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What’s News, Breaking: Friday, September 1, 2023

September 1, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NY CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION WARNS AGAINST NYPD’S
POTENTIAL ABUSE OF DRONES AT PUBLIC GATHERINGS

CITYWIDE — CIVIL LIBERTIES LEADERS ARE CRITICIZING THE NYC POLICE Department’s decision to employ drones over large gatherings in the city this weekend, particularly during one of Brooklyn’s largest traditions within the Caribbean community, the West Indian Day Parade and related events that take place each Labor Day along on Eastern Parkway. “Deploying surveillance drones over New Yorkers gathering with their friends and families to celebrate J’ouvert is racialized discrimination and it doesn’t make us safer,” said Daniel Schwarz, Senior Privacy & Technology Strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union. Schwarz charged that “The NYPD is playing fast and loose with our First and Fourth Amendment protections and continues to undermine the POST Act requirements to transparently disclose their surveillance technology policies — and follow them.”

“As the NYPD keeps deploying these dystopian technologies, we must push for stricter guardrails — especially given the department’s lengthy history of surveilling and policing Black and Brown communities,” Schwarz warned.

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HEALTH DEPT. CONDUCTS MORE PESTICIDE
SPRAYING IN SW BROOKLYN NEIGHBORHOODS 

SOUTHWEST BROOKLYN — THE NYC HEALTH DEPARTMENT on Tuesday, Sept. 5, (rain date of Wednesday, Sept. 6, if needed) will conduct overnight mosquito pesticide spraying in parts of Southwest Brooklyn to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus. The boundaries of the area to be sprayed are roughly Coney Island Creek, Gravesend Bay to the South and southwest; 83rd Street, Fort Hamilton Parkway to the west; 60th Street to the north; and, McDonald Avenue, Shell Road to the east. The neighborhoods include Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Fort Hamilton, Mapleton, and New Utrecht.

The Health Department will use very low concentrations of Anvil® 10+10, Duet® or MERUS® 3, and advises Brooklynites with sensitivities to stay indoors. Air conditioners can be left on; those needing to can select the recirculate function. Any fruits and vegetables from home gardens should be washed thoroughly.

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BIRTH CONTROL ‘GRUB’ FOR RATS FAILS;
THEY WENT FOR THE GARBAGE INSTEAD 

BRYANT PARK AND CITYWIDE — RATS AREN’T TAKING THE BAIT. The city’s latest contraceptive bait scheme, targeting Bryant Park adjacent to the New York Public Library, has failed, reports Gothamist. The plan, which was part of the city’s war on rats, involved the Bryant Park Corporation’s purchase of two dozen “ContraPest” bait stations that contained a liquid contraceptive from Arizona-based SenesTech. The price tag: $3,000 for a product that reportedly worked in California and at the Miami and Los Angeles zoos. However, the contraceptive-lined baits were no match for the tempting garbage generated in a park with several food kiosks. Think “‘Charlotte Web’s’ Templeton at the county fair.”

Bryant Park Corporation spokesman Joe Carella told Gothamist that the plan, which lasted about six weeks, proved unsuccessful, as had a prior sterilization initiative. Kathleen Corrardi, Mayor Eric Adams’ rat czar, had said last month that rats would have had to consume a huge amount of the bait to become infertile.

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BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN COMMISSIONS ADDITIONAL MUSICAL COMPOSITION

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — ACCLAIMED COMPOSER KAMALA SANKARAM, who is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 2023 Artist in Residence, has been commissioned to compose an additional work to premiere this fall. Earlier this summer, the BBG introduced Ms. Sanskaram as this year’s Artist in Residence, to blend her musical gifts with a study of the Garden’s trees. Vocal sextet ensemble The Western Wind will perform the first work, Cultivar, which has five movements, each focused on a different BBG tree: The Garden, in which Sankaram sings and plays the sitar will incorporate audio from her interviews with BBG staff members and community members, collected on her quest to learn more about how the Garden’s collection of trees is maintained and appreciated.

The live performances of Kamala Sankaram’s Cultivar and The Garden will take place at Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are included with Garden admission. Visit bbg.org to reserve tickets.

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GRAFFITI PIONEER AL DÍAZ’S ART FEATURED AT EXHIBIT, BOOK SIGNING

INDUSTRY CITY — THE BROOKLYN MADE STORE WILL JOIN FORCES on Friday, Sept. 1, with Collect With Lulu and Silvertuna Studio to bring globally-recognized graffiti pioneer Al Díaz’s new artwork to the Corner Gallery at Industry City. The Brooklyn-based legend will appear at the store’s gallery as part of the exhibit opening for a book signing at the new Brooklyn Made Store. Born and raised in New York City, Al Díaz gained fame by age 15 as a prolific and influential, first-generation subway graffiti artist. Díaz is best known for his friendship with Jean-Michel Basquiat and collaboration on SAMO©, (a late 70s Avant-garde graffiti tag project), which has gained a place in contemporary art history.

The Brooklyn Made Store, an enterprise of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce that opened at Industry City in May, showcases the work of Brooklyn artists, makers and creators.

