Red Hook StarªRevue
THRU MARCH 3, 2014
SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
NEW PROGRAM FOR YOUTH
Friday Nights at Miccio
photo and story by Kimberly Gail Price
SWISH! NOTHIN’ BUT NET, BABY! Basketball training has a new home in Red Hook. Every Friday night, youth ages 11-18 are working with professionals at the Miccio Center to improve their game. In conjunction with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the Red Hook Community Justice Center and Good Shepherd Services is connecting basketball with discipline. Pro Hoops trainers work with kids to improve their skills using interactive drills, activities and games. The training program includes dribbling, passing and shooting exercises while incorporating team work and cooperation. During each drill, participants learn a new skill set. They are then let loose to practice in small teams. At the end of each session, the coaches act as referees while the kids play a timed game. There are two sessions every Friday night. The first session is from 5-7 pm for kids ages 11-14. The second session is from 7-9 pm for youth ages 15-18. Each session can accommodate more than 35 players, and both have open slots available.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
Red Hook StarªRevue The Happenings ª Red Hook Star Revue
SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
In just two short years we have grown from a novelty Table of Contents Miccio to Basketball. .............. 1 RHAP......................... 10 an institution. Red Hook HUB................... 3 Health by Tracey........ 13
2ND FEB ISSUE
BROOKLYN’S SOUTH COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
VOLUME 5 NO. 3
Red Hook S Tenant Association............. 6 Fundraiser................. 15 tarªRevue Red Hook Rising................ 7 Newsbriefs............. 5,14 Father Claudio MAY 16 - 31, 201 2
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“This Town: Portraits of Red Hook,” a photo exhibition and fundraiser for Red Hook’s resident portraitist, Craig LaCourt begins at 7 pm at Hometown BBQ. Craig was recently robbed and is hoping to raise funds to replace equipment necessary to replace them. The event includes live music, a DJ and a raffle. Suggested donation: $20. 454 Van Brunt Street
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SouthernMAY 12TH BYA 10, Trucking RESULTS BYA 14 Southern 10, Defender Truc , Hyne s 0, s Hero king 10 (gam es 9, (gam e 1) e 2)
Jenny Belin, Stefanie Deji Mary Ann Pietanza, Katie Schulder-Battis Lesley Ware, Jherelle Benn, May
The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Brooklyn Museum at 2 pm. Tickets: $10 for members; $20 for non-members. For tickets and more info, visit www.brooklynsymphonyorchestra.org. Kentler International Drawing Space’s current show, “Circumstances,” will end the exhibit with a curator’s talk at 4 pm. 353 Van Brunt Street The Brooklyn Museum will remain open until 8 pm to accommodate visitor’s on the last day of the world famous exhibition of “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautlier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” 200 Eastern Parkway Jalopy School of Music will celebrate the life of the late Pete Seeger in “If I had a Hammer.” Special guests from the Brooklyn folk music community will perform at 8 pm and all proceeds will go to WhyHunger, a grassroots group working to build a movement for economic and food justice.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23
Thank you Brooklyn!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28
101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Kimberly@redhookstar.com
718 624-5568 www.RedHookStar.com
Pioneer Works and Fragmental Museum invite the public to their opening reception of House to House II by French artist Jeanne Susplugas from 6-9 pm. The exhibition will be on display through March 9. 159 Pioneer Street Crafting Home, an art exhibit at the Brooklyn Cottage featuring local artist Jenny Belin, opens from 7-9 pm. The exhibit will be up for the weekend. Gallery hours are Saturday 2-6 pm and Sunday 1-4 pm. 301 Sterling Heights
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Brooklyn Museum honors Women’s History Month with Target First Saturday including Music, pop-up poerty, dance performances, and talks with feminist voices of distinction. Museum admission is free throughout the duration of the event from 5-11 pm. 200 Eastern Parkway
MONDAY, MARCH 10
A new Red Hook Writer’s group will meet for a Literary Open Mike night from 5:30-7:30 pm. All genres welcome. Group will share and discuss readings. Writers and non-writers encouraged to attend. Submit 1-8 pages to Maria at email@example.com. Star Theater, 101 Union Street.
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow will present an introduction to their 5 month job training program at 6:30 and 7:30 pm. The program features employment training, customer service certification, high school equivalency diploma, Microsoft certification, public speaking, and service learning. For ages 17-21. Reserve tickets at (718) 369-0303, or visit www. obtjobs.org. 783 Fourth Avenue.
Carroll Gardens Association is offering two types of Computer classes: Introduction to Computers (three weeks), and Microsoft Office (five weeks) on Mondays and Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 pm. For dates and registration, call (718) 243-9301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday night Yoga in Red Hook for adults and mature teens is from 7:15-8:15 pm at the Cora Dance Studio. Instructor, Jolene Festa has been teaching yoga since 2002 and is also co-founder of the Red Hook Boaters. 201 Richards Street, Buzzer 15 Brooklyn Museum will have “Arty Facts: Amazing Animals” classes for children ages 4-7 every Sunday throughout March at 11 am and 1:30 am. The event includes exploring galleries, team activities, and art-making. $10 materials fee. 200 Eastern Parkway
Pioneer Works spring classes have a new lineup including Electrolysis: Tin Box Etching (February 22) and Drawing the Third Dimension: Approaches to 3D Video (February 23 & March 2.) For a full list of upcoming classes, visit PioneerWorks.org.
Page 2 Red Hook Star-Revue
The Red Hook Justice Center is looking for participants in their Friday night basketball youth program. Sessions are from 5-7 pm (ages 11-14) and 7-9 pm (ages 15-18). Any Red Hook or South Brooklyn youth is welcome to participate. Instruction is offered by professional Pro Hoops Trainers. FREE. Miccio Center, 110 W. 9th Street
Thru March 3, 2014
Decaying Red Hook trolleys donated to museum photos by Jessie Lee
At one time there was thought of building a trolley line in Red Hook. However, those plans never materialized, and three trolleys sat standing behind Fairway. Sandy send salt water their way, and over the past year their deterioration has advanced. The Oâ€™Connell Organization paid to send them to a trolley museum in hopes of their restoration.
Red Hook Star-Revue
Thru March 3, 2014 Page 3
Community Calendar SAT FEB 22
11am-6pm NY Rising Public Meeting, Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt Street
SUN FEB 23
11am-6pm: NY Rising Public Meeting, Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt Street
MON, FEB 24
6:30-9 pm: CB 6 Environmental Protection/Permits meeting, 78th Police Precinct, 65 6th Avenue
TUES MAR 4
7:30pm: 76th Precinct Community Council Meeting, 191 Union Street
THURS MARCH 6
5:30-7:30 pm: Entrepreneur/Business Assistance Workshop Series: Business Plan Basics at Carroll Gardens Association. 201 Columbia Street
TUE, MAR 11
6:30-9 pm: Red Hook West Tenants Meeting, 428 Columbia Street Tenant office room 1-C
WED MAR 12,
1:30-2:30 pm: The Senior Edge Series: Medical Mysteries Demystified by Dr. Eric Kenworthy. Carroll Gardens Library, 396 Clinton Street
Lillie Marshall and Phaedra Thomas at an EPA outreach meeting at PS 15.
Page 4 Red Hook Star-Revue
Thru March 3, 2014
Grant to bring Red Hook a HUB by George Fiala
IGA is the trade organization graphic designers. Their New York chapter received a grant last year to create community projects in three areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy - Red Hook, the Rockaways, and the South Street Seaport. For Red Hook, the designers have decided to create a local communications gateway that they have named the “Red Hook HUB.” Last fall a Red Hook project team visited the neighborhood and ended up at one of the public NY Rising meetings at PS 15. They also met the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), Added Value and some of the Van Brunt businesses. They came to the conclusion that what Red Hook wanted was a better way to communicate, especially in the event of another catastrophe.
