Community Board 1, which covers Williamsburg and Greenpoint, has received a staggering 106 applications for liquor licenses in September alone, DNAinfo reported. As is typical for this area, applications were not only from bars and restaurants but also from retailers such as Urban Outfitters and barber shop Blind Barber. (That’s their ad for a “drink of the week,” above.) Not every application was for a new business: 37 were for new licenses, 10 were alterations, and the rest were for renewals, which are required every few years. New businesses seeking licenses included a bar named Our Wicked Lady and a Korean restaurant called Dotory.
The huge number of bars operating in Williamsburg and, outside CB1, Bushwick, has been controversial; some residents would like to see quieter streets late at night. Do you think the community boards should try to limit the number of licenses overall or approve them for responsible establishments? Do you approve of the proliferation of licenses for businesses that aren’t bars or restaurants?
We happened upon a repairman working on this 911 call box at Grand and Gates avenues in Clinton Hill earlier this month and were cheered to hear from him that a number of these things have been brought back online in the neighborhood. Pretty cool!
Dumbo had its Graffiti Garage, Long Island City has the street art Mecca, 5Pointz, at least for a while longer. But Greenpoint appears to be stuck with some downright untalented street artists. According to an article in the Times, the neighborhood is covered in scrawl. It’s on trees and buildings, signs and statues, and, for the most part, its hardly the internationally recognized work by Banksy, Shepard Fairey or the New York-based collective Faile. The Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce has spent more than $25,000 since November painting it over. The chamber’s president told the Times, “the conventional wisdom was that most of the graffiti drawers were local, but there is another theory. Call it graffiti tourism. ‘People from the Midwest come here just to do graffiti’ and then post pictures online, he said. ‘I’ve heard that.’” Speculation aside, have you seen a an increase in graffiti in Greenpoint? Is the quality good or bad. Does it make a difference?
Bonjour Brooklyn! That’s the name of a feature in this month’s Vogue that shows models who live in Brooklyn posing with their children in front of borough landmarks, such as Jane’s Carousel and the Bedford Cheese Shop. Here’s the intro: “Models, writers, actors, and artists have been flocking to New York’s Left Bank for its destination restaurants, bustling farmers’ markets, Parisian-style parks, and passionate dedication to l’art de vie. Welcome to the new bohemian chic.” (See Lily Aldridge wearing a matador style top and pants by Stella McCartney to eat at Rucola with her daughter, Dixie Pearl. Except for the children’s names, it’s just like Manhattan.) In another article in the same issue, about pearls making a comeback, the author remarks, “after all, it’s nearly impossible to turn a corner in Brooklyn without seeing some hip chick in Delettrez’s signature earrings — a solitary gold arc bookended by a pearl on one side and an enamel charm on the other.” Uh, what?
Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a story this week on the very same topic. It asks: “Is it still possible to be a bohemian in today’s New York City, where average rents now surpass $3,000 a month? Or are the rents just too damn high? And — if they are — what does this mean for the future of artists and intellectuals of the sort who have long been as much a part of the natural order of the city as pigeons and locust trees?”
Their piece was inspired by another story in literary magazine N+1 lamenting the sinking financial prospects of bohemian intellectuals. We remember just before N+1 launched going to a party where some of its founders lived in an inexpensive preserved-in-amber apartment off Broadway in South Williamsburg, back when it was a little bit scary to venture so far down Bedford after dark. This was in 2003 or so — a decade ago.
The Atlantic story ends with a very typical thought: Maybe if artists have to struggle financially, their art will be better. Well, they’re not all struggling. Artist Jack Pierson just bought a former knitting mill in Ridgewood. Oh wait, that’s Queens (the part that used to be Brooklyn). Do you think that if artists have to struggle financially, they’ll be too busy working at ad agencies and fancy restaurants to pay the rent (or the mortgage) to make any art?
In spite of a court order and in the middle of a terrible heat wave, Long Island College Hospital is sending the last of its patients elsewhere and plans to close over the weekend, according to multiple reports. SUNY issued another closure plan late Wednesday, ordered staff to discharge any remaining patients, and told doctors to expect termination letters, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, the hospital is near empty but staffed and losing $15,000,000 a month, mostly in salary. SUNY said it is not violating the court’s temporary restraining order because it has filed an appeal and therefore no restraining order is in effect, reported Crain’s. Nurses said emergency response times are slower “because ambulances have been lined up at Methodist Hospital in Park Slope trying to unload patients there,” according to the New York Post. “I spoke to a woman yesterday whose mother waited two days to be seen at Methodist Hospital because they were so backed up,” the paper quoted a paramedic as saying. The closure has bigger ramifications, according to the Times: “The hospital’s grim fate illustrates how health care is changing in New York and in the country, as hospitals confront seismic changes in patient care and how it is financed.” But perhaps more to the point, as the Times also said: “The huge red brick building in Cobble Hill stands on the border of Brooklyn Heights, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline that make it more valuable as a real estate development site than as a medical center.”
Six of seven anonymous potential buyers have put forth proposals about what to do with financially troubled Long Island College Hospital, which is sitting on a real estate goldmine in Cobble Hill overlooking the East River waterfront. Details were posted on the website of owner SUNY Downstate, The New York Daily News reported. Most of the schemes mixed apartments with health care, or shrunk the health care offered:
*An out-of-state hospital network wants to sell the complex to a developer, then lease back space to run a hospital.
