Page 1

The OCTOBER 2013



Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Councilmember-elect Carlos Menchaca, newly appointed NYCHA boardmember Bea Byrd, Councilmember Brad Lander and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery standing together at the EPA’s press conference announcing their Record of Decision at the Gowanus Canal.



compiled by George Fiala

he EPA’s press event announcing their Record of Decision (ROD) their plan for cleaning the Gowanus, was held on a sunny morning, the last day of September. With the notable exception of anyone associated with the Gowanus GBX, a diverse group of community leaders, politicians and members of the Gowanus CAG, as well as a healthy press contingent, were there to applaud this move to the next phase of the clean-up. The EPA proposal to build a landfill out of some of the dredged canal bottom became a contentious issue that divided Red Hook. This would have created ten acres of new land for the GBX. It would be advantageous for them, but many thought it dangerous to place once-toxic materials in a flood prone area. The GBX, which includes the Grain Terminal, is close to the Red Hook ballfields and also the Red Hook Houses. The proposed plan was contingent on community approval. The EPA held a series of meetings in Red Hook to gauge reaction, and they also asked people to write them with their opinion. This comment period ended April 27th. The EPA’s ROD, as well as ancillary reports and all of the written responses have been posted on the EPA website. There is an amazing amount of material in these reports. The Star-Revue was touched by the passion of the personal letters included, and are pleased to share excerpts from them. All of these are directed to either the EPA or members of the Gowanus team, including Natalie Loney, Christos Tsiamis and Walter Mugdan.

CDF is a great idea! I was at the meeting last night as for me I would love to see Mr Quadrozzi place with this equipment to purify the slush coming from the Gowanus canal. Unfortunate a lot of people from Redhook is not into the technology of today. It would be a shame that this station is not allowed to be in redhook because of that. EPA have cleared up all doubts for some but unfortunate for others it’s not clear. I believe if the person that was chosen to give this demonstation were able to explain himself better it would have been ok. Unfortunate because of his speech not being clear and the way he spoke lots of folks didn’t get the message straight. His english was kind of limited. Lillie Marshall President Redhook West

No Real Benefit

I went to the meeting of last week, 2/13/13, at PS 15 in Red Hook. I went with an open mind. It is my opinion that there was lack of specifics and more vagueness expressed to the public. Based on the information provided by the EPA, I would have to say I DO NOT wish to have the dredged material brought to Red Hook for treatment. Send everything off-site instead. No real tangible (believable) benefit was provided at this meeting. Thank you for your time. I appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion. I do hope it is taken into consideration. Lori Burkard

(continued on page 4)




by George Fiala arlos Menchaca accomplished moved to Red Hook in April, and was a a rare political feat on Sep- familiar face at many local events, looktember 10 - he defeated an in- ing handsome in his white sports jacket, cumbent, Sara Gonzalez. He light blue shirt and striped tie. won by over 1200 votes out of a total of Kickoff fundraiser March 6 a bit more than 7,000. He won not only The campaign began with a fundraiser Red Hook and Windsor Terrace, two at the home of David Mixner, a well neighborhoods with which he has close known anti-war and gay rights activist ties, but Sunset Park, Gonzalez’s home at the beginning of March. Shortly afturf. Menchaca’s resounding victory sur- ter, he was endorsed by Nydia Velazquez prised many insiders and Gonzalez sup- and some important Red Hook business porters. Menchaca came across as an ear- and real estate leaders. In a short time, nest, capable young man with a winning $40,000 was raised. His job with Chrissmile, who stepped up during Sandy and tine Quinn ended (she ended up endorsbecame a valuable community resource. ing Gonzalez), and so he was able to go A closer look at the campaign though, into campaign mode full-time. By the reveals a more sophisticated strategy, run end of the month the campaign hired by professionals and supported by politi- a highly touted Democratic consulting cians with their own agenda. firm, Red Horse Strategies. At the end Red Hook became aware of Carlos Menchaca in the days and weeks following Hurricane Sandy. He was sent here by his employer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Bicycling over from his home in the South Slope, he immediately plunged himself into neighborhood rescue operations that grew to be the Red Hook Coalition, which included Occupy Sandy, the Red Hook volunteers and ReStore Red Hook. He became a familiar face at daily emergency meetings both at the NYCHA houses as well as with the businesses on Van Brunt. Asked who that serious looking man making phone calls at a NYCHA meeting was, a gentleman answered, “That’s Carlos. He’s from Quinn’s office and he’s everywhere!” Carlos proved to be a tireless campaigner, transforming his “everywhere” status from Sandy to much of the 38th District. Long days were spent knocking on doors in Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace and Borough Park - all part of the district. He

of March the Brooklyn Paper ran a story on the race which contained both of his most important talking points - that Sara was absent during Sandy and was a donothing council member. There is no doubt that Menchaca put his all into his campaign. His apparent sincerity won him countless friends in the district - people he met doing the hard work of door-to-door campaigning. However, he was basically an unknown, and had only six months to beat a well known and to many a well-loved incumbent. Without the heavy lifting of Brad Lander and Nydia Velazquez, he might have been at best a fringe candidate. But Lander and Velazquez each had reasons for a change in the 38th, and Menchaca was their man.

Endorsement a surprise Brad Lander’s support came as a surprise to those who weren’t paying attention. (continued on page 3)


Red Hook StarªRevue





Saturday, October 12 Table of Contents

Kings County Fiber Festival will be an autumn day of fiber in the county of Kings from 10 am to 6 pm at 336 3rd Street in Gowanus including Free Finger Knitting 4 Kids.

Council Race............. 1,3,6,7 Hometown................. 17 Fashionable................. 12,13 Youth Fun.................... 9 Movies in Red Hook......... 11 Dance on Greenway... 18 Kentler Gallery................. 14 Red Hook Liquors...... 20

It’s My Park Day will be happening all over the city from 9 am-1 pm. The Red Hook Recreation Center will have volunteers painting, gardening and involved in local clean-up. From 11 am-12:30 pm, The Red Hook Library will read to kids, offer free books and offer arts and crafts. To get involved, show up at 155 Bay Street between Clinton and Henry. Dance Theatre Etcetera presents Dance on the Greenway with two performances at 1 pm and 3 pm on the IKEA waterfront. A special panel will discuss “Rethinking Red Hook: Pushing Towards a More Sustainable Future” from 3-4 pm. Suggested donation is $10-15, but no one will be turned away. Rain date is Sunday, October 13.


Sunday, October 13

Kimberly G. Price.......................................Editor/Publisher

Gowanus Yacht Club kicks off their 12th Annual Chili Cook Off at 3 pm. Contestants are encouraged to bring 2 quarts of their best chili by 2 pm to the corner of President and Smith Street.

George Fiala.......................................... Graphics/Publisher

Brave New World Repertory Theater presents “Captain Mike” an original play about the fine art of irresponsibility and its unintended consequences at the Waterfront Museum on Pier 44 at 290 Conover Street. The show is free and open to the public.

Daniel M. Cooper.......................................Associate Editor Vince Musacchia..................................................Cartoons

Wednesday, October 16

Carroll Gardens Library’s The Senior Edge will host Jaclyn M. Smith to discuss Better Nutrition for Better Health from 1:30-2:30 pm. The workshop series is for seniors, caregivers, family and friends. The library is located at 396 Clinton Street at Union.


Jenny Belin, Mary Ann Pietanza, Max Kutner, Leslie Ware Jherelle Benn

Thursday, October 17

Friends of Firefighters’ 6th Annual Gala will honor Gary Sinise and others at 159 Pioneer Street from 7-11 pm. Admission includes dinner cooked by FDNY, beer and wine, 50/50 raffle and live music. For ticket info, visit Visitation Church is having a fundraiser concert at 7 pm. Sing your favorite Motown and Doo wop songs to help fix their basement, kitchen and St. Mary’s Hall. Suggested donation is $20 or pay what you can. The church is located at 98 Richards Street.

Friday, October 18

Friends of Carroll Park present a movie screening of The Princess Bride at 7:30 pm in the park located at Court-Smith and Carroll-President Streets.

Member redhookstarrevue


718.624.5568 - Editorial & Advertising 917.652.9128 News Tips 101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Saturday, October 19

Ten years after planting their first seeds and one year after Super Storm Sandy Added Value will gather together to celebrate the Red Hook Harvest Fest from 10 am-4 pm. Food, farm animals, music and neighbors will gather together for this day of play with purpose. The event is free and open to the public at the Red Hook Community Farm (580 Columbia St.) Pioneer Works is hosting the first annual Maritime Film Festival from 4-10 pm at 159 Pioneer Street. The Festival will include fifteen short films and a talk by Reid Stowe who holds the record for the longest continuous sea voyage without resupply or stepping on land. South Brooklyn’s Children’s Garden’s first Harvest Festival will include pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, live music and a bake sale. The garden is located on the corner of Union and Sackett. Admission is free. Friends of Carroll Park are holding their Fall Karaoke Party from 6-9 pm in the park at Court-Smith and Carroll-President Streets. Smith Street’s 4th Annual Festivale de Soupes runs from 1-4 pm. A panel of celebrity judges will rate soups from more the 25 merchants along Smith from Atlantic Avenue to 2nd Street. Rain date is Sunday, October 20.


Sunday, October 20

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative presents the first Half Marathon exclusively on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway starting and finishing in Williamsburg at 9 am. Register at


THE RED HOOK FALL FLEA Saturday October 26th, 2013, 10am to 5pm

Join the Gowanus Canal Conservancy from 11 am-3 pm for street tree stewardship, composting and windrow building in the Salt Lot on 2nd Avenue between 5th Street and the canal.

Tuesday, October 22

A Taste of Red Hook returns for the fifth year featuring dozens of local establishments from 6-9 pm at Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer St.)

Thursday, October 24

GrowNYC wants to set the world record for most apple crunches at noon at Borough Hall. To find out more about joining, starting or sponsoring a crunch, visit www.bigapple

Saturday, October 26

Located in the PS 15 School Yard on Van Brunt Street between Wolcott & Sullivan

Red Hook Initiative is hosting a Survivor Feast 1 Year Sandy Anniversary Dinner at 6 pm at 676 Hicks Street. All members of the community are welcome, and feel free to bring a dish. Puppetry Arts is having their 9th Annual Haunted Halloween Carnival from 11 am-3 pm at 1st Street and 4th Avenue. The first 200 kids receive gift bags. PS 15 Flea Market, from 10 - 5 at the school yard, featuring activities, cooking contests and more

Red Hook’s local community school PS 15’s PTA will be hosting our annual flea market. Come and find that missing treasure, browse, chat, eat, and enjoy the many activities available. The day promises to be a joy-filled celebration of the unique community of Red Hook.

Ongoing Gowanus Open Studios 2013 kicks off Friday night, October 18 and runs throughout the weekend. More than 200 artists will open their studios from noon to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday. The weekemd will also feature other events an opening gala featuring HONK NYC, a Walking Tour of Gowanus Murals and more. For full schedule details, visit The Groundwork Festival at Cora Studio-Theater will run from October 23-26.


BWAC’s “Unhinged” runs through October 20 from 1-6 pm on the weekends. BWAC is located at 499 Van Brunt Street across from Fairway. The Heights Players’ 58th season continues with The Hollow, playing weekends through October 20 at 26 Willow Place. Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Brooklyn Museum has several events during the month of October, including a dance party on October 17 at 7 pm, a conversation with Jean Paul Gaultier on October 24 at 7 pm, and a Halloween Sensory tour from 6:30-7:30 pm. For a complete list, visit www.brooklyn

Activities for the whole family throughout the day include: Yoga & Swing Dancing by Cora Dance, Triomph Fitness a ‘Throw Down’ food competition between Van Brunt restaurants and PS 15 parents; Robotic, art for kis and much more!

