Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bird's-Eye Views of Downtown Brooklyn

Photos by MK Metz
From a high perch, we saw Downtown Brooklyn from a perspective we don't usually get. Above, Cadman Plaza Park.

The Post Office and Courthouse, all the way across Downtown Brooklyn to Barclays Center.

The top of the tall building across the street from the St. George Tower.

The weird glass atrium atop the Post Office.

Fulton Street, with the Williamsburg Bank and Barclays on the left.

Flying around the towers of Downtown Brooklyn.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Three Days of Rallying for LICH in Brooklyn

Photos by MK Metz
We've been trying to get to as many rallies for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill as we can. Guess you've heard that SUNY Downstate is pulling every illegal trick in the book to close LICH down, including ignoring court restraining orders.

In their rush to dump patients, SUNY administrators put an 81-year-old senile LICH patient on a bus to Florida; police had to issue a Silver Alert to find him. They tried to kick an 11-month-old baby having breathing problems out of the hospital. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Assemblywoman Joan Millman had to step in and enforce the law.

On Friday, de Blasio rallied with community activists and staff from Interfaith Medical Center and LICH  at Brooklyn Borough Hall (photo above).

De Blasio and the other leaders called for the state Dept. of Health to get off its friggin butt and try to keep a Brooklyn hospital open for a change. He didn't put it exactly that way.

On Sunday another emergency rally was held at LICH, on Hicks Street across from the hospital. Cars honked in support of the protesters the entire time.

Speaking were Congresswoman Nydia Valezquez (wearing black), Jo Anne Simon, President of the Boerum Hill Association (blue); Borough president Marty Markowitz (not visible), patients and nurse leaders.

On Monday, de Blasio released a plan that calls for the creation of the Brooklyn Health Authority, with power "to transform hospitals and provide healthcare to the entire borough." You can read more about the plan here.

We have to commend Brooklyn's representatives who have been on fire lately trying to rescue the boroughs' hospitals. We especially applaud de Blasio, who is filing lawsuits, getting arrested, walking the walk, rallying the troops, and leading the charge for healthcare in Brooklyn.

Looking a lot like a Mayor, come to think of it.

LICH looks like Afghanistan, by the way. There are maybe 100 armed police and security guards stationed around the entire block, blocking the doors, on the streets and inside the hospital, terrorizing the patients. SUNY Downstate will get this real estate if they have to kill every citizen in western Brooklyn.

- Emergency Rally at LICH in Brooklyn on Sunday at Noon
- Scenes From Brooklyn Healthcare Funeral March
- Judge: SUNY Must Offer Same Services at LICH As It Did This Past Friday 
- SUNY Tries to Sneak Patients Out of LICH; LICH Calls Cops

More on LICH

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

What We Saw Walking to LICH the Other Day

Photo: MK Metz
We walked to a rally for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn on Sunday.

On the way, we passed by this hand-made gargoyle, sitting all by itself on Hicks Street.

We thought it rather attractive, especially the bulging knuckles.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bevacco's New Chef; Pool Violence; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Homer Fink was not swept of his feet by Bevacco's new celebrity chef Friday night. [BHB]

- NYPD arrest 13 as pool violence explodes. [A Walk in the Park]

- Paul Auster to headline Brooklyn’s newest comics festival. [Brokelyn]

- Now there's a musical inspired by the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. [Broadway World]

- Five pedestrians struck by cars in NYC over the weekend, three in Brooklyn. [Gothamist

- Photos from Saturday's 100 Man March in Crown Heights against gun violence. [Brooklynian]

- More secret Brooklyn rooftop camping planned for August. [Gothamist]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

If You Were in Brooklyn Heights or DUMBO During 9/11 You Will Want to Read This

Map: CDC
We just learned that people who lived, worked or attended school in most of Brooklyn Heights or DUMBO during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks are eligible for a government program that will monitor their health and provide benefits if they get sick from the attack.

No one we asked who lived in this area knew about this program. (UPDATE: Actually there are two programs -- the Victim's Compensation Fund, which has a deadline to apply, and The World Trade Center Health Program, with no deadline yet.)

Many respiratory illnesses, GI problems, and cancers have come about as a result of exposure to the witch's brew of toxins that spewed out over Brooklyn for months after the World Trade Center attacks. Lots of people have developed anxiety as well.

The CDC says that illnesses like cancer are still developing and may continue to appear into the future.

Full details in the Brooklyn Eagle.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Where Is Celso Heredia? LICH Staff Fear the Worse for Elderly Man that SUNY Dumped

Celso Heredia. Photo: NYPD
A helpless 81-year-old man with dementia "disappeared" from Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn last Wednesday after LICH nurses had spent days trying to prevent his eviction by SUNY Downstate, which is trying to clear the Cobble Hill hospital of patients so it can be sold.


