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What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May 31, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NEW PORTAL LAUNCHED FOR ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION

STATEWIDE — New Yorkers can finally register to vote online, thanks to a new system that took three years to implement due to the pandemic, reports Gothamist.

The new online voter registration system, which launched on Wednesday, May 31, and is accessible via computer, tablet or smartphone, has two sites built into it: one for eligible New York City voters and another for voters in other parts of the state, will be available to anyone with access to a computer, tablet or smartphone. ID cards and driver licenses that the state  Department of Motor Vehicles issues will no longer be required for using the portal, and can be substituted with the last four digits of one’s Social Security number.

Portal users will also have three options for providing signatures: uploading an image of signature, electronic signing with stylus, mouse or finger, or using a signature on file.

Although legislation to expand online voter registration was passed in 2019, the portal faced obstacles as part of pandemic-era election law amendments and a shortage of funds and staff.

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EX-NYPD DETECTIVE CHARGED OVER CHINESE GOV’T PLOT

One of the alleged threatening notes, written in simplified Chinese characters. A rough translation supplied in the indictment reads: “If you are willing to go back to the mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be all right. That’s the end of this matter!” Photo: EDNY.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The trial of Michael McMahon, a retired NYPD sergeant and private investigator charged with stalking and acting as an agent of the Chinese government in an international kidnapping plot, and two other defendants was set to begin on Wednesday morning in Brooklyn federal court, the first U.S. trial related to China’s notorious “Operation Fox Hunt” forcible repatriation initiative. The Fox Hunt program is alleged to operate worldwide, with its agents intent on convincing Chinese nationals accused of various crimes to return to China by any means necessary, including the use of threats, harassment, extortion and intimidation of targets and their families. Unlike above-board extradition programs, these operations took place without the knowledge or consent of the US government.

The indictment alleges that McMahon and co-conspirators Yong Zhu of Queens and Congying Zheng of Brooklyn, along with several other individuals, harassed and coerced two U.S. residents accused by China of accepting bribes, referred to as John Doe and Jane Doe, as part of this program. Allegedly, Zhu hired McMahon in 2016 to investigate the victims; McMahon did so, transmitting sensitive information about the family, such as their daughter’s banking and Social Security details. This, along with active surveillance by McMahon, was used to aid in a scheme whereby Chinese officials brought John Doe’s elderly father to the US, lying to border control along the way, and ordered him to tell Doe that his family in China would “suffer serious harm, including imprisonment” should he not return. When this failed to budge the Does, Zheng and others allegedly harassed the Does’ daughter and left threatening notes that referenced harm to family members, continuing through 2019. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 10 years in prison. 

The Justice Department has been attempting to crack down on China’s covert policing efforts on US soil in recent months: seven people were charged in October of last year with attempting to force the return of a different man to China using similar tactics, while two men were arrested last month for allegedly operating a secret “police station” in Chinatown.

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ASKING CITY FOR $70M TO FUND
ASYLUM SEEKERS’ LEGAL SERVICES

CITY HALL — Several Brooklyn lawmakers are set to rally in front of City Hall on Thursday morning, June 1 calling for at least $70 million in additional City funds to provide asylum seekers legal services. These efforts would include direct outreach, case management, pro-se legal clinics, and legal representation. City Comptroller Brad Lander, and Councilmember Shahana Hanif will lead the rally, which Borough President Antonio Reynoso is expected to attend. Joining them will be advocates from Make the Road NY, New York Immigration Coalition, WIN.

The rally call follows a letter that Lander and Hanif sent a letter to the Administration on May 9 calling for these additional dollars, stating “it is critical — not only for those seeking asylum, but also for the City’s long-term fiscal stability — to significantly ramp up outreach and legal immigration services to help asylum seekers navigate the paperwork that will enable them to live, work, and contribute to our city.”

The Comptroller’s Office estimates that over 99% of money spent has been allocated to emergency shelter-related services and less than 1% for other services, including legal assistance.

