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The

Red Hook StarªRevue

THRU FEB. 20, 2014

SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

V A L E D N A T Y I N 8 page special love E section begins on page 11 S

RED HOOK MEETS BASIC AT CIVIC ASSOCIATION MEETING by George Fiala

The Amendolas and their friends are a fixture at every Red Hook Civic Association meeting. (photo by George Fiala)

J

ohn McGettrick has headed Red Hook’s own Civic Association for a number of years. He has tackled issues such as transportation, pollution and land use. The latest meeting was a spirited one with a full agenda, and met at PS 15 on Wednesday, January 29. The first speaker was Jessica Colon, of the Red Hook Community Justice Center. She spoke of a new basketball program at the Miccio Center, as well as their newest program - Red Hook First Responders. For more information, contact Jessica at (718) 923-8200. Lydia Bellahcene, president of the PS 15 PTA, spoke next. She announced PS 15’s acceptance as a magnet school to much applause. She explained that PS 15 is a STEAM magnet school. Most others are STEM, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. PS 15 has added Arts, hence the STEAM designation. She encouraged awareness of Red Hook’s Participatory Budgeting program, which allows voters to held decide on how City Council funding is spent. An election will be held this spring and there will be some Red Hook specific projects to decide on. The PS 15 Spring Flea will be held May 3rd, and Lydia told everyone to keep an eye on the red doors of PS 15 for announcements about the Flea and other events.

This was the scene in Sunset Park last Sunday during the celebration of the Lunar New Year (photo by George Fiala)

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

FREE

Finally, Bellahcene explained that continuing degradation from the effects of

Sandy’s waters have made the replacement of much of the school’s electrical wiring a necessity. The work will take place weekends and over the summer in order to inconvenience the school as little as possible. A representative from Project Hope announced that they will be finishing their work in Red Hook shortly. Project Hope has helped residents deal with mental issues related to Sandy. Their work was appreciated.

LICH must be saved Maribel Agosto, a nurse at LICH and for the past year an outspoken advocate of the hospital spoke next. She exhorted all Red Hookers to engage in the process of saving the hospital. Earlier that day there was a press conference at the hospital with many elected officials demanding a new RFP process to find a viable operator to replace SUNY. There will be more rallies - they are generally tweeted with the hashtag #savelich. Two others spoke of the importance of saving LICH, including Lee Wellington of Carlos Menchaca’s office. The next presentation was made despite the incompatability of the laptop computer with the projection system in the auditorium, hence it was made sans PowerPoint. Gita Nandan, co-chair of Red Hook Rising, spoke of the group’s progress in choosing a $3 million project chosen to alleviate the effects of any future hurricane or flooding. State funds were designated for this, and the group (please turn to page 5)


Red Hook StarªRevue The Red Hook StarªRevue

The

SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

In just two short years we have grown from a novelty Table of Contents Civic Association. ............ 1,5 Valentine Special..11-18 to an institution. Transportation Study......... 3 Editorial/Letters......... 20 BROOKLYN’S SOUTH COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

DECEMBER, 2013

VOLUME 4 NO. 13

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d Hook StabyªTrace........ 21 CAG meets......................... 5 ReHealthy r Revue Mary Ann Pietanza........... 10 Newsbriefs................ 22 Father Claudio MAY 16 - 31, 201 2

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Opening night at Kentler International Drawing Space. New show is called Circumstances and consists of selections from the Kentler Flatfiles. Opening reception from 6 pm - 8 pm, 353 Van Brunt Street.

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Free consultations on building code, zoning and design related issues for building owners. Especially timely for Sandy damaged homes. 11 am - 5 pm at the Red Hook Volunteers, 360 Van Brunt St. Also on Sunday and Monday (Monday hours are 3 pm - 9 pm).

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Mardi Tuesday at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery. Arts and Crafts, today’s menu includes Valentines and Paper Crafts. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 3 pm - 6 pm. 363 Hoyt Street 718 797-9427

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Thank you Brooklyn!

101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Kimberly@redhookstar.com

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A tremendous bluegrass bill at Jalopy starting at 9 pm. The Weal and Woe play choice cover songs by classic country, steel guitar and bluegrass songwriters. Kenny Kosek is one of America’s finest fiddlers. He has played with Breakfast Special, Bill Keith and Tony Trischka, just to name a choice few. Bob Jones has been a fixture in the NY bluegrass since the early 1970s. Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street

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The T ROU a tperfor 9 AM , June d #9 new neighbE.way ND OF king S. Yo 9 AM 3rd 23 ich Lunar an irrets. It is and t thewith times of lan point. BroaS.modes PLAYOF Field ine New es wh et is 4th Place of #9 Plac @ 2nd portiond Hook ter. Th FS nam per tion ton stre yn Heigh bay of e CHA of Gam page 3 MPI @ 1st Place e as Re tide wa large por of Ful Brookl city and wn by the yn pro part 6 PM#1 Wed ONSHIP Place a the msS. okl as new Fiel kno the nes Bro SER and origina above hills; t river Gam Low wn w of d #1 llia l crossw es. ally est day, June IES (BES Fiel e bay, ord puzzle See 9 AM#2 Satu of low the Eas sea, kno nt vie still loc nicipaliti out oklyn. Wi. d@ T OF d #9 page 11 llab High27 ng Gam High rday, 3) of the gnifice tricts est t mu of Wa th Bro out bay est June Alo e #3 See 11 AM See 30 (if S. level s a ma eral dis distinc d Sou nec d llab @ Low Fiel Thir as the city Low essa d #9 d ry) est est afford ces sev y were of the known N. of Wa 9 Place See See Satu and s is d d@ Trop AM TwoGame embra en the tion tion Highrday, June Field hy #9 city bore wh er por ic avenuetled por est follo Ceremonlosing page 8 See 30 old ant team wing d set from their the Chay will take s from they es the of Atl thickly Street taken the Red Place June mpions plac includ g S. on of Union e on hip Gam Tea es the lyin Fiel 23 Fiel at the end and project space all mediums. Page m this includ 1. e on d #9 imm d #1 gallery space across June 20 Re edia turned gallery South working tion of the burgh 30th tely rating artists a descrip nic’s garage 2. d

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8

NEWSPA

Visitatio

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Happenings

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Ballet classes with Bill Waldinger at Cora Dance. Tonight’s lesson is Sissone. 6:30 - 7:45 pm. Cora is at 201 Richards Street.

718 624-5568 www.RedHookStar.com

Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Drill and Play - Basketball training with professionals. Ages 11-14 from 5 - 7 pm; Ages 15-18 from 7 - 9 pm. Free at the Miccio Center. Learn from Kobe Bryant’s teammate!

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15

Falconworks is holding auditions for their June production of Romeo and Juliet. The auditions will be at PS 15 from 11 am - 3 pm but you must RSVP to get an audition time. (718) 395-3218 The Bell House is home to the annual SYD STRAW HEARTWRECK SHOW. Syd was once in the Golden Palomino’s, and always puts together a unique Valentine experience. The Bell House is in Gowanus, 149 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

Community Calendar Mon Feb 10, 6:30 pm: CB6 Economic/Waterfront/Community Development & Housing Location TBA Tuesday, February 11th, 6:30 pm - Red Hook West Tenants Meeting, 428 Columbia Street, 1C Wednesday, February 12th, CB6 General Board Meeting, 6:30 pm Old Reformed Church, 729 Carroll Street Tuesday, February 25, Gowanus CAG monthly meeting, 6:30 - 9 pm. location to be determined.

For the most up-to-date calendar listings, go to our website: www.redhookstar.com

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After more years than we can remember, the Sunoco station on Hamilton Avenue has closed - removing much needed light from this corner. (photo by Fiala)

Page 2 Red Hook Star-Revue

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Thru Feb. 20, 2014


City Planning presents transportation study at Miccio by George Fiala

L

ast spring the transportation division of the NYC Department of City Planning began a Red Hook transportation study called “Improving the Network for All Users.” Led by Conor Clarke and Aline Fader, they have spent a lot of time in the neighborhood gauging community needs. They have also spent time with various city agencies to try and determine what sorts of plans are feasible and might attain funding. On February 4 they presented their draft at a meeting in the basement of the Miccio Center. Fader spoke first and explained that their final report is due by the end of March. She has kept in touch with NY Rising and other city and state programs aiding Red Hook, to coordinate efforts. These include studies about ferries, coastal flood protection, the Greenway and even 2011’s trolley study. After the report is completed, Fader said that implementation will begin. Further clarification revealed that the study is simply that - City Planning plans, but it is up to other agencies to commit funding for the actual work. Clarke said City Planning worked closely with the Department of Transportation and feel confident that at least some of the projects will proceed shortly. Fader concluded her presentation by stating that the over riding theme of their report is accessibility.

Red Hook Star-Revue

Clarke continued with the aid of PowerPoint slides projected on a makeshift screen that looked suspiciously like a bed sheet. He told the group that they had listened to the community and identified the following issues as most important: accessibility to Red Hook; poor pedestrian condition; poor roadway conditions; truck congestion and navigation; crossing Hamilton Avenue; lack of bicycle infrastructure; and the need for additional transit access.

Sidewalk repairs Each of these issues was addressed, one by one. He explained that poorly maintained sidewalks were the responsibility of property owners. As complaints are made, to 311 or by calls to DOT, inspectors are sent out. If the complaint is warranted, the owner is given 45 days to make the repairs. In extreme cases they must repair the sidewalk within ten days. In case repairs are not made, the city will dispatch a crew, and bill the property owner for the work. A lot of conversation had to do with street markings, identifying and adding speed bumps, and the installation of permanent or removable physical barriers to prevent cars and trucks from entering certain areas. One of those areas was Hamilton and Richard Street, close to the firehouse. The street markings indicate no right turn, however they are often made, and the corner is prone to accidents.