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has partnered with the Carroll Gardens Association (CGA to present a workshop series held every other Thursday from 6-7:30 pm. For scheduled topics and specific dates, visit The Annual Red Hook Film Festival will be held in BWAC’s Screening Room on October 12 & 13, located at 499 Van Brunt Street. For more info visit Screwball Spaces announces its Open Studios Weekend October 19 & 20 at 163 Lorraine Street, 3rd floor. Explore 60+ artists in their own space from 12-5 pm both days. Prospect Park will host Boo at the Zoo on October 26 & 27 with activities including a costume parade, a dance party, a spooky barn and wildlife witch shows. For full details, visit

Page 2 Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013

Menchaca led to victory by Gonzalez and Lander Representing neighboring District 39, he had worked with Sara on many issues including parks, juvenile justice and transportation. It is unusual for a member of the council to support an insurgent. A reason for Lander’s endorsement was no doubt his leadership of the Council’s Progressive Caucus.. Following the 2010 elections, Lander and fellow council member Melissa Mark-Viverito founded the Progressive Caucus. They said at the time, “despite representing a huge Democratic majority of New Yorkers (47 of the 51 members are Democrats), the Council has played second-fiddle to powerful Republican mayors, and frequently yielded to realestate and big business interests.” They have been working to see that the next speaker is a progressive, more of an advocate to labor and social justice issues. Speaker Quinn was being seen as a rubber stamp for Brad Lander with activist Celia Ca- Mayor Bloomberg especially his strong cace in 2011. leaning towards real estate interests. Zoning is a power of the council, and the purpose of zoning is to provide a balance between evolutionary and radical real estate change. Before this year’s primary, the caucus consisted of 11 members, including Margaret Chin, Steve Levin and Jumaane Williams. For this race, they endorsed ten candidates. They could not endorse Menchaca because they do not endorse candidates running against incumbents, but Menchaca will join the caucus when he takes office in January. The caucus will then boast more than a third of the council members, making them a powerful voice in the choice of Speaker and future legislation.

Congresswoman a prime mover

Nydia Velazquez, whose congressional district includes both Red Hook and Sunset park, had two big reasons for mentoring Menchaca - Vito Lopez was one, and her own power base the other. Velazquez stated publicly that it was unusual for her not to support a Puerto Rican politician - especially a woman. But in this case she didn’t. While she claimed that Gonzalez was an ineffectual legislator, it was her loose ties with the Democratic establishment that irked Velazquez. The face of the establishment was Assemblyman and Chairman of the Kings County Democrats, Vito Lopez.

ical boss echoed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s role in Democratic politics statewide. Nydia’s history with Vito goes back to the 1980’s.

The ‘Bullwinkle’ district

In the spring of 1984, while working as an aide to Congressman Ed Towns, she was appointed to the City Council seat representing Bushwick and Williamsburg. She replaced the sitting councilman, who was forced to resign on corruption charges. She ran for election that fall, losing to Victor Robles, who moved to the Council from the State Assembly. The vacant seat was won by Lopez in that same election - a seat he held until being forced to resign this year. After that, her only electoral loss to date, she took a series of jobs representing the government of Puerto Rico. In 1991, she began planning her next race, representing the 12th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Newly redrawn, the 12th included Bushwick and Williamsburg, as well as parts of Manhattan, Queens and Sunset Park and Red Hook. Nicknamed the Bullwinkle district for it’s shape, it was drawn to tie together Hispanic communities for the purpose of bringing more Hispanics to congress. Vito Lopez, whose Bushwick machine backed many successful candidates, originally promised his support, but then reneged. She did have the backing of fellow Puerto Rican Dennis Rivera, who had recently become head of 1199 SEUI, the healthcare worker’s union. She ran a strong campaign, and defeated five candidates, including Congressman Stephen Solarz, and Lopez’s Hispanic candidate, who had the backing of future mayor Rudy Giuliani. During the period between the primary and the general election, the NY Post received some private health information regarding Velazquez. It was either an attempt to sabotage the November election or simply mean spirited. It has been suggested that Nydia held Lopez responsible for this dirty trick. Nydia handled the resulting front page Post story with dignity, and easily won the November election and became the nation’s first female Puerto Rican congressional representative.

Redistricted again

Angel Diaz, the Republican candidate defeated that November, filed a federal lawsuit claiming the 12th District was drawn illegally. It was originally created to conform to Federal guidelines encouraging minority representation. A subse-

quent Supreme Court decision ruled that some states had gone too far. Diaz won the case and the district ordered redrawn in advance of the 1998 election, reducing the Hispanic portion by about 30%. In an article in advance of the fall campaign, the NY Times wrote: “So far, two elected officials Sara Gonzalez watching Nydia at a press event for a who represent Brooklyn have bill Nydia sponsored back in 2011. indicated their strong intera 2010 plan. est in running against her (Velazquez). The plan, which included over 600 subBut both officials, City Councilman Mar- sidized apartments (and 1600 luxury tin Malave-Dilan and Assemblyman Vito co-ops), and a group of 40 story towers, J. Lopez, insist that they are so intent on was hailed by Velazquez along with her seeing the Congresswoman defeated that new ally, council member Diana Reyna. they each would withdraw in deference Reyna, once a member of Vito’s staff, to the other in opposing Ms. Velazquez had broken with him and were now in the September Democratic primary.” enemies. Vito along with another for‘’She’s alienated just about every part of mer staffer, councilman Stephen Levin her constituency,’’ Mr. Lopez said. ‘’She stood on the other side of this issue has challenged people in every part of claiming the towers were too high and her district and that has made many peo- density too great. The project is still in ple unhappy with her.’’ the planning phase, although the origiSaid Mr. Malave-Dilan: ‘’I think a race nal developers dropped out. against her is very winnable. It seems The Broadway Triangle is another real that her base of support has diminished estate tangle involving Velazquez and over the last three years.’’ Lopez. This Triangle lies between on the Neither Lopez nor Dilan ended up run- borders of Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg and ning, but it is indicative of the en- Bushwick. At one time, Pfizer was the mity that existed between Lopez and major tenant and employer in the area. Velazquez. Despite Lopez’s characteriza- The area became downtrodden and a tion, has continued to win re-election candidate for redevelopment. In 2009, the zoning was changed and the Bloomevery two years. The following year the rivalry flared up berg administration gave the United in a race for civil court judge. City Lim- Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, a Hasidic organization, and Lopez’s Ridgeits, in 1999, wrote: wood-Bushwick Senior Citizen’s Coun“Politically, there’s much more at stake cil, contracts to build low income housthan one judgeship: It’s a proxy for a ing. The resulting plans were deemed more significant and entrenched comdiscriminatory in favor of the Hasids to petition between two powerful Brookthe detriment of the black and Hispanic lyn democrats--Congresswoman Nydia community. A neighborhood coalition Velázquez and state Assemblyman Vito representing the black and Hispanic Lopez. “On the merits, both candidates residents was formed with the backing would be good judges,” remarks one City of Velazquez and Reyna, and filed suit Council aide. “What makes this interestagainst the city, claiming the plan was raing is the political lineup behind it.” cially biased. The city lost the first round That race never happened, as the Lopez in the court case, and much of the area side challenged the petitions of their op- remains in limbo. ponent and won in court.

New Kings Democrats Domino & the Broadway Triangle In 2010, Velazquez backed Lincoln ResVelazquez and Lopez fought on real estate issues as well. The Domino Sugar factory complex, on the Williamsburg waterfront, was bought by developers in 2004. A five year community process began where issues such as density, affordable housing, and zoning resulted in

Rising from Bushwick

Brooklyn native Vito Lopez began his career as a social worker in Bushwick. In 1973 he founded the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen Council. He figured out how to get government funding and provided important services and jobs, helping the people of Bushwick. He became a power broker, gaining a seat in the State Assembly in 1984. He controlled much of Brooklyn politics from his seat in the State Assembly, where he was chairman of the Housing Committee. His power increased in 2006 when he replaced the indicted Clarence Norman as chairman of the Kings County Democrats. Vito’s role as Brooklyn polit-

Red Hook Star-Revue

tler, a fresh-faced candidate for District Leader whose parents helped found the New Kings Democrats (NKD). Formed as a counterpoint to the Kings County Democratic Committee, and their chairman, Vito Lopez, the NKD serves, among other things, to be an incubator for progressive Democratic candidates. Nydia was an early friend and helped give the club credibility. She remains close with Restler, who served as MC for her inaugural last January in downtown Brooklyn. The New Kings endorsed Menchaca and helped with his campaign.

2012 campaign another Lopez/ Velazquez slugfest

Juge Alex Calabrese tours Red Hook East with Sara Gonzalez on October 31, 2012

Last year, Vito Lopez convinced councilman Erik Dilan, son of his friend and political ally State Senator Martin Malave-Dilan, to run in the newly created District 7 against Nydia. Velazquez ran a spirited campaign and at her victtory party in Williamsburg, relished her victory against the Lopez backed candidate. (continued on page 6)

October 2013 Page 3

Letters to the EPA: Piece of Junk

“...has anyone thought of the potential damage that would ensue from another storm? After all, we have, been virtually guaranteed one, in our flood rezoning, insurance increases and the recommendations to build our homes 5-8 feet above the current ground level. - Melissa Callahan” Whelan

place on barges, would a proposal be put forth to add additional handling to this highly toxic material, bring it onto the land in my neighborhood near a neighborhood recreational facility? Why must my neighborhood process and house this waste, placed here by corporations who have no interest in the health and well- being of my neighbors? Why must we bear the burden Asks too much just to save the polluters themselves money? I am vehemently opposed Insane or underhanded? to any solution It is truly the most insane plan I have ever which involves heard. In addition, many of us feel like stabilizing the there is a lot of underhanded business gosludge on-site ing on here. The piddling amount of jobs and keeping it you think will “benefit” this community in Red Hook in is actually an insult. I am writing as reany form. I am quested to voice my opinion via email that concerned that PLEASE!!!! MOVE THE MATERIALS the dewatering ELSEWHERE!!! RED HOOK DOES NOT of the sludge WANT IT!!! Please respect our communiwill create ty’s wishes. Thank you. Sincerely, alexandra odors which are grablewski inappropriate next to the Red Unthinkable! Hook Ball Fields My daughter had just finished renovatand the being her home at 25 Wolcott Street in Red Walter Mugdan confronts a riled-up crowd at an April meeting to discuss loved Red Hook Hook, Brooklyn. She is still in the process the CDF. Reg Flowers, facilitator of the meeting, stands in the back. Food Vendors. of cleaning up damage from four feet of The amount of raw sewage to her first floor following the As you know, the Red Hook community is stench produced and the area it affects has onslaught by Sandy (and, I might add, at strongly against a clean up site in its area, not been sufficiently studied. What we do great sacrifice to her own finances due to next to its recreation areas. No one in Red know is that it would last, at minimum, six shameful insurance reimbursement poliHook excepting John Quadrozzi and his years, and this is an unhealthy situation for cies). How can you even think of placing a company stands to benefit from this plan. those of us who use this area for fitness and storage/treatment facility for toxic material Perhaps there will be a cost savings to the recreation. Would we find ourselves in the from the Gowanus Canal at the flood prone project, but is that savings worth the possame situation as the residents of the towns Red Hook waterfront? People in Red Hook sible deleterious effects to a community, surrounding Onondoga Lake? Additionally, object and we, as parents of a young person with no benefit to it? I feel we all must do in an area where such healthy endeavors who works, lives and has invested in her our part to support our neighbors in NYC, are occurring, and the amount of toxicity Red Hook neighborhood, strongly object! but this asks too much of Red Hook comreleased into the atmosphere in the dewaSincerely, Charlotte and John Kuczynski munity, especially as it brings no benefit to tering process has not been studied, it seems us. I do have one suggestion-if you hope to inappropriate to house waste from the caNot at risk of loved ones move forward with this plan, why not innal in any here. According to your [EPA’s] I live in Red Hook West I was at the meetcorporate some positive improvement to own report, “Tests to assess the leachabiling tonight and people were saying Red Red Hook? A detoxifying plant and the few ity of NAPL (toxic contaminants)... would Hook projects people need jobs, they do jobs is not much improvement at all. Surely need to be performed (on the concrete)... need jobs but not at the risk of hurting and there could be a use for the detoxified matePermanent institutional controls would be losing friends and family. Jobs with benefits rial that might be a benefit for the commurequired to ensure the long-term effectiveare rare these days and if they worked at nity? Or add something not related to the ness of this option...” your job they will need these benefits your sludge to make the plan have some good efoffering and more. I say no to your proposal The Red Hook community, already sufferfect for the people of Red Hook? I feel that and thanks for asking. Henrietta Perkins ing from high asthma rates from the BQE, is the only way you may get support from does not desire a site built with materials Red Hook residents. And if it is true that What are they thinking? potentially leaching toxic contaminants. you do care about our opinions, then please I am appalled that the EPA thinks a good The EPA can do better than this. I am cerheed this email and the others you receive. plan for our community is to dredge the catain of it. I am certain that if everyone reAnthony Schloss Media Programs Coordinator nal for 4 years - filling and running barges ally considered the health and well- being of from the Gowanus Canal to Red Hook. the community, another solution could be The plan calls for the discharge of the toxic found. I politely request that the EPA, the Dewatering in flood area? sludge along a beautiful park called ‘The city and my representatives take into conI am certain you are aware of the firestorm Ball Fields’ in Red Hook. It is one of the sideration these concerns as they all plan surrounding the EPA proposals regarding largest parks in New York City, used from for my future as a Red Hook resident, public dewatering and containment of the toxic early spring to fall by hundreds of soccer and space user, city resident and fresh air breathsludge resulting from cleanup of the Gowabaseball teams. Also at this site is a beautier. Thank You, Melissa Callahan - Whelan nus Canal. This area was recently deciful Olympic sized pool used all summer by mated by superstorm Sandy, and along with families in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, A perfect idea! the water from the bay, the toxins and who and Carroll Gardens, Red Hook etc. FamiOn behalf of Brooklyn Economic Developknows what else came into our neighborlies of all races stand in long lines starting ment Corporation (BEDC), I am writing to hood, as our streets were flooded up to 5 feet in early summer to use this wonderful pool. support the GBX/Gowanus Bay Terminal in some areas. And yet the EPA continues It’s a Brooklyn pastime to visit the Red proposal for treating and disposing of the with some of the proposals to place a dewaHook pool and then have picnic lunches at sludge removed from the Gowanus Canal. tering plant and CDF in this very area. My the park across the street. What are legislaWhen the determination of the Canal as first question would be: has anyone thought tors thinking? Not only is this the site of a Superfund site was first promulgated, I of the potential damage that would ensue an important recreation area, but also has had deep concerns on many levels. While from another storm? After all, we have, I know and understand what the toxicity been virtuthe Canal in its current form poses to the ally guarcommunity, I also feared that the designaanteed one, tion would halt any kind of redevelopment in our flood efforts for many years as the logistical quesrezoning, tions of how to clean the canal and where insurance into dump the sludge were negotiated. I know creases and that there are few places left in the US that the recomwillingly accept toxic sludge and I undermendations stand why; as communities all over the to build our country try to clean up and reuse brownhomes 5-8 field sites for purposes of job creation and feet above community revitalization, who would want the current to add contaminants to the soil where they ground level. might leach and contaminate adjacent sites I must also and aquifers? The GBX Terminal solves wonder why, this problem in a very elegant and prudent when there way! It dramatically reduces the potential are clearly truck trips to and from the site, carrying many safe, their toxic cargo - this benefits the comeffective munity not only from a noise and congesmethods for tion standpoint, but as a way to avoid truck de-watering exhaust that has led to asthma and other sludge in respiratory problems in the Red Hook comLillie Marshall and Phaedra Thomas at an EPA outreach meeting at PS 15. How is it justified that anyone, in this case Quadrozzi, is getting what is essentially free land? Does any Municipal, State or Federal Agency take Quadrozzi’s plans seriously? That boat is a piece of junk. Those grain towers should be taken down before they become a hazard. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Once again, my vote is NO to this proposed facility in Red Hook. Sincerely, Stephen Kondaks

