the process out for himself, going under the needle and walking away with a Monstera plant leaf tattoo indistinguishable from the real deal; more information can be found on Ephemeral Tattoo’s website.

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FAMILY’S CAMERA CAPTURES MAN SETTING FIRE TO THEIR APARTMENT

EAST NEW YORK — A family that escaped a Sunday house fire in an East New York apartment complex was stunned to discover that their front door security camera had captured the fire’s origin – an unknown man deliberately setting the door alight, with one person inside, reports News 12. Video footage shared by resident Katiana Ciceron with the network clearly shows a man wearing a face mask and reflective jacket approaching her apartment around 3:00 p.m., throwing a mystery liquid on the camera and the door itself, then using a lighter to set a paper on fire before touching it to the door, igniting a blaze that ultimately consumed the apartment and damaged the full floor, according to residents.

Ciceron’s mother was alone in the apartment at the time, and was fortunately able to escape after being alerted to the danger by a neighbor. The camera had also recorded the mystery arsonist visiting the apartment early in the morning of that day. Ciceron said she had no idea who would want to do this or why: “I really wouldn’t wish this on anybody, not even my worst enemy, and I don’t even have any.”

Residents of the building, one of the Long Island Baptist Houses, told News 12 that its front doors had been broken for some time, allowing non-residents to cause trouble inside; Councilmember Charles Barron said that while funding has been allocated to fix doors in NYCHA complexes across the city, the housing authority was struggling to get the repairs done in a timely fashion.

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GOLDMAN SPONSORS ACT TARGETING ONLINE HARASSMENT: ‘DOXING’

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman on Friday introduced the bipartisan Doxing Threat Assessment Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate risks posed to national security and civilian privacy by the practice of “doxing,” or releasing personally identifying information online, usually with malicious intent. The bill would call for a threat assessment of cyber harassment tactics in order to inform policymaking and law enforcement, and to prevent targeted attacks on community institutions and persecuted groups.

Goldman’s office in a press statement said that as of 2022, 21% of Americans had experienced some form of doxing, most often stemming from online interactions with strangers, according to the safety information website SafeHome. Goldman also said that members of Congress and other federal officials have had their personal information leaked in coordination with malign foreign-affiliated entities.

Examples given by the congressman include the controversial “Boston Mapping Project,” which published the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts and was endorsed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Iranian state-run media entities; and online “kill lists” with identifying information on U.S. nationals published by ISIS. 

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CITY TO SPEND $3.5B ON SEWER SYSTEM FIXES

CITYWIDE — The State Department of Environmental Conservation and NYC Department of Environmental Protection on Friday announced that the city would invest $3.5 billion in total to build green infrastructure projects, designed to absorb stormwater from streets and buildings, in order to better manage intense rainfall and improve water quality in New York Harbor.  The city in 2012 was ordered to upgrade its infrastructure to comply with federal and state clean-water rules and agreed to spend $1.5 billion in areas where sewer systems were under heavy load; the new agreement will see an additional $2 billion spent on the upgrades, as well as broadening the areas slated to get them.

NYC’s older sewers mix wastewater and stormwater together and are designed to dump that mix into waterways during heavy rainfall, so that toilets and other fixtures will not experience backup from the increased load. Additionally, 70% of the city’s surfaces, like streets and sidewalks, are hard and do not absorb water, meaning that the runoff goes directly into drains. The green infrastructure projects, such as rain gardens and permeable pavers, reduce the overall amount of water reaching the sewers and lower the risk of waste being dumped into the rivers and ocean.

The agreement also approves other water management tools, including Bluebelt waterside environments, Cloudburst infrastructure engineering projects and the restoration of historical stream flows, in addition to the previous green infrastructure tactics.

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MISSING SENIOR IN BROWNSVILLE

Police are searching for Kenneth Joseph, 69, of Brownsville, last seen on the evening of Friday, May 19, inside of 3415 Church Avenue in Little Carribean. Joseph is described as 6’2” tall and around 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a black button-up shirt with a purple tie, black pants and black shoes.

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.

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RUNNERS TAKE TO STREETS FOR BROOKLYN HALF MARATHON

CONEY ISLAND — Nearly 26,000 runners crossed the Coney Island finish line this Saturday in the RBC Brooklyn Half, the largest half marathon in the United States this year. The race, which was established in 1981, took runners through the unique and diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn, beginning at the Brooklyn Museum, passing Grand Army Plaza, and running through Prospect Park and along Ocean Parkway to the finish line on the Coney Island boardwalk. 

The course had a party-like atmosphere;  local DJs and bands cheered on the participants from 10 entertainment stations along the route. Celebrity runners “Catfish” host Nev Schulman and YouTuber Casey Neistat ran alongside the public, as well as NFL star Tiki Barber, who is an ambassador for the Road Runners’ Team For Kids charity, which raises money to support youth running programs. Those young runners stretched their legs at the free Boardwalk Kids Run as part of the Rising New York Road Runners youth program, racing 1,500 meters along a looped course on Ocean Parkway. 

Yenew Alamirew Getahun broke the men’s event record with a winning time of 1:03:07, while Maggie Montoya won the women’s race in 1:11:38 and Galo Vasquez won the non-binary division in a new event-record time of 1:12:07.

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ATLANTIC BID SUPPORTS LANDMARKS RULE CHANGES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Atlantic Avenue BID on Friday released a statement in support of a proposed set of rule changes currently being considered by the Landmarks Preservation Commission that would loosen restrictions around certain non-structural changes that the city says are currently generally rubber-stamped. The group, which represents the businesses of Atlantic Avenue’s historic districts, says that allowing changes to banners, signs and flags without seeking permission from the LPC will simplify operations for small business owners and allow them to attract more customers; and that allowing the installation of plaques to storefronts will help businesses that aren’t street-facing. 

The BID spoke out against another change that would alter rules related to tree pit installation, however, writing: “Atlantic Avenue BID opposes LPC’s proposed rule disallowing new tree pits and planting beds in areas zoned for commercial or industrial uses. Zoning and Landmarking are separate land use tools, and an area’s zoning should not preclude the planting of greenery. Trees and plants are an enhancement to the streetscape, not a detriment… City agencies should make planting trees attainable and simple for everyone, not create barriers based on land use.”

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 23; members of the public can read the proposed changes on the city’s website, and can sign up to testify or submit comments online.

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FORT GREENE PARK CONSERVANCY DEVELOPS PROPOSALS
FOR MAINTAINING CENTRAL LAWN

FORT GREENE — The Fort Greene Park Conservancy revitalized its Central Lawn last year, but New York’s return to a post-pandemic active outdoor social life and the park’s reopening has caused this spot of land to become degraded. The NYC Parks Department and Fort Greene Park Conservancy are working together on options for the 2023 summer season to help maintain the Central Lawn to the standard achieved during the Lawn Pilot. A  notice from the Fort Greene Conservancy, sent via Brooklyn Community Board 2, asks park users to complete a survey on how they utilize the park, and to offer suggestions on further protecting the Central Lawn.

Fort Greene Park has played a central role in New York City history dating back to the fort’s strategic use during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Thirty-five years after that, in 1847, the site, with boundaries of Myrtle and DeKalb avenues, and St. Edward’s St.,  was officially designated a public park and its designers were landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, although at the time it was known as Washington Park. Additional famous names in Fort Greene’s history are Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Greene, and William Howard Taft, the only U.S. President to also (later) serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The survey includes questions on whether park goers use the Central Lawn for exercise, games without cleated shoes, unleashed dog runs, picnics, or any other form of relaxation.


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