Red Hook Star-Revue, March 2017

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Red Hook StarªRevue

MARCH 2017



Confrontation at Visitation Church by Emily Kluver


ccording to Diana Ortiz, a long-time Red Hook resident and active volunteer with Visitation Church, Father Claudio Antecini announced on Sunday, January 29 that the archdiocese had given him a second six-year assignment at the Red Hook church.

firm that any dialogue about Fr. Claudio took place or that any resolutions were reached.

However, a group of unhappy parishioners tells a different story.

As for Fr. Claudio, he claims that he is not aware of any conflicts with the community and added, “If someone feels not comfortable talking to me - maybe because I am Italian - they can speak with a sister or a priest or a brother. I am happy to share the contribution of everyone.”

“I haven’t heard if he was offered another six years,” explained Michael Arteta, a community member disillusioned with Fr. Claudio and by extension, Visitation Church. “Those are rumors. I also heard [Fr. Claudio and other church leaders] were given one year to get their affairs in order and that he was looking at property in [Pennsylvania].”


To voice and address their concerns, a group of select parish members and exmembers have been meeting in private to discuss issues they have with the church. Arteta estimated that the unhappy group is made up of around 20 people, but he believes that the number of members who have left the church due to problems with Fr. Claudio is closer to 75. However, Fr. Claudio claims that the parish community was dwindling when he first arrived, but has grown considerably in recent years. Unfortunately, neither of these accounts could be verified. On January 7, when Bishop Neil Tiedemann came to visit his former parish, community members planned to bring their concerns to him. However, no community sources were able to con-

When asked directly about the concerns laid out by parishioners, the archdiocese promised to look into it and respond as soon as they could. As of press time, they had not responded.

Frustrated members of the church voiced skepticism, noting the recent removal of community member and former volunteer at Visitation, Robert Berrios.


It seems that nearly every time a community member talks about Visitation Church, there is someone else saying the exact opposite - regardless of how seemingly small the issue may be. Even the church fresco, a recently restored mural the Red Hook Star-Revue covered in December, has stirred up divisive feelings. “There was no crack down the middle, nothing was falling and it looks the same to me and you can ask anyone at the church,” explained Mary Deconde, a member of the church community who reached out to Star-Revue staff in December. “Those women that were supposed to fix it, [church leaders] knew them from their Koinonia Community and all [the women] did was touch it up. [Fr. Claudio] mentioned that it would take a year to fix it. All of a sudden, it was done in time for the [celebrity] wedding. More lies on top of lies.” Arteta expressed a similar sentiment and said, “The fresco wasn’t falling apart. It looks the same, just brighter and cleaner.” A group of anonymous churchgoers disagreed. One member said, “[The fresco] was peeling, that’s for sure.” Similarly, Ortiz noted that while “the top of the fresco looked fine, the bottom was falling apart.” Division over the former state of a church fresco is only the start of the contention.

Father Claudio in a recent picture taken in front of the Visitation Church. (photo by George Fiala)

Red Hook Star-Revue


In December, the Red Hook

Star-Revue published an article about a celebrity wedding, which took place at Visitation Church in October. A number of community members were upset by the Halloweenthemed wedding, in particular that people wore costumes deemed “inappropriate” for church. Leaders in the church responded asking people to refrain from judgement. In the wake of the article, a number of parishioners had a lot to say.

Robert Berrios gives a thumbs up at the 2014 Visitation Church Carnival (Star-Revue file photo)

Deconde, angry about the wedding and frustrated by the article, explained, “I was outside that day and there was nothing respectful about it. People were outraged and disgusted with what happened. I was part of a group saying the rosary that day only to be cursed at and laughed at by those who attended that wedding.” Others echoed Deconde’s concerns, noting direct conflicts between wedding guests and locals church members. On the other hand, Henrietta Perkins posted a comment online urging others to settle down. She said, “[The wedding guests] all looked beautiful to me, big extravaganza for a Halloween wedding, I thought. Sister Rosanna is very right, ‘Stop Judging.’ ”

Church Sacristan

Church-goers recall Robert Berrios as a central member of Visitation Parish. According to members of the community, he was always there grilling hot dogs at the annual church carnival. They remember him as someone keeping the parish active through gatherings and yearly traditions. And notably, for the past six years, he acted as sacristan of the church. This role involves looking after important items in the church, preparing them for special events, and generally keeping order within the (continued on page 3)

As for Ortiz, she feels that “Jesus brought in those 800 people for a reason.” She believes that the church should be welcoming of everyone in the community. However, Deconde and Arteta both wanted to be clear that the wedding was simply the breaking point in a long history of grievances. “The pastor thinks it was the wedding we were upset about,” Deconde explained. “It was more than that. The wedding was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was years and years of his nonsense.” The nonsense, as Deconde puts it, comes in varied forms.

March 2017, Page 1

Community Telephone Numbers: Red Hook Councilman Carlos Menchaca............... (718) 439-9012 Red Hook Assemblyman Felix Ortiz........................ (718) 492-6334 Red Hook State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.. (718) 643-6140 Gowanus Councilman Brad Lander......................... (718) 499-1090 Park Slope Councilman Steve Levin........................ (718) 875-5200 CB6 District Manager Craig Hammerman ............ (718) 643-3027 76th Police Precinct, 191 Union Street Main phone ............................................................... (718) 834-3211 Community Affairs................................................... (718) 834-3207 Traffic Safety............................................................. (718) 834-3226 Eileen Dugan Senior Center, 380 Court Street..... (718) 596-1956 Miccio Community Center, 110 East 9th Street... (718) 243-1528 Red Hook East Dev. Office, 62 Mill St...................... (718) 852-6771 Red Hook West Dev. Office, 55 Dwight St.............. (718) 522-3880 Brownstone NYCHA Satellite Police Precinct, 80 Dwight Street Main Phone................................................................ (718) 265-7300 Community Affairs.................................................... (718) 265-7313 Domestic Violence.................................................... (718) 265-7310 Youth Officer.............................................................. (718) 265-7314 Auxiliary/Law Enforcement Coordinator............. (718) 265-7378 Detective Squad........................................................ (718) 265-7327


Happenings, etc. For more events and community meetings, visit our website at and click on the “calendar” tab. To get your event listed in this section, email and include “happenings” in the subject line.


Jack Grace will be performing at Jalopy Tavern (317 Columbia Street) from 9 - 11 pm Come to Atelier Roquette (63 Commerce Street) from 6:00 - 9 pm for a postcard-making-fundraising gathering over drinks and food. You will be able to write or draw your concerns over President Donald Trump. All postcards will be mailed on March 15 as part of the nation-wide protest to overwhelm the White House with our messages. You will be able to buy blank postcards and stamps, and there will be complimentary snacks. A percentage of the proceeds from this event will be given to the ACLU.


At the Red Hook Public Library (7 Wolcott Street) Create NYC will be incorporating intensive public input and an in-depth evaluation of the city’s cultural assets through borough wide workshops, focus groups and conversations. They will create a roadmap to promote greater equity, access and diversity. 1:30 - 3:30 pm


Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street) will be having their Second Sundays event, which is a monthly series of open studios, live music and site-specific interventions the second Sunday of every month. The series showcases artists in residence along with musical performances and DJs. The event goes from 4-10 pm and there is a $10 suggested donation.


Christian River Of God Christian Center

110 Wolcott Street, 646-226-6135, Secretary, Sister Roslyn Chatman. Sunday - Family Worship 11:00 - 1:00 pm Scripture, read in English and Spanish Wednesday - At The Gate 12:00 noon, Prayer 7:00 - 7:30 pm, Bible Studies 7:00 - 8:00 pm, Thursday Prayer 7:30 - 8:30pm, Friday Youth ABLAZED Ministries 6:00 - 7:30pm, Senior Pastor, Donald Gray

Visitation Church

98 Richards Street , (718) 624-1572. Office open Mon-Thursday 9 am - 3 pm. Saturday Mass at 5:00 pm English; Sunday 10:00 am Spanish, 12:30 pm English. Community Prayer on ​Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 pm. Baptisms are held every other month. Please call to arrange for Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation and Weddings.

New Brown Memorial Baptist Church

609 Clinton Street, 718 624 4780 Pastor A.R Jamal. Sunday School at 9:30 am. Sunday Worship at 11:00 am. Bible Study -Wednesday at 7:30pm. Communion every first Sunday

Stretching Far and Wide Global Ministry, Inc.

382 Hamilton Avenue, Studio B 1-800-948-9042 Archbishop Dr. Barbara Jackman, Overseer Rev. Dr. Dwayne Barnes, Pastor Services are held every Sunday @ 10:00 am Communion every First Sunday

St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish

467 Court Street, (718) 625-2270 Rectory Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 am - 11:30 am, 1:00 pm4:00 pm, Friday 9:00 am - 12:00 noon. Masses: Saturday 4:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am, Monday Thursday, 9:30 am.

Saint Paul and Saint Agnes Parish

Church Office 234 Congress Street (718) 624-3425 Hours: M - F 8:30 am-12 St. Agnes Church Office 433 Sackett Street, 718-625-1717 Hours: M-F 1pm-430pm Email: St. Agnes: Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass Sunday 9 am (English), 11:30am (Spanish) St. Paul’s: Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass Sunday 8 am & 9:30am (English); 11am (Spanish) Monday & Tuesday 8:30am (St. Paul’s) Wednesday & Thursday 8:30am (St. Agnes) Saturday 8am (St. Paul’s)

Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street) will be presenting singer-songwriter, ethnomusicologist, folklorist and teacher Susana Baca. The concert is presented as part of the World Music Institute’s Origins Series that highlight artists who delve into folklore and roots of their culture’s music to tell the story of their origins, preserving and affirming cultural identities and legacies. Doors open at 7 pm, the performance starts at 8 pm and tickets cost $30 in advance and $35 at the door.


The Red Hook Community Justice Center (88 Visitation Place) will be hosting a jeopardy event, organized by the housing resource center, from 6-7:30 pm for Red Hook NYCHA residents. Join for a fun community event of learning and quizzing each other about NYCHA’s house rules and lease terms. There will be food and prizes. Contact: (718) 923-8250 or John Pinamonte will be performing at Jalopy Tavern (317 Columbia Street) starting at 9 pm


The Red Hook Diabetes Support and Education Program (RHDSEP) will have a booth at the American Diabetes Association Patient Expo that will go from 10 am - 4 pm at the Javits Center. Come for free info and screenings and you will also be able to win prizes if you sign in at the booth. The RHDSEP will also meet from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Red Hook Library


The Red Hook Community Justice Center (88 Visitation Place) will be having a Women’s History Month celebration from 5-6:30 pm

Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church 125 Summit Street at Hicks Street, (718) 596-7750, Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 am - 5:00 am, Friday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:30 pm, Sunday Masses at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, and noon (Italian/English) Weekday Masses during winter months at 8:30 am and 12:00 noon Confessions: Saturday at 4:45 pm and by appointment. Baptisms every third Sunday at 1:00 pm.


St. Paul’s Carroll Street

481 Van Brunt Street, 8A, Brooklyn, NY 11231

199 Carroll Street Parish Office: 718-625-4126 Sunday Mass at 10 am Weekday Morning Prayer - Mon.-Thurs. at 7:30 am Weekday masses as announced Holy Days as announced \Church open for prayer Tues. 6-8pm & Sat. 2-4pm


Red Hook StarªRevue


The Star-Revue is published by Kimberly G. Price & George Fiala

Kane Street Synagogue

236 Kane Street, 718 875-1550 Friday night services, 6:00 PM Shabbat services, 9:15 AM Sunday Services 9:00 AM

Noah Phillips, Associate Editor Nathan Weiser, Emily Kluver Reporters Halley Bondy, Arts Laura Eng, Religion Mary Ann Pietanza

Congregation B’nai Avraham/Chabad of Brooklyn Heights

117 Remsen St., 718 596 4840 x18, Morning Services: Sunday: 8:45am Monday - Friday: 7:45am Holidays (during the week): 8:45am Saturday: 9:45am Evening Services: Sunday: Shabbat candle lighting time Monday - Thursday: 9:00pm Friday: Winter: 5 minutes before Shabbat candle lighting time Summer:

Congregation Mount Sinai

250 Cadman Plaza West, (718) 875-9124, Rabbi Seth Wax Friday services at 6:30 pm; Saturday Prayer and Mysticism Class at 9:00 am, services at 10:00 am followed by kiddish lunch. All are welcome.

The Red Hook Star-Revue is published monthly. Founded June 2010.

If your religious institution isn’t listed here, let us know by emailing Thanks!