Participants gathered in a room next to the gym at the Miccio Center. (Fiala photos)
On February 12, the project team held an event in a room at the Miccio Center where they accepted input from the community. The team is led by James Andrews, who holds the title of Community Outreach Strategist. The purpose of the meeting was for attendees to lend their ideas to the project. Around twenty showed up for this public meeting, many having a connection with RHI. Local activist Reg Flowers, property owner John Quadrozzi Jr., and Lindsey Donnellon, Red Hook resident and community coordinator for the Carroll Gardens Association, were among the twenty. Andrews made a presentation introducing the HUB. Their grant money comes from ArtPlace America, a public/private partnership that funds art projects across the country. The goal is to leave something permanent in these three communities. The attendees were split into four moderated groups and their ideas were gathered. Many different thoughts were expressed. Both digital and analog communication methods were discussed. Choosing a steward proved problematic because of issues of credibility and favoritism. In the end, it seemed that the ad hoc methods that sprang forth after Sandy worked fairly well, and would be
The excitement shows as Reg Flowers provides Andrews with an idea.
built upon. If any consensus was reached, it was that one or more kiosks could be built where information of use to the whole Red Hook community could be posted. Many suggested Coffey Park as the natural center of Red Hook and a place for one of the kiosks. This weekend, NY Red Hook Rising will be presenting their ideas for an improvement to Red Hook. The
James Andrews welcomes questions and ideas about the Hub. He can be emailed at email@example.com.
face seemingly insurmountable challenges with dedication and perseverance. It is our hope that RHI youth continue the tradition of representing Red Hook from atop one of the highest mountains in the world.”
10% of the world’s elephant populations were gunned down; another 10% were killed in 2013.
Jessica Colon Receives Red “The Triptych” is making its museum Beloved CB6er remembered Hook Community Spirit Award premiere as his largest and most com- Former Community Board 6 member, Jessica Colon, the Deputy Project Director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, was honored with the “Red Hook Community Spirit” from Calvary Baptist Church of Red Hook, along with long-time residents Missionary Edith Hough, and Mrs. Frances Brown and Mr. Halvard Brown. The award is given to recognize the work of community members that work to improve the lives of Red Hook residents. This is the first year of the award. Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and a representative from State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz’ office were also there to celebrate with local residents.
plex work. The three paneled piece weighs 12 tons and is made of glass, acrylic and clippings.
On his work, Yellin explains, “The universe and the mind are shadowy places seething with dark magic, seas of boundless depth and possibility, overflowing with joy and disaster.”
RHI sends another youth to the top
One year after RHI sent their first youth, Frances Medina to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanishka Thomas went from Red Hook Initiative to Kilamanjaro Initiative (KI).
In Santa Monica, California, “$50,000, Two Parachutes, and a Crab’s Suit” is on display from February 22 through March 29. Six life-sized “Psychogeographies,” inspired by the scale and diversity of the 2,000 year old Qin funerary army of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, as well as surreal landscapes and abstractions will be exhibited.
Thomas was one of 25 climbers selected from Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and the US to participate in the 9th annual climb to the top of the highest mountain in Africa. The participants spent one month training together in leadership training, physical exercise and cross-cultural idea exchanges. After learning that Thomas had reached the top, Medina said, “Mount Kili is full of lessons that apply to challenges we face every day. I am happy we can continue to share this experience with Red Hook youth.”
Yellin’s second show, “The Triptych,” opened in Savannah, Georgia on February 2 and will be there until June 8.
Jill Eisenhard, founder and executive director of RHI, wrote in a press release, “We are proud of all of our youth who
Red Hook’s own Dustin Yellin has two major exhibitions nationwide, in addition to his space at Pioneer Works.
Red Hook Star-Revue
HUB will no doubt shortly be presenting their plans as well. A recent City Planning Red Hook transportation study will be issued in the spring. Governor Cuomo announced a $200 million shoreline protection plan for Red Hook. One might imagine that change might be afoot.
Albert Cabbad passed away February 18. Albert was appointed to the board by former Borough President, Howard Golden. He was an advocate for small businesses, and was unwavering with respect to law enforcement.
CB6 District Manager, Craig Hammerman said Albert was known best “as a jovial global ambassador who promoted harmony and unity in neighborhood’s rapidly gentrifying environment in the 1990’s; his was a powerful, reassuring voice of compassion and understanding. Albert will also be remembered for his requests for moments of silence every November at CB6’s general board meeting to observe “The Night of the Broken Glass,” or Kristallnacht. November 9, 1938 marks the beginning of the Nazi atrocities in Germany, targeting Jewish-owned businesses, residents and synagogues. Visiting and funeral services will be held on Sunday, February 23 at St. Nicholas A.O. Church, 355 State Street in Brooklyn.
Each day, 96 elephants are gunned down in Africa for their treasured and valuable ivory tusks. Both African and Asian elephants are on the endangered lists and in recent years have seen steep declines in their populations. In 2012,
Wildlife Conservation Services (WCS) has launched a global campaign to end poaching and ivory trafficking. John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of Affairs for the 96 Elephants Campaign, issued a statement on February 14, applauding the Obama Administration’s “major new strategy to combating wildlife crime.” Five days later, WCS announced that New York State has introduced a new ivory bill into the state legislature and will be taking the lead to end ivory trade. The Us is one of the world’s largest markets for ivory in the world, and New York is the number one state importing ivory into the country. In a global effort, several countries including China, France, Chad, and now the US, have or will destroy stockpiles of illegal ivory and tighten federal bans on illegal trafficking.
Red Hook Crit Series 2014
Trimble Racing has announced their 2014 Red Hook Criterium Championship Series. On March 29, Red Hook will host its 7th race. On August 30, Barcelona, Spain will host their 2nd race. And on October 11, Milano will host their 5th race, the third and final of the 2014 series. Rockstar Games will once again be sponsoring the races. The series will crown one overall champion, and because there are only three races - in lieu of last year’s four - each race will carry (continued on page 14)
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Phaedra Thomas tells Red Hook West that BASIS threatens local jobs by George Fiala
illie Marshall is the elected president of the Red Hook West Tenant’s Association. In addition, she is District Chair of NYCHA’s Brooklyn South Citywide Council of Presidents. On the second Tuesday of each month she hosts the association’s monthly meeting in the TA office on the first floor of 428 Columbia Street. Miss Marshall always manages to present interesting local guests, including our representatives from our local elected officials, and at the end of the night everyone gets a bite to eat. The TA is a membership organization, with dues of $2 per year. The February meeting started quietly, as people slowly wandered in out of the cold. But once things got going it was the usual lively meeting. Lillie began by discussing some of the changes in the NYCHA administration that have accompanied the new mayor. The next day she was scheduled to meet the the new NYCHA president, Shola Olatoye, and other NYCHA board members including General Manager Cecil House, a holdover from the Bloomberg administration. She will go with an armful of complaints from tenants who spoke up at the meeting. There are still problems with the front doors. The Star-Revue first heard about this a year ago when NYCHA was holding special tenant meetings following Sandy. Entry to NYCHA houses is supposed to be made secure by self-locking doors. In many cases these were broken, and anyone could walk in. Now, newly issued keys are so thin that they break off in the locks, leaving the doors unopenable. Miss Marshall informed the group that there is currently a plan throughout housing to replace all the front doors, but it will probably be a while before that gets to Red Hook. Another complaint was about the work crews that NYCHA hires to clean the floors and elevators. A tenant angrily derided their work habits, saying that their mopping the floors generally consisted of slopping a line of water and taking it up with one swipe, leaving the floors a filthy mess. Miss Marshall ex-
body has been throwing lit matches down the hatch. The incinerators are no longer used, and compacted garbage is supposed to be hauled away on a regular basis, but it is not. It was noted that NYCHA has been strict on collecting rent on time, and now there is even less reason to have to put up with shoddy services. These and more will undoubtedly be topics at Miss Marshall’s meeting with the NYCHA brass. She said she will be on them “like flattened pancakes.” The next speaker was a woman from the new DA’s office - Denise Peterson. Charles Hynes was defeated last November by Kenneth Thompson. Miss Peterson was there to answer questions, but it was clear she did not have many answers. She did listen patiently and took notes, and will no doubt report back to Mr. Thompson. She was asked whether the Red Hook Youth Baseball League would continue. The league has been run by the Justice Center with the active support of DA Hynes. She did not know anything about
Miss Marshall informed the group that there is currently a plan throughout housing to replace all the front doors, but it will probably be a while before that gets to Red Hook.
