What’s News, Breaking: Friday, November 3, 2023
PROSPECT HTS. GROUP REBUKES CITY ON DELAYS
IN MAKING INTERSECTIONS SAFE FOR PEDESTRIANS
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT AND PROSPECT HTS. — THE IDENTITY OF AN ELDERLY WOMAN WHO WAS KILLED in two consecutive hit-and-run incidents within a minute has been disclosed, with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Council issuing a strong rebuke about neglected safety improvements in the area. Yvonne Sandiford, 79, was struck and killed while crossing the intersection of New York Ave. and Herkimer St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to NYPD reports. The first car that struck Ms. Sandiford rendered her unable to get up; then, a second vehicle hit her fatally. First responders arriving on the scene were not able to revive her. Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development chair Gib Veconi pointed out, “The intersection where Yvonne Sandiford was killed had no pedestrian safety features, such as curb extensions or daylighting. PHNDC has continuously been calling on City Hall to complete the Underhill Avenue redesign in Prospect Heights, which includes these measures at many of the street’s intersections, yet has faced unnecessary and arbitrary delays.
The number of Prospect Heights residents over 60 years old increased by 83% between 2010 and 2021, Veconi said. Sandiford was the matriarch of a large family from Barbados.
BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY MOVES TO VACATE CONVICTION BASED ON FAULTY WITNESS STATEMENTS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PLANS TO VACATE THE CONVICTION OF A MAN WHO SPENT 35 YEARS IN PRISON BASED ON THE TESTIMONY OF AN EYEWITNESS found to be unreliable, following a thorough reinvestigation by the DA’s Conviction Review Unit. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, on Nov. 3, that he will move to vacate the conviction of Detroy Livingston, 59, who was convicted after a 1986 trial in connection with a marijuana-connected murder that happened four years earlier inside a Bedford-Stuyvesant bodega. The reinvestigation found that the sole eyewitness was highly unreliable, having given numerous contradictory statements and being high on crack cocaine when she allegedly witnessed the incident. Paroled in 2021, Livingston was scheduled to appear in court on Friday morning before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic at the Criminal Term court building on 320 Jay Street.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This old conviction was predicated on the testimony of a single witness who, based on a reinvestigation by my Conviction Review Unit, should have never been called to testify at trial.”
COLTON SPONSORS FORUM ON ANTI-BULLYING LAW
BENSONHURST — THE CHINESE AMERICAN SOCIAL SERVICE CENTER HELD A FORUM this past Wednesday, Nov. 1, with State Assemblymember William Colton (D-47) as one of the keynote speakers. Colton sponsored this forum in the aftermath of a recent bullying incident at I.S. 201 within his district, which stretches from Bath Beach to Dyker Heights. Assemblymember Colton spoke to the parents in attendance about the anti-bullying law that New York State originally passed in 2010, The Dignity for All Students Law, whose goal, according to the New York State Department of Education, is “to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.”
Other speakers included representatives of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Parent Engagement at Seth Low Intermediate School, the Federation of Italian-American Organizations, and youth officers from the 62nd Precinct.
NYC AND LYFT PARTNER TO EXPAND CITY BIKE SYSTEM
CITYWIDE — THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND RIDE-SHARING GIANT LYFT WILL EXPAND AND IMPROVE THE CITY BIKE SYSTEM, as ridership record experiences highs, Mayor Eric Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced on Friday, Nov. 3. Citi Bike will double its electric bike fleet and pilot at least two electrified charging/docking stations by the end of next year, with plans to electrify 20% of stations in the coming years. Citi Bike, which has already added 2,800 classic bikes and replaced 2,200 existing bikes as a part of its Phase 3 expansion, will also introduce new price caps to its e-bike pricing model.
This fall, Lyft is partnering with DOT to run a reduced-fare bike share outreach and marketing campaign to expand community awareness about the Citi Bike membership program.
POPPY’S IS ABOUT TO OPEN IN BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — LOCALS WHO HAVE BEEN MISSING CRANBERRY’S deli at 48 Henry St. will be happy to know that Poppy’s bakery and deli is having its soft opening on Nov. 3-5 for shortened hours, and a grand opening with full hours on Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Brooklyn Heights Blog reports. Poppy’s owner and creative director Jamie Erickson told BHB that they are “so beyond thrilled to finally open our doors in Brooklyn Heights.”
See details, photos, and a bit of Poppy’s mouth-watering menu at brooklynheightsblog.com.