UPDATE: Heredia has been found. See Brooklyn Eagle story.

Nurses are frantic that Celso Heredia, with no known family and who does not speak English, is wandering the streets -- or worse.

Several news sources have documented the story so far, including Pix 11, the NY Times and the Brooklyn Eagle.

Here is what is known:

- SUNY Downstate administrators discharged the helpless man from LICH at roughly 11 p.m. Thursday night, and bought him a bus ticket to Florida, where he has no known friends or relatives, scheduled to leave at Friday morning at 7:45 a.m.

- Nurses objected to evicting him with no one to care for him, and caused him to miss his bus.

- Suny Downstate bought him a plane ticket and arranged for a SUNY van to bring him to the airport, still with no one to pick him up at the destination.

- PIX 11 discovered the plan and asked SUNY what the hell were they doing with Heredia.

- SUNY canceled the plane ticket.

- Heredia stayed safely at LICH over the weekend.

- On Wednesday afternoon, as LICH was thrown into chaos by SUNY administrators handing out pink slips (technically administrative leave) to 650 employees, Heredia "disappeared."

- SUNY originally said that, despite scores of new surveillance cameras installed all over the hospital, no video existed of Heredia leaving the hospital.

- PIX 11 discovered the existence of video footage.

- It was discovered that Heredia left through a first floor door that required a security code or card possessed only by SUNY administrators and armed guards, and not by nurses.

- Someone opened this door for Heredia.

- Heredia has not been seen since.
Was he pushed out onto Hicks Street, or smuggled past more than ten police cars that were parked directly outside the door?

- Nurses, who cared for Heredia for more than a month after he was found wandering the BQE in June, are frantic that he will wind up dead.

- SUNY placed from 5 - 7 nurses on unpaid leave for "losing" Heredia, though the nurses are followed around the hospital from room to room by the more than 100 armed guards working for SUNY.

- Police issued a Silver Alert.

- Suspicion grows that SUNY administrators had Heredia dumped somewhere.

- The NYS Attorney General is investigating elder abuse.

If you see Celso Heredia, please don't let him out of your sight, and call 1-800-577-TIPS(8477).

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Emergency Rally at LICH in Brooklyn on Sunday at Noon

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Se. Daniel Squadron at a rally last week. Photo: MK Metz
An emergency rally to save Long Island College Hospital (LICH) will be held at noon on Sunday, July 28.

SUNY Downstate had planned to close LICH on Sunday but a restraining order remains in affect.

In spite of this, SUNY has accelerated its illegal actions against LICH - closing down units, putting 650 employees on leave, having armed SUNY Security guards patrolling the hospital and trying to illegally prevent patients from entering.

This is the work of thugs.

Since SUNY started diverting ambulances and ejecting patients, losses at LICH have grown from roughly a million dollars a month, if that much, to $15 million a month -- according to SUNY, which won't allow anyone to inspect their books. SUNY now says they want to close the hospital because it's losing money.

SUNY plans to sell LICH's valuable real estate to bail its own poorly-managed hospital out. SUNY's diversion of ambulances from LICH has already thrown emergency departments across Brooklyn into chaos, with ambulances filled with patients lined up outside Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, for example, from 1 - 9 hours.

That's up to 14 ambulances unavailable to save lives off the street for hours.

Come to LICH at the southeast corner of Hicks Street and Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill on Sunday.

Previous articles:

- Scenes From Brooklyn Healthcare Funeral March
- Judge: SUNY Must Offer Same Services at LICH As It Did This Past Friday 
- SUNY Tries to Sneak Patients Out of LICH; LICH Calls Cops

More on LICH

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Rescue at Overturned Sailboat Under Brooklyn Bridge

From the scanner:

Mobile units rushed to the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon at roughly 2:50 p.m. as a sailboat was reported overturned and sinking under the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to 911 dispatch, a pleasure boat came to the rescue of the boaters.

Two people were recovered from the sinking boat.

More details when available.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Scenes From Brooklyn Healthcare Funeral March

Photos by MK Metz
We joined many hundreds of protesters in a funeral march over the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday to mourn the death of Brooklyn healthcare.

This is why:
People who live or work in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Gowanus, Red Hook, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Fulton Ferry, Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and the surrounding areas are now without a hospital because SUNY Downstate has closed almost all of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) and prohibited ambulances from bringing sick patients there.

