The Democratic National Convention will be in Philly. DNC organizers said they decided against Brooklyn for logistical reasons, including travel between midtown hotels and Barclays and securing the residential area around the arena, numerous outlets reported.
As soon as the decision was announced yesterday, some small business owners near the Barclays area said they were disappointed. Just a few weeks earlier a group of the same had organized to oppose the convention, saying it would mean a loss in business for them.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seriously considering basing her second presidential campaign here in Brooklyn, The Hill reported. The borough’s diversity will help attract young and minority voters, and Brooklyn’s transformation over the last decade could be a useful symbol for the campaign. Her team plans to formally launch her 2016 campaign in July, according to the paper.
In other Brooklyn political news, Mayor de Blasio gave his State of the City speech today, focusing once again on affordable housing. While he didn’t spend much time on Brooklyn specifically, he did mention East New York is one of the neighborhoods that will be rezoned for mandatory affordable housing, and he plans to expand ferry service to southern Brooklyn. DNAinfo reported that the new routes would include service to Red Hook, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bay Ridge and Coney Island.
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery is organizing a conference Thursday evening to discuss how tenants could be affected by changes in the rent regulation laws, which are due to expire this summer. The New York State Senate will decide whether to renew them on June 15. Several local politicians, including Mayor de Blasio, are pushing for the repeal of the 1971 Urstadt Law, which gives the state control over rent regulation instead of the city. Many of those politicians will appear at tomorrow’s conference, including state senators Montgomery and Hamilton, as well as City Council members Laurie Cumbo, Stephen Levin, Carlos Menchaca and Robert Cornegy Jr. State Assembly members Joe Lentol, Walter Mosley and Felix Ortiz will also attend.
The Affordable Housing Crisis will take place January 15 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at 85 South Oxford Street. RSVP by emailing or calling Senator Montgomery’s office at 718-643-6140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A slew of Brooklyn pols, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, state assembly members, and city council members gave away 1,000 turkeys to senior centers, churches, community groups and families in Sunset Park, Brownsville and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn today, according to an email we received from the office of New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton.
Photo via office of New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton
Mayor de Blasio yesterday announced $76,800,000 in new funding for development at the Navy Yard, particularly for Building 77, numerous outlets reported. The program expands one started by the Bloomberg administration.
That brings city spending to modernize Building 77 to a total of $140,000,000. The former ammunition depot, pictured above, is the largest building at the complex with 17 stories and 960,000 square feet. Its revamp will bring 3,000 jobs to the area, the administration estimates.
The now-empty Building 77 will be ready in 2016, according to The Brooklyn Eagle. Some tenants have already been lined up, including motorcycle maker FXE Industries and Shiel Medical Laboratories. Brooklyn Grange may build a green roof for it.
Former District Leader Renee Collymore has organized an emergency town hall meeting with school principals, residents and business owners to discuss safety in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill after an incident last month when 20 or 30 “unsupervised students from local schools began a terrifying brawl outside a quiet coffee shop,” on Vanderbilt between Dekalb and Lafayette, according to a flyer we spotted in the neighborhood. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Council Member Laurie Cumbo are expected to attend.
Collymore witnessed the fight on October 9, and said police did not show up when called to break up an earlier fight on October 5, according to a story in DNAinfo. The meeting is set for Wednesday, November 19 from 6:30 to 8 pm at P.S. 20 at 225 Adelphi Street.
Back in July, we wondered what was in store for the former Unity Democratic Club at 203 Ralph Avenue in Bed Stuy. We hadn’t seen any signs of life there in years. In July, the old sign came down and the landlord appeared to be sprucing up the place for a new tenant, or perhaps to advertise the space for lease.
Well, now we know: The building is actually the one at the center of the dispute between City Council Member Darlene Mealy and her office landlord. To recap in case you have not been following: She is months behind on her rent, and owes $7,500, according to her landlord quoted in the Post. The landlord changed the locks, and she had him arrested. He retaliated by draping three banners on the building’s fire escape proclaiming her to be a deadbeat tenant.
