What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

May 30, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BOROUGHWIDE — Several Brooklynites and Brooklyn organizations have been named among the 16 finalists for this year’s David Prize. Named for widely-respected real estate developer and philanthropist David Walentas, the annual $1 million prize total, for which the five winners will be announced in September, recognizes extraordinary individuals who are making New York a better and brighter place, and the ideas they propose for doing so. The standout ideas cover some of the city’s biggest opportunities for improvement, with notable submissions including a revolutionary delivery technology designed by an ex-Peloton employee, an attorney implementing restorative justice practices tackling the city’s most challenging crimes, a dedicated public school teacher empowering children with interrupted education, and a courageous survivor of human trafficking establishing pathways and support systems for sex workers to reclaim control over their own futures. Brooklynites’ projects include making the waterways more environmentally and culturally friendly, strengthening the Public Housing Civic Association (PHCA), improving the education provided by Hasidic Yeshivas, and equipping talented, low-income people to become entrepreneurs.

This year, 16 finalists were chosen out of thousands of individuals who live and work in New York City and who engaged in the open call, an increase of 30% from 2022. The applicants represent 95% of New York City zip codes. Each winner will receive $200,000.



NEW YORK AND NATIONWIDE — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who represents the second-highest population of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons, was welcomed as one of two new Associate Members of The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Gillibrand will work with CAPAC to help uphold its mission of promoting the well-being and prioritizing the needs of the AANHPI community in New York and across the country,

CAPAC now totals 74 members from several ethnic groups, in the U.S. House and Senate and includes Congressmembers and Senators who are or who have been part of the Brooklyn delegation, including Rep. Dan Goldman (D-10), who is an Executive Board member; Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-07), and Rep. Jerry Nadler, whose 10th District is now fully in Manhattan. Rep. Grace Meng of Queens serves as First Vice Chair, according to the Caucus’ website.

“CAPAC has long worked to ensure the voices and needs of the AANHPI community are heard in Congress,” Senator Gillibrand. “I am honored to join CAPAC as an Associate Member and continue to advocate for issues important to the AANHPI community. I look forward to working with my CAPAC colleagues to further advance these important conversations and priorities.”

The Asian Pacific American Caucus wasted no time on Thursday in introducing The Preemption of Real Property Discrimination Act. This bill would preempt at the federal level any state laws, such as in Florida that prohibit or restrict the purchase of real property of an individual based on their country of citizenship. The bill would also make the U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice responsible for its enforcement.



DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Atlantic Avenue BID’s annual meeting is set to take place this Thursday, and the group’s leaders are encouraging all eligible parties to register and RSVP to attend. Membership in the BID, which promotes the interests of the businesses on the stretch of Atlantic between the BQE and 4th Avenue and its side streets, is free and is available to anyone who owns, operates out of or lives in a property within those boundaries, and entitles holders to vote on BID board members and other proposals. 

This year’s meeting will feature the board vote, as well as a look at the group’s 2024 budget and “community milestones.” BP Antonio Reynoso and Small Business Services Deputy Commissioner Calvin Brown will also deliver remarks.

The meeting will be held at the YWCA on 3rd Avenue on Thursday, June 1. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. for check-in and refreshments, provided by Shelsky’s, while the meeting itself is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Membership and an RSVP are required to attend and to vote; eligibility information and enrollment instructions can be found online.



DUMBO — The fifth annual DUMBO Drop is set to take place this Friday, a spectacular fundraiser for local schools where thousands of toy elephants with parachutes will be tossed from the Front Street rooftops onto targets below. Each elephant will bear the name of a donor; the elephant that lands closest to the bullseye of a given target will win a prize for its sponsor, offered by a local business. Selections include a paintball party for 20, a luxury staycation, six-month memberships at Gleason’s Gym and Life Time DUMBO, and a variety of tasty eats. VIP donors will also get elephants of their own to take home, complete with a parachute — this year’s version is designed by printing art studio Lucky Risograph. 

The Drop will be accompanied by a free-wheeling block party for all ages from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Brooklyn Bridge Parents is sponsoring a Kids Zone. in the Archway and Triangle, with Nerf ranges, face painting, art and science projects and more; while adults can enjoy live music and entertainment on Washington Street and a $5 Restaurant Row course on Water Street, as well as a “bedazzling extravaganza” in the Archway. 

