Archive for the tag 'quality of life'

Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Source: Cymbrowitz’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Trash problems and summer heat are a bad mix, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) says the city needs to do something about the problem now before Sheepshead Bay’s vermin population starts to soar.

In an effort to address quality of life issues throughout his district, the lawmaker took New York City Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo on a tour of Sheepshead Bay yesterday afternoon.

He invited Lupo to his district because many residents have reached out to him about trash throughout the neighborhood. In addition to overall filth in Sheepshead Bay, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz told the superintendent about the overflowing trash bins on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, the state of the Sheepshead Bay Road underpasses by the train station and along Shore Parkway, as well as trash along the Emmons Avenue median and Ocean Avenue.

Noting that the beauty of Sheepshead Bay attracts tens of thousands of residents and visitors each year, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has partnered in recent years with the Department of Sanitation in an effort to encourage area merchants along Sheepshead Bay Road to sign up for Adopt-a-Basket, Sanitation’s volunteer program, which would help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing all over our streets.

The legislator also provided multi-modal funding for various beautification projects along the bay side of Emmons Avenue between Ocean Avenue and East 14th Street, which included newly-planted trees, new sidewalks, curb cuts, newly-painted railings, granite pavers, benches and covered trash receptacles. New decorative benches and trash cans recently capped off the much-anticipated project on the west end of Emmons Avenue.

In surveying the community, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Superintendent Lupo both agreed that immediate action needs to be taken. “While providing an aesthetically pleasing setting will encourage more people to enjoy the stretch of our waterfront, we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our community remains clean,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

He said he looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Sanitation to address the problem.

Captain Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

Captain John Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Members and attendees will discuss the anti-Semitic graffiti that was discovered earlier this month on several properties on Exeter Street.

Guest speakers — Captain John Chell of the 61st Police Precinct and Alexander Gurevich, Esq., Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney — will talk about how the NYPD handles these crimes and what punishment is meted out to criminals involved.

There will additionally be updates on Traffic Committee proposals, Build it Back and NY Rising monies allocated to Manhattan Beach.

The meeting is taking place at the same time as a seminar by the Department of Finance about insurance issues (flier to come on this site shortly). For those concerned about missing one meeting or the other, MBCG said they have booked the DOF to attend their June meeting to go over many of the same issues.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

vandals

The New York Police Department has released footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera that appears to show four teenagers believed to be responsible for spraying anti-Semitic graffiti in Manhattan Beach this weekend.

Graffiti depicting a swastika-like icon and messages including “F-ck Jews” were found scrawled on homes, a tree stump and construction site on Saturday morning. The NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime, and has released the surveillance video as they seek help from the public in identifying the vandals.

The video appears to show four teens in hoodies walking down Exeter Street. They make two brief stops within the camera’s range, lighting up their marks with a cellphone or flashlight as they quickly scribble their hate-filled messages and move on.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Here’s the video, via ABC News:

graffiti-mb

Anti-Semitic messages and swastikas were found painted on several properties on Exeter Street in Manhattan Beach over the weekend, and police believe the perps were five white teenage males.

The graffiti was discovered on homes, a tree stump and a construction site early Sunday morning, according to a message sent by the Manhattan Beach Community Group.

JPUpdates reports that surveillance video captured the five suspects spray painting the Exeter Street home of Victor Popovsky:

“We are not going to tolerate this nonsense. Not in this neighborhood and not anywhere else,” said Popovsky, a physics teacher at PS321 in Park Slope.

The teenagers sprayed swastika on a tree and lamp post, as well as hate graffiti at a constructs site.

Council member Chaim Deutsch was seen on the scene Sunday afternoon trying to remove the graffiti with no success. “Words of hate and graffiti of hate will not be tolerated, in this community or in any other neighborhood,” Mr. Deutsch told JP. “As a son of holocaust survivors I take these incidents very personal.”

“We need to educate our youth of what such hate graffiti means,” Mr. Deutsch added.

Deutsch told the outlet that the NYPD is investigating it as a hate crime.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has called for those responsible to be punished for their actions:

“The appearance of hate graffiti in two predominantly Jewish neighborhoods this weekend — here in my district in Manhattan Beach and also in Borough Park — reminds us that we can never educate people enough about anti-Semitism and the dangers of intolerance.

“Whether the graffiti was motivated by hatred, anger, boredom or ignorance the result is exactly the same: it makes residents feel uncomfortable and frightened to be in the place they call home. This is unacceptable under any circumstances, and particularly in neighborhoods where many Holocaust survivors sought refuge.

