What’s News, Breaking: Friday, August 4, 2023
HIP-HOP ANNIVERSARY SHOW THIS WEEKEND
CONEY ISLAND — THE CITY’S SUMMERSTAGE CONCERT SERIES IS SET TO FEATURE a lineup of hip-hop’s founding stars in a free show this weekend at the Coney Island Amphitheater. Fans can catch the Hip-Hop 50 Special Edition hosted by Ralph McDaniels and curated by Special Ed of the Crooklyn Dodgers starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, with performances from old-school icons including Nice N Smooth, Buckshot of Black Moon, Masta Ace, CL Smooth, Rah Digga, Rampage, Sweet Tee, Joeski Love, Sparky D and the B-Boys.
The Special Edition is part of the ongoing SummerStage series, which hosts free shows in parks and venues around the city and is this year focused on hip-hop’s 50th anniversary; more information about this and other concerts can be found online on the City Parks Foundation website.
NEW NYPD LEADERSHIP IN STORE,
AS SEVERAL TOP BRASS RESIGN
CITYWIDE — SEVERAL SENIOR NYPD EXECUTIVES HAVE SUBMITTED THEIR RESIGNATIONS to Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban, the city’s top cop announced on Friday, Aug. 4. While Commissioner Caban did not immediately name the departing members, he thanked each of them individually “for their long years of public service, unwavering integrity, and steadfast commitment to the NYPD’s public safety mission.” Since Mayor Eric Adams appointed Caban last month, the city’s 46th Police Commissioner has reportedly indicated that he is placing the right people into the right spots to do the right job for the people of New York City.
Working with First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella and Chief of Department Jeffrey B. Maddrey, Caban has already appointed several executives to key positions but has not publicly announced them as of press time.
SAUCY BOOKSTORE TO OPEN IN PARK SLOPE THIS WEEKEND
PARK SLOPE — AN ALL-ROMANCE BOOKSHOP IS SET TO OPEN on 5th Avenue in Park Slope this Saturday, in L.A. bookseller The Ripped Bodice’s first foray into the NYC market. The store will feature a wide and inclusive selection of love stories, from the demure to the X-rated, and will also serve as an event space to host author signings, book club meetups, writers’ workshops and more; co-owner Leah Koch is a DIY enthusiast who says she is doing most of the store’s pink and quirky buildout herself: “I love physically putting my stamp on a space, and especially challenging people’s notions of what a bookstore should look like.”
The store’s grand opening on Aug. 5 will feature book signings by local writers Casey McQuiston, author of “Red, White and Royal Blue,” at 12 p.m. and Alexis Daria, author of “Take the Lead,” at 2 p.m.
BILL WOULD RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS
TO FORMERLY-INCARCERATED AMERICANS
BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — A NEW BILL INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS WOULD RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS to 4.6 million Americans who have completed custodial sentences for felonies. Brooklyn Congressman Rep. Dan Goldman (D-10), joining four of his colleagues in the House of Representatives, introduced the ‘Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) of 2023,” declaring that the legislation would end the permanent denial of voting rights nationwide for individuals with criminal convictions who have been released from incarceration and have completed their sentences and been released. The bill includes enforcement provisions and mandates that individuals be notified about the restoration of their voting rights.
As of October 2022, an estimated 4.6 million Americans are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. Among the adult African American population, 5.3% is disenfranchised compared to 1.5% of adults from other races and ethnicities.
SIX CONVICTED FOR MORE THAN 200 THEFTS;
ENGAGED POLICE IN HIGH-SPEED CHASES
BOROUGHWIDE — SIX MEMBERS OF A THEFT CREW HAVE BEEN CONVICTED for their roles in a series of more than 200 burglaries of car dealerships, cellular phone stores and ATM businesses in Brooklyn, other boroughs and surrounding regions, State Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday, Aug. 4. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the convictions of Willie Baines, Josepher Cartagena, Brandon Collazo-Rivera, Justin Herrera, Douglas Noble and Alexander Santiago, all of Bronx County, who allegedly stole cars, cellular phones, merchandise, and cash valued at more than $3 million, including at least 54 vehicles. The convictions, following guilty pleas from all, were the result of a 13-month joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, NYPD Auto Crime Unit and 29 local and county police departments. Sentence terms were not yet disclosed.
