Archive for the tag 'gerritsen beach'

nyrising

Nearly 100 neighbors joined government officials and consultants to share their local expertise and draw up storm resiliency plans on Monday, kicking off the first in a slate of workshops sponsored by New York State to give locals a say in recovery and resiliency initiatives.

The workshops are the most public stage to-date of a $750 million initiative announced in July by Governor Andrew Cuomo, called New York Rising, aimed at recruiting locals in identifying key community assets and their thoughts on the best way to protect them from future disasters. The officials and consultants have had several private meetings with local committees of stakeholders and activists, who drew up a roster of initial proposals. The meetings – two of which were held locally this week, in Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach – then turned to the broader public to add more input and refine the plan.

One thing organizers sought to make clear is that this wasn’t a plan about rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy, but a broader community development plan seeking to strengthen the neighborhood’s residential and economic bases from future disasters.

“It’s not a Build it Back program. It’s not about insurance. It’s not about FEMA. It’s about the future of our communities,” said Jim Donovan, co-chair of the NY Rising Reconstruction Committee for Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach. “The most important thing is the future, the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren. Where are they going to live? How do we make our community more sustainable, more resilient? That’s what this whole committee is about.”

After running through a presentation, the attendees split up into half a dozen different groups and received extra large maps of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach. The maps were already marked with known assets including schools, infrastructure, hospitals and more, and the residents were asked to add anything they felt were important assets that planners should know about. They added historical relics like the Ocean Avenue footbridge, and problematic infrastructure like outdated sewage lines and below-street-level housing.

The sewage line were of particular concern for most in the room, and although the groups operated independently every group added it to the map.

“Before the tsunami came out of Sheepshead Bay [during Sandy], it came out of the sewers. The water came up the pipes and into our houses. And then the tsunami came,” bellowed one man during the meeting.

The groups also began putting forward their own proposals, including key locations for flood gates, utility infrastructure in need of elevation and more.

In addition to resiliency proposals, the groups were tasked with creating a wishlist for broader community development, including restoring the “nautical uniqueness” of the area, boosting tourism through marketing campaigns and weekend express trains, and stronger zoning laws that would prevent over-development in areas like the bungalow communities.

Although some attendees were excited by the visions put forward, others were left wondering what it had to do with storm resiliency.

“It’s a meeting to get rid of stress, that’s all it is,” said Lake Avenue resident Bob Haggerty.

Another attendee, who left in the middle of the meeting, was more succinct:

“What kind of crap is this?” she said.

Even the organizers of the meeting acknowledged that there were still many more obstacles to overcome before the plans could be put in place. The consultants hired by the state will review the proposals, and prioritize them in order of need, cost and feasibility.

The group will come out with a draft report on October 28, the one year anniversary of the storm. In November, a second public meeting will be held for more public input, and the final plan will be issued in March.

At that point, there’s little plan in place for enacting the proposals laid out. Representatives from the Department of State, which is overseeing the initiative, acknowledged that there is not yet funding for many of the ideas, and they hope to work with city agencies on the key infrastructure proposals.

Beyond that, the consultants are charged with identifying funding sources for realizing the “wishlist” items that the community has prioritized.

If you were unable to attend and would like to provide input, visit http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/gerritsen-beach-and-sheepshead-bay and submit your comments via the yellow contact button on the right.

You can also join the conversation using the hashtag #NYRising on Twitter (@NYStormRecovery). Follow the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program on Facebook (NYStormRecovery) or go to www.stormrecovery.ny.gov. For more information, email info@stormrecovery.ny.gov.

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

It took nearly a year and more than  a million dollars, but the Gerritsen Beach Library (2808 Gerritsen Avenue) has finally reopened. According to a press release, the library suffered extensive flooding, requiring a new roof and other big improvements.

The press release issued by Brooklyn Public Library detailed the damage and the recovery of the institution:

During Hurricane Sandy, the Gerritsen Beach library was flooded and the already worn roof was further damaged by the storm, causing leaks in numerous places. The one-floor branch had to be totally renovated, and materials, equipment and HVAC systems were destroyed. Demolition of the affected interior was completed earlier this year and new electrical systems, floor tiles, shelving and mill work have been installed.

The Gerritsen Beach library is newly furnished and equipped with new computer stations for patrons of all ages. Using this as an opportunity to improve the Library, two new public self-check machines and a new book drop are now featured by the Librarian’s Information Desk. Additionally, there are three meeting rooms for programming and community use, an upgrade from the previous one large meeting room.