This is illegal, especially since Public Advocate Bill de Blasio obtained an temporary restraining order (multiple times) keeping the hospital open.  SUNY actually hired almost 100 armed guards to keep patients and staff out of LICH. In their rush to empty out the hospital this week, they lost a senile, 81-year-old man.

SUNY is going to sell LICH's valuable real estate -- one of the most modern hospitals in Brooklyn and rated number two -- and make a big developer and his political patron mighty happy!

People who live in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights are also about to lose their hospital, Interfaith Medical Center. Interfaith was about to merge with Brooklyn Hospital Center but the state wouldn't give them the roughly $1.2 million they needed for the study. (That's less money than SUNY is spending to barricade LICH.) Wow, losing a recently-renovated medical center worth billions because of a lousy $1.2 million study.

As we marched, a New Orleans funeral brass band played and mourners with red handkerchiefs cried. Cars slowed down and honked and a hearse drove very slowly, blocking traffic.

This was one of the biggest marches we've ever seen on  the Brooklyn Bridge. Every rally for LICH and Downstate is bigger than the previous one.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (who was recently arrested at a LICH protest) and Council member Letitia James. People in western Brooklyn are starting to cheer whenever they see de Blasio, who is running for Mayor. He's starting to look like the man New York City needs.

On the Manhattan side, heading into Foley Square.

The crowd kept pouring into Foley Square as speaker after speaker asked "Where's Governor Cuome?"

NYC's very excellent Comptroller John Liu. Assemblywoman Joan Millman and Councilmembers Steve Levin, who have also been arrested for LICH, were also marching.

Head of 1199, members of the NYS Nurses Association and other activists.

About a dozen people including nurses and staff, residents and City Councilman Brad Lander (center) volunteered to commit civil disobedience and get arrested.

Lander said, “When I break the law, I’m arrested. When SUNY breaks the law, there needs to be consequences. The State University of New York, which manages LICH, has violated court orders and broken the law as it seeks to close this much needed, much used community hospital, all without serious legal consequences."

The volunteers sat in the roadway of the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. When they refused to move, the police picked them up and cuffed them.

City Councilman Brad Lander and others, being led to the police van.

Those who were arrested deserve all of our thanks.

There are protests very frequently now. If you or anyone you know might ever get sick or hurt, join the next one! Also, call Gov. Cuomo and tell him if he's not part of the solution, he's part of the problem.

More at: The Brooklyn Eagle; saveLICH Twitter feed; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Concerned Physicians of LICHBrooklyn Heights Association

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Judge: SUNY Must Offer Same Services at LICH As It Did This Past Friday

Photo: MK Metz
Appellate Judge Robert Miller on Monday ordered SUNY Downstate to maintain the level of service at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) that was provided at the hospital as of 4 p.m. this past Friday.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (pictured above with legal hotshot Jim Walden) and SUNY Downstate are both claiming victory.

Meanwhile, court orders seem to be multiplying like jackrabbits.

See the full story at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Healthcare Rally and March on Wednesday, From Downtown Brooklyn to City Hall

Please join in with northwestern Brooklyn to keep LICH open by attending a rally and march this Wednesday sponsored by NYSNA and 1199.

The march will begin at Cadman Plaza Park at the intersection of Tillary and Cadman Plaza East at 4:00 PM. The rally will be at City Hall on Broadway between Park Pl. and Chambers St. at 5:00 PM.

Many marchers will be carrying coffins to represent the death of healthcare in Brooklyn as Gov. Cuomo encourages the closure of both Long Island College Hospital (LICH) and Interfaith medical center.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Interfaith Hospital May Close; New Chef at Bevacco; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The state Department of Health rejected a restructuring plan designed to save Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn. [WSJ]

- A 62 year old Chinese man was hit with a car on Friday on 86th and Bay 31st Street.  Neighbor's are being asked to help track down the hit-and-run driver. [Bensonhurst Bean]

- Hurricane Sandy may have created air pockets under streets, buildings. [BP]

- Celeb chef Gabriele Corcos is taking over at Bevacco on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights this Friday. [BHB]

- Grand Central Oyster Bar to open Park Slope outpost. [Gothamist]

- Lunchmeet group unites new people over lunch in DUMBO. [News 12]

- The 4th annual Coney Island Talent Show takes place this weekend. [Brooklyn Based]

- The next Spike Lee movie will be a Kickstarter production. Lee said it said it would be about "the addiction of blood." [Brooklyn Eagle]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, July 22, 2013

SUNY Tries to Sneak Patients Out of LICH; LICH Calls Cops

Photo: MK Metz
LICH hospital staff had to call the NYPD twice over the weekend to stop SUNY Downstate from trying to sneak patients out of LICH in defiance of Justice Bayne's court order, issued on Friday.

