Archive for the tag 'canarsie'

Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Another day, another animal in the cross-hairs of the wildlife gestapo.

In the wacky world of wildlife preservation, we’ve seen battles rage over swans and cats in the past few weeks, and now concerns are being revived about the annual plans to round up and euthanize Canada geese.

The latest comes from GooseWatch NYC, an advocacy group that since 2010 has been sounding the alarm on the city’s annual goose culling. They say that members have spotted USDA Wildlife Services agents, which the city and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracts to manage the swan population, setting up a staging area at Canarsie’s Fountain Avenue Landfill (which has been folded into the wildlife refuge and is in the process of $20 million ecological restoration). Trucks with the USDA logo were photographed, along with kayaks, crates and corral gates used to round up the birds before carting them off for lethal gassing.

Such culling usually happens around this time every year, as Canada geese go through their molting period, hampering their flying ability and making them easier to capture.

The group is outraged, as they are every year, especially since the area is now part of the wildlife refuge. They also say that, following the 1,000 goose culling over the last two years, there are just a few dozen remaining in Jamaica Bay, suggesting that the agency seeks total annihilation and not just population control.

“It’s now obvious that the USDA intends to kill every last Canada goose they can at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a supposed safe haven for these creatures,” said David Karopkin, GooseWatch NYC’s founder, in a press release. “There is no need to kill these birds. It’s obscene and tragic, and the public has a right to know what our government is doing.”

The annual goose slaughters began in 2009 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The population reduction is being done to reduce collisions with jets at local airports, including JFK airport, located adjacent to the wildlife refuge, although critics say alternate methods, including radar upgrades, could do the trick more efficiently.

GooseWatch is also taking issue with the current mayor, who they say is walking back his campaign promise to seek out more humane ways to manage the population and reduce air strikes.

“Mayor de Blasio committed to put every approach on the table and work with independent experts and animal advocates, but now instead we’re learning that the cruel and ineffective goose removals will continue in NYC this summer, and perhaps for years to come,” said Karopkin.

A petition has been launched to end the lethal culling of geese in New York City. Another group, Friends of Animals, is planning a protest outside of the Port Authority’s headquarters (225 Park Avenue South) on Thursday, June 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Smitherman (Source: Smitherman campaign)

Democrat Dell Smitherman officially kicked off his campaign to unseat embattled State Senator John Sampson yesterday at a launch event in Canarsie.

Flanked by family, friends and supporters, Smitherman said he’d stake his claim to represent the district on affordable housing, healthcare access and education.

“This district has a ton of potential, but we haven’t tapped into that potential yet,” said Smitherman. “That’s because in this district right now we have no state representation, and our incumbent cannot bring the resources we need back to our community. I’m running for State Senate to bring a real, progressive advocate to Albany, and finally demand our community’s fair share in the State Senate.”

The 19th District covers Canarsie, East New York and Brownsville, and also has a broad swath of Sheepshead Bay.

Smitherman, a former political coordinator for 1199 SEIU, has already picked up support from that union, as well as backing from Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Working Families Party.

The incumbent, Sampson, who served as Senate leader in 2009 when Democrats briefly controlled the body, has been charged with embezzlement and corruption, for which he has pleaded not guilty.

The New York Observer reports that the announcement didn’t go without a few swipes at Sampson:

“Every day you open the newspaper and hear about the corruption,” Mr. Smitherman told his supporters. “In this district right now we have no state representation. Our incumbent has been kicked out of the Democratic conference. He cannot bring capital funds home to the district.”

“We have schools that can be built with those capital funds. Our public libraries–we can’t get those resources right now,” he added. “I don’t think Albany is working for this community right now.”

The site also reports that Sampson is running with the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, giving him an advantage despite the legal woes. Two other contenders for the Democratic line have also announced: Sean Henry and Leon Miles.


Avenue I and East 16th Street, the scene of the shooting. (Source: Google Maps)

A 23-year-old Canarsie man was killed and another man seriously injured in what appears to be a drive-by shooting in Midwood early Saturday morning.

At approximately 4:00 a.m. the two victims were in a 2011 Toyota Camry at Avenue I and East 16th Street when a gunman opened fire.

The Daily News reports:

“I was riding my bike when I heard, ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ ” said a 45-year-old area resident. “It was so loud I thought they were shooting at me at first.”