Other problem areas included Van Brunt and Sullivan and the road around the back of the Hugh Carey Tunnel. There were many comments in support of bus service to Manhattan. Clarke said that talks about this with the MTA were not hopeful, expense being a problem. Ray Howell and others commented that the Rockaways seem to get lots of service improvements as compared to Red Hook. Clarke said even a shuttle bus was discouraged in his MTA conversations. Jim Tampakis said that there’s a Fifth Avenue bus that goes through the tunnel that could make a few stops in Red Hook. There was lots of talk about crossing Hamilton Avenue - especially since the Sunoco Station has closed, making the trek even more dangerous. Clarke said that the DOT informed him that because of the volume of car traffic, the crossing lights could not be extended they are timed a certain way. Jim Vogel, from Senator Montgomery’s office wished that DOT could be more pedestrian friendly. A slide was shown of a Shanghai street scape that was dreamlike in its improvement over the current conditions. Evidently, Shanghai is very pedestrian and tree friendly. A problem identified in the research is a NY State DOT project that requires them to use a major portion of the Gowanus underpass, at least for the foresseable future. Perhaps the most creative and welcome

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The owner of Yankee Ferry making her salient points. (photos by Fiala)

comments came from a woman with multicolored hair who is becoming a familiar sight in Red Hook. Victoria MacKenzie-Childs is the owner of the Yankee ferry, currently docked at Gowanus Bay Terminal. When it came to be her turn to speak, she piped in with some pertinent suggestions. Clarke had spoken of the disrepair of some of the cobblestoned streets, implying that maybe they could be removed. She disagreed, saying they ought to be repaired instead - a position that John McGettrick has always taken. Cobblestones are part of Red Hook’s charm. She spoke of speed bumps that were not clearly marked, causing sudden surprises for car and truck drivers. She said that riding her bicycle through the Red Hook Houses was wonderful. Some of New York’s oldest trees are within Housing, she said. The fact that there (continued on page 6)

Thru Feb. 20, 2014 Page 3


Columbia Street Merchant Association meets to discuss upcoming projects by George Fiala

Lindsay Donnellon at last fall’s Visioning session (photo by George Fiala)

T

he fledgling Columbia Waterfront District Merchants Association met in the offices of the Carroll Gardens Association (CGA) on Tuesday afternoon, January 28. The meeting was led by Lindsay Donnellon of CGA and attendees included Paul D’Agostino of the House of Pizza and Calzone, Victoria Hagman of Collective Realty, Buddy Scotto, Dominic Palastro of Kings Coffee, and Gary Baum of City Beautiful Carpentry. Attendees sat around a conference table at the rear of the CGA’s Columbia Street storefront, the group tossed around ideas to better the business climate of the neighborhood, many of which were suggested at Visioning session last fall. Topics included input into a sign at the Columbia and Atlantic introducing the neighborhood to cyclists and pedestrians exiting Brooklyn Bridge

Park, taking part in a Transportation Alternatives event at Harold L. Ickes park (behind the Hugh Carey Tunnel) on June 2nd, an Easter promotion in cooperation with the Urban Meadow and the possibilities of a Holiday Windows contest next December, similar to this past year’s Red Hook windows contest. Another plan is for benches unique to the Columbia Waterfront District to be placed around trees - something that would help brand the community. There was a discussion about placement of a CitiBike rank in the neighborhood. Someone mentioned that Carlos Menchaca promised more CitiBike racks if elected. Lindsey Donnellon pointed out that the CitiBike program is not being expand, and there is nothing any politician can do about that for now. The group decided to write a letter to local politicians and the Department of Transportation asking for more roads that are divided by the BQE to be reconnected, specifically Degraw and Carroll Streets, bringing greater access to the business community. There was discussion about the new park promised for Columbia by DeGraw Street, and someone will talk to the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative about placing some of the proposed benches there. It was pointed out that following the reconstruction of Van Brunt Street, recently completed after many years, the street signs for Union, Carroll and President Streets have not been replaced. The next meeting of the Columbia Street Merchants Association is scheduled for March 19 at 4 pm. For information about joining the association, call Lindsay at (718) 243-9301.

Lillie Marshall and Phaedra Thomas at an EPA outreach meeting at PS 15.

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Civic Association presents a whole host of local issues (continued from page 1)

has been meeting weekly. There have been two public meetings, where the community came together and shared ideas. The committee identified 90 potential projects, which are in the process of being whittled down to about ten. These will be presented at the next public meeting which will take place in the third week of February. The project is scheduled to begin sometime after the first of April. Gita stated that they are looking for something that would benefit all people of Red Hook. She also said that the research they have already done will be available for future projects as funding appears. Red Hook Rising maintains a blog at redhookcrp.wordpress.com.

Promise of flood barriers At this point, John McGettrick spoke of the $200 million that was announced by Governor Cuomo for the creation of

Lydia, PTA President of PS 15, doesn’t exactly enjoy the BASIS presentation.

a flood barrier for Red Hook. He promised to keep all informed over coming months. Next up was Mark Reford, CEO of the BASIS Independent School. BASIS is planning to build a private school on Bay and Columbia Street this summer. They came before the Civic Association as a result of criticism they encountered

“If they could afford that, they wouldn’t be living in Red Hook, they be in Todt Hill!” at a recent CB6 Board meeting.

Remorseful? Reford came before a respectful audience explaining his error at not involving himself more in the Red Hook community before now. He went on to explain that they will be giving two scholarships a year for local children entering kindergarten, meaning that in twelve years there would be 26 scholarship students out of a student body of 1000. Reford was asked whether a traffic study was performed, and he answered in the affirmative. He said that local contractors would be used to build the school. Reford said that it would be raised in order to prevent future flood damage, and that the building, which will lie between IKEA and the Red Hook Houses, would help serve

Mark Reford, BASIS CEO, is proud of his school’s reputation. (photos by Fiala)

as a flood buffer for the neighborhood. He was asked where the student body would be coming from. Reford answered that all of Brooklyn was the catchment area, as well as lower Manhattan. Among the comments from the audience was a pointed one by Annette Amendola. After praising the excellent job that the existing local public schools do for Red Hook’s children, she said that this school’s $23,500 annual tuition fee was out of reach of most of the Red Hook’s population, saying “If they could afford that, they wouldn’t be living in Red Hook, they be in Todt Hill!” She was referring to an upper class neighborhood in Staten Island.

The BASIS International School will be appearing before the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals for permission to build the school on the M-1-1 zoned parcel. It is not yet on the public schedule, but it will most probably be heard at the public hearing on February 25. Oscar Jonas from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s office closed the meeting speaking of a study the State Senate had performed on vulnerable bridges and upgrades for waste treatment plants. The Civic Association generally meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 7 pm. For more information on time and location of this and other local events, visit www.redhookstar.com.

CAG meeting marks progress since the Record of Decision

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ost Superfund sites have an independent Community Advisory Group (CAG) which serves as an intermediary between the community and the EPA. Gowanus is no exception. The Gowanus CAG is composed of more than 50 members. Some represent community groups such as FROGG and the Cobble Hill Association, others are at large-members who are interested residents and/or businesspeople. The CAG has been meeting on a regular basis since 2010. The latest meeting was January 27 at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea home. Christos Tsiamis is the local Superfund Project Manager. He has been intimately involved with the project for the past four years and was called upon this evening for a progress report. Last September 30, the EPA issued their Record of Decision (ROD), which finalized the cleanup plan. The next step is an Administrative Order of Consent - a negotiated agreement with the responsible parties who will pay for the cleanup. The two main parties are the City of New York and National Grid. The next step is pre-design planning. Tsiamis characterized meetings with National Grid as productive, with National Grid already giving the EPA a good faith payment of $1 million. He commentated “it’s good to have money in the bank.” The Superfund process was set up in 1980 and for fifteen years was funded by a tax on the chemical industry. That tax

Red Hook Star-Revue

by George Fiala

authorization expired in 1995 and was not renewed by Congress. Therefore, cleanups have to be paid for be identifiable polluters, when possible. Orphaned sites are funded by taxpayers. Tsiamis has been busy making deals with companies associated with the original pollution, much of which happened in the 19th century, when Brooklyn was lit with methane, and methane was produced for coal, leaving heavy pollution behind. Most of the responsible parties will simply pay their share of the cost, but National Grid and NYC will actually be executing the cleanup with the EPA supervising. The meetings with National Grid included refining data on the pollution and cleanup, a plan to remove debris - a process which precedes the dredging - and a pilot study certifying the condition of the sediment. A big part of what has to be decided with the City is the location of two large containers to house sewage overflow. Nobody involved in the cleanup wants to see the canal recontaminated after remediation. This was extensively discussed in the three years prior to the issuance of the ROD. The biggest current contaminator of the Canal are sewage overflows. This occurs during rainstorms when the sewers carrying waste are inundated with extra water. During these storms, a lot of waste is dumped into the Gowanus, and most of it ends up at the bottom. All this accumulated waste will

be dredged away and disposed of. The EPA, as well as National Grid, which is footing a large part of the $500 million, doesn’t want to have to do this again. New York City, which protested the Superfund designation back in 2009, says it will be upgrading sewers and planting trees and other foliage to soak up rainwater. This was not enough for the EPA.

Holding tanks must be built The EPA’s plan involves the construction of two large holding containers someplace in Gowanus that will house the overflow until it can be safely sent to the waste sewage plants in Brooklyn. They suggested that these containers be built under the Double D Park - between Douglass and Degraw Streets on Third Avenue. This proved to be a controversial suggestion with users of the park. Christos says that the EPA has no real preference in where these containers would end up being built, as long as they are in the area. He felt that Double D a good choice as it already has cleanup issues, and might have to be dug up anyway at some point. In addition, the city already owns the land; the few other possibilities all involve land that would have to be bought. Tsiamis gave the city a July 1, 2014 deadline to finalize the location of the containers. For the rest of the pre-planning there is a deadline of October 1, 2014. When questioned about the city deadline by Michelle de la UZ, CAG

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Christos Tsiamis speaking at a previous CAG meeting (photo by George Fiala)

member and Executive Director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, Tsiamis held up a printed sheet of paper and said the word “timetable.” He wants the Gowanus cleaned according to a pre-planned schedule - the work is planned to be completely finished by 2023.

Drawbridges need to be fixed Tsiamis was very concerned about the fact that three of the drawbridges over the Gowanus are still not functioning. They haven’t been operative since Sandy, and in order for tugboats to help with the dredging the will need to be raised. These are the Carroll Street, Union Street and Third Street bridges. (continued on page 6)

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Gowanus CAG (continued from page 5)

Doug Sarno, CAG facilitator, will be sending a letter to the Department of Transportation addressing this issue. Tsiamis was questioned about the composition of new bulkheads (metal). Someone wanted to know what the planned lifespan of the cap that is to be placed atop the canal bed (30-40 years). After answering these and other questions, Tsiamis sat down and it was time for the committee reports. The only committee that met in the previous month was the Outreach committee. Josh Skallen reported that the calendar section of the CAG website (gowanuscag.org) had been improved. He also reported that a mechanism now exists to post reports of the committee meetings under the tabs at the top of the website and invited committee heads to do so. At this point, Louis Kleinman, CAG member and outreach coordinator of the Metropolitan Waterfront Allicance, brought up the recent public meeting of Brad Lander’s “Bridging Gowanus”

City Planning (continued from page 3)

are no rubbish bins is mostly responsible for garbage strewn in the streets, and this needs to be addressed. Regarding bus service to Manhattan - she extolled the virtues of the F train, calling it the fastest way to get to Manhattan. What’s needed, she said, is something like they have in England - Busy Bees roving vans that pick up passengers. There was also much talk of placing ballards in areas that cars should not go. Ballards are those orange posts - akin to cones. She said that Red Hook is home to many oversized truck tires - why not place those in the areas - fill them with soil and plant fruit trees. “We need to hold on to our identity - to elaborate it,” she said. Lillie Marshall brought up the Ham-

project. A number of CAG members had attended the public meeting as well as some committee meetings, and commented that many of those attendees had no idea of what the Superfund was up to, or of the existence of the CAG. It was suggested that the CAG attend a Bridging Gowanus meeting, but after some criticism of the bridging project, the suggestion was reversed and Brad Lander will be invited to attend a CAG meeting instead. There was some discussion about writing a letter to the NY Times regarding the US House of Representatives threatening the Superfund (http:// www.nytimes.com/2014/01/28/opinion/ the-house-targets-superfund.html), and a member volunteered to do so. CAG meetings are generally scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. They have been taking place at St. Mary Star of the Sea Home, 41 1st Place, although occasionally a different venue is chosen. Meetings are announced on the CAG website as well as the Red Hook Star-Revue calendar, www.redhookstar.com.

ilton crossing, pointing out the additional challenges of the unlit and closed Sunoco gas station. Robert Berrios asked for more speed bumps on Richard Street, home to Addabo, Coffey Park and PS 15. He pointed out that there are not even any stop signs, whereas Dwight Street has four. Bob Diamond let the audience know that streetcars are on the rise in other cities, and to expect another feasibility study regarding Red Hook line in the near future. John McGettrick mentioned the following: opening up Conover Street adjacent to Pier 11; making Richards one way the other way from Delavan to Hamilton; a reiteration of the need for bus service to Manhattan; and for more action and less studies. He also pointed out that the Rockaways has full ferry service for 220 riders, while Red Hook has at least as many and deserves at least equal consideration.