SUNY Downstate, desperately broke, has been trying to close LICH down so they can sell off the valuable property, worth up to a billion dollars.

Doctors, nurses and a local resident told the New York Times they twice saw SUNY Downstate representatives trying to transfer some of the hospital’s patients on Saturday, "including three critically ill patients who had been in the intensive care unit for months."

SUNY denied trying to move patients: "I’m not going to comment on falsehoods put forward by others,” SUNY spokesperson Steven Greenberg told the Times.

The Brooklyn Eagle, however, photographed an elderly patient being wheeled on a stretcher outside the hospital on Saturday afternoon. It is not known where the patient was brought, or if she lived or died after the move.

The Times also reported that a patient who was transferred to Downstate from LICH last week died at Downstate.

A funeral march will be held to mourn the death of healthcare in Brooklyn starting at Cadman Plaza Park at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and crossing Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall. People are making coffins. More here.

More LICH posts here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Where Is Mr. Grabby?

Sign posted in DUMBO reads "Lost Cephalopod, Answers to name of 'Mr. Grabby.'"

Anybody seen him?

Check out Twitter @whereisgrabby

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bravo de Blasio, Squadron, Levin and Lander for Brave LICH Raid!

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Councilman Steve Levin, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilman Brad Lander proved their mettle yesterday with a brave charge into Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill, after SUNY Downstate administrators refused to speak to them about their plan to shut down LICH.

In their latest shameless act, the bankrupt SUNY Downstate administration told LICH doctors to transfer all their patients out by Friday so SUNY could shut down LICH by Sunday. This after shutting down ambulance service to LICH in defiance of a court order, setting off a health crisis that is spreading across Brooklyn.

Hundreds of people poured out into the street when they got the word.

Patients, staff and neighbors gathered along Hicks Street -- in the middle of the workday on the hottest day of the year. (There's another rally at noon today.)

Dr. Alice Garner, head of the neonatal unit at LICH, said, “I received verbal orders that we are to transfer all patients by tomorrow so they can shut us down by Sunday." She added that SUNY Downstate is trying to force LICH to transfer a baby out of the unit against the mother's wishes.

"We’re not standing for it. SUNY is violating the law and the public trust," de Blasio said, before leading a push to the administrative floor to attempt to meet with the SUNY's straw man, James Karkenny.

Karkenny threatened the elected officials, then hid in his office. (The meeting is described in detail in the Brooklyn Eagle.)

Exactly what you would expect from this group of crooks masquerading as hospital administrators.

The 150-year-old LICH is the centerpiece of northwestern Brooklyn's health system -- but bankrupt Downstate can't wait to get its hands on its real estate millions.

Now SUNY is crying that LICH is losing $15 million a month. Amazing -- in February they said LICH was losing $3 million a month, and it turned out $2 million of that was being paid to Continuum for billing and IT services which Continuum didn't provide. (If Continuum had actually billed for all services provided at LICH, the hospital would likely be making money every month.)

Since February, SUNY has closed down all of LICH's core departments, harassed doctors and patients, shut down the residency program, and forbid hospital admissions. All these actions were committed by SUNY, not LICH.

SUNY told the Eagle that the closing was just a "rumor." Meanwhile, LICH hospital staff report that SUNY employees were looting LICH's equipment yesterday after the rally.

Cuomo? Oh No

Brooklyn voters see who is standing with them and who isn't.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is NOT standing with the people of Brooklyn.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Councilman Steve Levin, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilman Brad Lander are. Thank you all for risking arrest to do what is right.

More LICH posts here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Would People Pay $50 to Throw Tomatoes at Each Other in Brooklyn?

Photo: Tomato Battle
The news that literally thousands of people will be throwing tons of tomatoes at each other in a field in Brooklyn this Saturday doesn't surprise us in the least.

What does surprise us is that people are paying $50 to participate! (OK, less if they snagged a discount at Living Social).

People, you can get rotten tomatoes behind any grocery or market and throw them anywhere you want for free.

And get out of our yard.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

SUNY Downstate's Residency Program on Probation

SUNY Downstate. Photo: Google Maps
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), citing an “egregious catastrophic event,” has placed SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s residency program on probation, the Brooklyn Eagle reports.

Downstate will be appealing the probationary designation.

In the meantime, Downstate is supposed to be letting potential grad students know of their probationary status. A check of Downstate's website on Wednesday finds no mention of the accreditation problem so far.

The "catastrophic event" is likely the gutting of the core departments and the resident teaching program at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) by SUNY Downstate, which is trying to shut down LICH to harvest its real estate.