The banners read: “Councilwoman Darlene Mealy is a deadbeat tenant. She owes five months rent for 203 Ralph and refuses to pay. Her monthly rent is $1,250. She offered me $1,000. This is another prime example of one local elected official who has failed me, you and this community.” (more…)
The city has allocated $5,200,0000 to upgrade nine Brooklyn parks and public spaces in 2015, a 10 percent increase over this year’s budget, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced yesterday. Some of the improvements, reported by The New York Daily News, include: (more…)
Brooklyn District 45 City Council Member Jumaane Williams has proposed that community boards review all hotel developments in their areas, even as-of-right projects. Williams chairs the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings.
The purpose of the law is to preserve the character of neighborhoods, Williams told The Real Deal. “This legislation is needed to protect character of neighborhoods across this city, as communities change faster than zoning. Whenever a hotel, with a large number of transient occupants, is built, consideration must be given to its impact on the people living in that neighborhood,” he said.
Current zoning allows developers to build hotels in industrial neighborhoods where residential construction is not permitted. Above, an industrial building at 55 Wythe Street in a protected Williamsburg industrial zone is slated to be replaced by a hotel. Hotels have also been sprouting up in residential areas of Brooklyn, such as Sunset Park. Real estate execs said the proposed legislation would slow construction.
Yesterday mayor elect Bill de Blasio announced Goldman Sachs exec Alicia Glen will be his deputy mayor for housing and economic development, a key appointment for a pol who has pledged to end the economic divide in New York City. Questions were immediately raised about her current position working for one of the highest-paying companies in the city.
“I don’t care about any stereotypes or assumptions,” The New York Times quoted de Blasio as saying in response to questions about her Goldman employment. “I care about who shares my values and can get the job done.”
Glen was assistant commissioner for housing finance at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Mayor Giuliani. At Goldman, Glen “runs a division that focuses on good works,” as the Times put it. Goldman’s Urban Investment Group helps finance projects in neighborhoods that have difficulty attracting loans and investment. Projects have included a program to reduce recidivism among ex-convicts; Citi Bike; and development of manufacturing, retail and office space at Brownstoner’s 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights.
Probably nothing sums up controversial, disgraced former state pol Vito Lopez’s modus operandi better than the sign that tops the entrance of affordable housing complex Rheingold Gardens on Bushwick Avenue, pictured above. “Thank you Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez” it says, over “Rheingold Gardens,” as if that were part of the name of the building.
A lengthy and exhaustive look at Lopez’s impact on his home base of Bushwick by the BK Bureau may actually understate his accomplishments there. Lopez and the nonprofit Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (which he founded) owned, managed, built or protected via legislation most of the affordable and rent stabilized housing in Bushwick as well as arranged health care, senior services and, in some cases, jobs for area residents.
When recent college graduates with arty professions started moving into the loft area, Lopez was quick to align his interests with theirs, passing the Loft Law, to help them legalize and stay in their apartments. Not everyone in Bushwick liked the guy or the appearance of machine politics, but he got a lot done. Now that he’s gone, by coincidence or not, the second stage of Rheingold Brewery development isn’t primarily low income and affordable housing but rather the usual private development common in Northern Brooklyn, with 20 percent set aside for affordable housing. That law, by the way — Lopez made it.
After court challenges about discrimination, Lopez project the Broadway Triangle development appears dead, but the Ridgewood Bushwick Council continues, with plans to build two 24-unit affordable apartments to passive house standards.
As Gowanus transforms with major developments — from Whole Foods to luxury hotels to Lightstone Group’s 700-unit apartment complex and the EPA’s long-anticipated cleanup of the canal — local politicians are inviting residents to map out a vision for change in the area at a series of public meetings starting Monday, December 9. The blogger behind Pardon Me for Asking, which was the first to report on the upcoming events, said she doubted the public could have much influence over development, though, citing Mayor Elect Bill de Blasio’s longstanding support for the Lightstone project.
At the meeting, called by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Council Member Steven Levin and Council Member Brad Lander, the Pratt Center for Community Development will present findings from previous invitation-only meetings. The goals of the series of meetings are to facilitate consensus, influence de Blasio’s thinking on the area, air a variety of viewpoints and, finally, outline a community-based plan for a “safe, vibrant and sustainable Gowanus area,” said Pardon Me For Asking.
The events will “tackle major questions,” said a story in DNAinfo, including “whether residential development should be allowed in the industrial neighborhood, how to protect Gowanus from flooding and how to preserve the area’s thriving manufacturing and artisanal businesses.”
The first meeting will take place at The Children’s School at 512 Carroll Street from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. What do you think should happen in the area?