Almost perfectly coincident with Vladimir Putin's recently renewed pledges of allegiance as
Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of Rigged Elections President of Russia is news that he has been constructing, allegedly of course, "Project South," a massive private palace on the Black Sea.
Since his reiterated swearing-in was met with mass protests, which were then met with a heavy police crackdown, which then elicited US statements of disapproval—which have more recently been followed by by Putin saying he would not attend the forthcoming G8 meeting at Camp David, which was nonetheless followed by bilateral statements of continued commitment to a "reset of relations" via "sustained high-level dialogue"—it is possible that news related to "Project South" lost some degree of newsworthy thunder.
And that's fine, but the story is full of good intrigue. Even a major art buyer plays a part.
A typical back alley in Breezy Point
Two parents were arrested in Breezy Point this weekend and charged with 43 counts of "unlawfully dealing with children"—that is, for serving alcohol to minors at their house, a misdemeanor—and 10 counts of endangering a child. Emergency responders brought two of their underage guests to the hospital. I know what you're thinking: gambling? In Casablanca?
"The way [parents] operate is, ‘I’d rather they drink in front of me,'" rather than having children go down to the beach with it, said... the editor of The Rockaway Point News. "It’s against the law, of course," he added, "but I have a 7-year-old daughter and I don’t know if when she’s 16, 17, I’d want her drinking out in the dark on the beach."
Maurice Sendak has passed away due to complications from a stroke, reports the New York Times. Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to the son of a dressmaker on June 10, 1928, Sendak would go on to create some of the most memorable and profound "children's" books of all time. These included Where the Wild Things Are (winner of the Caldecott Medal), Chicken Soup with Rice, In The Night Kitchen, and Brundibar, an adaptation of a Czech opera staged 55 times by children in the Terezin concentration camp. Earlier this year, Sendak participated in an interview with Stephen Colbert, in which he told the pundit character, "I don't write for children. I write, and somebody says, 'That's for children.'" Those who grew up holding Sendak close, those who are adults now, surely feel that truth. R.I.P. Maurice Sendak. Watch one of his last interviews with Stephen Colbert after the jump.
One possible outcome for outdoor bike-parking
Last year, we heard that the Barclays Center—where the Nets will play basketball, and where Jay-Z and Leonard Cohen will play concerts—would feature a bike-parking facility that could hold up to 400 bicycles. This morning, we hear that's no longer the case. Developer Forest City Ratner admitted last week that accommodations for 400 bikes, for the foreseeable future, will be made with racks on the sidewalks, Streetsblog reports—even though "one of the commitments the developer made was to 'provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.'"
This blows. George Freeman, who has served as assistant general counsel at the New York Times for two decades, has been laid off, along with 50 other employees from the human resources, finance and legal departments, reports Capital New York.
Freeman, an expert on First Amendment law, is something of a legal rockstar. Most recently at the Times, he organized media publications in criticizing the NYPD's mistreatment of the press at Occupy Wall Street. Am I biased? Totally. I had Freeman as a professor of First Amendment ethics at New York University, where he brought in Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times, to lecture in class. As a professor, Freeman was invaluable, giving his students access to speakers and resources we never would have encountered otherwise. I remember him as uniquely easy-going, as well as oddly tan in the midst of the winter months—probably from all the tennis playing he did. At any rate, that's off topic. This is surely the Times' loss.
The Obama brownstone, ca. 1983-1988, around the time he would have lived there. From NYCs Tax-Photo Archive.
Among the juicy bits of gossip we've learned from Girlfriendgate—such as who is (white girlfriend) and who is not (Michelle) a composite character—comes this bombshell: Barack Obama lived for a time in a brownstone in Park Slope. He and then-girlfriend Genevieve Cook shared a top-floor apartment on Second Street, off of Prospect Park West (the same block where Jonathan Safran Foer currently resides), the Times reports. They moved in toward the end of 1984. The current owners were shocked at the news, and as they led a Times reporter up to the old apartment, one stopped to wonder, "Is it possible that Barack walked on these stairs?" OMG, YES! He probably touched the walls too!