Page 4 Red Hook Star-Revue

everyone already forgotten that Hurricane Sandy turned the main street of Red Hook into an extension of the East River just 7 months ago? If another hurricane should hit our shores again, not only will Red Hook be flooded, but also toxic sludge will most certainly inundate the shores from this proposed facility. Paige Tooker

munity. Secondly, the end result is a community amenity - a waterfront park will further add to the livability of this community, which is so congested with high-rise housing and closely built industrial plants. As the Greenway project grows and expends in Brooklyn, this park will add another link to the green “necklace” that the Brooklyn waterfront can become. Third, it helps preserve jobs and industry in a community that desperately needs them. So many “economic development” projects in Red Hook have had disappointing results - the Cruise Ship Terminal that created few jobs, the IKEA that created part-time retail jobs. Certainly, these projects have enhanced the Red Hook community, but their local economic impact has been muted. The Gowanus Bay terminal has been a presence in Red Hook for many years. The product they provide is essential to the continued rebuilding of New York City. There are few places for them to relocate to if Red Hook completely de-industrializes and that is not a desired outcome in the continuing redevelopment of Red Hook! The most vibrant communities in NYC support jobs and industries of many types. BEDC has been an advocate for industrial uses, where appropriate, in Brooklyn for our entire 34- year history. This is an appropriate use, and the GBX Terminal will not only allow The Gowanus Bay Terminal to stay and grow, but benefit the community in terms of jobs and amenities. If this plan is implemented, the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal can begin sooner rather than later and the community can begin planning for a future without a toxic gash running through it. That dream has been a long time coming, and this project helps move it closer to reality. I have been an advocate of community-based brownfield clean-ups for many years. I was part of the original statewide Pocantico Roundtable on Brownfields which advocated for better Brownfield clean-up regulations in New York State. I currently serve as Vice Chair of the Board of New Partners for Community Revitalization, a non-profit organization well known to your agency, which is in the forefront of environmental solutions to brownfield issues. [Note: I write as an individual and not on behalf of New Partners.] Certainly the Gowanus Canal rises to a higher threat level than a typical brownfield, but as governments across New York State avoid clean-ups because they know there are no easy solutions to where to put the waste and what to do with the remediated land, we in Brooklyn are not subject to that same dilemma. We have a sound clean-up solution and we have a community that is desirable and ready to react to the positive change that a cleaner Gowanus Canal can bring. The people of Red Hook, the residents of Public Housing, who have stuck it out for many years amidst decay, crime, being ignored, marginalized and dumped on, support this project. They see its intrinsic value. They do not support it based on whether or not the value of their houses will go up or down - they understand that it is about the long-term, healthy future for ALL Red Hook residents. Based on the soundness of the science, the positive economic development impacts, and the faith of the long-term residents of Red Hook, BEDC endorses this project and urges you to move it forward. Joan Bartolomeo, President, Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation

The WRONG thing!

I have spent a great deal of my life going back and forth through Red Hook , working as a young boy with my father and living in other parts of Brooklyn. A new dawn has occurred here with educated, health conscious people that are graciously filling the streets, adopting Red Hook as their own. I have not only grown as a businessman here but opened my heart and moved my whole life here. Now that I am fully invested and growing a family here, you would like to replenish the poison once here but in a different way. I understand the logistics and power created with assets and I am aware of the circulation of monies within. I ask you this question : How will this development

October 2013

“I have known and worked with the owner of GBX for over 10 years, which is why I knew I could stand by him, and strongly advocate for this project.” Phaedra Thomas benefit the people fully invested here? It will not, this will force me to move my investments and force me to move my family and set roots elsewhere I cannot sit idle to allow this to reroute my home. Maybe you can come down here and fool some masses but I am not so obedient. I will fight for my home and I will strive to implode any plans against my business here. We have a great community here that stands together and does not panic but only unites and prospers. My family left Greece for a better way and sacrificed their life for mine. I will not let them down and allow the destruction of what they built. I know were I came from and am willing to fight for where I am. It is possible that legislation may provide a path for this, but I live here and a clear path of prosperity will not easily be taken. YOU WANT RED HOOK? YOU WILL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT AS I DID. I appreciate your time. John Alatsis

Dumping days are over

...GBX has told us on many occasions that they have the right of way to build whatever the zoning allows. That might be true, but we don’t want to give them more land mass to facilitate them doing it. Red Hook has been the target of noxious use facilities for over 20 years. To float a relatively small number of jobs at the expense of dumping on this community negates the environmental justice which we have been fighting for, for years. And this is clearly an Environmental Justice issue. As the EPA has a list of remedies that involve processing the dredged material off-site for beneficial use, we strongly urge them to select any option that will prevent Red Hook from once again being a dumping ground. Respectfully Submitted by Lou Sones Coordinator Red Hook GAGS

Would you want one?

..Because no substantial and permanent employment would come to Red Hook as a result of the Red Hook/GBX proposal(s), no persuasive argument can be made that this community stands to benefit overall from the Red Hook option. Residents were clear at the April 16th meeting that the risk of toxic exposure, even if you say it is remote, is not worth a few job training positions. At this point, Christos, I’d like to remind you that when I asked you if you would want a CDF/de-watering facility in your own community on the property of an individual who has not demonstrably remedied or acknowledged his own company’s environmental violations, your response was: probably not. I and we in Red Hook hope that our community will cease to bear the environmental burden it has borne historically and that, given our recent flood experience, the community of Red Hook be given full consideration and due care in the future unfolding of the Gowanus clean-up. Should it be the case that we will need to continue to oppose any remedy, we will do so with steadfast determination. Again, thank you for your patience, hard work and willingness to listen. Andrea Kondaks Sansom

Divided the community

...The proposal for the placing of a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) in Red Hook has generated a significant level of negative comments in Red Hook and has managed to divide the Red Hook community and to

John Quadrozzi at the PS 15 meeting.

Red Hook Star-Revue

pit one community against another community. Since the EPA has not stated the methodology as to how they will “measure the Red Hook community’s acceptance” of the CDF in Red Hook, the Cobble Hill Association (CHA) cannot support this option. The CHA is totally committed to the full and complete elimination of CSOs into the Gowanus Canal. This must be achieved not in the distant future, but must be accomplished within the EPA’s time frame of cleaning up the Gowanus Canal with all proven and accepted techniques. Though some questions remain, overall, the CHA as a member of the Gowanus GAG supports the PRAP. Cobble Hill Association

Don’t trust the guy

I am resident of Red Hook and I am writing to share my opposition to the EPA’S current plan to build a confined disposal facility with the purpose of remediating toxic materials and mixing them with cement. As a resident, I think this plan will be harmful to our community and furthermore, I do not believe John Quadrozzi, whose company has polluted the Gowanus for years, should benefit from the EPA plan. I hope that you see our community is clearly not in favor of this plan and further, does not trust Mr. Quadrozzi. Best, Kim Forte

Watching closely

I thank you and your team for coming back to Red Hook to hear the community once our storm ravaged and recovery focused community really did have your attention. Thank you for stating over and over that the CDF would not be built and confirming that dewatering on barges along the canal is a plausible and a likely alternative to a facility in Red Hook. I/ We will of course be paying very close attention that these options are discounted in the design phase as stated. We were asked to give support to or reject these options and rejection is well proven and documented. I will consider the issue of trust re-set but will be watching closely. Unwaveringly, Carly Yates

Do anything else!

The estimated $37 million dollar savings for this method does not benefit the community, but rather reduces the expenses of the clean-up for the original polluters. Additionally, this proposal includes the building of additional waterfront bulkhead land for a private entity, which, by their own admission, has not been thoroughly vetted or designed. I am concerned that once this project is in motion, the requests and the needs of the community will be lost as a private developer seeks to increase profit with no benefit to the community. It appears that all parties in this plan stand to benefit in some way from storing this material in Red Hook, with the very notable exception of the residents. The EPA has a list of remedies that involve processing and containment of dredged material off-site for beneficial use such as the capping of landfill sites, I urge the EPA to select any option that involves off-site processing and offsite disposal. Thank You, Dena Schultz

A nutty idea

Imagine my surprise when I heard about this plan and all of its options. On the one hand I know you’re all explaining highlycomplex options to lay-people, and I’m sure that’s hard. On the other - the hubris of walking into a room (like you did at PS 15 in Brooklyn, a borough not known for a lack of self-regard) and saying “I was in Red Hook once for an afternoon four years ago, so I know what the community needs.” Can you imagine how your neighbors would feel if I did that in their homes? “Oh, Greece, you’ve got economic problems? Well let me tell you, as a fairly-successful small-business owner I know about job creation, so here’s my advice: McDonald’s is hiring! Go get

“I think this plan will be harmful to our community and furthermore, I do not believe John Quadrozzi, whose company has polluted the Gowanus for years, should benefit from the EPA plan.” Kim Forte

jobs at McDonalds! Problem Solved!” I’d be chased off the stage, and rightfully so! And then to make part of the plan hinge upon the enrichment of one businessman, to the possible detriment of the entire community? A businessman whose company and officers A) have pled guilty to making illegal payoffs, B) been forbidden from bidding on City contracts and C) fined millions for polluting the waters of Brooklyn? It’s insane! I try to be polite, and I realize that you’ve gone out of your way to explain things to the community; but every time I think of this I get more enraged. It’s mind-boggling that you could ever think any small number of people would support this plan. I try to be polite and I can’t. It makes me fume. It’s crazy, and we’re going to do our best to hold you to your on-record quotes saying “we heard you, we ain’t gonna build it.” Brook Llewellyn Shepard

Don’t get me started

I am writing to register my opposition to using Red Hook as a dumping ground from clean-up of the Gowanus Canal. The EPA has a list of remedies that involve processing and containment of dredged material off-site for beneficial use such as the capping of landfill sites, I urge the EPA to select any option that involves off-site processing and off- site disposal. Don’t even get me started on the topic of even considering any proposal that includes a repeat environmental offender like John Quadrozzi. It’s nice that he pays you hefty fines for his nefarious behavior, but that should count against him, don’t you think? Or do you just like people who incur (and pay) EPA fines? Concerned, • Beth Kaiser


You cannot simply move deadly toxins to where the poor live, shame on you! Find a viable solution, for gods sake. PEACE Kathleen Hopler

Eminent domain?