*A developer proposes to allow the hospital to go on operating, while turning some of its property into apartments.
*A health care company would turn the facility into a “select function hospital,” which would include emergency, mental health, rehabilitation, and family planning.
*Another health care firm would turn LICH into a 100-bed nursing home.
*A medical care clinic proposes to make over LICH into an urgent care clinic, rather than a fully functioning hospital.
*A health care company “said it would team up with real estate developers to keep LICH open,” in the words of the Daily News.
A decision would be made in seven weeks, according to the story. It was not clear if SUNY Downstate execs have the final say. Meanwhile, according to the Daily News, the hospital “is dying a slow death.” In addition to refusing ambulances, it has “ordered its surgical, intensive care, and maternity units to close.” Only 20 of 250 beds were occupied Tuesday, the story said. The hospital’s five buildings and parking lot are estimated to be worth about $1,000,000,000.
A Citi Bike docking station in front of 150 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights was buried in mounds of trash over the weekend, reportedly by tenants of the building who are angry about the placement of the rack, according to The New York Post. In May, the paper reported the building, above, which also goes by the address 130 Clinton Street, planned to sue Citi Bike. If we read the story correctly, the stations are located in the same place as where the building used to formerly set out its trash, and now the building’s garbage has to be set out in front of other buildings on the block. “We feel this is not the right spot,” for the bike rack, commented Anneke Berkem, a resident of the block for 17 years. ”There are other places in the neighborhood. We have a very crowded neighborhood. We were never consulted.” Angry Tenants Trash Citi Bike Racks — Literally [NY Post]
The use of controversial police tactic stop and frisk has decreased in the City after coming under increased scrutiny and a lawsuit, but spiked in select areas of Brooklyn, The New York Daily News reported. Specifically, stop and frisk was up 66 percent in Brownsville and 45 percent in East New York from 2011 to 2012. Its use in Bed Stuy increased 6 percent, 3 percent in Greenpoint and 2 percent in Bensonhurst, while it dropped precipitously in Williamsburg — by 44 percent. As has been the case for years, very few of those stops found actual law breaking: 89 percent of stops did not result in an arrest or summons, the Daily News reported. Those that did were mostly for marijuana; 12.6 percent of those stopped were carrying a gun or other weapon. Interpretations of the change in policing varied widely. “We are seeing the next chapter,” said John Jay College professor and former officer Eugene O’Donnell. “Good stop-and-frisk should be targeted. They’ve identified a pattern, a spike in crime, and they are throwing resources at it.” And, on the other side: “The Police Department continues, against any possible rational analysis of the data, to insist that the stop and frisk program is both necessary and effective, and to target young black and Latino New Yorkers, who are so innocent of any wrongdoing that they walk away without a summons,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. What do you think? Is stop and frisk effective and constitutional, or are the police just harassing law abiding citizens who happen to live in the poorest parts of Brooklyn? Stop and Frisk Is up in Brooklyn [NY Daily News] Photo by jag9889
The concrete barriers that protect bikers from speeding traffic on Williamsburg Street between Kent and Flushing Avenues had been covered with graffiti for quite some time, so the nice people at the great volunteer organization New York Cares took it upon themselves this weekend to spiff them up with some colorful hand-painted designs. Quite an improvement!
In response to protest from community groups and unions, SUNY has withdrawn its application to the State Health Department to close its Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, numerous outlets reported. The hospital could still close someday, but this move opens the path for the state to fund the hospital and for SUNY to find another medical group to operate the facility. SUNY is required by law to put together a long-term sustainability plan for the hospital by June. About 2,000 people are employed at the hospital, according to The Wall Street Journal. Move to Close Long Island College Hospital Is Halted [NY Times] SUNY Withdraws Plan to Close LICH [DNAinfo] Doomed Long Island College Hospital May Get New Life [WSJ]
Officials overseeing Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill and representatives of unionized workers and doctors there are negotiating on a deal to save the facility from closing, reported The New York Daily News. The unions and doctors would agree to drop a lawsuit against the hospital in exchange for SUNY officials working out a financial restructuring plan for SUNY Downstate that would include saving LICH. Meanwhile, the New York City Council yesterday passed a resolution asking SUNY and the State Department of Health to find another owner for LICH rather than close it, DNAinfo reported. In any event, LICH cannot close unless it gets the go-ahead from the State Department of Health. Partial Save for Long Island College Hospital in Works [NY Daily News] City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution to Save LICH [DNAinfo]
Good news for residents close to Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill: The State University of New York, which owns the hospital, said it is searching for a new operator to take over the facility, rather than selling off the real estate and closing it, The New York Daily News reported. The about-face may be a bow to political pressure to keep the hospital open, according to the story. “It’s a big change from their prior position,” the Daily News quoted a source as saying. SUNY officials have already contacted every hospital operator in the New York metro area, including Mt. Sinai and North Shore-LIJ Health System, but they all said no, so now SUNY is casting its net nationwide. Brooklyn Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order to keep the hospital open is still in effect. Hospital’s Owner Vows Broad Search for New Operator [NY Daily News]