Page 1


Red Hook StarªRevue




Intercourse is a Pioneerworks romp through current art and science by George Fiala


ne doesn’t generally encounter slick literary magazines in a NYC bodega, but when the bodega is a block away from the publisher, it becomes a possibility. So the other day at the Pioneer Street Supermarket I picked up a copy of Dusti Yellin’s Intercourse magazine.

My normal reading habits range from Foreign Affairs to the Daily News, so I’m the first to admit that this type of literature is not my bailiwick. First of all let me say that this is not exactly a literary magazine as I know it. It seems more a potpourri of intellectual thought. This is in keeping with Mr. Yellin’s stated goal of Pioneerworks, which he originally did call Intercourse. In addition to serving as an artist studio, a school and a place for events, Yellin intended Pioneerworks, located a bit to the west of the deli, at the cross section of Pioneer and Imlay Streets, to be a place where accomplished persons of all disciplines would be in residence and cross fertilize. The slick, square shaped magazine spans almost two hundred pages. It is organized into four sections, consisting of long articles, shorter essays, academic studies and finally, something called Portfolios, which seem to stress works of art but also include essays. Yellin, who is one of the editors, writes a forward to this third edition of what I take to be a quarterly publication. He wonders about the lifespan of dead bones, which then transforms into a discussion of life being transformed into digital information. I was reminded of a class I took in graduate school where the professor and most of the students happened to be devotees of the philosopher Michel Foucault. It took a number of classes until I started to get an idea of what everyone was talking about. My fellow students were as immersed in Foucault as I used to be with the 1969 NY Mets. I felt as if I had stumbled into some sort of private club. This magazine felt the same way to me. In the same way that eventually I kind of ‘got’ Foucault, I am slowly getting into Intercourse.

The first article is an interview with author Ben Lerner. Philistine that I am, I am not familiar with his novels or poetry, which include Leaving the Atocha Station and The Lichtenberg Figures, but they have been widely acclaimed and are prize winners. So the questions he is asked largely went over my head, until a subject came up that I am familiar with, namely, Star Trek. Here the discussion paralleled thoughts that I have had. Lerner says that while writing his latest novel, 10-4, he watched the entire Next Generation series. He calls it a “90s fantasy about multiculturalism.” Lerner continues: “every time you confront an alien civilization it’s like, ‘what’s the framework that’s going to allow us to respect difference but also get along.’” While that’s all true, I take issue with multiculturalism being a dominant theme of any of the Star Treks. Beginning with Roddenberry’s very first series, which included a black, a Russian,

“I must add here that the magazine misspells the name of Worf, which someone who

The Lerner interview goes on for seven dense pages, and for someone who has read his work, I’m sure it is fascinating and revealing, and educational.

The next article is another interview, this time with musician Adam Green. equates Gene Roddenberry While I am aware of his former band, with Foucault might take issue the Moldy Peaches, I am more a Richard Thompson man, and so again, much of this interview is lost on me. Perhaps I with, but that’s really just a should expand my horizons in his direcminor quibble.” tion, especially since he claims to be a huge fan of the late singer Harry Nilsson, who is acclaimed by people of my an Asian and a doctor from the deep generation as one of the great ones, not South, multiculturalism was a given. to mention a great pal of John Lennon. What I have taken from of all the Star Trek series’ was a positive vision of a fu- Although many of the musical referencture earth, where the fruits of technolo- es are lost on me, this seems a worthgy allows people to follow their dreams, while read for the intellectual music as cheap energy serves to provide every- lover. Adam Green is also a filmmaker, and the article is interspersed with some one’s more basic needs. I must add here that the magazine mis- great photos including one of the artist spells the name of Worf, which some- Francesco Clemente dressed as a clown, one who equates Gene Roddenberry playing the role of ‘Genie,’ as explained with Foucault might take issue with, in the photo credit. Some research inbut that’s really just a minor quibble. forms that Green is working on a film Heaven knows that this publication has version of Aladdin. been guilty of multiple misspellings in it’s publishing history.