[Gerard] Grant, who was driving, was shot four times in the chest and died, slumped over the steering wheel, police said. His friend suffered two wounds to the left side of the head and shoulder and was rushed to Kings County Hospital.

Grant’s family said they didn’t know about the shooting until police called.

“For us it’s impossible to say what could have gotten (Grant) involved in this because he’s a pretty good kid,” said his uncle Wallace Grant, 65. “He’s not a gang member of any type.”

The Yeshiva World News has a little more speculation from cops at the scene:

Sources tell YWN that the murder is an isolated incident, and the victims as well as the perpetrators are not from the area. It appears the victims were followed for quite some time before they were shot. It’s possible that the perpetrators shot the victims on that particular street, after the victims’ vehicle entered the block – which is a dead-end, with no way for them to exit.


Bensonhurst resident Charles Ritter, outside of his polling station on election day, said he’s satisfied with the neighborhood’s police presence but has issues with stop and frisk. (Photo by Ashley Rodriguez)

By Scott Klocksin

Jacob Hunt was stopped by police and asked for identification as he left a parking lot in Bay Ridge several years ago. He fit the description of a suspect in a crime. But Hunt wasn’t worried.

“Ninety percent of calls you hear on the police scanner are ‘Hispanic, Black, 5-foot-9, 200 pounds. That’s me,” Hunt said.

“But if I’m doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about,” said Hunt, a registered Republican who counts several cops as friends. “I don’t hold no animosity toward them. It’s a scary job.”

Hunt was one of dozens of people interviewed throughout Southern Brooklyn amid the November 5 mayoral election. The interviews revealed a wide breadth of views on policing.

Some expressed strong support for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. Others expressed personal bitterness over such tactics. But all agreed on the importance of safety.

Keep reading to learn about local stop-and-frisk data and what neighbors think of the policy.


Click to enlarge

The New York City Housing Recovery recently released the above infographic, showing the number of registrations for Build it Back. These are the final numbers now that registration for the program is closed.

Along with the Build it Back, the agency also released the number of homes fixed up by Rapid Repairs, have had mold removed by city-run programs, or were demolished by the city. All of these are broken down by impact zones – the six waterfront areas most impacted by the storm, and accounting for a total of 61,793 buildings (many of which are multi-family residences, so the number of households is likely higher).

The numbers tell a story in themselves. While they don’t quite deliver insight into the extent of damage into each neighborhood – a fairly ephemeral impact that’s hard to quantify and even harder to wrap one’s head around – they do show us how active these programs are in particular neighborhoods, and we can draw some conclusions from that.

So let’s get started.

Read on as we break down the numbers, and tease out the story of Brooklyn’s Sandy recovery.

Councilmen Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams together. (Source: NY City Council via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

A terrible photo of councilmembers Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams together. (Source: NY City Council via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

First term Councilman Jumaane Williams has been a rising star in the New York City Council and his introduction into the world of politics can be partly attributed to local Councilman Lew Fidler. A report in the New York Daily News tracks Williams’ interesting path to political success as well as the unlikely bond the councilman shares with Fidler.

Williams, 37, was elected to the City Council in 2009 as a Democrat representing parts of Midwood, Canarsie, Flatbush, East Flatbush and the Flatlands. The Daily News described Williams’ childhood challenges as well as his early career path as an actor:

Williams, who wears his hair in dreadlocks, spent his early years labeled a problem child, prone to verbal outbursts. It wasn’t until his teens that he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I thought it was just a behavioral problem,” his mother, Patricia Williams, a native of Grenada, told the Daily News. “But he was always a caring person, which I think drives him to achieve what he does.”

He gravitated towards acting in his 20s, landing small roles in rap duo EPMD’s video for “Da Joint” and Solo’s “Touch Me.”

Despite his dreams of becoming an actor, Williams was always interested in politics, joining the student government when he was a student of Brooklyn College. The Daily News described how Fidler helped put Williams on the path towards a different kind of stardom, that of the political nature:

Ironically it was Fidler — the councilman who heaped praise on Williams when voting no on his Council bills — who helped bring him into politics. A friend who knew Williams from his time in student government at Brooklyn College recommended him to Fidler, a Democratic district leader.

The woman recommended him even though Williams and Fidler had been on opposing sides of issues.

Fidler ended up appointing him to the community board, and he became deeply involved in Brooklyn politics.