SUNY's certification was linked with LICH when they took over LICH two years ago.

LICH was recently rated the number two hospital in Brooklyn by US News and World Report.

Downstate's ban on ambulance delivery to LICH continues to throw the emergency health care system of northwest Brooklyn into dangerous chaos.

All LICH posts here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Brooklyn: Boat Capsizes in Newtown Creek, Six People Rescued (Updated)

A boat was in distress and people were in the water just before 5 a.m. in Newtown Creek, which runs between Brooklyn and Queens.

According to NYPD dispatch, Rescue 2 water rescue unit was at the scene, a second rescue unit was being called in and divers were in the water.

More as it comes in.

UPDATE: At 5:12 a.m., rescue units reported they had fished three males and three females out of the water and were still looking for the seventh victim. The six rescued people had non-life-threatening injuries.

UPDATE: At 5:20 a.m. the six rescued victims told rescuers that the seventh victim was the driver of the boat, and he had made his way to shore and went to get help.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Vito Lopez; B37; McGolrick Park; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Vito Lopez is called a favorite in a Brooklyn City Council race. [Observer]

- What in the red hell is going on in McGolrick Park? [Brokelyn]

- 10 quintessentially Brooklyn stores, including Brooklyn Superhero Supply. [Brooklyn Magazine]

- 11 more parks in Brooklyn get Wi-Fi access, including Cadman Plaza and Carroll Park [Crain's].

- MTA set to restore B37 bus. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Two men carry fallen Brooklyn commuter from R train subway tracks. [NY Daily News]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Downtown Brooklyn's Emergency Health System Crumbles

Long Island College Hospital (LICH). Photo: MK Metz
Attention folks who live, work or play in:

Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Red Hook, Columbia District, Navy Yard, Williamsburg, and related areas (Tech Triangle, Brooklyn Bridge Park, BQE):

There are no emergency medical services serving these areas.

If you are sick or feel you are likely to need emergency health services in the foreseeable future, please make every attempt to relocate to an area that provides these services.

SUNY Downstate has banned ambulances from bringing patients to Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill in order to hasten the closure and sale of LICH.

Brooklyn Hospital Center's ER has been on diversion for the last two days due to the heat wave.

Methodist Hospital is overcrowded, with ambulances stacked outside the ER.

Paramedics warn the system is cracking.

If you become ill and live or work near LICH, WALK into the ER if you are able. It is fully staffed and the doctors and nurses there will provide full care. (SUNY personnel will attempt to intimidate you into leaving the hospital, but you do not have to leave if you don't want to. The Dept. of Health inspects LICH daily and certifies that everything is up to snuff.)

More here.

All LICH posts here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rooftop Films: Three Movies in Brooklyn This Week (July 18 - 20)

Rooftop Film's Summer Series presents three films in Brooklyn this week in the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Sunset Park, and Gowanus.

On Thursday, July 18, they are presenting at a new venue: the rooftop of the Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts in Clinton Hill with the stoner romantic comedy Newlyweeds.

Friday night takes the show to Sunset Park with the world premiere of the docu-drama i hate myself :).

In collaboration with the Oscars Outdoors Summer Series, there's a free screening of the award-winning film Short Term 12 on Saturday in Gowanus. [UPDATE: Short Term 12 is sold out.]

The entire summer schedule is here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Neighborhood Similar to Brooklyn Heights Manages to Afford a New AC in their Library

This is the story of a library in Andover, Massachusetts that managed to replace its HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system for under $500,000.

We mention this because a library of a similar size in Brooklyn Heights is for sale . . .  because the Brooklyn Public Library says it would cost $3.5 million to replace the HVAC, which has been broken for years.

Andover, Massachusetts is a town very much like Brooklyn Heights. Andover is a  little bigger than Brooklyn Heights, but is very similar demographically.

Andover is a wealthy community, just like Brooklyn Heights. According to a 2008 estimate, the median income for a household in Andover was $114,319. (Wikipedia) The median household income in Brooklyn Heights was $111,067. (City-Data) Things are just as expensive in Andover as they are in Brooklyn Heights.

Stevens Memorial Library
Like Brooklyn Heights, Andover residents are well-educated and love to read. Both areas have similar-sized local libraries (in Andover it's Stevens Memorial Library and in Brooklyn Heights it's the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library, part of the Brooklyn Public Library system) and both libraries have a "Friends of the Library" volunteer group.