A further example of how un-artsy I happen to be is the story of my own

meet-up with Clemente. My daughter graduated from the St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights where one of her friends was Nina Clemente, Francesco’s daughter. One night I had to go to Greenwich Village to pick her up from a play date. I really had no idea who Francesco Clemente was. I did know that a lot of my daughter’s friends had wealthy parents. I rang the bell and a smallish man with an accent came out to see what I wanted. I assumed he was some kind of servant and asked for my daughter. It was some time later that I happened to see this “butler” type pictured on the sides of NYC buses, as Francesco Clemente was prominently featured in ads in a MOMA show of his work. Mr. Green sounds like an interesting and talented guy and I will now make an attempt to seek out his work. One aside - I have no idea what ketamine is. The next article is about Hart Island. (continued on page 6)


Red Hook StarªRevue proudly introduces our new website For Editorial, Advertising and Help Wanted Inquiries, email, or call 718 624-5568



Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Fifth Avenue Committee’s Benefit Bash. A festive night of drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment from 6:30-9 pm at Union Hall. $100 for patrons; $50 for friends. 702 Union Street

Visitation Church 98 Richards St, (718) 624-1572 Saint Paul and Saint Agnes Parish St. Paul’s Church - Rectory & Church Office 234 Congress Street (718) 624-3425 Hours: M - F 830am-12 St. Agnes Church Office 433 Sackett Street, 718-625-1717 Hours: M-F 1pm-430pm St. Agnes: Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass Sunday 9 am (English), 11:30am (Spanish) St. Paul’s: Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass Sunday 8 am & 9:30am (English); 11am (Spanish) Monday & Tuesday 8:30am (St. Paul’s) Wednesday & Thursday 8:30am (St. Agnes) Saturday 8am (St. Paul’s) Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church 125 Summit Street at Hicks Street Saturday Vigil Mass 5:30pm Sunday Masses: 10am & 11:45am (Italian/English) Weekdays Masses: Tuesday Through Saturday 8:30am Confessions: Saturdays 4:45pm and by appointment. Baptisms: Every Third Sunday At 1pm. Please call the rectory one month before to make arrangements. Sick Calls: Please call the rectory to arrange for the sacrament of anointing whenever anyone is seriously ill. Marriages: Please call the rectory at least 6 months ahead for an appointment with a priest http:// St. Paul’s Carroll Street 199 Carroll Street Parish Office: 718-625-4126 Sunday Mass at 10 am Weekday Morning Prayer - Mon.-Thurs. at 7:30 am Weekday masses as announced Holy Days as announced (please see the Calendar) Church open for prayer Tues. 6-8pm & Sat. 2-4pm


Calvary Baptist Church 773 Hicks St (718) 522-5159


Kane Street Synagogue 236 Kane Street, (near Tompkins Place) 718 875-1550 August 29 - 30, Shabbat Shoftim Candle Lighting 7:14 PM Shabbat ends 8:17 PM Friday night services, 6:00 PM Shabbat morning services, 9:15 AM Sunday Morning Services 9:00 AM Congregation B’nai Avraham/Chabad of Brooklyn Heights 117 Remsen St., 718 596 4840 x18, www.heightschabad. com Morning Services: Sunday: 8:45am Monday - Friday: 7:45am Holidays (during the week): 8:45am Saturday: 9:45am Evening Services: Sunday: Shabbat candle lighting time Monday - Thursday: 9:00pm Friday: Winter: 5 minutes before Shabbat candle lighting time Summer: 7:30pm Saturday: Shabbat candle lighting time