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. We also accept submission from the community on topics of local interest. Call Kimberly Gail Price

718 624-5568

or email: editor@redhookstar.com

Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue

LICH controversy continues by Kimberly Gail Price After pressure from Brooklyn Hospital to reopen the bidding process for Long Island College Hospital (LICH), the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center (SUNY DMC) released a statement on January 28. Brooklyn Hospital wanted to amend their proposal.

community. We need a truly transparent process and a serious effort by SUNY to work with the community find a viable solution to the healthcare crisis in Brooklyn. That’s what Brooklyn patients need and deserve, and that’s what we expect SUNY to offer.”

In the press release, SUNY DMC announced they were reopening the Request for Proposal (RFP), “in order to enhance the openness, transparency, and effectiveness of the process.” A letter was sent to all firms that submitted to the RFP in July 2013 allowing the original bidders to “clarify and modify their proposals in order to submit final and best offers.”

Jim Walden, Gibson Dunn Before the ink was dry on our counter proposal, SUNY unilaterally walked away from settlement discussions and issued the RFP modification under their terms. Indeed, they told certain members of the media before even calling us.

By acting unilaterally, SUNY assures only one thing: the Community will The original RFP only took proposals fight until hell freezes over, and then we from “qualified parties to offer health will fight it out on the ice. care services” and “to purchase the LICH Please know I did everything in my property, plant, and equipment.” Nothworldly power, including trying to get asing in the RFP required the “qualified sistance from the Mayor’s and Governor’s parties” to maintain LICH as a full serstaff, to avert this when I got a head’s up vice hospital and opened up the bidding from a reporter an hour ago. for lucrative real estate deals. Brooklyn Elected Officials - CongressLICH supporters have been urging woman Nydia Velazquez, State SenaSUNY - who is in the midst of a civil tors Daniel Squadron and Velmanette contempt case within the Kings County Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Supreme Court - to reconstruct a new Millman, Public Advocate Letitia James, RFP, ensuring LICH will remain a full and Councilmembers Brad Lander, Steve service hospital. Levin, and Carlos Menchaca The release also stated that “there is an “As federal, state and city elected offioversupply of hospital beds and an undercials, we stand together against SUNY’s supply of access to primary care,” which latest attempt to turn LICH into a luxury cause outrage among community groups, condo deal. As we have consistently politicians and other stakeholders, who said, SUNY, Governor Cuomo, and the are calling for a new RFP - not a resurNYS Department of Health must support rection of the previous “flawed” version. a new, more open, and expedited process According to SUNY’s own petition ac- to solve the crisis at LICH -- in order quire LICH in 2011, “Kings County, to ensure the best possible outcome for where LICH is located, has a relatively Brooklyn. low hospital bed per 1,000 population “Of course we would strongly prefer to ratio. There are 6,408 certified hospimaintain a full-service hospital on the tal beds in Kings County, which yields site. Nearly everyone in the community a ratio of 2.51 hospital beds per 1,000 would, and it is what we have been fightpopulation. Two hospitals have closed in ing for, for over a year. We also recogKings County since 2005, placing added nize the possibility that even under a fair pressure on existing hospital resources. process, this option may not be proposed. For this reason, it is critical to patients But the only way to know -- the only way and to the community that LICH remain to have confidence that we are achieving open and viable. Should LICH close, the ‘best possible outcome’ for the comthe Kings County hospital bed per 1,000 munity -- is through a fair and appropriratio would fall to 2.39. In comparison, ate process. New York State has a ratio of 3.30 hospi“SUNY’s process has fallen far short, by tal beds per 1,000 population.” any reasonable standards, and their latest SUNY allowed only five days for the last-minute, rushed, non-collaborative original bidders to resubmit their amendrevision to their flawed RFP process is ed proposals. more of the same. It limits the bidders to The following letters were made public the handful of real-estate developers who to members of the media: chose to reply to the same RFP SUNY Jill Furillo, RN and NYSNA Executive released in July, after which two separate Director: State Supreme Court Justices ruled that “The patients that LICH serves have SUNY failed to follow proper procedure been clear that they need a full service or appropriately consider the community hospital and, as nurses, it is our duty to health impacts of LICH’s closure. The advocate in the best interest of our pa- RFP is burdened with hundreds of miltients. NYSNA is committed to pre- lions of dollars in questionable liabilities; serving vital hospital services at LICH. designed to undervalue healthcare and We think that the decision by SUNY to overvalue luxury housing; requires develreopen the RFP process is a step in the opers to offer the fully appraised value of right direction but we are concerned that the property (even though this assumes this is not a serious effort to address the an entire conversion to residential use); needs of our communities. SUNY is not and now even requires bidders to waive offering a process with a realistic time all claims they might have arising from frame or one which will afford all poten- the process (an apparent attempt to protial hospital operators a meaningful op- tect themselves from the consequence of portunity to submit viable proposals that this flawed process). respond to the healthcare needs of the

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Recent news from Long Island College Hospital (continued from previous page)

“If SUNY and the Governor genuinely want to achieve the best possible outcome, then they will do it through a real expedited RFP -- which could conclude in weeks, not months -- that includes the attached criteria. If they did, we would be prepared to participate in the process, and to work together to achieve the best possible solution. “Let’s be clear, today’s crisis at LICH has been created by SUNY’s failure to work collaboratively, or within the law, to find a solution for more than a year. Yesterday was more of the same, and will only lead to more costly delays in finding a solution. “If SUNY had worked collaboratively from the start, the State would no longer be saddled with LICH’s deficit today. The extra months and millions in financial losses were not created by the community by insisting on preserving health care services; they were created by SUNY by refusing to work together toward a better outcome. “Brooklyn healthcare deserves better. Only an open process, with revised goals and criteria that prioritize healthcare, and provide genuine community representation in the decision-making process, can ensure the best possible healthcare outcome.” The elected officials also set forward the following criteria for an acceptable RFP process: 1. Open to all respondents (or, at a minimum, affords all respondents to both the RFEI and RFP the opportunity to respond, with new partners). If we are going to have confidence that this process will yield the best possible result for our community, under the current circumstances, then it must be open to a wider range of bidders than the handful of realestate developers who chose to participate in SUNY’s early, highly-flawed RFP. 2. Selection criteria: A. Financial contribution to SUNY only up to a pre-negotiated amount that fairly reflects SUNY liabilities. This must not be the full appraised value of the property, which is based on an assumption that the entire property is converted to “highest and best” (i.e. market-rate residential use), and therefore assumes the elimination of healthcare services. B. Quality and quantity of healthcare services provided must comprise the majority of the competitive criteria. C. Record of partnering with communities, meeting obligations and providing high-quality construction/management. D. As part of any housing proposal, the proposer should describe how their development plans would address affordability, neighborhood context, sustainability, open space and other factors relevant to a large-scale development. E. Financial and practical feasibility. 3. Minimum required healthcare services: A. a smaller full-service hospital or, at a minimum, a facility that can receive 911 ambulance service, with 24-hour a-day care B. radiology

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C. pediatrics D. dialysis E. continuation of school-based health clinics F. Medicaid accessible primary and preventive care 4. Selection committee must include meaningful (i.e. able to have an impact on RFP substance and selection) representation made up of the community, local officials, and the City. 5. Significantly expedited process. 6. Continuous emergency service through RFP and transfer. 7. Deed restrictions on property to ensure use approved. 8. Respondents should not be required to “waive all rights” under the RFP process, if they have legitimate claims against SUNY after the process has been completed. This is highly unusual, and suggests that SUNY recognizes their process has been flawed. We need the fullest range of bidders to ensure the best possible outcome, and cannot afford to limit the bidders willing to participate in a rigged process.

Statement By Jeff Strabone,

The LICH community expects the future LICH to change but not to change from a hospital into something that cannot be called a hospital. The number of certified beds at LICH has been higher than the number of staffed beds for over a decade: that is one area where change would be welcome. When politicians talk of ‘transforming’ LICH while carefully avoiding the word ‘hospital’, the community begins to doubt their intentions. Last summer I went to jail alongside Bill de Blasio fighting to keep LICH open as a hospital. I was proud to support candidate de Blasio’s call for a moratorium on hospital closings. But let’s be clear: when a hospital becomes something that is not a hospital, that means a hospital has closed. The H in LICH stands for Hospital. It doesn’t stand for Band-Aid Central or for a bogus ‘free-standing’ ER. When SUNY and Governor Cuomo say there’s a surplus of hospital beds in Brooklyn, they’re using false numbers based on a bogus counting methodology. The trick of relying on certified beds versus staffed beds exaggerates the number of actual beds. This has been proven by the report of the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU Healthcare and has been widely reported by the media. (See links at bottom.) The six community groups in the LICH litigation have crafted an RFP counterproposal that is workable, careful, and positive. Even if in the end no hospital operator comes forward, it is the best shot to save lives. Intsead of reading our counter-proposal, SUNY announced last week that it was still restricting consideration to its favored respondents from the first round of its rigged RFP. We stand with our courageous elected officials in calling for a new, untainted RFP process to determine LICH’s future: Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan

Bill de Blasio, campaigning for Mayor in front of Long Island College Hospital last summer. (photo by Kimberly Gail Price)

Millman, and City Council Members Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Carlos Menchaca. Commissioner Shah’s statement today that LICH would not be eligible for funds from the $10 billion Medicaid waiver proves his bad faith. His argument that LICH lacks a plan to reduce admissions flies in the face of the State’s argument that LICH is an empty hospital that no one goes to. Either LICH has too many admissions or too few: the State cannot argue both at the same time. Finally, as for Fortis’s offer of affordable housing at LICH, that is a trick that has been played one too many times in Brooklyn where we are still waiting for the affordable housing to be built at Atlantic Yards. Brooklyn will not be fooled by billionaires who dangle affordable housing promises in the face of our demands for health care.

Statement from Patients for LICH

LICH patients and other community stakeholders are unwavering in our recognition of the need for a fullservice hospital at LICH. Although SUNY’s prior RFI process elicited interest from would-be hospital operators, SUNY officials have indicated that no bidders came forward in the RFP process to operate a full-service hospital. We maintain that this process was flawed and misrepresented LICH finances, deterring hospital operators; hence, our insistence that the RFP process be fully reopened. SUNY’s letter of January 28, 2014 to RFP respondents regarding opening the LICH RFP process for a few days and only to previous bidders ignores the concerns of LICH patients and other stakeholders who have called for a new RFP process. The legality of this limited re-opening is questionable. It also belies SUNY officials’ statements to their own Trustees, who have been told time and time again, in response to their questions in Trustee meetings, that the RFP process followed required state procedures and could not be reopened.