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BP FUNDS TWO NEW AMBULANCES FOR BROOKLYN HATZOLOH SERVICES

WILLIAMSBURG/BORO PARK — BOROUGH PRESIDENT ANTONIO REYNOSO on Thursday announced he is allocating $575,000 in capital funding to Hatzoloh Incorporated, a volunteer Orthodox Jewish EMS service, to buy two new all-electric ambulances — one to cover the Boro Park area and the other to cover the Williamsburg area.  “Growing up in Williamsburg, I saw firsthand how Hatzoloh enhances the health of entire neighborhoods,” Reynoso said in a statement. Councilmember Kalman Yeger said the BP’s allocation would supplement the $885,000 he was providing for an additional three ambulances. 

Rabbi Hershel Weber founded Hatzoloh in 1969 during a time when ambulances often took more than 20 minutes to reach patients, according to Flatbush Hatzoloh.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso puts his John Hancock on a symbolic check for $575,000 which will fund two new electric ambulances for the borough’s Orthodox Jewish Hatzoloh EMS services.
Photo: Office of the Brooklyn BP

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MAN WHO FELL OFF MOPED WAS HIT & KILLED BY CAR DRIVEN BY UNLICENSED DRIVER

SUNSET PARK — A MAN RIDING A MOPED on Third Avenue in Sunset Park just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday fell off the scooter as he approached the intersection at 51st Street, where he slid into a passing Honda Civic, suffered severe head trauma and died, police said. A preliminary investigation conducted by the NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad determined that Waki Knight, 41, was operating the 2022 Jiajue unregistered moped just blocks from his home on 52nd Street. The man driving the Honda Civic, Justin Vargas, 26, a resident of Coney Island, was taken into custody and charged with driving without a license. 

Knight was transported by EMS to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn where he was pronounced deceased. The incident remains under investigation, police said.

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COST TO RENT AN APARTMENT IN BROOKLYN JUMPED 1% IN ONE MONTH

BROOKLYN — OVER THE PAST MONTH, the average rental price in Brooklyn has increased by 1.07%, from $3,636 to $3,675 in August 2023, according to Brooklyn-based MNS Real Estate. The neighborhoods with the largest month-over-month increases include Brooklyn Heights, where rent on a two-bedroom increased an eye-popping 9.7% in one month, from $5,880 to $6,452; and Fort Greene, where studios increased from $3,018 to $3,312. Apartment rents in Borough Park and Sunset Park bucked the trend, however. In these neighborhoods, rent actually decreased 6.8% for a one-bedroom, from $2,241 to $2,087.

The most expensive studios, one- and two-bedrooms in August were in DUMBO, with prices averaging $3,877, $4,951, and $7,161, respectively. August’s least expensive studios are located in Bay Ridge, with prices averaging $1,665.

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 BROOKLYN-BASED ICE CREAM HOUSE RECALLS ALL ITS DAIRY AND PAREVE PRODUCTS

BOROUGHWIDE — THE ICE CREAM HOUSE, with stores in Borough Park, Flatbush and Williamsburg, is voluntarily recalling all Dairy Ice Cream Products and non-dairy [parve] frozen dessert products due to a potential health risk with Listeria monocytogenes. The products being recalled, which are no longer being made or distributed, were sold at the Ice Cream House in Brooklyn (kosher products) and through retail supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. This latest recall is related to the Soft Serve on the go cups which had been previously recalled by Real Kosher Ice Cream, Inc where two cases of illnesses requiring hospitalization have been reported in New York and Pennsylvania (see Brooklyn Eagle coverage of Aug. 11.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

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WAPO INVESTIGATION CONFIRMS: BROOKLYN PIZZA IS BEST IN COUNTRY, MAYBE THE WORLD

BROOKLYN — A JOURNALIST FROM THE WASHINGTON POST made the trek from D.C. to Brooklyn on a matter of national importance: to see if New York City — specifically Brooklyn — really has the best pizza in the entire country. “I’ve spent years writing about food, and I was still skeptical the gap between New York and everywhere else could be so large,” WaPo’s Deputy Editor Gabe Hiatt wrote on Thursday.  Now, he says, Brooklyn’s passionate pizzamakers “helped me see the light.”

Hiatt took a self-guided crawl through Brooklyn’s single-slice landscape, visiting six pizza shops in one day. “They were right. Consider this crawl my capitulation,” he concluded. Hiatt’s journey to wisdom can be found online.

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JUDGE HALTS ALREADY SLOW LEGAL WEED ROLLOUT, POTENTIALLY JEOPARDIZING ENTIRE PROGRAM 

STATEWIDE — AN UPSTATE JUDGE HAS PUT THE STOP SIGN ON AN ALREADY SLOW ROLLOUT of legal cannabis in a case that could jeopardize the entire weed industry before it burgeons, reports the Daily News. Although Albany Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant had initially given cannabis shops the green light to open, in an exemption to an injunction that has placed a pause on the opening of new dispensaries, on Monday, Aug. 28, he reversed his decision after ruling that the state’s Office of Cannabis Management failed to comply with the court. However, Judge Bryant did rule that applicants who had received the necessary approvals before Aug. 7 would be allowed to proceed with their openings.

A factor in Judge Bryant’s decision was a disabled veterans’ lawsuit claiming that the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary program (CAURD, which prioritizes granting retail licenses to people with past marijuana convictions and their family members), did not align sufficiently with a broader 2021 Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which legalized marijuana in New York.


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