7/24/14

News from the Commodore Barry Club

Club President Mary Nolan at Fraunces

Barry Biographer Tim McGrath Honored by the U.S. Navy League

On June 10, members of the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn attended a gala dinner hosted by the U.S. Navy League at Revolutionary War-era landmark Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan, where naval historian Tim McGrath was honored for his contributions to naval history. 

McGrath authored the biography John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail  and Give Me a Fast Ship, an account of the early American Navy. 

The dinner at Fraunces also marked the inaugural Commodore Barry Book Award. 

The reception that followed in the Flag Gallery of The Sons of the Revolution was hosted by the Naval Historical Foundation and the National Maritime Historical Society.

The Commodore Barry Memorial at the U.S. Naval Academy

The Commodore Barry Club contributed to the planning of the Commodore Barry Memorial at the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, dedicated this May.

Born in County Wessex, Ireland, Commodore John Barry emigrated to colonial America as cabin boy, rising through the ranks to become the first commissioned officer in the nascent U.S. Navy. Barry, who fought many sea battles for his adopted country, became known after the war as the father of the American Navy.

238th Anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn at Green-Wood

At 12 Noon on Sunday, August 24, the Commodore Barry Club will commemorate the 238th Anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn at the main gate at Green-Wood Cemetery, at 5th Avenue and 25th Street in Green-Wood Heights. 

Irish Heritage Trail and Irish Patriots' Day

At 12 Noon on Saturday, September 6, the Commodore Barry Club will celebrate the Irish Heritage Trail and Irish Patriots Day at Green-Wood Cemetery. The day begins with mass in the Chapel, followed by the Irish-American Parade Committee's thank you to Ed Cush, organizer of the Kings County Memorial Parade. After the ceremonies, members will visit gravesites in the historic cemetery, with the Green-Wood Trolley assisting anyone who needs help getting around.

Further information is available at 718-833-3405 or at the website.

7/23/14

Has BPL Gone Rogue?

In advance of the Community Board 6 Land Use/ Landmarks Committee meeting at 6 PM this evening, Thursday, July 24, at the Red Hook Library, 7 Wolcott Street (between Dwight and Richards), Eric Richmond of the Brooklyn Lyceum, at 227 4th Avenue in Gowanus/Park Slope, asked in a rhetorical email blast whether the Brooklyn Public Library has "gone rogue" and slipped its charter under president/CEO Linda Johnson.

At issue, Richmond said, is BPL's allowing the "opaque" organization SpaceWorks to essentially squat on 40% of the free public space in the Williamsburg and Red Hook branches and earn revenue by renting out that space, without reimbursing BPL.

The deal between BPL and SpaceWorks, Richmond said, involves, as a fictional quid pro quo, "trivial' capital improvements that the city is underwriting, Richmond said. The 2,000 square feet SpaceWorks will occupy rent-free in the Red Hook Library is maintained out of the approximately $450,000 allocated to BPL in the city budget, he said, calling the city's refusal to include the capital improvements in BPL's own budget either a "no-confidence vote" in the library system, an attempt to end-run the library charter, or a land grab.

Going further, Richmond called BPL president Linda Johnson an unaccountable "liar" who has misrepresented the status of the infrastructure and design of the Brooklyn Business Library and the Pacific Street Branch and deserves a vote of "no confidence."

According to Richmond, the BPL board, which, he said, operates beyond the reach of the city's Conflict of Interest Board, built a redundant 189-seat auditorium while deferring maintenance at the Pacific Street branch for 10 years.

Richmond's email includes a collection of quotes on the Bloomberg-era decline of New York City's public library system, from around the web:
"...Public libraries are for the public, not private development deals with artists..." 
"...Failed stewardship..." 
"...Stop the Mercenary Rich from feasting on the remains of our civilization..." 
"...Sucking the life out of public libraries in favor of private real estate developers is a disgrace, begun by Mayor Bloomberg...But will Mayor de Blasio...face down the forces of privatization and save our libraries?" 
"...The idea itself to sell libraries...is the most barbarian, unthinkable act since Middle Ages when books were burned in the name of God..." 
"...Let's not turn New York into a provincial second-rate city..." 
"...Don't sell library assets!" 
"...Public libraries are lifelines...We need well-funded, intact public spaces. What happened to the Donnell Library is an example of the city losing both a cultural space and a sense of community. Let this not happen in Brooklyn..." 
"...Libraries are vital public assets, which should be expanded, and heartily supported, not diminished in any way. These sweetheart deals benefitting real estate developers, grasping at air rights, must be stopped. Support our libraries and our access to books..." 
"...Odd that the Brooklyn Public Library wants Brooklynites to make do with less space... Time to look at the numbers, closely..."

So Who's Gonna Design the Bay Ridge Flag?

Imagine the Bay Ridge flag, designed by you, hanging at the local coffee shop. The Brooklyn Flag Project is calling for entries to the Brooklyn flag design contest, which will ultimately print and produce flags for each Brooklyn neighborhood.
You can submit your artwork online here. The deadline for submission is August 31.

