Michael Grimm's Israeli Focus

Because I infer that members of the Jewish community were among Republican Congressional Representative Michael Grimm's most generous campaign donors, I am not surprised by Grimm's opposition to Senator Rand Paul's push this week to end U.S. aid to Israel.

Staten Islander Grimm, who campaigned as a supporter of Israel, was recently appointed co-chair of the GOP's "Israel Caucus", which Grimm says serves as a pro-Israel educational, informational and policy forum for academics, policy experts, members of the Israeli and Jewish communities, and members of Congress.

The article from the Daily News.

Grimm has also become the first House Republican to support clemency for convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Grimm said in a YouTube video posted this week that he visited Pollard two weeks ago at the North Carolina prison where he is serving a life sentence, and that he is working with others in Washington to have Pollard released.

Earlier this month, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain became the first sitting GOP lawmaker to back clemency for Pollard.

Democratic state Assembly Member Dov Hikind and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have sent a letter, signed by 100 New York State legislators to President Obama, calling for clemency for Pollard.  

The article from JTA.

Store for Rent, Fourth Avenue

Brooklyn Indie Fest

The first-ever Brooklyn Indie Fest will rock the borough for three days, from September 16 -18,  from two rooftop stages at Littlefield, a re-purposed warehouse at 622 Degraw Street (bet. 3rd and 4th Aves) in Gowanus/Park Slope. 

New York musicians Bennett Miller and Julia Haltigan, who organized the event, wanted to bring together the local music community and its fans. Why wait for the annual CMJ showcase, they thought, when it's all right here in the city -- from amped up to acoustic?

The Indie Fest, which they want to make an annual event, will celebrate and develop the local Indie scene, providing a dynamic musical exchange, increasing visibility, and reaching out to a broader audience.

Miller and Haltigan will use the event website to organize Northeast tours showcasing musicians from the Fest, offering bands a cost-effective method of building multiple local followings.

Before social networking, musicians had to be there in the local music scene. The Internet changed that, but virtual is no substitute for live.  At the Fest, artists and fans can be there together.

The buzz is happening already. 

Check in at the website for the roster of musicians, times and tickets. 

Musicians:  apply through the website by June 1.

Media:  email Deb Klein/Girl on the Phone; or call 917-405-9909.


Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade Threatened by Funding Cuts

There will be a parade fundraiser at the Longbow Pub on Thursday, April 21 at 7 PM.  Click here for details.

The 144-year-old Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade in Bay Ridge, one of the longest-running Memorial Day parades in the nation, lost $10,000 in state and private funding this year.

As a result, this year's parade will shrink, and there may be no parade next year.

Republican state Sen. Marty Golden, who gave the parade $7,000 in state money last year, but gave nothing this year, cited the state's budget crisis.

A Golden spokesperson said that these were tough times, and that there were more worthy causes -- like $20,000 raises for Golden's staff -- than there is money right now.

Democratic City Council Member Vincent Gentile's $1,000 contribution won't become available for months.

To close the gap, parade organizers have cut the parade route, which begins on Third Ave. and 89th Street in Bay Ridge; whittled the usual ten to twelve high school marching bands down to three or four to cut transportation and insurance costs; packed disabled vets into two buses instead of the usual four; and cut the usual four portable toilets down to two.

The ceremony at John Paul Jones Park on 101st St. after the parade will be minus the usual reception for volunteers and donors.

If you'd like to support the parade with your donation, visit www.brooklynmemorialdayparade.com.

The article from the Daily News.

More from L Magazine.

Roadify: Commuting Meets Crowdsourcing

Roadify, the city's first interactive commuting application, has announced major enhancements to its mobile service.

The Roadify platform adds a social dimension to your NYC commute by bringing you up-to-the minute reports from other commuters on traffic, buses and trains. By combining live commuter reports with service alerts, traffic reports, and more, Roadify can smooth out your trip to the city and back.

Built on public data sources, like MTA and NYC DOITT, Roadify adds privately-sourced data for services like gas and parking, and enables commuters to broadcast alerts about subway and bus conditions, the location of parking spots, and traffic delays.