Brooklyn Heights Branch: Google Maps
Both libraries have or had busted air conditioners. In 2010, the Stevens Memorial Library's AC failed during the hottest day in May, and the library had to operate through the summer -- one of the hottest on record -- without it. Portable air conditioners and fans were brought in, and it cost the library $5,400 for electricity in July, according to North Andover Patch. Many summer programs had to be cancelled.

In Brooklyn Heights in 2010, the situation was identical. But instead of bringing in portable ACs and fans, the library closed early or completely on many of the hottest days of summer. (The Business Library shares the building. It, too closed on hot days.)

Now here's where the two libraries went in very different directions:

Stevens Memorial:

Stevens Memorial Library carried out a Building Energy Assessment and found they needed to replace all the HVAC components with more up-to-date ones.

At a special town meeting called for another purpose, the Library Building Committee presented the town with a couple of different options that included project management and engineering as well as just the HVAC.

Quoting from North Andover Patch: "The Finance Committee reviewed the proposal and decided on the $460,000 option with project management and engineering, so as to have the project done right the first time and implement as much energy efficiency as possible."

The price tag seemed high, but there were incentives for some of the equipment through National Grid for energy efficiency, so there was a payback on that. And by replacing the technology, the library is hoping for a 40 percent savings on an annual basis. The town voted to replace the HVAC and the job was completed before the summer of 2012.

According to the Eagle Tribune, "The modern HVAC has made the library a haven from heat waves."

Brooklyn Height Branch Library:

BPL did nothing in 2010, 2011 or 2012 other than close the library early on the hottest days. Then in January of 2013, BPL dropped a bomb: Claiming a new AC would cost $3.5 million dollars and millions in other unspecified building repairs were also needed, BPL said they would sell the building to a private developer.

Their plan called for rebuilding the Heights branch inside a smaller, city-owned condo space on the first floor of the new residential development, and moving the Business Branch to a neighborhood far away from the business section of Brooklyn.

Most residents reacted with shock and dismay, protest groups formed, and many felt that yet another back room deal with a developer had been struck. BPL said the sale would proceed "at a fast trot" and though they said the public would have a voice, a group that collected 8,000 signatures on a petition to save the library was not allowed to speak at meetings.The Brooklyn Heights Association, however, said they would not oppose the plan if certain conditions were met.


The Brooklyn Heights library site is for sale and the RFP has been issued by the city. No figures were ever shown to the public about an AC system costing $3.5 million and no bids were ever sent out.Though the Brooklyn Heights Branch summer hours were cut to just mornings, recently the branch has been totally closed due to a heat wave.

Meanwhile, in Andover, Summer at the Stevens continues this week with movies, story times, book discussion groups for kids, teens and adults, and two special speakers. Knitters and other community groups meet all summer. The library has expanded the number of public computers due to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, matched by the Friends of the Library..

The library director said that thanks to the new HVAC system, she expects the "library to continue in its present building for another 100 years." (The roof does need repairs, however.)

Previous Posts:

- Brooklyn Public Library Moving to Wrap Up Sale of Heights Branch Quickly
- Tough Crowd at Brooklyn Heights Library Meeting
- Brooklyn Heights Business Library Moving to Prospect Heights; Building May Be Sold to Developer
- Brooklyn Heights Library Closed Again
- Brooklyn Public Library Funding Restored, Bloomberg's Phony Crisis Averted

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The French Get Their Party On in Brooklyn for Bastille Day 2013

Petengue on Smith Street. Photos: MK Metz
Smith Street was transformed into Little France on Sunday, July 14 as Brooklyn once again celebrated Bastille Day with the famous Petengue Tournament, glasses of Lillet, music and French food.

The street was covered with sand for the tournament and spectators enjoyed little glasses of Lillet, music and French food. The sun hats given out by sponsors came in handy in the heat, which was pretty dramatic.

Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens are said to have the highest concentration of French folks in the city. The area includes many French businesses, shops and cafes, and French language immersion programs at schools.

In petanque, competitors throw metal balls (boules), trying to get close to a little ball called a "pig" (cochonnet). This year there were more than 80 teams.

In spite of the heat, patrons danced like crazy as the band played outside Bar Tabac.

Brooklyn's Bastille Day event was founded 11 years ago by Bette Stoltz along with restaurants Bar Tabac and Robin des Bois (now shuttered), and is sponsored by French apéritif company Ricard.

July 14 marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789.

Past stories on this topic:
- Good Times at Brooklyn's Bastille Day 2012
- 2012 Bastille Day Coming Up
- Bastille Day 2011
- 2011 Bastille Day Coming Up
- Brooklyn's Bastille Day, 2010
- Brooklyn's 2010 Bastille Day Celebration Looking Big 
- Brooklyn Bastille Day 2009 -- Great Day, Big Crowds
- Bastille Day 2009 in Brooklyn  
- Bastille Day in Brooklyn: The French Conquer Smith Street
- Brooklyn's Bastille Day: Smith Street, Sunday 
- Bastille Day in Brooklyn -- La Rue de Smith Sautait!

