Happy Hallowe'en!

Rachel Barton Pine at PS 321

Rachel Barton Pine in Concert

At 7 PM on Tuesday, November 18, Neighborhood Classics will present violinist Rachel Barton Pine in concert at P.S. 321’s Auditorium at 180 Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. Artistic Director Simone Dinnerstein hosts.

Pine will perform Bach’s Sonata in G Minor and selections from Paganini's 24 Caprices, Op. 1, plus new works dedicated to her by New York composers Mohammed Fairouz and Earl Maneein.

Tickets for this one-hour, family-friendly benefit concert are $15 online or at the door.  All sales go to benefit P.S. 321.

Violin Invasion

From 9 AM to 3 PM on Monday, November 17, P.S. 321 will be invaded by more than 20 violinists, performing in classrooms and hallways to celebrate the opening of the Neighborhood Classics concert season.

Media coverage is welcome. Contact Christina Jensen atchristina@christinajensenpr.com or 646.536.7864 to get on the list.

For more information, visit the website.


Metrocard Van at Marty Golden's Office

On Monday, November 3 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, State Senator Marty Golden will host the MTA MetroCard Van at his Bay Ridge district office at 7408 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge.

The Metro Card Van gives local residents the option of doing all their MetroCard business, including refilling Reduced Fare or regular MetroCards and getting MTA information, right here in the neighborhood.

For more information, call Golden's office at (718) 238-6044.

PHDR Endorses Hawkins for Governor

According to an email from Raul Rothblatt of Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform, the progressive Democratic club, having "zero" interest in any other gubernatorial candidate, has endorsed Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor of New York.

It feels good, he said, to stand up for your beliefs.

Hawkins, Rothblatt said, is "thoughtful', "well-versed in the issues, and a "great advocate of the progressive values we promote".

The club, which has never before endorsed a non-Democrat for office, wanted to underscore its opposition, Rothblatt said, to the "Tea Party economics" of incumbent Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, which would see average New Yorkers being forced to subsidize the rich. 

We need a governor, Rothblatt said, who will stand up for the working class and befriend unionized labor; a governor, unlike Cuomo, who has equated unionized school teachers with robber barons, who will fight for a living wage and for public education, he said.

At a time when New Yorkers are on edge about Ebola in the city, Rothblatt said, the Cuomo administration has no health commissioner. Had one been confirmed, that official might have warned Cuomo against taking such an "irresponsible" stance at a press conference with New Jersey governor Chris Christie last week. Cuomo could have, but didn't, consult New York City's respected Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett before he jumped off that cliff, said Rothblatt.  Hawkins would not have made that mistake, he said.


EDC Kills the Rockaway Ferry

Addressing a crowd of local residents at a town hall meeting at Beach Channel High School days before the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Kyle Kimball, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., said the $5 million a year it would cost the EDC to subsidize a schedule of weekly ferry service from Rockaway to Manhattan “didn’t make sense.”

According to the Daily News report, Kimbill told the crowd that the city is subsidizing the ferry at the rate of $30 per ride -- against a $3.50 fare.

The Rockaway Ferry, which has been picking up Bay Ridge commuters at the Brooklyn Army Terminal pier in Sunset Park as an R train alternative, makes its last run on October 31.

Rockaway civic activist John Cori said the EDC missed the point that adding summer weekend ferry service to Rockaway Beach from Manhattan could have subsidized weekday ferry service to Manhattan for Rockaway commuters.

Council Member Vinnie Gentile, a ferry advocate, said in a media release after Kimball's announcement that the deBlasio administration, although it pulled the plug on the ferry, is committed to a comprehensive, city-wide water transit plan including service between Rockaway-BAT and Manhattan.  Gentile said he would work with the Mayor and his City Council colleagues in the coming months to make that happen.

DiNapoli: Shorefront Mental Health Board Shorted Patients' Wages

In a Daily News exclusive today, State Controller Tom DiNapoli announced that Shorefront Mental Health Board, at 532 Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, a non-profit group that contracted with the state to provide mental patients with janitorial jobs, has for years been ripping off their wages.

According to DiNapoli's office, Shorefront has been paying its janitors only a third of the wages and benefits they're entitled to under the State's Prevailing Wage Law, and falsifying its payroll records to cover up the short checks.

DeNapoli called the wage theft "unconscionable."

DiNapoli's auditors found that between November, 2011 and March, 2014, Shorefront supplied 26 janitors to clean South Beach Psychiatric Center sites in Brooklyn and Staten Island, paying on average a straight $8.50 an hour. The prevailing wage is at least $19 an hour, and workers are entitled to benefits.

DiNapoli's audit describes a deliberate scheme by Shorefront executives to avoid paying the legal wage. When caught, Shorefront officials, admitting they had shorted the janitors' wages, said they paid them less because they worked slow.

The state’s Office of Mental Health and Department of Education have cancelled Shorefront's contracts, and labor officials have begun a recoupment action to recover the janitors' back wages and benefits.

DiNapoli's report comes out today.


Commodore Barry Club at Staten Island Borough Hall

At 12 Noon on Thursday, November 13, the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn will parade to Staten Island’s Commodore Barry Borough Hall for a celebration of Barry’s contributions to the fledgling American republic.

Brooklyn club members will meet up at 95th Street and 4th Avenue in Fort Hamilton/Bay Ridge for a shuttle to Staten Island.

Wexford native John Barry immigrated to America as a cabin boy and rose to the rank of captain due to his exceptional seafaring skills. When the Revolutionary War began, Barry joined the Continental Army and built and commanded the American Navy. A veteran of many sea battles, Barry was feared by the British.

For more information about the event or about the club, call 718-833-3405, email info@commodorebarryclubbrooklyn.org or visit the website.

Dog and Bones, 95th Street

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