What’s News, Breaking: Friday, August 25, 2023
ASSEMBLYMEMBER RODNEYSE BICHOTTE HERMELYN TO HOST
‘BACK TO SCHOOL COURTYARD JAMBOREE’ ON SAT, AUG. 26
BK POLS JOIN SLIWA AT MIGRANT CRISIS FLOYD BENNETT RALLY
MARINE PARK — AN UNLIKELY GROUP OF POLITICIANS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE CAME TOGETHER at a protest rally near Floyd Bennett Field on Thursday to condemn Governor Hochul’s key plan to use the federally managed park to host up to 2,000 asylum seekers, reports City and State NY. Democrat leaders like state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and rally organizer Assemblymember Jaime Williams slammed the remote and flood-prone former airfield as being an unsafe and unfair location to house migrants, while former Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa described the asylum seekers as “illegal immigrants,” and reportedly characterized their presence as destructive to neighborhoods. Williams described a major frustration of local electeds — a group of whom sent a joint letter of complaint to Hochul on Tuesday, including state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblymembers Monique Chandler-Waterman and Stacey Pheffer Amato, Councilmembers Mercedes Narcisse and Joann Ariola and Democratic District Leader Frank Seddio — and there being poor communication on Albany’s end, characterizing the announcement as a bolt from the blue: “You come right in my backyard without communicating with me? It speaks volumes,” Williams told City and State; communication breakdowns over migrant issues are a recurring theme in New York’s handling of the crisis.
Other Brooklyn politicians, however, criticized their colleagues, such as Councilmember Charles Barron, who told City and State, “We are oversaturated in Brownsville, in East New York, and parts of the Bronx, but when it comes to Asian and white neighborhoods like… the area around the Floyd Bennett Field, they don’t want them in their neighborhoods but yet they are forced into our neighborhood,” and former Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who described the rally as “shameful behavior” on X (formerly Twitter).
RAPPER KENDRICK LAMAR BUYS $9M BKLYN BRIDGE PARK PENTHOUSE
DUMBO — SEVENTEEN-TIME GRAMMY WINNING RAPPER KENDRICK LAMAR HAS ENTERED INTO CONTRACT to purchase the penthouse apartment in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s waterfront Pierhouse building, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, reports the New York Post, after being spotted touring similarly high-end properties around the area earlier this month. The ultra-luxury unit features panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, four bedrooms and nearly 2,000 square feet of private outdoor space on top of the building, as well as details like 18-foot ceilings and a chef’s kitchen and access to the rooftop pool of neighboring hotel 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Even with all this, the Post’s sources say the rapper still intends to keep his home in California as his family’s primary residence.
The Pierhouse’s penthouse was the subject of an ultimately unsuccessful years-long legal battle fought by a group of Brooklyn Heights residents known as the Save The View Now campaign, who argued that the penthouse’s height violated an agreement to keep any BBP buildings from blocking views of the bridge from the Heights Promenade; Pierhouse developer Toll Brothers was later fined by the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics for an illegal $25,000 donation made to former Mayor de Blasio’s now-defunct Campaign for One New York nonprofit while the litigation was ongoing.
SCHOOL STARTS SOON, BUT NYC’S PLAN FOR MIGRANT KIDS STILL MURKY
CITYWIDE — THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION hasn’t spelled out its plan to handle up to 18,000 of migrant children soon to flood city schools, the NY Post reports. School starts Sept. 7, and School Chancellor David Banks continues his Martha’s Vineyard vacation/wedding into next week, the Post takes glee in pointing out. The school system, however, says it will rely on Project Open Arms, with more than 3,000 English as a New Language teachers and nearly 2,000 bilingual instructors.
There are roughly double the number of migrant kids this year, however, and some administrators have “fumed” to the Post that they have as yet received no specific instructions. The concerns are compounded as the threat of a school bus strike lingers.
HOCHUL TO BIDEN: DROP BREAD, CREDS, BEDS
STATEWIDE — GOVERNOR HOCHUL IN AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN on Thursday forcefully reiterated previous calls for increased federal assistance in dealing with the ongoing influx of South American and other migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border, reports City and State NY. In the letter, Hochul requests expedited work authorization credentials for asylum-seekers as well as significant financial aid to help offset the city’s more than $1.5 billion in expenditures on the new arrivals in the last year, and for the federal government to allow New York to use more of its facilities — like southern Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field — as temporary housing. The governor also gave a virtual speech addressing New Yorkers directly, speaking on the letter’s contents and attempting to reassure upstate voters that the state would not be forcibly resettling migrants from the city to smaller towns — a position starkly opposed to that of Mayor Adams, who has repeatedly sought permission from the state to do so.