Two drops will take place, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2. Tickets for the Drop must be bought by June 1, and more information about event scheduling and registration can be found on Brooklyn Bridge Parents’ website



CONEY ISLAND — Two affordable-housing development companies have purchased the Sea Park housing portfolio in Coney Island, in a $150 million transaction representing one of the largest multifamily deals closed in Brooklyn to date this year, Ariel Property Advisors announced on Tuesday, May 30. Tredway, Gilbane Development Company and ELH Mgmt. bought the Sea Park complex, which is part of the affordable housing portfolio and consists of three multifamily properties and one development site.

The three multifamily buildings are at 2828 West 28th Street (Sea Park North) between Neptune and Mermaid Avenues; 2930 West 30th Street (Sea Park West), bounded by Mermaid and Surf Avenues; and 2970 West 27th Street (Sea Park East) near Surf Ave., and comprise 818 units across 961,043 gross square feet. The apartments consist of a mix of income and rent-restricted units that tie into various Area Median Income bands, as well as market-rate units.

The Sea Park portfolio is approximately one mile from Coney Island’s famous Luna Park amusement park and only a short distance from Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk. For more information, read here.

Sea Park at Coney Island. Photos courtesy of Ariel Property Advisors.



BERGEN BEACH — Kings County District Attorney and Brooklyn Community Board 18 are partnering with several Brooklyn elected officials for a breakfast focusing on the safety and needs of older Americans. The breakfast, taking place on Wednesday, May 31, at the Midwood Older Adult Center in Bergen Beach will include a Presentation conducted by KCDA Frauds Bureau and Elder Abuse Unit. (Call the Community Board 18 office to register: 718-241-0422.)

Elected representatives partnering for this event are Congressmember and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-8); Councilmembers Mercedes Narcisse (D-46) and Farah Louis (D-45); Assemblymembers Jaime Williams (D-59), Helene Weinstein (D-41), Monique Chandler-Waterman (D-58);  State Senators Roxanne Persaud (D-19), Kevin Parker (D-21), Simcha Felder (D-22); and District Leader Frank Seddio.

A study from the NYC Department for the Aging and other organizations found that 76 in 1,000 older New York state residents were victims of elder abuse during a one-year period. NYC Aging’s Elderly Crime Victims Resource Center helps older victims of crimes committed by strangers. Crimes can be financial, physical, emotional, and include neglect – the same crimes that are committed in elder abuse cases.



PARK SLOPE — New York State Nurses Association members on Monday night, May 29, delivered a strike notice to administrators at the NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, following long stints of negotiations — with minimal progress — on Friday, May 26, and Memorial Day.

NYSNA will continue to be available to bargain non-stop between now and June 12 in the hopes of reaching an agreement before an open-ended strike begins, stating that a fair contract before that time will be the best outcome and way to protect patients.

The contract for nurses at NYP-Brooklyn Methodist ended on April 30, 2023, but bargaining had already begun months before. Last week, Brooklyn Eagle reported that nearly all members participating in the strike vote (99.6% of nurses) voted to authorize a strike.

Furthermore, on May 4, hundreds of nurses and their labor, community and elected official allies picketed (not a cessation-of-work strike, but rather an awareness protest) outside the hospital to denounce NYP-Brooklyn Methodist’s proposals to cut staffing levels instead of improving staffing to protect quality care. Offering solidarity to the nurses were merchants and small businesses across Park Slope, which placed “Listen to the Nurses” posters in their storefronts.

By contrast, NYSNA nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian’s flagship hospital in Manhattan quickly reached a three-year contract agreement last January that increased nurse staffing, improved staffing standards and enforcement, preserved healthcare and other benefits, and increased salaries each year of the contract by 7%, 6 %, and 5%. The hospital was the first of 12 New York City private sector hospitals whose contracts expired on Dec. 31, 2022, and reached similar contract agreements with NYSNA.



CITY HALL – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that Deputy Mayor Maria Torres Springer will serve in a newly expanded role as deputy mayor for housing, economic development, and workforce. In her expanded role, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer will drive the city’s efforts to preserve and improve the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), move New Yorkers experiencing homelessness into stable housing, and advance Mayor Adams’ moonshot goal of creating 500,000 new homes for New Yorkers over the next decade.