Eh, I guess its nice
If you think home prices are high in North and Brownstone Brooklyns, you should get a load of what they're asking for down south! A Gravesend house hit the market this week with a $14 million price tag, making it the most expensive house for sale in Brooklyn, Sheepshead Bites reports. (Only the penthouse of the Clocktower building in DUMBO asks for more—$19 million.) Just south of Avenue U on Ocean Parkway, the 9,200-square foot, five-bedroom home features AN ELEVATOR, three hand-carved chandeliers in the dining room, a master bedroom with a balcony, and other ridiculous features, gushed over by the Daily News.
This May is New York City's ninth-annual bike month, which means lots of races, workshops, rides, and other events, the Fort Greene Patch reports. "In 1990, New York City celebrated the first-ever Bike Day," the head of Transportation Alternatives told the website. "Before long, Bike Day evolved into Bike Week and then, Bike Month." The organization has a new website, BikeNYC.org, a one-stop source for tips, deals, and events, like the Five-Borough Bike Tour, which is this Sunday, or National Bike to Work Day, on May 18, which encourages commuters to try commuting by bicycle and "discover the benefits."
GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, passed in the New York Assembly on Monday and is now headed to the Senate, where it has failed the previous five times the Assembly passed it. A report issued yesterday by the NYCLU highlights just how essential this piece of legislation is:
A 2009 national survey that included 531 transgender people in New York found that 74 percent reported harassment or mistreatment on the job and 20 percent lost a job or were denied a promotion. In addition, 53 percent were verbally harassed or denied service at hotels and restaurants and 49 percent reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance. Also, 18 percent had become homeless because of their transgender status and 27 percent were either denied an apartment or were evicted. And 17 percent were refused medical care due to their gender expression, the survey said.
This is literally life or death for people, and Governor Cuomo hasn't voiced his support for the bill yet. A version of GENDA has been passed in several cities (including NYC) but that won't cut it—this is about the very most basic civil rights for trans and non-gender-conforming people. It is awesome that gay people can get married, and I appreciate the Governor's outspoken support for that bill, but if he's truly an advocate for LGBTQI rights, this right here is the bill to push through.
Look, we're not trying to tell you what to do with your lives, but we have to talk: It's time to tighten your belts and quit the Newtown Creek seafood habit. A new state study from the Department of Health (DOH) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) suggests that eating things caught from a Superfund site waterway might not be the best idea—that means no more Channel catfish, no more gizzard shad, and definitely no more than six crabs a week. Seven and you're dead to us.
If you're a woman under 50 or a child under 15, you shouldn't eat any fish from the toxic water, the study finds. And no more than one meal of goldfish a month. Researchers say that contaminant levels of Newtown Creek seafood would be similar to those of the East River, which includes PCBs and dioxin in fish, as well as cadmium, dioxin and PCBs in crab and lobster.
This is a generic image of road rage, featuring a Park Slope-y looking guy
A Park Slope driver got out of his car last week and beat up a bicyclist, the Park Slope Patch reports. The bike rider said the 54-year-old almost hit him when the driver cut him off in the bike lane on 7th Street, near Fifth Avenue; he "tapped the car," the website reports, "to alert the driver that he was too close." That's when the driver put the car in park, got out, and started punching the cyclist's face, head, and body; when the cyclist fell to the ground, the motorist continued to hit him. It took two people to pull the driver off, at which point he got back in his car and drove away.
Photo Sydney Brownstone
Fifteen hundred Occupy protesters defied police and stopped traffic on Fifth Avenue and Broadway yesterday afternoon as they marched from Bryant Park to Union Square. The march, which did not have a permit, began on the sidewalks at 40th Street, led by the "guitarmy" that had been clustered around the park's Gertrude Stein statue. Non-guitared marchers exceeded the guitarists, though; they blew whistles, banged drums, and shouted "all day, all week, Occupy Wall Street!" as a line of police on motorcycles chaperoned them from the curb.
The house back in December.
Photo Cody Swanson.
Almost five months after 500 protesters gathered in East New York to help a homeless family occupy a foreclosed home, police arrested the last few remaining in the house. The homeless family is long gone. Six people, aged 18 to 25, were charged with burglary; one of them was also charged with resisting arrest, the Post reports. Police allege that the six broke a window on the Vermont Street home earlier this month in order to gain access to the house, the paper reports; it's unclear how that translates into burglary.
I have a friend who used to drive classic-model Lincolns and sometimes, idling at a curb, waiting for a friend, a stranger would hop into his backseat and start issuing directions. Now that the city has made it legal for car services in the outerboroughs and upper Manhattan to pick up passengers off the street, the situation for Lincoln drivers is only going to get worse. But it might also get worse for another group of people—those who own bright green cars.