BROOKLYN E.R. DOCS HEADED TO UKRAINE TO TRAIN MED STUDENTS
BROOKLYN — AN EMERGENCY DOCTOR FROM MAIMONIDES HOSPITAL is leading a team of seven emergency physicians to Ukraine on Saturday to share life-saving skills with medical students and professionals there, CBS reports. Dr. Joshua Schiller, Director of Social Emergency Medicine at Maimonides, visited in April to see what the needs on the ground are.
The work is part of a charitable organization he helped found called International Medical Response. The doctors will stay in Ukraine for a week, and then continue to advise the Ukrainian medical students virtually.
VICTIM ATTACKED BY TWO WOMEN ON 4 TRAIN
PARK SLOPE — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR TWO WOMEN who allegedly assaulted a 30-year-old female victim while they were riding on a southbound 4 Train in Brooklyn on Oct. 11 at roughly 12:30 a.m. Cops said the two women punched and kicked the victim, then disembarked at the Grand Army Plaza/Flatbush Avenue station. The victim sustained bruising, scratches and a laceration to the lip. The first suspect has a dark complexion and was last seen wearing a gray zip-up long-sleeve shirt, black leggings and blue sneakers. The second suspect has a dark complexion and was wearing a gray top, blue jeans and white sneakers.
If you have information call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or log onto Crime Stoppers.
BROOKLYN’S AVENUE J SUBWAY STATION IS FRESHLY ‘RE-NEW-VATED’
MIDWOOD — MTA ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY THAT TRANSIT CREWS have completed functional and aesthetic upgrades at the Avenue J subway station in Midwood. Ceilings, walls, columns and entrances were scraped and repainted; graffiti on platform sheds was painted over; outdated signage was removed and lighting repaired. In addition, overgrown vegetation was trimmed back and canopy gutters were cleaned to prevent leaks onto the platform during heavy rainstorms.
The work was part of New York City Transit’s Re-NEW-vation Program which utilizes planned service outages to perform station-wide repairs, enhancements and deep cleaning, MTA said in a release.
FDNY: GET A FREE NATURAL GAS DETECTOR FROM CON EDISON
CITYWIDE — FDNY FIRE COMMISSIONER LAURA KAVANAGH ON THURSDAY URGED NYC RESIDENTS with Con Edison accounts to take advantage of free natural gas detectors available from the company. The detectors alert residents to dangerous levels of natural gas and simultaneously notify Con Edison’s Gas Emergency Response Center and FDNY of a potentially explosive gas leak. To schedule a free installation, call Con Edison at 1-800-643-1289, select option #4, or email [email protected].
If your gas alarm sounds or you smell a natural gas leak, evacuate immediately and call 911 when safely outside, Kavanagh said in a release. Natural gas has a distinctive, strong odor, like rotten eggs.
FEDS INVESTIGATING IF ADAMS CAMPAIGN ‘CONSPIRED WITH THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT’
CITYWIDE — AFTER THURSDAY’S STARTLING REVELATION THAT THE FBI HAD RAIDED THE HOME of Mayor Eric Adams’ chief fundraiser — leading Adams to skip scheduled meetings with federal officials in D.C. about the migrant situation — yet another bombshell was dropped by the New York Times: Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. are conducting a “broad public corruption investigation” into whether Adams’s 2021 election campaign “conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal foreign donations.” Investigators are also looking at the possible involvement of a Brooklyn construction company with ties to Turkey, and a small university that has ties to both Turkey and Adams.
At a Day of the Dead celebration in NYC Thursday night, Adams said, “I have not been contacted by anyone from any law enforcement agency, and that’s why I came back from D.C., to be here, to be on the ground and look at this inquiry as it was made,” according to a transcript of the event made available by City Hall.
NY ATTORNEY GENERAL OPENS PROBE INTO NYPD’S
SHOOTING OF MAN WHO HAD KILLED HIS NEIGHBORS
FLATBUSH AND BATH BEACH — THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATION (OSI) HAS OPENED an investigation into the death of Jason Pass, who died on Nov. 1, 2023, following an encounter with members of the New York City Police Department. According to the Daily News and other reports from the NYPD, Jason Pass, 47, is the alleged killer who was caught on video surveillance while shooting Bladimy Mathurin — also 47 — and Mathurin’s 27-year-old stepson Chin Wai Mode in the hallway of their Flatbush Gardens apartment building last month. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, NYPD officers who were engaged in an active criminal investigation allegedly encountered Mr. Pass, who was sitting in a car that was pulled over next to the sidewalk on Bay 44th Street in Brooklyn, but who then ran away. The officers, catching up with him, talked to him to de-escalate the situation. In the process, Mr. Pass brandished a knife and charged it at them. The officers returned fire. Mr. Pass was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
New York State Executive Law Section 70-b requires the State Attorney General’s OSI to assess every incident reported to it where a police officer or a peace officer, including a corrections officer, may have caused the death of a person by an act or omission.