Williams has made waves recently for leading the charge against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy, successfully sponsoring legislation that allows residents to sue the NYPD for profiling people racially, for sexual orientation, suspected immigrant status, gender or homelessness. Williams scored praise for his handling of the measure, diplomatically arguing his case without resorting to divisive rhetoric.

An example of this is when Williams heard the news that a federal judge ordered reforms on the stop-and-frisk policy, he tweeted a photo of himself with Howard Wolfson, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor, stating that, “It’s about disagreeing without being disagreeable.” Needless to say, such an act would be a touch out-of-character for Councilman Charles Barron.

Even though Fidler sided with Bloomberg’s subsequent veto attempt of the measure, the Daily News noted the councilman heaped praise on Williams, saying that Williams changed his “perspective” on stop-and-frisk.

Photo By Uliana Bazar via

“Dangerous” elderly people roaming the streets of Brighton Beach. (Photo By Uliana Bazar via

A survey conducted by MIT and published by the New York Post has declared that Brighton Beach is the third most dangerous looking neighborhood in the city, outraging City Council candidate Igor Oberman. In a press release, Oberman slammed the study as “preposterous.”

The Post described how the results of the survey, gathered by non-New Yorkers from Google Street View images, were compiled:

Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab program asked thousands of people online to compare dozens of street images around the city then note which ones look most wealthy, safe and dangerous.

They then crunched numbers to compile “class rank” and “safety rank” of neighborhoods in New York City, Boston and Salzburg, Austria.

Their goal was to compare “perception of safety” vs. actual safety based on visual cues and crime stats.

It found that people are generally right about their snap judgments about rich and poor areas.

Brighton Beach was ranked the third most “dangerous looking” neighborhood in the city, coming in behind Greenpoint and East New York. Prospect Heights won high marks as being the “richest” and “safest” looking neighborhood in the city. Canarsie made the list as third most “poorest looking” neighborhood, coming in behind Greenpoint and East New York.

Oberman expressed outrage at the report and thought the New York Post was doing the neighborhood a disservice by publishing it:

“The classification of Brighton Beach as the most dangerous looking neighborhood in New York City is absolutely preposterous,” Oberman said in the release, “The survey only takes into account street images gathered throughout the City. It fails to capture the vibrant local businesses and charming residents of the Brighton Beach community. Brighton Beach is a thriving center of economic development that attracts the greatest people our city has to offer. Quite frankly, it is irresponsible for the New York Post to propagate such an untruthful notion about a community that has been through so much after Hurricane Sandy.”

I do think Oberman has a point. The study was based on brief superficial glances made by non-New Yorkers. On the one hand, the opinions of those participants are likely to be unbiased because they probably have little idea of the reality of those neighborhoods. Still, because of that fact, such judgments should be taken with a grain of salt.

Do you think the neighborhood looks dangerous? When you bring friends from out of town to Brighton Beach, do they feel like they are in a dangerous neighborhood? Let us know.

Update (6:26 p.m.): Apparently Oberman’s primary opponent Theresa Scavo, beat him to the punch by several days. On August 17, she tweeted, “It is an insult that the NY Post calls Brighton Beach dangerous looking, I feel safe there.”

Source: Retrofresh via flickr

Source: Retrofresh via flickr

The efforts of local politicians to beautify their neighborhoods is easily reflected in the quality of parks. The New York Times is reporting that quality of local parks depends not on how much private donations buffer parks budgets, or even on how much the city doles out, but on how hard local councilmembers work to steer funds to the Parks Department.

The Times details the contrast between Kelly Park in Sheepshead Bay and Canarsie Park, located just five miles down the road. It’s not just a tale of two parks in neighboring council districts, but a tale of two councilmembers:

On a sun-splashed afternoon in late spring, Abigail Mastroserio, 2, scampered in the playground at Kelly Park, in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. It was not long before she tripped on uneven cobblestones near the faded play equipment. Her mother, Melia, could not even comfort her daughter with a sip of water from the water fountain. It was broken. “This park used to look better when I was a kid,” said Ms. Mastroserio, 38, who grew up nearby.

Barely five miles away, a different scene unfolded in Canarsie Park, where young families explored a newly renovated nature trail, complete with fitness equipment, and athletes practiced on a recently installed cricket field. In an elaborate new skate park, teenagers and others careered over stair sets and ledges, and swooped on a half-pipe. “We love this place,” said James Belly, a 26-year-old skateboarder. “We’d be pleased with anything since we had nothing before. But this is something of real quality.”