The city unveiled its new line of outerborough taxis, which are green—in contrast to Manhattan's (and the rest of the world's?) iconic yellow.
More Park Slope residents subscribe to a website that promotes extramarital sex than do those from any other neighborhood in Brooklyn, the New York Post reports. AshleyMadison.com, a dating website for married people, has more than 500,000 members in the New York metropolitan area, and Park Slope has the second highest percentage of them in the region. (Great Neck, Long Island was first; more than three percent of its adult population subscribes to the site!) "There seems to be a disproportionate amount of cheating spouses in affluent areas and neighborhoods in New York," AshleyMadison's CEO told the paper. "In the New York area in particular, with successful people there may be more cheating going on because the more opportunity you’re given—and that’s the reason you see athletes, celebrities and politicians involved in affairs—the more other people thrust themselves at you.”
Two lawsuits have landed in the laps of the NYPD today, slamming the department for its handling of Occupy protests over the past seven months. Four City Council members, along with journalists, a local Democratic Party official and OWS activists, have filed a 143-page civil rights lawsuit highlighting issues such as excessive force, obstruction of constitutional rights and access to public spaces. Another specifically addresses the problem of barricades—five plaintiffs are filing what lawyers are asking to be labeled as class action suit, stemming from the NYPD's use of barricades surrounding protesters, journalists and tourists outside a fund-raiser for President Obama at the Sheraton Hotel in November of last year. Both arrive a day before Occupy's largest planned proceedings of 2012, a sure signal to the police that whatever happens will be noted—carefully.
The homeless population living on the streets of New York City jumped 23 percent, according to a survey by volunteers for the city's department of homeless services, the Associated Press reports. The survey takers counted 3,262 people living on the streets on January 20; the year before, they'd counted 2,648. "Decoys trained to appear homeless are placed throughout the city on the night the annual survey is undertaken to test whether volunteers are actually doing their jobs," the wire service reports. Critics of the survey contend the volunteers undercount the homeless population.
You know, if subverting extreme capitalism doesn't work out right away, maybe the folks at Occupy Wall Street should consider professional event booking. In addition to the impressive, existing lineup (featuring Das Racist, Dan Deacon, the Bobby Sanabria band, Tom Morello, a 1,000-person "guitarmy" and more), organizers have announced that queer, electro-punk dance pioneers JD Samson and MEN will be performing later in the day. The band is scheduled to play a 15 minute set when the march reaches Bowling Green, marking the end of protesting and the beginning of after-partying.
In 2011, Samson, one of the original co-founders of Le Tigre (with Kathleen Hanna), wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post explaining how an "emotional crisis" in searching for an apartment led her to a series of epiphanies on creativity, the economy, queerness and Occupy Wall Street. The conclusion that she came to? Fame as a "tattooed gender outlaw" has actually made Samson poorer, and even "successful" creatives are not exempt from struggling in tough economic times—all the more reason to come together and occupy.
Sayin it like it is.
Whether you can get down with the term "war on women" or not, conversations about the GOP's female-related issues are not going away. And for good reason: One of the most striking partisan divides in recent months has been along the lines of renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which in years past has been a bipartisan cake walk. Luckily, last week the bill passed in the Senate, but Senator Chuck Schumer had some harsh words for the House Republicans debating the bill's key additions and drafting an alternative.
“I want to say, to the small group in the House of Representatives moving to stop this bill. Stop it. Pass this bill,” Schumer said, according to the Daily News.
The company that operates the East River Ferry, the convenient link between northern Brooklyn and eastern Manhattan, wants to accept Metrocards, and has started discussions with the city and the MTA to make it happen, the Brooklyn Paper reports. First, everybody would just have to solve a few problems, including how to reconcile the different pricing structures, as well as the different infrastructures. (A ride on a subway or bus costs $2.25, and a monthly unlimited card is $104, while a ride on the ferry is $4, or $140 a month, with a $1 surcharge for bicycles.) Would there be transfers? Would ferry riders swipe their cards to get on the ferry? Where would the machines be? And so on.
I recently emailed several complaints to the MTA (also from my phone after the B48…
I recently tried to make a complaint to the MTA after several days of observing…
wonderful! now i wonder if you can file a complaint with the NYPD.