The burglars would typically engage in what law enforcement dubbed “Operation Redline” — waiting for the police to respond to a burglary alarm, and then engaging in dangerous high-speed chases (passing the speedometer’s red line) from the crime scene.
COUNCIL PASSES GREEN BUILDINGS INCENTIVE BILL
CITYWIDE — THE CITY COUNCIL ON THURSDAY PASSED the Green Building Project Bill, sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Sandy Nurse, which is designed to encourage green development by making one-to-three family homes eligible for green building economic incentives established by the council in 2019. Building permit, inspection and service fees for energy efficiency upgrade projects will now be waived once the homeowner submits documentation demonstrating a 50% or greater decrease in carbon emissions.
“The climate crisis is here and it’s affecting communities across New York City in profound ways– especially in low-income communities and communities of more color. Every New Yorker deserves access to a safe and healthy home,” wrote Williams in a press statement.
SCHOOL BUSES TO BE EQUIPPED WITH TRAFFIC SAFETY CAMS
CITYWIDE — MORE THAN 30 SCHOOL BUSES AROUND THE CITY ARE set to be equipped with automated traffic cameras this fall as part of a pilot program to record drivers who violate the law by illegally passing when the buses are stopped to pick up or drop off students, reports Streetsblog, over objections from the Adams administration, which has claimed that these drivers do not “cause many serious injuries.” While such drivers do not currently face fines, a proposal in front of the City Council would allow for the city to issue tickets starting at $250 for a first offense.
The city’s finance department is set to hold a virtual hearing on this new proposal on Aug. 31; instructions for attending the hearing, as well as more information on the program, can be found online on the City Record website.
VETERANS SUE STATE OVER MARIJUANA LICENSE PROGRAM
STATEWIDE — A GROUP OF VETERANS HAS FILED A LAWSUIT seeking to halt the expansion of a state program that reserves a large portion of its marijuana dispensary licenses to disadvantaged applicants, reports Spectrum News, claiming that the state’s Office of Cannabis Management has unfairly prioritized some groups over others, out of line with state regulations on the drug. The group says that disabled veterans have not been given equal consideration under the standards set by the licensing authority, which has a mandate to uplift social and economic equity applicants as well as those who faced previous legal troubles related to weed offenses.
New York’s rollout of recreational marijuana dispensaries has been fraught with difficulties, after a previous lawsuit delayed the issuing of licenses in Brooklyn for several months; while three licenses were issued for Brooklyn in April and several more in July, no dispensaries have yet opened within the borough and only five are currently operating in NYC, despite the proliferation of unlicensed weed stores.
NEW MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL COMING TO DOWNTOWN BK
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A NEW MONTESSORI-STYLE PRESCHOOL IS SETTING UP SHOP on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, reports the Commercial Observer, after signing a 15-year lease for 10,000 square feet of space in a mixed-use building. The school, Changing Tomorrow Childcare Academy, already operates another facility near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, offering educational programs for children ages 3 months to 5 years.
Changing Tomorrow is joining several other schools that have recently opened or plan to open near bustling Fulton Mall, including a new art and design high school that will accept its first class this fall and an elementary school whose opening has been temporarily delayed.
MYRON GOLDFINGER, 90, ARCHITECT
KNOWN FOR HIS MODERNIST HOMES PASSES
PRATT INSTITUTE AND CONNECTICUT — MODERNIST ARCHITECT MYRON GOLDFINGER, famous for his geometrically-shaped homes and a synagogue in Brighton Beach, died last month at age 90, according to a New York Times obituary by Clay Risen published on Aug. 3. Goldfinger’s homes can be found around the tri-state area — New Jersey to Connecticut — particularly in the Hamptons, and had a signature design: basic shapes like cylinders, half-circles, blocks and triangles that he transformed into dramatic houses with expansive use of space. Goldfinger also taught at Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill for a decade during the 1960s.
Goldfinger’s one non-residential building was a synagogue in Brighton Beach, although the obituary did not name the congregation. One of Goldfinger’s signature houses is near that synagogue and at the end of Amherst St., where Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach border.
