8/4/15

Sunset Park Stop ‘N’ Swap®

From 12-3 PM on Sunday, August 9, local non-profit GrowNYC will host a free Stop ‘N’ Swap event at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at 60th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Sunset Park.

At a Stop ‘N’ Swap event, the public is invited to bring clean, portable items to share with others who can re-use them. You don't need to bring something in order to take something. Just show up with a bag and shop for free among the books, toys, clothing, housewares, electronics and more.   GrowNYC then donates or recycles whatever is left over at the end of the day. 

The Swap cannot accept furniture or other large items. 

GrowNYC Stop ‘N’ Swaps have developed such a following among thrifty, environmentally conscious New Yorkers that GrowNYC now plans to schedule a Stop ‘N’ Swap in each of the city's 59 community districts every year. 

Stop ‘N’ Swaps keep re-usable items out of landfills and prevent the waste produced by buying new, with the goal of reducing the city’s carbon footprint by making it easier to reduce, recycle and re-use.

So if you're looking for a place to donate your portable re-usable items, bring them to OLPH before August 9.

Learn more here about GrowNYC

8/3/15

Is Rising Gun Violence Related to Drop in Stop and Frisk?

In June, the New York City Police Department reported, against the backdrop of a 50% drop in Stop-and-Frisk policing, that the city's violent crime rate was rising, and was expected to spike this summer.

Summer in the city has proved the NYPD right. On just one Brooklyn weekend -- last weekend -- a 24-year-old man died in a Canarsie shooting on Friday; and on Sunday, a 46-year-old man was killed in Fort Greene and nine people were shot at a house party in East New York.

Is rising gun violence in New York City related to the suppression -- in the wake of widespread evidence that it targets young men of color -- of aggressive Stop-and-Frisk policing?

Late Sunday afternoon, after a bloody weekend that left three dead and 16 wounded by gunfire, community leaders called on Mayor de Blasio, a vocal opponent of Stop-and-Frisk policing, to crack down on gun violence.

Brooklyn's district attorney and borough president, both men of color elected at the height of the backlash against the inherent racial profiling of Stop-and-Frisk policing, have proposed new community-based reforms as an alternative method of reducing gun violence.

Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson, speaking last fall at a community meeting in Coney Island about gun violence, steered around Stop-and-Frisk, listing the structural reforms within his office that are directed at reducing gun violence.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who spoke early in his term about creating innovative community-based mentoring programs for at-risk youth as a gun violence reduction strategy, called this week for a $10 million grant of "emergency funds" to combat Brooklyn's rising wave of gun violence.

Community advocate Tony Herbert, speaking at a rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall this week blaming Brooklyn's rising violent crime rate on Mayor Bill deBlasio, accused the Mayor of ignoring the parent-clergy coalition Herbert believes can reduce violent crime by deploying thousands of neighborhood volunteers to mentor at-risk teens.

But can the mentoring approach advocated by Thompson, Adams and Herbert as an alternative to Stop-and-Frisk address the problem of deterring armed teens who have already graduated to the streets?

During a summer when the streets in some Brooklyn precincts are crackling with fear, the NYPD is focused on a core group it believes is doing most of the shooting -- young men with a history of gun-related arrests and injuries. Since June, it has staffed up precinct houses in neighborhoods plagued with gun violence in an effort to stem the rising tide.

But, so far, adding more beat cops has failed to bring down the number of shootings and homicides in East New York's 75th Pct., where the house party shoot-out took place last weekend.

Proponents of Stop-and-Frisk claim that, while it admittedly results in a relatively low number of illegal gun seizures on city streets, has nevertheless effectively deterred gun violence by keeping weapons off the streets in the first place.

A 2013 New York Post article makes this argument, pointing out that Stop-and-Frisk was never about "getting guns off the streets" anyway. Stop-and-Frisk, it said, is all about deterrence.

The NYPD's widespread use of Stop-and-Frisk as a deterrent strategy, it argues, played a major role in reducing the city's violent crime rate, not because of the paltry number of knives and guns seized, but because of the widespread fear of seizure that kept weapons from being brought to the street.

The risk of search and seizure can make a parolee leave his weapons at home. Bloomberg era Stop-and-Frisk significantly upped the ante for a criminal walking around carrying an illegal weapon. And a weapon left at home can't get fired at a house party.

The problem with Stop-and-Frisk, of course, is that takes a high number of stops in high-crime neighborhoods and areas where crime is spiking -- which tend to be where people of color live -- to achieve deterrence. Defenders of Stop-and-Frisk say the trade-off between civil rights and public safety is unavoidable in order to curb rampant gun crime in these neighborhoods.

In New York City and in Brooklyn, Renters Predominate

With home ownership in the U.S. at its lowest level since 1967, it's no surprise that in gentrified New York City, home ownership stands at just 32.5%.