it. A call to the Justice Center revealed that the league will indeed go on this year with DA Thompson’s enthusiastic support. Someone questioned the status of the Americorps program at the Justice Center. Peterson did not know about the program. Americorps is a federally funded service program that has been instrumental throughout the history of the Red Hook Justice Center. Dan Wiley confirmed the funding was not renewed this year, instead being given
Anthony Johnson and Lillie Marshall of the TA listen to Denise Patterson of the new DA’s office (photo by George Fiala
plained that there is already a shortage of these workers, and that the unionized labor is not interested in working overtime. Garbage piling up three or four floors over the weekend in the incinerators are another problem. There have already been a number of fires as some-
Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue
to other Brooklyn social service groups. Danelle Johnson and Cheryl Braxton both told Miss Peterson of their concern about innocent persons in jail. They reminded her that Thompson campaigned on bringing justice to these cases, and told her that they would be vigilant in making sure that the new
Phaedra Thomas, speaking for Gowanus GBX, wants to preserve industry and truck traffic in Red Hook. (photo by George Fiala)
DA would work his hardest to right these wrongs. Braxton told here that what Red Hook needed was an adult learning center. She also complained that the public library had only 8 computers, after receiving “lots of money after Sandy.” Miss Peterson exhorted the crowd to take part in the community process. “Those who make the most noise are the ones who get what they want,” she said. Dan Wiley, who walked in a bit late, spoke next. Dan is the community representative for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and he often attends numerous events in one evening - using his bicycle for transport. He told the audience that Velazquez was “very excited about the new DA.” He called it a new day in Brooklyn, as we never had an African-American DA before. He said that the DA’s inauguration, held last weekend at Steiner Studios, was a great event. Wiley gave an update on LICH, expressed shock that the Americorps program wasn’t renewed, and related Nydia’s despair as she was unable to prevent federal cuts to the food stamp program, and the lack of extension of unemployment benefits. He called that “a travesty.” He gave out a flyer advertising an Open House at Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt Street. The dates are February 22 and 23 from 11 am - 6 pm. The Open House will be an opportunity for Red Hook residents to see the ideas that NY Rising has come up with to make Red Hook more resilient. NY Rising is interested in the opinions of Red Hook residents. Danelle Johnson spoke next. She is the TA secretary, which is also an elected position. She explained that she has been quite busy lately, and is wearing many hats. One of them has to do with cigarette smoking. According to Johnson, a NYCHA policy banning smoking in NYCHA buildings, including one’s
own apartment, will be enforced (the Star-Revue could not verify such a ban, although it is a major issue under discussion). She said further that tenants may face eviction if they do not take steps to eliminate smoking in their apartments. Danelle has completed a seven month course in teaching smoking cessation, and was quite adamant that this policy is very positive for housing tenants as smoking is bad for both smokers and people exposed to second hand smoke. She said the NYCHA will be providing free patches and classes in order to get people to stop smoking. Johnson is also a chairman of the NYC Green Committee. This committee discusses energy alternatives such as solar. There will be a meeting of NYC Green at the Miccio Center on February 20 at 6 pm. Among the topics to be discussed are the garden by the former Senior Center on Wolcott Center. Danelle revitalized the garden last summer and will be doing so again in 2014. Next Johnson spoke of her work on NY Rising. She is one of the very few representatives of the Red Hook Houses that serve on their local committee. She announced public meetings to be held on Feb 22 and 23 on Van Brunt Street, and handed out flyers. Finally, Miss Johnson announced that she will be starting her own television program in March. She laughingly called herself “The Brooklyn Oprah.” The show will consist of interviews with local people of note. Cheryl Braxton got up next. She is a member of the local participatory budgeting committee that is a project of the NY City Council. Some of the projects under consideration are surveillance cameras, more computers for the library, better lights for the pool, and to fix up the new Senior Center. She said that soon there would be an announcement of a public meeting at the Miccio Center where people would learn of these projects. Everyone is expected to vote (continued on page 13)
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Red Hook Rising nears conclusion with weekend Van Brunt event by George Fiala
This weekend, February 22 & 23, mark the final public events for the Red Hook version of NY Rising. This program, funded by a grant from NY State, provides $3 million for a neighborhood sustainability project. A committee composed of local activists and stakeholders, together with consultants from HR&A, a company founded by Carl Weisbrod, recently named City Planning Commissioner, has been meeting since last year. Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt Street, will host the event, from 11 am - 6 pm both days. In addition to being able to view some of the proposed projects and make voice opinions to the committee, there will also be special focus sessions occurring both days of the weekend. From noon to 1 pm, there will be an open discussion titled “Infrastructure and Coastal Resiliency.” At 1 pm the topic will be “Social Resiliency & Economic Development.” Special outside speakers from HUD, NYC’s Rebuild by Design, and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, will be appearing on Saturday from 3 pm - 6 pm at a special event titled “Red Hook Resiliency Innovations.” The Red Hook office of Realty Collective is located at 351 Van Brunt Street.
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Flashback: Judge who signed over LICH to SUNY changes her mind in August 2013 decision tion established a hundred and fifty-five years ago to provide medical care to those in need of it. Upon review and scrutiny of the information recently made public about SUNY Downstate’s financial condition and its treatment of LICH, as well as the documents originally filed with this Court in support of LICH’s petition to transfer its assets to SUNY, I have determined that I have a legal and moral responsibility to correct my earlier error and hereby render the following decision sua sponte.
Judge Carolyn Demarest It’s been a little over a year that SUNY Downstate announced that they were selling off the Long Island College Hospital. That announcement set off a flurry of protest from the local community and the unions representing the hospital workers. Behind all the back and forth that ensued was a notion in many minds that SUNY’s actions were deplorable - that they were given a public trust and despite assurances otherwise, never saw LICH as anything more than a cash cow - a place to take out equipment and an eventual sale to real estate developers. It appeared that their plan was to use the money from the sale of LICH (which was given to them), to make up shortfalls from the bad decisions they had been making. The money would solve the problems that they created. The settlement they reached ignored all those aspects. However, it did become a matter of public record in the following document - the innermost thoughts of a judge with a bad conscience. Judge Carolyn Demarest signed off on the deal that gave SUNY the hospital in 2011. While her decision was ultimately rejected, we proudly reprint her great words from last August. In the Matter of the Application of Index No. 9188/11 THE LONG ISLAND COLLEGE HOSPITAL, for an Order Approving the Sale of the Assets of DECISION the Long Island College Hospital, pursuant to AND Sections 510 and 511 of the Not-ForProfit ORDER Corporation Law ---------------------------------X Hon. Carolyn Demarest As I have become aware of the events over the past several months concerning the demise of Long Island College Hospital (LICH)at the hands of the State University of New York-Downstate (SUNY-Downstate), I have been increasingly concerned as to the propriety of my own order granting approval of the transfer of LICH’s assets to SUNYDownstate in light of Downstate’s apparent lack of stewardship over those assets in the advancement of LICH’s charitable purpose. Just a few days ago I visited the LICH campus in order to familiarize myself with the circumstances and observed, in just the brief few minutes I was there, the arrival and diversion of several ambulances, presumably containing persons in critical need of medical care. Such refusal to accept and treat these people is a travesty of the mission of LICH, a venerable institu-
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On or about April 20, 2011, upon the verification of Kathryn Meyer as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Long Island College Hospital, a petition was filed pursuant to Not -for -Profit Corporation Law, sections 510 and 511, seeking this court’s approval and permission to transfer virtually all of the assets of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to SUNY-Downstate. Ms. Meyer represented to this Court that the proposed Transaction sought to be approved was necessitated by LICH’s financial crisis and was recommended “to ensure LICH’s ongoing existence and safeguard its charitable mission” and that SUNY-Downstate was prepared “to assume the operations of the hospital” and would thus “promote LICH’s charitable purpose”. The Asset Purchase Agreement clearly contemplated the continued operation of LICH as a hospital, certainly for decades, if not in perpetuity. The approval of the Attorney General, the New York State Commissioner of Health and various other governmental entities had already been obtained, apparently upon this representation that the hospital’s survival would thus be secured, LICH’s primary mission being the provision of patient care services. Petitioner urged that the conveyance of assets should be approved by this Court as fair and reasonable to LICH and in furtherance of its charitable purpose. The alternative, claimed petitioner, would be immediate bankruptcy and closure of the hospital. Despite petitioner’s urging that the petition should be expeditiously granted, by Orders to Show Cause entered on April 22 and 25,2011, this Court directed that notice of the proposed Transaction, which also included an invasion of the Othrner Endowment for the purpose of funding a Medical Malpractice Trust to effect the prompt settlement of malpractice claims pending against LICH, claimed to be a primary cause of LICH’s financial difficulties, be given to the Attorney General, executors of the Othmer estates, all malpractice plaintiffs, and all creditors of LICH. A public hearing was scheduled for May 12,2011. On the return date, the Courtroom was full, not only of the persons and entities which had been personally served with the Orders to Show Cause why approval of the transfer of assets and invasion of the Othmer Endowment should not be granted, but also of the many public officials and community leaders who have been appearing in recent litigation before my colleague, Justice Johnny Baynes, and in protest of the closing of LICH. All interested persons were afforded the opportunity to address the court and raise any objection they might have. Not a single objection of any kind was raised. The consensus was that the proposed Transaction would be beneficial to all parties in that the hos-