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SUNY’s letter to RFP respondents proves that the RFP process can indeed be modified. We are asking SUNY and its Board of Trustees for the following modifications: To open the RFP process to all interested parties. To extend the process for a reasonable length of time in order to allow full-service hospital operators to apply. To work with community stakeholders to revise the RFP priorities and evaluation criteria so as to attract full-service hospital operators rather than real estate developers. (In that regard, the letter is particularly egregious in stating that special consideration will be given to groups that can get the money fast and do not need approvals.) To specify that ‘additional interested parties’ to participate in the evaluation must be LICH stakeholders: patients; physicians, nurses, and other LICH employees; representatives of community organizations; and elected officials. In May 2011, when SUNY Downstate took over operation of LICH, the Attorney General’s and NYS Supreme Court’s approval of the transfer was premised on SUNY’s maintaining LICH as a full-service, acute-care hospital. The court documents at that time – just over two and a half years ago – went into great detail on the need for and importance of a full-service hospital at LICH. That need is even greater today and into the future, given the growing population of our communities, as well as LICH’s strategic location for disaster response. Finally, we are not unmindful of current losses at LICH. But those losses stem from SUNY officials’ refusal to admit patients, closing departments including surgery, and removing the residency program, among other actions -- so the hospital currently has little income. The RFP process cannot be held hostage to SUNY’s choice to incur these losses. The priority for the RFP evaluation must be our communities’ long term health care needs. Contact: Sue Raboy, Patients for LICH suerab1@gmail.com, 917.822.4381, 718.237.0931

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PS 676 takes Cinderella to a whole new level by Kimberly Gail Price

C

inderella is a classic tale of the orphaned girl who was forced to become a servant to her selfish step-sisters and evil step-mother. Many versions of the fairy tale have been told, but local students involved in Good Sheppard services after-school program turned the tale into their own original work. On January 24, dozens of students of all ages presented “Cinderella: A Hip Hopera” to a packed PS 676 gymnasium, where latecomers found standing room only. Proud parents, younger and older siblings, and friends all celebrated the students’ work with phone cameras, video cameras and enthusiasm. Good Sheppard Services (GSS) presented the show in PS 676’s auditorium.

GSS has a number of different afterschool programs throughout Red Hook and beyond with many different schools including PS 676. The performance was a combination of participants from several different schools.

magically transforming her into a lady fit for the prince, of course. Cinderella makes her way to the ball, meets the prince, and runs away at midnight when the fairy godmother’s spell is broken. The only trace of herself she leaves behind is a sparkly red Converse™ boot. The prince, along with Lionel, search the entire kingdom looking for the foot that fits. After a run in with the stepsisters, whom the shoe does not fit, and another tangle with the stepmother - who also wants to try it on for size Cinderella finally emerges as the owner of the shoe - and the prince’s heart. While the script is certainly a diversion from the Walt Disney version, another unique characteristic was the artistic element that defined the show: hip hop and other styles of dancing. The dancers did not necessarily represent groups Court Jesters...................... The Smurfs Boogie Men……….Backyard Ballers of people. Fairies.............................Pretty in Pink In the opening scene, Protesters repBallroom Bandits....................G5 Boys resented the wrongdoings of the stepClocks................................. .808 Mafia mother’s evils. Fairies floated graceSpirits.... Judah Daisley, Andrea Ruby, fully around Cinderella, portraying the Startasia Norris magic from the godmother’s wand. At Pageant Beauties.Alluring Courageous midnight, the dancing Clocks swirled Ladies around Cinderella chasing her out of Director/Choreographer/ the palace. Writer...........................Juson Williams The Court Jesters also entertained the royal family; Boogie Men frightened Cinderella back into captivity; and Spirits exiled the stepmother.

Scenic Design............ Rachel Schulder Mixoligist/Sound..............Royal Isaacs Costume Design........ Shanaya Boston/ .....................................Juson Williams Props/Scenery.Sabrina Grant/GSS Staff and Participants Show Committee...... :Kiki Eaton, J.O. King, Sabrina Grant, Shanaya Boston, Royal Isaac Stage Hand Coordinator.Gary Pinckney Program Design.......... Katrina Gordon

Each group of dancers had their own

Dina Montes, Communications Director at GSS, said “Our students are very excited about [the show,] and they have been working very hard on this production. Laila Nor is the assistant site director for the after-school program at PS 676. In a spunky and modern version of the tale, a young Prince Charming, played by Lavel McClellan, is searching for the love of his life among his kingdom. The king and queen, Brandon Nelson and Shanaya Boston, as well as Lionel, (J.O. King) provide support and comic relief to the young prince in his quest. Cinderella, played by Angela Mackins, is a dutiful servant to her demanding step-family, who provide a lot of spoiled sass and spitfire comedy. While Cin-

style. Every group was well-choreographed and well-rehearsed. And all of the groups were really fun to watch. The dancers were the spunk of the show; it was they whom kept the audience engaged and excited. The creativity of how each dance group fit into the show was superb. Instead of seven different groups of village people, palace dwellers and household servants, each group of dancers contributed to the story. They were energetic, exciting and all-around a blast to watch. And the final kiss between Cinderella and her prince, nothing could match the adorableness of that moment. No doubt, they are headed for happily ever after. Cast:

derella’s stepmother, (Richie Berrios), maintains her mean streak constantly, the step-sisters, Minerva (Aniyah Dennis/Ciarah Higgins) and Kalaeidope (Anabel Gonzales) can be friendly when not following their mother’s lead. Fairy Godmother, Crystal Bolden comes in to save the day. She is the ultimate diva. She cleans up Cinderella and whisks her away to the ball, after

Page 8 Red Hook Star-Revue

Cinderella..................Angela Mackins Prince........................ Lavel McClellan Stepmother................... Richie Berrios Minerva....................... Aniyah Dennis Kalaeidope.................Anabel Gonzalez Fairy Godmother.......... Crystal Bolden Queen......................... Shanaya Boston King............................Brandon Nelson Lionel.................................... J.O. King Protesters.......................Black Dragons Royal Soldiers........... Pretty Ambition

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Red Hook Initiative receives grant, by Kimberly Gail Price New York Business Development Corporation (BDC) has made a serious impression on Red Hook youth. On January 30, BDC presented a $100,000 grant at a ceremony for Red Hook Initiative’s (RHI) 500 Futures campaign. Jill Eisenhard, RHI’s founder and executive director, said, “Because of [BDC’s] support, we will be able to provide customized and high-quality programs for 40 young people in the community. If those young people are able to identify and achieve short-term goals now, they will be wellpositioned to succeed in academic and professional pursuits and ultimately break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.” RHI’s 500 Futures aims to raise $1.25 million each year over the next four years to meet an increased demand for comprehensive services for Red Hook youth. The program helps ensure that the kids will graduate high school and pursue college degrees or career paths with the necessary skill sets to be successful.

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In a press release, Jill wrote, “[RHI] believes that young people can not only be the recipients of services, but can also be trained to deliver the message and create their own social change.” BDC, and their affiliate Empire State CDC, jointly supported the grant that will be dispersed over the next four years. Patrick J. MacKrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Empire State and BDC, held a press conference at the center to formally announce the grant. “I have been impressed with RHI from our very first encounter with the organization,” he said. “Opportunity leads to change; the education and job experience supported by 500 Futures will open the door to that opportunity in a very direct and meaningful way.” Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez also attended the press conference. She said, “Investing in our young people and their education serves to strengthen our communities over the long term.” RHI has become a force in the community and celebrated their 10th anniversary in August 2012. Their programs have been widely expanded, and the organization has received national acclaim for their work post-Sandy. Appropriately, their unofficial motto is Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” One youth at a time, they are achieving this.

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Red Hook’s own Ornament Rock Star by Mary Ann Pietanza

A

few months back, my brother e-mailed me and told me he had reconnected with an old friend on Facebook through a popular neighborhood group page called, “I Lived in Carroll Gardens When We Still Called It Red Hook.” He linked me to his old friend’s website, nataliesarabella.com, and commented with shock, “Do you see what Christmas ornaments are going for these days?” Incredibly, I agreed. But I was more intrigued with the fact that Natalie Sarabella had been born and bred Red Hook and had risen to become the “Rock Star of Christmas Ornaments,” reputably known to design and hand paint exquisite Christmas ornaments for a high-end clientele of people. It all started at Bergdorf Goodman’s. Did I say I was intrigued? Well, that was more of an understatement. I was pretty blown away by her success. Just scroll through her website and one can’t help but feel impressed by the long list of collectors who own her work: Dallas Cowboys owners Gene and Jerry Jones, The Presidential Bush’s, Joanna Carson, Bruce Springsteen and..... my God, could this be true? The late Maestro Pavarotti? When I read that she had Christmas appearances at Bergdorf Goodman’s, I knew I wanted to meet her. Fast forward two months and some Facebook contacts later; I journeyed to Manhattan on one of the nicest days of winter after a couple of heavy snowfalls. Making my way through well-dressed Christmas shoppers and international tourists, and surrounded by the ambiance of oldworld money and elegance that only Bergdorf’s could tout, I found my way to the 7th floor of their flagship store. I stepped out of the elevator into what looked like Bergdorf’s “Hall of Fame.” A corridor proudly boasting photographs of memorable events with such noted celebrities, designers and officials as Madeline Albright, President and Mrs. Kennedy, Georgio Armani, and Anne Hathaway - to name a few. At the end of this gallant display of pride, in a cozy green room normally used for fine china displays, but converted now into a showcase of her ornaments, sat Natalie. It was a perfect setting. She greeted me with a bright smile and a friendly demeanor. We hugged immediately. I never knew her, but being from “the neighborhood” connected us first hand. I saw a girl much like myself, raised by strict fathers, whose influence stayed with us through life. The plushness of the green space, commonly decorated as a room in an old house with woodworking, cornicing and wooden floors, lured customers to flock to her display of ornaments and paintings which stood center stage as she sat demurely in a chair autographing one beautiful ornament after another - packaged in rich, satin-lined boxes. Her daughter, Carrie, was there warmly playing righthand woman to a mother she apparently admired and respected. Among others, Natalie signed ornaments for Elton John, The Beckhams and Celine Dion. When she had a short break, we had some time to talk. Dressed in a smart black dress to accent her hour-glass shape and hot, red suede boots - hey, I

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appreciate good boots when I see them - Natalie began to tell the tale of how Red Hook was where it all began for her. When she was little her mother would take her to A & S’s Department Store on Fulton Street to see the animated Christmas window displays. Inside, she was overwhelmed by the beauty of the large, rotating tree that hung suspended from the ceiling over the escalator bank. Looking up, through the wonder of a child’s eye, she marveled at the sparkling tree and its oversized ornaments - a memory she credits to the creation of her own oversized ornaments that she claims brings back the child in all of us. But she takes her memories further back