These moves come just days after the results of a Siena College poll indicated very unfavorable opinions towards Hochul’s performance and towards the handling of the migrant crisis overall; only 35% of New York state voters surveyed approve of the governor’s response to the situation, while 82% consider the crisis to be a “serious problem,” and 58% believe the state should stop accepting newcomers altogether.
SISTER ELIZABETH GILDEA, 83, DIES;
SERVED IN PARISH AND SCHOOL MINISTRIES
WINDSOR TERRACE TO BRENTWOOD — SISTER ELIZABETH GILDEA, CSJ, a school administration and parish minister who was raised in Holy Name parish in Windsor Terrace, died recently at age 83, reports The Tablet diocesan newspaper. Sister Elizabeth graduated from Holy Name Elementary School and St. Brendan High School before joining the Congregation St. Joseph women’s religious order in 1957 and received the name Sister Mary Eustelle. She lived out her vocation as a school administrator in Queens and later at Immaculate Conception in Jamaica, where she worked with the Passionist Fathers in parish ministry.
Sister Elizabeth’s twin brother, Monsignor John Gildea, was the celebrant for her funeral Mass. She was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Brentwood.
GOLDMAN: ALLOW ASYLUM SEEKERS TO WORK AFTER 30 DAYS
NATIONWIDE — REP. DAN GOLDMAN (NY-10) joined other elected officials in introducing the “Assisting Seekers in Pursuit of Integration and Rapid Employment (ASPIRE) Act” which would give asylum seekers a quicker pathway to legal employment. Current federal law requires asylees to wait six months after filing an asylum petition before being able to get work authorization. The ASPIRE Act would reduce this to 30 days. It also would provide additional funds for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for application processing and to FEMA for emergency food and shelter.
Not only does the current waiting period make asylum seekers wholly reliant on public services for their basic needs, but it also exacerbates the current labor shortage, Goldman, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) said in a release Friday.
DYKER HTS. MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS
FOR STABBING EX-WIFE’S COLLEAGUE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A DYKER HEIGHTS MAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED to years in prison for repeatedly stabbing and severely injuring his ex-wife’s work colleague in a March 2022 attack. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Jianqing Chen, 43, of 68th St., whom Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. A jury had convicted Chen in July of several counts, including second-degree attempted murder. The defendant had repeatedly harassed his ex-wife and then went to the colleague’s home to ambush him, stabbing the victim repeatedly. The victim’s 16-year-old daughter, returning home, found him bleeding in front of their home.
Injuring himself during the attack, Chen then took himself to NYU Langone Hospital where he claimed that two Black men had attacked him; but an investigation from a surveillance video and DNA on the recovered knife revealed that he was the assailant.
TEENAGE BOY STABBED IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, NEAR CITY POINT SHOPS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A STRANGER STABBED a 17-year-old teenage boy in a random attack just after noon on Wednesday, just north of the popular City Point shopping destination, police said. At about 12:25 p.m. near a new office tower at 141 Willoughby St. in the 84th Precinct, the unknown man threatened the teen with a knife and then stabbed him in the shoulder. The attacker then fled to parts unknown. The victim was transported by EMS to NYC Health+Hospitals/Bellevue in stable condition.
Police are asking that anyone with information call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/.
HEALTH DEPT. SET TO SPRAY MOSQUITOES AFTER WEST NILE CASES
SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — THE CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT ON TUESDAY ANNOUNCED that following the discovery of West Nile virus in three city patients earlier in the week, workers will be treating marshy areas of southern Brooklyn and Queens for mosquitoes with the insecticides Anvil 10+10, Duet and/or MERUS 3.0. Spraying activity will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 8:30 p.m. and last overnight until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and will be delayed until Wednesday in case of bad weather. According to a press release from the department, the risks of these pesticides in low doses are minor, but those who are sensitive to spray ingredients or who have respiratory conditions may experience eye or throat irritation, rashes or other effects. Residents are advised to stay indoors, consider using the recirculation function on air conditioners and wash exposed skin, clothing or produce with soap and water.