In Red Hook, the problem is that a burden will be shared by many and the benefit will accrue to one person. Only eminent domain seizure of the properties of the one person, which is an appropriate way to obtain the land and waterfronts to build the CDF, must result in shared ownership, not unenforceable Job promises; so that all those who share the burden of the cleanup benefit equally from any and all results of the cleanup. Each resident of Red Hook must be a shareholder in the CDF and in the improved waterfront property and commercial ability it represents. Otherwise, there is an appearance of impropriety, with the EPA acting to benefit a very rich land owner. This appearance of impropriety and corruption is enough reason to prevent EPA from building the CDF, on its own. Only a shared ownership of the CDF would make it clear that there is no corruption, and there is an equal and real benefit to each and every resident. Thank you. Steve de Seve

A Matter of JUSTICE!!

I am writing in support of the EPA’s PRAP for the Gowanus Canal Superfund, and specifically in strong favor of the “Red Hook Option” including Dewatering and construction of a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) at GBX • Gowanus Bay Terminal in Red Hook. I own a 2 family home at 213 Van Brunt Street, where 1 resided from 2001 - 2010, and have worked in the Red Hook community, primarily in the nonprofit sector in community and economic development, for over a decade. While I am employed as a consultant to the owner of GBX • Gowanus Bay Terminal, I am writing to you in the capacity of a Red Hook stakeholder, that cares deeply about this community, especially the residents of Red Hook Houses. Even when I was not employed at the South Brooklyn LDC or Southwest Brooklyn IDC, I have always volunteered (and continue to do so) for community initiatives that benefit the residents of Red Hook Houses, and know intimately the needs of this community. I have worked very closely with the leadership of the Houses, and the general public there, for 13 years. I became involved in the Red Hook Option of the Gowanus Canal

Natalie Loney and Chris Tsiamis of the EPA Superfund, because I knew from the moment I heard about the proposal, that it was the perfect fit for Red Hook. Because GBX is located in a THOUROUGHLY industrial section of Red Hook, zoned M-3, an active marine terminal, next to the largest Bargeport in our region, within NYC’s Industrial Business Zone, I thought that expanding industry here would be a no-brainer for All of Red Hook. I have known and worked with the owner of GBX for over 10 years, which is why I knew I could stand by him, and strongly advocate for this project. I met John Quadrozzi, Jr. in 2000 when we started an Illegal Dumping Taskforce together. I was running the Red Hook office of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation and was the Administrator of the Red Hook Gowanus Chamber of Commerce. We began the process of planning for the Red Hook Option by attempting to facilitate a transparent, open, communication forum for residents in both the ‘Back’ (primarily affluent property owners) and the ‘Front” (Red Hook Houses) to discuss the project, and any concerns or questions residents might have had about the project. People were open to the idea, many were optimistic about the Job Training Initiative and job opportunities that would come from the EPA work, and all were invited to engage with us in a visioning process that would plan the new uses that could be placed on the CDF once it was completed. We met with Mr. McGettrick and Lou Sones repeatedly. All of a sudden the discussions were about ‘zero expansion of industrial land in Red Hook’ versus whether the project was going to be safe or beneficial to the Red Hook community. Then, prior to the EPA presentation at PS 15, bright orange signs saying “Toxic Sludge Coming To Red Hook” went up on every door in Red Hook Houses, with no organizational affiliation and with no permission from NYCHA or the Resident Associations. Residents who were typically part of Red Hook’s anti-industry clique had obviously prepped their cronies to disrupt the meeting and worse, instilled fear into residents of both the “back” and “front” of Red Hook. All people heard was scary, false terminology and all they saw was fear and anger on people’s faces. We were victims of sabotage. Red Hook Houses residents were again victims of a Great Social Injustice, and it was brought against them by their own neighbors. The whole experience has been extremely disheartening and sad. I too was a victim of Sandy, and had been experiencing great personal tragedy in my own family, but I stayed with this project because it’s the right thing to do. Now it is not only the right project for the right community, the Red Hook Houses community and their local employers, it is a matter of JUSTICE. I am not in this for myself, and never was. Red Hook deserves this project to happen, please have the courage to fight for it with us. Yours Truly, Phaedra Thomas, Owner

Could be OK

We at PortSide believe that having EPA Gowanus Canal Superfund remediation activities centered in Red Hook at GBX, if done properly, could be a good thing for a community concerned with being socially and environmentally responsible. We see

(continued on page 19)

October 2013 Page 5

Carlos vs. Sara or Nydia vs. Vito? (continued from page 3)

Carlos Menchaca, now employed by Speaker Quinn, and also the co-president of Lambda Independent Democrats, volunteered for Nydia. His future campaign manager, Ivan Luevanos, was a guest at the victory party. A chance encounter with Paul Bader, Nydia Velazquez’s ex-husband, suggests an even earlier connection. The night of his primary victory, after, hosting a party in Sunset Park, Menchaca and his Red Hook supporters gathered on Van Brunt Street at Hope and Anchor. Bader confided that the victory was planned two years ago. Paul Bader is a Manhattan based printer who lives in Brooklyn and has been active in local politics since the 1970’s. He is well known in Democrat clubhouses. His company prints campaign literature and palm cards each electoral season. He ran for City Council in 2002, losing Vito Lopez to Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary. He has been head of the political action committee of Buddy Scotto’s Brooklyn Independent Democrats, and in fact it was Buddy who introduced him to Nydia Velazquez. Having both Nydia Velazquez and Brad Lander mentoring Menchaca suggests that his election was not exactly as he describes it in a recent Brooklyn Eagle interview. “Months into the recovery effort, residents started asking him to run for office, he said. “People used to say to me, ‘Carlos, you can’t leave us. You need to stay here as our councilman.” I started to rethink everything,” he said.” Having an indebted ally in a large part of her district is akin to the kind of politics that was practiced in Bushwick before Lopez lost it all. Nydia also was directly involved in two other local council races. As mentioned before, Steve Levin, now a member of the Progressive Caucus, often seen with Brad Lander, has a Lopez connection. He has become a popular politician in his own right, representing Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and parts of Williamsburg. In normal times, he would probably have ran unopposed this year. But with the support of Nydia and the New Kings Democrats, making Vito Lopez’s influence his main platform, Stephen Pierson mounted a campaign (ultimately unsuccessful). Vito Lopez himself, who had resigned from the State Assembly due to mounting corruption charges, attempted a comeback by running for Nydia’s old Council seat. His race was against Antonio Reynoso. Reynoso is yet another former chief-of-staff, having worked for outgoing council member Diana Reyna. Nydia made sure her influence was felt in the race. She spent election day in Bush-

Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue

wick, doing some last minute campaigning for Reynoso. Back in January, she and Diana introduced him as candidate. Somewhat surprisingly, Reynoso defeat Lopez quite handily. Nydia can now claim credit for bringing in two new progressive council members representing different parts of her district. And of course, she is almost assured of their support in the future.

Carlos’ campaign

Menchaca had a well defined campaign strategy right from the start. In that March, 2013 Brooklyn Paper article, he was quoted saying, “After Sandy, people kept asking, ‘where’s government, where’s our leaders?’” claimed Menchaca, a former aide to Borough President Markowitz and City Council employee. “That council office had a lot of potential to help people, and my opponent just wasn’t there.” In fact, Sara and members of her office spent a good deal of time in Red Hook before, during, and after the emergency, including time with the representative from the Speaker’s office. Yet the frequency of his charge gained credence and for many, accepted as gospel. His other claim was that Gonzalez was a no-show politician, with an abysmal attendance record in the council. This was also accepted as truth, yet a fact-check reveals otherwise. From 2006-2009 her attendence rate was just above 82%, with the average rate of all council members at 84%. Her campaign claims a recent record of 91% attendance, but it was a message that did not get out. Gonzalez’s absence of a sophisticated, high-tech campaign hurt her ability to refute these charges. A lifelong resident of Sunset Park, with a long history of community activism, Gonzalez probably expected her resume to speak for itself. Perhaps she saw it as unnecessary, having won easily in her previous three races, she may not have expected such a vigorous opponent with a formidable subtext. Carlos Menchaca, 33, was born in El Paso, Texas. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2004, with a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice, as well as a BA in Politics. After graduation, he came east to work for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as his Capital Budget and Policy Coordinator. Menchaca’s responsibilities included advocating for the Atlantic Yards and the City Point developments. These are both large Downtown Brooklyn real estate projects, and have both been controversial, involving what some considered unfair displacement and unfair labor practices. Menchaca represented Markowitz on the board of Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, and worked to bring marketing firms to Dumbo. He served as a judge at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s 2009 Building Brooklyn Awards. In March, 2011, he left the Borough President to take a job with Speaker Quinn’s office. He became GBT & HIV/AIDS Community Liaison. It was in this capac-

ity that he first met Red Hook’s Monica Byrne. In an interview at her restaurant, Home/made, Byrne told the Star-Revue that in the summer of 2012 she was having difficulting securing Coffey Park for a Gay Pride event. She reached out to Quinn’s office and found Menchaca capable in solving her problem. She reconnected with Menchaca during Sandy, as they worked together providing local relief. For the campaign, she hosted a meet and greet for Carlos which also featured Nydia. She says that she is excited about the prospect of having someone living in Red Hook representing the community in the City Council.

Lambda Democrats

Unlike Sara Gonzalez, who came to politics via community activism, Carlos’ route included the political clubhouse. He joined Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID) in 2009, and became a co-president in 2012. A political club is where an aspiring politician gain important contacts, learn the system of political alliances, and how campaigns actually work. They are almost like a trade association for politicians. Menchaca was a frequent visitor to the Central Brooklyn Independents (CBID) and received their endorsement early on. As co-president of LID, Carlos became a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. In January he attended the Obama inauguration in Washington. Within a week of returning to Brooklyn, he filed with the Board of Elections to run in the Council primary, and began looking for Red Hook residency.

er. He was painted as a “political operative and bureaucrat seeking to advance his own career.” One used a graphic of his Texas driver’s license, trying to give the mistaken impression that he was a newcomer to New York. While Menchaca did in fact move into the district at the end of March, he has lived in Brooklyn since taking his job with the Borough President around the beginning of 2005. He has lived near the district, in Park Slope/Windsor Terrace. The cards were misleading and Menchaca has called them racist and xenophobic. The average voter probably had no idea though that these cards did not come from Sara’s campaign. REBNY spent a total of over $354,000 on the race, with about $54,000 of it in negative advertising. The Menchaca campaign itself was the recipient of at least $135,000 in PAC money, with at least $33,000 of it going negative against Gonzalez, calling her a no-show and worse. In addition to the PAC-sponsored negative campaign mailers sent out on behalf of Menchaca, the Menchaca campaign itself sent out at least one card proclaiming Sara Gonzalez a failure, a no-show and missing in action after Hurricane Sandy. This was also a false message, but they had a huge impact, especially to newcomers to the district. In addition to the mailers, someone set up a fake twitter account mocking Gonzalez. The Menchaca campaign suggests that Gonzalez could have disavowed the REBNY mailers, just as Menchaca

Sleazy advertising

Many Menchaca supporters say that Sara Gonzalez ran a dirty campaign. What they point to are the PAC mailings done on behalf of Gonzalez by the Real Estate Board Carlos with Paul Bader and Ivan Luevanos at his victory celebraof NY (REBNY). tion at Hope and Anchor. No doubt scared of the impending large- could have disavowed the Twitter acscale turnover of the council, REBNY, count. Sample tweets purporting to financed largely by wealthy real estate come from Gonzalez included: “I’ve had developers, spent over $4 million in local a few chardonnays, what of it?”, and council races throughout the city mostly “I’d get out the vote, except that would require getting out.” Others were more against progressive candidates. The Real Estate Board’s involvement disrespectuful. was made possible by the Supreme Court The Menchaca campaign spent over Citizen’s United decision that essentially $90,000 with Red Horse. That money created Super PACS. These groups are went for consulting, creation and producallowed to spend whatever they want on tion of mailers, palm cards and robo-calls. behalf of candidates, as long as the sup- Red Horse’s political clients have inport is not coordinated with the candi- cluded Andrew Cuomo, Eric Schneiderdates or their campain. Admittedly, this man, Bill deBlasio, and Nydia Velazquez. is hard to prosecute. The Gonzalez cam- Based on their website, they seem to paign claims they had no say as to the specialize in negative advertising. The REBNY mailings that clogged mailboxes messages and design of the samples they show on the website are similar to mailduring the summer. In July, REBNY spent almost $80,000 ers paid for by Carlos for Council, the on positive campaign mailers promoting Progressive Brooklyn PAC and the NYC Gonzalez. Menchaca was not mentioned Central Labor Council. The Progressive at all in them. Starting about a month Brooklyn PAC, a creation of Metropolibefore the primary, they sent out nega- tan Public Strategies, spent over $38,000 tive mailers calling Menchaca an outsid- on the Menchaca campaign. (coniinued on page 7)