“I saw a girl much like myself,

raised

fathers,

whose

by

strict

influence

stayed with us through life.” to a younger child in her Red Hook apartment on Woodhull Street where she was allowed the freedom to express her love for colors by writing on the walls and watching melting crayons on her radiator. No matter where she is, her creations bring her back to that perfect place in her mind. The lasting impression that this tree and its oversized ornaments had on her led her to notice how ornaments dwindled in size and beauty through the years. She made a conscious decision to re-create that lost wonder of Christmas past. Ask Natalie how that eventually came to be and she will tell you an almost magical tale. “In 1994, after creating my very first oversized ornament, I realized I had something great. I shopped in Bergdorf Goodman’s, so what better store to start in? I felt that the quality and standards that the Neiman Marcus Co. (owners of Bergdorf Goodman) and their customers had, were exactly what I had to offer. I approached them on a whim. I walked in without an appointment and asked to see the buyer. My first words to her were, ‘I don’t have an appointment. I have something to show you. You will either love it or hate it. If you love it, I want an order. If you hate it, you will never see me again...... except to shop, of course!’ They loved it and placed an order, and put me on the inside cover of their magnificent catalog/ magazine and I have been the top seller in the Holiday Shop there for 20 years.” If that is not impressive, I don’t know what is. Yet with all the success she has

acquired (Harrod’s of London has again requested a line of her work for their 2014 Christmas season), Natalie feels it has not changed her. She believes strongly that, “You can’t change who you are, only the way you think. Letting the fame and notoriety take over is a bigger risk than loving what you do.” Keeping “the brand” separate from one’s values, she emphasizes, is key. Paula and Chris Kavolus of South Carolina couldn’t agree more. They were there at Natalie’s signing, and have been followers of her work since 1993. They travel most years to New York to see Natalie and have collected five of her ornaments. They spoke of Natalie’s consistent kindness and hearty outlook on life. “It’s not just her work we love, it’s her.” Natalie’s sentiments are synony- Natalie and her daughter Carrie who is Natalie’s mous, too, with her recent re- manager and public relations specialist. connection with many of her old international turn of events it has made Red Hook friends on Facebook, where in her life, citing Harrod’s for one, and she enjoys sharing photos and remiher collectors from around the world. niscing about the old days. She is very proud of her Red Hook roots, not- Natalie further credits Red Hook as the ing that Red Hook was cornerstone of her life as an artist when much like a small she and her sister, Carolyn Tunon, also an town where ev- artist, teamed up to create “Woodhull & eryone knew Hicks Art Gallery,” a Miami based online each other and gallery showcasing their fine art of color. people watched Natalie’s hand-painted creations and Carout for each oth- olyn’s background in fashion fused their er. “Moms at the interest and resulting inspiration. windows; Dads in the social clubs; shop and store owners were our parents away from home. Everyone seemed related.” She recalls as a young girl that one of her biggest challenges was trying to sneak up to Carroll Park to hang out. Her father designated only two candy stores where she was allowed to “hang out in,” Lil and Dot’s and Frankie Penna’s, both on Henry Street. Lil and Dot’s was owned by her aunt! She admits that those restrictions and her selflearned street smartness carries out in her personal and business life.

Born on Luquer

Natalie was born Natalie Nocera on Luquer Street, (across the street from my own home by Defonte’s) before her family relocated to Woodhull and Hicks Streets when she was just two, and where she claims the bedrock of her artistic life was formed. She lived there until she was 11 when the family moved to 2nd Place and Henry Street. There she met and eventually married her husband and ultimately moved to New Jersey. Her art began circulating when she worked as a young woman of 17 at the Marriage Bureau on Court and Joralemon Streets (not far from A & S’s.) There, her co-workers of various nationalities (Holland, England, Ireland) would ask her to paint small paintings to send to their families back home. When she looks back, she sees it as a foreshadowing of her life now as Christmas’ “Rock Star of Ornaments” and the

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Two decades

Natalie is now celebrating her 20 Year Anniversary. (She’s created a limited edition Anniversary Ornament for the occasion.) She originally partnered with her cousin, Janet, also from Red Hook, under the name, Sarabella Creations. In 2011 after Janet retired, Natalie restructured her business, renaming it simply, Natalie Sarabella (MMXI), and expanded her line to include handpainted purses, wine glasses, candles, etc. that observe all occasions, including - understandably - Valentine’s Day. (I happen to love her bridal line, but a word of caution when making purchases online: be aware of frauds who copy her work. The only website that is genuinely hers is www.nataliesarabella.com.) The change in business structure resulted in a higher demand for her work. Her couture brand of six-inch ornaments, which is made from imported German mouth-blown glass and embellished with such touches as Swarovski crystals, is still her signature line and is what the Travel Channel centered their documentary on in 2012 when they dubbed Natalie the Rock Star of Christmas Ornaments. Her celebrity following prefers the “Diva of Decor” and the “Queen of Christmas.” Natalie smiles with a little girl innocence and regards this as charming. She loves the attention her work has received by way of her new titles. But true to herself, she knows she is juggling her evergrowing art work with family obligations, while giving immense pleasure to those who share her love of color and beauty. In her own words, “Fa, la, la....life should sparkle!” And she does.

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The

Red Hook StarªRevue

VALENTINE’S DAY 2014

Red Hook Star-Revue

SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

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SPECIAL SECTION

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Behind the Song: Love’s Impetus by A.B. Decker Love. The strongest motivator for the best and worst of human actions. A sensation certainly responsible for infinite acts of creativity. In particular, love and all its myriad expressions have proven to be the greatest impetus for song. Perhaps this has been true since the beginning of time. This Valentine’s Day we are taking a look at the stories behind some of our cultures most famous, - and infamous - love songs.

“You can dance every dance with the guy who gives you the eye...” This heartfelt hit by The Drifters was written in a very personal vein by songwriter Doc Pomus. It is said that one night Doc was rifling through some papers when he came across an old wedding invitation. The invitation brought back vivid memories of watching his new wife dance with every other man at his wedding while he watched on from his wheelchair unable to participate due to his polio. Doc penned the lyrics on the back of the old wedding invitation and thus one of the most classic love songs came into existence-- “Save the Last Dance For Me.”

“Take a sad song, and make it happy...” Although John Lennon originally thought the song was for him, Paul McCartney states that he wrote “Hey Jude” as a gesture for support and comfort for John Lennon’s son while his parents were getting divorcing.

“There she goes again, racing through my brain, and I just can’t contain the feelings that remain...” The snappy pop hit “There She Goes,” which many listeners assumed was about a woman was really written about heroin and the great but fleeting heights it imbues. Apparently Six Pence None the Richer had a short volatile relationship with “she.”

“Standin’ on your mama’s porch,You told me that it’d last forever...” Bryan Adams song “Summer of 69” sounds just like a ballad to ribald youth and young love. But in truth Bryan Adams was only ten years old in the actual summer of 1969 and the name of the song is said to be a reference to a certain favorite carnal position of Adams...

“There must be something in the way I feel that she don’t want me to feel...” According to Anthony Keidis’ memoir Scar Tissue the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song “I Could Have Lied” was about his romantic interlude with Sinead O’Connor. A happenstance that O’Conner herself vehemently denies.

“Sometimes feel so happy, but mostly you just make me mad. Linger on, your pale blue eyes...” “Pale Blue Eyes,” the infamous grey love song of Lou Reed is purported to be about his college girlfriend, a girl by the name of Shelly Adams, who he once said was “the only girl he ever loved.” Shelly is also referenced in an early version of the Underground’s “I Can’t Stand It.”

“I went down, down, down, and the flames got higher...” Johnny Cash’s famed “Ring of Fire” was originally penned by June Carter and her cousin Merle Kilgore. It is said that Carter came up with the lyrics to Ring of Fire when she was driving around aimlessly one night wondering what to do about her helpless love for a wild man (Cash).The song was first sung by June’s sister Anita Carter in a folksier manner, but after Cash heard the song he had a dream in which he played the song over Mexican horns - and the classic “Ring of Fire” as the world now knows it was born. Of course, the song can also be seen as a reflection on how falling in love is a dangerous and often disorienting thing to do. This is the strong appeal of the song - it taps into a feeling many people have experienced at one point in their lives. Human love is of its own kind. Letting down our guard and making ourselves utterly vulnerable does not, after all, fit into a calm or balanced sense of well-being. It feels strange and sometimes unnerving, perhaps for the very reason that our minds know it’s an oft dangerous proposal in light of maintaining mental health. But despite extreme love being a questionable proposition, or perhaps because of this, love is undoubtedly the most defining aspect of being human - and the reason why we just can’t resist songs like Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Songs To Boogie To When You’re In Love

by Katy McQuillan The Star-Revue hit the streets to ask neighbors what their favorite love songs are. Here are a few of the responses: “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge. (my favorite) “Love makes the world a little less scary.” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. Brian says, “Love makes you feel like a psycho.” “I Love You” by Donna Summer. Carolyn says, “Great song to dance to. Great beat.” “By Your Side” by Sade. Rebecca says “Because she’s sexy. The song is beautiful and nurturing and it’s about being there for someone.” “Something Goes Right” by Sbtrkt, featuring Sampha. Tony says, “It’s a perfect reflection of the lack of success I’ve had and the optimism and hope I still maintain in spite of that.” “Love The One You’re With” by Stephen Stills. Tracey says, “Because life’s short.” “Changes” by Phil Ochs. Mike says, “It’s reflecting on a life of love, and tells how love isn’t a static thing, it grows and evolves and changes.” “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. Sharon says, “Because I love it.”

You can’t explain love...am I right? Page 12 Red Hook Star-Revue

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Classic Love Poems Sylvia by Sir George Etherege The Nymph that undoes me, is fair and unkind; No less than a wonder by Nature designed. She’s the grief of my heart, the joy of my eye; And the cause of a flame that never can die! Her mouth, from whence wit still obligingly flows, Has the beautiful blush, and the smell, of the rose. Love and Destiny both attend on her will; She wounds with a look; with a frown, she can kill! The desperate Lover can hope no redress; Where Beauty and Rigour are both in excess! In Sylvia they meet; so unhappy am I! Who sees her, must love; and who loves her, must die!

I Am Not Yours by Sara Teasdale I am not yours, not lost in you, Not lost, although I long to be Lost as a candle lit at noon, Lost as a snowflake in the sea. You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light. Oh plunge me deep in love - put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.

Oh, Love! Thou Makest All Things Even. by Sarah Fuller Flower O Love! thou makest all things even In earth or heaven; Finding thy way through prison-bars Up to the stars; Or, true to the Almighty plan, That out of dust created man, Thou lookest in a grave,--to see Thine immortality!

Red Hook Star-Revue

I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You Pablo Neruda I do not love you except because I love you; I go from loving to not loving you, From waiting to not waiting for you My heart moves from cold to fire. I love you only because it’s you the one I love; I hate you deeply, and hating you Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you Is that I do not see you but love you blindly. Maybe January light will consume My heart with its cruel Ray, stealing my key to true calm. In this part of the story I am the one who Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you, Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood. Pablo Neruda’s was born in 1904 in Chile, his real name was Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He wrote in green ink as a symbol of love and desire.

Love’s Secret by William Blake NEVER seek to tell thy love Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind doth move Silently invisibly. I told my love I told my love I told her all my heart Trembling cold in ghastly fears. Ah! she did depart! Soon after she was gone from me A traveler came by 10 Silently invisibly: He took her with a sigh.

Who Said That Love Was Fire? by Patience Worth Who said that love was fire? I know that love is ash. It is the thing which remains When the fire is spent, The holy essence of experience.

