Archive for the tag 'hakeem jeffries'

Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. (Source: Google Maps)

Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. (Source: Google Maps)

Two men were left injured after a gunman opened fire on a residential street in Coney Island on Saturday, and now elected officials are calling for increasing police resources to the peninsula.

The shooting happened at Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. The victims, a 22-year-old man who was shot in the neck, and a 32-year-old man shot in his leg, are both in stable condition, Metro reports.

It’s not clear what led to the shooting, but Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny joined the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative yesterday for a rally to request more cops in the area, with a renewed focus on patrolling the residential portion of the neighborhood rather than the amusement area.

Metro reports:

The elected leaders also asked that the city use Sandy recover funds to drive an job creation initiative, and that the Housing Authority open up local communal spaces and centers to all residents.

“The west end of Coney Island has historically been ignored and disrespected and not provided the resources and services needed to break this cycle of violence,” Treyger said in a statement on Saturday. “We can’t just focus on the neighborhood during the summer or during events like today’s Brooklyn Half Marathon, when the city reaps the benefits of the amusement area.”

Shootings are actually down in the 60th Precinct for 2014, according to the most recent Compstat data, ending on May 11. By that date, there were four recorded shooting incidents in 2014, as opposed to 11 during the same time period in 2013.

UPDATE (11:45 a.m.): I somehow missed this in my inbox, but Treyger sent out a press release over the weekend with more information on the proposals to make the area safer. From the press release:

He is calling on a number of city agencies to come together and create a comprehensive, all-out campaign to address and overcome violence in Coney Island, including:

  • More police resources. This includes additional Parks Enforcement Officers dedicated to Coney Island’s 2.5-mile boardwalk and amusement area, to relieve pressure off the 60th Precinct and allow it to dedicate its officers to patrolling the residential areas. In addition, the NYPD must recognize the need for additional security throughout the community all-year around including mobile command centers.
  • Focus by the city and NYCHA on job creation initiatives for local residents, including using Sandy recovery funds. “You can’t just react to violence, you must take steps to prevent it. The best way to take a gun out of someone’s hand is to provide them a job and an opportunity for a better life. NYCHA must join this effort by fulfilling its obligation to provide workforce training, especially in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said Council Member Treyger.
  • NYCHA once again making its community centers and spaces open and accessible during from morning to evening for all residents, and expanding after-school opportunities for children and teens. Council Member Treyger is requesting that NYCHA take inventory of all common and public spaces to determine how they can better be used to benefit residents.
  • The forming by Council Member Treyger of a neighborhood clergy council to bring together religious leaders from throughout Coney Island to develop programs and strategies to end the violence. The launch of this effort will now be expedited in light of the recent shootings.

On Thursday, Council Member Treyger stood alongside Urban Neighborhood Services, Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and a number of local anti-violence activists and organizations to announce state funding secured for a Coney Island Anti-Violence Initiative. He is now pushing for funding to expand the city’s anti-violence program to Coney Island.

“I applaud Councilman Mark Treyger for trying to bring as much resources as possible from the New York City Council to fight this epidemic of gun violence which has gripped communities like ours. His leadership on the issue is not only appreciated but sorely needed as it will take all hands on deck to deal with the gun violence crisis in Coney Island,” said Mathylde Frontus, Founder and Executive Director of Urban Neighborhood Services and Acting Chair of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.

In addition, as part of his ongoing efforts to get illegal guns off the streets, Council Member Treyger is holding a gun buyback program in partnership with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio on Saturday, May 31st at Coney Island Gospel Assembly. He is also calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the hiring of more police officers in the upcoming city budget and is requesting that NYCHA providing funding for better security and cameras at its housing complexes.

An example of what a T-Groin structure looks like. (Source: Federal Highway Administration)

The following is a press release from the offices of U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries and Jerrold Nadler:

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congress members Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a Project Partnership Agreement to move forward with critical repairs and emergency beach restoration for the Coney Island shoreline. This is a longstanding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project to construct a series of T-Groin rock jetties to protect the peninsula and prevent further erosion that dates back to 1992.

Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler, and Jeffries secured full federal funding for this project, without a single dollar of local funds, and this is the first Project Partnership Agreement approved by the Army Corps for a Sandy recovery project in New York State. The federal project will help construct rock jetties or T-groin structures and provide beach replenishment for the Brooklyn shoreline from West 37th Street to Norton Point. The contract award is scheduled for September with construction starting shortly after.