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

BHJA will offer a comprehensive Jewish and general studies curriculum, supported by extra-curricular activities, arming students with the knowledge and skills to become life-long learners. Under the auspices of Chabad Lubavitch of Brooklyn Heights, BHJA will be the neighborhood’s first Hebrew day school. According to Executive Director, Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin, “Now is an opportune time for a K-12 Jewish day school to grace the streets of Brooklyn Heights. Investing in Jewish education ensures a Jewish future; we need to inspire the Jewish youth of today towards a committed Jewish life.” With this in mind, the school’s curriculum takes a holistic integrated Torah

Page 2 Red Hook Star-Revue

Noam Chomsky at Brooklyn for Peace Gala Dinner from 6-9:30pm2014 Pathmakers to peace dinner. The reception will feature a presentation, dinner and drinks. For more info and tickets Plymouth Church, 57 Orange St Software for Artists Day (S4AD) from 10am-7pm at Pioneer Works brings together artists and developers to illustrate the many new software and hardware tools available to contemporary art practice. Breakfast and refreshments will be provided. Lunch will be available for purchase from local vendors. $25, 159 Pioneer St


Brooklyn Heights Jewish Academy (BHJA), a new Brooklyn-based co-educational Orthodox Jewish day school, will open its doors in September 2015.



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


Happenings, etc.

perspective where secular units such as math and science are taught alongside Torah themes and content, to create a wholesome and unified worldview. BHJA’s objective is to equip students with the necessary academic and life skills needed to confidently take their place in society, while at the same time instilling pride in their Jewish identity and a strong sense of purpose. “BHJA will focus on the growth of the whole child, catering to the needs and abilities of each child. Teaching strategies will be employed to accommodate students’ individual needs, rates of development and learning styles. Class sizes will be kept small in order to reach a low student-teacher ratio and provide a more child-centered and personalized education,” Rabbi Raskin assures. Enrollment is currently open for students at kindergarten level, with classes to grow with the students as the years progress. Further information is available at or 718-596-4840 x18


Join artists from Pier Glass and Scanlan Glass from 12pm – 5pm for their Holiday Show featuring exquisite works of art all made in Brooklyn. Meet the artists, experience glassblowing demo’s, enjoy a glass of hot cider and admire or purchase a stunning rainbow of colorful glass in all shapes and sizes at 499 Van Brunt St, Suite 2A Jalopy’s Brooklyn Cajun Jam from 2-5 pm focuses on the traditional Cajun & Creole music of southwest Louisiana. Bring your instruments, join the music, or just come by and listen. 315 Columbia Street


The 2014 Groundwork Festival at the Cora Studio November 12-15 at 8pm. The Groundwork Festival includes the culminating performances from the artists selected to participate in the 2014 Groundwork Residency. More information and tickets at Cora Studio, 201 Richards Street, Buzzer #15 Star-Revue Night Music Jams at Rocky Sullivan’s from 8 pm-12 am every Monday. Bring your instrument and jam with local musicians of all skill levels. Or come out and enjoy the show. 34 Van Dyke Street The Brooklyn Heights Players celebrates The Bard with The Boys from Syracuse through November 23. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. $25, ($23 for seniors and students). 26 Willow Place (between State and Joralemon Sts) The American Fine Craft Show at the Brooklyn Museum showcases 11 craftsmen and one sculptor on Saturday November 22 from 12-6 pm and Sunday from 11 am-6 pm. Tickets are: $12 for adults; $11 for seniors; $6 for student; children free, and includes admission to museum. Cash only at the door, or online at