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NEW GIFT CARD LAW, EFFECTIVE JUNE 20,
REQUIRES PUBLIC AWARENESS SIGNS BE POSTED

STATEWIDE — A new law protects consumers from potential gift card scams, and NYS Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez is reminding businesses that they must post a public-awareness warning notice near gift-card displays. The law, which Governor Kathy Hochul signed last December, takes effect June 20 and stipulates that merchants selling gift cards must display the notice to caution consumers about gift card fraud, which can take the form of phony bar code labels and scams requiring payment by this method.

Requesting gift cards as payment has become increasingly popular with scammers as funds are nearly impossible to trace. According to the Federal Trade Commission reports that, in 2022, nearly 65,000 consumers filed a complaint related to gift card scams, equating to a total loss of $228.3 million.

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BROOKLYN ATTORNEY COMPETES ON EMMY-WINNING
JEOPARDY!

BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — Brooklynites get excited when one of their own gets a stint on top-rated quiz show JEOPARDY! Eva Thomas, an attorney from Brooklyn, gets her chance to become a JEOPARDY! champion on Thursday, June 1. Viewers in New York City can watch JEOPARDY! at 7 p.m. on WABC-TV, Channel 7.

A production of Sony Pictures Television JEOPARDY! is enjoying its 39th year in syndication and has won a total of 43 Emmy® Awards. Moreover the quiz show holds the Guinness World Records® title for the most Emmy® Awards won by a TV game show and has received a Peabody Award for “celebrating and rewarding knowledge.” From 1984 until his death in November 2020, Alex Trebek was the longtime and widely-respected host.

Eva Thomas (at right) with Jeopardy! co-host Mayim Bialik. Photo: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

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GOV. VISITS DUMBO, INVESTS $500M
IN CHILD CARE WORKFORCE

DUMBO — New York State has made a $500 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget to bolster New York’s child care workforce through the Workforce Retention Grant Program, Governor Kathy Hochul announced during a visit in Brooklyn to Vivvi, a child care provider with a location in DUMBO, on Wednesday, May 31. Funding from the program, for which applications open July 13, will support 150,000 child care workers and can be used to provide bonus payments ranging from $2,300 to $3,000 to staff in caregiving roles, as well as recruit new staff, offer sign-on and referral bonuses. The Governor also highlighted additional investments in the Budget to make child care more affordable and expand access for families across New York.

As part of a historic investment in families and child care, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget also includes a $4.8 million investment in a new Employer-Sponsored Child Care Pilot Program, whereby participating employers, the state, and employees will split the cost of child care. The pilot will operate in three separate regions throughout the state.

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THREE BROOKLYN JEWISH LEADERS HONORED
WITH CONGRESSIONAL COMMENDATIONS

BOROUGH PARK — Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) on Tuesday, May 30, hosted an event at the Amico Senior Center in Borough Park to commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month. Congressman Goldman presented Commendations in the Congressional Record to  Lt. Ira Jablonsky, Dolly Rabinowitz, and Yidel Perlstein for their service to New York’s Jewish Community.

Dolly Rabinowitz is a Holocaust survivor and educator in New York City. Lt. Ira Jablonksy is a Lieutenant on Special Assignment with the New York Police Department who has worked to catch several high-profile antisemitic vandals who threatened the safety and security of Jewish Brooklynites. Yidel Perlstein, as Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 12, has organized voter outreach and community forums and represented Borough Park’s interests to elected officials across the country. He also runs food drives for needy people across Borough Park.

Since taking office, Congressman Goldman, whose grandmother fled Russia in 1921, has prioritized fighting against bigotry and protecting Jewish communities from hate and violence.

A member of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, Rep. Goldman has also cosponsored the Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons (HEAL) Act to counteract a decreasing knowledge of the Holocaust, and to improve and expand Holocaust education for future generations. 

Envoys from the U.S. House of Representatives present Holocaust survivor and educator Dolly Rabinowitz with a Congressional Commendation as part of Jewish American Heritage Month. Photo: Office of Congressman Dan Goldman.