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Barclays Noise Complaints; Gas Pipeline Protest; and More Brooklyn Briefs

Did you miss 'Sharknado'? Here's the trailer.

- Multiple noise complaints about Barclays Center, and commenters say it's going to be intolerable for years. [Atlantic Yards Report]

- A 79-year-old woman talking on her cellphone and crossing against the light was fatally struck by a car in Bensonhurst. [NY Post]

- Opponents protested Sunday against a planned natural gas pipeline that would pass through Brooklyn and the Rockaways. [CBS local]

- Video of FDNY rescuing a dog from a second story window. [Carroll Gardens Patch]

- Aging NYC stickballers keep street game alive. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Park Slope not thrilled with Methodist's plan to knock down 16 buildings to expand the hospital. [Brownstoner]

- Manhattan is not impressed with Brooklyn's newest tall buildings. [WSJ]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

NYC Congressmen to Call for Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman Investigation

Trayvon Martin
In the wake of the jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the killing of the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Congress Members Charles Rangel (parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and S.I.), Gregory Meeks (Queens) and Hakeem Jeffries (Brooklyn) will call upon the Department of Justice today to conduct an immediate investigation to determine if the nation’s civil rights laws have been violated.

A press conference is planned for 1 p.m. today (Monday) outside of the Manhattan Federal District Court House at 500 Pearl Street.

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'The Merchant of Venice' at Gallery Players in Park Slope

The Gallery Players announces their next 'Shakespeare: Onstage' production: "The Merchant of Venice" from July 18 - August 4. Here's the release:

"The Merchant of Venice," written in 1596-97, is Shakespeare’s great play about religious, economic, racial and cultural differences. Set as an Italian Renaissance fairy tale, Director Mark Harborth shows two worlds in collision – that of Antonio and Shylock, a Jew.

This candid comedy speaks to us across four centuries with humor, passion, disguises, twists and turns.

The cast includes Dominic Cuskern as Shylock (Inherit the Wind, A Perfect Ganesh), Broadway veteran and long-standing member of the Pearl Theatre Resident Acting Company, stars as Shylock. David Patrick Ford (Macbeth, Othello) will play Antonio opposite Cuskern. Gallery President and Director Mark Harborth (Noises Off, Chess, Othello, Dreamgirls) will again direct.

Performances will take place at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as 3:00 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $18 for Adults, $14 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. The Gallery Players will also host a “Pay What You Can” night on Monday, July 22nd at 7:30 pm.

Tickets can be purchased 24/7 online at or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101 (phone hours 9-9 weekdays, 10-6 weekends).

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

City Releases Gas Into Subway Tunnels, But Not to Worry

Photo: LimeTech
NYC is carrying out some pretty serious terror tests, with the first of three gas releases yesterday.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, air flow monitors have been stashed around the city in 200 locations to see where perfluorocarbon gas goes after being released in Manhattan.

The gas is a stand-in for whatever airborne toxin some sicko decides to drop in the subway, such as "radiological contaminants or weaponized anthrax."

We asked NYC emergency personnel (off the record) if Downtown Brooklyn would be a likely landing place for airborne particles from Manhattan. We were told that typical air patterns would more likely bring airborne particles to Coney Island.

"What about New Jersey?" we asked.

The answer: "Who cares about New Jersey?"

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Catsimatidis Celebrates; Downtown Underground Park; Stolen Handicap Scooter; and More Brooklyn Briefs

Catsimatidis celebrates 25,000 Mayoral petition signatures. Dose hands! Twitter

- Buried garage to help pay for new park in Downtown Brooklyn. [NY Times]

- A Brooklyn trial judge made so many mistakes and the defendant's lawyer was so bad, the Appellate Court dismissed all charges. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Good Samaritan tries to help disabled man get his motorized scooter back, cops blow him off. [BHB]

- Suprize: NYPD gives sidewalk cyclists more tickets than speeding drivers. [Streetsblog]

- Warehouse across from Barclays Center sells for $6M. [TRD]

- Brooklyn DA's office has a witness problem, again. [NY Magazine]

- Yoko Ono turned 80 and wrote a confusing book. [Observer

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Three Citi Bikes Stolen Tuesday Night

Photo: MK Metz
A report came in over the scanner at 11 p.m. Tuesday night: Three Citi Bikes were stolen and the perps were "riding around" the area.