The cost of repairs and renovations totaled approximately $1.5 million. Earlier this year, Brooklyn Public Library received a $300,000 grant from the AIG Disaster Relief Fund and a $250,000 grant from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to go toward post-Sandy renovations.

Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson expressed excitement over the branch’s reopening.

“We are thrilled to welcome the entire Gerritsen Beach community back to their neighborhood library after such a difficult year. I am pleased to report that the library is now open and better than ever, featuring a completely new collection, an ADA-compliant layout, new roof, three meeting rooms, and two self-check machines, among countless other improvements,” Johnson said in the release.

The differences between the library’s appearance right after the storm and with the finished renovations is evident in the pictures presented below.

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

 

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

 

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Photo courtesy of Emma Woods

Marty Golden, Photo By Erica Sherman

Marty Golden, (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden is hosting a town hall meeting tomorrow night for people in Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach who were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Brooklyn News is reporting that Golden has invited a slew of officials representing various city, state and federal agencies to interact with attendees and answer questions relating to the continuing recovery effort.

Brooklyn News listed the agencies that the officials will be culled from as well as Golden’s remarks encouraging residents affected by Sandy to make it to the meeting:

Senator Golden will welcome officials from Build It Back, National Flood Insurance Program, Small Business Administration, The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Financial Services, The Army Corps of Engineers, The New York City Department of Buildings, The Health Department, City of New York, The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and The New York City Department of Transportation.

“Almost 11 months after Hurricane Sandy, many residents still need help with rebuilding, insurance, and getting back on their feet,” said Senator Golden (R-C-I). “I urge all residents of my district who are still facing Hurricane related issues to come to this meeting and take advantage of all the different agencies present. By working together, we can make sure that all those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy get their lives and homes back to normal.”

The meeting is schedule for tomorrow, September 25, at 7 p.m. at Public School 277 located at 2529 Gerritsen Avenue.

Sheepshead Bay Library

Sheepshead Bay Library

Kings Bay Library (3650 Nostrand Avenue) and Sheepshead Bay Library (2636 East 14th Street) are among the finalists for the Revson Foundation’s NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. According to a press release, a panel of judges will decide which of the nominated ten libraries will win a $10,000 prize.

The finalists were elected by voters, with over 4,000 New Yorkers participating. Overall, three Brooklyn libraries made it into the top 10, making Brooklyn the most well-represented borough when it comes to libraries in the city. The other Brooklyn library selected was the Macon Library in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

If Kings Bay Library and the Sheepshead Bay Library don’t make it into the top five, they will still receive $5,000 for being included in the top 10. Pretty good. The Revson Foundation’s release included excerpts accounting for each library’s nomination:

  • Kings Bay Library – Sheepshead Bay/Gerritsen Beach/Manhattan Beach (Brooklyn) – “I remember needing help with my resume and two of the employees went out and beyond to help me have the best resume I needed for employment. Well the following week I was hired at St. Lukes Hospital for an L.P.N. position. I am currently attending Kingsborough College and always come back to Kings Bay Library if I need help for anything.”
  • Sheepshead Bay Library – Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn) – “Last fall I was able to overcome my psychological stress caused by Hurricane Sandy only thanks to Sheepshead Bay Library. Those workshops helped me to come back to myself and get back to my daily routines and reality as a human being.”

Congratulations to the two institutions. Here is hoping they both land in the top five and bring home a big $20,000 from the fine folks at the Revson Foundation.

Source: kainet / Flickr

Source: kainet / Flickr

The following information regarding pesticide spraying on September 3 to cut down on the risk of West Nile Virus was sent to us by the Department of Health:

To reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks in parts of Brooklyn on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning, weather permitting. In case of bad weather, application will be delayed until Monday, September 9, 2013 during the same hours. The neighborhoods listed below are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations.

Neighborhoods

The areas being sprayed are parts of Brighton Beach, Bergen Beach, Coney Island, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Georgetown, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Homecrest, Marine Park, Manhattan Beach, Midwood, Middle Basin, Mill Island, Mill Basin, Sea Gate, Sheepshead Bay.

