Archive for the tag 'advocacy'

ridersThe Riders Alliance, an advocacy organization for subway and bus riders, is launching an initiatve to bring together Southern Brooklyn straphangers to demand improved public transportation services.

To kick off the initiative, they’re holding a brainstorming session on March 27, at 7:00 p.m., at the Homecrest Presbyterian Church (1413 Avenue T). It’s an any-idea-goes kind of event.

The group has been going neighborhood to neighborhood since it formed in 2012 and setting up local, grassroots coalitions to advocate for improved service.

From their website:

We believe that lawmakers respond best to their own constituents, and that an organized group of local residents, trained and empowered to demand results, fills an important gap in transit advocacy, helping win the sustainable, long-term funding needed to fix public transit in New York.

You can sign up to attend  here. There’ll be snacks.

Ed Eisenberg at the 2010 Sheepshead Bay Memorial Day Parade

For more than 40 years he was entwined in the fabric of the Southern Brooklyn community. He was ever-present at community meetings, where he was frequently recognized for stellar attendance. He was a member of numerous civic groups; so many that no one can list them all. He rubbed elbows, and sometimes chewed out, politicians including every Brooklyn borough president from Howard Golden to Eric Adams, and too many councilmembers, state legislators and congressmen to count. He charmed with self-deprecating jokes, and had a habit of starting conversations smack-dab in the middle of it. And he loved his local parks, his waterfront and his community up until he drew his final breath.

Longtime community activist Edward “Eddie” Eisenberg passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 79 years old, after being admitted to Maimonides Medical Center with heart-related complications.

“It was just his biggest passion to have everything clean and safe around here. To the very end. Lord knows, even when he was losing it at the end, he wanted his attache case because he had the results of the previous Community Board elections in there,” said Leigh Eisenberg, 42, the younger of Eisenberg’s two sons.

Born in Flatbush in 1934, Eisenberg attended private high schools before obtaining an associate degree at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

Eisenberg in Fort Ord, Salinas, California

As armistice negotiations were being finalized on the Korean peninsula, Eisenberg enlisted in the United States Army and served at Fort Ord in Salinas, California, where he worked as an information specialist from 1954 to 1956.

He returned to his home borough and began his career as a salesman of packaging supplies. He met his wife, Eileen, now 74, at a singles event and the two married in 1965. They moved to Manhattan Beach shortly afterwards.

Eisenberg took to civic involvement in his adopted neighborhood with a fervor “as soon as they moved into the neighborhood,” said Leigh. “He loved Manhattan Beach and he really just always wanted to see it well maintained and safe from the moment he moved into the area.”

No one can recall exactly when he joined Community Board 15, but the lowest estimates of his tenure from friends and family put it at 38 years, easily making him the longest-serving member of the 50-person body – and perhaps the most passionate.

“I just remember as a little kid, he was so involved taking us kids fishing at Kingsborough Community College, sharing his passion for the water around the neighborhood. He just couldn’t help out in the community enough,” said Leigh.

His chief concern, Scavo said, was in lobbying the city to invest in parks.

“He always, always wanted parks – that was his shtick in life. Not transportation, parks. That was it. Every meeting, you had to support the parks, he was very, very, very involved with Parks Department issues,” said Scavo. “He was always crazed with parks.”

Former Councilman Lew Fidler, who recommended Eisenberg for reappointment to the Board in recent years, added that Eisenberg stood out for his eagerness to go above and beyond in considering Board matters.

“He was always vocal about getting to the bottom of every land use issue that came before the Board. He was so committed that when an application came before the Board he would visit the site and talk to neighbors about what they thought about the project,” said Fidler. “It really didn’t matter to him if it was across the street in Manhattan Beach or all the way in Homecrest. It makes you wonder how good a Community Board could be if every member took it as seriously as Ed.”

Local elected officials have issued statements on Eisenberg’s passing.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz posted on Facebook:

He knew the details of every community meeting and neighborhood event, almost before they were scheduled. He was generous of spirit, always eager to help and ferociously proud of the community he called home. My condolences to his wife, Eileen, and everyone who knew and loved him. Ed, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch said the following in a press release:

“I’ve known Ed for a long time, and have always admired the passion he held for his favorite part of Brooklyn,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his two sons, and all the friends he’s left behind. Manhattan Beach will never be the same.”

Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement as well:

My sincerest condolences go to out to Ed’s wife, children and relatives, as well as the larger South Brooklyn family that knew and loved his commitment to the community. From his service to our country to his deep civic engagement, Ed left a legacy for all of us to admire. He was the epitome of the volunteer spirit, an example for Brooklynites today and tomorrow to follow.

Eisenberg’s idiosyncrasies and sense of humor will be as well remembered as his advocacy.

“Ed was, if nothing else, a unique character,” Fidler remembered. “And for whatever else people want to say about Ed, he really cared about his community and his family. He used to speak about his son in Australia all the time. Quirky, of course, but you couldn’t really question where his heart was. Community was his whole life outside his family.”

Scavo remembers the costumes, stuff of legend among those involved in local civic life. Eisenberg kept a closet full of costumes, which he donned at annual gatherings over the years.

“Night Out Against Crime was always the Keystone Cop. When it came to Memorial Day, he always used to pull out Army uniforms. He always had Halloween masks and costumes, and no matter what he had a costume to go with that occasion,” she said.

His quirks did not escape his family’s notice, and they remain fond memories in the wake of his passing.

“Everyone knew him. Lord knows the man was eccentric but he had a heart as big as the moon and everyone knew it,” said Leigh Eisenberg.

Eisenberg is survived by his wife, Eileen; his eldest son, Glenn, 46, who with his wife Simone gave Eisenberg a grandson, Aaron, 2; and his youngest son, Leigh, who with his wife Jill gave Eisenberg two granddaughters, Raya, 11, and Anissa, 9. Eisenberg is also survived by his sisters Marianne and Lisa, and his brother Steve.

A service will be held for Ed Eisenberg on Tuesday, March 4, at 1:00 p.m. at Parkside Memorial Chapels (2576 Flatbush Avenue, at the corner of Avenue V). The family has chosen not to direct donations, saying that Ed had cared for too many things to pick just one, and requested that anyone wishing to make a donation send them to any community-oriented charities or groups.

Update (March 3 at 2:30 p.m.): A statement from Borough President Eric Adams was added to this post.

Earlier this month we published an article on the feral cat situation in Coney Island, especially around the boardwalk. Josie Marrero, a local who founded a cat rescue program called Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, spends much of her time taking care of the cats in the area. But as winter sets in and Sandy- and development-related construction in the area continues, her job has gone from maintaining a population to saving them. We previously wrote:

But now, they face an additional problem. Several abandoned Coney Island parking lots – a favored home of many feral felines – are in the process of being bulldozed, and with the winter chill in full-swing, many of the stray cats that have made these lots their sanctuary will again have to relocate. Already, the bulldozing has started at Surf Avenue and West 33rd Street.

All of which, Marrero explains in the video above, has turned the area into a “killing field” for the hundreds of cats. We put together the video above to chronicle Marrero’s efforts.

A traditional Passover seder table. Source: Wikipedia

Five hundred needy people and seniors will join the Be Proud Foundation and friends during the fourth annual Passover Food Distribution at Aqua Health Rehabilitation Center, 2753 Coney Island Avenue, Thursday, March 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

According to Raisa Chernina, founder of the Be Proud Foundation, a non-profit organization started by immigrants from the Russian-speaking community:

“Passover is the best time for us to show that we care about our neighbors. By giving out food we are going to share our happiness with those people who count on us more than ever in this current economic climate.”

Destitute individuals looking to make a Passover seder will receive matzos, considered to symbolize salvation and deliverance, as well as other Passover foods.

To learn more, contact the Be Proud Foundation at (718) 788-7773.

Photo by Erica Sherman

The following is from an email we received from the Met Council on Jewish Poverty about Kosher for Passover food distribution this year:

For Brooklyn communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy, celebrating Passover will be a struggle this year. That’s why the Met Council on Jewish Poverty will deliver more than 2.5 million pounds of Kosher Passover food to families in need.

Many families can no longer afford the expensive Kosher food for their Passover seders and the holiday’s eight days. Last Passover, Met Council served 55,000 households — this year, following Sandy, the need is even greater.