The real-time crowdsourced information makes you a much better-informed commuter.

More than 18,000 New Yorkers now use Roadify, which placed first in NYC.Gov's BigApps Competition in the "Getting Around NYC" category.

With a free Roadify download, you can:
  • Share on-the-spot conditions for all MTA subway lines;
  • Report bus locations and create real-time ETAs;
  • Access official MTA maps, schedules, service alerts and service changes;
  • Personalize the app based on which trains, buses or roads you use most often;
  • Post updates to your Twitter and Facebook accounts;
  • Compare bridge and tunnel crossing options and see recommended routes with a single tap.
Download the free iPhone app at http://bit.ly/WelcomeToRoadify.

For more information about the company and the Roadify community, visit the website.

The Little Prinsinn I at Brooklyn Lyceum

The Brookyn Lyceum, Dhira Rauch and Alyssa Ciccarello will present Part I (Large Landscapes and Little Planets) of The Little Prinsinnfor grown-ups who were once children, from May 11-21 at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue @ President Street in Gowanus/Park Slope. (R train to Union.)

Here's the performance schedule:
  • May 11- 13 · 8 PM; 
  • May 14-15 · 7 PM
  • May 17-20· 8 PM; 
  • May 21 · 7 PM
Inspired by Antoine Saint-Exupéry's famous fable Le Petit Prince, a team of visual artists, puppeteers and musicians will produce a dream circus, told through many media, within the raw performance space of the Brooklyn Lyceum.

Rauch and Ciccarello's visual storytelling sets the Little Prinsinn's world in a giant imagined hammock, from which the audience is invited into a waking dream of beautiful, gentle, wistful simplicity; animated by a musical score and mechanical installations.
"When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.
And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful."
Click here to go to the Lyceum website.

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein at the Metropolitan Museum

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein, a Park Slope resident who is quickly becoming a classical superstar, will play her only solo recital engagement in New York this year at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on Friday May 13 at 7 PM in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Tickets are $45.

Reserve tickets at 212.570.3949 or www.metmuseum.org/tickets.

The program will include works by Robert Schumann and J. S. Bach.

Here in Brooklyn, Dinnerstein is known as the founder of Neighborhood Classics, a public concert series that raises money for New York City public schools, featuring the donated time and talent of musicians that Dinnerstein has admired and collaborated with during her career.

Neighborhood Classics began at PS 321, the Brooklyn public elementary school where Dinnerstein's son is a student and her husband teaches fifth grade.

In 2010, the series expanded to PS 142 on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Dinnerstein, a graduate of Juilliard School and former student of Peter Serkin, self-produced her first album.  She now tops the charts on the SONY Classical roster.

Watch Dinnerstein perform on CBS Sunday Morning:

More Human Remains Found at Oak Beach

Yesterday, Suffolk County police discovered what they believe is a fifth set of human remains near where the bodies of four missing sex workers were found on Gilgo Beach in December at what appears to be a serial killer's body dump.

Homicide detectives and K-9 Unit officers with cadaver dogs have been working the site of the recent discovery, on Oak Beach, about three miles from Gilgo, since yesterday.

Police have been in the area for months searching for twenty-four-year-old sex worker Shannon Gilbert, last seen in the early morning of May 1, 2010 fleeing into the brush on Oak Beach, trying to escape a john.

Police stumbled upon the body dump at nearby Gilgo Beach in December during the search for Gilbert.

Four sets of human remains were found at Gilgo, spaced about five hundred feet apart, likely dumped from a vehicle.

Based on the forensics, the first had been there as long as two years.

The grim search for Shannan Gilbert continues pending identification of the latest set of remains.

Police will not confirm whether they have any suspects or the manner in which the victims were killed, although, according to multiple sources, the bodies had been wrapped in burlap bags.

Burlap bags, which the serial killer apparently uses to bundle his victims for transport, would be available to someone like a coffee importer, but are otherwise not widely used.

Coverage from WPIX.

