What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, July 13, 2023
‘BLUE PARK’ SKATEPARK TO OPEN AT MARTINEZ PLAYGROUND
EAST WILLIAMSBURG — The ‘Blue Park’ skatepark will be unveiled this weekend on July 16 in East Williamburg’s Martinez Playground. The site is infamous among Brooklyn skaters for its color scheme and smooth surface, and thanks to local advocates supported by Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher, Councilmember Jennifer Gutiérrez, Tony Hawk’s The Skatepark Project, and Vans Skateboarding, the 7,000 square-foot skate space has been officially restored. The renovated skatepark includes a set of safe concrete obstacles which honor the original obstacles created by the local community.
“The refurbishment of Blue Park is an incredible feat of local advocacy, and we’re proud to help bring this dream to fruition,” said Benjamin Anderson Bashein, Executive Director of the Skatepark Project. “Skateboarding is a great way to form close, community-building bonds, made possible through outdoor recreation. We’re glad to partner with Vans in honoring the community’s passion for skateboarding by providing contemporary, artistic skate obstacles that are permanent and safe.”
HEARING ON CITYWIDE BAN OF FOIE GRAS TODAY
CITYWIDE — The New York State Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in an Article 78 proceeding regarding the sale of foie gras in the city, as an arbitrary directive striking down the city ban was initiated in December 2022. The Voters’ For Animal Rights’ activist group put out a statement on Thursday taking aim at the governor and the attorney general for allegedly putting aside local governments’ authority to regulate commerce, saying, “Recently, the United States Supreme Court sided twice with local governments whose animal protection laws were challenged as violating state and federal commerce laws. Yet, Governor Hochul and State Attorney General James continue to defend their unsupported and capricious position rather than allow New York City to enact and enforce its humane law.”
The original ban on Foie Gras was created in 2019. A French immigrant to New York City told the New York Times in February of this year, “Why don’t they eat it? Benjamin Franklin was very familiar with French cuisine. Marquis de Lafayette came from France.” Foie Gras is a traditional French delicacy.
CITY COUNCIL VOTES 42-8 TO OVERRIDE
MAYOR ADAMS’ HOUSING LEGISLATION VETO
CITY HALL — For the first time since the Bloomberg administration, the City Council voted 42-8 on Thursday, July 13, to override Mayor Eric Adams’ veto of a package of bills designed to expand access to a rental housing voucher program, reports City & State and other news outlets. In doing so, the City Council re-adopted the legislation, saying that it is vital to help solve the city’s housing crisis for vulnerable New Yorkers, and to give them access to permanent housing and to retain it through CityFHEPS vouchers. The vote to override also indicates the City Council’s growing criticism on how Mayor Adams is handling the budget and asylee influx crisis. However, among the eight Council members voting against the override was conservative Democrat Kalman Yeger, who represents District 44, encompassing Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Gravesend, Kensington, and Midwood.
City & State noted that Mayor de Blasio did not issue any vetoes during his administration.
SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS FOR ARMED ROBBERY
AT QUEENS AQUEDUCT
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly in Brooklyn federal court on Thursday, July 13, sentenced a man to 108 months (nine years) in prison for his part in an armed robbery three years ago at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Lamel Miller, 41, who plead guilty to the March 7, 2020, armed robbery and theft of $280,000, was also convicted in Brooklyn federal court last October of brandishing a firearm in connection with the robbery.
Miller’s co-defendant, Lafayette Morrison, also 41, who was a racetrack security guard acting as an “inside man” during the robbery, was sentenced to 90 months imprisonment.
SCREEN ACTORS JOIN WRITERS IN INDUSTRY-WIDE STRIKE
HOLLYWOOD — A synergistic set of labor strikes has essentially shut down the Hollywood television and movie industry, with the actors’ union — the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) — approving a strike on Thursday afternoon, July 5. The SAG-AFTRA vote took place hours after contract talks with a group of studios broke down. Approximately 160,000 television and movie actors will be joining screenwriters already on the picket lines. This work stoppage marks the first time since 1960 that the two major Hollywood entertainment unions have been on strike together — the actors’ guild president at the time was Ronald Reagan.
The strike will affect member organizations of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who represent Disney, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.
LARK BY THE PARK OPENS JULY 28 AT PARADE GROUND
PROSPECT PARK — The Prospect Park Parade Ground Snack Bar will be getting a new eatery when Flatbush favorite Lark Cafe opens a seasonal spot at the Parade Ground starting July 28. Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, has announced that Lark by the Park, an offshoot of the Church Avenue café, will be open throughout the summer and fall months, offering a menu of mouthwatering options from pizza, hot dogs and smash burgers to breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, and milkshakes.
The Prospect Park Alliance has also brought in other popular eateries to enhance parkgoers’ outdoor experience, including the popular Smorgasburg on Breeze Hill, Winner in the Park at the Picnic House, and King David Tacos at Grand Army Plaza.