October 2013

of Community Board 7. She was born and raised in Sunset Park, a graduate of Fort Hamilton HS. She was 53 years-old, and had never belonged to a political club. She had been an AIDS activist in the 1980’s, and worked extensively with (continued from page 6) youth, including the Hispanic Young Metropolitan Public Strategies is a new People’s Alternatives. Her Board of Elecpolitical consulting firm started this year tions statement of 2002 concluded: by Neil Kwatra, former top aide to NY “Sara will be representative of the desires State Attorney General Eric Schneider- of the community, not politics, whether man. His big client in this year’s primary of a supposed new or of the old as usual was Ken Thompson, who upset District varieties. Electing her will usher in a new Attorney Charles Hynes. Thompson era of community initiative to the City was also endorsed by Nydia Velazquez. Council!” One can imagine Carlos makThompson and Menchaca campaigned ing the same statement today. together at times, joined by Nydia Carlos Menchaca will be the next Council Member for the 38th District. Brad Lander will gain a member in his Progressive Caucus, bringing with it additional leverage in the choice for a new Speaker. Nydia Velazquez gains a faithful ally and further proof of her political power in Brooklyn. Red Hookers gain a councilman who lives in the neighborhood. In a statement to a reporter of the Red Hook Campaign mailer sent out by a PAC on behalf of Carlos Star-Revue, Carlos Menchaca. Menchaca thanked the Chinese comVelazquez. munity, the Muslim community and the The Menchaca campaign was the reJewish community, with a nod to his cipient of $91,646 from a PAC run by LGBT backers and his Mexican heritage. the NYC Labor Council. Most of this consisted of a double sided flyer aimed at getting out the vote, and was printed in English, Spanish, and several Chinese dialects, reflecting the ethnic makeup of the district. The Central Labor Council is an umbrella group for AFL/ CIO unions in NYC, including hotel workers and hospital services. Their PAC supported Menchaca and only one other candidate running Card sent out by REBNY calling Menchaca an outsider. for Council, as well as These are his words: Scott Stringer. In a press release issued shortly after the primary, they stated, “This is a dream come true not just for “We supported bright, young minds like me but for so many people in the comCarlos Menchaca, who broke through munity that have been wanting real, nearly a decade of community neglect, active, visible, vocal voice in the city and is committed to fighting for the val- council. We made history. I’m going to ues of working people in Sunset Park and be the first Mexican American elected into the city council. The first LGBT Red Hook.” openly gay person in Brooklyn. Those Sara Gonzalez’s campaign boasted no are big things for those communities top-notch, media savvy, hustling PR but its actual a big thing for the entire firms. Her campaign was a more tradicommunity that wants representation; tional, old-style campaign. It was run from the Jewish community, to the by the same loyal friends and volunteers Muslim community, to the Chinese who ran her previous campaigns. They community. They have been asking for seemed to depend on the same voters voice for a long time now they have it. who had supported her. Menchaca’s peoWe created a coalition that’s incredibly ple were able to reach many who had not strong. You saw it on September 10th voted before and were susceptible to his with that election that came out. We message. won big! We won big and that’s a big The Gonzalez people were blindsided, moment for this community and this is only slowly realizing the strength and just the beginning. We are gonna work savvy of the battle being waged against hard. We are going to work hard tothem. Sara Gonzalez had run three suc- gether and I’m going to go back to those cessful campaigns in the district. Her doors that said yes they are gonna supfirst one was a special election to replace port me and make sure they come out Angel Rodriguez in November, 2002. and give them an opportunity to access Rodriguez had been caught trying to government. Give them an opportunity bribe Greg O’Connell and removed from to voice their concerns so that they get office. what they need from government. And She entered the race as a community that’s our mission, that’s what we’re activist, most recently the Chairperson gonna do.” (coniinued on page 19)

Carlos Menchaca

Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013 Page 7

The results are in for District 38 by Max Kutner

In the September 10th primary, Democrat Carlos Menchaca defeated incumbent City Councilmember Sara González for District 38 City Council. The result ended the race in that district since there is no Republican running. Menchaca raised $82,620.16 in donations and gained endorsements from unions like 32BJ, The New York Times, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and District 39 Councilman Brad Lander. “What he did in Red Hook was extraordinary,” said Lander, referring to Menchaca’s Hurricane Sandy relief work. “He really saved people’s lives and that was what inspired me.” Dr. Tim Law, education director for the Asian Community Unity Society, spoke of Menchaca in Sunset Park. “A lot of politicians don’t want to come here. He comes.” Menchaca voted at PS 15 at 7:30 am. “There is no feeling like it,” he said about voting for himself. “You’re not prepared for that because you’ve been focused on making sure you get to that point. But when it’s there, it’s a feeling of victory.” The candidate hosted an election night reception at Saint Jacobi Church in Sunset Park. In his victory speech, Menchaca urged supporters to prepare for what’s next. “I’m coming back to your doors,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.” When the new Councilman-elect left the reception at 11:30 pm, a half hour before his 33rd birthday, he had net yet

Page 8 Red Hook Star-Revue

heard from González, according to his Campaign Manager, Ivan Luevanos. From there he headed to another celebration in Red Hook, Brooklyn at Hope and Anchor, where he celebrated his victory and also his birthday. González watched the results from her campaign headquarters at 46th Street and 5th Avenue in Sunset Park, the neighborhood where she grew up and still lives. It was not a festive occasion as the results coming in early on indicated defeat. Her supporters gathered at Tacos El Branco, on 44th Street and 4th Avenue. Sara walked over and thanked everyone, and said that she was happy at least that she ran a dignified campaign. Asked her plans, she indicated time with her grandchildren would be a priority, at least at first. Menchaca received 57.57% of votes, a healthy margin of victory. In 2009, the Councilwoman won the primary with 63.24%, compared to Tuesday’s 42.43%. A total of 3,414 people voted in the district in 2009, a number that more than doubled to 6,943 in 2013. That increase may be partially due to redistricting, which traded parts of lesspopulated Gowanus for Borough Park. He was very strong in the back of Red Hook, the South Slope, and surprisingly, along Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park. Obviously, his hard work knocking on doors paid off, indicated by the amount of new voters that voted for him.

October 2013

How we used to play in Red Hook by Joseph Valente


once took a writing course and the instructor asked the class to write about what we did to have fun in our pre-teen years. This set me thinking about what youth do today for fun. A horrible thought entered my mind. Kids today stick their noses in computers and iPads all day for fun. They play video games. I hardly ever see kids playing in the streets. Maybe you can classify me as an ossified old man, but to be fingering a keyboard at infinitum is not wholesome fun for kids. What did I do as a kid? My God, I thought. I have to go back 60 years. I racked my brain for hours thinking about my youthful years. At ten years of age, I recall that my friends and I raced soapbox derby cars on the streets of Brooklyn. They weren’t store bought racers; we made our own. That was half the fun! We would get an old wooden milk box and nail it to a two-by-four, and then nail half roller skates under the board for wheels. Then we triangle two one-by two inch laths across the top of the box for our steering. When the cars were finished, we would line up at a street corner like an Indy 500 event and race down the block to a finish line. Then my father bought me a bike. I loved riding my shiny red Schwinn with its fat tires and red rims all along Richards Street. I felt free as a soaring bird, whipping through the streets trying to do wheelies. In those days, no one wore helmets or knee pads. You would be considered a wimp. Besides, who could afford the cost of all that extra protection? If you fell off your bike and scraped your knee, tough luck! It came

with the territory.

ble. We were kids looking for daring fun.

In the summer, my friends and I would open the fire hydrants. We had no pool. We would splash and yell for hours as the neighbors looked on. Sometimes the cops would come by and shut the hydrants. But later they would come by with shower caps , hook them up to the pumps and ride off. It wasn’t as much fun, but it was free. When I turned twelve, I found my own swimming pool. No, not a city pool with lifeguards and a small payment to enter. No locker rooms and no showers. My pool was the East River, Pier 38 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We would go swimming in our shorts, diving off barges and stanchions.

Occasionally, a lone crew member on security would chase us off. But generally we had the whole pier too ourselves. This was our thing.

Occasionally the pier would get visited

“So I began to hit the local bars in Red Hook. And believe me, bars were rife in Red Hook! Some of the names were Dougherty Bar on Wolcott Street, the Ocean Cove, Pimpernelli’s Bar, and so many others.” by reddish Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, their long, snake-like tentacles daring us kids to enter the water. We belly bombed them, butt first deep sixing them, or so we thought. Sometimes foreign ships would dock at the pier. My friends and I would clammer aboard usually on a Sunday when the ship’s crew was off. Any food left aboard the ship unguarded was ours to eat. Ok, ok. I know what you’re thinking: we were troublemakers. Maybe a little bit. But we didn’t deliberately look for trou-

Sadly, today, the pier is fenced off. No longer can future generations of kids swim off Pier 38.

Tar on the underwear After swimming all day, I recall fondly how my mother would ask me how tar got on my underwear. Of course the tar came from the hot piers. I would just shrug my shoulders with an innocent grin on my face. We didn’t think it was dangerous to swim in the river. Who knows how clean it was? We didn’t care. I was an excellent swimmer. One day my friends dared me to swim from Pier 38 to the Statue of Liberty. I took them up on it and cast off on a hot, cloudless day. The water wasn’t cold, and it looked like about one mile to the statue. No sweat, I thought. This will be easy. I didn’t think about returning. My youthful mind didn’t think about the consequences. I stroked hard and fast, and felt I was making headway. But then to my surprise and horror, I saw I was drifting south of the statue. The tide ripped at my body, pulling me away. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. My heart thumped like a jackhammer. I stopped swimming and treaded water to conserve energy. I didn’t want to panic. But thoughts of drowning did forcibly enter my mind. I shut them out as best I could. I couldn’t turn back to the pier. I was too far away and the current was pushing me further south. I had to just go with the flow and not fight the current. Off in the distance, I spotted a police launch roaring towards me. A deep sigh of relief washed over me. They threw me a life line dragging me close, and I clammered aboard. “Are ya nuts, kid? What are ya doin’ in the middle of the river?” the cop said with an incredulous look on his face. “Uh, trying to get to the Statue of Liberty,” I said gloomily. He threw me a blanket. “Next time go by ferry,” he said. Tears welled up in my eyes. “Am I going to jail?” I wailed. I thought I was going to be in deep trouble. In those days, kids in trouble with the law got what was called a YD card, which stayed with them until they were 18. “You try that stunt again, kiddo, and you come to the precinct with us,” the cop yelled. I felt so lucky. My father would have killed me for stupidity. I cringe when I hear that word. Precinct. My friends stood on the pier somber as a funeral until the launch sped away. Then they laughed at me like a pack of hyenas. Needless to say, I was lucky. And I didn’t attempt any repeats. Some observers might ask why I didn’t play in the park or playground. That wasn’t my thing. That was boring. I liked to do daring and exciting things. Of course, they were sometimes dangerous. But it wasn’t just me. All these activities involved my friends.

our feet on the fender and fingers clasped to a rim sticking out from the rear window or bus. Those were the 1950s buses. We would ride it a few blocks and then jump off. When I think about these things, I realize how lucky I am to be alive. But like I said, when you are 12 years old, you don’t think about injury or death. You’re immortal. Another thing I thought was fun: work. At 12, I liked earning my own money and setting my own hours. I found an old shoebox. I bought some black and brown shoe polish, a brush and a buffing rag. I was in business. I painted the cost – 15 cents – on the side of the box, and off I went. But where? Sitting in the streets paid me very little. So I began to hit the local bars in Red Hook. And believe me, bars were rife in Red Hook! Some of the names were Dougherty Bar on Wolcott Street, the Ocean Cove Pimpernelli’s Bar, and so many others. On Friday and Saturday nights, the bars were packed with local longshoremen, bookies, bettors, sailors and boozers. I shined shoes till my arms ached. No one paid me just 15 cents. They usually handed me a quarter, a half-dollar, and sometimes, even a dollar. The bar tenders never paid me no mind. Earning my own money was fun. We played another fun game called kick the can. It is a baseball game using a beer can as a ball, and four street sewers as base bags. Each team had four players. A batter would kick the can while a fielder would try to catch it and throw out the batter. We always kept a good supply of cans to keep the game going. When I look back at those wonderful days, I realize how much kids today have missed out. Today’s kids do two things. They go on play-dates, or their noses are in computers. In my day, anybody using the word play-date would be looked upon as a wimp. My friends and I didn’t need play-dates or computers, which are alien concepts to me. We hit the streets and made our own fun. I will concede that we did some stupid and dangerous things. And I am not advocating any youth do what I did. But take a chance and get away from those iPad games and do real things! As far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t trade my youthful escapades for anything. Editor’s note: Some of the activities described are dangerous and should not be attempted.