“This project is instrumental in rebuilding the beachfront in Brooklyn that was damaged as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” said Senator Schumer. “Not only will this Army Corps project help alleviate the problems that arose as a result of the storm, but it will also help to strengthen Brooklyn’s waterfront communities, like Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate, against similar damage in the event of a future storm.”

“With Superstorm Sandy’s devastating impact on Brooklyn’s shorelines, it is clear that we must move quickly to repair and improve our coastal infrastructure so that New Yorkers are better positioned to weather future storms,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This Army Corps project is an important step towards rebuilding better and protecting Coney Island from future disasters.”

“Especially since Coney Island is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, this beach erosion and replenishment project is truly critical to protect the area’s residents from future storm damage and erosion, and to safeguard our famous beaches,” Representative Nadler said. “Even though, after redistricting in 2012, Coney Island was drawn out of my Congressional District, I have continued to fight alongside our two Senators and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to make sure that Coney Island has the federal funds it needs to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy. After more than 20 years of working with the Army Corps, the State, the City and the Sea Gate Association to make this project a reality, I’m thrilled that we are finally going to begin construction.”

“The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy is indicative of the desperate need to restore and strengthen the South Brooklyn shoreline and surrounding infrastructure,” said Representative Jeffries (NY-8). “I applaud Rep. Nadler for his relentless commitment to getting this project underway for the last twenty years and I am pleased that funding from the Sandy relief compensation package will be used to construct T-groin structures, replenish the Coney Island beachfront and mitigate damage from future storms.”

In the fall of 2013, Sandy emergency funds were used to place nearly 600,000 cubic yards of sand at Coney Island from Corbin Place to W. 37th Street to restore the project to its authorized design profile.

The Coney Island Reach project, which extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, consists of approximately 3 miles of beachfront which provides storm damage reduction to the densely populated communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline of Coney Island. The beaches and dunes were last nourished in 1995. The Army Corps needs to repair lost beach and construct a raised berm, as well as constructing additional protections.

Federal funding will go towards constructing four stand-alone T-groin structures, one rock spur off the existing West 37th Street groin, additional stone armoring of the existing Norton Point dike, and removal of beach fill currently accumulated in front of the Gravesend Bay bulkheads, and dredging sand from the nearby Federal navigation channel in Rockaway Inlet. This beach fill will be placed along approximately 2,000 linear feet of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline within the new T-groin field.

This Project Partnership Agreement, a legally binding agreement, describes the responsibilities of the restoration project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the NYC Parks and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

In 2012, Schumer and Gillibrand met with Army Corps of Engineers and laid out a series of projects already authorized by Congress, including the Coney Island project, that must be started quickly.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries will speak to the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association during their monthly meeting tonight, at 8:00 p.m., at P.S. 195 (131 Irwin Street).

Jeffries, who represents Manhattan Beach, the Sheepshead Bay waterfront, and Brighton Beach, among others, will discuss measures to protect the area from future flooding, flood insurance rates and the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

In addition to the congressman, the group will give reports on community issues, hear from other elected officials, and give residents an opportunity to share their questions and concerns. The entire community is invited to attend.

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Design of the new elevated comfort stations. The ramps and stairs are designed to detach in the case of an extreme weather event. (Source: NYC Parks)

The New York City Parks Department will present revised plans this Thursday for the controversial bathroom and comfort station slated for the Brighton Beach boardwalk in response to outcry from Oceana condominium residents and local leaders.

The public hearing on the new draft environmental impact statement will take place at the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Avenue), from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

It’s the second public hearing on the site’s bathrooms, which are identical to 35 others along the Riegelmann Boardwalk and elsewhere in the city – all replacements to facilities damaged in Superstorm Sandy. At the November meeting, residents of Oceana and other nearby buildings lambasted the proposal for the 20-foot-tall structures, with complaints ranging from blocked views and claims that it would attract the homeless, to concerns about the stability of the structure.

The Parks Department previewed seven different alternatives for the placement of the New Brighton location – the formal name of the site in front of Oceana near Coney Island Avenue – at City Hall in February. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz gave favorable, though tepid, reviews of the new plans.