In addition to using approved insect repellents and installing window screens, the most effective way to beat mosquitoes is to eliminate any standing water, in which mosquitos lay eggs, and monitor places that may collect water, such as empty barrels, roof gutters, pools and pool covers. Residents can report standing water and find more information about West Nile virus by calling 311 or visiting the Health Department’s West Nile city webpage.
HOCHUL UNVEILS ART GATEWAY AT MARSHA P. JOHNSON STATE PARK
WILLIAMSBURG — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL ON THURSDAY ANNOUNCED the completion of the new sculptural gateway entrance to Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, featuring bold and colorful floral motifs in honor of the signature flower crowns of its namesake, pioneering activist and trans woman of color Marsha P. Johnson. The gateway caps an extensive refresh of the former East River State Park that includes tributes to Johnson in the form of interpretive panels documenting her life and a freshly landscaped “Marsha’s Hillside” garden; as well as new native species perennial gardens, new park furnishings and plantings, a community Park House with restrooms, and a host of sustainability and landscaping upgrades.
An outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS treatment, Marsha was a prominent figure in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 and in NYC’s activist community; the park was renamed in her honor in 2020, while the gate’s unveiling marks her 78th birthday.
ART HISTORIAN PRUDENCE PEIFFER’S NEW BOOK
EXPLORES THE SLIP’S ARTIST COMMUNITY
CLINTON HILL — ART HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR PRUDENCE PEIFFER’S NEWEST BOOK, “THE SLIP,” a group biography of six visual artists and the work they created on the edge of Manhattan during the mid-20th century, was reviewed in the New York Times. The book brings the reader into the lives of the artists during the 1950s and ’60s, living and working on Coenties Slip, near the water, in the Financial District. Peiffer also provides a carefully-researched historical backdrop, from the Dutch settlers to the founding of the Seamen’s Church Institute. South St. Times reviewer Walker Mimms points out, “Peiffer excels in including so many women in this typically male scene, especially on the museum and gallery side.”
A resident of Clinton Hill, Peiffer is the Director of Content at MoMA and was Senior Editor at Artforum magazine from 2012-2017, and Digital Content Director at David Zwirner in 2018. She holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia, and specializes in modern and contemporary art.
SUNY PROFESSORS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT
STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL and the United University Professions union on Friday announced that union members have ratified a four-year labor agreement, which includes 37,000 SUNY faculty and professionals. The agreement won the approval of 96.4% of the 15,400 UUP members who cast ballots. It includes a 2% raise for 2022 and 3% for 2023, 2024 and 2025, plus a lump sum bonus and up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Adjuncts and part-time faculty will be boosted to either $5,500 or $6,000 per three-credit course by 2026.
UUP members at SUNY hospitals, including Downstate in Brooklyn, will now receive holiday pay for all state holidays.
NY WOMEN’S FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANTS TO SIX BROOKLYN ORGS
BOROUGHWIDE — SIX BROOKLYN-BASED ORGANIZATIONS received grants from the New York Women’s Foundation, including Brooklyn GHOST Project, Brooklyn Movement Center, UPROSE, For the Gworls, Del Gracia Corp and Workers’ Justice Project. NYWF works to benefit all women and girls, whether cis or trans, non-binary or gender-expansive.
NYWF, one of the largest women-led grant-making organizations in the world, says it aims to foster “women-led solutions that ignite action and promote the economic security, safety, and health of New York City women.”
NEW NYS AUTHOR AND POET ARE BOTH BROOKLYN RESIDENTS
BROOKLYN — NEW YORK HAS A NEW STATE AUTHOR AND STATE POET, and they both call Brooklyn home. Jacqueline Woodson will receive the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction and Patricia Spears Jones will receive the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poetry at a special ceremony hosted at the University at Albany on Sept. 22. Woodson is the author of more than 30 books for young people and adults. Her memoir, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” won the 2014 National Book Award and her novel, “Another Brooklyn,” was a National Book Award finalist. In 2020, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Jones is the author of five poetry collections. She is the winner of the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers and the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The awardees are chosen by panels of jurors, including students, convened by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. They serve for two years in their honorary positions and each receives a $10,000 honorarium.
WEST INDIAN AMERICAN DAY PARADE, KIDS’ VERSION
CROWN HEIGHTS — THOUSANDS OF COLORFULLY-DRESSED CHILDREN and scores of costumed junior “mas” (masquerade) bands will be parading through the streets of Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 2 starting at 9 a.m. for the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s Junior Carnival. The parade assembles at Kingston Avenue and St. John’s Place, near the Brooklyn Museum. According to WIADCA, the events will include a “World Stage” Junior Competition and youth fest on the Brooklyn Museum grounds with music, revelry and exciting activities for families until 4 p.m.