The story behind Valentine’s Day

M

by Kimberly Gail Price

illions of people worldwide celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate, flowers and other loving presents, all indulgences of romance. Lovers express themselves through tokens of admiration, while singles hope that Cupid has his bow strung for them. Where did this tradition come from? Who inspired such a day of adoration and remembrance? And why do we carry on his tradition centuries beyond his existence? “Valentine” is a name derived from the word valens, meaning powerful, strong and worthy. Saint Valentine was a Roman priest of whom very little is known. He fell under persecution around 270 A.D. and was put to death for his crime. His existence was proven when archeologists unearthed a Roman tomb as well as an ancient tomb dedicated to him.Writings found there indicate he became a martyr at the hands of Claudius Gothicus. There is great mystery surrounding the reason for his execution. He may have been marrying Christian couples at a time when aiding Christians was a crime. Others believe he was imprisoned for refusing to deny his Christian faith. Another story says Saint Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape torturous Roman prisons. Saint Valentine was born on April 16th and was executed on February 14th. This day in February became the feast of Saint Valentine in 496 A.D. when Pope

Gelasius I dedicated a celebration in his honor. Two Roman churches were dedicated to him in the Middle Ages. He became the patron saint of love, lovers, bee keepers, happy marriages, epilepsy, greetings, plagues and travelers. Pictures of him depict roses and birds. His feast day first became associated with romantic love in England in the fourteenth century when Geoffrey Chaucer perpetuated the legends in Parliament of Foules. February has since become a month known for romance. Saint Valentine is said to have sent the very first “valentine.” According to legend, he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter and restored her sight. She began visiting him while he was imprisoned. On the eve of his death, Saint Valentine wrote her a farewell letter, signed “From your Valentine.” Thus beginning the tradition of notes passed between lovers on this day. Although the actual truth is unknown, the stories of Saint Valentine create an image of heroism, valor and romance. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are traded each year, topped only by Christmas when 2.6 billion cards are sent out.Women purchase 85% of all valentines. The oldest known valentine, written by Charles, Duke of Orleans for his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of London, is on display in the British Museum.

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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Valentine’s Day is not only a celebration of love, but also a day to make your lover and loved ones feel special. Beyond chocolates, flowers and jewelry there are many ways to create romance. Check out our local shopper’s guide to find the perfect touch to light up a lover’s heart. Cacao Prieto is a perfect spot for rum- lovers, chocolate lovers, and especially lovers. Distillery and chocolate tours are available on a daily basis, as well as hand-crafted rum and chocolate. You can also have a romantic dinner or bar sampling while you’re there. (218 Conover Street)

Kempton outside easel inscribes an insightful message. “Valentine’s Memo, boys. We can never own too many bags!” Keep that in mind when shopping for your lovely lady. (392 Van Brunt Street)

Pathmark carries an adorable collection of

stuffed animals for your lover to cozy up with when you can’t be around. Pick up one of these snuggly guys to show how crazy you are about her. (1-37 12th Street)

Floral Heights displays an assortment of flower types. She-Weld makes rustic gifts that

are both practical and sentimental. Hand-forged candlesticks or a simple heart shaped emblem to remind your special someone. (106 Ferris Street or www.she-weld.com)

From roses, to tulips, to orchids, to lilies and more, these beautiful flowers will melt her heart this Valentine’s Day. Or, if you can’t decide on just one type, they will customize the perfect bouquet. (107 Atlantic Avenue)

Foxy & Winston sells custom-made stationary to write all of your love notes on. They also feature unique holiday cards and a few beauty products to accompany your love notes. (392 Van Brunt Street)

Freebird Books shelves thousands of used and vintage books perfect for your favorite little bookworm. You can’t go wrong in here when shopping for the avid reader. (123 Columbia Street)

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Brooklyn Collective has

a vast array of jewelry, art and home furnishings that will delight just about anyone. (358 Columbia Street)

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Winkwork Ladies Goods suggests speaking to your more seductive side. Find the perfect outfit to shimmy into at the end of a special evening. (119 Columbia Street)

Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. is the perfect go-to spot when

shopping for him this Valentine’s Day. they offer everything from boots and sweaters, outdoor equipment and useful gadgets that he will truly love. (77 Atlantic Avenue)

Hometown BBQ sells their brand not just in their

bbq, but on tees as well. Add a gift certificate rolled into the shirt for the perfect carnivorous gift for him. Remember, the fastest way to his heart is through his stomach! (454 Van Brunt Street)

Papillionaire Bicycles can get you and your sweetie riding together in retro style with custom built vintage bicycles for two. (390 Van Brunt Street)

NYCWaterTaxi rides will escort lovers

around the city’s waterways with perfect views of the city’s most iconic landmarks. With an all day pass, you can travel by boat to all of your intended destinations.

Erie

Basin showcases

vintage jewelry that is truly one of a kind. Their collection offers rare styles from as far back as the 1800’s. (388 Van Brunt Street)

Fairway has baked some sweet treats for a little special extra. Or, you can snatch up a do-it-yourself kit for a homemade surprise or a loving activity to do together. (480-500 Van Brunt Street)

Red Hook Winery offers tastings, tours, and of course bottles. They are also brewing up some special Valentine’s Day plans for lovers as well. (Pier 41, 175-204 Van Dyke Street)

Camila’s Café is a sweet spot for a casual

date or a meet up place. The newly opened coffee shop with its countless goodies and a full coffee bar is a non-pretentious place to begin the perfect evening. (358 Columbia Street)

Good luck and let the romance games begin!

Words and Photos by Kimberly Gail Price Red Hook Star-Revue

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A

sk any dog owner if animals are able to love and you will get a resounding “Of Course!” along with several personal anecdotes to prove it. But as it goes, the scientific

community has been more skeptical. And while many pet owners don’t need or care for empirical evidence from the intelligentsia to make them believe their pets understand love, there is a growing amount of research into the subject due to humanity’s everburgeoning quest to map out all aspects of its environment.

Animals in Love Words and Photos by AB Decker

seem to come pretty close. Though the disconnect may be due in part to our not being able to understand how animals may interpret or express love differently than us, after all we only have our own framework with which

to compare.

Recent studies in neuroeconomics have revealed humans and dogs share a similar brain structure that is stimulated when love or joy is anticipated. This area of the brain is known as the caudate nucleus. When dogs were shown a “reward” hand signal as opposed to a “no reward” The question of if, and to what hand signal this area of their brains extent, animals feel emotions has became significantly more active. been percolating for some time. It was While this doesn’t exactly prove Darwin who first set out to systemically that dogs experience love it does

same way that a woman does when she cuddles her new-born baby. And of course, it has long been known that both elephants and some species of monkeys mourn their deceased. Elephants are also the only species other than humans to have death rituals. When an elephant dies, the herd will become very quiet. Later they dig a shallow grave and cover the carcass with dirt and branches and stay beside their fallen comrade for several days. Other herds that pass by the grave will pay their respect. There are also documented reports of elephants burying dead humans they have found in the same manner.

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The research into cetaceans (dolphins and whales) that has revealed the ability to experience individuality, consciousness and self- awareness forces us to rethink what we once claimed as exclusively human emotions. This alters the whole dynamic of the human-animal connection. Some scientists argue that many animals partake in a highly sophisticated level

species, a similar core of emotions does exist across the spectrum.

of social interaction-- cooperative hunting, and co-raising offspring. So why wouldn’t they also maintain a sophisticated array of emotions?

Another notable finding reports that dolphins (and whales) may have three times as many spindle cells — the nerve cells that convey empathy — in

While no animal behaviorists have as of yet been able to definitively say that animals (other than humans) experience what we call “love,” they have been able to identify some responses that

Revelations like these led experts in philosophy, conservation, and animal behaviorism at 2012’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver to purport that “dolphins should be treated as non-human ‘persons’, with their rights to life and liberty respected.”

With such considerations in mind, it would seem that despite the many differences that are present between

Dolphins also get a lot of press in this area. A key indicator of intelligence in animals is their ratio of brain weight to spinal cord weight. In humans this measures 50 to 1, dolphins 40 to 1, and in primates 8 to 1.

study the presence of emotions (or lack thereof) in animals. Some of the original emotions Darwin found present in nearly all animals were what are considered to be the most basic ones - like fear and anger. Since then, researchers and neuroscientists have added to that scope more nuanced emotions like pride and envy. And what about love? Well, that’s a tricky one.

than we do.

While admittedly qualitatively different, it has even been suggested that the love a parent shows its child has evolved from the care a beast shows its newborn. A suggestion has a scientific basis in the accepted concept of our evolution from simple to more complex organisms. In this light the question becomes not,

reveal that they have the hardware to possibly do so. Other “sophisticated” emotions such as empathy have been evidenced by dogs in “crying studies” where a human stranger participant was put in a room with a dog and his owner. When the stranger started crying as opposed to laughing or humming - the dog went to them and began nudging them. Furthermore, findings have shown that when a dog gets stroked by someone he likes he gets a surge of oxytocin, the love and affection hormone, in the

their brains as we do. A finding that has led some scientists to hypothesize that dolphins actually feel deeper emotions

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“Do animals feel love?” but rather, “Would humans have ever developed love without animals?”

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Animals that mate for life, (mostly) by Kimberly Gail Price

Gibbons are socially monogamous

apes, but are sometimes reproductively non-monogamous. Life partners stick together to defend their territory, but are sexually unfaithful, although they return to their mate every night. Swans mate for life for practical purposes. Migrating, establishing territory and raising their young takes time that would otherwise be wasted on attracting multiple mates. Black Vultures will attack other vultures who attempt to mate with their partner. French Angelfish are unlikely to be seen alone. They live, travel, hunt and defend their territory against other pairs and stay together throughout their lifespan. Wolves have families that are more pious and loyal than many human relationships. Unlike many pack animals, the males stick around to help nurture and provide for their young. Albatrosses may travel extensive distances, but will always return to the same place - and partner during breeding season. To pick a mate, they often bond over several years with affectionate ritual dances. Termites form bonds between a female queen and a male king who

literally give birth to their entire kingdom. Prairie Voles huddle and groom each other, share nesting and puprearing responsibilities, and show high levels of supportive behavior. While most rodents are promiscuous, this species is monogamous. Widowed prairie voles show signs of emotional distress after losing their mate, like an unwillingness to escape dangerous situations. Turtledoves are symbols of love and faithfulness because they stay together throughout their lives.

Schistosoma mansoni worms form monogamous bonds

after reproduction that last their entire lifespan. These parasitic worms are described as “more faithful that the humans they inhabit.” Bald Eagles mate for life or until their significant other dies or becomes impotent. Beavers are not only faithful to their partners, but are also devoted parents. Both genders play active roles in raising offspring. Shingleback skinks court each other for months before procreation. When a male sees a female he likes,

BIRTHSTONES:

Honeysuckle ~ everlasting love Jonquil ~ desire for returned affection

January ~ Garnet February ~ Amethyst March ~ Aquamarine April ~ Diamond May ~ Emerald June ~ Pearl July ~ Ruby August ~ Peridot September ~ Sapphire October ~ Opal November ~ Topaz December ~ Turquoise

Larkspur ~

Pink: fickleness White: happy nature Purple: first love Lily of the Valley ~ My life is complete with you Magnolia ~ dignity Marigold ~ fierce, undying love Morning Glory ~ simple symbols of affection Narcissus ~ Stay just the way you are Orchid ~ infinite beauty

THE MEANINGS OF FLOWERS: Aster ~ powerful love Carnation ~ Alas for my poor heart Chrysanthemum ~

Red: I love you Yellow: slighted love White: pure love Cosmo ~ order, peace and serenity Daffodil ~ unequalled love Daisy ~ I’ll never tell Gladiolus ~ You pierce my heart with love Hawthorn plant ~ I want only the best for you Holly ~ domestic happiness

Red Hook Star-Revue

Poppy ~

Red: pleasure White: consolation Yellow: wishes for wealth and success Primrose ~ I can’t live without you Rose ~

Red: love, derise Pink: perfect happiness White: innocence and purity Yellow: jealousy or decrease in love Mixed bouquet: sincere gratitude Snapdragon ~ presumptuous Snowdrop ~ hope and beauty Sunflower ~ adoration

he will follow her and woo her with nudging and licking. Once bonded, they seek each other out every breeding season. When one partner dies, the other will stay with the body for days. Barn Owls stick together until death once bonded. Penguins are serial monogamists and stay together for one mating season. However, some couples seek each other out over many seasons. Cockroaches are monogamous, leading researchers to believe the concerns about diseases from the pests are highly exaggerated. Coyotes are perhaps the most faithful of all species. Most canines practice social monogamy, but stray when times get tough. Coyotes remain faithful in good times and bad. They will only seek a new partner when their previous one dies. Both males and females are credited with caring for and raising the pups.