Since January 2022, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer has helped lead the Adams administration’s work to accelerate the creation of much-needed housing in her oversight of the New York City Department of City Planning and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). She was one of the chief architects of Mayor Adams’ “Get Stuff Built” plan to speed up housing construction as a co-chair of the Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Task Force; the “City of Yes” citywide zoning text amendments to support small businesses, create new housing, and promote sustainability; the transformation of Willets Point with 2,500 affordable homes; and the administration’s community planning efforts in the East Bronx, Central Brooklyn, the North Shore of Staten Island, Midtown South, and Jamaica.

“In a year and half with this administration and throughout her career in public service, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer has shown clearly that she is ready to take bold action to tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis,” said Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer deliver remarks at the Filipino flag raising ceremony at Bowling Green. Credit: Caroline Willis/Mayoral Photo Office.



CROWN HEIGHTS — The Fire Department on Thursday freed a teenager from a vault in an abandoned Crown Heights spice warehouse, reports NBC News, after the 15-year-old became trapped while exploring the building with two friends; police have since blocked its entrance. The three had climbed through a gap in the fence surrounding the building in order to explore; the temptation posed by an open door of the small four-foot-by-four-foot vault inside the warehouse apparently proved irresistible. The teenager climbed inside, and one of his friends, for unclear reasons, shut the door behind him and became alarmed when they were unable to open it again.

The third member of the group called 911 immediately and helped firefighters locate the entrance to the building and the vault. The FDNY set to work forcing the door open, cutting through an eighth of an inch of steel — necessitating the use of a blanket, passed through a crack to the trapped teen, to shield him from sparks. He was eventually able to wiggle out of the opening, as well as potential trespassing charges, made by the fire department — although NBC did not report on whether he was able to repeat the feat with his father, who met him at the scene after EMS cleared him to go.

Battalion Chief Tim Gimpel, who assisted in the unnamed boy’s extraction, said the department wanted to use this as a teaching moment on what to do and not do in rescue situations, praising the quick actions of the boy who called the police: “We don’t want them going into these buildings if they’re locked up. What was great about this particular incident is the kids stuck around and met the fire department units and showed them where this kid was inside, which saved a lot of valuable time,” Gimpel told NBC.



COBBLE HILL — Tots will have their day in Cobble Hill this weekend with a festival devoted to them. Families First, a non-profit organization serving very young children and their families since 1981, will sponsor the Annual Spring Carnival, held Saturday, June 3, at 10 a.m., along Baltic Street, between Court and Clinton Streets in Cobble Hill.

The Carnival, a celebration of family and community for families of toddlers to kindergarten-aged children, will feature kid favorites: a bouncy house and slide, face painting, tattoos, carnival games, arts & crafts, a bake sale, and balloons. There will also be fun for grownups at the “yard sale” table.

Spring Carnival has corporate sponsorship from Ridgewood Savings Bank, Goldman Sachs, and other companies, for underwriting and volunteer staffing assistance for the 2023 Spring Carnival. Proceeds from the event will be used to support parent/child education programs at Families First (250 Baltic Street) which currently offers Practically Pre-School, an afternoon program and summer camp, among other activities.



CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, May 30, appointed Ana Almanzar as deputy mayor for strategic initiatives, who succeeded previous deputy mayor Sheena Wright when she was promoted to First Deputy Mayor. Almanzar is the city’s first Dominican to serve as a deputy mayor, according to Hispanic Federation president and CEO Frankie Miranda, and she will assume her role in early June, overseeing the same portfolio as her predecessor.

Several commissioners and executive officers of mayoral offices will report to Almanzar, including those serving the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence, City University of the City of New York, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Mayor’s Office of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Mayor’s Office of Equity, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, Mayor’s Office of Nonprofits and Mayor’s Fund and City Affiliated Nonprofits.

Prior to her appointment, Almanzar served as the director of community relations at Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, where she promoted relations with community organizations and government entities. Before joining Mother Cabrini Health Foundation in 2021, Almanzar spent six years as chief of staff to the New York state director of nonprofits.