pital would continue to operate and provide much-needed medical services to the people of Brooklyn, consistent with the 150-year-old mission of LICH and the wishes of the Othmers in donating many millions of dollars for the creation of an endowment for the preservation and advancement of LICH. As acknowledged in petitioner’s application for approval, no cash was to be paid to LICH in consideration for the transfer of virtually all of its assets, which included real property, valued by Cushman and Wakefield at approximately 548 million dollars on August 18, 2010. The real property to be transferred to SUNY -Downstate under the Asset Purchase Agreement consisted of 18 properties, estimated by some to be now worth up to a billion dollars. The Asset Purchase Agreement makes clear that the intent was to ultimately merge LICH into SUNY -Downstate following LICH’ s satisfaction of certain liabilities not assumed by SUNY-Downstate and for which LICH retained certain assets, including the Othmer Endowment. The only real consideration for the transfer of assets was the representation that LICH would be preserved as a hospital serving the people of Brooklyn. Upon this representation, and in the absence of any opposition, this Court granted the petition by Order entered on May 13,2011. Recent events have established that the consideration, which the Court found to be fair and reasonable in the circumstances, has failed, possibly by design, and that this Court, and many of the other interested parties, may have been deliberately misled at the time the transfer was approved. The Transaction closed on May 29,2011. Less than a year later, on May 15,2012, an application was made to this Court to permit the transfer to SUNY-Downstate of $15 million from assets retained by LICH in the Liability Fund, established to cover malpractice claims and remaining obligations of LICH, to cover operating expenses of Downstate, which was experiencing serious financial difficulties, approaching insolvency. The reason given for such request was that the State had failed to provide the anticipated funding to support the continued operation of SUNY-Downstate resulting in a “financial crisis” that would likely result in a significant loss of jobs at LICH. The requested $15 million distribution would “alleviate the financial crisis and [ might] prevent certain job losses”. SUNY also sought additional disbursements from the LICH Liability Fund of $500,000 per month for six months, beginning on July 1,2012, which was denied by this Court. Despite SUNY-Downstate’s request that such funds be provided to SUNY without restriction, the Court designated the fifteen million dollars released to be used only for the maintenance of LICH. In January, 2013, pursuant to his constitutional mandate to audit the financial condition of a State entity, the New York State Comptroller issued a report of his findings regarding the financial condition of SUNY-Downstate for the period January 1,2007 through November 18,2012. The report indicates that SUNY-Downstate “consistently lost money from calendar year 2007 through
calendar year 2011” such that “insolvency [is] looming in 2013”. Although the acquisition of LICH is mentioned as a significant exacerbating cause of losses sustained in 2011, Downstate’s financial condition had been deteriorating for several years prior thereto, primarily as a result of weak governance and mismanagement, as well as diminished revenue as a result of cuts in State funding. The report takes note of a prior audit issued on April 9, 2012, containing allegations of procurement fraud, waste and abuse. Of course, the January 2013 audit report was not available in May of 20 11 when petitioner LICH moved for approval of the transfer of its assets to SUNY-Downstate, but had the dire financial condition of SUNY-Downstate been made known to the Court at that time, the petition would not have been granted. Granting the petition under the circumstances would have been unconscionable as the failure of SUNY-Downstate to maintain LICH as an operating patient-care facility would have been predictable. As the Comptroller observed, SUNY-Downstate “acquired a facility that was in deteriorating fiscal health at the same time that [its own] finances were in decline”. Within a matter of weeks following the Comptroller’s report, SUNY-Downstate began the process of closing LICH, in clear violation of its commitment, provided as “reasonable” consideration for the transfer of all of LICH’s property, to continue operating LICH as a hospital. SUNY’s governing board voted to close LICH on February 8 and the first closure plan, which was subsequently withdrawn, was submitted to the Department of Health on February 20,2013. As this Court became aware, through press reports, of the implementation of the closure proposal, even in the absence of the necessary approvals, and learned of litigation to avert such closure before my colleague, Justice Johnny Lee Baynes, based upon my Order of May 13, 2011, authorizing the transfer of assets and the creation of the Malpractice Trust which operates under the authority of LICH, and which Order provided “that the Court will retain jurisdiction of this matter for purposes of enforcing this Order”, on June 27, 2013, this Court issued an order directing LICH and SUNY-Downstate to report upon the status ofLICH prior to the closing on the asset transfer, in 2012, and for 2013 to the date of the report. The report was to be received no later than August 5, 2013. The court-appointed Trustee of the Malpractice Trust was also directed to report on the status of the Trust Fund, payouts made in satisfaction of claims and the number of remaining malpractice claims. In the intervening period, pending submission of the requested reports, additional steps were taken by SUNY-Downstate to close the LICH hospital, in flagrant defiance of temporary stays issued by Justice Baynes in the pending litigation. Although Justice Baynes had stayed SUNYDownstate from submitting a closure plan to the Commissioner of Health, on July 17,2013, this Court was advised by counsel for SUNYDownstate that on that date a “new Closure Plan for LICH” was being submitted to the State Department of Health for “expedited review”. Counsel’s letter also contained representations that none of the real property transferred to
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While this decision is currently on hold, it contains many inconvenient truths about SUNY Downstate Holding pursuant to the asset transfer had been conveyed to third parties and all other property transferred had either been retained by LICH or was used or disposed in the normal course of operating the LICH facility. On July 19,2013, having already determined in June that LICH was deficient in health care and patient services, by letter addressed to the President of SUNY -Downstate, the New York State Department of Health approved elements of the closure plan submitted on July 17, with slight modifications in the proposed dates for closure of various services. SUNYDownstate’s pre-emptive, unauthorized actions in closing departments of LICH, diverting ambulances to other facilities, refusing to admit new patients and eliminating the residency programs essential to the continued operation of LICH, beginning in May, continue to be challenged in litigation pending before Justice Baynes as accomplished in violation of 10 NYCRR §40 1.3( e) requiring prior approval by the Department of Health. Section 401.3(g) states: “No medical facility shall discontinue operation or surrender its operating certificate unless 90 days’ notice of its intention to do so is given to the commissioner [of Health] and his written approval obtained”. On August 5, 2013, this Court received the reports of LICH, SUNY-Downstate and the Malpractice Trust. SUNY continues to represent that it is losing vast sums due to its operation of LICH and its decision to close the hospital is justified. However, a careful review of the Petition seeking approval of the asset transfer, which contains numerous voluminous exhibits, and the terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement itself, reveals that SUNY was well aware of the deficit operating condition of LICH at the time the Asset Purchase Agreement was entered and expected to sustain additional losses in the three years following its acquisition of LICH of$144.4 million. Indeed, it was the representation that, as a State agency, SUNY-Downstate would be able to minimize its costs and absorb the additional losses resulting from the operation of LICH, that purportedly justified the transfer of LICH’s assets so as to avoid inevitable bankruptcy. LICH’s assets were, however, considerable and many alternatives to closure of the hospital were available. Even in bankruptcy, a restructuring may have been possible that would have averted closure. In fact, the creation of the Malpractice Trust is a mechanism analogous to those often employed in bankruptcy to dispose of crippling liabilities so that the debtor may continue to operate. The Court notes that the reports recently submitted do not indicate that SUNY-Downstate has actually sustained losses of the magnitude anticipated as a result of its operation of LICH in the two years it has been in control of the acquired assets. SUNY-Downstate’s actual losses attributable to LICH approximate $30 million dollars at this time. Moreover, LICH’s Liability Fund is actually in very good financial condition, to the extent that SUNY has sought to cover its own financial difficulties by accessing LICH’s retained assets. Not-For-Profit Corporation Law § 510, requires leave of the Supreme Court for
Red Hook Star-Revue
the disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of a Type B charitable corporation. Under the statute, it is the duty of the Court to “assess whether the consideration and the terms of the transaction are fair and reasonable to the corporation and that the purposes of the corporation or the interests of the members will be promoted” (64th Associates, LLC v Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, 2 NY3d 585, 590 , quoting Not-ForProfit Corporation Law§511 [dJ). The Attorney General is charged with the duty to represent the public interest (id). The purpose of the statute is to preserve charitable assets for the benefit of the public (id.) LICH was first incorporated under the Laws of 1858 and has, as its stated purpose, “To provide, on a nonprofit basis, hospital facilities and services for the care and treatment of persons who are acutely ill or who otherwise require medical care and related services of the kind customarily furnished most effectively by hospitals” and “To es-