Police have ruled out the possibility that the remains found on Oak Beach were those of Shannan Gilbert.


Army Corps of Engineers Threatens to Leave Fort Hamilton

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one of Fort Hamilton's biggest tenants, is threatening to move to lower Manhattan, where it would pay more than $1 million a year in federal tax dollars to rent space on Varick Street.

The Corps now pays $130,000 a year to rent two buildings at the historic Army base in Bay Ridge.

Corps representatives say that the move makes sense because its 100+ workers and its customers would have an easier commute to Manhattan.

Losing the Corps could eventually result in the loss of Fort Hamilton. The Army’s Base Realignment Closure Committee wanted to shut down the base in 2005, but held off because the Corps was there. The committee will make new recommendations in 2015. If the Corps is no longer there then, closure becomes more likely.

The article from the Courier.

More from the Brooklyn Paper.

Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Tthe New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced earlier this month that the number of New York homeowners who have completed energy efficiency retrofits reached record monthly highs in January and February, 2011.

More than 800 retrofits were documented in January, and more than 600 in February.

The Green Jobs/Green NY program, launched in November 2010, is the primary reason for the increase.

The Green Jobs/Green New York energy audit, loan and jobs training initiatives are funded with $112 million in proceeds from auctioning carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The seed money from the RGGI fund, and from an $18.6 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy, will be used to leverage private investment.

The program, which provides homeowners with free or low-cost home energy audits and low-interest loans to finance energy-saving improvements, will be expanded to small commercial, not-for-profit and multifamily buildings.

Click here to learn more.

And here.

Thomas Roma Selects: A powerHouse Sunday

The powerHouse Sundays series and Hartman/Klein will present Thomas Roma Selects: an exhibition of the work of emerging photographers Jenelle Covino and Kai McBride, on Sunday, April 10 at 5:00 PM at the powerHouse Arena, 37 Main Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Admission is $5.00.

Brooklyn native Thomas Roma is a documentary photographer who has worked almost exclusively in the borough since 1974. He is a professor at the Columbia University School for the Arts, where he directs the Photography Department -- which he founded.

Roma has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and has been featured in one-person shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York.

He has chosen the work of exciting young photographers Jenelle Covino, from East Long Island, who documents the city’s coastal areas; and Kai McBride, a Hawaiian who is working on a book of black and white photos of Tampa.

For more information about the exhibit,  powerHouse Sundays, or the powerHouse Arena, visit the website: powerHouseArena.com or call 718-666-3049.

Trains: F/A/C/2/3.


Mammo Van at Marty Golden's Office

The American Italian Cancer Foundation and State Senator Marty Golden will host a free walk-in mobile mammogram clinic on Tuesday, April 12 at Golden's office, 7408 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge.

Women 40 and older who live in New York City and who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months are eligible.

Clinical services will be provided by St. Barnabas Hospital.

No appointment is necessary.

For more information, call  718-238-6044.

Fundraising Auction at the Norwegian Christian Home

The Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center will host its 7th Annual Fundraising Auction at the Home, 1250 67th Street in Bay Ridge, on Saturday, May 7, from 1 to 5 PM.

Viewing begins at Noon.

Admission is $10 for adults, inclusive of refreshments and door prizes.

Among the items to be auctioned will be:

  • antique jewelry
  • artwork
  • collectible pieces
  • crystal
  • dishes 
  • furniture
  • Hardangersom pieces
  • lamps
  • linens
  • Norwegian silver
  • silver flatware...and many other items.

A SONY 40" digital flat screen TV will be raffled.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at the front desk at the Home.

Benefit Concert for Japan at Xaverian

Music at Xaverian will present A Benefit Concert for Japan on Thursday, March 31 at 7 PM, at the Xaverian High School Auditorium, 7100 Shore Road in Bay Ridge.

Admission is $10.

The school is also organizing a clothing drive for the Japanese people affected by the earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis.

If you would like to contribute clothing, you are welcome to drop off your donations at the concert.



Fracking Day of Action in Albany

When people speak and act what they believe, politicians listen.