She also holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University — School of International and Public Affairs. She also holds degrees in American politics and economics.



DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A Staten Island man has pleaded guilty to an anti-Jewish assault in Bay Ridge. The defendant, whom Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified as Suleiman Othman, 28, of Staten Island, punched a man who was standing outside a Foot Locker on 86th Street in Bay Ridge and wearing apparel that the defendant found offensive — a green hoodie with a yellow IDF (Israel Defense Forces) emblem. Approaching the man, the defendant demanded to know why his victim supported Jews and what he was doing in “my neighborhood?” He threatened to punch the victim unless he removed the hoodie. After the victim refused, Othman punched him in the face, causing cuts, and threw a cup of iced coffee at him.

Multiple surveillance cameras captured the incident and the defendant was identified, before surrendering to police on Jan. 11, 2022.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun presided at the arraignment, where the defendant was promised a sentence of 60 days in jail and three years probation in exchange for his guilty plea. The formal sentencing will take place on September 20.

Although the Brooklyn District Attorney’s policy is to withhold the victims’ names, the City Councilmember serving the district where the victim resides issued a press release naming and quoting him. “In a world where criminals have free reign, I am ecstatic to have played a role in bringing JUSTICE to my constituent, Blake Zavadsky, and his family,” said Councilmember Inna Vernikov (R-48), who represents several neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn, including Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, and parts of Midwood and Sheepshead Bay.



CITYWIDE — A new law that Mayor Eric Adams signed on Tuesday, May 30, will prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Intro. 209-A, which New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreau (D-Manhattan) sponsored, does include exemptions for employees needing to consider an applicant’s height or weight with regard to the physical demands of a job and the applicant’s ability to perform a job’s essential requirements (for example, having the ability to climb ladders or reach high shelves) and when there is no alternative way of completing tasks.

The Commission on Human Rights does allow for considerations in such cases, and the new law will similarly permit providers of public accommodations to consider height or weight. Covered entities under this law would have an affirmative defense that their actions based on a person’s height or weight were reasonably necessary for normal operations.



 DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Community Education Council of School District 15, which is headquartered on Livingston St. in Downtown Brooklyn, invites the community to participate in a reflection survey on the D15 Diversity Plan for 5th-11th grade students and their parents. This survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W76XXMF), for which responses should be submitted by Wednesday, May 31, although the website gives a June 15 deadline, is part of a larger reflection process underway since Nov 2022, with funding from NY State Integration Project, which was established in 2017.

The wider work begun last fall includes interviews with leadership from the district and the Department of Education; meetings with School Leadership Teams from the district’s middle schools, Small-group listening sessions with students, caregivers, community-based organizations, guidance counselors. A final report will be released later this year.

The purpose of the NYSIP program is to increase student achievement in New York State public schools by encouraging greater racial/ethnic, special education, English Language Learner/Multilingual Learner (ELL/MLL), and socioeconomic integration in Title I schools, particularly those identified for improvement.



FORT GREENE/CLINTON HILL — Pratt Institute is offering the next segment of its Design Initiative for Community Empowerment (DICE), a free, scholarship-based, after-school program that introduces high school students to the challenges of creative thinking and problem-solving through studio classes in design, according to an announcement from Community Board 2.  Participating students will investigate their communities through graphic design, architecture, design entrepreneurship, and other Pratt programs, which the faculty teach. DICE classes are developed in collaboration with the Schools of Art, Design, and Architecture. Pre-registration deadline for the DICE program, which will next convene on Wednesdays starting in September, is Wednesday, June 7.

In addition to DICE after-school program, Pratt Institute has also partnered with Bank Street College of Education and the NYC Department of Education to develop and launch Design Works High School, a new public school (slated for this Fall) in downtown Brooklyn, with a focus on design and social justice.



DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — New York City sidewalks are often in disrepair, but now a NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor might have a solution. Institute Professor Claudio T. Silva has co-developed Tile2Net, which is believed to be a pioneer open-source scene classification models for pedestrian infrastructure; and the innovation has been picked up by the publication Landscape Architect. The Tile2Net tool uses Google Maps to accurately measure sidewalks and crosswalks, particularly those in urgent need of repair. Professor Silva hopes that Tile2Net will enable cities to glean accurate data of where their sidewalks are, and then use that data for efficient and innovative planning of pedestrian walkways.