WEIGHT-IN-MOTION BILL, TARGETING HEAVY TRUCKS ON BQE, BECOMES LAW
BQE/WATERFRONT — A BILL TO CURTAIL FURTHER DAMAGE TO THE BQE and weigh and fine operators of overweight trucks has become law, with the signature this week of Gov. Kathy Hochul. This crucial bill, which State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon sponsored, enables the implementation of the first-in-the-nation program to pilot a Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) system to hold trucking scofflaws accountable for the damage they cause to highway infrastructure, the environment and adjacent neighborhoods. The WIM program will enable the NYPD’s BQE Truck Enforcement Task Force to automatically record the axle weights and gross weights of vehicles using pressure-sensitive sensors as they drive on the BQE, with cameras taking photo evidence of vehicles’ plates, and the DMV mailing a fine to the owner of the vehicle.
A 90-day warning period, with the clock starting next week, will take effect for overweight trucks once the program begins, after which time trucks will be subject to a $650 fine per violation.
BIGGIE STATUE MOVED TO BOROUGH HALL PLAZA
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN BP ANTONIO REYNOSO AND A HOST OF LOCAL PERFORMERS CELEBRATED the relocation of a statue tribute to rapper Notorious B.I.G. to Columbus Park, between Borough Hall and the federal courthouse, on Wednesday, from its previous location near the Brooklyn Bridge. DJ itsParlé and the Victory Music & Dance Company sounded off in front of the statue, which features solar-powered speakers that will play a curated mix of the megastar’s discography from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
“It was Biggie who said the words that I live and lead by: ‘Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way,’” said Reynoso. “Biggie knew that putting love in his lyrics meant everything from grieving in public to celebrating together; it meant talking about violence so we can finally end it and healing together as one people. His legacy is a challenge to us all to do better and do right by our neighbors.”
IV INFUSION THERAPY FIRM SIGNS LEASE AT INDUSTRY CITY
SUNSET PARK — INDUSTRY CITY, THE 16-BUILDING BUSINESS COMPLEX ON SUNSET PARK’S WATERFRONT, ANNOUNCED on Wednesday that American Outcomes Management, a specialty infusion provider focused on IV therapy, has signed a seven-year lease for 13,614 square feet in one of its buildings that will feature labs and patient care facilities. AOM will move into its new space in October 2023, joining a host of other biotech and life science tenants at the complex’s Innovation Campus, which also hosts lab space for NYU Langone.
AOM provides home-based IV immunoglobulin therapy and nursing services to patients with chronic conditions, as well as support, including pharmacy services, referrals, insurance verification and patient education.
BROOKLYN DA CALLS FOR PROBE AFTER STAFF ANTISEMITISM ACCUSATION
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ERIC GONZALEZ HAS EXPRESSED ALARM and called for a probe into accusations of antisemitism and other ethics violations leveled at his office’s chief of staff Maritza Ming, reports the New York Post, after 15 sources told the newspaper that Ming’s conduct had “severely damaged morale and driven out talented people.” Some of the allegations include that Ming remarked that there were too many Jewish people in positions of power within the DA’s office, that she challenged a coworker to a fistfight at an office party and that she used workers to run personal errands on the public’s dime.
The Post’s sources also said that they were unable to file discrimination complaints against Ming, because the office’s Equal Employment Opportunity staff, who investigate discrimination complaints, report directly to Ming; Gonzalez stated that he would restructure the office hierarchy so that EEO employees report directly to him going forward.
BEYONCE PAYS TRIBUTE TO SLAIN DANCER
MIDWOOD — FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF DANCER O’SHAE SIBLEY ON SATURDAY in a potentially homophobic stabbing at a Midwood gas station, singer Beyonce posted an online tribute to Sibley, according to CNN, after reports that he had been dancing to her music that night prior to being approached by his attacker, who yelled anti-gay slurs at him. The front page of the website features the message “REST IN POWER O’SHAE SIBLEY” prominently, in white text on a black background.
Police are still searching for the 17-year-old suspect, who allegedly told Sibley, who was gay, that his dancing offended the boy’s Muslim faith, then engaged him in a brawl with a group of other men.
MISSING MAN IN SHEEPSHEAD BAY
SHEEPSHEAD BAY — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR MISSING MAN NICOLA QUARANTA, AGE 50, who was last seen on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 1 leaving his residence near the end of Avenue Z. Quaranta is described as around 5’8” and 150 pounds, and was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, black pants, dark-colored sneakers and a dark-colored baseball hat.
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 their by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.