According to the Times, the reason why Canarsie Park is beautiful and Kelly Park is falling apart is the difference between the priorities and political clouts of the councilmembers representing the areas. Councilman Lew Fidler, who represents the Canarsie section of Brooklyn made sure to direct $18 million for parks over his 12 years in office, with $13 million coming in the last three fiscal years alone. Michael Nelson, who represents the parts of Sheepshead Bay that cover Kelly Park, has steered a paltry $1 million over the past years in comparison.

Fidler expressed pride in his efforts to keep the Brooklyn parks in his communities beautiful.

“Because I represent the hinterlands of Brooklyn, I know that our parks are not going to be the priority that some of the chichi parks are in Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan,” Fidler told the Times. “I made a commitment that just as the people of my district were not second-class citizens, they weren’t going to have second-class parks.”

Nelson was criticized by Julius Spiegel, the former Brooklyn borough commissioner for the Parks Department.

“It’s a pittance compared to what Lew Fidler gave, and the parks in Michael Nelson’s district show it,” Spiegel said.

Looking to address the inequality of small city parks, often brought on by inaction of local politicians, the nonprofit advocacy group “New Yorkers for Parks” has drawn up a program that calls for more financing for park maintenance, among other issues:

“Scores of neighborhood parks have not benefited from the huge influx of capital dollars that has flowed into the handful of large parks targeted by the administration for upgrades,” the platform asserts. The dependence on elected officials to finance modest capital projects — a playground renovation, a new roof on a comfort station, new paving — “creates an inefficient, inequitable and potentially politicized process,” the platform said.

New Yorkers for Parks are looking to present their platform before mayoral candidates and local community boards across the five boroughs.

Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was highly defensive on the way the city spends on parks.

“Our parks system was just rated second-best in the nation thanks to the unprecedented investments we’ve made to park improvements and development projects across the city. Of course we have to prioritize projects based on needs and goals,” Passalacqua told the Times.

Spiegel believes that more money for parks is needed in a city that has 1,700 parks.

“Compared to other boroughs, we did O.K. But there are dozens and dozens of projects that aren’t getting done. We’re O.K. at picking up the garbage. But when you scratch below the surface, there are serious infrastructure problems,” Spiegel said.


City Councilman Lew Fidler, Assemblyman Alan Maisel and three other pols from around Brooklyn filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) and its commissioner Robert Doar, claiming that the city’s decision to limit emergency distribution of food assistance was “arbitrary and capricious,” and violated law.

The suit argues that HRA’s decision to limit Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) to 10 zip codes and two partial zip codes had no rationale, and caused additional suffering for Sandy victims in Canarsie and elsewhere. The federal government identified 82 zip codes hit by the storm, and the city should have opened the program to anyone in those zip codes, they argue.

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City Councilman Lew Fidler. Photo by Erica Sherman

Residents in the 46th Councilmanic District and beyond, who suffered property loss or damage from Hurricane Sandy, are invited to attend a public meeting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be participating in.

Citizens affected by the superstorm can gain more information and have their questions answered during the session organized by Councilman Fidler in cooperation with Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and State Senator John Sampson, at the Kings Bay Y, Wednesday evening, November 14, at 7:00 p.m. The Kings Bay Y is located at 3495 Nostrand Avenue between Avenue U and Avenue V, across the street from Perry’s Diner.

Fidler stated:

“We live in a coastal area so our community was directly wounded by the recent storm. Therefore, I am absolutely dedicated to bringing in every resource possible to help our community fully heal. Since the storm, I’ve secured generators, clothing, trucks of food and needed supplies and continue to work hard to see the restoration of basic services. But information on available aid is also needed, which is why these meetings are so important.”

Another meeting, also organized by Fidler, will be held outside of our area tomorrow night, November 13 at 7:00 p.m., in cooperation with Assemblyman Alan Maisel and State Senator John Sampson at the Canarsie HES, 9502 Seaview Avenue, at the corner of East 95th Street, near St. Jude’s Church.

For additional information, contact Fidler’s office at (718) 241-9330. The councilman noted that, due to high call volume, busy signals may be encountered, but he and his staff remain available to help.

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