The Tile2Net tool has reportedly 90% accuracy at identifying sidewalks when compared against maps that cities developed through the conventional method of manual auditing and tracing of infrastructure, an arduous, bureaucratic and lengthy task that some cities find untenable.



CADMAN PLAZA PARK — The Cadman Park Conservancy on Monday, May 29 observed Memorial Day with the traditional placement of a wreath at the Brooklyn War Memorial Building. The building’s inscription reads, “this memorial dedicated to the heroic men and women of the borough of Brooklyn, who fought for liberty in The Second World War 1941-1945, and especially to those who suffered and died. May their sacrifice inspire future generations and lead to universal peace.” Cast and dedicated in 1951, the Brooklyn War Memorial sits in Cadman Plaza Park, on the north end of the great lawn and aligning roughly with Orange Street. The memorial’s architects were Eggers & Higgins. The sculptor of the heroic-scale figures was Charles Keck.

First observed on May 30, 1868 to honor the soldiers who died during the American Civil War, Memorial Day was traditionally observed on May 30, and was also called Decoration Day, a time when families would visit the graves of their loved ones who had perished in battle. Since 1971, by act of Congress, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in May. 



MADISON/MARINE PARK — Police are asking for help in identifying a cyclist who was critically injured near Marine Park last Friday, May 26, but who did not have any ID documents on his person at the time of the collision. Police, responding to a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. on Friday, found an unconscious male with trauma to the body, lying on the ground, near Nostrand Ave. and  Avenue R (61st Precinct).

EMS responded and transported the aided male to NYU Langone Hospital- Brooklyn where he remains in critical condition. The individual is described as a male, Hispanic, approximately 35 to 40 years old, approximately 5’7″ in height, approximately 150 pounds in weight, with brown eyes and black hair. The unidentified male has numerous tattoos on his left arm and additional tattoos on the dorsal side of his left hand.

There was no information released about the driver (or vehicle) involved in the collision. Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this individual or to the collision should call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? Contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.



CROWN HEIGHTS AND NATIONWIDE — A documentary exploring the time-honored practice of Sabbath will prominently feature the world headquarters of Chabad in Crown Heights.

Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier’s latest two-part documentary, titled“Sabbath,” which launches on PBS stations this Thursday, June 1, will transport viewers to the Jewish Hasidic sect’s Chabad headquarters on Eastern Parkway to explore the way they celebrate the Sabbath, or day of rest. The documentary focuses less on theology, though than on the diverse communities that observe Sabbath: including Jews and Seventh Day Adventists.

The Sabbath first appears in the biblical story of creation where God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Observance of the Sabbath is also one of the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy.”



GOWANUS —The Brooklyn Eagle has learned that ground will soon be broken on Nevins Street in Gowanus for a four-building residential complex. Excavation is starting soon, but without an announced start date, for a development at 300  Nevins St. just kitty-corner to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and other brownfield sites which have recently also made the news.

The site is roughly 2.3 acres, and spans a full block on the west side of Nevins St., adjacent to the Gowanus Canal, according to Google maps. The site’s northern and southern boundaries are Union and Carroll streets, respectively; Carroll St. is the southernmost terminus of Nevins St.

The development will include more than 650 rental units, a quarter of which will be affordable, plus ground-floor retail space. Developers are Charney Companies and Tavros Capital. The architect on record is Fogarty Finger. Charney’s website describes the project’s “225 feet of frontage along both Union Street and Carroll Street, as well as 450 feet of frontage” along the Gowanus Canal and Gowanus Public Access Area, with that portion designed by James Corner Field Operations.

The Department of Buildings lists the site as being 292-302 Nevins St. Current zoning allows for 505,590 square feet of buildable square feet.



BROWNSVILLE — Police are searching for missing Brownsville man Ronnie Ratcliff, age 66, last seen shortly before noon on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 leaving his residence near the Sutter Avenue – Rutland Road subway station. Ratcliff is described as a Black man with brown eyes, approximately 6’0″ and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a gray/black Adidas jacket.

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, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Missing man Ronnie Ratcliff. All tips submitted to police are strictly confidential.



PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Police are searching for two young men who on the afternoon of Friday, May 26 engaged a 75-year-old man in a dispute while in an elevator at the Atlantic Avenue subway station, then punched him in the head before fleeing inside the station to parts unknown. The victim suffered minor injuries and was taken to Methodist Hospital by EMS in stable condition. 

The first suspect is described as male with a dark complexion and a slim build, around 20 years old and 5’5”. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, camouflage pants and black sneakers, and was carrying a light brown book bag. The second suspect is described as male with a dark complexion and a heavy build, around 20 years old, 5’8”. He was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt, red pants and tan work boots.

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, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

The two men suspected of punching a senior in the head in an Atlantic Terminal subway elevator.



CITYWIDE — The City Council on Thursday passed a package of legislation aimed at expanding access to housing assistance funds for New Yorkers staying in shelters, in a move hailed by many progressive politicians and advocates. The changes, which will remove several previous prerequisites to receiving CityFHEPS vouchers, including minimum shelter stay durations, non-area-adjusted income limits and work requirements, are seen by many as a way to help clear space in shelters for recently arrived asylum seekers and migrants, who will not be eligible to receive the vouchers. Mayor Adams has previously spoken out against the expansion, claiming that it will lead to an additional $17 billion in costs over a five-year period; backers have countered that costs will be offset by reductions in usage of shelters and other pricy support programs. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams issued a statement in favor of the legislation, writing, “As hundreds of new New Yorkers arrive daily to our city, this legislative package will help alleviate our overcrowded shelter system and provide relief to those experiencing homelessness or those being faced with housing insecurity. It’s fiscally prudent and morally necessary.” Councilmember Shahana Hanif, a longtime supporter of the legislation, celebrated its passage on Twitter, writing, “With over 90,000 people in our shelter system, our City needs to be moving as many people as possible out of the DHS system and into permanent housing… This legislative package will remove red tape, increase eligibility, and make the program more accessible for thousands of unhoused New Yorkers. These reforms will free up desperately needed shelter capacity and help thousands of our neighbors find stable long-term housing.”

The mayor’s office also issued a statement following the passage of the legislation, criticizing the Council’s action and arguing that increasing the number of people eligible for vouchers would harm currently homeless New Yorkers: “Nearly 20,000 existing voucher holders who cannot currently find housing because of the extremely low vacancy rate in our city would be lumped in with thousands more, including anyone who stops paying rent, for any reason, if they are below 50 percent of area median income. Put simply, these bills will keep New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, the ones who need permanent housing right now, in shelter for longer.”



RED HOOK — Community Board 6 on Friday sent a letter to Mayor Adams calling for a moratorium on the construction of any new package delivery centers in Red Hook after the release of an investigation into the southern Brooklyn neighborhood’s struggles with the expanded presence of delivery companies in the area, reports Patch, writing, “It’s unconscionable that this environmental justice community should bear the brunt of other Brooklynites’ predilection for quick home delivery of online purchases.” The letter comes as Amazon prepares to open a third large warehouse in the area later this year, expanding an operation that already reportedly handles “pretty much every package coming into this region,” according to an Amazon station manager interviewed in December.

The report cited by the board, published last week, is one of a series by Consumer Reports and the Guardian focusing on the social and environmental impacts of increased reliance on online shopping and quick deliveries on urban and suburban neighborhoods. Sensors installed on Red Hook buildings by Consumer Reports found that some streets in Red Hook, which is largely industrially zoned, see as many as 1,200 delivery vehicles in a single day, and as many as 140 in an hour. Trucks and vans were also found to be driving outside of designated truck routes and into residential areas at high rates – one sensor installed on a balcony in the Red Hook Houses records an average of one every two minutes between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays on the small street below. Other sensors recorded high levels of noise and air particle pollution caused by constant vehicle traffic, the latter of which is thought to be partially responsible for Red Hook’s sky-high rates of asthma and other health conditions relative to other city neighborhoods.

Amazon and FedEx operate major distribution centers in the neighborhood, while UPS has had plans to construct one of its own since before the pandemic; community residents at a forum in 2019 had requested solutions similar to those proposed by advocates today, such as electric vehicles and consideration of shipping via waterways.


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