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March 2017

Confrontation at Visitation Church (continued from page 1)

church. Now, people have said that Berrios was removed from the church. What that really means is less clear, as parishioners and church leaders paint many different versions of events. According to the disenchanted parishioners, Berrios angered Fr. Claudio when he attended a meeting where people had voiced their concerns and subsequently refused to disclose the names of those in attendance. Deconde expressed people’s frustration with the situation. “They removed Robert. He was the one who kept us sane,” she said. “My niece attended Breakfast with Santa - something that Robert started and he wasn’t even allowed to attend.” Arteta said that Berrios told him that Fr. Claudio had told the sacristan that he “can’t have evil in the church.” Despite being hurt by the comment, Arteta claims that Berrios apologized, but his effort was unsuccessful. No names, no forgiveness. On the other hand, Fr. Claudio claimed, “On my side, I don’t have any conflict with anyone in the community.” He added that everyone is welcome and that he wants to speak with everyone about their thoughts and concerns. Notably, Fr. Claudio did not refer to Robert Berrios during his interview.


One of the major concerns parishioners brought up when discussing Visitation Church is the parish’s financial situation. Between 2011 and 2012, both The Daily News and the Red Hook Star-Revue reported on the church’s financial situation before Fr. Claudio arrived in 2010. Both publications cited a $150,000 deficit in the church budget, which was made worse by the church’s annual cost of maintenance, an additional $100,000. Ortiz notes, “[Visitation is] the poorest church in the diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.” With small numbers of parishioners in a working-class neighborhood and a massive old building to maintain, it is no surprise that Visitation has financial difficulties. In order to reduce the deficit, the new priest gave up his salary, held fundraisers, and increased donations, according to The Daily News. The Star-Revue reported that Fr. Claudio also dismissed the church janitorial staff to reduce the annual cost of running the church. Instead volunteers have taken on the task of cleaning the space. However, other community members have called into question whether or not Fr. Claudio has done enough work on the church’s financial situation.

whether Fr. Claudio is putting too much of the financial burden on the parishioners. “Sandy was a blessing for the church,” Judith Dailey, lifelong Red Hook resident and former member of Visitation Church, posited, seeming to imply financial gains from the damage done by the 2012 hurricane. Ortiz denied the receipt of major financial gains for hurricane damage. She explained, “The church gained very little insurance money and we were denied money from FEMA, as many others were.” She continued, addressing concerns about a lack of fundraising, “[Fr. Claudio] has motivated the community to get donations by knocking on doors, talking to store owners.” Specifically, she pointed to the donation of cement for the church’s new basement floors, the labor donated by Fr. Claudio’s brother visiting from Italy, and local businesses - large and small. Ortiz points out that the community doesn’t have a lot of disposable income, making fundraising a challenge in the community. She noted that “[Fr. Claudio] takes in as many donations as possible and tries to keep everything afloat.”

Fr. Claudio claimed, “On my side, I don’t have any conflict with anyone in the community.” He added that everyone is welcome and that he wants to speak with everyone about their thoughts and concerns.” “We’re willing to take ideas,” she adds. “Come with a plan. We’ll say go for it.” Deconde, in contrast, feels the church has asked too much of the people. “They are always asking for money,” she expressed. “They do nothing for the church.” Dailey also criticized the church’s methods of drumming up support from parishioners. “It’s like a guilt trip. He was always saying we’re not giving enough,” she explained.


People also expressed dissatisfaction with Fr. Claudio’s involvement - or lack thereof - with the greater Red Hook community. During Hurricane Sandy, the church opened its doors to the community, housed meetings, served food, and became an important hub for local emergency response.

“He’s been six years there. He’s done only three fundraisers. The rest is by parishioners,” Arteta criticized.

Since then, people have felt a distancing between the church and the community. Assorted anonymous parishioners have spoken their concerns that Fr. Claudio has not been more involved with the community.

Unhappy church members have questioned the financial priorities of the church, how much they really have, and

They noted that priests in the past would support the community by attending events in the local area such as

Red Hook Star-Revue

The Visitation Carnival brought together all facets of the churchgoers in years past.

the Tenants Association or Community Board 6 meetings. But Fr. Claudio claims that being at all of these meetings is harder than people may think. “I try to be [at the church] because there is a lot of work to do,” Fr. Claudio responded. “We have to clean and take care of the space. This is the situation of the church.” He notes that the number of meetings happening in the community presents too much of a time commitment for him. “We are very interested to be part of all the life of Red Hook, but directly, I am a priest and my duty is to help people, encourage people, preach to people,” Fr. Claudio emphasized. “We are happy to be in touch with people in the community.” All the same, community members have called into question Fr. Claudio’s priorities.


In addition to Fr. Claudio himself, parishioners have raised questions about the order Fr. Claudio and the other religious at the church belong to, Koinonia John the Baptist. Orders refer to institutions within the Roman Catholic church within which men and women take lifelong vows to devote themselves to the religious profession. Some orders include “lay members” that do not necessarily live out their lives in the community, but participate in the habits, customs, and works of the institution. More skeptical people have gone as far as to call the Koinonia organization which includes many lay members of Visitation Parish - a cult. They cite contracts, which require 10% tithing, twoyear commitments, and mandatory attendance at Koinonia events. Ortiz, herself a lay member of the organization, clarified some of the rules members follow. She describes a course that teaches “the love of Jesus,” the signing of a non-binding one-year commitment in which people promise to attend weekly mass and Koinonia events, and the aforementioned 10% tithing. She explains that there are options for

further courses and greater commitments in the future, which culminate in a lifelong commitment. Defending her organization, Ortiz explained, “It’s a calling you feel in your heart. No one can make you do it.” Further concerns about Koinonia include members questioning whether church leaders are more devoted to serving the Red Hook community or members of their own religious order. Community members expressed concerns about “Koinonia people being bussed in from all over Brooklyn and Queens” to attend mass at Visitation. This could bring up concerns about the use of finances at a church that is already struggling to make ends meet. In addition, those unhappy with the church have sited a divide between members of the order and non-members. Arteta even went as far as to say that “it’s like Koinonia has a problem with Visitation.” However, Ortiz disagreed with the term bussing, and said, “People come from as far as Pennsylvania, but they aren’t bussed up. They come on their own.” She believes that those of the religious order and others in the church community can work together. “We’re all the serving the same God. Koinonia, Visitation… ” she explained. “I would like to see all communities in Red Hook be one force in God.”


In addition to these major issues, people also brought up their own personal concerns as well. Questions of who is welcome in the church, what people feel is the church’s responsibility to do, and opinions on how things should be run have left great divisions in the church community. But while many members claim to be unhappy with the church, there are others in the community who find themselves in between the two groups. They had their own perspective on these matters. Some of them noted a lack of community involvement and briefly laughed about Fr. Claudio’s long sermons. But (continued on page 19)

March 2017, Page 3


Local Clergy Respond to Travel Ban and Immigration Issues


n January 27, after a week in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order placing an immediate 90-day travel ban on people entering the United States from the largely Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen. The order also called for a 120-day ban on all refugee programs and closed the door indefinitely on refugees entering the country from Syria. In addition, the executive order gave priority to those seeking to enter the U.S. on the basis of religious persecution as long as the applicant belongs to a religion that is the minority in their country. By the very next day, airports had become mired in chaos. Protests were rampant nationwide in response to the ban. Judicial opposition was swift. On January 29, a Massachusetts federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the ban and U.S. District Court Judge James Robart blocked the ban nationwide on February 3. Then on February 9, a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against reinstating the travel ban. Although it remains blocked and the president is promising a new travel ban shortly, the initial executive order prompted a wave of public opinion and protest. The president has also begun a deportation process of undocumented immigrants that prioritizes those involved in criminal activity but has not limited it to people convicted of crimes. This - along with the president’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico - has caused unrest among immigrant communities all over the country. I spoke to Rabbi Seth Wax of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights about his reaction to the travel ban as well as the president’s policy towards illegal immigration. “We certainly need to balance the needs of security, but to institute an acrossthe-board ban in such a way that really hurts people is irresponsible and really causes more destruction and harm than helping people,” he said. “A ban that targets people based on their ethnicity or religion obviously runs contrary to American values and a lot of religious values. America is still a country that welcomes immigrants and it’s our responsibility to make sure that the doors stay open...while maintaining security for those of us who are here.” Rabbi Wax went on to say that Congregation Mount Sinai sent a sizeable group to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) rally held at Castle Clinton in Battery Park on Sunday,

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February 12. Despite freezing rain, thousands turned up, as well as elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mission of the rally organizers was to put pressure on elected officials to keep the doors of our country open to refugees fleeing persecution and violence. Rabbi Wax also mentioned that many Brooklyn Heights houses of worship have come together and hung banners in an effort to make a strong statement that refugees and immigrants are welcome. On March 8, there will be a program at Congregation Mount Sinai to discuss the rise of anti-Semitism, attacks on the press, and immigration issues.

Monsignor Massie Responds to Current Issues

During a powerful homily on February 25 at Sacred Hearts/St. Stephen Church, Monsignor Guy Massie listed a number of things that “gravely concerned” him. The first is the many “anti-things” currently transpiring in our country, which he feels are reminiscent of Europe in the late 1930s. He also expressed concern about those who choose to remain silent about - or somehow justify - this disturbing trend. Msgr. Massie began his homily mentioning that he and Rabbi Wax were interviewed together on the NET (New Evangelization Television) network that past week to talk about recent events, including the travel ban, the new administration’s immigration policies, and the rise in hate crimes. Ironically, Msgr. Massie witnessed an incident firsthand while walking near Court and Bergen Streets on the way home from the interview: he heard a young boy utter an anti-Muslim slur at a woman wearing a hijab. He said it was his first experience with that type of behavior, and it left him deeply disturbed. Msgr. Massie also reported that some churches in Brooklyn and Queens whose parishioners are largely made up of immigrants have seen a sharp decline in attendance due to the fear of being rounded up by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers. In addition to being pastor of SHSS, Msgr. Massie is the Chairperson of the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Commission of the Diocese of Brooklyn. (continued on next page)

March 2017


(continued from previous page)

Despite his grave concerns, he made note of the actions of some straphangers who recently came together on a New York subway to wipe off anti-Semitic slurs and swastikas with hand sanitizer; it is the actions of people such as these who give Monsignor Massie hope, in spite of those who choose to “keep their heads in the sand.”

Upcoming Events Congregation Mount Sinai 250 Cadman Plaza West

Prayer and Mysticism Class on Saturdays from 9-10 am, for those interested in the Jewish mystical tradition. First Friday Musical Shabbat on Friday, March 3 from 6:30-8:30 pm. CMS is thrilled to welcome local musician and Jewish educator Naomi Less back for a soulful Shabbat. As We Celebrate Purim Must We Still Be Concerned About the New/Old Anti-Semitism? Discussion of the rise of nativism and anti-Semitism, attacks on the press and immigration issues with an esteemed panel of speakers. On Wednesday, March 8, dinner at 6 pm and forum at 7 pm; program/dinner cost is $25 per person, program only is $10. RSVP by March 3 to or call (718) 875-9124. Purim on the Red Carpet on Saturday, March 11 at 7 pm. Dress as your favorite movie star or character. Includes entertainment, a special Megillah reading, fun programming and games for children, prizes for best and most imaginative costumes and a dinner and drinks. Cost is $50 for adults; children 12 and under are free. RSVP by March 7 to or call (718) 875-9124.

Kane Street Synagogue 236 Kane Street

Erev Purim Service on Saturday evening, March 11. Dress up and make some noise! Chapel service starts at 7:15 pm followed by a lively sanctuary event at 7:30 pm. Purim Day Service on Sunday, March 12 at 9 am. Purim Celebration for Young Children (Age 7 and Under) on Sunday, March 12 from 10 am-12 pm. Enjoy crafts, baking hamantaschen, face-painting, songs and a kid-friendly Megillah reading. Cost is $15 per family for synagogue members and $20 per family for non-members.

Sacred Hearts/St. Stephen Church Summit & Hicks Street

Feast of St. Joseph with La Tavolata di San Giuseppe on Monday, March 20. Mass at 6 pm followed by potluck tavolata in Cabrini Hall. For information, contact Concetta LoPresti-Mazzella at (917) 364-7421.

Contemporary Reflection Service on Friday, March 24 at 7 pm. St. Stephen High School Class of 1967 50th Anniversary Reunion on Sunday, April 23 from 12-4 pm at Marco Polo Restaurant. Cost is $60 per person. For information, e-mail at or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Saturday from 4-5:15 pm and on First Fridays from 7:15-8:30 pm followed by Mass.

St. Agnes Church Sackett & Hoyt Streets

Sounds on Sackett on Sunday, March 19 at 4 pm with Pianist Robert Piket and Charles Gerard’s Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet performing “devious, witty, swinging tunefulness” selections. Tickets are $20 for adults and children under twelve are free with reception to follow. For information, call (917) 783-2512 or (718) 624-3425.

St. Mary Star of the Sea Church 467 Court Street

Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays, March 8, 15 and 29 at 7:30 pm. Night of Faith Questions and Answers on Wednesday, March 22 from 7:30-8:30 pm in the Parish Center. Day of Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday, April 5. Beginning after the 9:30 Mass and ending with Benediction at 7:30 pm celebrated by Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan. Palm Sunday Mass on April 9 at 10 am. Reconciliation Monday on April 10.