Another sport we liked to do was hitch rides on buses and trucks. At a bus stop we would clamp onto the rear of the bus,

Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013 Page 9

CAPTAIN SCHIFF BIDS ADIEU TO THE 76TH PRECINCT COMMUNITY Captain Jeffery Schiff has recently been promoted to another precinct. In a final email, he offered these words to the communities of the 76th precinct: Dear Friends,


fter an extremely productive year and a half as the Commanding Officer of the 76th Precinct, I must inform you all that I have been transferred from the 76th Precinct to the 106th Precinct located in Howard Beach/ Ozone Park Queens effective midnight tonight. Being the Commanding Officer of this precinct since April 2012 was a wonderful and exciting experience for me, one that I shall never forget! I feel privileged and honored to have served with the hard working men and woman of the innovative 76th Precinct. I also feel privileged and honored to have known so many people who obviously care about their community as evidenced by the great number of notable arrests that were affected because of direct community intervention, the number of Auxiliary volunteers that report to the precinct each day to help out with various needs and events of the community, and the number of Youth Explores that volunteer their time working in the community. Through this police-community cooperation, we were often able to arrest those persons who were responsible for burglary patterns, car break-in patterns, and those who committed violent crimes in our community. I am also extremely proud of the fact that the 76th Precinct was able to help the community endure and to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy by working with the various grass root organizations that sprung up out of good will and hard work. This unprecedented and rarely seen union between the police and various local community groups showed the rest of the city a successful example of how this type of partnership can be productively achieved. Further, it showed just how resilient our community really is and that during the course of any crisis we proved we are one people. Additional excellent examples of cooperation between the police and the community was shown during the Red Hook Housing Development Drug Gang Wars from March to July 2012 and the subsequent Robbery epidemic experienced in Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill that soon followed in August and September 2012. Concern for the community regarding this violence was expressed through various forums. After frank/tense discussions between the police and the community - the anxieties and apprehensiveness - began to dramatically ebb as multiple key arrests were made due to community involvement, ending that particular dangerous situation.

Remembering our firefighters

Stephen Siller was a firefighter who had just finished the late night shift when he heard of the attack on the World Trade Centers on the morning of September 11, 2001. Siller canceled his plans to spend the day with his family, went back to his station and grabbed his gear. When he arrived at the Battery Tunnel, the Manhattan bound side had been closed. He abandoned his truck and ran through the tunnel to the towers, toting more than 60 pounds of gear on his shoulders. Stephen Siller lost his life that day. His family created The Tunnel to Towers Foundation in his honor. Every year since, in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation, thousands have run the same route Siller ran on that fateful morning. Mickey Alonzo Pritchard hand delivered this poem to the Star-Revue honoring the fallen hero. STEPHEN, I truly wish I had met you in life Before this 9-11, with all of its strife. You had to have been a truly blessed man Who did what was right; you always took a stand. I really understand now why you made that run. You were running to heaven, you were just having some fun Running through that tunnel, weighed down by all of your gear On your way to those buildings to help people with no fears. After running the tunnel, you had to deal with some streets, But Stephen, you did it without missing a beat. Then you made it to the buildings; oh what horrors you saw! You did what you could, but Christ said Stephen, “No more.” He said, “Stephen, come to me, and I will give you rest. Run up these stairs to heaven, because you have done your best.” Your time here on earth is over, it is done now through. No man could ever ask anymore from you. But your light will shine in this city for all times And that’s why I wrote for you all these lines.

Because of this cooperative effort, we did reduce crime in calendar year 2012 (the first decrease in three years.) Even as I write this message, we have reduced crime thus far year to date. Not only did we achieve this most welcomed crime reduction, but also there were no homicides reported in 2012 and none thus far in calendar year 2013! Shootings have also been reduced in our community as we have only suffered one this entire year, the last one occurring on November 19th, 2012! I can’t help but feel that we have all been through so much and have grown well together as a community. The trials and tribulations we have endured during my tenure here have proven conclusively to me that cooperation between the community and the police can be effectively achieved. This reaffirms my belief that the community has a big part to play in the NYPD’s crime and terror fighting strategies. Lastly, I leave you all in good hands as Captain Justin Lenz takes over from me. I have heard a great many good things about him. Since he has been assigned to the 76th Precinct by the powers that be, then we all can believe that he will do a fantastic job addressing the community’s needs. I thank you all for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as I move on to new challenges in my career. And remember, please be safe by being aware of your surroundings! Deputy Inspector J. D. Schiff, Commanding Officer 76th Precinct

Help Wanted at the Red Hook Star-Revue Reporters needed for news coverage in Red Hook and her environs. Enthusiasm more important than experience. Learn on the job. Advertising positions also available.

718 624-5568

Call Kimberly Gail Price or email:

Page 10 Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013

Making movies in my old neighborhood


by Mary Ann Pietanza

y husband’s big During its demise and after gentrification, Red Hook and its surrounding arclaim to fame eas have been a magnet for movie scenes - as far as film on location. Back in my era, the Chelsea making is con- Movie Studios was a catalyst for movie making in New York when most films cerned in the suburbs - has were being made in Hollywood. Evenalways been that Sonny Cor- tually, with the Silver Cup Studios (the bread factory in Long Island City) leone of “The Godfather” old and the newer Steiner Studios located at was brutally shot down at the the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the neighbortoll booths near Jones Beach hood has become even more of a mecca for movie making. back in 1971. He didn’t actuPersonally, I can recall as far back to “The ally see it himself, but it was Patty Duke Show” in the early sixties the buzz of his hometown that when Brooklyn Heights was the setting for the popular Brooklyn sitcom. All the year. When we were dating, kids in the neighborhood were so proud he really impressed me with of the footage of the Heights Promenade that nugget of information. I in the opening scenes of the show each week. In our baby-boomer generation, it mean, after all, The Godfather was the start of recognition of our turf. was the mega-blockbuster hit Though in our parents’ generation, it was movie of the early seventies. probably On the Waterfront. Patty Duke waits for the F train Who wouldn’t be impressed? In 1969, I remember we were all psyched I’m not implying here that a film was never shot in my hometown of Red Hook, but the outside world to me back then seemed to be the greener side of the fence of my ghetto little neighborhood. All those parkways and trees, front lawns and beaches - it was inviting for sure. Not to mention that it was safer, cleaner and less complicated than the city with parking, space and bureaucracy. As kids, we played on concrete streets; they frolicked in the woods. We maneuvered our way on sweaty public transportation; they were sported in cars and hitch hiked with their parents’ blessings. What’s not to like?

Well, for starters, I thought that suburbia lacked an abundance of cultural and varied historical importance - the boroughs stole the show on those matters with their battles and forts, bridges and industries, and immigrants - along with their ensuing monumental and prestigious museums and theaters. And suburbia, to me, lacked a significant social infrastructure. Destinations were wide and far with few walking towns and places to congregate left gaps of social needs. It seemed the best part of living in the suburbs was its exceptional, pristine playground for kids to grow up on. Once out of college, though, with no spouse to speak of, what was there to do? I could answer that. They had a tendency to drink. They drank at clubs, at the beaches, on their boats. You name it, they were most likely drinking for their entertainment. This was my experience. Eventually, in time, they would make their way into the city where they could be among other young people and choose from a menu of places and events to keep busy. Enter Brooklyn. And the lifelong debate my husband and I hold over who had the better outcome of our childhood experiences of the two places. This revelation came to us most glaringly post children, when we spent more time on ball fields and in cars, than we did in museums or walking. But the issue of film making was an argument he could never win. One lousy film was all he could credit to his childhood oasis? Well, not so for me.

Red Hook Star-Revue

because Patty Duke was making a movie called, Me, Natalie. It was about a young girl who decides to leave her cultural Brooklyn home and venture into the beatnik streets of Greenwich Village. A scene was shot, of all places, on the platform of the Smith & 9th Street station - a dungeon of a subway stairwell that scared even the rats away, I think. We were shocked to say the least, but excited as hell when we were in the movie theater. There was Patty Duke sitting atop her solid suitcase as the F train approached with the Smith & 9th Street station sign in full view behind her! In the early or mid ‘70s we were gathered on the sidewalks at Hicks and Summit Streets where Kojak, a detective series starring bald and mighty Telly Savalas was being filmed in and around St. Stephen’s Church.

Burt Reynolds comes to town Around that same time the neighborhood went crazy because Burt Reynolds graced the streets of Red Hook when he was filming, we swear, The Fuzz, a movie starring voluptuous Raquel Welch. (Some will say he was actually filming Shamus, co-starring sexy and hair-heavy Dyan Cannon since The Fuzz was purportedly shot in Boston). Whatever, we’re all guilty of senior moments these days. Fact remains that road blocks were set up on 9th Street under the F train elevated by the Gowanus Bridge and very large crowds of people gathered to watch the filming. Naturally, the guys were all waiting to see if Raquel Welch or Dyan Cannon would arrive. I don’t recall that either ever did, but that doesn’t mean other people would agree with me. One thing was for certain, though. Burt Reynolds was there, and he was every bit as handsome and friendly as we all knew he would be! The girls went bonkers because Burt Reynolds was the latest and greatest heart throb who had recently done the unmentionable at that time and posed nude for Cosmopolitan Magazine’s centerfold! I remember him in his white-collared shirt with rolled-up sleeves and dungarees as he approached the road blocks to shake hands and talk

to his fans. He was really sweet and charismatic as he signed autographs and answered questions. You could tell he genuinely appreciated his fans. On one of his days filming, the crew was handing out photos of him, which my friend received and saved all these years. A decade later when much of the neighborhood baby boomers left to raise kids of their own, many came back in for visits when they found out Moonstruck was being filmed on the corner of Henry and Sackett Streets with Cammereri Bakery as the setting. This especially fostered camaraderie among everyone since the neighborhood had been changing quite a bit during the eighties. The pride of the crowds that gathered there was unspeakable as Nicholas Cage and Cher represented our loving neighborhood for all the world to see in its authenticity. Then, in 1991 thereabouts, I remember receiving a phone call from my mother as she breathlessly tried to relay to me that the block was filled with filming trucks and crews who were setting up to film Hudson Hawk. This held particular interest for me since not only were they filming on the street that I grew up on, but also because the movie’s star was Bruce Willis and there was no bigger fan of his than I. “Moonlighting,” the series that introduced the world to a snappy, sexy, quick-witted Bruce Willis, was sitting in a trailer on my block! How lucky was I? I quickly picked up a recent magazine with his picture and drove the hour’s ride to Red Hook. There, I met up with friends, some of whom were still living there, and waited in astonishment as an elusive Bruce Willis was in a trailer parked outside my friend’s house getting made up for his scene. We inquired about his willingness to come out and sign some autographs and were told by the crew members that he was not “that type.” Well, excuse us. We were there for a couple of hours and eventually made our way toward the site of the scene - the BQE right outside of the Battery Tunnel on Hamilton Avenue by “Dead Man’s Curve,” where an explosion was to take place. I looked around and noticed there were no crowds. His fan base consisted of just a few neighborhood women and a bunch of kids from the projects who really didn’t care to stick around much longer than an hour since there was no action right away. He finally did come out of his trailer, walked by his little pathetic fan base and curious onlookers and proceeded to ignore every one of us. Big letdown. I guess you could say at that point celebrities reached the point of entitlement and become snobs. Another decade later in the late 1990s, Samuel L. Jackson set up shop, again on Luquer Street, when the movie, Shaft was being filmed (it had a 2000 release date.) A very long scene with a conversation between Shaft and a young girl took place right on my parent’s stoop! That was awesome! Next door, Defonte’s outside walls were re-painted to read “Bordega.” Since my parents no longer lived there, I wasn’t aware of the filming until after the crew had gone. But I made sure to see the movie and purchase the video

for my Red Hook movies collection. I know many more movies or series have been filmed in Red Hook during and after my residency there, including two of my own favorites, Across the Universe and Eat, Pray, Love. “Gossip Girl,” “Definitely, Maybe” and even the opening scenes for the current popular show, “What Would You Do?” have all been filmed in and around Red Hook. And with each new movie I venture to watch, I am aware that there may be scenes of my beloved neighborhood at any unexpected moment. That really makes me proud, because I never tire of seeing those familiar signs posted on the telephone poles revealing yet another time period for filming and an opportunity to see celebrities and creativity in motion. But things have changed since my friends and I were young. Our excitement still resonates. When my friend called not long ago and told me to come over because they were filming A Walk Among the Tombstones, a movie (again by Defonte’s on Luquer and Columbia) with Liam Neeson, I practically flew over in anticipation. But just like Bruce Willis, Liam Neeson seemed unapproachable. The neighborhood residents on Columbia Street and Luquer were almost ambivalent about the intrusion, too. I guess from their perspective it could get annoying with the parking restrictions. But I was disappointed that today’s stars aren’t as humble as they once were and don’t seem to value their fans’ patronage. Liam Neeson was, no doubt, deeply involved in his work, but afterward, would it have hurt him to wave to the few fans trying to get a glimpse of him and the Hollywood world? I don’t think it would. However disappointing the stars could be, though, I still feel lucky and honored that my old stomping grounds still holds resounding value when it comes to movie making. It is noted for its historical yet contemporary place in Brooklyn, creating lucrative real estate values and hipster presence that is even appealing to celebrities themselves who take up residency there. Not bad for a city neighborhood that was once associated with mobsters, crime and drugs, albeit a haven for poets and writers. Each time my husband and I watch movies, a knowing, triumphant look crosses my face when we see background scenes of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and beyond. He concedes each time. He has no choice; he’s still stuck on Sonny Corleone in the suburbs.