“Some alternatives are clearly better than others, but what came across is that this is a new administration that has expressed a real willingness to listen to what the community has to say,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said in a press release. “It is a very hopeful sign that the [draft environmental impact statement] includes the options that were raised by residents at the Parks Department’s public scoping meeting last November. I believe this is an important step in an ongoing dialogue and it shows that the city is trying to be responsive to the community’s needs.”

coneyisland

The Coney Island History Project and Urban Neighborhood Services are hosting a slideshow presentation by Charles Denson titled “The History of Coney Island’s West End and the Presence and Contributions of African Americans in Coney Island from the 1600s to the Present.”The slideshow will feature never-before-seen images from Charles Denson’s archive and photos that he took in the 1970s.

U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Coney Island’s first African American Congressman, will be a special guest.

“The West End of Coney Island is a vibrant and resilient community that’s survived many challenges over the last few decades,” said Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson. “I grew up there and documented the wave of urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s that transformed our community and changed the lives of its residents. This slide show will tell the story of the area going back to 1600s.”

I, for one, have always been kind of curious about the West End, which sticks out from the rest of Southern Brooklyn both figuratively and in terms of demographics and culture. It’ll be interesting to check this out.

Here’s one of Denson’s great photos from that era:

denson

Shawn White was found shot to death on Thursday in a building at West 27th Street and Surf Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

Shawn White was found shot to death on Thursday in a building at West 27th Street and Surf Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

Police say they have arrested Johnny Velez Garcia, who they believe is the deadly gunman responsible for one of two fatal shootings in Coney Island last week.

Garcia is accused of shooting and killing Shawn White in the fourth-floor stairwell of the Coney Island high-rise building at West 27th Street and Surf Avenue, where the victim lived.

White, 25, was found with several gunshots to the head, torso and leg at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 26. According to News 12, police say White was killed by his friend over a dispute regarding a girl.

It was the second deadly shooting in as many days, with 17-year-old Yaquin English killed in front of his home in the Gravesend Houses.

The shootings spurred community members to call a meeting to discuss gun violence in the neighborhood, where they discussed calling for security cameras and greater police presence.

CIviolence

Mathylde Frontus led the meeting at the Urban Neighborhood Services

by Steven Volynets

Following the second fatal shooting in as many days, Coney Island residents and local leaders met at the Urban Neighborhood Services (UNS) office (1718 Mermaid Avenue) on Friday to voice concern over the growing number of gun deaths in the area.

On Christmas Eve, 17-year-old Yaquin English was shot to death in front of his home in the Gravesend Houses at 3144 Bay View Avenue. Just two days later, a man was shot dead on Thursday inside a Coney Island high-rise building on West 27th Street and Surf Avenue.

Shawn White, 25, was found on the fourth floor stairwell with several gunshot wounds to the head, torso and leg at approximately 9:30 p.m. First responders pronounced the victim dead on arrival, according to the NYPD.

Shawn White was found shot to death on Thursday in a building at West 27th Street and Surf Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

Shawn White was found shot to death on Thursday in a building at West 27th Street and Surf Avenue. (Source: Google Maps)

The spate of deadly shootings has left community members grappling for an effective response to the violence, which UNS noted seemed concentrated in public housing.

Community members, including parents, a teacher and local clergy, discussed drafting a letter to local officials calling for more cameras and greater police presence throughout Coney Island neighborhoods.

“What can we ask of our State Senator Diane Savino? What can we ask of our Congressman Hakeem Jeffries?” said UNS Director Mathylde Frontus, who organized the event. Congressman Jeffries’s representative Lee Church and Victoria Lynch, president of Coney Island Site 8 Residents Association, attended the meeting.

Gravesend Houses, where Yaquin English was shot to death on Christmas Eve (Source: Google Maps)

Also present, Rhonda Brown Moore, board member of Man Up, a Brownsville-based neighborhood improvement organization, said Coney Island could benefit from one of their anti-violence programs.

“We have men in vans patrolling the neighborhood in the middle of the night, talking to some of the people doing the shootings,” Moore said.

Frontus also stressed greater involvement of local business owners and corporate interests.

“A lot of money is hovering over us, but nothing is trickling down to the community,” she said. That money, she added, could fund programs like Man Up, as well as art, music and sports activities for Coney Island youth.