St. Paul’s Catholic Church 234 Congress Street

Stations of the Cross on Friday mornings following the 8:30 Mass in English and on Friday evenings at 7 pm in Spanish. St. Paul’s Church is open from 7 am - 9 pm every day. Stop in for a visit, say the Rosary, pray the Stations of the Cross on your own, sit and relax with Him for a moment.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 199 Carroll Street

Mid-Lent/St. Patrick’s Day Supper for Charity on March 17 at the Parish Hall. Drop in anytime between 6 pm and 8 pm for Irish food! $15 for adults, $5 for children, $30 family maximum.

Visitation BVM Church 98 Richards Street

Healing Mass on Wednesday, March 8 at 7 pm in Spanish and on Friday, March 31 at 7 pm in English. St. Patrick’s Night Annual Fundraiser on Friday, March 17 Mass at 6 pm with Irish Night to follow. $40 per person, $140 for table of four, $230 for table of eight. For more information, call (809) 300-6913 or (917) 515-4225. Save the date for the 8th New Evangelization Congress on April 28-30 with invited guest speaker, Father Adriano Biccheri, Moral Theologian at the Marianum University, Rome. For information, call (917) 515-4225 or (805) 300-6913. Correction: Commentary in last month’s column about Bishop Tiedemann’s return was from Sister Máire Close, not Sister Máire Clark.

Women’s Film Festival at St. Francis The Second Annual St. Francis College Women’s Film Festival will take place in Founders Hall, 180 Remsen Street on March 28 and 29. The festival offers two days of thoughtprovoking panels and workshops with industry professionals as well as bold and expressive films created by women from 27 countries. “The outpouring of talent, creativity, and meaning in the films that were submitted was almost overwhelming,” said Festival Co-Founder and St. Francis Professor Augusta Palmer, a director of multiple documentaries including her forthcoming film, The Blues Society, about the historical Memphis Country Blues Festivals of the late 60’s. “By bringing together all these works and the female college and professional filmmakers who made them, we are building a bridge that will become a real pipeline for talent moving into the film industry.”

Red Hook Star-Revue

The festival is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Communication Arts Department, the Women’s Studies Center, and the Center for Entrepreneurship. “It really takes a village to create a film festival,” added Professor Palmer. “One of our other goals of the festival is to inspire discourse among women regarding the expression of women’s image in film, as well as to explore the role of women in the history and evolving art of filmmaking,” said Professor Magaly Colimon-Christopher, co-founder of the festival and also a Communication Arts faculty member at St. Francis. The Festival begins Tuesday, March 28 at 9:30 am with an opening address and continues with screenings of the first round of short films. Film screenings begin at 11 am on Wednesday, March 29. Awards and Prizes will be presented at 5:30 pm. The festival is free to the public - more information at

March 2017, Page 5

Protest Art in Red Hook by Kimberly Gail Price


s our democratic process has led Donald J. Trump to the most powerful position in the world, so many are still shaking their heads and questioning how this has all come to fruition. Meanwhile, Anna Kustera sits behind a desk in her gallery on Wolcott Street. The recently converted space is bright-clean white; the bold art animatedly speaks its truth. Trump protest art began to gain momentum in April 2016, well before primaries and caucuses had concluded. As each campaign week passed, Trump’s comments became more erratic and eccentric. At one point, he claimed he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single voter. In November 2016, many Americans realized how true those words had been. An American flag spirals like liquid being pulled into a drain in Rohitash Rao’s print, “Week 1.” Anna explains, “It’s our flag being sucked into a black hole.”

The article states “rejection by the creative class” may lead to social and political change. “It’s the gambit most likely to get his attention. It plays to the Trump’s thin skin, his infantile rage, his impulsivity, his insatiable desire for approval. He can’t help but take the bait,” and “by responding to his detractors, he ends up amplifying their message of dissent - his is the loudest megaphone around.” Anna’s collection at her Kustera Projects gallery is both subtle and loud; violent and peaceful. Stoic and serious. The majority of the artists are New York based, but others submitted from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Greece. Clayton Colvin from Alabama sent “Never Normalize,” a black hoodie with two eye holes. Jamie Martinez has incorporated thread and rope to attach his passport to a dream catcher made of driftwood

The movement protests a number of issues, but also speaks against the character of the man tasked with leading the country. From fashion runways to Golden Globe speeches, cultural art institutions to popup galleries, the revival of protest art is sweeping the globe.

Kustera Projects Red Hook, 57 Wolcott Street

in Our Mouth.” Graphic artist, Willie Cole has displayed Trump’s bare bum splayed out across a spanking Santa Claus. “Happy Holidays” - the title of the piece - is spelled out in curling cursive letters along the top. In the mid-20th century, Herbert Marcuse developed a theory known as “The Great Refusal.” This concept, he believed would transform society with “the protest against that which is.” As specific groups became more ostracized, they would become the catalysts of a growing movement that would lead to change.

Need to speak out

When Trump was elected, Anna said she felt like she needed to speak out. “I felt like something had to be organized,” she explained. “And I wanted to do it quickly before the idea got old.” She put out a “Call to Action” as the show is aptly named - on social media. Within a week, she had more than 60 artists for the entire show. Anna tells me about the “Battle Hymen of the Republic,” a sign that leans against the wall. Artist, Katherine Mojzsis carried it at the Women’s March in Washington DC. Beyond the artistic voice, what is the objective of this movement? In an article published on inauguration day, The New Yorker writes, “the sense of emergency on the cultural left has deepened,” leading to “increasingly vehement expressions of dissent.”

Win Zibeon’s “Global Warming” “Global Warming” by Win Zibeon (photos by Price) is a quiet, colorful and feathers. It’s a Columbian pass- statement among other overtly politiport, Anna tells me. Adjacent, a sand- cal pieces at Kustera. The acrylic maswich made of ash, coal and resin is set terpiece mixes an age of extinction upon a cutting board and rests atop with the present with miniature dinoa napkin and brown paper bag. The saurs reminding a young woman of piece, from Spencer Merolla’s Balo- extinction during her meal. The backney Sandwich series is entitled “Ashes ground feels broken. The tablecloth is wrinkled and soiled. A paper bag of disheveled clothing sits at her side. Across the gallery is black and white collage created by Thomas Lail. The artist took photos of crowds of different shapes and sizes, pulled out color, and brought them all together on one canvas.

ists are beginning to move toward social and political change through the Great Refusal. At an art show in Queens called “Nasty Women,” Jessamyn Fiore, co-director of the exhibit said, “I see art as action, an action of solidarity and presence. She and other organizers wore purple pageant sashes - like Trump’s Miss Universe contestants - that said “Nasty Woman.” All artwork cost less than $100 and all of the proceeds were donated to Planned Parenthood. For six days, Wellesley’s Davis Museum removed 120 works made or donated by immigrants, leaving empty space where the art once was. At Kustera, “The gallery is an outlet for artists to express themselves, express their concerns,” Anna said. “I want people to come in and look and take something away that they didn’t get before.”

Art at the forefront

Chief curator at Saatchi Art in California, Rebecca Wilson said, “Picasso’s Guernica helped raise awareness across the world about the Spanish Civil War. Ai Weiwei’s work is continued activism against the Chinese government. This is not a time to stand on the sidelines and keep quiet. Whatever artists can do to draw attention to what Trump is doing is a good thing.” Anna had her own response as her duty to herself and other artists. “We are living in a time of great uncertainty and unrest where our civil liberties, environment and culture are being threatened. Artists, writers, musicians and performers have always been at the forefront of political activism providing a voice in challenging the policies and administrations in power.”

Only the stars of Lady Liberty’s crown remain visible, as bricks quickly pile up in front of her in Tomaso Marcolla’s “Liberty Wall.” Juliette Hayt personified an IUD in her drawing “Mirena.” A Chinese man examines a ceramic mold of Trump’s face in Heather Holden’s “Trump in China.” Every artist has a different voice - a different answer. But collectively, art“Week 1” by Rohitash Rao

Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue

“Liberty Wall” by Tomaso Marcolla

March 2017

Nydia in the forefront to save healthcare by George Fiala

Nydia Velazquez at the podium at Gouverneur Hospital with Jerry Nadler, Jo Ann Simon, and Joe Crowley. (photo by George Fiala)


ongresswoman Nydia Velazquez has been busier than usual during this first month of this Trump administration. On February 19, as the Republicans in Congress began hashing out a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Velazquez hosted a media event at Manhattan’s Gouverneur Hospital. Velazquez was joined by fellow legislators Hakeem Jeffries, Joe Crowley, Jerry Nadler and Jo Ann Simon. They all spoke of the urgent need to preserve the gains made by the ACA. Earlier during the first month, she made news by skipping the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Instead, she was a major participant at the huge woman’s demonstration held in Washington the next day. The morning following Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim countries, she and Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler traveled to JFK’s Terminal 4. They rescued an Iraqi immigrant who spent ten years helping US forces as a translator. His efforts put him in danger in his home country, and he was to be admitted to the US as a refugee. Trump’s order went into effect as he was in the air, and upon his arrival he was detained by customs. Nadler and Velazquez fought for his release, and he was able to join his family in the US. A week later the ban was lifted by a federal court.

Don’t Make America Sick Again

The theme at Gouverneur was that the Republicans, if left unchecked, would “Make America Sick Again,” a phrase coined last month by Chuck Schumer. Velazquez opened the event saying, “We are starting to hear the broad outlines of the Republican plan in the media. What we are seeing is not good. It should not be called ‘Repeal and Replace,’ but ‘Repeal and Displace.’ “ Recent articles in the NY Times and elsewhere reveal that the Republicans are working on a plan to downsize Medicaid and the tax credit system built into the ACA. The result, according to the Huffington Post and other sources, would be to shift the burden on healthcare spending from the affluent back to the poor. This would result in a rollback of many of the gains

Red Hook Star-Revue

made under the ACA – a program which gave 20 million Americans healthcare insurance for the first time. “That is a disgrace and we are not going to let it happen,” exclaimed Velazquez. Under one Republican proposal, a state like New York would receive substantially less money for Medicaid. Patients who finally had their bills covered by insurance would revert back to emergency room charity cases - putting a major strain on a hospital system already starved of funds.


Queens Congressman Joe Crowley warned upstate NY Republican legislators that this would also result in higher property taxes for their constituents, as local municipalities use property tax revenue to help fund rural hospitals.

Cascading Effects The presentation, which included input from hospital union leaders, doctors and nurses, administrators and patients, led many in the audience to see that the destruction of the ACA would have negative cascading effects. According to the presenters, jobs would be lost, the population would be sicker, and the downsizing of preventive care would lead to higher overall healthcare costs as preventive care would diminish for the lower income population. “Responsibility for having insurance should not be shifted back to the patients,” said Katherine Hanley, a veteran Gouverneur doctor. She added, “People should not have to choose between buying groceries or buying their asthma inhaler.” Nydia will no doubt continue her busy activist schedule. She is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, and dealing with a rollback of Dodd-Frank protections, as well as tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, will be her next challenge.

PAVE Academy Charter School is now accepting applications for Pre-kindergarten to 8th grade.

To apply online: To apply in person, visit us at: PAVE Red Hook 732 Henry Street Brooklyn, NY 11231

Additional areas of concern are international trade, environmental protections, press freedoms and public schools. Although, as Trump himself noted in a campaign event held the same day – the stock market keeps going up!

MISSION: PAVE Schools prepares Prekindergarten to 8th grade students to thrive in competitive high schools and four-year colleges. PAVE provides its students with a rigorous academic program and a community built on the school’s core values of PERSEVERANCE, ACHIEVEMENT, VIBRANCE and EXCELLENT CHARACTER.

March 2017, Page 7

Middle Schoolers are Participatory Budgeters this year!


articipatory Budgeting is a community wide process that allows constituents to suggest, develop and vote on discretionary funds. For the fourth year in a row council member Carlos Menchaca has allocated $2 million for projects in his district, which includes Red Hook, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. Since September, volunteers have been designing and budgeting community ideas. And the time for constituents to vote is almost here! Prior to the voting, a fair will be held to illustrate the projects. Anyone who lives in the district and is 14 years old and up is eligible to vote. In addition to the projects, PB is a good exercise in neighborhood participation. Menchaca expects that future leaders will come out of the process. Each constituent can vote for up to 3 projects. Voting will take place from March 25 through April 2. Locations, times as well as the location of the fair will be announced once they are confirmed by Julian Morales of Menchaca’s office. District 38 has prepared 11 projects - two of which are Red Hook spe-

by Kimberly Gail Price

cific. Ten of the projects are for local schools, while the eleventh is a park renovation in Sunset Park.