“The person responsible for this crime must be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows, and all of us must continue to speak out swiftly and decisively against any act of hatred that takes place in our community.”

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association met on Thursday to create a roadmap for tackling the neighborhood’s trash problem, but faced pushback from the Department of Sanitation, which claimed some of their concerns were better addressed to other agencies.

Approximately 50 neighbors gathered at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, located at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, to voice concerns to their local government representatives.

Bruno Iciano, the Community Affairs Liaison from the Department of Sanitation spoke first, opening up the floor to concerns from the group about ongoing garbage problems along major corridors, as well as underneath the Brighton Line subway overpasses. The group’s leadership expressed his hope that the department will work closely with the community to improve conditions.

“Our goal is to create a plan to attack all aspects of sanitation,” said Ed Jaworski, the civic association’s president. “It is our hope that grassroots might drive policy.”

Iciano spoke to the audience about several ways that local communities could get involved with neighborhood problems. He spoke highly of the “Adopt-A-Basket” program, the “Sponsor-A-Basket” program, and the Doe Fund. These first two projects would, respectively, allow property owners and individuals to take responsibility over local trash baskets and allow participants to sponsor “high-end” baskets that discourage residents from using them for household trash. The third program would provide local merchants the ability to hire individuals “going through tough times” at a low-cost to help clean up the streets.

The initiatives, though, fell short of satisfying neighbor’s questions, which focused on enforcement:

  • “What do you do with repeat offenders?”
  • “How can we tell if neighbors that get fined actually pay those fines?”
  • “We need to do something about the subway overpasses by the B and Q train on Sheepshead bay. What can you do?”

Not many of these concerns were resolved. Rather, the conversation seemed to resemble a game of hot potato, a diffusion of responsibility by government agencies.

“We’re not responsible for cleaning sidewalks… The overpasses, those are the responsibility of the MTA… You’ll have to call 311,” Iciano said during his presentation.

The MTA, however, sees it differently. Responding to Sheepshead Bites’ questions about maintenance in February, the MTA has previously said that cleaning underpasses and removing hazards like snow and ice are the city’s responsibility, either through the Department of Transportation or the Department of Sanitation.

On preventing sidewalk litter baskets from overflowing, Iciano said they hope to work more closely with residents who live above the storefronts.

“We’re gonna have to do outreach on Avenue U,” he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the crowd he would work to keep the pressure on the agencies.

“Keeping our communities clean is our main mission. We want people to stay and shop here. We don’t want them to go to other areas,” he said. “We need to educate small business owners. But that isn’t the only step. It’s a process, and I will be holding every city agency accountable.”

Jaworksi noted that he wished the MTA had sent a representative so that both, the MTA and DOS, could take ownership over the sanitation problems surrounding the local train stations.

“I wish someone would make the connection and take responsibility, say, ‘Let’s talk and get this done.’ How long can they keep passing the ball around?” said civic member Kathy Jaworski.

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Source: sincerelyhiten/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) to commission a comprehensive study on the social impact of problem gambling has gained a valuable sponsor in the Senate and was cited during expert testimony at a New York State Gaming Commission Forum today in Albany.

The legislation (A.7836), which authorizes and directs the commissioner of mental health to commission a statewide evaluation regarding the extent of legal and illegal gambling by New York state residents, has attracted the sponsorship of Senator Marty Golden and on April 1 was reported to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

James Maney, Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, gave the bill a positive mention this morning during the forum on “Addressing Problem Gambling in the Era of Expanded Gaming.”

According to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who is Chairman of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the purpose of this bill is to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling.

A survey conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) found that five percent of adults, or 668,000 individuals, exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year. Another survey of seventh through 12th grade students revealed that 10 percent, or 140,000 students, showed signs of problem gambling in the past 12 months and another 10 percent of those students were in need of treatment for problem gambling. Of those students in the survey who were identified as in need of chemical dependency treatment, 45 percent were at risk or in need of treatment for problem gambling.

Research has found that proximity to casinos increases the rate of problem gambling among the local population, said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission showed that casinos within a 50-mile radius of an individual’s home can double the prevalence of problem gambling.

The Buffalo Research Institute on Addiction, in its own study, claimed that having a casino within 10 miles of a home has a significant effect on problem gambling. Currently, New York State has five casinos operated by Native Americans and nine independently operated racinos; combined they operate approximately 29,000 electronic gambling machines, which is more than any state in the Northeast or Midwest. New York continues to expand its existing gaming market and if non-tribal casino gaming is legalized, permitting up to seven new casinos to be established, the risk of more individuals developing a gambling problem could increase significantly.