was to seize the very substantial assets of LICH and convert them to SUNY’s own purposes in disregard of the stated intent of the Transaction. If the latter was the actual plan, serious issues would be raised as to LICH’s complicity and the role of its Board of Regents. If the original plan, notwithstanding the representation that the purpose was to save LICH as an operating hospital serving the community, was actually to close the hospital, this Court, and possibly a great many other people, were deceived by the parties to the proposed Asset Purchase Agreement. The Department of Health”s letter of December 1,2010, granting conditional approval for the plan, contemplated that University Hospital (SUNY) would “acquire LICH, to become a single hospital with two (2) campuses in Brooklyn”; the closure of LICH was clearly not contemplated. At the very least, there appears to have been a lack of due diligence. The wave of enthusiasm for a solution that would preserve LICH may have blinded many to a more sinister purpose to seize its
“It is clear that the premise upon which this Court authorized the transfer of assets has been defeated and there has been no consideration provided by SUNY to LICH or the people of Brooklyn served by LICH.” tablish, operate and maintain a voluntary, general hospital, including an out patient department, to afford medical and surgical care to sick and disabled persons of every creed, nationality and color, and to promote medical science and instruction” (Restated Certificate of Incorporation of The Long Island College Hospital, Section 3-B(a) and Section 2(a), dated April 22, 1981). The closure ofLICH is certainly not in conformity with its stated purpose. It is noted that, in November, 2008, only two and a half years prior to the instant Transaction, the Commissioner of Health declined to permit the closure of LICH’s obstetrics and pediatrics services in order to save LICH from the onerous expenses of malpractice claims, finding that such services were critical to the residents of the area served by LICH. This Court notes that, in addition to the approximately half million residents of the area served by LICH, virtually every citizen of Brooklyn, and many others who are not citizens or residents of Brooklyn, who come into the downtown municipal center daily to work or litigate disputes or serve on juries, are served primarily by LICH in the event of a medical emergency.
Upon review of the reports recently submitted to this Court and the Petition originally seeking this Court’s approval of the asset transfer, and the publicly-declared intent of SUNY-Downstate to close LICH within two years of the transfer of virtually all of the assets of LICH, in violation of its commitment to continue to operate LICH as a hospital in conformity with its historical charitable purpose, this Court finds that SUNYDownstate has breached its contractual obligations as represented in the Petition and there has-been a failure of consideration. Without a full hearing, it cannot be determined whether SUNY’s breach is the result of its own incompetence, as suggested by the Comptroller’s report, or circumstances beyond SUNY-Downstate’s control, as it has contended, or the original design and intent
assets and dismantle the hospital. It is clear that the premise upon which this Court authorized the transfer of assets has been defeated and there has been no consideration provided by SUNY to LICH or the people of Brooklyn served by LICH. This Court has reviewed the Sustainability Plan for SUNY, prepared at the direction of the Legislature, and observes that the plan includes the sale and/ or closure ofLICH. There is no pretense that SUNY-Downstate will continue to operate the hospital. Although as recently as last Friday, August 16, Justice Baynes once again directed the restoration of all services extant on July 19,2013, in view of the recent history of SUNY’s disregard of prior court orders, this Court holds out little hope of compliance. Although SUNY has issued requests for proposals to continue the operation of LICH, with each passing day, the hospital becomes increasingly moribund. Accordingly, this Court hereby rescinds its prior order and revokes its approval of the transfer of LICH’s assets. The order of May 13,2011 is vacated to the extent that it authorized conveyance ofLICH’s real property to Downstate Holding Company and conveyance of other assets to SUNY-Downstate. As LICH remains in control of certain “excluded assets”, including the Othmer Funds, and the Malpractice Trust, the order of May 13, 2011, continues as to those provisions. Upon vacature of the approval provisions of the May 13,2011 Order, the previously transferred assets revert to LICH (el Rose Oeko Foundation,Ine v Lebovits, 259 AD2d 685, 687-88 [2d Dept 1999]). Fortunately, LICH has not yet been dissolved and continues to operate as an entity. Continuum Health Partners, Inc (Continuum), the sole member of LICH, is experienced as a hospital administrator and is intimately familiar with the operation of LICH. It is thus uniquely qualified to
immediately take possession of the physical assets of LICH and resume operation of the hospital. Presumably, the Commissioner of Health will find Continuum qualified to do so. However, if this is not an alternative, a caretaker or receiver may be appointed to take over such responsibilities. Pursuant to Public Health Law §§2806-b and 2810(2)(a) , the Commissioner of Health may apply to this Court to designate a receiver for a facility for which he has revoked the operating certificate or to appoint a caretaker of a facility which the Commissioner has found violates standards for patient care or has operational deficiencies. Finally, as noted, the Attorney General has the statutorily-imposed responsibility to represent the interests of the public in the circumstances here. The Attorney General did originally support approval of the subject asset transfer, although he, like the Court, may have been misled or deceived by the representations made in support thereof. However, the Attorney General also has some responsibility to represent the various interests of other entities of State Government, including SUNY and the Department of Health and may find himself in conflict. It is for that reason that this Court has given notice to the Public Advocate for the City of New York who has already initiated litigation as the representative of the interests of the public. Should the Attorney General wish to continue to represent the interests of the public in this matter, he must so notify the Court or move to be relieved of such obligation. Obviously, much remains to be determined in this very complex situation. The Court is well aware that the healthcare system, not only in Brooklyn, but throughout this City and this country, is in crisis and the mechanism has yet to be found to sustain a network of financiallytroubled hospitals that are essential to the well-being of the public. Many alternatives are under consideration, including new legislative proposals that will not be available for some time. At the very least, it is probable that LICH can only be sustained as a smaller and leaner facility after the sale of some of its assets. The Court hopes a feasible plan can be devised and an appropriate administrator put in place. A conference will be held at 10 am on Thursday, August 22,2013, in my chambers to address the orderly and expeditious return of assets to LICH and the future operation of LICH as a hospital. The Court is aware that a request for proposals to address these issues has been issued by SUNY Downstate and believes there may be some proposals under consideration. Any entity or person wishing to present such a proposal is invited to participate in such conference. I will, of course, be consulting with my colleague, Justice Baynes, as to the status of settlement negotiations before him. This constitutes the decision and order of the court. If there is an intent to challenge this Court’s determination, it is appropriate to move for reconsideration prior to seeking appellate review so that a full record can be developed at a hearing. JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT o
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Report from the Red Hook Art Project (RHAP) RHAP is a volunteer-run/free arts tutoring and mentoring program in Red Hook, Brooklyn (we work in the visual arts, music, sewing and creative writing). RHAP’s mission is to give Red Hook children and youth a positive and optimistic sense of self and the opportunity to develop their creative skills and vision through ongoing classes and mentor relationships. Red Hook Art Project (RHAP) is a volunteer run/free arts tutoring and mentoring program in Red Hook, Brooklyn. RHAP is funded by charitable contributions made to Red Hook Art Project Charitable Trust, a 501(c)3 organization (we work in the visual arts, music, sewing and creative writing). RHAP’s purpose is to provide Red Hook children and youth who have a serious interest in the arts with the opportunity to develop their self-esteem and creative powers through the development of their artistic skills and an ongoing mentor relationship. We believe that mentoring built on a shared interest in and love for an art form creates a deep bond between mentors and students and builds a strong community of support within our organization. RHAP is made up of students between 9 and 21 years old and volunteer mentors (professional artists, arts administrators and parents) who work together collaboratively in their chosen fields of art. Since 2007, the project has met every Saturday and in September 2013 we added Friday evening and Sunday afternoon working groups as well! RHAP has helped our oldest students (the First Generation) prepare portfolios with which they have gained acceptance at the Fiorello LaGuardia School of the Arts, the High School of Art and Design, the Edward R. Murrow High School, the Brooklyn High School of the Arts and the Freedom Academy of Brooklyn – all prestigious high schools with special programs in the arts. RHAP believes that it is very important to keep our working groups small and ongoing - based on a sports team model - to ensure that the students and volunteer tutors can develop a real mentoring relationship. In June 2013, RHAP moved into its very own space (after renting space by the hour or working in donated spaces since 2007). In addition to continuing our working groups in our new increased space, we will open a gallery/ store to display and sell the visual art, music CDs, videos, books, and t-shirts produced by our youth artists. This will allow RHAP’s students to learn about the business side of art making.