In mid-September, the judges will meet to pick the finalists, who will be presented to an online community via the voting tool, which makes the public the ultimate deciders. The design that gets the most votes will be the grand prize winner. The runners-up will be decided by the buying team.

The name of your neighborhood should be in the design. All Brooklyn neighborhoods are eligible, from Williamsburg to Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope to Brighton Beach. ProCro or Greenwood Heights? Sure. As long as it's Brooklyn.
The flags will be a cotton 36" by 46" rectangle (landscape or portrait is up to you) with a water-based coating for print adhesion. Flags will be printed with environmentally-friendly GREENGUARD certified ink. For indoor use, the flags will have brass grommets suitable for wall hanging, and will be MADE IN BROOKLYN. Down the road, the designs may be featured on other products.

The final design will be a 36" by 46" flag. You must submit a file at 72dpi in the form of a JPG or PNG. And it must be less than 2mb. Make sure to keep your submission to the ratio of 9 by 11.5 - you can decide if your design will be landscape or portrait.

The designs will be digitally printed, so there are no limits to color.

You will need a JPG or PNG of your work to enter. The artwork must be original, meaning free of logos, trademarks and obvious influence from another artist -- unless you have the proper permissions.

If you win, you will need to have a vector of the file, or an image at 2592 by 3312 pixels.

The grand prize winner gets $1000 cash and a contract with UncommonGoods granting you royalties after a sales threshold is reached. Technically you will be selling your design and getting back 5% of the retail price every time it is sold. The $1000 prize is an advance on your royalties. The same holds true of each of the other prize levels. You'll work with the UncommonGoods Product Development team to perfect the design and have it printed on flags. Your design will be shown on UncommonGoods.com, in its marketing emails, and possibly in its catalog.

One second place winner will receive $750, one third place winner will receive $500, and a number of other runners-up will receive $250.

For more information, email brooklyn-flag@uncommongoods.com

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

The article.

86th Street Repaving Starts Next Week

According to an email blast today from Council Member Vinnie Gentile's office, the repaving of 86th Street, from Gatling Place to Stillwell Avenue, will begin on Monday, July 28, with milling (grinding off the top layer of asphalt to prepare it for repaving) taking place on 86th Street from Gatling Place to 7th Avenue.

Although the city Department of Transportation does what it can to reduce the impact of milling, it will mean trucks, special machinery, portable lights -- and noise. To minimize nuisance, milling machinery is fitted with noise-reduction equipment.

DOT's plan is to repair 86th Street in three segments this summer, with crews working overnight in order to keep traffic and commercial disruption to a minimum.

Sleep, however, is on you.

Getting Corky Back

In Bay Ridge, seemingly not a month goes by that you don't see a "LOST DOG" flyer on a tree or a light pole, with a photo of the missing family pet.

According to the American Kennel Club, theft of purebred dogs is rising nationally. In 2012, the AKC reported 444 cases of dog theft, up from 255 cases in 2010.

As observed by NBC Local, instances of  "dog flipping" in the city -- stealing and re-selling pets -- rose by nearly 30% in 2013, with thieves sometimes taking purebred puppies right from pet shops.

What becomes of stolen dogs? The thieves either keep the dogs themselves; flip them; sell them as bait to dog fight operations; bunch and sell them to research laboratories; give them as gifts; or hold them as hostages, either as an endgame in an emotional relationship or until their owners pay their ransom demands.

The AKC recommends never letting your dog off its leash, and never leaving it outside in the city. Owners of purebred dogs who leave them on the street are basically asking for it, says the AKC, given the high price these dogs can command on the black market. 

What does it take to get a stolen dog back?  Here's the dramatic story of how one Brownstone Brooklyn family tracked down and recovered Corky, its stolen 3-year-old Maltese.

Tied out for less than a minute while the owner went back inside for a forgotten item, 6-lb Corky was taken from in front of the family home on 9th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Gowanus.

Realizing Corky had been taken, the family combed nearby streets, finding out, at a 5th Avenue Petland, that a man and a woman, carrying a dog and apparently high, had come in with their daughter to buy a leash.  By the description, the dog was Corky.

That same day, people carrying a dog fitting the same description were caught trying to steal supplies from another Sunset Park Petland.

Others had seen the vagabonds that took Corky around the neighborhood.

Corky's owners worked the case 24/7, combing the area and putting up black-and-white flyers, Next day, with the search still on, the owners got a call from someone who was approached on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park by a man trying to sell the Maltese he was carrying for $150.00.

Corky's owners put up new color flyers, featuring photos of Corky with his family, that got a better response from the public. Tips started coming in. Based on a tip from a man who knew the thieves, Corky's owners learned that they frequented the local Methadone clinics and habitually stole and flipped family pets to get drug money.

By now, the owners' neighborhood, including bus drivers, sanit men, mail carriers, firefighters, school kids, and even drug users, was on the lookout for Corky. Ads were up on Craigslist, the local newspapers, local free papers, Petfinders.com, Pets Missing In Action, and other sites.  And every dog walker in the area had an eye out for Corky.

The public response included prayers, words of encouragement, ideas, and even offers to help in the search.