Renovation of P.S. 15’s student and adult bathrooms Cost: $220,000 Location: P.S. 15 The Patrick F. Daly Magnet School of the Arts, 71 Sullivan Street. Smart Tech and Technology Upgrades at Summit Academy Mac Pro (server) - $3,700 Vernier LabQuest 2 Biology Deluxe Packages - $19,737.06 Vernier LabQuest 2 Chemistry Deluxe Packages - $9,836.47 (20) Lenovo ThinkPad L460 - $12,640 (2) Promethean AP4-70E (Interactive LED display) - $9,600 (2) Promethean APTMS (Interactive LED stand) - $1350 (20) Promethean ActivBoard Touch 88-USB Interactive Whiteboard $30,000 (5) 21.5 in iMac desktop - $5250 (5) HP- 23.8” Touch Screen All In One - Intel Core i3- 8GB Memory - 1 TB Hard Drive Black-White - $3,000 1 Learniture 24 Outlet Extra-Wide Laptop/ Tablet Recharging Cart - $549

Carlos Menchaca announces the winners of the 2014 Participatory Budgeting in the Red Hook Library (Star-Revue file photo)

Total cost: $120,000 Location: Summit Academy, 27 Huntington Street


Security Cameras for Child Safety at P.S. 1; $400,000 Small and Big School Yard Update & Renovation at P.S. 24; $500,000 Electrical Upgrade and Air Conditioning for Gymnasium at M.S. 821/126; $400,000 Air Conditioning Wiring at P.S. 94; $300,000

Schoolyard Improvement at the P.S. 314 Complex; $700,000 Split Level Air Conditioning in MultiPurpose Room at P.S. 516; $400,000 Gymnasium Updates & Remodel at M.S 88; $350,000 Auditorium Lighting and Sound Upgrade at J.H.S 220; $500,000 Schoolyard $500,000





Make Sunset Park Handball Courts Tournament Ready; $500,000

Red Hook in the running for state economic development grant by Nathan Weiser


he Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) recently gave an update on the progress of the Red Hook Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program at a Community Board 6 meeting.

Strategy provides a description of the full range of techniques and actions, ranging from actions and projects that can be undertaken immediately to those that have a longer timeframe,” says the website.

The Brownfield Program, which dates to the 2003 Superfund Brownfield Law, assists municipalities and community based organizations with assessing and implementing revitalization strategies for polluted areas. The program can cover up to 90 percent of eligible project costs.

SBIDC received a state contract to oversee the Red Hook BOA process in 2012.

If one of the sites put forward by SBIDC is selected, it could result in jobs as well as economic development. “A good portion of the jobs are entry level,” said David Meade, executive director at SBIDC, at the meeting. “It is warehousing, drivers, electricians (non entry level) and carpenters. There is a lot of entry-level industrial work. There is also a clerical component to it, too.” Initially 16 sites were put forward, but that number has been narrowed down to four. According to Meade, there are 38 BOA locations in process statewide and they should know within six months if one of the four sites is selected by the state.


According to the Brownfield website, the three steps in the Brownfield program include a pre-nomination study, nomination and implementation strategy. “The Implementation

Page 8 Red Hook Star-Revue

“We are basically at the final nomination stage,” Meade said. “The funding is given to get permanent nomination and then to go into step three, which is the implementation stage.” The most important step in finalizing the properties is getting the approval from the property owners so that remediation could happen. SBIDC initially got a sum of money for the project back in 2012 but went through it swiftly in an effort to put their plan together. “We got $90,000 for the project in 2012,” Meade said. “We burned through it in 2013 but continued to get through the study. We had consultants that helped us with the market analysis. Our own staff time is spent getting out to community meetings. We wanted to make sure we put a good plan and nomination report together.”


SBIDC is looking at locations in Red Hook that are vacant and underutilized, and aims to ensure that the nominated sites are resilient and can take in jobs. The three businesses that they are now focused on are located at the intersections of Coffey and Dwight Streets, Coffey and Oswego Streets

and Dwight and Richards Streets. “We are [also] looking at a Port Authority property down by the Cruise Terminal.” Meade said. “There is a trucking operation there so we are seeing if that can be developed into something else. They were happy to report that one location, the one at Dwight and Coffey, is a strategic site that was a metal fabricator woodworker. They can bring in 20 jobs, according to Meade. The SBIDC’s overall plan for the properties is that they have job intensive uses that are connected back to local residents or the local community. After their economic analysis, SBIDC found that Red Hook is well-suited to manufacturing firms and commercial uses that require: regional connectivity, proximity to consumer markets, in-

teresting building character, waterfront views and access and unique identity. There are many benefits for businesses that are nominated. “One of the big pieces with that is if somebody is interested in developing a property there are a series of potential tax credits that might be eligible to them,” Meade said. “They can get a break on real estate taxes. They can get a bump once the area is designated if they are creating a development that is consistent with the plan.” The vision of the Red Hook BOA is to encourage an equitable economic development strategy for the revitalization of its area brownfields. The BOA promotes development that will create good-quality, family-supporting, manufacturing jobs that can be directly connected to local residents.

March 2017

The Star-Revue Presents:

Pi is an irrational number used to calculate the circumference or area of a circle. Its decimal places go on forever, but it begins 3.14. Pi day is a holiday celebrated every year on March 14. Get it?

INSIDE: ◦ RHSR Pi Correspondent Emily Cobbler makes pie, with pictures and recipes ◦ Fun Pi Facts ◦ Your guide to local Pi addresses ◦ Pi Day Happenings ◦ And more!

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All around the country people are finding ways to celebrate their irrational love of pi and all things pi. If you find yourself in any random corner of the world, the Red Hook Star-Revue has you covered. Saturday, March 11 Princeton, NJ For $10, you too can join in on a surprise party for Albert Einstein from 10-11 am. Guests will listen to stories told by Albert Einstein, Pi-themed crafts, and birthday cake. Note: The Star-Revue does not condone the eating of cake on Pi Day.

Spokane, WA For $10, build a racecar out of a Raspberry Pi (a credit-card sized computer) and compete with nerds from all over through Spark Central. The event runs from 10 am-2 pm. Warning: there is no promise of pie at this event.

tueSday, March 14 Charlotte, NC STEM school is holding a special Mud Pi event from 10 am-12 pm. Make mud pies along with other fun mathematical crafts to celebrate the number 3.14159… Palo Alto, CA Join the Tech Stands up Pi Day Rally in support of values said to drive Silicon Valley, such as open exchange of ideas, community involvement, meritocracy, and experimentation. Though the event does not mention literal pie, think of it as a metaphorical pie to the current National Administration’s face. The event runs from 2 pm-6 pm. Chicago, IL From 3-5 pm, join Chicago Nerd Club for a day of pie baking, ranking, and eating. Pies will be rated from 0-3.14 by a panel of judges. Bakers get in free, everyone else pays $5. A trivia contest will sort out the real pi fans from the posers. Fargo, ND Join APT artist studio for a special pie and arts event. For $15-30, you can enjoy savory pies and sweet pies alike, as you take in art and support local artists. Find a warm reprieve from the cold North Dakota winter from 3:30-7 pm. Bristol, TN Some people think you should work for your pie. That’s why King University holds their annual Fun Run/Walk for women in STEM on the day of sweet treats and mathematical goodness. After 3.14 kilometers, you get your very own slice of pie. The event begins at 6:15 pm and will cost you $25-200. Alton, IL In a truly classy event, join Yoga Buzz and Old Bakery Beer for a yoga and pie pairing event. Organizers have worked hard to find the perfect beers to compliment four classic pies (apple, pecan, chocolate, and lemon custard). The event runs from 6:30-8:30 pm at $20 a person. Worldwide If you happened to apply to MIT, expect your acceptance/rejection letter to come today.

In 1897, Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin, MD wrote a bill to officially declare the value of pi to precisely 3.2 and according to the Purdue University website, “The bill sailed through preliminary hearings and votes.” Coincidentally, the head of Purdue’s Mathematics Department, Professor Clarence Abiathar Waldo was in the statehouse. “He was astonished to find the General Assembly debating mathematical legislation. Naturally, he listened in. Naturally, he was horrified,” the website said. After the debate, Waldo was offered the chance to meet Goodwin, but declined. He said he was “already acquainted with as many crazy people as he cared to know.” The bill was eventually tabled indefinitely in the state senate after media had ridiculed the bill and the statesmen.

Emily Cobbler Makes Pie Who doesn’t love baked goods? Certainly no one I allow in my house. Now, I may not be a master baker, but I love to try out new recipes in my spare time. Breads, cookies, and cinnamon rolls fly out of my oven with regularity. Pies are no exception. I’ve made a few of the classics - apple, rhubarb, and even pecan - with mixed results. But in honor of Pi day, I wanted to expand my horizons. In search of recipes, I turned to a few local sources for assistance.


Pie 1: Peach cobbler Pie ♥ Submitted by: Chuck Cleveland

n October, I wrote about Chuck Cleveland and his catering business. Having tried his fantastic roast pork with beans and rice as well as his Caribbean-style oxtail, I was very excited when he offered to send me a recipe. ProceSS: As I glanced through the recipe, it seemed pretty simple. Self-rising flour, sugar, butter, milk, and canned peaches. I trusted that between me and my sous chef, Cashew the cat, we could take on this first challenge. Sorting out my ingredients, I put carefully portioned butter into a 9x13 pan and turned the oven on to a low temperature. While the butter melted, I made the crust, mixing together flour, sugar, and milk. Cashew enjoyed watching this process. In fact, she seemed suspiciously interested. After I’d added the milk and turned away to mix my ingredients, I found out why. I found my sous chef with her face stuck in a measuring cup, lapping up leftover milk. She highly recommends this particular step.

As the peaches seemed pretty sparse in the pan, I cut the larger wedges in half to create an even layer before turning to add my crust. It was at this point that I realized I had reversed the steps in the recipe, having added my peaches before my crust. Hoping it would be okay, I simply poured the crust mixture over the top and stuck it in the oven, crossing my fingers. reSultS: When I pulled the pan out of the oven, I was pleased with the appearance of the golden brown crust. However, upon further investigation, I realized it was soft as opposed to crispy. Skeptical, I took a bite. The soft crust was lightly sweet and went

well with the peaches. The heavy syrup had thickened slightly, which created a pie-type filling. Though it’s possible the filling would have been better had I added the rest of the heavy syrup, I didn’t miss it.

the experts.

thoughtS: I loved how simple this recipe was to make. In total, I think it took about an hour and a half and I’m sure it would be faster if I tried it again. It Though I hadn’t followed Chuck’s was also really nice to not have to buy instruction exactly, it wasn’t the disaster a lot of random ingredients. I was expecting. My advice? stick with Though I don’t usually buy self-rising

flour, I was able to find advice online about making self-rising flour out of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Other than that, all I needed to buy were two cans of peaches. In the end, I would make this again, but I would follow Chuck’s instructions more carefully. His pictures look so much better than mine.

Our Pie Panel says: “If you make again, please let me know!” “It looks like peaches with a blanket.” “Love - a special love” “Couldn’t eat it fast enough!”

AppeArAnce: FlAvor: Mouth Feel:

“I think I could do better.” “Unclear to me what makes it a pie…” “Good for a potluck or something where structural integrity isn’t important.”

hAnd Feel: overAll:

continued on next page...

Next, I poured the first can of peaches into my pan over the melted butter and spread them around. There seemed to be a lot of syrup, so I drained the next can.

Pie 2: Key lime Pie ♥ Submitted by: Rebecca Sutton


hen we asked Fort Defiance if they had a good pie recipe, they responded that the only pie they sold in the restaurant was Steve’s Key Lime Pie and they couldn’t give us that pie recipe even if they wanted to. But, as we turned to leave, a woman sitting at the bar caught our attention and noted that she had a recipe for Key Lime Pie that we could try. The woman, Rebecca Sutton, dictated the instructions from memory, and sent us on our way. ProceSS: First, I crushed up graham crackers for my crust as butter melted on the stove top. As I don’t have a food processor in my little Brooklyn kitchen, this was no simple task. I beat the cracker package with my fists until the seam split open, at which point I poured them in a bowl and crushed them up with my spoon. It was a long and tedious process that I did not enjoy. When it was done, I poured butter over the top. It didn’t look like enough moisture, so I added two more tablespoons of butter for good measure and pressed the mixture into my pie plate. As it turns out, a pie plate is another thing I don’t keep in my kitchen. I had to buy a few disposable aluminum pans earlier that morning. As I packed the crust in with my hands, I realized there was too much crust and had to remove about a third of it. I may or may not have eaten the remains. Packed and ready to go, I threw the pie into the oven and set my timer. I then turned to combining the remaining ingredients - Rose’s lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and separated egg yolks. After about 12 minutes, I began to smell something burning. I looked at my pie crust and saw the edges turning from a nice golden brown to a slightly blackened

crisp. Pulling it out, I scraped the burnt edges into the sink and hoped for the best. Into my burnt crust went as much of the filling as I could fit. But again, about a third of the filling remained when I was done. Cashew, my ever-devoted sous chef, proceeded to watch the pie as it baked. I’m not sure if she was afraid it would burn or spring to life and terrorize the house, but either way, she wasn’t going to let it happen.