Photo captions - clockwise from top left: Xavier has been introduced to Joan Miro (20TH century Spanish painter) and.... He is beginning to see that imagination is beautiful and talent is mysterious. Anthony and Laurenzo have a new music tutor extraordinaire in Caleb Lisbeth, an extraordinary draftswoman, is venturing into the third dimension... We are almost frightened to see how this will affect her already incredible drawing skills! Caleb (on the right) is working TWO fulltime jobs and volunteering at RHAP. You KNOW these young men are giving him respect! (photos courtesy of RHAP)
RHAP is always in need of financial contributions, donated supplies and volunteer help. To contact us please email: email@example.com. RHAP is located in the former LUCKY Art Gallery, at 176 Richards Street.
Page 10 Red Hook Star-Revue
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Political theory vs. the weather by George Fiala
woke up today with two strange thoughts. The first was to see if my basement apartment still had exposure to the outside, or if it was completely covered with
The second was Moscow. I’m thinking that this is how it must be to live in Moscow - snow falling all the time for much of the year - short days and long, cold nights. Whenever the weather gets like this, life slows down. Maybe the human brain responds to cold the same way that water does. Heat makes water molecules run around in such fast circles that eventually they fly away in a burst of steam. Cold, on the other hand, slows things down so much so that a hard icy surface is formed. In the summer, with lots of sun and heat, humans run around in circles, traveling to beaches to swim, to the forest to do their own cooking, making more trains
Rome about once every 25 years. Berlin, can be cold, which is perhaps why Hitler was so eager to visit sunny Paris. What this all means of course is that climate change might be dangerous in more ways than simply devastation from Mother Nature. If the Tea Party could make the connection between tough
On second thought, perhaps the Tea Party is hoping for a comeback of communism. Possibly they miss the excitement of the McCarthy era - you know, that’s when blacklists were all the vogue, and it was ok to suspect gays, Jews and artists of treason.
Planters are barren in the winter.
and planes and boats that circumnavigate the globe. In winters like these it’s difficult to get people to even walk to the corner. Movement slows, fat builds - almost like our furry friends, the bears, we hibernate. This has gotten me thinking about communism. Why did Russia adopt it back in 1917, but not France or Spain or someplace in South America? Seems like it sticks only in northern territory, like Korea and Vietnam. Marx himself envisioned the transformation of capitalism in places where it was more entrenched, like Paris or sunny Rome - he never figured on Stalingrad.
winters and communism, maybe they’d be more interested in getting off of fossil fuels. On second thought, perhaps the Tea Party is hoping for a comeback of communism. Possibly they miss the excitement of the McCarthy era when blacklists were all the vogue, and it was ok to suspect gays, Jews and artists of treason. Not only OK - but you could get elected to all kinds of positions in various parts of the country. Which brings us to Kansas. While Wichita has suffered as much or more from this year’s harsh winter, the jury is still out whether they are turning to communism. Just last week, the state’s House of Representatives eagerly voted to approve a law that would make it ok for people to refuse to serve gays at restaurants and catering halls. According to Wikipedia, Marx and
Snow everywhere makes all places look the same, which is a basic tenet of communism. One might imagine that generic packaging originated in the winter.
Engels did not really have much to say about homosexuality. The German communist party, active in the 1920’s, worked to enact laws outlawing discrimination. The Soviet Union was a mixed bag, with Stalin either outlawing homosexuality or confusing it with something else.
ready deep-red state. The bill, written out of fear that the state may soon face an Oklahoma-style gay marriage ruling, will now easily pass the Republican Senate and be signed into law by the Republican governor.”
In the US, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, in his frenetic campaign against Communists back in the early 1950’s, used insinuations of homosexuality as a smear tactic. It was actually even worse than that. Wikipedia features a McCarthy quote that he told to newspaper reporters: “If you want to be against McCarthy, boys, you’ve got to be either a Communist or a cocksucker.”
In fact the vote was bit less than overwhelming, 72 to 49. By the time the bill got to the state senate they all realized what fools they had been and are quickly trying to forget about the whole thing. The NY Times reported the next day “Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican who is president of the Kansas Senate, raised opposition to the House measure, saying she had grown concerned about the practical impact of the bill and ‘my members don’t condone discrimination.’
Back to Kansas, 2014. The liberal Slate online magazine rushed to print this the other day. “On Tuesday, the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to bring anti-gay segregation—under the guise of “religious liberty”—to the al-
A look at the weather map shows that it was in the teens when the bill was passed, and in the past few days temperatures have crept into the mid sixties, which might account for the midwestern politicians having returned to their senses.
What happened makes sense once one thinks about it. If the biggest concern is staying warm, who cares about whether one or three companies make corn flakes. Many of us are so depressed by the weather and lack of sun that we’d hardly care if a new boss tells us to work someplace else. Sure, why not? Looking the other way - perhaps one could make a connection between right wing fascism and the sun. For me, what comes to mind right away is Japan’s flag. Up until the end of World War II, they flew a rising sun. Whose side were they on in that war? The Fascists, of course. The word fascism comes from Latin. “Fasce” is a bundle of wooden rods, the idea being that a bundle is stronger than just one rod. For those of us old enough to remember, a fasce used to be on the back of the Mercury Dime. Weather facts on the internet reveal that it snows in
Red Hook Star-Revue
It is thought that V.I. Lenin began thinking that there must be something better than capitalism when he had to pay a lot of rubles to get his square shoveled.