FREE EVENT AIMS TO PREVENT CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS
MANHATTAN BEACH — BROOKLYN VEHICLE OWNERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND A FREE catalytic converter theft prevention event that State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-southern Brooklyn) is sponsoring in collaboration with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. During the first-come, first-serve event, being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kingsborough Community College parking lot (2001 Oriental Blvd.), etching and stencil services are provided free of charge. This simple yet effective measure takes about 8-10 minutes per vehicle. In the unfortunate event that a vehicle’s catalytic converter is stolen, the New York Police Department (NYPD) now has the capability to track the part, prevent it from being accepted at scrap yards and return it to its rightful owner.
Catalytic converter theft has surged across the nation, posing a significant public safety challenge in our neighborhoods.
FDNY: NO FIRE HYDRANTS NEAR MIGRANT TENTS AT FLOYD BENNETT FIELD
MARINE PARK — FDNY AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS CITED A NUMBER OF ‘RED FLAGS’ at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, where the Adams administration is housing migrant families in huge tents, according to the New York Post. An inspection revealed that there are “no hydrants in close proximity” to the shelter site, with the closest being a half mile away on Flatbush Avenue. City Hall told the Post, however, that FDNY drew up operation plans and conducted fire safety drills in advance of the encampment opening.
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless have also commented that the migrant camp was “a recipe for disaster” because of poor sanitation and other issues, according to a transcript of Wednesday’s News 4 segment provided by the Mayor’s Office.
MAN DISPLAYS FIREARM ON COURT STREET IN BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN DISPLAYED A FIREARM in the vicinity of Court Street at Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights at roughly 9:17 a.m. Thursday morning, police said. A witness told the Brooklyn Eagle that numerous police officers briefly flooded nearby Montague Street at that time.
No shots were fired and the man disappeared, police told the Eagle. No description is available at this time.
ATTACK ON BROOKLYN SUBWAY PLATFORM LEAVES VICTIM WITH BRAIN HEMORRHAGE
PROSPECT PARK SOUTH — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR A DANGEROUS INDIVIDUAL who approached a 29-year-old man standing on the southbound Q train platform at the Church Avenue station Tuesday night at roughly 11:10 p.m. and punched him multiple times in the face. The victim fell and hit his head against a departing Q train. EMS transported him to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County in stable condition, where he is being treated for bleeding in the brain. The suspect is described as a male with a dark complexion, approximately 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a black ski mask, a blue Rick and Morty jacket, blue jeans and white sneakers.
Anyone with information is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website.
FORMER NAVY SRO IN BOERUM HILL FETCHED HIGHEST PRICE IN BROOKLYN LAST WEEK
BOERUM HILL — A FORMER BOARDING HOUSE FOR WWII NAVY VETERANS was the priciest home in Brooklyn to find a buyer between Oct. 23 and Oct. 29, according to The Real Deal. The five-story, four-bedroom, four-bath renovated townhouse at 82 Dean St. was priced at $7 million. Metro Loft’s chief marketing officer Mitchell Wasser and his wife Samantha Haber, co-founder of the vegan restaurant chain By Chloe, renovated the building after it had been vacant for five years, according to Curbed.
Haber purchased the former single-room occupancy for $1.75 million in 2014, Curbed reported.
REP. CLARKE URGES AN END TO ‘WEAPONIZATION OF HATRED’
FLATBUSH AND CAPITOL HILL — U.S. REP YVETTE D. CLARKE (D-09) HAS RELEASED A STATEMENT ON THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR, condemning the original Oct. 7 attack on innocent civilians, and calling for an end of what she believes are root causes of the entire conflict: the weaponization of racial hatred, white supremacy and the mistakes that the United States government has made since initiating the war on terror 22 years ago in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Urging “the immediate release of all hostages and the safe return of all American citizens in the region, including the hundreds of Palestinian-Americans stranded in Gaza,” Rep. Clarke stated, “It is imperative that we ensure the viability of a corridor to allow for the safe evacuation of civilians and the import of humanitarian aid, immediately.”
Describing her 9th District of NY as “home to one of the most diverse populations in the nation, Clarke said, “It is up to all of us — elected officials, parents, teachers, members of the clergy and people of goodwill — we must stand together against the rise of hate and violence.”