Our state legislators need to hear from us about putting short-term gas profits ahead of our drinking water.

Environmental Advocates of New York will host a Fracking Day of Action beginning at 10:30 AM on Monday, April 11, on the lawn of the State Capitol in Albany, calling on the Governor and the State Legislature to protect New York's water from hydrofracking for natural gas

New Yorkers from across the state will converge in Albany on April 11 to send a message that we want our elected officials to protect New York's water from dirty gas drilling.

The organizers ask that those who attend wear the color blue, symbolizing water.

Click here to register.

At 4 PM, after the rally, you will have the chance to meet with your legislators and key Albany decision makers to share your concerns about hydrofracking.

To learn more about the dangers of hydrofracking for natural gas, visit www.CleanWaterNotDirtyDrilling.org.

Follow EANY on Facebook.

More about fracking from Sheryl Eisenberg on This Green Life.

Open House at LES

The Lutheran Elementary School of Bay Ridge, at 440 Ovington Avenue (between 4th and 5th Avenues), will host an open house on Sunday, April 3 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

Parents are invited to come tour the school and meet the faculty and staff in advance of enrollment for the coming school year.

LES is a private elementary school offering a quality education for children from nursery through 8th grade.

The LES pre-school offers both full and half-day schedules, early drop-off, and extended day options.

The school curriculum includes an honors program, foreign language instruction, and classes in theater, music, information technology and the law.

To learn more about LES, visit the website: www.LESBayRidge.com or call 718-748-9502.

Opening Day at Deno's Wonder Wheel


Everyone's invited to the "Blessing of the Rides" on opening day at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, 1025 Boardwalk at Deno D. Vourderis Place (W.12th St.) in Coney Island on Sunday, April 17 at 11 AM. 

Continuing a 33-year-old family tradition, Deno’s will open for the 2011 season with a ribbon-cutting hosted by park owners Dennis and Steve Vourderis. The entertainment will include face painters, clowns, stilt walkers and DJ Joe.

The first 100 people in line will ride the Wonder Wheel for 1/2 price, and 300 kids will be given free rides and a free lunch courtesy of the local Salt n' Sea Mission. 

From April through October, on weekends and on school holidays, the park will be open from 11 AM  to 9 PM. 

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the park will be open 7 days a week -- weather permitting -- from 11 AM through 11 PM.

The world-famous landmark Deno's, located near the NY Aquarium, features 22 great rides, including the amazing 100 ft high Super Shot Drop Tower, the city's newest.

There is also an air-conditioned indoor arcade, Spook-A-Rama, live entertainment, music, Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, and an old fashioned sweet shop.

Beginning at the end of June, there will be Friday Night Fireworks and Karaoke on the Boardwalk.

Deno's is also the proud new home of the Coney Island History Project.

Getting there: take the F/Q/ D/ N to Stillwell.

For more information call Deno's at (718) 372-2592 or visit the website www.WonderWheel.com.

New York City's Invisible People

The city has accused the U.S. Census Bureau of undercounting its residents.

It's hard to believe, out in Bay Ridge, with its overcrowded schools, non-existent parking and overflowing subway platforms, that there are now 59% more vacant housing units in Brooklyn than in 2000, but that's what the count says.

According to population specialists at the Department of City Planning, those "vacancies" are fictional.

The 2010 census counted about 8.2 million people in New York City -- a quarter of a million fewer than the bureau estimated a year ago. Those who challenge the count say that census takers weren't diligent enough to ferret out those New York residents who were deliberately hiding from them.

The refusal of these "ghost residents" to be counted means that we will all lose. Right or wrong, the Census is final.

The undercount means that the city will get cheated of proportional representation when district lines are redrawn for Congress and the New York State Legislature. And a quarter million people running under the radar means the loss of federal dollars for everything from social programs to education to transportation to Homeland Security.

The article from the Daily News.

Mayor Bloomberg's press release contesting the numbers [NYC.Gov.]

More from About.com.

Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade Photos


Congressional Representative Michael Grimm on his vote to de-fund National Public Radio [Staten Island Live.]