Sandhill Cranes are mostly

monogamous, although researchers have noted there may be an occasional “extra-pair copulation event.” During massive breeding ground migration in the spring, young and widowed cranes perform elaborate mating dances to

Sweet pea ~ goodbye Tulip ~

Pink: caring Purple: royalty Red: declaration of love White: forgiveness Yellow: hopelessly in love Venus Flytrap ~ deceit or danger Violet ~ I’ll always be there for you Water Lily ~ purity and majesty Zinnia ~ thoughts of friends

SOME WEIRD THINGS WE READ ABOUT LAST YEAR: Nothing says L-O-V-E like a hissing cockroach Thousands of new bugs at The Wildlife Conservation Society – aka the Bronx Zoo – need names. So why not name one after your sweetheart, your ex, or your mother-in-law? “Name-A-Roach” requested hopeless romantics to provide names for their new hatching of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. The name costs $10 and comes with a colorful certificate emailed to the honoree.

Here comes the Doe?

A Chinese Zoo married two of their most beloved. Changmao, the ram,

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attract a partner. California Mice are extremely faithful. Geneticists tested 28 families over two years and confirmed that all of the babies came from the father of that nest. They are so loyal that DNA testing even revealed a brother-sister pairing. Kirk’s Dik Dik, a breed of African antelope, roam in tightly bonded pairs and rarely stray from each other socially or sexually. Lions are the sole wildcats that mate for life. Owl Monkeys stick together for life, and never cheat or divorce. However, sometimes young adult owl monkeys that cannot find a mate pick vicious fights and eventually kick out one of the mates. The exiled mate is usually badly injured and eventually dies. Severed partners produce 25% less babies than couples that haven’t been broken up. Researchers believe fewer offspring alludes to an emotional component. Kangaroos and Wallybees are known to partner for life. Seahorses not only monogamous life partners, but also unique because they the only species on Earth in which the male carries and births the young.

and Chunzi, the doe will have a formal ceremony complete with wedding attire.

An enchanting afternoon A NYC sewage plant offered “tours for lovers on Valentine’s Day.” Think that idea stinks? Some people disagree. After the first tour was booked solid, a second tour was added.

Valentine’s Insurance in Japan On February 14, Japanese women give men gifts, mainly chocolate. On March 14, their gifts are supposed to be reciprocated, double or even triple fold. Matching a gift evenly is a sign of disinterest or breakup. This day is known as White Day. For a nominal fee, embarrassed-aboutbeing-single males can send themselves an anonymous reciprocation to save face.

Sugar Mama seeks Boy Toy In possibly the world’s classiest classified, Jeremy Abelson wrote: Wanted: rich older women interested in hot younger guys. Applicants must be over 35, earn at least $500,000 a year or have a minimum of $4 million in liquid assets, entrusted assets or divorce settlement. Abelson chose 20 “sugar mamas” and 20 single guys among the 5,000 applicants.

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Love notes from our readers

The Third Sense, by Jherelle Benn

MQM, “Roses are red, my love Violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, my love But not as sweet as you.” Happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite Bobby Vinton singer! I love you! TR xoxo

Monkey, Monkey, Monkey Monkey see, Monkey do. Monkey, Monkey, Monkey Monkey, just like you. Oh, without you Monkey Life would be so blue! Love you. From me.

Love, My Love Note, Love is exceptional, kind, giving. Love is not turning your back On you daughter, son. Love notes Can be kind, yet pride is more Then Love Notes to others. Nancy Thorpe

One word does not express it. A thousand words cannot encompass it. You are the glue to my shattered world, And the needle in my haystack. Follow me everywhere, though I may protest. I love you this day, each day and all days. Monkey

Laurie, Two years, two days, Love you. All ways. Josh Josh Hooper: You are the kindest man I’ve ever known. One with immeasurable integrity, unlimited empathy, genuine intellect, and just enough craziness to tolerate a life with me. Please don’t ever stop singing to me in elevators and parking lots, or telling me I’m beautiful when I’m not wearing make-up, or relentlessly dishing out those insanely irritating puns. That’s what best friends, and life partners, are made for. I love you. -Laurie

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Puppies are cute, And so are you!

Together we inhaled the scent of blossoming buds. So many smells between you and I in such a short and lovely time. Closed eyes lead to anxious waiting nostrils. Enveloping in your aroma, the exotic mixture of oils in your hair Reminding me of island songs, sweet mango, coconut, and banana.

It’s been a decade, maybe more. But somewhere out there, I know you still are. I hope from time to time you think of me. Life took us different directions, different towns, different lives. I hope life has been good to you and that maybe one day, I’ll see your smiling face once more. Shimmie

The smoke of incense burning lifting Black cherry flavored smoke into the air. Fresh spices; peppers and onions diced & chopped for stew. So many wonderful smells were shared between us two. I imagine the future scents we’ll enjoy. Steamy baths filled with salts, littered with oatmeal, cocoa, natural jojoba beans & aloe… All supplementing our golden brown skin. Lilacs and daffodils firmly planted with precision line the garden and all the while sweaty smiling children flit past, trailing the fresh musk of grass and playful youth. I take you in and my nose is pleased You smell of calming nature, peace of mind, fresh sweet bread warmed in the oven with butter and Trinidad cheese. You smell of love.

You were not my destination, you are my journey. There was no happily-ever after once we said our vows. It’s been up-down around in circles dizzying madness. But you’ve stood by me, and I’ve stood by you all these years. And I still see the love of my life every time I look in your eyes. Happy Valentine’s Day, darling. JR

Weather forecast for February 14, 2014

Day: High: 34°F Chance of rain: 60% Winds: NW at 10 mph Humidity: 69%

Night: Low: 24°F Chance of Rain/Snow: 40% Wind: WNW at 7 mph Humidity: 66% Sunrise: 6:51 am Moonrise: 5:32 pm Moonphase: Full

This Star-Revue Special Valentine Day Section was edited by Kimberly Gail Price with design by George Fiala Cover by Jenny Belin

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Red Hook Star-Revue

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EDITORIAL:

This is not about the BASIS school

W

ell, it kind of is. It seems to be consensus that Red Hook is about to see some sort of seismic change - from the somewhat sleepy backwater community that is hard to get to, under populated, with a legacy of decay, crime, and Lillie’s - into something as yet undetermined. We have digested Fairway and IKEA. With all the publicity we have received since Sandy and Banksy the rest of the world is seeing us differently. Europe sees the value in the Statue of Liberty views and is ready to invest a fortune. Successful artists are plopping their fortune down to build their mansions inside of once dilapidated houses. Investment cartels are about to buy a packaged up industrial buildings a block from DeFontes. And now, a bus parking lot is about to be turned into an elite private school by an education company looking to make lots of money - within eyeshot of our public housing population. It is likely that BASIS will receive their approval from the Board of Standards and Appeals and go ahead with the school - rushing to be able to import one thousand entitled children whose parents can’t quite see paying $40,000 a year in one of Brooklyn’s established private schools, but feel that their children deserve better than a public school. It will be interesting to see how that all plays out. But this is not about that. It is about the large number of other non - or underdeveloped lots in our neighborhood. Alphabet City in the Lower East Side of Manhattan used to be full of them. As was Williamsburg. Fourth Avenue was once home to mostly garages and tire shops. Going back before its restaurant renaissance Smith Street had probably the largest concentration of nail salons and beauty parlors in the world. Yes, there was a time when the Red Rose restaurant was an outlier. All

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

(send yours to editor@redhookstar.com)

On the LICH editorial in the Daily News

Remember that Zuckerman like the other news mogul Murdock are also heavy into real estate. They are political pals of Cuomo and were members of his now recently disbanded “Committee to Save 1% NY ” along with the NYC Real Estate Advisory Boards and Cuomo’s Wall Street pals like Berger of that famous “Berger Commission.” It was started to promote the development and sales of NYC Real Estate and other ventures for profit, part of which would be turned over to Cuomo’s political campaign chest. H. Carl McCall was also a member of that group. Because it was deemed a potential embarrassment this election year, Cuomo was advised to disband it. Remember also called upon

Page 20 Red Hook Star-Revue

these places today are very far removed from those days, that wasn’t really that long ago. It’s happening to Red Hook. Little by little. Around twenty years ago, community leaders together with the community board prepared a vision for Red Hook’s future, called the 197A report, which was submitted and approved by the city. This is what the vision was back then: 1. Promote opportunities for the development of Red Hook’s main asset --its people--including improved housing, social services and youth services and the expansion of the residential community. 2. Support the preservation and expansion of industrial and maritime activity where it is currently solidly positioned in the northwest and southeast sections of Red Hook. 3. Promote employment and business opportunities for local residents. 4. Promote new residential development in the context of an economically, socially, and physically integrated community. 5. Guide future development in a way that minimizes conflicts between industrial and residential communities. 6. Strengthen, support, and expand the burgeoning arts community. 7. Improve access to, egress from, and circulation within Red Hook bypublic transportation. 8. Strengthen existing retail commercial areas. 9. Revitalize and create public access to the waterfront, one of Red Hook’s major assets.

Yale School of Architecture imagines a Red Hook future

tive has shown that when opportunity is made available, large numbers of the poor will take advantage of it and raise themselves up and in many cases out of public housing - with college degrees and out of the unemployment and blue collar work of their parents, into careers with good futures. The Housing population includes a large potential working force that corporate America needs to discover.

Piers 7 and 11 instead of moving to New Jersey. Our idea is for the city to make it possible for corporations in need of back office and/or research facilities to make Red Hook their home.

Which is why we think the BASIS school is basically a lost opportunity. Property owners and developers make money by renting and building. It is true that the owner of the lot on Bay and Columbia is improving the property with a $50 million school building from which he will collect rent - much more rent than the buses and trucks that have previously parked there. It really doesn’t matter to him what gets built there. He is entitled to develop - within the zoning restrictions - any way he wants.

A careful reading of these show that all the studies and reports since then are pretty much a rehash of these nine goals. What is different is the real possibility of big money coming in and making these goals impossible. What is especially worrisome to us at the Star-Revue in point #3 - employment and business opportunities for local residents.

Last year there was a meeting of something called The Red Hook Summit, which we were hoping would continue the work of the 197A plan. We have no idea what happened at this meeting, since we were barred from attending. We were told that information would be forthcoming to us as to what was achieved, but we have received nothing. Their website seems to be removed, and their Facebook page is filled with information about the Added Value farm.

It is on us, the Red Hook Community, for not insisting from government the same kinds of economic incentives that other communities have received. Tax incentives have played a large part in attracting and keeping businesses in Manhattan and other areas. These businesses are all large employers - jobs from entry-level to professional.