October 2013 Page 11

Fashionable in Red Hook by Lesley Ware Before the summer fades and shifts completely into sweater weather, I took an afternoon to venture past my Lorraine Street sewing studio to hit the streets with my friends, photog Jay L.A. Bastien and stylist Kimberly Charles!

With scenic views and a storied past, Red Hook is the perfect destination for street style with a historic twist!

After stumbling upon Coffey Street we made our way to the Louis Valentino Pier, one of three public piers in Red Hook. The site was a major hub for New York’s active shipping industry from the 1800s through the 1950s. It’s a lovely place to relax and see panoramic views of Manhattan’s skyline, Governor’s Island and Statue of Liberty! I’m wearing: a vintage beaded saree, an assortment thrift store jewelry, and yellow laser cut chunky heel by Marchez Vous

Here I am posing at Fort Defiance a Café, Van Brunt Street, named after an American fort built during one of the first big battles of the Revolutionary War the ‘Battle of Brooklyn’ fought on August 27, 1776.

I’m wearing: Oversized circle top from Harriet’s Alter Ego, 80s gold sequined skirt, an assortment of vintage accessories, Steve Madden sandals.

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October 2013

Lesley Ware tweets as @creativecookie

MY SUMMER STREET STY LE SHOOT We started off on Van Brunt Street, Red Hook’s waterfront main street, named after a prominent family of Dutch colonists that lived in the area. Their first recorded ancestor in America was Rutger Joesten Van Brunt who immigrated in 1653 to the town of New Utrecht that is now a part of Brooklyn. Today, a slew of businesses and restaurants have increased Van Brunt Street’s attractiveness making it youthful and chic!

I’m wearing: 60s floral button down sleeveless top, linen pants, vintage briefcase with floral motif, and cork wedge heel.

Special thanks to Baked for the yummy treats and coffee to keep us fueled during the shoot.

Photos: Jay L.A. Bastien

Styling: Kimberly Charles

Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013 Page 13

Kukla and Ambrose talk color and art at Kentler by Jherelle Benn


rt is t h e creative outlet in which humans are able to express themselves, release frustrations, and communicate emotion in a productive and truly unique fashion. Art is not only meant to be acknowledged, shared and experienced, but also preserved and celebrated. The unfortunate truth is that the arts are in danger. In this great city of New York there exists the constant threat of budget cuts and limited funds which contribute to the increasing struggle of a “starving” artist. Luckily, there are nonprofit organizations like Red Hook’s own Kentler International Drawing Space, which has been religiously dedicated to promoting and showcasing artists since 1990. Located at 353 Van Brunt Street (near Fairway), the building currently occupied by The Kentler International Drawing Space was built in 1877 by the Kentler family. The building, even then, was serving the community then in a different way as a store for men’s accessories. Today, the venue features five exhibitions per year and offers up to “200 drawings and works on paper available for viewing by the general public by appointment” (as per it’s brief brochure description). This fall The Kentler International Drawing Space has chosen to highlight two artists with solo exhibitions; David Ambrose: Surface to Surface and Michael Kukla: Hex & Grid. The choice to exhibit these two particular artists at the same time was an interesting one. Both artists are inspired by nature and its intricacy. However the ways

large back room where the walls were adorned with Ambrose’s work. For the next 15-20 minutes Ambrose spoke about what inspired his creations, explaining the complex process he took to create the pieces included in Surface to Surface. According to Ambrose, patience plays a big part when it comes to his art. His process consists of painting from front to back and back to front and the trick is making sure the paint is perfectly dried. David Ambrose is very poetic, feels deeply connected to his work, and calls himself old fashioned because he names individual pieces with titles such as “A Sideways Glance in Venice,” “Pockets of Flesh,” and “The Architectural Embers of England.” Ambrose says, “As far as the titles go, I read a lot and pull words away from the writing.” His work is also influenced by the Italian renaissance and other memorable points in

of guitar, saxophone and clarinet echoed throughout the gallery as the group enjoyed Kukla’s work. The serenade set the tone for a mellow environment created by the artwork and by the time the musicians were David Ambrose giving a talk at Kentler. finished and Kukla began his talk, everyone seemed sions of his work are altered when adding color to monochromatic pieces. Red to be in a relaxed and pleasant state. Kukla, born in Prague Europe, takes a is a recent addition to the colors used more systematic approach to his work by Kukla. To him, red represents beauty than Ambrose. He explores the beauty and intensity. He recalls a vacation in of restriction using only certain shapes Spain that inspired his sudden usage of and industrial colors with some intense the color.

splashes of bright red appearing sporadic a l l y . Kukla experiments w i t h shapes - specifically the hexagon - because of its flexibility and A sample from David Ambrose’s show “Surface to Surface.” the various ways it can be stretched, skewed, history. “Color is my drug of choice,” Ambrose duplicated and altered to create beauexplains to the group of art lovers and tifully artistic intricate patterns. He supporters. His love of color is evident claims to enjoy the hexagon because in the collection of works included in even though it seems to be limited, it Surface to Surface which are majorly vi- isn’t at all. “It’s imperfect.” He recogbrant and mostly made from watercolor nizes this imperfection in nature as well and gouache, (a type and draws inspiration from it. Kukla of paint consisting of explained that he usually starts off in pigment), on pierced the middle with one hexagon and then paper. He claims to builds by connecting more. The dimen-

Both Kukla and Ambrose exhibit great effort into their art and each piece is evidence of that. At the end of the talk the audience was invited to stay and enjoy more sweet sounds by Kukla’s musical friends and indulge in refreshments in the form of baked goods and wine donated to the gallery. “I thought it was great! Good crowd and informative. Both of these artists are really good people and easy to talk to…I thought people paid attention and were very interested so that’s a good thing”, said Sally Mize, Program Manager of The Kentler International Drawing Space, at the conclusion of the event. It is more than a good thing when people show interest in supporting the arts and local artists; it’s a great thing and it’s a necessary thing. For more information on the either of these artists, The Kentler International Drawing Space, events, and future exhibitions be sure to visit the website: or stop on by Thursday – Sunday from 12:00pm – 5:00pm when the gallery is open to the general public.

treat his art like pieces of scar tissue and has used his own body and skin as inspiration for his work.

Kukla’s Red Grid #1

in which they express this inspiration through their individual artistic works differ completely from one another. On Saturday Sept. 21st Kentler held an opening reception and Artists Talk where the general public could come and observe the artworks, listen to both artists speak in depth about their work, and gain more information about the exhibition and the gallery. “This is an amazing space,” an elderly woman in attendance chimed as she explored the gallery. Around 4:30 pm, roughly 25 people gathered in the

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Another notable fact about Ambrose’s work is the existence of layers and distance. Upon first glance the larger scale tells a tale filled with adventure. The viewer can see shapes, planets and the ocean all colorfully laid out on paper. When taking a more focused and closer approach the figures begin to change and develop into actual characters. Ambrose creates pictures within a picture and all in attendance seemed quite fascinated by his work as they listened intently to what he had to say. Directly following Ambrose was Michael Kukla and his Hex & Grid. Kukla surprised everyone by presenting a musical introduction that was inspired by the artwork itself. The smooth sounds

Hours: Noon to 10:30 pm Tues. to Thurs. Noon to 11pm Friday. 4pm to 11pm Saturday & 4pm to 10:30pm Sunday.

October 2013

It all happened in September (except for Banksy)

Kamau Ware held an end-of-summer bash at Screwball Spaces celebrating the rebirth of his company, Black Gotham. At it’s essence is a series of walking tours that trace the lives of Africans living in Lower Manhattan from 1623 to 1898

Surrounded by his brother’s popular bar and the popular Brooklyn Crab, Ralph Balzano hosted a Labor Day bash complete with hamburgers, hot dogs and sweet Lorraine.

Despite the sudden passing of Sal Meglio, the Van Brunt VFW post’s annual Reunion Day went as scheduled on September 7th. A sunny day and big turnout made it a convivial and at times boisterous affair. As always, a DJ provide the old-time hits as dancing and barbecuing were the order of the day.

Monica Byrne, who owns Homemade with Leisah Swenson, celebrating the opening of their new catering space, Atelier Roquette, on September 9th. Located at 63 Commerce Street, it will hold community events as well as weddings and movie screenings.

Participatory Budgeting arrives in the Hook

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process that allows constituents to decide how a specific amount of money is spent in their district. In early April, all residents ages 16 and older are allowed to vote for their favorite projects. The projects that receive the most votes begin construction phases immediately following the tallying of the votes. This year, in addition to Councilmen Steve Levin’s District 33 and Brad Landers’ District 39, Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez also chose PB for her District 38. She is the only new participant this year, and also has committed twice the funds of every other district. Her district will have $2 million to budget

Red Hook Star-Revue

Ian Marvy and Gita Nandan are the local co-chairs for NY Rising. It is a NY State project established to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to Communities severely damaged by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. There will be a community meeting on the 15th at PS 15, 7 pm. All Red Hookers should attend as all local ideas are being welcomed.

It used to be Nino’s Restaurant, but now, Francesco’s Pizzeria, at the corner of Union and Henry, is moving the pizza place one store in from the corner soon. We will keep all informed as to what becomes of the corner space.

into the process, while the other eight districts have promised constituents $1 million. Currently, PB is holding neighborhood assemblies and recruiting budget delegates. At the assemblies, residents will be encouraged to suggest ideas and give input on how money can be best spent in their district. Each district covers a wide range of neighborhoods. To maximize opportunity of each neighborhood, participation is essential. The outcome of each chosen project depends solely on the number votes it receives. To find out how to get involved with PB in your community, attend one of the following meetings, visit, and - most importantly - vote!

If you never heard of Banksy, you would think that this balloon that appeared on a wall one day in Red Hook was a balloon painted on a wall. In reality it is part of an art installation by a world famous graffiti artist and people from all over the world are coming by limousine and the B61 to see it.

District 33 Levin

Tuesday, October 22nd, 6-8 pm St Francis College Callahan Center 180 Remsen Street Saturday, October 26th, 4-6 pm Wyckoff Community Center 280 Wyckoff Street

District 38-Gonzalez/ Menchaca

Wednesday, October 16th, 7-9 pm MS 136 Dewey Middle School 4004 4th Avenue, Sunset Park, Friday, October 18th, 7-9pm Miccio Community Center at Red Hook Houses 110 West 9th Street Tuesday, October 22rd, 11am-1pm LFHC Sunset Park Senior Center 4520 4th Ave, Sunset Park, Wednesday, October 23rd, 6-8pm Our Lady of Perpetual Help 526 59th Street & 60th, Sunset Park, Sunday, October 27th, 4-6pm Visitation Church 98 Richards Street, Red Hook

District 39-Lander

Tuesday, October 15th, 6:30pm Carroll Gardens Branch Library 396 Clinton St, Brooklyn (at Union St) Wednesday, October 16th, 7pm - Boro Park Assembly Georgia Ballroom 4424 16th Ave Brooklyn - 45th St entrance Monday, October 21st, 6:30pm - Transportation Assembly Park Slope Armory 431 6th Ave at 9th St, Brooklyn Tuesday, October 22nd, 4:30-6pm - Youth Assembly Park Slope Armory YMCA 361 15th St, Brooklyn Saturday, October 26th, 3-5 pm - Spanish Language Assembly Fifth Avenue Committee 621 Degraw Street, Brooklyn

October 2013 Page 15

Around the Columbia Waterfront District Union Garage Columbia Street Fair

After opening about a year ago, Union Garage, the motorcycle gear boutique located at 103 Union Street has become a popular destination for cyclists seeking specialty goods by companies such as Bell Helmits, Lost Worlds inc., and REV’IT!. “Business is good,” explains owner Chris Lesser, “people are finding out about us.” Chris describes Union Garage as a specialty store which

attracts some walk-in customers, but mainly makes online sales and fills orders. 103 Union / 1-718-594-7093

Hail Cesars

The Carroll Gardens Association outdid themselves this year with their Columbia Street Fair on September 14th. With an ever expanding variety of local merchants displaying their talents, it was a great day for the kids and shoppers, and just plan neighborhood schmoozing. And this year, the day of music was provided courtesy of Geoff at Jalopy and Mingo Tull. Pictured above are Damien from Dog Day Cyclery and little and big people from Columbia Street’s Herborium. Old standby House of Pizza and Calzone featured sidewalk dining.