ATLANTIC TERMINAL LIRR SERVICE DISRUPTED FOR AN HOUR
Commuters using the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal in Fort Greene had to scramble for other routes after service was suspended between that hub and Jamaica station on Thursday afternoon, according to a Notify NYC alert dispatched just before 2:30 p.m. on July 13. The cause given was “FDNY activity.” Service resumed within the hour, but there may be residual delays during rush hour.
The MTA’s website indicated that delays between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica were about 20-30 minutes, and that the FDNY activity was “west of Jamaica.” Trains access both Jamaica station and Atlantic Terminal via tunnels, but the alert did not indicate whether emergency personnel had to enter the tunnels.
RETIREES’ GROUP SET TO RALLY AT CITY HALL
TO PASS MEDIGAP PROTECTION BILL
CITYWIDE — Following last week’s preliminary injunction by a State Supreme Court justice that blocks the city from ending traditional public Medicare coverage for its municipal retirees, a group has scheduled a lunchtime rally at City Hall on Thursday, July 13, to celebrate this victory and to push for passage of City Council bill Intro 1099. Pointing out that the preliminary injunction is only a temporary victory, Marianne Pizzitola, president of the New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees, stated on Thursday morning, said that the injunction bars the city from forcing a quarter-million elderly and disabled retirees off of their longstanding Medicare insurance and onto an inferior type of insurance called “Medicare Advantage.” The bill, of which Councilmember Charles Barron (D-42/East New York), is key sponsor, would require the City to offer a Medigap plan — the same kind of policy they have had for almost 60 years.
Pizzitola added, “The Unions are sending emails to the Council telling them not to sign Intro 1099, after threatening them with pulling back endorsements and donations if they do.”
RALPH J. PERFETTO, SR.
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AND FILMMAKER
BAY RIDGE — Brooklyn, and the Bay Ridge community in particular, is mourning Ralph J. Perfetto, Sr., longtime State Assembly District Leader and Committee Member for the 64th Assembly District, who died on Wednesday, July 12. The Brooklyn Democratic Party, which released a statement on Thursday, did not give Perfetto’s age or cause of death. An impassioned community activist for more than half a century, he was a widely-respected and empathetic liaison for the Brooklyn Democratic Party for 18 years. He also served as a former ombudsman in the Public Advocate’s Office and as Director of Cemeteries in the State of New York under Governor Mario Cuomo.
Mr. Perfetto discovered an enjoyable and rewarding career as an actor, and had roles in dozens of movies and critically-acclaimed TV series episodes. He had recently written a script and acted in a series titled “Sister Kathleen and the Don,” which finished filming earlier this summer in venues around Brooklyn, including at St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church. According to a June 13 Eagle article by Helen Klein, the series is free of violence or profanity, because Perfetto needed approval from the Brooklyn Diocese to film in a church.
HUGE NEW MIGRANT SHELTER OPENS NEAR BROOKLYN NAVY YARD
CLINTON HILL — A new shelter for migrants that opened last week at 47 Hall St., near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will become the largest dormitory-style shelter in the history of New York City, according to THE CITY. The site, about two blocks from Steiner Studios, will house close to 2,000 people across the two previously vacant buildings of the block-sized complex. A press release from City Hall went out on Tuesday after the publication inquired about the roughly 450 migrants who already moved into a previously undisclosed “respite center” at the site.
Developer RXR, which donated $10,000 to Mayor Eric Adams’ former nonprofit One Brooklyn Fund, bought the property in 2018. Neither RXR, nor the Mayor’s Office would say how much the city is paying for rent, THE CITY said.
BIG PLANS TO FINALLY RESTORE, REOPEN GORGEOUS BROOKLYN PARAMOUNT THEATER
FORT GREENE — Is Long Island University’s Brooklyn Paramount Theatre finally getting its makeover? Brownstoner reports that the gorgeous but defunct Fort Greene theatre, at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue Extension and DeKalb Avenue, is being restored by the world’s largest live entertainment company and will reopen in 2024 as a “major live-act venue.” LIU at one time used the gilded music hall as a gym, and several heralded plans to reopen the storied venue have fallen through. The Rococo-style theatre once hosted performances by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry, and was the first theatre in the world designed to show talking movies.
Live Nation, which operates Brooklyn Bowl and Irving Plaza, is prepping for a reopening in the first or second quarter of 2024, Brownstoner says.
COLTON ORGANIZES STREET CLEANING AT KINGS HIGHWAY
GRAVESEND — Saying that “Cleaner streets mean a better quality of life,” State Assemblymember William Colton (D-47) is again holding Neighborhood Cleanup events around his district, which includes Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights. Colton and a corps of volunteers completed one of these cleanups on Wednesday, July 12, on Kings Highway between West 12th and West 13th Streets, including at a catch basin (sewer drain) at W. 13th, which he said will prevent flooding on rainy days.
Colton, who has been mobilizing neighborhood cleanups for many years, said that the hot, humid weather was not a deterrent. No weather condition can stop me and my volunteers from doing a good deed for the community.”