To our great frustration, the pie refused to set in the oven. I let it cook longer than normal in the hopes that it would become something resembling a pie, but that moment never came. Eventually, in the hopes of preserving my crust, I took the bubbling pie out, stuffed it in the refrigerator to cool, and hoped for the best. reSultS: When I pulled the chilled pie out of the refrigerator, it was not quite liquid, but it definitely was not solid. The gooey substance refused to hold a shape as I plated the suspicious concoction. I took the first bite. Tart! My eyes began to water as the sour pie slid down my throat. And yet, I finished the slice. thoughtS: This pie was a mess from start to finish. The crust cooked too long. The filling never set. And the lime was much too strong. In the end, I decided to chuck the recipe and stick with Steve’s Key Lime Pies from now on. The lesson here: don’t get your recipes from strangers in bars. Rebecca, you must have some magic pie skills that I do not possess or perhaps a failing memory.

Our Pie Panel says: “Crust was good; I’m a crusty person!” “This pie proves the concept that ‘pie’ is an artificial social construct. What makes pie pie? What does it mean for pie to be ‘good’ anyway? Personally, I like mouth-imploding tartness and had seconds. Good work, Cobbler!” “Unique taste for a pie. Would be good after Chile rellenos.” “It tastes good, but it hurts! I like it.” “If I served this pie to guests, I would follow up with a sympathy card.”

AppeArAnce: FlAvor: Mouth Feel: hAnd Feel: overAll:

“To invent something, all you need is imagination and a big pile of junk.” Albert Einstein is perhaps the most wellknown physicist in history. He is best known for his theory of relativity for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1921. His equation, E=mc2, suggested that tiny particles could be converted into massive amounts of energy.

music.,” he once said.

Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, nearly a century before Pi Day was conceived. It is mere coincidence that a day celebrating mathematicians is also his birthday.

Einstein believed that scientists were also artists. He believed that his mathematical and scientific insights all stemmed from intuition and imagination. "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge," he said.

Einstein was a successful musician. He began studying violin at age 6 and continued playing throughout his life. “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in

As we celebrate another Pi Day, we also celebrate the work of mathematicians worldwide especially the accomplishments of our friend, Albert!

Pie 3: S'moreS Pie ♥ Submitted by: Donovan Milstein


y last pie recipe to me came when BASIS Independent School in Brooklyn contacted me to announce that one of their students would be competing in the next season of MasterChef Junior, which began airing in February. On MasterChef Junior, Donovan competes with other talented young chefs. People can watch the show on Thursday nights at 8 pm on FOX. But this 9-year old culinary genius has been cooking since long before his TV debut. He started exlporing cooking as young as age three. To help me in my quest to find a pie recipe, Donovan was nice enough to share one of his family’s favorite pie recipes.

ProceSS: Similar to the Key Lime Pie, I grabbed a bag of graham crackers and got to smashing. I suppose it makes sense to work off my calories before I’m allowed the pie. This time, in addition to butter, Donovan had me add brown sugar before I pressed the crust into the pie plate. I had leftover graham crackers, which left me concerned about the size of my pie plate, but there was no turning back. Donovan’s instructions said to leave the pie in the oven for 8 minutes, which left me with a lightly browned crust that smelled fantastic. Next, I started on my marshmallow topping. I mixed gelatin and cold water in a bowl and let it sit while I heated sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan. With the help of a cheap electric burner and my candy thermometer, I got the temperature to 237 degrees. It was just shy of Donovan’s 240 degrees, but my sad little burner couldn’t go any higher. I took the sugar off and hoped for the best. Pouring the melted concoction into the gelatin mixture, I began whisking

it all together. It smelled awful, but I had high hopes. It probably would have smelled better had I remembered to add the vanilla. My bad. Donovan’s instructions called for me to whip the marshmallow topping in a stand mixer, but as I don’t own one, I thought I’d just give it some elbow grease. But my elbow grease ran out around 15 minutes in and I suffered through another 30 trying to get those stiff peaks. I would not recommend this course of action. Cashew, perhaps knowing what is good for her, kept a wide distance between her and my marshmallow everything else in my kitchen. process. Instead of offering assistance, she fell asleep in a cardboard box. reSultS: Despite my struggles, I made it through and though it When I finally finished, I clutched wasn’t the prettiest pie, I had my deadened arms, covered in high hopes. sticky marshmallow, and started the chocolate ganache. Putting plastic wrap over the top turned out to be a sticky The cream heated on the stove before disaster. The challenge of I added dark chocolate chips and slicing nearly did me in. But the However, this pie was exactly what it stirred it until smooth. Pouring an taste, that was something. ought to be. The crust was absolutely indiscriminate amount into the pie crust, I turned my attention to the thoughtS: If I were to make perfect and the flavors were exactly this pie again, I wouldn’t have what I had hoped. Though the marshmallow. whipped the marshmallow reviews disagree, I would say this Without a pastry bag, I pulled out a quite as long as I did and I plastic bag, cut off one corner, and would have added more of was my best pie. It's definitely the one I most want to try again. attempted to get the marshmallow the chocolate I made. topping inside. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work and scrapped the bag in favor of simply spooning “Next time, we try blueberry!” out quickly solidifying bits of AppeArAnce: marshmallow onto the chocolate and “This s’mores pie reminded me I went trying to spread them evenly. camping as a kid. It was harder to cut than normal pies.” It looked like a gloppy mess, but I FlAvor: pressed on. “Needs to have a lighter, lemon-flavored marshmallow.” Without a blow torch in my kitchen, I Mouth Feel: “Crust was buttery goodness. Marshmalturned to my oven for support. Broiler low was ooey gooey goodness. Chocolate on, pie in, Emily staring at the oven. is chocolate is always goodness.” In the process of waiting for the hAnd Feel: “If I did it again, I wouldn’t beat the marshmallow to brown, I watched as it marshmallow so long.” bubbled over and coated my oven in a sticky mess. So, note to self, a blow “I liked that is was so sticky that I could overAll: torch is not the same as a broiler. stick it to my finger to pick it up. But I didn’t like the way it stuck to the roof.” I spent the next hour cleaning dishes, oven mitts, my oven, and basically

Our Pie Panel says:

A = πr2

The area of a circle equals pi times the radius times the radius.

C = πd = 2πr

The circumference of a circle equals pi times the diameter, which equals pi times two times the radius.

Pi Jokes The roundest knight at Sir Arthur's table was Sir Cumference. He ate too much Pi! Q: What is the official animal of Pi Day? A: The pi-thon. In Alaska, where it gets very cold, pi is only 3.00. After all, everything shrinks in the cold -- they call it Eskimo pi. Never talk to pi. He'll go on forever. If you ask a scientist what pi is, he'll tell you it equals 3.14159. If you ask a mathematician, he'll tell you pi equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. If you ask an engineer, he'll say "Pi? Well, it's about 3, but we'll call it 4 just to be safe." But if you ask a kid, he'll ask if he can have ice cream with it.

How many pastry chefs does it take to make a pie? 3.14 What famous private investigator solves math problem?... Magnum Pl A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all given identical rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are given anything they want to measure it, and have all the time they need. The mathematician pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference. He then divides by two times pi to get the radius, cubes that, multiplies by pi again, and then multiplies by four-thirds and thereby calculates the volume. The physicist gets a bucket of water, places 1.00000 gallons of water in the bucket, drops in the ball, and measures the displacement to six significant figures. And the engineer? He writes down the serial number of the ball, and looks it up. Come to the nerd side, we have pi! 3.14% of sailors are Pi-Rates.

We asked some of our favorite local pie places to tell us a little about their pie moments. Here's what they had to say: THE HOUSE OF PIZZA & CALZONE


Paul D'Agostino

Victoria Tarpin

Q: Why Pie?

Q: Why Pie?

A: Because when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!

A: Through pie, you can show your love. That's how I fell in love with my husband.

Q: What's your favorite kind of Pie, and why?

Q: What's your favorite kind of Pie, and why?

A: At The House of Pizza & Calzone..... there’s only one kind, Tomato Pie!

A: I love me some key lime pie with lots of whipped cream. It’s so good, very delicate and refreshing. Just addictive.

Q: How long have you been pie-ing? A: Lombardi's has been Pie-ing since 1905.

A: I have been a pie addict for over 20 years.

A: If a pizza has radius Z and depth A, it's volume is pi*z*z*a.

Q: What's your favorite Pie memory?

A: NO! Because cakes are square! (Pies are round!) DOLCE BROOKLYN Pierre Alexandre

Q: What's your favorite Pie memory? A: Making my first pie crust with friend Vicki and actually being able to roll it out. Q: Do you think Cake should have its own holiday too? A: Cake absolutely needs its own day! As Julia Child once said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.”

Q: How long have you been pie-ing?

Q: What's your favorite Pie memory?

Q: Do you think Cake should have its own holiday too?

A: Since I was a teenager, a couple of years ago...

A: My son is a big fan of key lime pie, too. Once, when he was little he had access to a box of 10 tarts and he licked each one of them, thinking that nobody would would want to eat them after that. He was determined that he would eat all of them. Q: Do you think Cake should have its own holiday too?

BROOKLYN SLATE Anonymous Q: Why Pie? A: Pie is the forgotten dessert… The bass player of the after dinner festivities! It’s about time pie received the recognition it deserves. Q: What’s your favorite kind of Pie, and why? A: Pumpkin pie. Better than the rest. Q: How long have you been pie-ing?

A: Yes, cake should have its own holiday. I'm not going to discriminate. There are so many good cakes out there. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.

A: Sixteen years on a part-time schedule. With a bit more experience, a full-time opportunity should be within my grasp.

A: Fresh blueberry


Q: How long have you been pie-ing?

Michelle Tampakas

A: When Great Grandma came in 4th place in the third international pie-fest of 1954 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A: Pie-ing since two years of age

Q: Why Pie?

Q: What's your favorite Pie memory?

A: There's no such thing as a “dry” pie. Pies can combine silky custardy fillings, or savoury fillings like prosciutto and cheeses, combined with buttery crusts. That makes pie the thing to be.

Q: Why Pie? A: It's reminiscent of old-fashioned America. Q: What’s your favorite kind of Pie, and why?

A: Making an apple pie with my daughter Cece when she was 2. Q: Do you think Cake should have its own holiday too? A: No, I like that only Pi(e) has a holiday based upon a mathematical equation.

Q: What's your favorite kind of Pie, and why? A: I like savoury pies like pizza rustica, but I'm a dough person.

Monteleone Bakery

Q: How long have you been pie-ing?

Q: What’s your favorite Pie memory?

Q: Do you think Cake should have its own holiday too? A: No! They’re not such a great band. “The Distance” is tolerable, but “I Will Survive” is simply unacceptable.

Editor’s Note: Cake actually DOES have it’s own day! National Cake Day is celebrated on November 26. Bundt cake also has its own holiday on November 15.

Monteleone Bakery opened their doors in 1929, just one year after Buddy Scotto was born. As a treat for our special Pi Day section, Buddy brought the Star-Revue staff an apple pie from Monteleone. “Is there anything more American than apple pie?” he asked. Two days later, he showed up with a cherry crumble pie. In another couple of days, Buddy walked in with a blueberry pie. He wanted to make sure we tried them all.

Our Pie Panel says: cherry crumb Pie: 87.4% aPPle Pie: 84% blueberry Pie: 76.5% approval rating

F. Monteleone Bakery & CaFe: 355 Court St., Brooklyn; (718) 852-5600

Red Hook brings real estate pros to Historical Society by Noah Phillips


epresentatives from city agencies, real estate investment groups, and brokerage firms gathered to discuss prospects for development in Red Hook at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s quarterly Real Estate Roundtable (RER) on February 7. The RER aims to give attendees “a new perspective on an aspect of real estate in Brooklyn – and hopefully, an inside scoop or two!” according to Alison Novak of Hudson Companies, speaking on behalf of the steering committee. The $300 tickets gained attendees access to a networking cocktail hour as well as a panel of speakers. These included Jill Eisenhard, executive director of the Red Hook Initiative; Chris Ward, of AECOM; Marshall Sohne, of Sohne Brothers Real Estate Development in the Columbia Waterfront District; and representatives from NYCHA’s Office of Recovery and Resilience and architects Kohn Peterson Fox Associates, the designers of the FEMA-funded storm-proofing of the Red Hook Houses. The purpose of the event is to raise money to support the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and its programs. The overall premise of the discussion was the perceived underdevelopment of Red Hook, and the challenges attendees might face in constructing new buildings in the area.