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Design of the new elevated comfort stations. The ramps and stairs are designed to detach in the case of an extreme weather event. (Source: NYC Parks)

A group of long-time Brighton Beach advocates seized the opportunity of Monday night’s hearing about the Oceana comfort stations, telling the Parks Department that they ought to give equal consideration to all of the elevated bathrooms already installed – and not just those near the condominium complex.

The packed hearing, which drew approximately 130 residents to the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Avenue), was called by the Parks Department as a result of a court order, which requires them to produce an environmental impact statement (EIS). The hearing was an opportunity to address the scope of the planned EIS and suggest that Parks consultants evaluate additional aspects of the project.

However, it was ultimately a cathartic expulsion of rage and frustration by residents miffed with government bureaucracy and the perceived threat to their quality of life.

A small crew of residents from around the neighborhood urged the Parks Department to produce similar studies for the already-completed comfort stations further down the boardwalk and citywide, or at least extend its conclusions to those structures.

Keep reading, and view video from the heated hearing.

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is the latest elected official to enter the fray over the new bathrooms slated for the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, which residents of the Oceana condominium complex have vocally opposed.

Jeffries is on the boardwalk today holding a press conference, calling for the Parks Department to forever abandon its plans to place the bathrooms in Brighton Beach, officially dubbed the New Brighton Comfort Station. That would leave the next nearest public restroom on the boardwalk more than seven blocks away.

Oceana residents opposed the placement of the bathrooms, saying the 20-foot-tall structure would impede their oceanfront views, attract drug dealing gangbangers, and create a bad scent.

Jeffries joins Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Senator Charles Schumer in siding with Oceana residents. It was also an issue in the recent City Council race, where opposition was embraced by candidates including David Storobin and Ari Kagan.

The last we checked in on the story, city officials suffered a setback when a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge ordered that the agency produce an environmental impact study and scoping process, which includes a public hearing that will take place tonight (details below).

None of the other three comfort station on the Brighton Beach – Coney Island boardwalk, nor any of the other 10 locations throughout New York City, are being subjected to the same process. That’s because the type of project doesn’t typically trigger the state requirement for an environmental impact statement when building in a coastal erosion hazard area –  a requirement that, somewhat ironically, Cymbrowitz had sought to strike down for all future projects. He said these bathrooms changed his mind.

The Parks Department released their draft scope statement for the environmental study a few weeks ago. In it, they unsurprisingly determined that the proposed comfort station would have no significant impact on a slew of areas, including socioeconomic conditions, community facilities and services, waste and sanitation services, energy, air quality, public health and more. In fact, they found that it provided benefit in some of these areas.

Due to the court case, the statement says, the agency will also assess the comfort station’s impact on several additional areas, including urban design and visual resources, natural resources, neighborhood character and hazardous materials. Tonight’s meeting is an opportunity for the public to comment on the scope of the study.

If you have thoughts about the comfort station and its impact on the community, whether for or against, attend tonight’s public hearing at the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

UPDATE (3:06 p.m.): Moments after publishing this piece, the following flier landed in my inbox. Apparently this is being distributed around Oceana.

oceana2

 

Photo By Erica Sherman

Photo By Erica Sherman

Plumb Beach is considered one of the most vulnerable stretches of coastlines in the city, and the overall sand replenishment and long-term restoration effort undertaken by federal and city officials is being considered as a model for rehabilitating Sandy-devastated areas. NY1 is reporting on the progress and the specifics of Plumb Beach, an effort expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Previously, we reported on the Army Corps of Engineers work on Plumb Beach, noting that the first phase of the operation, which was sand replenishment, had been completed. Phase two involves the construction of two terminal groins and one offshore breakwater and the installation of 1.2 acres of beach grass. Army Corps engineer John Knight described the purpose of the stone groins to NY1.

“The eastern groin right there acts as a catch for sand movement along the beach, keeps the sand and the protection in place on the shoreline itself,” Knight said.

The report also described how, as work continues, the project is laying the foundation for other shore restoration projects needed following Sandy:

Officials say the work here needs to be replicated in Sandy-devastated areas.

“This was a success story. It’s a wonderful model for the type of work that we must do,” [Representative Hakeem] Jeffries said.

“It’s going to allow us to do this very similar work in the Rockaways, which we already started with 4 million cubic yards of sand that will be laid there, and very shortly after that, right here in Brooklyn’s Coney Island,” Jeffrey said.

To see video of the construction effort being undertaken by the Army Corps, click here.

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