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

November 2014

Superfund chief engineer Tsiamis responds to Superfund misinformation by George Fiala


t a well attended meeting of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) on October 28, EPA Project Manager Christos Tsiamis minced few words as he laced into the Friends of Thomas Greend Park, claiming they were spreading misinformation about government intent. While Red Hook was up in arms in early 2013 about what was called the Red Hook Option, which would have created landfill composed of canal dredgings at the foot of the Gowanus, folks in Gowanus were worrying about the fate of their public swimming pool. In addition to cleaning up the canal, the EPA has made part of its mission mitigation of ongoing sewer flows that continue to contaminate the Gowanus. Because of limited sewer capacity, raw sewage is flushed into the canal during heavy rain events. The EPA has demanded that NYC build two large tanks to hold this sewage in, until water levels fall and the sewage can be routed to treatment plants. One tank is to be placed at mid canal. The controversy is about the other tank, which needs to be placed at the top of the canal. From the beginning, Tsiamis has insisted that the most logical course of action would be to dig up the pool and place the tank underneath, then restore the pool. The reason for this is twofold - firstly, the city already owns the land and would not have to pay to purchase a large, expensive plot. Secondly, borings have found the ground under the pool to be highly contaminated with the same coal tar wastes that lie under the Gowanus. These highly toxic wastes are the result of 19th century pollution from the days when coal was turned into methane gas which provided lighting for NYC in those days before the electric grid was thought about. Local residents are upset about the fact that the park would have to be closed for a minimum of two years while the tank is placed and the pool rebuilt. In addition, the City has opposed the Superfund designation from the beginning. Mayor Bloomberg felt that less costly methods could be used to mitigate the pollution. According to EPA rules, it is the polluters who pay for

cleanup. In this case, it is the City and National Westminster, the successor company to Brooklyn Union, who are liable for a major portion of the $500 million cleanup tab. While Tsiamis recommended the pool as the most logical place for the placement of the tank, that was only done in an advisory role. He has stated in the past that the city can choose any site it wishes, as long as it is someplace. Earlier this year, the NYC DEP commissioned a $50 million study of the area to find an appropriate site. The result of the $50 million expense was the recommendation of the Thomas Greene Park or three lots next to it, that are now owned by private businesses. Were the city to choose the latter option, they would have to clear the land and relocate the private businesses at their expense. It is likely that no matter what land the city chooses for the tanks, the pool would have to be dug up anyway. The DEP will make a determination as to the remediation under the pool this December. As with the toxins under the canal, National Westminster would be footing the bill for the park remediation. Tsiamis began his presentation with a history of the site. He showed photos of the park as it appeared in the 1930’s, surrounded by heavy industry. He exhibited a map detailing the results of

He went on to say that eminent domain, which would be used to relocate the businesses on the three lots adjacent to the park, were that the choice, was closer to theft than would closing a park for two years be. He went on to explain that the excavation needed for the placement of the retention tank will require a large staging area - and were the three lots chosen, it is most likely that the park would be closed anyway while the construction proceeded.

Tsiamis and the offending flyer. (photos by George Fiala)

Following the presentation, the floor was opened up for questions. Katia Kelly, publisher of the local blog Pardon Me for Asking, posited that the city is using the prospect of alternate sites as a way to slow the process down. She writes in her blog that none of the owners of those lots has as of yet been approached by DEP with the prospect of buying their land.

Christos said that the EPA never chooses to go for eminent domain if an alternative exists. EPA lawyer Brian Carr, also at the meeting, estimated the three plots of land to be worth upwards of $100 million. Christos, seemingly desiring the best for the Gowanus community, told the CAG that the community should pick its battles. The battle should be for a clean canal and a better Double D park - not delaying what will eventually have to be done sooner or later.

story and photos by Kimberly Gail Price

Map showing possible placement of the upper retention tank.

borings made color coding the areas of toxicity. He then showed photos of a world class pool that the city built on top of a waste facility next to the Hudson River in Harlem. His point was that a rebuilt park could actually be an improvement to the current facility. He saved his wrath for a flyer that circulated in the neighborhood designed by a group called Friends of Thomas Greene Park.

Tsiamis pointed out that the words on the flyer are exactly wrong — that if it turns out that the DEP does not feel the park should be remediated, then the polluter - National Grid - would NOT pay.

Red Hook Star-Revue

“It’s not theft,” he declared. “It’s called capital improvements.”