The tipster, who stayed in touch with the family, gave the names and descriptions of the thieves and the locations of the Methadone clinics they frequented.  At one point, the tipster called for a face-to-face meeting with the owners. When they went to meet him, they were taken to the Marcy Projects, where the thieves lived.

The owners boldly staked out the thieves' apartment building.  At one point, the husband met a tenant who knew someone who lived in the same building as the thieves. Early next morning, he went to the building to try to buy information.  That tenant eventually located Corky by entering the building and listening at doors, hearing Corky behind one of them.

The owner then sent the tenant back into the building with the money to buy Corky. Going in with $500 in cash, the tenant returned in about 15 minutes carrying the scared, dirty Corky, still wearing his tags.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to sign new legislation upping fines for mistreating or stealing companion animals from $200 to $1,000. Passed by the State Assembly and Senate in June, the legislation marks the first time in 40 years that penalties for pet-stealing have been raised. Under the existing law, pet-nappers could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail.

Lawmakers see the higher fines as a deterrent to surging pet theft.

7/22/14

Camping Out, Lief Ericson Park


Alleged Groper Flyered

The NYPD has posted flyers of an alleged groper near the entrance to the R Train on 95th Street and 4th Avenue.

He's described as a white male, about 5'9" and 135 lbs.  According to the flyer, he's wanted for "questioning only" in connection with two counts of Forcible Touching.

One incident took place on Saturday, June 21 at around 2345 hours (11:45 PM) and the second incident took place on Wednesday, June 25 at around 2230 hours (10:30 PM). The flyer doesn't say where the incidents took place.

If you know who the guy in the photo is, call investigating officer Det. Scott Granai at 718-230-4421 or 305-Detective Borough Bklyn. South Spec. Vic. Sqd. at 718-287-3239. The case number is 2014-2 and the complaint number is 2014-068-03090.

I don't know if this is the same guy who recently groped a female in front of Embers Steak House at 95th Street and 3rd Avenue, but based on the description, it's a second guy.

7/21/14

Environmental Action Targets Shark Fin Sellers

sharkfinned.jpgEvery hour, an estimated 8,000 sharks are killed. That’s 192,000 sharks a day and 70 million sharks in a year. Sharks are being hunted to extinction, with some species declining more than 90% in the last decade. The Whale Shark, the world’s largest fish, is already classified as vulnerable, and dozens of other sharks are listed as critically endangered.

Despite being cast as arch-demons by the media, sharks kill maybe 5 humans a year, often in accidents where the shark was threatened, confused or baited.

Most commercially-hunted sharks are killed for their fins, which are used to make soup. There is a booming U.S. market for shark fins, with hundreds of American restaurants serving shark fin soup -- even in states like New York, where the shark fin trade is legally banned.

Although there is less demand for shark fin here than in other countries, the higher prices U.S. restaurants charge for shark fin drives demand, which drives shark hunting.

In a new campaign, advocacy organization Environmental Action is targeting restaurants selling shark fin to back off demand and save the species.

Although, effective July 1, 2014, possession, sale, offer for sale, trade or distribution of shark fin are banned in New York State, the ban is hard to enforce, and therefore not effective enough to end the shark fin trade. Hence the need for advocacy.

In the coming weeks, Environmental Action will pressure high-profile shark fin soup sellers to take it off their menus. Restaurants selling shark fin will be flyered, and food journalists will be asked to join the campaign against shark fin. Expect reviewers on popular restaurant rating tools like Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat to be enlisted in the effort.

A year ago, the following Brooklyn restaurants were selling shark fin.

18 Chinese Cuisine
4418 8th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 633-6366
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

49 Division Street Restaurant
49 Division Street
Brooklyn, NY 10002
(212) 965-1926
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

American East Fuzhou
54 East Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 10002
(212) 226-0969
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

Dai Wah Yummy City
7218 18th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11204
(718) 837-8818
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

East Boat Lobster Restaurant
72 Kenmare Street
Brooklyn, NY 10012
(212) 226-8881
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

East Harbor Seafood Palace
714 65th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 765-0098
Last Updated on: July 10, 2013

Gia Lam
4810 8th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 633-2272
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

HK Cafe (Claims to be imitation)
2033 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 265-7800
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

Him and Her Cafe (Claims to be imitation)
7901 17th Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11214
(917) 267-2810
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

Hyo Dong Gak
51 West 35th Street
Brooklyn, NY 10001
(212) 695-6674
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

J. King Seafood Restaurant
618 62nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 833-3777
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

Kowloon Cafe (Claims to be imitation)
2365 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 333-1388
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

Ritz Cafe (Claims to be imitation)
773 60th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 680-8880
Last Updated on: July 3, 2013

South Spring Restaurant
1936 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 331-8828
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

Pacificana
813 55th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 871-2880
Last Updated on: June 10, 2013

Are they selling it illegally now?  Time to find out.

References:

How Many Sharks Are Killed Per Hour, The Huffington Post, March 27, 2013
Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup, Animal Welfare Institute
A Voracious Demand for Shark Fins, The New York Times, Bettina Wassiner, January 3, 2013

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