Archive for the tag 'gerritsen beach'

The following is a press release issued Monday from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

During [Monday's] Public Hearing on the 2014- 2015 proposed executive budget, State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) had an opportunity to question Mayor de Blasio on the ongoing recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy.

Senator Golden, during his testimony, brought attention to issues of infrastructure, both in regards to public works and homes, commercials strips that still need assistance, the ongoing Build it Back program, and money that is to be distributed to home owners and business owners in Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Sheepshead Bay.

“I invite [Mayor de Blasio] to visit Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Manhattan Beach, and I look forward to working with [him],” said Senator Golden. “Superstorm Sandy was devastating. We have major issues which are yet to be resolved, including hardening our water fronts, working to ensure money is distributed to those in need, and working to repair infrastructure, including streets that are caving in, and water and gas lines that are in desperate need of immediate repair.”

On January 13th, Senator Golden sent a letter to the Mayor de Blasio, requesting an update on the status of money that needs to filter down to home owners and business owners in these communities. He also invited Mayor de Blasio to tour the communities in this letter.

View the letter he sent to de Blasio.

Are you still struggling with city, state or federal agencies – or your insurance company – with Sandy-related problems? Are you still in need of help and support but don’t know what programs are still running?

State Senator Marty Golden is putting together yet another Superstorm Sandy follow-up town hall meeting, featuring representatives from many of the related agencies. The meeting is tonight at 7:00 p.m., at P.S. 277 (2529 Gerritsen Avenue). See the flier below for details.

sandy-flier

nyrising

Residents identified assets and potential projects during October’s workshop.

The second public engagement meeting of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program to restore and protect Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach will be held tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. in the Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway).

The first engagement meeting took place in October, with a workshop for residents to guide state planners on how to spend millions of dollars to protect local infrastructure. The program is part of a $750 million initiative announced in July by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

During tomorrow’s meeting, officials and consultants will unveil a set of proposals and priorities devised, in part, by community residents. They are soliciting feedback for further refinement before issuing their final report, which will be the roadmap for state investment going forward.

A draft of the plan, which will be the topic of tomorrow’s meeting, is available for review here. You can comment on the plan in person at the meeting, or submit comments online.

builditback

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.

Gerritsen

Buddy Heffernan had just put his Gerritsen Beach house on the market with plans to spend the rest of his golden years with his wife on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Then, Superstorm Sandy washed through the seaside community, forcing him to navigate the murky waters of a real estate market with plummeting prices and rising flood insurance rates that can, in extreme cases, run $10,000 a month.

“Before the storm I could have sold my house for $300,000 easy,” said Herffernan, 76.

Like many people selling property in Gerritsen Beach, Heffernan said he’s been forced to lower his expectations – now he’s asking $279,000 for his two-bedroom, one-bathroom home.

Doreen Garson, owner of Doreen Greenwood Realty, said sales prices have dropped about 10 percent since Sandy. Many homes sold after the storm needed major repair.

“I talked some people out of selling immediately because you don’t want to flood the market,” Garson said. “I sold some fixer-uppers, but those bring the prices down. For a bank appraisal to decide what the buyer will pay, you need comparable houses.”

Joseph Sciulara, owner of “Best Seller” #1 Properties LLC, noted prices dropped as a record number of homes were put up for sale. The multiple listing service currently lists more than 50 houses for sale in Gerritsen Beach – about twice the inventory, pre-Sandy.

“I’ve sold homes for $200,000 that were getting $300,000 before Sandy,” Sciulara said. “Many of them are priced according to how they were damaged by Sandy.”

Investors arrived on the scene, said Paul Link of Tracey Real Estate, purchasing damaged properties that they are now turning around for a profit.

“For the first three to four months, there was no activity,” Link said. “Around March, some people did repairs and sold their houses. Properties are being sold now.”

Prior to the storm, Gerritsen Beach’s popularity was on the rise thanks to an abundance of affordable single-family homes in the waterfront neighborhood. The area’s proximity to the water is now considered a drawback by some.

“People’s confidence in the neighborhood is still low,” Link said. “The buzz still focuses on the fact that it’s on the water.”

Potential buyers worry about how flood insurance rates will change in 2015 when Gerritsen Beach is reclassified as a “Zone A” community – one prone to flooding. For Robert Bendall, a lifelong Gerritsen Beach resident who is under contract to purchase a home in the neighborhood, flood insurance remains a constant worry.

“When they quoted me the price of insurance, there was still the possibility that it will go up,” Bendall, 40, said. “I don’t think we could afford it since we budgeted to even afford the house.”

Garson said homeowners can expect to pay thousands of dollars a month for flood insurance if their homes are not raised more than three feet off the ground. That’s a big blow to many of Gerritsen Beach’s working-class residents.

“These are people who, when their kids are younger, live hand to mouth” Garson said. “They’re depending on FEMA, insurance, and help from the city.”

Garson said she expects the market will get better with time. She plans to keep using the same approach to selling homes as she did before the storm.

“For me, Gerritsen Beach is selling a neighborhood,” she said. “They want a safe, family-oriented place, and that hasn’t changed.”

– by Jacob Passy

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.

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