One suspect was wearing a black shirt and gray shorts. No further information was provided, though we're pretty it went down in Brooklyn.

UPDATE: Apparently the bikes have chips in them to track them if stolen. If true, this should be interesting.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

SUNY Special Trustees Meeting July 16, After LICH Contempt Hearing

Carl McCall, SUNY Chair
A special meeting of the SUNY Board of Trustees will be held on Tuesday, July 16, at State University Plaza in Albany, New York at 2:00 p.m.

According to the SUNY website, "It is anticipated that the Chairman of the Board may call for a motion to convene an Executive Session under provisions of Section 105 of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law."

This means the board will talk about the juicy stuff in private.

The topic of the special meeting has not been announced.  But Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Baynes had set a hearing for contempt for July 15, the day before the SUNY trustees meeting.

SUNY Downstate has flaunted Judge Baynes' order to keep Long Island College Hospital open and fully staffed. “Individuals will be named and they may well have to come before this Court and show cause why they shouldn’t be held in contempt,” Baynes said.

If this hearing is still in place (it's been reported that SUNY has appealed the order), the trustees will likely be discussing who takes the rap.

Video conferencing of the public portions of the meeting, if any, at:

State University College of Optometry
33 West 42nd Street
New York, New York

 (Live-streaming over the Internet is usually available as well.)

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'Brooklyn Girl,' Shitibike, Bone Karma and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Cop who ran over teacher in Williamsburg was talking on the phone. [NY Mag

- 12-year-old Brooklyn boy missing, disappeared on the 4th of July. [News 12]

- Jehovah's Witnesses are selling six DUMBO properties for $375 million, averaging $62.5 million a property. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- McCarren Park Pool sees its first arrests of the season. [NY Mag]

- Brooklyn epic bike ride coming soon. [Brownstoner]

- Brooklyn Magazine tries to define the "Brooklyn Girl." [Bkmag] Jezebel finds the Brooklyn Girl concept pretty irritating. [Jez]

- Shitibike is here. [Here]

- Guy who sold diseased body parts dies of bone cancer. Victims' kin say, “Karma's a bitch." [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Very bad weather hits Toronto, flooding streets and even subway cars. [Gothamist]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Save LICH: Rally at Gov. Cuomo's NYC Office Monday, July 8. Buses from Cobble Hill

Photo: MK Metz
Rally at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NYC office on Monday, July 8 from 4 - 6 p.m. to tell the Governor to keep Long Island College Hospital (LICH) open.

The Governor has ignored marches, letter from local representatives, actions in Albany and thousands of letters, petitions and emails from residents asking him to stop SUNY Downstate from destroying a crucial hospital in Cobble Hill and stealing its real estate.

Brooklyn Heights Association buses will leave at 2:45 p.m. from the LICH's Hicks Street entrance. Gov. Cuomo's office is located at 633 Third Avenue (40th Street).

On Sunday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio stood with hospital staff, neighbors and community activists and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to personally intervene on behalf of Brooklyn’s safety-net hospitals.

Citing the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village and others across the five boroughs, De Blasio warned the imminent closures of LICH and Interfaith Medical Center would "hollow out community healthcare in Brooklyn and carry devastating consequences for residents."

In a letter to the Governor sent this weekend, De Blasio urged “bold, strong action at the state’s highest level to ensure both LICH and Interfaith remain open and serving their communities.” Governor Cuomo appoints a majority of SUNY’s board of trustees, and his State Department of Health must sign off on any decision to close, restructure or transfer ownership of hospitals like LICH.

De Blasio's letter to Gov. Cuomo is here.

Previous Posts on LICH:

- How Can SUNY Downstate Design a Brooklyn Healthcare Network When They Can't Run LICH?

- Brooklyn Judge Orders SUNY Downstate to Cough Up LICH Financial Documents

- Best Emergency Room In Brooklyn This Week: Long Island College Hospital (LICH)

All posts about LICH

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Lost Drone Found in Brooklyn; Eliot Spitzer Is Back; and More Brooklyn Briefs

Spiffing up a board outside Aegir Boardworks in DUMBO.  Photo: MK Metz
- Once-disgraced Eliot Spitzer surprisingly announces comptroller campaign. [Politicker] [Gothamist]

- Did you lose your drone? One crashed into a roof in Williamsburg...[Betabeat]

- Brooklyn voters keep waiting for Gov. Cuomo to move to save LICH. [NY Daily News]

- Three-year-old boy dies at Brooklyn day care center. Parents can't afford funeral. [DNS Info]

- Flight attendant denies smuggling rats aboard planes. Of course. [NY Magazine]

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