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A Reader Complains Court Street’s Union Market where “Good isn’t enough for us”
Let’s talk about the nice things going on there. For one thing they open bright and early on Court Street, 7 am versus 8 am for Fairway. They feature an upscale and bright layout that we in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens have come to appreciate as part of the new age of interior design; open, white, stainless steel, lack of clutter. Food wise, I admit it took me a while to acclimate because of the prices. You don’t go there to fill up your larder for a week as you do at Fairway, bulk buying is prohibitive for most of us. Like Dean and DeLuca on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, only the few can indulge to the max. So this is really more of a French type marketing experience, you buy for the day like a good little foodie and prepare a decent meal with ostensibly high end ingredients. The imports are well selected though minimal. The produce, generally exorbitant except here and there, you might find bananas for 79 cents/pound. But the coffee is a draw. I admit this and a pleasant way to start your work day mainly because you fill your cup and add milk as needed. Now this might sound bizarre since we all do this at Starbucks, but Starbucks does have a pretty dreary greeting in the morning, its color palette being drab and generally dark. So for two years or more I would get up at 6:30 and walk over for my large cup, well priced at $1.95. Don’t ridicule this. It undersells all the other vendors except D’Amico’s (1.75) for this size brew. But then there is something called management or lack thereof. Kudos to the likes of Martin Hernandez and his partners for slowly but surely building out this brand which began on Union and 6th Avenue in Park Slope ten years ago. I remember visiting there and liking it even when it was a corner and pocket sized compared to this venue. But management means monitoring and overseeing your personnel and personnel in this kind of industry is part of the shopping experience. Not so much when your basket will add up to two hundred dollars as it does on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook. But for all the gripes and beefs some have had with Fairway, like not mounting a hurricane sale the days before ‘Sandy’ hit – they have managed -underscore ‘managed’ to drill their cashiers on civilized and personalized interface, even if it’s just for a moment. They actually start each transaction with, “Hi how are you?” So much is not necessary but it is appreciated. The bottom line is, that checking out and handing over your hard earned bucks is contractual. We give something so you the store get something back at a profit. Eye to eye contact is the least to be expected, certainly nothing more than that and a pleasant demeanor. “We think being a good neighbor means looking after the people around you.” Union Market does not much care about this. I learned this over time and how many cups of coffee I can’t even ballpark. When you are greeted by a distinct scowl and the woman taking your money can’t even look up or turn away from the register to face you, well, this begins to smack of shall we say – a bias of some sort. Why the passive aggression? Who knows. The unfortunate part is that no one took the time to address this with management because frankly, they appeared to be eager to make a go
Page 12 Red Hook Star-Revue
of it in Cobble Hill. When you step out of your routine to inform then you expect management to follow up. You do not expect them to start a circus and bully the deliverer of helpful input. But this is precisely what occurred and still does When I inquired who the rogue checkout girl might be Mel happily chirped ‘Sue’ and added gratuitously, “She really likes to pick and chose who she deals with. It’s not right.” It certainly is not. But Sue has never been dealt with. Martin the owner responded to my email only once and perfunctorily that I must follow up with him! Imagine, it appears it is my job to pursue him than the reverse. It was beginning to look like a nasty cashier who hates middle aged women of a certain ethnicity was being protected and even encouraged to keep doing her thing. I met Martin Hernandez once after writing him a second time when it became clear if not outright comical that Sue was being treated with kid gloves. “Is she a protected species, a girl friend, a sister, relative, what?” Imagine, indulging the passive aggression of a cashier on the front line of your store and sending a clarion message to her and the other staff that this is acceptable, that her pet peeves are to be fanned into even greater flames, and that she has the go ahead to keep at it with any customer she feels deserves her peculiar hatred. As a former documentary filmmaker I regret that I lacked the passion and frankly, nuttiness, to pursue this and get real time discreet footage of her scowling and turning her back on me day after day. It was all that was needed because she is the kind of smart underling that knows when to pull her punches if a manager is around and knows when she can let loose with calculating prejudice. Martin and others had never seen her in action but if she does it with me, I am certain that she does it with others. I have never spoken with her and rather like all the others who work a good long day and put their best foot forward regularly. So here’s where we stand. Martin Hernandez and ‘Julian’ the local manager have a problem. Whatever so called lessons in cashier behavior they purport to offer, clearly, this one believes she is above it. She now walks away from her register even if I pass the window outside as I must to get to work. Then the little manager comes running to her post and relieves her, cover for her, abet her aggression and check me out. Imagine the fun one could have by going in and out of the store every 30 minutes and watching this keystone cop comedy unfold. But some of us have busy lives and this is not one’s mission. It began merely as a helpful complaint filed in the appropriate channels and that is all. Still, there is more. ‘Mel’ and others now shout across the aisles and from register to register even as others shop, about the people who enter the store and laugh outright behind their backs. This is bully -ism. A staff run wild, and a management that is too soft to manage, too willing to let customers go, and maybe, just maybe, far too arrogant to think that they won’t. Caveat emptor. Sometimes, people have to step up and say this is no way to treat people and no way to run a business. With the glut of upscale vendors around, I’d be more cautious, wouldn’t you? A. Corbin is a reader and one-time Red Hook gallery owner. These are her opinions - not those of the Star-Revue as we have not ever shopped there.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
(send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org)
DOT ignores law
I do agree with your editorial, in part. When you speak of business and residents getting along, you said there’s no reason this cannot happen. You’re so right, but my opinion is [that] someone needs to reign in the DOT. They have too much power, or they are just abusing what they have. Regarding trucks, the laws enacted to make them safe for the people, and also tolerable, are ignored by DOT who grants trucking outfits immunity from these laws. Like length of tractor trailers, riding on sidewalk running engines while loading and unloading, speed limits, use of non truck traffic streets, etc. These are ongoing problems. You have witnessed the havoc caused by firms loading or unloading trucks on their sidewalks. The inconvenience to pedestrians, the filthy debris left that cannot be cleaned properly. Most companies curtail this and obey the laws, but DOT invites trucking companies to disregard these laws if necessary even to the extent of requesting the police not to issue summons for these violations. If DOT halted this very unfair practice of special privileges for these truck firms, maybe the residents would be happier and safer all around. How about an editorial on this problem? - John J. Burkhart
The editorial entitled “This Editorial is not Necessarily about the BASIS School” was insightful and thoughtprovoking. I would like to offer a vision that I have personally shared with the Red Hook Initiative with regard to new development, energy, and economic opportunity. With new residential and commercial properties being planned, it is necessary that the community is assured these projects bring both economic opportunity to local residents and the electricity supply these new projects will demand. Further demand
on an already taxed grid will only result in more blackouts and an even less secure energy supply. To achieve this, we should develop a strategy that urges city officials to require new developments to either install new renewable energy (solar) capacity or invest in a fund that will support the installation of new solar projects in Red Hook where they may be more feasible. Additional incentives should be made to support a micro-grid approach to assure that in the case of another Sandy, basic levels of electricity are available for essential loads. Alternately, we should encourage these projects use a locally trained workforce consisting of residents of Red Hook. I have been talking with the Red Hook Initiative about developing a program that will educate and train kids and young adults on the basics of electricity and energy usage as well as the more technical and economic aspects of renewable and solar technology deployment. This will hopefully result in a motivated and interested pool of young adults who are willing to both learn from and work for businesses installing the new renewable energy capacity in the community. The end result will be that Red Hook’s grid is strengthened and better prepared for a changing climate and Red Hook’s residents will learn a growing trade in an industry that is bound to offer significant opportunities in the future. Lastly, Red Hook will serve as a model for other communities to follow suit and set an example to those interested in fighting climate change by reducing its own carbon footprint. The working title of this idea is the South Brooklyn Solar Initiative and the initial steps should be a meeting that involves all interested parties along with a petition to city officials that residents and businesses support this idea. I believe this is a modern addendum to 197A that couldn’t be envisioned 20 years ago but now should be an essential element of all further development. - John Siciliani President, JFS Renewables Founder, So. Brooklyn Solar Initiative
Red Hook Superstar
Not only is Jay McKnight a committed advocate for the Red Hook community, he has been a member of the successful doo wop group “Richard Blandon & the Dubs.”
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Tenant Association meeting
(continued from page 6)
TRACEY Dan Wiley speaks of Nydia Velazquez’s frustration with Congress.
for their favorite project this spring. Phaedra Thomas spoke last. She works for the Gowanus GBX and represents local business interests, especially the trucking industry. She said that it was very important that the BASIS School gets stopped. The Bay and Columbia Street lot where they are building there
hat was your favorite sweet growing up? Thinking back to when I was a little girl, I loved cookies along with my favorite soda, Mountain Dew. As I became older, I’d make frequent stops to the candy shop for some of my old favorites including Tootsie Rolls, Bazooka Joes, Swedish Fish, Charleston Chews - and of course, Twinkies. Fast forward a few decades, and I find myself learning a lot about the addictive stuff that I’ve always loved.
school is part of an IBZ zone. To legally build the school, BASIS has to receive special permission. Thomas says that if they receive permission, a precedent would be set and all other bus parking lots in Red Hook would be in jeopardy, because landowners could make more money by erecting buildings. Thomas also said that Columbia and Bay is inappropriate for school children. She said there is too much traffic from the local industry, as well as IKEA shoppers. Miss Marshall also spoke against the BASIS School, saying that this area has been used as the place for driving tests, which would have to be moved elsewhere. Thomas left petitions to be signed against the school, and said that buses would take residents to the Board of Standards and Appeals hearing on the school, which will take place at 22 Reade Street on February 25, at 10 am. The meeting ended with orange soda and a light meal of greens, noodles and beef, and rice.