In Brooklyn, according to a 2014 NYC Housing and Verification Survey, home ownership stands even lower at 29% percent, less than half the national average of 63%.

The interactive data map at right,  “Where Renters Are”, created by New York Times journalist Ken Schwencke, provides stark graphic verification of these statistics by depicting the ratio of the city's owners to renters.

The mapped data, culled from a 2013 American Community Survey, highlights the degree to which the country's dense urban areas have been overtaken by renters. In Brooklyn, the red dots (indicating renters) predominate over blue dots (indicating home owners). 

The article from Brooklyn Magazine.

Brooklyn Preservation Council Meets at Scotto's

Battle of Brooklyn Re-Enacters at Green-Wood
The Brooklyn Preservation Council will host its monthly general meeting on August 12 at 6:30 PM at the Scotto Funeral Home, at 106 First Place in Carroll Gardens.

On the agenda are reports on the Sunset Park Historic District and the Carroll Gardens Landmarking; the Marylander Memorial Park Plan; and Revolutionary War history tours of Brooklyn sponsored by NYC and Co.

If you have a Brooklyn historic preservation issue that you would like to add to the agenda, contact Bob Furman at (917) 648-4043 or email him at bobfurman1@juno.com.

8/2/15

Brooklyn Public Library Seeks Volunteers

The Brooklyn Public Library, which boasts more than 2,000 dedicated volunteers, including students, working parents, retired teachers and business professionals, invites Brooklyn residents to join its Volunteer Program by filling out and submitting this online application

Here are just some of the assignments for which volunteers are needed:

Rooftop Screens Swedish Films in Brooklyn

Rooftop Films has partnered with the Swedish Film Institute to bring a series of Swedish films to Brooklyn.

On Thursday, August 6, the riveting "Bikes vs. Cars", a meditation on the alternative transportation movement, will be screened at MetroTech Commons, with director Fredrik Gertten in attendance for a post-screening Q and A.

On Friday, August 7, Sunset Park's Industry City will host the North American Premiere of "All We Have is Now", a documentary about the Swedish teen pop band Vulkano, which will open for both screenings. The show will be followed by an after-party hosted by New Amsterdam Vodka featuring a DJ set by Alexandra Dahlström, director of "All We Have is Now."

On Saturday, August 8, Rooftop will screen the absurdist documentary "Divine Location," a comic portrait of the impact of huge changes on a small German town, at the Old American Can Factory. Directors Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken will be on hand for post-screening Q and A.

For more details, click on the film titles above. For the complete 2015 program, check out the Rooftop website.

Perennial Candidate Regina-Potter Seeks Brook-Krasny Seat

According to Kings County Politics, perennial candidate and Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Club executive committee member Lucretia Regina-Potter is the likely Republican/Conservative choice to replace State Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny in the 46th AD.

Brook-Krasny vacated the seat earlier this month to take a private sector job.

The 46th AD includes Coney Island, Dyker Heights, and pieces of Brighton Beach, Bath Beach and Bay Ridge.

Raised in Dyker Heights, Regina-Potter has a bachelor's degree from Fordham University and lives in Bath Beach. She cites rising crime rates, suspected gang activity, inflated property assessments, gentrification, high property taxes and water rates, student loan rates and small business development as the district's most pressing issues.

She has challenged the City’s Board of Elections' threatened purge of voters who fail to respond to a June mailing with updated information. So far, she said, the BOE has purged about 11,000 of the roughly 112,000 registered Republicans in Brooklyn -- and maybe even more registered Democrats.

According to Kings County Republican Chair Craig Eaton, the GOP Executive Committee has interviewed Regina-Potter, but a final decision is still pending.  According to Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar, the executive committee has not yet interviewed her.  The special election will be in November.

Kings County Politics characterizes the Brooklyn Republican Party as split into two factions – one led by Bay Ridge Sen. Marty Golden, who has said, through this chief of staff Kassar that he will support whoever the County Committee nominates; and the other led by Eaton. Regina-Potter claims to bridge the two factions.

According to Kings County Politics, Brook-Krasny's chief of staff Kate Cucco, the Democrat's choice to replace him, has dropped out of the race.  The Democratic front-runner is reportedly now Pamela Harris, a retired corrections officer from Coney Island with Hurricane Sandy cleanup credentials.

Brooklyn, despite its apparent Democratic majority, is famously DINO (Democratic in Name Only), with large voting blocs as likely to swing Republican/Conservative as Democrat -- as infamously reflected in newly-elected DINO State Senator Simcha Felder's defection to the Republican caucus immediately upon his arrival in Albany.

The Kings County Politics post.

8/1/15

Taking a Break

I've been taking a break from blogging for the past few days while I deal with some dull but necessary chores. Pretty wiped right now after a grueling 8-hour drive, but I'll be back at my laptop tomorrow, when I hope you'll check in again.  

-Kip

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"Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." -- Albert Einstein