Why not reconvene the Summit, this time openly and transparently, and try to build on 197A, so that the next time someone proposes building something so tremendously out of character with our community as the BASIS school, there will be alternatives already in place.

Unemployment at the Red Hook Houses is still a problem. Red Hook Initia-

Phoenix Beverage received many incentives to locate their operation at

Sandy is not the only disaster that can befall us.

George Pataki to come up with a tax reduction proposal for the “Cuomo” rich. That is the same Pataki that while running for reelection as Governor made a deal with the Insurance giants to reduce their hospital reimbursement rates so as to receive their financial backing. That reduction in hospital reimbursement rates is now especially hurting Brooklyn Hospitals. Why are the reimbursement rates lower for Brooklyn than for Manhattan. Their expenses are the same – wages, supplies etc. - Byron Major

That’s just one idea. The time has long passed for the whole of Red Hook to come together and reach some sort of consensus as to the future of our unimproved parcels - and lobby our elected officials to move us in that direction.

Sure...

Likes the idea

Dear George, Just a little note to let you know that I really liked your editorial in the latest issue of the Red Hook Star Revue. I’ve been living in Red Hook for seven years but am only just starting to have in interest in community affairs so i will be reading your paper a lot from now on. I love the idea of a town hall and a mayor. Red Hook is definitely a place apart so I think any effort to make it even more independent and individual makes sense! - Joy Setton

A photo we neglected to run last fall. In the meantime, Banksy painted another balloon and donated it for charity.

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HEALTHY BY TRACEY Top 10 Women’s Winter Essentials for your Hair and Skin this winter.

Jenny Belin’s Art

Howling winds, bone chilling temperatures and dry air can really do a number on our soft skin and hair. The cold air outside and central heated indoors can strip moisture from strands and pores, making hair rough and skin itchy and dry. But endure cracked hands no more; take a look in your kitchen cupboard for the answer. Here’s what you need to know: Skin is a living organism; it protects us against germs and “invaders.” It’s a barrier between the environment and our insides, and is responsible for keeping our body cool. It’s important to keep these tissues in good condition and working well year round so they can do their jobs and keep us healthy and safe. In the winter months, skin may get cracked, flaky, irritated or inflamed. If red, scaly, itchy skin worsens, be sure to visit a doctor. It may be a more serious condition like dermatitis, eczema or athlete’s foot. Below are some ideas you can use right now when the freezing temperatures roll around. 1. A 20 minute hot shower feels great on a winter day but stick to warm or lukewarm shower for 10 minutes instead. Long exposure to hot water strips your skin and hair of moisture. 2. At the grocery store, fill up your cart with healthy choices including monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, nuts, olive oil, flax, sardines, and avocados. Then, hop on over to the produce aisle and stock up on Vitamin C rich produce like citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C can help boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that maintains skin and other connective tissues. 3. Drink plenty of water. (Hint: if you are already thirsty, it means you’re dehydrated.) Good skin is a symbol of good health, and it requires care. When your skin is dry it wrinkles easily, appears parched, ages rapidly, and flakes easily. Try the following home remedy to help replace moisture to the skin.

Inspired by Busby Berkeley’s film, “Gold Diggers of 1933”

4. Dry Face: In a mixing bowl place two tablespoons of honey and two teaspoons of milk, mix well and apply to your face and neck. Leave the mixture for about 15-20 minutes and rinse off with warm water. 5. Exfoliating: Especially in the winter, exfoliating is very important. When our skin is dry we try to compensate by slathering on heavy creams. But dry skin means there is dry skin buildup. By increasing exfoliation we remove the dry skin cells and then moisturize the new skin cells, resulting in a moister skin. 6. Body: When curing dry skin all over the body, fill a bathtub and add baking soda and a few cups of whole milk to moisturize the skin. The proteins, fats and vitamins in milk help to soothe rough skin. If you’re not into dairy for your bath, try the old fashioned oatmeal bath to help red, irritated skin feel better. After the bath, slather on coconut, almond or olive oil, (coconut is my favorite), and apply within 3 minutes of stepping out of your bath/shower. It’s most effective for trapping in the moisture. 7. Dry Cracked Lips: Lips don’t have the ability to produce natural oils, so when the weather changes, lips may become cracked, dry or chapped. Try using clarified butter, also known as Ghee, to help lips smile again happily. 8. Dry Cracked Heels: cracked heels are the result of neglect and lack of moisture in the heels, the heels can develop deep cuts which may become very painful. Try using this home remedy to help relieve the pain of cracked heels: crush a ripe banana into a paste; apply the paste to the cracks; leave it on for 10 minutes; and wash it off with water. Do this every day to help relieve the pain. 9. Rough hair: Hair needs some extra love and attention during the winter months. Since shampooing strips moisture from the hair and scalp, try washing the hair every other day or two, depending on your individual needs. Also, invest in a sulfate free shampoo to avoid drying out your locks and wash once a week with a shampoo made of sodium laureth to remove product buildup. Remember to condition and let the hair air dry as often as possible to prevent breakage. 10. Exercise: Regular exercise boosts oxygen and blood flow to the skin. The boost in blood flow and oxygen to the skin cells also carries nutrients that improve skin health, supporting all the effort you make with moisturizers on the skin surface. Reader Feedback: What is your go to remedy for hair and skin care?

Tracey is a Red Hook resident and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She works with her clients to build and maintain healthy lifestyles. If you have comments or suggestions on a topic you would like addressed, email editor@redhookstar.com. Red Hook Star-Revue

Adam Armstrong chatting with Mary Kyle of Dry Dock Wines and Spirits last weekend at Fairway. Fairway’s Celebrate Red Hook days proved successful, and will be scheduled again soon, according to Marketing VP Jacqueline Donovan. The StarRevue and other local businesses took advantage of free tables in back of the store.

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Odds & Ends

beautify the city, but is also a gift that will last for years to come.

Trees start at $100 each. It is still largely unknown if carving initials The Sandy Design Help Desk will be in into one’s tree is permissible. Red Hook from Saturday, February 8 to Monday, February 10 at Red Hook Vol- BYOF Day at IKEA Bring Your Own Friend (BYOF) Day unteers (360 Van Brunt Street). They will be providing free design and is coming back to IKEA. On March 8, technical consultation for residents and fans and friends of the Life Improveproperty owners impacted by Hurricane ment Store will enjoy exclusive deals, in-store activities and giveaways. The Sandy. day is designed as a special reward for Volunteer architects and designers IKEA loyalists and their friends. will provide information and guidance on questions related to building codes, Customers can visit www.IKEA-USA. zoning and design. Even if you are not com/BYOF to create custom invitaactively repairing or rebuilding your tions for their friends and print special property at this time, their volunteers offers for the in-store event. can guide you in the necessary steps and BYOF participants will enjoy food mitigate future damage. They will of- freebies, free blue reusable IKEA bags, fer advice on applying for funding via discounts, tips from IKEA professionals, and a Twitter sweepstakes for a NYC’s Build it Back program as well. The hours are 11 am - 5 pm on the chance to win a $1,000 IKEA gift card. BYOF shoppers will also be able weekend, and 3 pm - 9 pm Monday. to sign up for IKEA’s free ongoing rewards program.

Sandy Help Desk

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

Tall Basketball at Miccio

ter

t Jam”

Revue

Select

Mail

Direct Marketing Services since 1988 df df df df df

101 UNION eorge Fiala STREET george@RedHookStar.com

Brooklyn, NY 11231 Brooklyn, NY 11231 718 624-5568 www.selectmail.com george@selectmail.com

We have been serving Brooklyn Businesses since 1988. Our clients have included:

St. Ann’s Warehouse, Eastern Athletic Club, Al Vann, BWAC & Red Hook Initiative Services Offered: • Lettershop • Political Mailings • Non-Profit Fundraising Letters • Postcards • Brochures & Newsletters • First Class & Bulk

There’s always something good going on at Rocky’s of Red Hook!! Tuesday Night is Irish Language Night Beginning Irish at 7 Advanced at 8 Taught by Brian Mallon Irish Traditional Music Sundays at 4, Tuesdays at 9 MONDAYS ARE NOW

MEATBALL MONDAYS!

Rangers, Devils, Islanders Best Place to watch the games!

A new Red Hook youth basketball program was inaugurated on Friday, January 31 at the Miccio Center. Sponsored by the Manhattan DA’s office, and supervised by Good Shepherd’s Services and the Red Hook Justice Center, players will be taught basketball basics by players with college and semi-pro experience. Youths aged 11-14 can attend sessions from 5 pm - 7 pm, and those aged 15-18 from 7 pm - 9 pm. The program lasts through the spring every Friday night.

Honey, I got you… a TREE!

Need a gift idea for your Valentine? How about a tree? New York Restoration Project (NYRP) invites lovers to honor a loved one by funding a NYC tree. Supporters will receive a personalized tree certificate signed by founder, Bette Midler and former mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Sponsoring a tree not only helps to

Marmoset Twins and Demoiselle Cranes, oh my!

Prospect Park Zoo has recently welcomed two new species into their collection. The zoo is now home to three male demoiselle cranes, a migratory bird native to Asia and northern Africa. Demoiselle means “young lady” in French, and the cranes were named such because Queen Mary Antoinette described them as ladylike and dainty. Prospect Park’s first set of Geoffroy’s marmoset twins were born to first time parents who arrived at the zoo last year. Gordon, a 2 year old male, and Xing, a 3 year old female welcomed the infants in November 2013. Twins are not uncommon among the species, as most females usually produce two offspring. The babies as just recently debuted at the zoo in early February in the Animals of Our Lives building.

76th Precinct Community Council meets

Available for Private Parties Shepherds Pie, Bangers and Mash and yummy Pizza made in our kitchen

Our local police precinct, located on Union Street between Hicks and Henry, holds a monthly meeting usually the first Tuesday of the month, at 7:30 pm. On these occasions, the Commanding Officer, Justin Lenz speaks to the public on general police matters, and is available to answer questions. Afterwards, various representatives of local organizations are invited to make short presentations. On February 4th, Lenz, who became CO last fall, spoke of community policing. He encouraged people to know each other, and inform the police when they feel something is amiss. He also explained why it is important to report crimes, as headquarters assigns police to precincts based upon the crime statistics. Henrietta Perkins has noticed broken glass in parking areas, indicating break-ins. Judge Calabrese along with Jessica Colon from the Red Hook Community Justice Center announced the beginning of a basketball program Friday nights at the Miccio Center. Lindsey Donnellon of the Carroll Gardens Association informed attendees of upcoming computer training and real estate seminars at their Columbia Street office. The next meeting is scheduled for March 4, 2014.

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WAY BACK WHEN

On Monday, January 17, Bumble Bees R Us honored. Martin Luther King Day school wide. Children were invited to dress up as what they want to be when they grow up. From left to right: Hailey, Analis and Madison as two future veterinarians and a doctor. (photo by Lijiana Shyti)

The

Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

In June, 2010, the MTA cut bus routes throughout the city. This sign was posted at a bus stop for the now extinct B77 bus. The location was on Union and Van Brunt. The B77 took people from the Columbia Waterfront District straight up Union Street to Park Slope. Now, travelers coming to and from Park Slope have to take the B61 and transfer to the B63 at Atlantic Avenue which takes one up Fifth Avenue. It is a much more roundabout and lengthier commute. People miss the B77 to this day and pray for its return.

member

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Star revue february 2014 to print  

Special Valentine's Day Section included.

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