Boundaries

The boundaries are bordered by Avenue D, Brooklyn Avenue, East 36th Street, Avenue I, East 14th Street, Avenue U, Nostrand Avenue, Avenue X and 86th Street to the North; Bay Parkway and Gravesend Bay to the West; Atlantic Ocean, Knapp Street, Sheepshead Bay, Avenue X and Gerritsen Avenue to the South; and Belt Parkway, Paerdegat Basin and Ralph Avenue to the East.

ZIP Codes

The ZIP codes affected will be parts of 11203, 11210, 11214, 11223, 11224, 11229, 11230, 11234, and 11235.

For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil® 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health. The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  • Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Consider reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during the hours between dusk and dawn in areas with heavy mosquito populations.
  • Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three).
  • Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water from your property, and dispose of containers that can collect water.
  • Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting www.nyc.gov.
Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

The racial diversity of Brookyn (Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service)

It might be hard to believe but every single pixelated dot represented on the map above is a person living in Brooklyn in 2010 and the colors correspond to their race. Dustin Cable, a senior research associate at the University of Virgina’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, created the interactive map using data from the 2010 census.

The zoomable “Racial Dot Map,” astonishingly places a different colored dot for everyone of the 308,745,538 people tracked in the last census. Incredibly, according to a report by National Geographic, if you zoom to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the location of the White House, you see can see 5 green dots (representing black Americans) signifying the first family and Barack Obama’s mother-in-law.

More locally, we can see how race fans out over Brooklyn. The predominantly white population (represented by blue dots) of Sea Gate abruptly gives way to the black, Hispanic (orange) and Asian (red) enclaves of Coney Island. The western section Brighton Beach is almost entirely white. A mix of Asian and Hispanic people are tucked neatly away in the land side of Brighton Beach, away from the more desirable waterfront, while the majority of Manhattan Beach is clearly made up of white people.

Sheepshead Bay is actually surprisingly integrated. It’s predominantly white but blended – especially as you approach Avenue U – with smaller pockets of Asian and Hispanic people lining the edges. We’re not particularly integrated when it comes to black Americans, though, which are appear confined to the greenish, orangish square of the Sheepshead-Nostrand Housing projects.

It’s quite the eye opener to see just how Asian and Hispanic the historically Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst has become. Anecdotally, and through census numbers, we know the area has transitioned drastically over the years, but seeing it visualized like this brings it to life. Bath Beach and the Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst border are real bastions of integration, if only because it’s still in flux.

Surprisingly, based on the unscientific eyeball test, some of the most diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn are Red Hook, Park Slope and South Slope (which we’re not entirely committed to recognizing as a real neighborhood yet).

Another interesting note is that the further you zoom out, the more you see the colors blend in ways that indicate greater diversity. Purple and teal colors signify great diversity and when the map is pushed back to reveal the entire tri-state area, it is clear that Brooklyn and New York City is mostly a purplish blob. This is evident in most metropolitan areas across the United States. Still, the closer you zoom in, the more you can racial divides, even on a street by street basis. Interesting stuff, indeed.

You can play around with the map by clicking here.

UPDATE (August 30 @ 3:32 p.m.): In response to a request from bill, in the comments, I’ve attempted to overlay district lines on the map above. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close and the best I was able to do:

district-census-overlay2

It was actually a great suggestion that helps us visualize exactly how districts were shaped to either bolster representation of some ethnic groups (either to match requirements set by the Voting Rights Act or concentrate a voting base, depending on your perspective), and to diminish others.

Some examples? Looks like Bensonhurst’s Asian community was divided up among four different council districts. In Sheepshead Bay, the housing projects by Nostrand Avenue, once part of the 48th District, were drawn into the 46th, pretty much removing all of the black vote from the district and putting it safely in a minority-majority district.

This is probably one of the most politically enlightening maps I’ve seen yet, so thanks to bill for suggesting we put it together.

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles (Source: Google Maps)

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles located at 113 Noel Avenue in Gerritsen Beach (Source: Google Maps)

New York City is bicycle crazy these days as exercisers, sightseers and cash-conscious commuters of all stripes are hopping on bikes like never before. The bicycle craze has not gone unnoticed by Robert Ferrarin of Gerritsen Beach, who has made a killing in repairing and selling used bikes.

According to a report by Crain’s New York, Ferrarin runs his business out of his garage located at 113 Noel Avenue in Gerritsen Beach. Ferrarin, who owns a construction company, started repairing bikes as a hobby but has seen his hobby grow into a lucrative business:

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles is poised to sell 1,000 bikes this season at an average of $300 each, up from 80 bikes during his first year in business five years ago. Customers come from as far afield as New Jersey and Connecticut, he said, and so does the inventory, replenished by six retired men who scrounge for salvageable bike parts at yard sales throughout the tristate area. He performs a tune-up with every purchase, while his wife, Brenda, assembles the bikes and his friend Richie Delea manages sales.