Page 16 Red Hook Star-Revue

Situated at 192 Columbia Street, Cesar’s Garden is a great diner which also serves in Mexican-American cuisine. Cesar’s opened July first and has quickly become a favorite haunt for the Star-Revue staff. Owner Andres Rendon’s named his restaurant after his brother. For warmer days, there’s garden dining out back. (718) 852-1925

October 2013

Down home Hometown opens their doors


ed Hook finally has their southern style Bee-BeeQ joint that has been on the menu for more than a year.

by Kimberly Gail Price

evening checking in on happy diners, offering bread and sauces – yes they offer several kinds of sauces! His daughter also

Hometown, Billy Durney’s hard foughtfor restaurant, officially opened their doors to the public on Thursday, September 12. Under a threatening sky eager to burst forth with torrential downpours, masses gathered anyway. Sean Rupka and Yu Aoki sat at the bar drinking pints of Smutty Nose and gorging on various meats and accompanying sides.

Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers werepart of a full day of music.

Sean, who sampled sausage, brisket and jerk chicken, had just moved from Canada to Red Hook two weeks prior to the opening. This was the first time he had eaten Billy’s bbq. Yu, a Japanese native who moved from Colorado to Manhattan, said this was his second time to ever have barbecue. His first was at Fletcher’s on Third Avenue in Gowanus. He spoke of the “meat

Sean Rupka and Yu are lucky newcomers to Red Hook & HomeTown.

joined in helping out where she could.

Billy does the serving Billy himself stood on the carving line taking orders and serving generous helpings of meat. Clad in a messy apron and grease-soaked black rubber gloves, he seemed excited that opening day had finally come. To every customer, he offered gratitude. “Thanks for coming,” he said to each of us. “It means a lot to me.”

Billy Durney with his charming grandmother

culture” in the United States and how it vastly differs from the fish culture in Japan. “It’s a different kind of meat,” he says. “I’m really enjoying it.” Noah Landers, an accountant, and Krissie Nagy, a “professional” gardener lounged at a table after finishing their meal. They too sipped on Smutty Nose. They shared a pound of the half hog – because the pits are too small for a whole hog - with a serving of brisket along with baked beans and mac and cheese. Noah called the meal “amazing,” and Krissie described it as “fantastic.”

We sampled the pulled pork, half hog, and jerk chicken so spicy it felt like our fingers and lips were on fire. We added jalapeño infused baked beans and creamy mac and cheese to the hearty servings of meat. Although I was sure we hadn’t ordered enough food for both George and me, we were fully sated before the plate was licked clean.

A stage with live music The restaurant offers a variety of possibilities. In fact, opening night the back

Noah expressed his enthusiasm for the new joint. “Now I don’t have to travel down to North Carolina to get whole hog. We can just walk down the street.”

His mother said, “I was afraid the rain would keep people away.” But dozens flanked the ordering line, completely undismayed by the weather. His niece and nephew were also there dining with the family. His wife spent the

Red Hook Star-Revue

While the actual space is uniquely inviting, that is not why guests feel so at home at this new venue. The name of Red Hook! 50 more butchered and rubbed for tomorrow ...” Billy and Hometown continued to serve the community by donating food to more than a dozen fundraisers, reopening and rebuilding events. All while working very hard to rebuild his own business.

The sky did open up, but customers continued to stream in. I had decided to come back later in the week when the line wasn’t so crowded. But a peek through the heavy glass doors and the lack of an umbrella seemed to be an omen. However, the endless line of people waiting to place their orders was also daunting. Nonetheless, I agreed to stay and indulge on opening night.

Saves a big trip

Billy’s family also came out to celebrate the opening. His father, mother, brother and even grandmother, a native Norwegian who now lives in Staten Island, came out for the occasion. They sat at one long wooden picnic-style table, enjoying a vast variety of Billy’s home cooking.

The back room, where much of the cooking is done, also has a full bar, tables and chairs and the ordering line. The space is vast. On the back wall, a rustic American flag mural helps create that “urban warehouse setting, with a humble country feel,” as described on their website.

Great musician Jan Bell books the music at Hometown.

room was closed for a private function. A stage is set up in the front dining room, which can be converted to satisfy a whole host of scenarios. The front room can also be used for dance parties, social gatherings or even a place to mingle, and even has its own full bar.

Behind the beautiful space and the fantastic food, the owners of Hometown are a group a special people who – before opening their own doors – have supported and cherished their own community. “We are humbled by the crazy amount of support from friends, family and the INCREDIBLE people of Red Hook. Bar-B-Que has found a new home in this special place,” Billy writes. We hope so. And we are humbled by your presence as well. Now, let’s eat! Billy’s mom and niece

suggests a lot. And visitors won’t be disappointed. The ambiance is great. The food is delicious. But most of all, Hometown has created something that is near extinction in the everyday lives of modern man. It is a space that is warm and friendly where the hosts care deeply about their customers. It is a local waterhole where friends can gather to celebrate just being. And even though they’ve just recently opened, the owners are no strangers to the neighborhood. Billy premiered Hometown’s barbecue last year at Red Hook Initiative’s Taste of Red Hook just five days before Hurricane Sandy struck. His restaurant was slated to open sometime later that fall. But because of damages, the opening was delayed for nearly a year. In the meantime between rebuilding, replacing equipment and basically starting from scratch, Billy worked hard to support his community. For sixteen days, he was on the streets smoking meat and feeding hungry, cold residents. On his FaceBook page, he posted, “50 Racks of Ribs on the way to the peeps

Mrs. Durney enjoying a drink from their signature mason jar (photos by Price)

October 2013 Page 17

Dance on the Greenway brings local talent to the waterfront by Jherelle Benn


n an unusually sunny October afternoon, a colorful group of dancers, choreographers, organizers, participants and the Executive Director of Dance Theatre Etcetera all gathered together in sweats, tights, and sneakers on IKEA’s waterfront ready to rehearse and prepare for the upcoming event, Saturday October 12th. The riders of the Water Taxi watched with excited eyes as the dancers stretched their limbs and filled the space with their expressive performance art.

Performance and talk

did Dance on the Greenway. Part of its mission was to support choreographers who were interested in working with alternative spaces, as well as local emerging Red Hook choreographers.” This year four out of the five choreographers involved in the event are from the neighborhood of Red Hook. One of the choreographers, whose dances will be featured at the festival, Rashaun Mitchell, joined Bowers in conversation before rehearsal and gave vivid details about the nature of his work as well as where he draws his inspiration.

Dance Theatre Etcetera (DTE) in collaboration with Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) and Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) presents the second annual Dance on the Greenway: “a festival of site-specific dances on the IKEA waterfront,” to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The festival will highlight local and non- Red Hook choreographers, as well as dancers of various genres and diversities. Performances will occur at both 1pm and 4pm with a special panel discussion taking place in between 3-4 pm.

Mitchell, who has experience working as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, was pleasantly surprised when Bowers emailed him asking for his participation and jumped at the opportunity to get involved. He explained, “I had never heard of the festival, but I had just moved to Red Hook in June. I thought it was more than a coincidence that I was receiving this invitation just as I was sort of getting acclimated to the neighborhood. It seemed like the right thing to do to get involved in the community and meet some people, so here I am.”

Before the rehearsal began Martha Bowers, Executive Director of DTE sat enjoying the sun kissed waterfront and absorbing the view of calming waters of the historic Brooklyn’s Erie Basin. Shielding her eyes from the shining sun, she said, “Last year was the first year we

In his choreography, Mitchell plans on focusing on utilizing the space by playing with distance, exploring the geometry and vastness of the landscape, and somehow incorporating the rich historical context of the very land into the dancing itself. He has composed a

Incorporating local history

duet between a man and a woman that Right before leaving to oversee a full he could only describe as an adventure. run through of the dances, Bowers hapLike Mitchell, many others are un- pily exclaims, “You are going to see aware of the potential the waterfront some really beautiful dancing in a rehas to offer. Dance on the Greenway ally beautiful location that’ll make you is giving opportunity to local dancers probably see the space differently than and providing valuable exposure to a you ever have if you’ve been here, or scarcely utilized historical area not only if you haven’t been here it’ll introduce of Red Hook but also in Brooklyn and you to a very underused and very beauon a larger scale New York City. The tiful part of the Brooklyn water front.” informative panel, which includes Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and other members of the community, will present opportunities to educate and engage local residents and push Red Hook “towards a more sustainable future.”

Arrive promptly at 1pm to catch the full performance and be involved in the panel. All attendees of Dance on the Greenway are free to utilize IKEA parking lot. For more information on the event, visit DTE’s website at

Saturday, October 26th, 8:00 p.m.,

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Page 18 Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013

EPA letters

(continued from page 5)

and environmentally responsible. We see this project as an opportunity for federal investment in the community, potential employment for local residents, increased industrial land, and increased public open space. Thank you for your consideration. I can be reached at (917) 414-0565. Sincerely, Carolina Salguero

An expert’s opinion

I support the use of a CDF because I am aware that such an approach is effective in Newark Bay. I speak with a certain amount of knowledge of the options for disposition of dredged material. While I was in New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as Special Assistant to the Commissioner for New York Harbor Environmental issues, my portfolio had dredging and dredged material disposal as a major factor. During that time I co-chaired dredging conferences dedicated to finding innovative sustainable ways to deal with dredged material. In addition I made a presentation about dredged material disposal before the New York Academy of Sciences. I continued to follow the dredging issue while I was at New York City Economic Development Corporation as Director of Port and Intermodal Planning, as consultant to the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation in developing its conceptual plan for redevelopment, and continue to do so as a member of the Steering Committee of the Harbor Operations Committee. Although my words of support are few they are based on a great depth of

Sal Meglio

knowledge and experience. Very truly yours, Roberta Weisbrod. Ph.D. Founder and Principal, Sustainable Ports, a consultant business Cc: Phaedra Thomas John Quadrozzi. Jr.

was laid to rest on Sept. 7th, 2013. We will miss his companionship and stories.

New kind of theft on the rise, FROM PARDON ME FOR ASKING I wouldn’t know what they look like or where they can be found in an automobile, but apparently,catalytic converters are worth stealing. I just got word that quite a few car owners in Carroll Gardens. Here is a report from Reader J. who wanted to make sure people in the neighborhood were aware: “I am writing this morning to report a string of bizarre robberies. We live on Union and Columbia, and went to move our car this morning for the alternate side of the street parking rules. Our catalytic converter had been stolen. Very cleanly, it was sliced out. Bummer. We decided to make a police report in case we wanted to declare this robbery to our insurance company. The very nice woman at the Union Street Precinct front desk responded “Oh, no. Another one?” It turns out that many cars discovered on this street sweeping morning that their catalytic converters had also been stolen. As of 8:15 am, they had 6 reports.

I just went to re-park my car, after the street sweeping hours and met 2 other car owners who discovered the same robbery. One of them was on the phone with his mechanic who had 4 cars in for the same problem. Crazy.

So, I write with the hope that anyone else this may have happened to will be encouraged to file a police report. It seems that there a lot of people out there today who could help us all with a report.” Good advice. Make sure that you call the police if you see something, or if your converter has been stolen, please file a report. The 76th Precinct is located at 191 Union Street, Brooklyn. The telephone number is (718) 834-3211

The cops said that people making reports is the only way they could hope to track these if they are sold somewhere and then possibly catch the thieves. At the least it will encourage the police to patrol and know where to focus if people give them their story.

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October 2013 Page 19

The Largest Liquor Store in Town is NOW OPEN! WINE DISCOUNT




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Page 20 Red Hook Star-Revue

October 2013

Red hook star revue October 2013  
Red hook star revue October 2013  

The community newspaper for Red Hook, Brooklyn. Highlights this issue include fashion, news, politics - Carlos Menchaca/Sara Gonzalez lookba...