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BOOKMOBILE WILL PREVIEW BLACK STUDIES CURRICULUM
DEBUTING THIS FALL

CITYWIDE — Five thousand free books related to Black history will be distributed to students as part of the Education Equity Action Plan Coalition’s launch of its Black Studies: An Education for Me + You bookmobile. The bookmobile visits will also offer opportunities to increase awareness and excitement about the Black Studies curriculum slated to be introduced to NYC students this fall.

Guests visiting the bookmobile will be able to interact with a series of vignettes related to the Black experience and engage in interactive activities on an actual school bus. Visitors will receive books from the onsite Black Studies library pop-up to take home for their enjoyment. The free books, available for grades Pre-K-8, will include books from Scholastic’s Culturally Responsive Collection, aiming to foster identity, highlight the Black experience, and encourage kids to read and learn.

The Bookmobile, which will visit each borough between June 17-25, will be in Brooklyn on the closing day, Sunday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tompkins Ave between Hancock and Halsey Streets in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The Education Equity Action Plan Coalition is responding to a study that the Coalition for Educational Justice did of 16 curricula and more than 1,000 books commonly used from Pre-K to 8th grade. Results showed that 83% were written by white authors — nearly five times more books than all authors of color combined.

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BILL TO REQUIRE RECYCLING IN RECREATIONAL FACILITIES
PASSES STATE ASSEMBLY

STATEWIDE — A bill amending the General Cities Law to require the establishment of recycling programs in all city parks, historic sites and recreational facilities has passed the New York State Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember William Colton (D-47), pointed out this requirement, which aims to reduce the costs of waste management, would apply to cities within the State of New York with a population of more than one million. If it becomes law, this recycling program would also require parkgoers to carry out the waste they generate. Moreover, the bill would allow these cities to apply for grants from the Environmental Protection Fund to support their recycling programs, explained Colton, who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend.

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s Recycling Team collects more than two thousand tons of recyclables daily, according to its website. Assemblyman Colton’s bill would ensure that these recycling programs continue, regardless of changes in policy or management.

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MAN SURVIVES PUSH TO SUNSET PARK SUBWAY TRACKS, SUSPECT CAUGHT

SUNSET PARK — Straphangers were left unnerved on Tuesday after a man was pushed onto the subway tracks at Sunset Park’s 25th Street R station that morning, reports amNY. A 25-year-old suspect allegedly confronted the 54-year-old victim on the station platform before punching him in the head and shoving him onto the train tracks, then fled the scene. The victim fortunately avoided coming into contact with the third rail, and an MTA employee was able to help him climb back out before he could be struck by an oncoming train; he was treated at the scene and did not suffer serious injuries, according to ABC News.

Police tracked the suspect to 36th Street, one station away, and were able to take him into custody. Sources told ABC that he is homeless, and appeared to be emotionally disturbed. He was brought to Lutheran Hospital for a psychological evaluation, and was set to be charged afterwards.

Subway riders at the station who spoke to ABC appeared unnerved; one woman said she tries to avoid straying from the center of the platform and feels uncomfortable on its narrower sections. This incident comes just days after subway rider Emine Ozsoy suffered serious injuries in Manhattan when a homeless man allegedly shoved her face-first against a moving train.

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MISSING SENIOR IN SHEEPSHEAD BAY

SHEEPSHEAD BAY — Police are searching for missing senior Soi Bo, age 77, who was last seen on the morning of Monday, May 29 leaving his East 13th Street residence. Bo is described as an older man, 5’6″ tall and 135 pounds, with a bald head and brown eyes; it is not known what clothing he might be wearing.

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.

Missing Sheepshead Bay man Soi Bo. All tips given to police are strictly confidential.

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

POLICE IN SEARCH OF SUBWAY FACE SLASHER

CROWN HEIGHTS — Police are searching for a man who in the early hours of Sunday, May 28, approached a 46-year-old man on a 5 train near the President Street subway station and engaged him in a dispute, before slashing the victim in the face with an unknown object, then fleeing onto a southbound 5 train. The victim was brought to a local hospital in stable condition.