“We thought our first year was good,” he said. “Then it just so happened that we started at the right time.”

Ferrarin’s business was nearly washed away because of Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed 200 bikes at a cost of $30,000 in damage. Despite the setback, Ferrarin noted that the city’s Citi Bike program, which lets anyone rent a bike at kiosks around the city, has added to the bike craze – and his business.

“People who are nervous about riding in the city will get more comfortable. When they get tired of [returning their Citi Bike] every half-hour, they might want to come buy a bike,” Ferrarin told Crain’s.

Source: mikey k via flickr

Source: mikey k via flickr

Gerritsen Beach man Yuri Bershchansky was targeted by federal agents for downloading child pornography, but might get off due to poor paperwork on the part of the Department of Homeland Security. The New York Daily News is reporting that agents misidentified his apartment number in a search warrant.

In court papers, Bershchansky, 29, had admitted to downloading child porn, telling federal agents that he was bored with regular pornography. Bershchansky went as far as purchasing his mother a laptop so she would never discover his horrendous collection of child pornography that he was allegedly hording on his desktop computer.

With Bershchansky having admitted his guilt following his initial arrest in 2010, the Daily News described how the feds might have botched the case entirely:

A sworn affidavit signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack of the federal court in Brooklyn said there were two front doors to the residence on Gerritsen Ave. and accurately stated the suspect lived in the apartment “to the right.”

Before executing the search warrant, agents spoke with a woman who lived in the upstairs apartment — the door to the left, which is actually Apt. 2 — and she confirmed Bershchansky lived downstairs with his mother, according to court papers.

But Cablevision told the feds that the Internet subscriber who downloaded the sickening images was in Apt. 2.

Agent Robert Raab “accidentally switched” the apartment numbers on the affidavit and “transposed” Nos. 1 and 2 without realizing the mistake, prosecutor Kristin Mace argued.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto wasn’t buying the government’s explanation that the “technical error” should not invalidate the warrant and the evidence.

“The agents did not take every step that could reasonably be expected of them,” Matsumoto wrote in a 71-page decision.

The government is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals

Gary Farrell, Bershchansky’s lawyer, praised the judge’s ruling and is now trying to get the electric bracelet attached to his client’s leg removed.

“It sounds corny, but the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures has to mean something,” Farrell told the Daily News.

Bershchansky is currently out on $60,000 bail.

The interior of the Gerritsen Beach Library Post-Sandy

The interior of the Gerritsen Beach Library Post-Sandy

The Gerritsen Beach library (2808 Gerritsen Avenue), which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, is one step closer to reopening . In a press release, Councilman Lew Fidler and Assemblyman Alan Maisel announced that the library is set to open its doors in September.

Like many libraries in Southern Brooklyn, the Gerritsen Beach library was rocked hard by Sandy. Damage was inflicted to its electrical system, doors, chairs, shelves and computers. The Sheepshead Bay library was the first Sandy-damaged library to reopen in January after $1 million in repairs.

In April, we reported that a coalition of Turkish-American organizations donated $30,000 towards the repair of the Gerritsen Beach library.

sandy-EmmonsEast_031

It has been almost eight months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area and while political leaders, activists and volunteers are doing everything they can to clear the rubble from the streets, boaters are hoping that more action is taken to clear the area’s waterways and creeks. NY1 is reporting that boaters are requesting more government intervention to clean up the trash, sunken boats and broken docks washed into the seas by Sandy.

In Gerritsen Beach, partially sunken boats and old broken docks are still clogging up the waterways and creating hazards for boaters. Recreational boater Buddy Love explained the less than safe conditions in Brooklyn’s waterways.

“Sunken boats that are turned upside down…debris in the water that is washed up…some of the boats are hazards because they are sticking up out of the water,” Love told NY1.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the city Parks Department has claimed that cleaning up the waterways and creeks is not their responsibility, though officials from the DEP did volunteer in clearing a lot of debris blown in the water by Sandy.

Despite the unsafe obstacles, sailors who take off from Sheepshead Bay are reporting that there are still many clear channels available for passage.

« Prev - Next »