PATHWAYS IN TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM GETS FUNDING TO BRIDGE HIGH SCHOOLERS WITH CAREERS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Two Brooklyn public school projects have received funding for projects as part of the New York State Pathways in Technology program, which Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday, along with a total of $31.5 million in funding. This investment funds regional partnerships that respond to the greatest need for enhanced access to post-secondary opportunities primarily for academically and economically at-risk students, and works to strengthen the pipeline between local talent and industries with a favorable job outlook. The High School for Innovation in Advertising & Media in Canarsie will receive $2,656,158 in partnership with the NYC College of Technology in Downtown Brooklyn and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governors Island receives $2,588,895 in partnership with SUNY Maritime College and the Billion Oyster Project, which the Eagle previously covered.
Each partnership will include K-12, higher education, and business/employer partners. The New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (NYS P-TECH) Program incorporates an integrated program between 4 and 6 years in duration that combines high school, college, and career training.
NEW DIRECTOR OF EVENTS JOINS INDUSTRY CITY CAMPUS
SUNSET PARK — Industry City has appointed Amanda Braddock as the new Director of Events for its Brooklyn waterfront campus in Sunset Park. Braddock, who brings 15 years of experience as an events and hospitality leader, will develop and spearhead the strategic vision for both private events and public programming. She will manage the property’s multiple designated event spaces and oversee Industry City’s robust programming roster, including cultural festivals, trade shows, film screenings, professional talks, and salsa nights, among many creative ventures.
Braddock, who has lived in Brooklyn for 13 years, has also held Director of Events titles at Madison Square Garden and The William Vale and was a founding owner and operator of Purslane, a sustainable catering and events company. She began her career in 4-star dining at Le Bernardin.
DOCTORS REACH OUT TO PATIENTS ON HEALTH CARE ACCESS
CONEY ISLAND TO BUSHWICK — Health care access outreach is available to Brooklyn’s Asian community, with the release on Wednesday, July 12, of the “Doctor Public Service Announcement” video series. Part of NYC Health + Hospitals’ NYC Care health care access program, and completed in partnership with the Asian American Federation, the series features the public hospital system’s physicians speaking directly to New Yorkers to encourage enrollment, renewals, and primary care appointments. The series features NYC Care Executive Director and family physician Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH, from NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health in East New York, and Michelle V. Soto, MD, from NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health. In conjunction with the release, NYC Care will kick off a “Health Care Weekend of Action” in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island from Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 16, including in Sunset Park, Coney Island and Bushwick.
The videos, which were recorded in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Bengali, along with subtitling in 13 languages, will be featured in a citywide marketing campaign, shared on social media and sent directly to NYC Care members.
REP. CLARKE REINTRODUCES BILL TO HELP THOSE SUFFERING FROM UTERINE FIBROIDS
FLATBUSH AND CAPITOL HILL — Rep. Yvette Clarke is reintroducing the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act into the 118th Congress, and has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday afternoon, July 12. The bill would establish $150 million in new research funding over five years through the National Institute of Health, expand the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services database on chronic conditions to include information on services provided to women and girls with fibroids, and other critical provisions.
The bill is named for Ohio Congressmember Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a close colleague of Rep. Clarke and the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Ohio. She represented much of Downtown Cleveland and east side suburbs. Tubbs Jones died in 2008 from a ruptured aneurysm and cerebral hemorrhage.
CITY’S PUBLIC HOSPITAL SYSTEM WINS AWARDS FROM AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
BOROUGHWIDE — The American Heart Association has recognized all 11 facilities of the NYC Health + Hospitals system, including three in Brooklyn, with Get with the Guidelines and Mission: Lifeline Awards for their commitment to quality care in heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and resuscitation. Among the Brooklyn facilities: NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County won the Gold Plus Awards for Heart Failure and Stroke, the Gold Award for Adult Population in Resuscitation, plus several honor roll awards in those categories and diabetes. NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) won Gold Plus Awards in the Stroke category and a Lifeline NSTEMI Silver Award. Woodhull Hospital received Gold Plus Awards in the Heart Failure and Stroke categories and Honor Roll in the diabetes category.
The hospital system earned these awards by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure and stroke patients at a set level for a designated period, including measures for evaluation of the proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies.
FINANCIAL LITERACY TRAINING COMING TO YOUTH IN SOME NYC PROGRAMS
CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday signed a bill sponsored by Councilmember Farah Louis (Flatbush, Midwood) which amends city code to allow financial education in NYC’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Summer Youth Employment and Runaway and Homeless Youth programs. “As a young man, I never had information on how to save or how to be financially responsible. By signing this bill into law, we are helping our youth learn the skills they need to succeed financially,” Adams said in a press release.
“This bill shows our commitment to end intergenerational poverty to build a more inclusive economy — providing real economic opportunities for all,” Louis said. Youth will receive instruction on banking, budgeting, credit, debt, saving and taxes.
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