The suspect is described as male, with a dark complexion and a medium build, approximately 18 to 21 years old and around 5’6” tall. He was last seen wearing a black bubble vest with a white hooded sweatshirt underneath, tan pants 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, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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NEW THIRD DEFENDANT CHARGED IN JAM MASTER JAY MURDER

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A third suspect was revealed in the long-unsolved 2002 murder case of Run DMC hip hop star Jason Mizell, known as Jam Master Jay, after a superseding indictment was filed on Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court charging Jay Bryant, 49, formerly of Queens. Bryant is currently being held on federal drug charges pending in an unrelated case and will be arraigned on the murder charge at a later date, according to EDNY Public Information Officer John Marzulli. The New York Times reports that the indictment says Bryant “was seen entering the building immediately before the shooting, and clothing with his DNA was found at the scene;” he also reportedly bragged of his involvement to others.

Proceedings against two other suspects in the murder case, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, have been ongoing since 2020, after authorities announced that the Queens recording studio slaying of Mizell had been the result of a drug deal gone bad. Washington is alleged to have threatened a witness with a handgun, while Jordan is alleged to have pulled the trigger. The trial has been delayed several times over procedural issues and pandemic slowdowns, and was originally set to begin in February of this year; it has since been pushed back to January 2024. Prosecutors have attempted to move the trial up, pushing for an expedited process after the death of a witness raised concerns of witness intimidation, but have not been successful.

Papers filed by prosecutors in 2022 opposing bail for Jordan say that he once released a music video of himself performing a rap boasting of criminal involvement in front of a Jam Master Jay memorial mural. A lawyer for Bryant told the Times his client would plead not guilty, saying, “Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing. Proving it at trial is another matter.”

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GOLDMAN INTRODUCES BILL FOR FEDERAL PAID SICK DAYS

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman on Tuesday joined Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington in introducing the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a federal paid sick days policy. The Act would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year, set a method for calculating accrued sick time, and permit employers to use existing paid sick leave policies that meet standards. Goldman claims that the act isn’t just beneficial to workers, but to the economy as well: studies show that mandating paid sick leave could save $1.1 billion a year by reducing the spread of illnesses and cutting emergency room use, as workers who remain home would not spread their illnesses to others.

Currently, the US does not mandate any paid sick leave; according to Goldman’s office, many workers are not guaranteed unpaid sick days either, and may feel forced to come to work while sick out of fear for their jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost one in four workers have no paid sick leave provided by their employers. This affects low wage workers the most, as workers in the lowest 10% of earners are half as likely to have paid sick time, while part-time workers are much less likely to have access to paid sick days than full-time workers. Only 14 states and Washington D.C. have implemented state-level paid leave protections, including New York, which in 2020 passed a state law guaranteeing up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for workers at all but the smallest businesses, and unpaid leave for all workers.

Another study cited by Goldman’s office in a press release showed that an emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 reduced COVID-19 by 15,000 cases per day. NYC residents have enjoyed a similar sick leave policy to the state’s since 2014, but would stand to gain additional days from Goldman’s bill.

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FDNY SAVES TEEN FROM LOCKED VAULT IN ABANDONED BUILDING

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.

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ATLANTIC AVE BID ANNUAL MEETING THIS THURSDAY

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.

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DUMBO DROP FESTIVAL TO RAIN ELEPHANTS THIS FRIDAY

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.

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DEFENDANT IN BAY RIDGE ANTISEMITIC ATTACK GETS PLEA DEAL; COUNCILMEMBER ‘ECSTATIC’

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.

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ANNUAL SPRING CARNIVAL CELEBRATES BEING A TODDLER

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.

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SEA PARK APT COMPLEX PORTFOLIO SOLD IN $150M TRANSACTION

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.

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NURSES DELIVER STRIKE NOTICE TO ADMINISTRATORS AT NYP-BROOKLYN METHODIST HOSPITAL

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.

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OLDER ADULTS BREAKFAST WILL FOCUS ON PREVENTING ABUSE AND FRAUD

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.

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ADAMS APPOINTS FIRST DOMINICAN TO SERVE AS A DEPUTY MAYOR

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.

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NEW LAW BANS WEIGHT AND HEIGHT DISCRIMINATION, WITH EXCEPTIONS IN CERTAIN CASES

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.

 


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