End of the line for Long Island College Hospital

The flyer reads: “Controlling raw sewage should NOT mean a raw deal for our neighborhood! Hey EPA! Make the polluters pay - NOT OUR COMMUNITY. Save the Double ‘D’ Pool and Thomas Greene Park.”

Terri Thompson of National Grid clarifying a comment she had made about the NYS DEC and Double D”D’ Park.

tine days, when people could fish and enjoy the water.

People who spend their lives working for the EPA do so mainly because they want to restore public land - not steal it. Tsiamis has said in the past that one of his goals is to return the canal to its pris-

At 8 am on Halloween morning, a small group of NYSNA and LICH supporters gathered outside the hospital one last time. Earlier in the week, Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli signed off on SUNY’s deal to sell the full-service hospital to Fortis property group any NYU. A free-standing emergency room and luxury housing are planned for the site. At 9:15 am, the last remaining Long Island College Hospital (LICH) employees left their jobs for the last time. They walked into emotional embraces with colleagues and friends who spent more than 18 months fighting to keep the hospital “open for care.”

Purple banners covered nearly all of the former LICH signs. Among protests, New York University administrators pulled off the black coverings to reveal the new logo bearing the words “NYU Langone Medical Center.” NYU made little presentation, as they quietly carried out the switchover. A walk-in patient was escorted by more than a dozen NYU staffers quickly and quietly just before 9:30 am, marking the first patient of the newly owned medical facility. Although the hospital site will be used as an emergency department, NYU will not be offering many life-saving services needed to constitute many situations, such as an intensive care unit (ICU).

November 2014, Page 3

Portside’s Sandy Rebuilding Efforts Editors Note: Portside held a successful fundraiser at Hometown on October 29. A full house paid upwards of $100 per person, money which went to the group. We invited them to tell a bit about themselves. This is not a Star-Revue article, it is their story, written by Portside that we present as a public service.


ortSide NewYork was founded to help change awareness and use of NYC’s BLUEspace, the water part of the waterfront. New York City’s area is one third water, and contains 29 islands. PortSide’s goal is to create a place that will showcase what NYC’s waterfront can really be. Our ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN, is an ambassador in that goal and our endeavor to bring the community ashore and the community afloat, the maritime community, closer together. Here’s our Sandy story:

Sandy prevention: Saving a historic ship Thursday, 10/25/2012, 1:00 pm, Sandy minus 4.5 days, PortSide’s crew said good-bye to a class trip of first graders visiting the MARY A. WHALEN and started hurricane prep, punching our way thru the list of what we did for Irene the year before. During the next four and a half days,

we traded strategies with historic ships and modern workboats around the harbor. We all laid in food, water and fuel; tested generators; and moved our boats to safer places. PortSide curator Peter Rothenberg, shipcat Chiclet and Director Carolina Salguero are storm crew on the MARY A. WHALEN. The maritime community obsessively followed marine weather reports. “Grim installments are burned in my memory,” said Carolina Salguero. “At Sandy minus 1.5 days, we learned an 8-foot surge is coming. At Sandy minus a few hours, I am readying for a 12 foot surge.” Ashore in Red Hook, things were different. Sunday night, Sandy minus 24 hours, an email blast went out telling Red Hook which bars will be open and what movies are being screened. Carolina worried, “Is the community ashore prepping for Sandy? Has anyone evacuated?” PortSide’s maritime world felt separated from neighbors ashore by more than the containerport fence.  Peter Rothenberg was valiant. “When Carolina got word that the storm surge was expected to be 12 or 13 feet high, I had visions of the MARY tipping over onto the pier and emphatically agreed with the idea of securing a preventer line to the next pier 265 feet away.” Due to preparations, our ship MARY

Page 4 Red Hook Star-Revue

WHALEN safely rode out the surge with our office aboard, enabling every form of Sandy assistance we delivered to Red Hook afterwards. Peter and Carolina came ashore on Wednesday afternoon to discover a devastated Red Hook, and immediately decided that PortSide’s urgent search for a publicly-accessible homeport was flooded to a standstill and that we would help Red Hook until waterfront sites recovered enough for us to resume real estate talks.