To participate or see information about the spectacular (adult version) seven-hour long West Indian Day Parade, which traditionally draws more than a million spectators, visit wiadcacarnival.org.
WOODHULL HOSPITAL HOSTS BACK-TO-SCHOOL FEST GIVEAWAY
BUSHWICK, BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES IN BUSHWICK AND SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOODS NOW HAVE BACKPACKS and school supplies, thanks to an event that also fostered the prevention of gun violence. NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull hosted its Third Annual Back-to-School Fest/Gun Violence Prevention Community Event, distributing around 1,750 backpacks and school supplies to the community with donations from generous hospital staff, elected officials and community organizations that collaborated in the giveaway and the collective efforts to address gun violence, build stronger communities and equip students to excel. The event included CPR-practice sessions with mannequins and the FDNY, and a tour inside a garbage truck with the City of New York Department of Sanitation.
Among the donors and speakers were State Sen. Jabari Brisport (D-25) — a former teacher — and Assemblymember Maritza Davila (AD-53). Woodhull’s Cure Violence/Wick Against Violence Program, funded by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, also participated.
JUST ONE BROOKLYN WEED RETAILER ON LIST OF 30 ALLOWED TO OPEN
MARINE PARK — JUST ONE BROOKLYN CANNABIS RETAILER is on the list of 30 — out of more than 400 licensed statewide — to be exempt from a preliminary court injunction that blocks any further expansion of the state’s weed retail market. State officials submitted the roster to the court on Tuesday, according to Gothamist. If the judge accepts the list, the Brooklyn company, Grow Together, LLC, will be able to move forward with plans to open under the state’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary program.
According to NY Company Registry, Grow Together’s CEO is listed as Steven Sapoznik, and the company is headquartered on Avenue R near Marine Park.
BIOMEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH: COFFEE AND MUSIC TOGETHER AID BRAINWAVES THAT HELP MEMORY TASKS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — MUSIC AND COFFEE GO HAND-IN-HAND TO IMPROVE COGNITIVE performance in certain tasks, a research team at NYU Tandon School of Engineering has found. Rose Faghih, an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tandon, and her team discovered that music and coffee measurably altered subjects’ brain arousal and placed them in a physiological state of mind conducive to memory tasks. They conducted a Mindwatch Study that analyzes a person’s brain activity from data collected on a device on the person’s wrist and from a headband.
The study’s authors, who envision utilizing safe, noninvasive stimuli such as music to encourage desired brain states, discovered that listening to music and drinking coffee activates higher levels of beta band power in brain waves.
CITY DOESN’T RECOMMEND SWIMMING AT CONEY ISLAND RIGHT NOW
CONEY ISLAND — UNLESS YOU ENJOY SWIMMING THROUGH fecal matter, the NYC Health Department wants to discourage you from taking a dip at Coney Island Beach at this time. DOH’s Beach Water Quality data shows high levels of bacteria, which generally derive from sewage overflow following rains. The beach’s location on the Water Quality Map is marked with a yellow dot, which means “Swimming and wading permitted but not recommended.”
Before heading to any metro beach, call 311, text BEACH to 55676 or go to on.nyc.gov/2eJRxxz to get updated information on water quality.
NYU TANDON AWARDED ONE OF FIRST GRANTS FOR PUBLIC WIRELESS RESEARCH AND ENHANCEMENT
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NYU TANDON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING HAS RECEIVED ONE OF THE FIRST GRANTS from the Biden Administration’s new Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, the university announced on Thursday, Aug. 24. The Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund is part of a federal CHIPs Act program supporting the development of open and interoperable 5G and future generation cellular technologies. The grant will support NYU Tandon’s NYU WIRELESS research center’s work on optimizing cellular services within the upper mid-band 7 to 24 GHz frequency range, known as FR3.
The Biden Administration, which selected NYU Tandon’s project as one of three from the 127 proposals it received, announced the $2 million five-year award, which the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration oversees.