WORKSHOP HELPS CONGREGATIONS ASSESS THEIR SECURITY NEEDS
CROWN HEIGHTS AND CITYWIDE — A SECURITY TRAINING WORKSHOP IS BEING OFFERED FOR HOUSES OF WORSHIP within the city this Saturday, Nov. 4. The New York Disaster Interfaith Services organization is holding the free workshop, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Bright Light Baptist Church, 1676 Park Place, in Crown Heights, with the intention of helping congregations balance their mission of welcome with protecting their members. The workshop will also help congregations address unique challenges, guiding them in recognizing security vulnerabilities, practicing de-escalation techniques if incidents arise, and developing emergency operations plans.
Participants will also receive preparation to apply for the National Security Grant Program.
LAWSUIT SEEKS TO OVERTURN NYC’S OUTDOOR DINING PROGRAM
CITYWIDE — A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT WAS FILED ON MONDAY BY 30 NYC RESIDENTS seeking to overturn the city’s now-permanent outdoor dining program, amNY reports. Petitioners claim the outdoor dining sheds are destructive to neighborhoods, and illegal for not having been subject to a full environmental impact review and public comment. City officials and restaurant industry representatives, however, say the outdoor dining program kept countless eateries from having to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, saving 100,000 jobs.
Critics have said the sometimes-dingy dining structures “take away parking spots, attract rats and other vermin, are havens for homeless New Yorkers and crime, and bring noisy crowds to their blocks for all-night revelry,” according to amNY.
NYT: ADAMS CANCELS D.C. MEETINGS FOLLOWING FBI RAID ON HOME OF CHIEF FUNDRAISER
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS ON THURSDAY CANCELED SEVERAL HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS in Washington D.C. regarding the migrant crisis after agents from the FBI raided the Crown Heights home of his chief fund-raiser, Brianna Suggs, sources told the New York Times. According to the Times, Suggs, a campaign consultant who has helped raise millions for Adams, is “deeply entwined with efforts to advance the mayor’s agenda.” Evan Thies, Adams’ campaign spokesperson, did not respond to the Times’ texts or calls. Adams had been scheduled to join Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson on Thursday morning to meet with senior White House officials, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the U.S. Senate.
“The mayor returned to New York City to address a matter,” Adam’s First Deputy Press Secretary Charles Kretchmer Lutvak, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “These meetings will be rescheduled as soon as possible,” he added.
NY STATE, UBER REACH LANDMARK AGREEMENT OVER UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE LIABILITY
STATEWIDE — THE NY STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS REACHED WHAT GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL IS CALLING AN “UNPRECEDENTED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT” with Uber Technologies Inc. regarding payment of unemployment insurance contributions. The agreement, announced on Thursday, resolves both past and future unemployment insurance contributions on behalf of drivers and couriers delivering for Uber and Uber Eats. Uber will begin making quarterly payments to the New York State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and make a retroactive payment to the UI Trust Fund for payments owed since 2013. Even though NYSDOL maintains that Uber drivers and couriers are employees for purposes of unemployment insurance; and Uber holds that they are independent contractors, the two entities agree that drivers and couriers eligible for unemployment benefits should receive them, and Uber should contribute to the State’s UI Trust Fund on their behalf.
This agreement makes New York the first state in the U.S. with which Uber has agreed to a settlement that addresses both past and future unemployment insurance liability.
REP. GEORGE SANTOS SURVIVES EXPULSION VOTE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — LYING, SCAMMING AND FACING A 13-COUNT CORRUPTION INDICTMENT was not enough to get Long Island Republican George Santos booted from the House of Representatives on Wednesday, City & State reports. He survived the resolution to expel him by a vote of 213 to 179. Santos, who maintains his innocence, had urged lawmakers to hold off on expulsion, arguing that he deserves due process “and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”
City & State ranked some of Santos’ top lies here.
REP. GOLDMAN TARGETS GUN ADS AIMED AT CHILDREN
NATIONWIDE — REP. DAN GOLDMAN (NY-10) IS CO-SPONSORING A BILL authorizing the FTC to study the gun industry’s advertising aimed at children as young as ten years old. “It is entirely unacceptable that gun distributors are advertising weapons of war to children,” Goldman said in a statement on Thursday. The Responsible Firearms Marketing Act would investigate ads targeting youth younger than 18; ads that encourage the illegal use of firearms; and ads related to the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons.
A report from the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise found that the firearm manufacturers use powerful psychological ad techniques on kids, including R-rated content for boys with messaging about sex, power and masculinity, and TikTok ads for girls showing women in sexually provocative clothing holding weapons, with the caption, “Girls don’t want flowers for Valentine’s Day, we want guns.”
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