“While it is important that New York State continue to conduct surveys that determine the prevalence of problem gambling and illustrate the need for prevention and treatment services, additional research that measures the social impact of problem gambling is sorely needed,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Directing such research would allow the state to pinpoint which social costs associated with problem gambling are most predominant among New York’s identified problem gamblers and have also been detected in communities impacted by the presence of a casino, he noted.

“By having this information, New York State and its public officials will be able to develop a comprehensive plan comprising precise policies and regulations that aim to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The information would also enable the problem gambling service providers and the casino industry to implement strategies and interventions that target the specific problem gambling needs of each local community and its citizens, he said.

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Source: Clayton Collier/Twitter

UPDATE (11:55 a.m.): The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory until 11 p.m. tonight. Those with respiratory concerns should reduce outdoor activity.

Original story:

A brush fire in a state park in New Jersey is throwing up smoke, blowing north into New York City, filling communities in Southern Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island with an acrid smell this morning.

The New York Post reports:

“Due to a brush fire in the Wharton State Park in New Jersey, residents in Staten Island & Brooklyn may smell smoke,” tweeted the NYC Office of Emergency Management at around 1:45 a.m.

The nearly 123,000-acre park, located in Burlington County, is roughly 70 miles from the southern tip of New York City. Odors were reported from Staten Island to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

DNAinfo adds:

About 30 acres of the park ignited Sunday night and sent a plume of smoke into the sky that could be seen from miles around, according to NBC, which added that the flames haven’t injured anyone or burned any buildings.

The smoke smell remained in the area until late morning.

An AP report says no one has been injured and no structures damaged in the fire. As of 9:30 a.m., firefighters had managed to contain about 30 percent of the blaze.

Source: _chrisUK/Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: Since the snow and ice evaporated, most drivers probably assumed maneuvering along city streets would be trouble-free. But now they have to deal with another aggravating upshot generated by this year’s severe weather — a plague of potholes. They’re not nearly as harsh as the 10 plagues God smite on the Egyptians in Exodus, but the proliferation of gaps and fissures in the pavement are, nonetheless, plentiful and problematical.

Under ordinary conditions the city’s roads are rough enough, but after two months of wicked weather and frigid temperatures, those thoroughfares have taken a licking and keep on cracking, creating one final winter souvenir — an obstacle course that scars our streets. Drivers who don’t avoid those fissures typically experience unnerving jolts or, worse, costly vehicle damage.

The only roads likely to be worse than our pothole-peppered streets may be those pitted with bomb craters in war-torn Afghanistan.

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I wonder if there's a policy about taking trees on the subway... (Source: NYRP/Flickr)

I wonder if there’s a policy about taking trees on the subway… (Source: NYRP/Flickr)

The New York Restoration Project, a non-profit dedicated to building greenspaces and the lead partner of the MillionTreesNYC initiative, is going all out this spring with a huge giveaway of 12,000 trees distributed directly to residents throughout New York City.

Here are some details from the group:

NYC home and property owners can choose from over 90 events where they can pick up trees to bring home and plant in their front or back yards. Participants can visit www.nyrp.org/treegiveaways to check out dates and locations and find out more. They can register online approximately two weeks in advance, to reserve a tree. If registration is full, a limited number of trees is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the event. We’re offering popular tree species, including various dogwood, fig, magnolia and serviceberry trees to New Yorkers. Aside providing cleaner air, planting trees has many benefits, including enhanced curb appeal, offset of climate change, cooler temperatures, and more.

Giveaways are scheduled between March and May for Marine Park, Coney Island, Gravesend, Borough Park, Bay Ridge and elsewhere – so there’s no shortage of nearby locations to pick one up in the coming months. Just check their schedule and register in advance.

The MillionTreesNYC program is a public-private initiative. Seventy percent of the trees will be planted in parks and public spaces, while 30 percent are being given to private organizations, homeowners and community groups. More than 800,000 trees have been distributed to date.

garbage

The photo above was taken this morning on Avenue U and East 14th Street.

According to reader Tracy M., it’s indicative of “the appalling state of the neighborhood, post snow. This pic was taken this morning at Ave U and East 14. I could have gone for blocks taking similar pictures.”

We saw Sanitation workers catching up on residential streets this morning, and with the snow they surely have had a lot on their plates these last few weeks. But we’re inclined to agree: there’s no real excuse for what you see above.

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