The tangled political DNA of State Senators (and South Brooklyn machine politicians) Carl Kruger and Marty Golden [Room 8.]

Congressional Representative Anthony Weiner goes one-on-one with Stephen Colbert [Hulu.]

Using the Department of City Planning's new LUCATS system, you can track the status of any land use or environmental review application.

Rykers corrections officer:  steamy sex with inmatesHell, yeah [New York Post.]

An organization to which City Council Members Eric Ulrich and Dan Halloran gave funds mounted a racist anti-abortion ad on a building in SoHo [Gotham Gazette.]

The Gallagher Initiative:  Irish-American New Yorkers look for their forgotten elderly [New York Times.]

The city spent $75 million last year on nickel-and-dime pot busts [Gothamist.]

Texas Republicans push legislation that would make a pregnant woman have to undergo a sonogram before being permitted to have an abortion [Raw Story.]

For decades, the federal government has withheld information from the American people about the dangers of hydrofracking for natural gas [Democracy Now.]

A former Bush official admits that the Halliburton Loophole, which exempts hydrofracking the federal Clean Water Act, should have been narrowed [Huffpost.]

Ground-breaking politician Geraldine Ferraro, a Queens native who was the first woman to run for the vice presidency, passes [New York Times.]

Pat Buchanan casts Obama's female policy advisors as witches and Hillary Clinton as a dom [Lew Rockwell.]

Ninety-three-year-old Rosenberg co-conspirator admits his guilt [New York Times.]

It's good to be the world's biggest corporation -- and pay zero taxes [New York Tines.]

Activists:  they're why we don't have a Fukushima-style cluster of nuclear reactors on Long Island [Daily News.]


Deli Cat Eviction Notice, Fourth Avenue

Rent Stabilized Tenants Hit with "Poor Tax"

Last week, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled for the New York City Rent Guidelines Board in a case the will raise rents on long-term tenants in rent stabilized apartments paying less than $1,000 a month.

The Court of Appeals overturned Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman's ruling last year that the board lacked authority to hike the rents, on a percentage basis, of tenants paying less than $1000. 

The board granted the increase because landlords complained of higher operating costs -- and because it decided to make long-term tenants pay rents closer to the amounts that newer tenants have to pay.

The case dates to 2008, when the board allowed landlords to hike rents on rent-subsidized apartments by 4.5%  for one-year leases and 8.5% for two-year leases.   On its own, the board also approved higher proportional increases — e.g. $45 a month for a one-year lease and $85 for a two-year lease — where rent stabilized tenants had been living in their apartments for 6 years and were paying less than $1,000.

The Legal Aid Society and Legal Services NYC sued on behalf of the rent controlled tenants, calling the board's decision a “poor tax.”

The article from the New York Times.

J Street at All Souls Unitarian

Pro-Israel/pro-peace activist organization J Street will host a talk, Can Activists Achieve Peace in the Middle East?, by founding J Street board member Victor Kovner, at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, 1157 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, on March 29 at 7 PM.

J Street is a liberal U.S.-based non-profit, founded in 2008, which aims to provide American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israel-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.

Primarily a Jewish organization, it welcomes non-Jewish members as well.

Its political action committee is the only federal PAC whose goal is to support candidates for national office who seek a new direction in American foreign policy in the Middle East and peace and security both for Israel and the region.



Become a Friend of Nathan and Elisa

Bay Ridge couple Elisa and Nathan Bond, artists in their 30s with an 18-month-old daughter named Sadie, have been confronted with the unthinkable: both have been diagnosed with advanced cancer within days of each other.

Elisa is combating stage 4 metastic breast cancer, and Nathan stage 3 rectal cancer.

Family and friends of this young couple have reached out to the Bay Ridge community for help and support as Nathan and Elisa confront a difficult, complicated future, including a year of chemotherapy for Elisa, and chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for Nathan, all while parenting Sadie.

Elisa and Nathan's family and friends, and friends of friends, invite you to help support them in their journey. 

Click here to visit the Blog.  

Click here to visit the Facebook page. 

Blog Archive

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