Appreciation from Red Hook Adam Armstrong, Pioneer Street resident and writer of the blog “View from the Hook” describes what happened next, “PortSide came ashore, quickly set up shop at 351 Van Brunt Street and proceeded to make a base - a visible and accessible storefront - from where they could reach out, provide information, resources and assistance to their land lubbing neighbors, most of us who were desperately trying to recover from the immense damage that had been done to our homes and our unique, waterfront neighborhood. Carolina Salguero and her team of volunteers co-ordinated clean-out crews and tradesmen to go and physically assist our residents, and they gathered and disseminated information about anything they though would be helpful - FEMA, legal assistance, insurance matters, Con Edison, National Grid, the Rapid Repairs program, etc., and provided a connection to our representatives in government. On many of these matters, PortSide organized meetings and reached out to our residents, and in the case of our street Pioneer Street – Carolina co-ordinated the creation of a comprehensive contact list so that everyone on our block could share information and provide support to each other. It was - and still is - a wonderful way for the residents of

Sign placed at Valentino Pier Park on storm eve.

Pioneer Street to keep in touch and get updates on our street’s recovery.” What made that work possible was the selflessness of three people PortSide is honoring at our fundraiser on Tuesday, October 28 at Hometown. Victoria Hagman donated Realty Collective’s storefront and utilities at 351 Van Brunt, despite suffering extensive flood damage herself. Park Slope electrician Danny Schneider walked into 351 and offered free labor. PortSide coordinated his work, and Danny reports that he inspected and certified 60 buildings and repaired some two dozen for just the cost of parts. Our third honoree, our Curator Peter

Portside’s Carolina Salguero speaks up at a community meeting held at Visitation Church just a few days after Sandy. Also in the picture are Robin Goeman, Monica Byrne, Corbin Laelin, Congresswoman Nydia Velizquez and James Ellis of the Brooklyn Chamber. (photos on this page and next are Star-Revue file photos)

Rothenberg worked both ends of PortSide’s recovery story, the prevention that saved the MARY WHALEN and the aid work after the storm of setting up and running 351. Peter, Carolina and Dan Goncharoff of PortSide ran 351 for a month and then continued a virtual aid station and other recovery efforts out of view. In April 2013, PortSide won a White House award for Sandy recovery work, and in July, the New York State Senate honored our work.

PortSide work transitions from recovery to resiliency Carolina began attending resiliency conferences. Summer 2013, she was asked to become a member of Red Hook’s NY Rising committee to create local resiliency plans. PortSide staff and interns did research supporting the committee during its eight months of work. One of Carolina’s NY Rising goals was to inject maritime issues into the discussion, hoping the State NY Rising process could influence a state agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), so waterfront infrastructure in NYC can be more repaired and built for both resiliency and everyday operations. Carolina also proposed the solar-powered emergency lights for NYCHA housing which are in Red Hook’s plan and are being considered for other NYCHA developments. “I think the NY Rising committee work is good. Red Hook distinguished itself for what we put in our plan,” says Carolina; but plans are hidden assets for most people until they are built. Looking back on PortSide’s two years of Sandy-related work, for the sake of Red Hook’s planning better for the future, we would like to talk about some hidden Sandy stories of need and success we found in the course of our recovery and resiliency work.