Here are Kosher for Passover food distribution sites you can visit in our area:

  • Kosher Food Distribution at JCC of Greater Coney Island, 3001 West 37th Street, Wednesday, March 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Kosher Food Distribution at Shorefront JCC, 3161 Brighton 6th Street, Thursday, March 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

An RSVP is required for both food distribution events. To RSVP or learn more about Met Council’s food program, call (718) 763-5318, email and visit them on the web.

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr

The Jamaica Bay Task Force (JBTF) will hold its next meeting January 29, 6:30 p.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175 Crossbay Boulevard in Broad Channel, Queens. The public is invited to attend and partake in the open discussion period.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland will be on hand to discuss the DEP’s response to Superstorm Sandy and Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Linda Canzanelli will give the National Park Service’s update on damage to the Wildlife Refuge from Sandy.

Project Managers Dan Felt and Lenny Houston will highlight Jamaica Bay projects currently being undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers and Region 2 Director of the NYS DEC, Venetia Lannon, will talk about DEC’s response to Sandy.

A question and answer session will follow each presentation.

To learn more about what the JBTF does and how to get involved, contact Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society at (718) 318-9344/ or Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers at (718) 634-5032/

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Source: Howard N2GOT / Flickr

The Jamaica Bay Task Force (JBTF) will meet November 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Crossbay Boulevard in Broad Channel, Queens. The public is invited to attend and partake in the open discussion period.

To learn more about what the JBTF does and how to get involved, contact Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society at (718) 318-9344/ or Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers at (718) 634-5032/

Dr. Russell Burke is out to save the Diamondback Terrapins of Jamaica Bay.

Diamondback Terrapins are unique turtles that live only in the coastal swamps of the eastern and southern United States – and that includes our beloved Jamaica Bay salt marshes.

These cuddly little fellas are in trouble for a couple of reasons. The first is the scourge of raccoons, those Hamburglars of the habitat, who steal over 90 percent of the terrapin’s eggs. The second problem is the loss of salt marshes where the turtles live. The marshes of Jamaica Bay are falling apart, and no one is sure why, according to Burke – though we can hazard a guess.

Burke is hoping to figure out how the terrapins are adjusting to the changes in their environment. Tracking terrapins and their movements is incredibly difficult and complex. Burke started a crowdfunding support page to fund his research, which will hopefully allow him to lead the way in understanding the mystery of these turtles, and preserving the Diamondbacks for future generations.

Won’t you donate a dollar to saving a terrapin?

The following was submitted by Sheepshead Bay resident Jeanine Grimaldi, whose family wrestles with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease every day.

Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans. Although this disease is most commonly known for its major symptom — memory loss — it comprises so much more. Typical Alzheimer’s patients feel disoriented, confused and, have drastic mood and behavior changes. They can often become suspicious of family members and friends and, during the later stages of the disease, have difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

These symptoms are caused by plaques and tangles, two different types of proteins that build up in the brain. Scientists do not fully understand this build-up but believe it plays a critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells in the brain. We still have a long way to go in beating this disease, but we are heading in the right direction. On May 15, 2012, the Obama Administration released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s in which the major goal is to effectively treat and prevent this disease by 2025.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than 320,000 people over the age of 65 in New York alone who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This number does not include the growing number of people in their 50s who have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

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The Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations (COJECO) wants to hear any ideas that you may have which add value to the Russian Jewish community.

They are sponsoring a contest in which locals are asked to submit their ideas for a community event, project or venture for a chance to win a cash prize.

Apply by August 10 and a panel of BluePrint Fellowship Alumni judges will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. The will award $500, $300 and $150. Winners will be announced August 30.

The criteria is as follows:

Your project idea must offer value to the Russian Jewish community, feasible implementation within a year’s time, and a Jewish focus or theme. Possible areas of focus are culture, technology, art, research, travel, education, social justice, fundraising, politics, volunteering, gender, religion, immigration, language, environmentalism, children and families, music and performance, etc.

Anyone from NY is eligible to apply and more than one submission is allowed.

For more information, contact Iryna Gubenko at or 212.566.2120.

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