KIDS RING OPENING BELL AT STOCK EXCHANGE TO CELEBRATE SCHOLARSHIP SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
WALL STREET — PARTICIPANTS IN NYC KIDS RISE, which helps young people invest financially in their futures, got to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Aug. 3, to celebrate a milestone that nearly every eligible student in New York City public schools has an NYC Scholarship Account for college and career training. A nonprofit organization that provides families, schools and communities with a means to work together to invest in and save for their children’s futures, NYC Kids RISE has established a Save for College Program, which expands access to mainstream financial products; builds individual, family, and collective financial assets; provides financial education for families and students; and, brings schools and communities together to support all our children’s futures.
These students are among the more than 145,000 citywide with NYC Scholarship Accounts that collectively count more than $21.5 million invested for college and career training. NYC Scholarship Accounts are invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan.
MAYOR ANNOUNCES BLOCK PARTY HONORING HIP HOP ANNIVERSARY
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ADAMS AND ITSALLBLACKMUSIC ON WEDNESDAY ANNOUNCED THE LINEUPS for the free 5×5 Block Party events coming to the boroughs in August and for a series of live conversations between leaders in hip hop. Event organizers have secured hip-hop notables to speak and perform in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, including Salt-N-Pepa, who will discuss women in hip hop at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center later this month, and sets from DJ Eneff, Prince Paul, DJ Envy, Kid Capri, Grand Master Cas, KRS-One, Chuck D, Kool G Rap, Onyx, and more; Brooklyn’s 5×5 party is set to take place on August 5 on Fulton Street and Washington Avenue from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“On August 11, 1973, a back-to-school jam hosted by brother and sister Cindy and Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx spilled out onto the street. That night, hip hop — and the block party — were born,” said Mayor Adams in a press statement. “As the birthplace of hip hop, New York City is proud to host these free block parties and events as a celebration of that spirit that started 50 years ago.”
OUTDOOR DINING WILL EXPAND, BECOME PERMANENT, WITH CITY COUNCIL’S AUG. 3 VOTE
CITY HALL — NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL HAS VOTED to establish a permanent outdoor dining program, improving on a pandemic-era sidewalk café law. The bill, indexed as Introduction 31-C, is expected to cut the bureaucratic red tape, ease the approval process, expand affordability for restaurants to participate than did the previous policy, allow year-round sidewalk cafes and create an orderly and uniform regulation of outdoor dining that its framers hope benefits neighborhoods as well as restaurants.
The city agency responsible for the licensing will be the Department of Transportation; however, the new bill might not please local residents who depend on sidewalk space for strollers, wheelchairs and other apparatus.
JEWELRY SCAM THIEVES TARGETING CITY SENIORS
CITYWIDE — POLICE ON WEDNESDAY ISSUED A WARNING THAT A GROUP OF THIEVES ARE TARGETING older New Yorkers in a strange jewelry theft scam, with several incidents of the theft of expensive jewelry, including one in Bath Beach, taking place over the last week of July. Two unidentified individuals on three occasions have approached senior victims wearing valuable jewelry on the street and distracted them by placing costume jewelry on them or handing it to them, before seizing the original items from the seniors and fleeing, sometimes in a white SUV; thus far the thieves have made off with a $1,000 bracelet, a $2,900 necklace and a $9,000 Rolex watch and gold chain.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents 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 their by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.
COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI: NY MUST SURGE FORWARD TO MEET RENEWAL ENERGY GOALS
STATEWIDE — NEW YORK MUST SUPERCHARGE its efforts to meet renewable electricity goals, urges State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in a new report, which found that renewable generators in New York would need to produce an additional 78,073-gigawatt hours above 2022 levels — an increase of over 200% — to reach the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s 2030 goal of 70% renewable electricity consumption. The analysis is based on projections from the New York Independent System Operator, which also projected that the state would need to add 20 gigawatts of installed renewable capacity by 2030, which is triple the 2022 capacity of approximately 6.5 gigawatts. Over the past 20 years, New York used fossil fuel and renewable sources when adding electric generation.
Hindering prior state efforts to increase renewable energy was inconsistent funding, canceled projects and delays that led to lengthy project timelines and failure to achieve targets. Still, New York is taking steps to rectify these problems.
NAVY SEAMAN FROM BROOKLYN RECEIVES ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
ITALY — A NAVY SEAMAN FROM BROOKLYN WAS AWARDED a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal last week, for his tour at NAS Sigonella awards quarters in the P-8 hangar. Capt. Aaron Shoemaker, Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station Sigonella, presents Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Oladunn Ahmed, with the award. NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S. allies and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa and Central Command.
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