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
It all started back in 1689 when the first sugar refinery was built in New York City. Colonists soon began sweetening their breakfast porridge with refined sugar. Within 10 years, individual consumption had reached 4 pounds a year. The average American now consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year - about 30 teaspoons daily. The USDA recommends no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar a day.
There’s no doubt about it, Sugar is addictive. Fact #1: eating even a small amount leaves you wanting more. Fact #2: suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, moodiness, cravings and fatigue. A sugar craving is simply the body asking for energy. When sugar is digested it turns into glucose. Glucose is fuel for all of the body’s cells. So, when sugar is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and is converted into glucose at different rates, depending on the type of sugar.
Sugar that has not been processed contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. Refined table sugar, also called Sucrose, is very different. Extracted from sugar cane or beets, it lacks vitamins, minerals and fiber and takes much longer for the body to digest. The body has to deplete its own store on minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. Therefore, instead of providing the body with nutrition, it creates deficiency. Simple Carbohydrates: who doesn’t love a bowl of pasta on Sunday afternoon? It used to be my favorite time of the week. Pasta is a carbohydrate, giving you good feelings of being satisfied. Yet, it’s a simple carbohydrate. Most simple carbohydrates are highly processed, contain refined sugars and have few vitamins and minerals. If the ingredients specify “enriched with,” it means they’ve already taken out the good stuff and tried to put some of it back at the end of processing. Complex Carbohydrates: So what kind of carbohydrates should you eat? Eating a carbohydrate found in nature like vegetables and whole grains, are complex. Complex carbs are composed of long chains (opposed to short chains in simple carbohydrates) of sugar. These long chains are bound within the food’s fiber into the bloodstream. This process is slow; therefore the sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream at a steady rate for a number of hours, providing you with lasting energy. Here’s an experiment you can try: Make a bowl of steel cut oats (complex carbohydrate) for breakfast one morning, add some nuts and fruit. The next morning try your usual breakfast, which one made you stay fuller, longer? If you’re interested in learning more about sugar, please attend my free workshop on March 2, 2014, 471 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook. I will be discussing how to deconstruct sugar cravings without deprivation and so much more. Check out my website HealthybyTracey.com. Tracey is a Red Hook resident and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She works with her clients to build and maintain healthy lifestyles. If you have comments or suggestions on a topic you would like addressed, email editor@ redhookstar.com.
Red Hook Star-Revue
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Newsbriefs (continued from page 5) more weight in scoring. The 5K foot race will also be included again this year after being introduced in 2013. They will be included in the Red Hook and Barcelona events. A special women’s division is also being added to the Crit competition. In both Europe and Brooklyn, the ladies will now have their own stage to compete.
CB6 Youth Award Nominations
Community Board 6 (CB6) is looking for exceptional young people that are doing extraordinary things in their communities. Every year, CB6 honors youth who have made substantial contributions toward improving the quality of living in their neighborhoods and by serving as positive role models. Hours: Noon to 10:30 pm Tues. to Thurs. Noon to 11pm Friday. 4pm to 11pm Saturday & 4pm to 10:30pm Sunday.
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CB6 also recognizes outstanding adults who work with youth on a voluntary basis, act as positive role models, and keep youth engaged in constructive activities. To nominate an exemplary youth or adult, applications are available at the CB6 District office (250 Baltic Street) or downloaded online (www.brooklyncb6.org). Nominations are due by April 4, 2014. Awards will be presented at the beginning of the May 14, 2014 general board meeting.
Commercial Drivers Wanted
Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation is looking to fill commercial driver positions. They are offering Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training through a scholarship program valued up to $1,500. Driver training will include full training as a designated provider, behind-thewheel driving lessons, instructors and vehicles for road tests, forklift training for participants that pass the road test the first time, and defensive driving courses (for CDL A licenses.) For more information, contact Mary Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Post-Sandy: A Look at 6 Brooklyn coastal communities
On January 27, the Brooklyn Recovery Fund released an extensive report on conditions in six coastal Brooklyn neighborhoods with urgent recommen-
dations for government agencies on how to address persistent recovery challenges and to build resiliency in partnerships with local communities. The 33 page report, entitled “Brooklyn Communities Speak: An action Guide for Local Decision-Makers Post Sandy,” is a thorough documentation of storm affects and the recovery process in Brooklyn in six neighborhood - including Red Hook - covering the issues of housing and rebuilding, health, immigrant and undocumented communities, business and jobs, and infrastructure. Each section offers specific recommendations for improvement from community members, statistics and examples of promising solutions.
Italian roots revisited
Sacred Hearts-St Stephen invites the general public to take a pilgrimage to Southern Italy and Sicily in October 2014. The 12 day trip has been custom tailored for Sacred Hearts to be a journey of faith allowing parishioners to learn more about the sacred images of the church, the devotion of different Italian immigrant groups that built the Brooklyn church, and the historic development of the church. The journey back to their roots includes a celebration of Mass in the churches of Moli di Bari, Procida, Pozzallo, Licata and Palermo. Historic and cultural sites are also on the agenda in Naples, Cosenza, Taormina and Agrigento. For more information, email email@example.com or call (718) 596-7750.
Job openings at Change.org
Change.org is growing fast with 60 million users - more than 1 million in each of the 12 countries. To keep up with the explosive growth, they are expanding their employment opportunities in NYC, San Francisco and Washington DC. They are hiring directors of business development, sales associates, a director of US digital campaigns, and a senior campaigner. Change.org has worked to tackle corruption in Indonesia, end a gay ban on gay kids in the Boy Scouts, won health care for forest firefighters, eliminated carcinogens from sports drinks, and helped raise funds for children whose insurance wouldn’t cover life saving treatments. For more information, or to apply visit www.change.org/careers.
RHI sends another youth to Mt. Kilimanjaro
Tanishka Thomas was the second member of Red Hook Initiative to participate in the Kilimanjaro Initiative and reach the top of Kenya’s most famous mountain. Last year, Frances Medina of RHI also conquered the peak. Tanisha is pictured here with her peers who also climbed the mountain.
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Fundraiser/Exhibition for famed Red Hook photographer February 27th at Hometown This Town: Portraits of Red Hook is an exhibit and fundraiser by Brooklyn-based photographer Craig LaCourt. Recently thieves left Craig without a camera, leaving him with no way to create the editorial and advertising photography he relies on to earn a living. Support the LaCourts on February 27 for This Town: Portraits of Red Hook a curated exhibit of Craig’s images of his beloved friends and neighbors. It’s in Hometown BBQ, a great new space.There’s live music and the restaurant is owned by Billy Durney – his family comes from Red Hook. LaCourt wanted to do something in Red Hook, because over the past few years he has been toying with the idea of doing a show here.The unfortunate event of his equipment being stolen gave that reason.The curator for this show is Alaric Campbell. Craig LaCourt loves photography. He’s awesome at it too –Virgin Megastore,Toyota and 360i are among a long list of his clients. LaCourt also loves his neighborhood In his heart, they share precious real estate along with his love for snowboarding, riding motorcycles, and most importantly, his wife and daughter. But the past couple of years have been a little harsh on the photographer’s favorite hobby and place.We all know about Sandy’s effects on Red Hook, but a recent theft also left LaCourt without his most essential photography equipment – more than $20,000 worth of it. In a reflection of community spirit, money raised by the exhibit will be donated to LaCourt, after more than $20,000 worth of photography equipment was stolen from their car last month.The family was traveling through Detroit when their car was broken into, and they lost digital cameras, lenses, two laptops, hard drives and several important documents, LaCourt said. The couple had insurance on their gear, but it all expired last October, leaving them no immediate way to replace the equipment, LaCourt said. The exhibit of 30 of his photos to help raise money to purchase equipment to continue his work. Funds will be raised through the sale of photographs, a suggested donation of $20 and a raffle with gifts donated by Brooklyn businesses.
Photos by Criag LaCourt.
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