During the cocktail hour brokers mingled over breadsticks and business cards, commenting on Red Hook’s lack of transportation and the possible negative influence of the NYCHA housing projects on new luxury housing construction. Several had observed that much of Red Hook’s population is relatively engaged and vocally opposed to new development. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams commented on this issue his introduction to the panel. “I want this borough to grow and build, but I bring you a message from the ground: it is more than brick and mortar, it is human beings,” Adams cautioned the luncheoning crowd. “This has to be a borough where we grow children and families that are healthy and prosper. Everyone must benefit.” Adams warned the attendees that pushback against gentrification “is the next wave that’s going to impact your industry,” and that responsible development must include young people, disciplining unscrupulous landlords eager to displace tenants, and diffusing resentment. “If you believe that your planning can be absent of a plan of how to deal with people on the ground, you are making a big mistake,” said Adams. “Part of your business plan must be going in and forming relationships, and dees-

Chris Ward makes his AECOM presentation at the roundtable. (Phillips photo)

calating the fear and anger that many people in communities are feeling.”

view, is the critical factor preventing growth in the area.

A blank canvas

“One of the things we talked about [at AECOM] is how to break down that barrier of isolation and bring some form of subway service to the Red Hook housing projects and then through the rest of Red Hook and finally to the F train,” said Ward. He drew the connection to Hudson Yards and the 7 train extension. “The question is, what do you build at the other end of that train? We think building a neighborhood for Sunset Park and Red Hook is that opportunity.”

“When you think about the city of New York - and its enormous wealth and vitality - the amount of underdevelopment and the lack of access to the waterfront is incredible in this part of Brooklyn,” said Ward, who presented second. “What do we want to buy, what are we willing to pay for, to make Brooklyn a better place? And what level of growth are we willing to tolerate to build that?” During his presentation, Ward put forward his framework for addressing Red Hook’s isolation, which, in his

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March 2017, Page 17


Mike Drop:


Losing and Learning at LICH by Michael Racioppo


t is cliché to say that there is more to learn from failure then there is from success, but there are truths in such familiar sayings. The latest flare up between the neighborhood and the developer, FORTIS, is over the timing and amount of construction noise that has begun as early as 5 am. There has been some successful community push back on this one small area of concern. However, the rest has been an undeniable loss for the community. Not just Cobble Hill, but all of Brooklyn has much to learn from this loss. We must learn to pay attention not to what people say in front of a community, but what they do to and for the community. To understand why it is a loss, one must accept that it was destined to be a loss the second the RFP was released. My grandfather was a proud member of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA). Long Island College Hospital (LICH), blocks away from the ILA health center, was my family’s go-to hospital. Now the campus of LICH is no longer a hospital, and last week its developer, FORTIS, announced that it will go ahead with an “as of right” luxury housing project, which means that no zoning change will be required. There will be no compulsion for community benefits, since there is little other than “delay and pray” tactics that can be done to stop it. How did we get to this point? Various people, for differing reasons get blamed, from Mayor de Blasio to a former community board chairman, but the original sin from which all else stems was the original SUNY RFP. That RFP set the table for what I fear will become manifest in Cobble Hill. When I spoke to Councilman Brad Lander about this, he put it succinctly, saying that “a public institution sold off public land for private gain, and we are getting exactly what they said they’d do in response to the RFP.” With the press focused on the mayor’s inability to get the state to relent on the LICH closing, it has been easy to forget that State University of New York (SUNY) owned, mismanaged and ultimately sold this property pursuant to a RFP it conceived, and that failed to include requirements for a hospital or affordable and senior housing. This may have upped the sales price, but the lack of provisos left the community without leverage to influence the development. When the winning bidder does what it said it would do, why act surprised? All of us concerned about healthcare and affordable housing in NYC organized in opposition to the plan in our community, sat through countless meetings and protests, and even saw a mayoral candidate and elected officials carted off to jail. But now we know it was all over with the RFP and the terms set forth in that document. So while it was a really flawed process, I can’t help but remember a quote, that at this moment that’s also applicable to the horror show that is the Trump Administration and those that argued he wasn’t that bad, from the great Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Michael Racioppo is the Vice Chair of Community Board 6 and the Executive Director of Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation .

Thank you so much for the lovely framed article “Cultural Outreach at BASIS.” It was such a surprise to walk downstairs and find it waiting for us. Ms. Ruggles and I are so appreciative of the lovely gift. You reformatted it to look lovely in the frame, and we are proudly displaying it in the school now. If you do not mind, I am going to make a copy and put one in our “family meeting room” for prospective parents to see, too. Then we can grow awareness among folks considering the school, too, of our program and your newspaper.

On Real Estate Developers

We also happen to have a parent at the school named Valerie who used to write for Time Out New York and now writes on the side while taking care of her two kids. She lives in Red Hook and mentioned how much she loves the paper. I told her she should reach out to you about some reporting. She is a whip smart person, and she might be someone who could help with an assignment here and there if you needed more writers.

Red Hook will always be a part of me. I still visit quite often. My brother John wrote many articles for the StarRevue. Thank you for sharing this article (Feb. 7 Roundtable). - Catherine Burkard Walsh

Thank you for all you do for the Red Hook community each and every day! - Jo Goldfarb, Director of Communications – BASIS Independent NYC

Thanks Velmanette!

To: The Honorable Velmanette Montgomery State Senator, 25 District 30 Third Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217 Dear Senator Montgomery: Thank you for your January 26, 2017 letter, concerning sinkholes on Van Brunt Street between King and Pioneer Streets. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Highway Inspection and Quality Assurance (HIQA) Unit has advised me that these sinkholes were caused by a sewer project under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). HIQA is aware of this condition and has been working closely with DEP to ensure that the necessary repairs are done to restore the condition of the roadway. HIQA inspectors met onsite with DEP last month and issued them a Corrective Action Report. I am happy to report that DEP’s Bureau of Water & Sewer Operations unit completed the repairs on February 8. I am taking the liberty of copying DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza so he is aware of this issue. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, P. E., Department of Environmental Protection NYC Department of Transportation

Shoddy real estate reporting

The Star-Revue is looking for someone to sell Neighborhood Service classified ads. This work can be done at home by phone and e-mail.

For more information please email Page 18 Red Hook Star-Revue

Red Hook? That is the gentrification that is and has been silent. - Gregory O’Connell

Looks like you’re reading into this (Feb. 7 Real Estate Roundtable) and reporting on it without breadth. Chris Ward’s plan is comical and Marshall Sohne has no real property presence in Red Hook. What is the point of this article? Why is there sarcasm? How long have any of you from your “publication” been in Red Hook? You are sensationalizing something that is a non-starter and picking low hanging fruit. It’s easy and lazy. How about focusing on how pure speculation and sales brokers have intentionally driven up rates for single and multifamily properties throughout the back of

They don’t care about the people already here. All they’re interested in is the view & putting up more luxury condos that will push the current residents out. Funny how NY Post just had an article about how the NYCHA houses are too costly to repair & should be eliminated. Wouldn’t these guys just love that. Watch out Red Hook. They’re coming for your neighborhood. You will be forced out & Red Hook will become another Williamsburg. - Anonymous

Always a part of me

Looking to the future

Holy Crap! 21st century feudalism. If you live in Red Hook or are a NYC resident please do everything you can to oppose this rezoning. These people are colluding to land grab, kick you out, kick out the good paying blue collar jobs and put up their money trees. (luxury high rises). -Mike May

REAL ESTATE PROS (continued from page 17) 42 million square feet of new space in Red Hook, including 11,250 new housing units. Economic development, argued Ward, is the price Red Hook must pay for benefits such as resiliency measures and other amenities, which he said are unlikely to be paid for by the federal, state, or city governments. Eisenhard, like Adams, cautioned the room not to take the existing character of the neighborhood for granted. “If you look around New York City, what makes it an amazing place is the diversity, being able to have people around of different backgrounds, people who have seen things change over time, who know that history,” said Eisenhard during her presentation.” “Any development or planning needs to be able to connect with organizations and people on the ground who have been there, and who know what the needs are, and what they envision for their own growth.” Marshall Sohne, a local developer with an office on Sackett Street, was somewhere in the middle. “The numbers are really good; there’s a very good profit to be made,” said Sohne. “There is definitely a market for high-end condominiums, high end townhouses, obviously a middle market, and an affordable market that’s no one’s going to build unless there’s a subsidy.” “Red Hook already has a community that’s pretty active. They’re engaged in their own planning at this point,” said Sohne. “It looks kind of isolated and therefore one might think it’s a blank canvas, but it’s really not. There is an active community there that’s going to be very involved in whatever happens in the neighborhood.”

March 2017

She has faced tough questions in Sunset Park and Brooklyn Heights - and this night was no different. McGettrick himself pointed out that a $300,000 trolley study six years ago determined that Red Hook streets were unsuitable for a trolley route, and wondered why this would come up again so soon.

That Crazy World of Politics by George Fiala

City Council Race

Carlos Menchaca pulled off a stunning upset in 2013 - a political novice beating a seasoned incumbent in the 38 Congressional District (Red Hook, Sunset Park).

years in the Assembly. It promises to be a hard-fought campaign.

At the time, we thought he was just trying to cash in on the goodwill he made in the neighborhood during Hurricane Sandy. He was sent here by his boss Christine Quinn to serve as the eyes of the City Council during the aftermath of the storm and turned out to be effective at bringing city services to the neighborhood.

However, his advocacy for his constituents has at times rattled the status quo – especially the real estate interests that continually seek to take advantage of communities in search of profits. That alone is a strong rationale for his continued representation of both Red Hook and Sunset Park - two communities that are fighting a battle to not go the way of Williamsburg. His enemies are not limited to real estate developers. He has had brushins with the NYC Economic Development Corporation by forcing them to cede some of their power on the waterfront to community interests. His denial of the Oxford Nursing Home in their quest to build a giant nursing home in the middle of Red Hook alienated a healthcare union as well as some in the Chasidic community. His friendship with Linda Sansour and support of minority rights in Israel has further soured his relationship with some in the Jewish community.

John Battis disputed Liu’s claim that trolleys lift people out of poverty. He called her use of a Harvard study “disingenuous.” Liu’s claim that the city-built trolley system would interface with the state’s MTA run subway system was met with disbelief. “Not while De Blasio and Cuomo are in charge,” someone shouted out. Lack of this cooperation would lead to a two fare transit – something few lower-income workers would be able to pay. Karen Blondel’s statement that this trolley does not fit into residents’ view of Red Hook was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience. “It scares the crap out of me,” she said.

Cynics that we are, we endorsed his seasoned opponent and were shocked on election night. During the three and a half years since, we have seen him work tirelessly to continue the efforts he began during Sandy. He has become an effective advocate for the community more so than many representatives of other districts.

Local businesswoman Mary DudineKyle was so frustrated by some of Liu’s answers that she walked out.

The BQX’s Ya-Ting Liu speaks in front of John McGettrick’s Civic Society. (photo by Fiala)

BQX Redux

Red Hook was home to two major discussions about the mayor’s proposal to run a streetcar alongside a large part of the Brooklyn Queens waterfront, including Red Hook. This Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) proposal is the brainchild of real estate developers with projects along the suddenly desirable waterfront. It is to be funded by bonds backed by future projected increases in property values along the route. Mayor De Blasio announced the program with great fanfare – obscuring the real estate angle by appearing with the Red Hook Initiative’s Jill Eisenhard and the two Red Hook Houses TA Presidents, Lillie Marshall and Frances Brown, in a huge press spectacle at Pioneer Works last year. On first glance, who would be against such an attractive project? Renderings of sleek modern trolley’s gliding passengers up and down Brooklyn and Queens are certainly appealing and all at the cost of a subway fare!

It seemed that only two of more than twenty attendees were BQX supporters. Those two were joined by longtime trolley enthusiast Bob Diamond, who attempted to support Liu on the technical side. Diamond is the person responsible for the disused trolley that now sits behind Fairway. Other attendees brought up issues with resiliency, Red Hook’s soil composition, existing congestion, doubts as to the viability of a rail system sharing the streets with trucks, cars and pedestrians, and a suspicion that the whole plan is meant to “Williamsburg” the entire waterfront - driving away businesses and residents who have stuck out the various ups and downs of the neighborhood. The very last questioner had perhaps the most important query of all would Ya-Ting Liu go back to her committee and tell them the results of the evening - that Red Hook is not interested? Or was this community listening session simply pro-forma? Liu’s equivocating response to that one was the least convincing of all. While Liu said that she would bring back everything she had heard at the meeting, she left the impression that Red Hook would get the trolley regardless. So on the south end of the waterfront at least, the mayor and his real-estate friends will have some work to do on a project that they might have thought would be a no-brainer.

Finally, his perhaps unwise last-minute decision to support Ceasar Zuniga in his 2014 challenge to long-term Assemblymember (now Assistant Speaker) Felix Ortiz poisoned a relationship with the Red Hook/Sunset Park state representative that never was promising in the first place.

On the other hand, Red Hookers from both the Front and the Back have expressed very real concerns. At last month’s Red Hook Civic Association meeting, which took place as usual at P.S. 15, John McGettrick presented BQX Executive Director Ya-Ting Liu for a question and answer session.

The Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Carroll Garden’s political club that now meets in Brooklyn Heights released the following statement last month:

The grapevine says that Ortiz will mount a challenge to Menchaca in this year’s citycouncil race which culminates in the September primary. No doubt hordes of cash will descend upon Ortiz from all Menchaca’s enemies cited above, plus all the friends that Ortiz has made in his twenty-plus

One of Liu’s responsibilities is to build bridges in the communities that would be served by the trolley. She has held public and private meetings with stakeholders promoting the idea that the city desperately needs improved transportation infrastructure, and that this trolley is one of the answers.

Whereas, United States Representative Nydia Velázquez has long been an

Red Hook Star-Revue


advocate for the rights of immigrants, and, Whereas, Representative Velázquez, joined by Representative Jerrold Nadler put this advocacy into action and traveled to JFK airport to demand

the release of refugees being held under the president’s executive order banning travel from seven predominately Muslim nations and, Whereas, their actions resulted in the release of several individuals whom the Custom and Border Patrol detained, therefore, be it Resolved that the Independent Neighbor Democrats of Brooklyn express their thanks to Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler for their quick and effective response to the president’s executive order and for their advocacy and actions on behalf of refugees, immigrants and all those affected by this executive order.


Sayar Lonial, the chairperson for Community Board 6, wrote a letter to President Trump saying that they resolved unanimously to adopt the enclosed resolution opposing his Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” at their general meeting on February 8, 2017. They included in their letter the poem engraved on the statue which asks the world to send us their tired and poor. Community Board 6 ended their letter by calling upon President Trump to pursue compassionate and fair immigration policies which refrain from xenophobic rhetoric and place a higher value on the American ideals of freedom and liberty.

Visitation (continued from page 3)

for the most part, they voiced a general complacency with the priest and the other members of the religious order, Koinonia John the Baptist, who “work hard to keep the church running.” Two lifelong parishioners, when questioned, noted that they felt frustrated with the conflict brewing at Visitation. One woman noted emphatically, “This is OUR church,” implying that there is a lack of loyalty in the church community. The other shook her head, saying, “That man, he works so hard.” Fr. Claudio said assuredly that in December, he was offered six more years at the church. The archdiocese did not respond to requests for a comment about Fr. Claudio’s future in the church, which leaves a lot of people wondering where to find the truth amongst all the claims that have been made. At the moment, there are many fingers being pointed, but if the archdiocese has given Fr. Claudio a placement, very little can be done without conclusive evidence of great misconduct. In the meantime, it looks like the only option is for the two parties to either communicate or divide.

*Certain names in this article have been replaced to protect the anonymity of people within the church community that feared backlash for speaking their minds. Others remained anonymous for fear of offending fellow community members.

March 2017, Page 19



Garcia then took pictures and signed autographs for the kids, who really enjoyed meeting a former professional baseball player.

Gonzalez formerly represented District 38 in the New York City Council, which includes Red Hook. The three featured guests were former professional baseball player and current coach Chris Garcia, current NYPD officer and actor on the hit Fox show Gotham JW Cortes, and former recording artist and founder of Wallball World Jasmine Ray.

He now coaches baseball for kids who are seven to sixteen.

t the Miccio Community Center on the evening of February 8, Sara Gonzalez and the Red Hook Lions Club hosted a meet and greet between neighborhood kids and three successful Brooklyn natives.

The guests and hosts had time to talk and introduce themselves before about 20 kids from Miccio’s afterschool program arrived in the gym at about 6:45 pm. “Youth is the future,” Gonzalez said before the event began. “I am very proud of JW, I am very proud of Chris, I am very proud of Jasmine. These people have done so many wonderful things in their lives, that is why I wanted the kids to show up.” Andrea McKnight introduced Cortes as an individual who plays Detective Alvarez on Gotham on Channel 5. “He came to see you and some of the kids in the community,” McKnight said. “He came to let you know that there is something else to look forward to.”

Chris Garcia

Garcia, who has been a professional baseball player, gave words of wis-

Garcia, who went to Xaverian High in Brooklyn, was drafted in the 15th round by the Los Angeles Angels in 2007, and played in the minor league organizations for them, the Braves, and the Mets. He also played in an independent league.

“It is our responsibility to give back at the end of the day. We came from this neighborhood. It is our responsibility to inspire the next generation.”

Andrea and Jay McKnight of the Lion’s Club teamed up with former City Council member Sara Gonzalez to bring three local celebrities to talk to today’s youth. (Weiser photos)

his acting and singing dreams. In addition to being on Gotham, he is also a police officer in the Port Authority and Grand Central Station, “which really confuses my fans because they will see me in uniform and they are not sure if I am filming an episode of Gotham or not.”

Jasmine Rey

JW Cortes

JW Cortes, who plays Detective Carlos Alvarez on Gotham, was next to introduce himself to the kids. He explained that Alvarez is a comic book character and that he is the first human to play him. He also added that the kids should always believe since he grew up in Brooklyn as well. “As the first human to play him, I get to bring him to life to the show Gotham as a member of the GCPD,” Cortes said. “What I want you guys to know in this gym is that I am from Brooklyn. I want you guys to know that because if I made it to the TV show Gotham and I am originally from Brooklyn, what does that mean for you guys?” His main message to the kids was that they can achieve anything to which they aspire. He told the kids that he would answer any questions that the kids had about acting or the show and would sign autographs on his picture that he brought.

Rey then introduced herself to the kids and briefly told them about the opportunities that they can have playing handball with the United States Wallball Association. “You can play handball right here down the block,” Rey said. “There are so many handball courts in New York City. When you play in my tournaments, now you have an opportunity to fly out of the country to play handball. Isn’t that nice? We have been all over the place. We have been to Italy, to Colombia, to China.” She started out as a singer and was on tour for five years. She was happy to share that one of her songs went No. 1 on Z100 back in 2006.

After telling the kids the opportunities they had through handball, Rey then threw handballs that she brought to the kids in the afterschool program.

ball elsewhere in Brooklyn. He started out by enthusiastically asking the kids who wanted to be a baseball player. When a few raised their hands, he told them that it was a worthy challenge.

In addition to starting Wallball World because of her brother, she thought there was a need for it since so many kids play handball. She first started it as an LLC (for-profit company) but when she realized that people don’t really donate to for profits she created a non-profit.

Page 20 Red Hook Star-Revue

Cortes, whose passion for acting began at Lafayette High in Bensonhurst, was in the Marine Corps for 13 years. He said knew he wanted to pursue his love for acting when he was in Iraq in 2003. and decided that when he got back from the war he would not give up on

The only thing kids need to participate is a waiver signed by their parents saying that they can play. Other than that, everything from membership, to the tournaments, to the food that they provide, to the handballs, to the t-shirts is free. Rey first came in contact with Gonzalez after her uncle passed away in an accident about 10 years ago. Gonzalez was a councilwoman and at that time she did a street renaming for Rey’s uncle in Sunset Park. That was the first time that she met her. “After that, she saw the work that we were doing in the community, and once she left the council she said she

“I did this in his memory,” Rey said. “I couldn’t sing anymore. Who could sing after that?”

The kids enjoyed playing handball against the wall of the gym led by Rey. Trequan Bekka, the head of the after school program, also participated. Rey interacted with the kids and gave them pointers.

“It is not easy to be a baseball player,” said Garcia, who was born in Bensonhurst but grew up in Sunset Park. “You have got to put in hard work. Stay away from the streets, start training, do a lot of running, do a lot of weights, stop playing basketball, stop playing manhunt and stop playing all these crazy games in the streets.”

They have taken teenagers who have excelled to tournaments in Colombia, Italy, Ireland and soon, Scotland. They also have two local tournaments a month.

Rey started her handball organization for kids back in 2010 the year after her brother, who loved handball, passed away.

He really wanted the kids to have a chance to get close to him and not be Garcia, Ray and Cortes pose at the Miccio shy about getting a picdom to the kids first because he had ture. “We can take a thousand picto leave early to coach kids in base- tures, that is what I am here for.” Cortes grew on 49th Street in Sunset Park when it was known as Little Vietnam. He said the crack and AIDS epidemics destroyed the neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s, but he is happy there are presently more opportunities.

kids, to now we have 2,000 kids in the five boroughs,” Rey said.

“Once the kids saw that we were having free tournaments and free events where they could just come and be safe and have some recreation and walk away with a t-shirt or a ball, little by little we went from 50 kids, to 100

JW Cortes in his role as Detective Alvarez

wanted to continue helping us spread the word and get some more work in Sunset Park,” Rey said. “A lot of kids come from Sunset and I am from Sunset.” Later on, Rey spoke about how she wants to make a difference in the community with handball and help the kids that are growing up now. “We are here to inspire the youth,” Rey added. “We are inspired just to help the community in general. It is our responsibility to give back at the end of the day. We came from this neighborhood. It is our responsibility to inspire the next generation.” The three guests left an impression on the kids, who were excited to get pictures with and meet the people who were on the meet and greet flyer.

March 2017

ON EDUCATION: Summit seniors receive full college scholarships by Emily Kluver


n February 9, the Ellen Show aired a segment in which host Ellen DeGeneres presented a $25,000 check to administrators at Summit Academy Charter School in Red Hook. Summit Academy executive director, Natasha Campbell, along with Principal Cheryl Lundy Swift, made a surprise guest appearance on the show to discuss their students, their faculty, and the Red Hook neighborhood. Campbell was inspired to help students in the Red Hook area achieve academic success while working as the former director of the Police Athletic League with the Miccio Center. She noticed that the children she worked with wanted to succeed, but they weren’t given the educational opportunity to do so. On the Ellen Show, Campbell noted that Red Hook is “one of Brooklyn’s most underserved communities” with “over 28% of children under 16 living in poverty.” “We serve the children that come from that housing development,” she add-

ed. “We serve those children daily.” Lundy Swift noted that the teachers in the school come early and stay late, working hard to ensure that each student is given the opportunity to succeed. She explained that staff at Summit want to make sure that “our school is like a family.” The show also took the time to play short clips of what Summit students had to say about their school. “I was told that I couldn’t do that much, and Summit helped me achieve my goal of pushing myself, and now I’m on the honor role,” one young woman explained. “When I walk into school every day,” another student added, “I feel like it’s just another day of getting closer to my dreams.” On February 22, the Ellen Show invited the two Summit administrators back, this time with the entire Summit senior class. During the segment, Ellen spoke both with administrators and students about their life experiences and how Summit had helped them achieve more than they’d ever imagined.

The entire senior class came out to be on the Ellen show.

Public Art For Red Hook

It is hard to find a neighborhood in New York that has felt the effects of rising sea levels more than Red Hook, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps that is why the De Blasio administration, in partnership with Council Member Carlos Menchaca, has chosen the area to be the home of a climate-focused art project. The Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art program has been granted $20,000 by the city to carry out this special project and they are looking for assistance in the local community. The organization is trying to involve local children in choosing artists and potentially assisting with design or building work in collaboration with the selected artist. In a public meeting on February 8th, city administrators and local officials unveiled the project and outlined next steps. Organizers have not yet determined the location of the piece, saying it largely depends on the type of project chosen. However, they have been given permission to use space in Coffey Park, Valentino Park, or the empty lot located at Halleck and Columbia Street.

Red Hook Star-Revue

One student expressed, “[Summit] made my dreams and goals more realistic. With teachers like them making it possible, everything is just easier.” Another added, “I’m

At the moment, they say they want to keep the project very open-ended so as not to limit creative ideas. Kendal Henry, Director of Percent for Art, told people at the meeting that he didn’t want to set to many restrictions on the artists. He noted that the project even has the potential to be mobile or located in several spaces. It could be temporary or semi-permanent. The only requirement is to create a climate change piece that involves cooperation with local kids. The artwork is projected to go up in September and would likely be removed within the following year. For more information or to get involved, email Rachel Finkelstein (

P.S. 15 Gala

At the end of March, P.S. 15 will be holding its annual Spring Gala at Pioneer Works. The Gala will consist of a night of music, dance, and food provided by local restaurants like the Good Fork, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Hope & Anchor, Steve’s Key Lim Pie, La Newyorkina, and Brooklyn Crab. Additionally, the bar will be supplied by local purveyors Dry Dock Wine & Spirits

Summit’s Natasha Richardson and Cheryl Lundy Swift talk to Ellen on her program.

not going to be a disappointment. I’m going to be somebody.”

trials. I can’t think of a more deserving group of scholars.”

At the very end of the show, DeGeneres announced that through funding from the Walmart Foundation, she was offering each of the 41 seniors at Summit a four year scholarship to any State University of New York (SUNY) school that they choose.

Vetter also noted that the entire experience had filled the senior class with emotions - from happiness to shock to gratitude. He said that on the ride back from the show, the Summit seniors thanked Summit staff members for making this opportunity possible for them and enthusiastically sang the school’s creed along with school songs they had learned during their time at Summit.