SAM BANKMAN-FRIED COMPLAINS BROOKLYN JAIL KEEPS FEEDING HIM MEAT
SUNSET PARK — SAM “SBF” BANKMAN-FRIED IS NOT HAPPY being treated like all the other prisoners in Brooklyn’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center, getting neither his meat substitutes nor his Adderall, online outlet Futurism reports. The alleged crypto-fraudster’s lawyer says that their client, a vegan, is “subsisting on bread and water” and “sometimes peanut butter” because the jail keeps offering him only “flesh meals.”
He’s lucky he wasn’t there in 2019. More than 1,000 people who endured a week without heat or electricity in the infamous hell hole during that year’s freezing polar vortex will share a settlement worth millions, the Brooklyn Eagle reported Wednesday.
BROOKLYN-BORN FR. JAMES F. JOYCE, JESUIT PRIEST WHO MINISTERED IN HOSPITAL AND PRISONS, PASSES AT 78
PARK SLOPE TO FLATBUSH — BROOKLYN-BORN FATHER JAMES F. JOYCE, SJ, who died last month at age 78, would have celebrated his birthday this week, reports The Tablet. A graduate of St. Saviour Elementary School in Park Slope and then Regis High School in Manhattan, Fr. Joyce entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a religious order for men, and studied philosophy at Loyola Seminary. After working at Covenant House, during which time he professed his final vows to enter the Jesuits, Fr. Joyce served as an associate at St. Ignatius Parish in Brooklyn while working as a part-time chaplain at Kings County Hospital during the early 1980s.
Fr. Joyce later ministered as a prison chaplain at Rikers Island and “The Tombs” before being assigned as the local superior at the Manida St. Jesuit Community in Hunts Point.
BROOKLYN MAN INDICTED FOR KIDNAPPING FIVE WOMEN AND NUMEROUS OTHER CRIMES
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A BROOKLYN MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED in Brooklyn federal court on a 20-count superseding indictment for kidnapping, interstate prostitution, device fraud and other crimes, the United Attorney for the Eastern District and U.S. Department of Justice announced. Chad Barclay (address not disclosed) has been charged with a criminal pattern that involved interstate prostitution, Hobbs Act robbery, kidnapping, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding. Those crimes involved five female victims and one male, who was the victim of access-device fraud and aggravated identity theft. The defendant also compelled the victims to unlock their phones so he could take control of the devices and transfer thousands of dollars to himself through various financial platforms.
Arrested in May, Barclay was ordered detained pending trial and will be arraigned at a later date on the superseding indictment — which is an amendment or revision of the original document, usually with new or updated information.
NYC LOST 100,000 APARTMENTS. NEW STUDY DISCOVERS WHERE THEY WENT
CITYWIDE — RESEARCH BY A HISTORIC PRESERVATIONIST for his thesis discovered that NYC lost more than 100,000 apartments over the last 70 years due to consolidations of smaller apartments into larger ones, according to a report in THE CITY. In some cases, half a dozen apartments or even a dozen were combined to make a single, one-family residence. Over the last 70 years, Brooklyn lost the most row house units of any borough, through the practice of “brownstoning” dilapidated row houses through historic restoration.
Adam Brodheim reviewed decades of building and planning records on historic row houses for his thesis at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.
TANDON PROFESSOR SPEAKS AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ABOUT CYBER-HUMAN INTERACTION RESEARCH
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND CAPITOL HILL — NYU Tandon School of Engineering Professor Quanyan Zhu last month participated in a congressional briefing in the U.S. Capitol that the National Science Foundation and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee hosted. They focused on the importance of funding research that strengthens infrastructure. Zhu and his research partner, NYU College of Arts & Science Emily Balcetis, discussed their work on creating AI-enabled technologies to help alleviate security risks involved with cyber-physical-human infrastructure systems.
Among Professor Zhu’s research interests are Game Theory and Applications Dynamic Games and Control Theory, cybersecurity, power systems and renewable energy.
MALLIOTAKIS BILL WOULD BAN MIGRANT HOUSING IN NATIONAL PARKS
NATIONAL — REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) SAID SHE WILL BE INTRODUCING LEGISLATION to ban migrant housing in any national park, including Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, according to the Staten Island Advance. The Biden Administration has drawn up a tentative contract that would allow the state to utilize Floyd Bennett Field as a shelter for asylum seekers, Gov. Hochul said Monday.
“Look, we’re a compassionate city, but this is ridiculous. This is beyond compassion. This is ludicrous,” Malliotakis said at a gathering at Fort Wadsworth in S.I. on Wednesday.
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