The donation, which in full amounts to $1.6 million dollars, is the largest gift ever given out on the show. Summit Vice Principal, Tim Vetter, remarked that “This experience is proof that hard work leads to positive outcomes.” He added, “Our scholars have pushed hard to overcome personal obstacles, put in extra time during office hours, attended Saturday Academy, taken on extra coursework to make-up lost credits, among a multitude of other

“There is a community of extremely hard working people who are invested in our scholars’ futures. This includes our parents, scholars, teachers, counselors, deans, and administration,” Vetter explained. “The positivity and excitement is reverberating throughout our community, and I can already feel how it is further fueling our efforts for our underclassmen as well.”

and Six Points Brewery. Additionally, the school will hold a raffle. Prizes include tickets to a Yankees game, sports team memorabilia, passes to museums across New York City, gift certificates to local businesses like Tenoverten, Red Hook Pilates, Shipwrecked, Court 16, Elite Fitness Studio, and more. Tina Heslin, the parent-teacher coordinator at P.S. 15 said that the school hopes to make $15,000 to provide after school programming for students and fund other educational projects. The P.S. 15 Spring Gala takes place on Tuesday March 30 from 7-10 pm at 159 Pioneer Street. Tickets for the event cost $65 per person. Raffle tickets are $5 per ticket, $25 for 6 tickets, $60 for 15 tickets and $100 for 30 tickets. Tickets can be purchased at https://

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Last year’s gala was a big success.

March 2017, Page 21

Court Street’s Molese Club gives the Gift of Life


n February 1, 2017, 8 year-old Bledina Cunaku and 5 year-old Erina Terstena from Kosovo were given a second chance to live when they received life-saving surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center on Long Island. Through the love and generosity of the Van Westerhout Molese Club and the Club Dei Carinesi, $10.000 was raised for the girls to receive their very special gift of life, answering their families’ prayers. Mola Club president, Vito Parente was moved recently when attending an event at the Marco Polo Ristorante for a friend who was helping to raise funds for a child in desperate need of a vital heart operation. He was overwhelmed by the statistics of children from around the world who do not have access to life-saving heart surgery that is performed regularly here in the United States and Italy. He and the President of Bensonhurst’s Carini Club, Tony Troia, knew in their hearts they couldn’t ignore the glaring need to do their share. The members of the clubs not only raised funds for their surgery, they took a personal interest in welcoming the girls and their fathers to New York. Both presidents met the families at the airport, provided transportation as needed, remained at the hospital during and after the surgeries and even took them sightseeing when they recovered. It was a true family affair. On the 18th of February, the clubs’ members and their families gathered at the Molese Club on Court Street for a farewell party. The girls were treated to pizza and live entertainment from the Disney char-

Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club to take part in End Hunger Outreach On Saturday, March 11, the Brooklyn Bridge (BBRC) and Verrazano Rotary Clubs are teaming up with Project Outreach to help alleviate food insecurity throughout Brooklyn and Queens. “As Rotarians, it gives us great joy to help others in need, both domestically and internationally. The End Hunger Outreach event is special in that it brings together people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities to help feed the undernourished in our own backyards. We are literally feeding our neighbors,” said Lizzette Muniz, BBRC President. Food insecurity is “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food,” as defined by Google. More than 800 million people worldwide experience food insecurity daily. In New York City, there are approximately one million food insecure people, and more than half of those are children. For many of these children, the only meals they eat are breakfast and lunch that are provided by the

Page 22 Red Hook Star-Revue

by Mary Ann Pietanza

acter Elsa, who performed “Let It Go” and further delighted the girls with the wonderment of Frozen-theme magic. The founder and directors of the organizations devote much of their time tirelessly coordinating arrangements for suffering children with fatal heart defects to receive the medical procedures they need that are unavailable in their native or countries around the world. Messrs. Francesco DiMarco, Founder and President of Gift of Life Italy of New York; Carl Campagna, Director of Gift of Life International; and Board of Director Peter Ungara presented gratitude plaques to the members of both clubs. They cited the 1.3 million babies born each year with heart defects. Ten percent don’t live past their first year. The consortium of the three evolving organizations - which includes the Nassau County based Gift of Life, and rely upon Rotary Clubs and Districts throughout the world to identify specific children in need - has treated over 18,000 children. But they want to do more.

In all, five young children arrived at JFK from Kosovo for life-saving heart surgery, shown here with Molese members (photo by Mary Ann Pietanza)

gave their daughters a future - the collaborated efforts of the Gift of Life and Rotary Club of Verrazano, and the generosity of the Mola and Carini In the cases of Bledina and Erina, the societies. Their daughters smiled and Kosovo government provided their giggled with their colorfully painted transportation to New York, where the faces while waving magic wands as they stood close by. Mr. Terstena parWhen Francesco DiMarco first found- two families were accommodated graticularly expressed teary-eyed sentied the Gift of Life, he had an affiliation tis at the Ronald McDonald House for ments of wishing everyone the same with many hospitals who were will- the duration of their trip. Gift of Life blessing for their loved ones, that was ing to extend pro-bono surgeries. St. provided for the services of two transgranted to his baby Erina. Francis Hospital performed the first lators along with the other expenses. surgery for Gift of Life in 1987. A de- Dr. Sean Levchuck performed the sur- Humbly, Vito Parente remarked that Bledina and Erina will never forget cade or two later, cooperating hospi- geries. tals like Stonybrook and Montefiore Vito Parente commented on the mi- where they received their gift of life. began to restrict their pro-bono heart raculous speed of recovery the girls “Imagine” he said, “these girls resurgery services. Eventually, only St. had, saying that they went into the ceived their second chance at life by a Francis stayed on board. This prompt- roughly three-hour surgery pale as group of immigrants who came from ed Mr. DeMarco to develop an inter- ghosts and came out with the rosiest Italy. Like us, they got their second national program where he sought of cheeks. At the farewell party, the chance right here in Brooklyn.” the help of two major hospitals in fathers expressed extreme and emo- For more information on Gift of Life ItItaly who could perform the surgeries tional gratitude for the groups who aly of New York, contact schools. When schools are closed on holidays or weekends, so often these children do not eat all day. “This, in the United States of America, the richest country in the history of humanity, is simply unacceptable on any level,” said Mark Dana, President-elect of BBRC. On March 11, the two Rotary Clubs will package meals for food banks and soup kitchens at MCU Park - home to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Project Outreach packages food to reverse the starvation process that occur in children’s bodies, restore health, and improve mental and physical alertness. Each package provides six nutritionally balanced meals that meet dietary guidelines. “The End Hunger Outreach program is an amazing opportunity to bring awareness to the fact that many of our neighbors, including children, are hungry and undernourished,” Ben Truncali, President of Rotary Club of Verrazano said. “On March 11, Rotarians and friends from Brooklyn and beyond will gather to help solve that problem by providing nutritious meals for those in need in our communities.” The food and materials provided by Outreach come at cost of $40 per volunteer, or $480 per assembly table. This works out to approximately 25

as well. This led to a surge of program incentives to provide mobile teams of doctors to perform surgeries off-site in emerging countries.

cents per meal distributed to a hungry child. Ten volunteers surround two tables made into a simple assembly line. Each packaging line can pack over 2,000 meals per hour. The groups expect to package at least 20,000 meals to deliver to local food pantries and homeless shelters. The March event is the second major Outreach project in the district. “In November 2016, District 7255 started a relationship with The Outreach Program to package meals for the homeless and other needy Long Islanders. Over the span of 2 hours on November 12, 296 Rotarians and other volunteers came from 24 Rotary clubs to package meals for over 39,000 of our less-fortunate neighbors,” said MJ Fitzgerald, Rotarian District Governor of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Project Outreach has provided ingredients to package over 260 million meals over the past decade. Their meals have been received all over the globe, and have been credited with saving the lives of thousands of children, adults and seniors. For more information, visit,, or

Carroll Gardens Brownies to help Women’s Shelter Girl Scouts Troop 2339 will be using cookie proceeds to create care packages for the Park Slope Women’s Shelter. Christine Brower and Alexandra Carroll are the Girl Scout Troop leaders. According to Brower, the troop sold a “whopping” 1,700 boxes of cookies. The troop selected the Women’s Shelter as their community service project. The 100-bed shelter provides housing, meals and services for homeless, mentally ill and substance-abusing women. “As we investigated pricing on making 100 care packages, we found there was not enough ‘cookie money’ to fulfill such a large order,” said Brower. That’s when Brower and Carroll put the word out the community. Sponsorships came pouring in. The Target on Atlantic Avenue donated a $50 gift card for each packages, Wolfmark of Wisconsin sponsored $1,300 in blankets among others. With the cookie money and almost $3,000 in sponsorships, the Park Slope Women’s Shelter will receive 100 beautiful care packages for their residents. Brower and Carroll believe that “tiny hands can change the world,” and Troop 2339 are doing just that.

March 2017

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler at the Red Hook Library by Kimberly Gail Price


n the summer of 2014 the Red Hook Library was on Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) chopping block because it was the most underutilized in the borough. Now, the branch has been resuscitated under the creative leadership of the Friends of the Red Hook Library. On Saturday, February 25, the Friends and friends transformed the entire library into a carnival space. The shelves were lined with hand-decorated festive coverings. Mardi Gras beads from New Orleans dangled from the ceiling. Tables were festooned with brightly colored fabrics and centerpieces. The Masquerade Ball was a benefit to raise funds for the library. All monies raised through the Friends supports the Red Hook Library directly. Minnetta Brown, Friends President, orchestrated the decorations. She and her Vice President, Roslyn “Roz” Chapman made many of the adorations. Volunteers, Friends, and friends of Friends helped with the day of setup. Nearly 20 local institutions contributed food, silent auction items, and beer and wine. Local musicians from two bands BERST and The Ziggernauts - jammed all night long. Their music included an

eclectic range from Frank Sinatra to James Brown, and even a few original tunes. The happy crowd had ample dancing space, and Friends member Dawn Blondel led the group in a few rounds of line dancing. Friends Treasurer Kimberly G. Price contributed her ideas and beads from her southern Louisiana past. “This feels like a New Orleans Mardi Gras party!” she said. The conference room was filled with food from local businesses. Hometown sent a chef to build the fresh pulled pork sliders they are so well known for. Mark’s Pizza offered fresh cheese pies, the Lobster Pound sent mac and cheese, and Court Street Grocers sent two 6-foot sandwiches. F&M Bagels’ chicken parmesan was the first empty tray, and the US Fried Chicken flew from its boxes! Wade’s Dilemma sent wine and beer to keep the party going late. The 99-cent store on Lorraine Street donated hot air to fill the balloons.

Desserts galore

Alongside homemade king cakes, a donated cake that split into individual cupcakes, and gooey chocolate brownies donated by Viviana Gordon of the Justice Center, Steve’s Key Lime Pie dominated the dessert table with their chocolate covered key lime pies - known as “swindles” to hardcore key limers. Every silent auction item sold - several for more than face value. Generous businesses donated tempting gift cards to support Friends and the library including Dry Dock, Botta di Vino, Baked, Brooklyn Crab, Brooklyn Ice House, Home/Made, Kevin’s, Hope & Anchor, and the Good Fork. Wally Bazemore showed up dressed

The Friends of the Red Hook library pose for a photo at the culmination of their successful fundraiser (photos by George Fiala)

as Zorro, while Roz donned her full Cleopatra costume. Others wore their own masks they made at the Masquerade Ball. Gypsies, jinglers, and revelers dressed fancy or in costumes. But no matter what one was wearing, the good times were rolling for all. “I am still smiling thinking about it and how much fun it was!” Alyce Erdekian, Friends of the Red Hook Library Secretary, said.

For a great cause, of course

The event raised a record amount for the Friends of the Red Hook Library, but the group did not disclose how much was raised. The funds will be used to purchase things for the library such as books, shelving units, seating options, and other materials. Brian Hasbrouck, Adult Services Librarian - or Library Rockstar - said, “What I really enjoyed about the event was that so many different walks of life from Red Hook all mingled together at the library. It once again proves that the library is a central place for all of the people of Red Hook.” The Friends of the Red Hook Library is a volunteer group who raise money and advocate for this branch. The group meets every first Thursday of the month. To get involved, donate or for more information contact Sandra Sutton, Branch Manager, or Brian Hasbrouck at (718) 935-0203.

Wally Bazemore and Roslyn Chatman arrive in brilliant disguise.

Carlos Menchaca arrived late and danced heartily.

Kimberly G. Price of the Star-Revue baked two special King Cakes for the occasion.

A special cupcake cake was prepared especially for the ball.

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Mon. - Thurs. 11 am - 10:30 pm; Fri & Sat. 11 am - 11:30 pm; Sun. 1 pm - 9 pm

Red Hook Star-Revue

Robert Barnes and friends provided great dance music for the ball!

March 2017, Page 23







Contact us to learn more! Page 24 Red Hook Star-Revue

March 2017