Hidden Sandy stories of need and success PortSide’s recovery work helped many who don’t get media coverage and whose cases deserve more attention: Those without an advocacy group,

without on-line fundraising, some who aren’t comfortable using computers and needed Peter’s help to complete digital forms. We helped people in mixed-use buildings that don’t fit FEMA homeowner funding guidelines as well as renters who are not in NYCHA housing, and so are not in the media and political spotlight. Others include seniors, immigrants, those whose divorce, estate and tax situations complicated filing for aid and finally, people who are private about their needs in general. We learned that some affordable flood prevention was possible: The owners of Metal & Thread used a few hundred dollars of hardware store supplies to keep water from coming into their storefront and through the sidewalk hatch — though their cellar suffered water leaking through the foundation from the empty lot next door. Some tugboat crews saved their cars by moving them from Erie Basin to the second floor garage at Home Depot, above surge level.

IKEA a huge community partner IKEA’s contribution needs more attention. IKEA gave and gave and got no media coverage until Sandy’s one year anniversary when their $250,000 investment in solar energy that powers the Rec Center netted some articles.

Connecting the community ashore and community afloat Inland Red Hook is so disconnected from maritime Red Hook that the lat-

Despite what must have seemed adequate prepartions, Van Brunt Street buildings were no match for Sandy’s waters.

ter’s role in recovery is not discussed. For example, Jim Tampakis’ business, Marine Spares, was significant in pumping out the Hugh L. Carey tunnel. Vane Brothers provided hoses to the Hess fuel terminal so home heating oil could be delivered. Both did that despite flood (continued on next page)

November 2014

ashore, PortSide plans programs to help folks develop coastal living and flood prep skills, such as educational events with actual mariners, exhibits, and creating a children’s book with our shipcat Chiclet as a resiliency narrator talking about riding out Sandy on the tanker.

Portside’s story (continued from previous page)

Andrea Sansom, who founded a Red Hook flood mitigation Google group, sees the need, “We all love living at the water, and PortSide is here to help bring understanding to living with the water.” Our ship is a great tool for this. Our tanker MARY A. WHALEN is now a maritime symbol of resiliency, in contrast to the tanker JOHN B. CADDELL, Staten Island’s symbol of Sandy, which went aground and had to be scrapped.

PortSide’s own Sandy damages

damage to their offices and shops. PortSide feels the gap between inland resident and mariner is acute when we heard residents say “They told us to evacuate for Irene but nothing happened” and “I didn’t know there were two high tides a day.” We concluded that people ashore poorly understand marine weather reports and don’t know where to get them.

In comparison, mariners understand how to live with water, and how to prepare for hurricanes. They do the postflood work of pumping tunnels, building ferry terminals and running emergency ferries, fixing bulkheads, clearing the harbor of debris so ships can import products as diverse as fuel, orange juice, new cars, bananas. To bring maritime voices to people

A hidden Sandy story PortSide feels acutely is that of our own Sandy damages. An electrical short left us facing thirty-five nights of relying on flashlights and one 15-amp extension cord attached to a little gas generator. Sandy damaged the Sheepshead Bay house of our staffer John Weaver keeping him home for many months. Everything PortSide had off the ship (antique crane, 60’ dock, electrical transformer, restoration engine parts, historic artifacts and documents, special event equipment and furniture) was flood-damaged or floated away. Our FEMA worksheet totals some $340,000, and we are still deep in that paper chase, starting six months late because we were misinformed that

Fairway was emptied out of bread the nigiht before Sandy. It was the last shopping to take place their until their March reopening.

we didn’t qualify. A massive Sandy effect on PortSide was the stalling of our urgent search for a homeport. We need a place to fulfill our mission, earn revenue, and run programs. Resumption of real estate negotiations took many, many more months than we expected, and remains a major strain on PortSide.

A map that circulated during the first days of the storm identifies help centers.

Red Hook eyesore finally put to ill use by George Fiala


n our last issue we published an editorial about the Revere Sugar Factory site that has been owned by Thor Equities since 2006. At times plans were floated for its use, including box stores and college dorms. Nothing materialized. After demolishing all the historical buildings that might have been interesting to preserve, the lot has remained barren and unused, except for a few dump trucks. A few weeks ago we noticed a steadily increasing number of trucks coming out of the park in the morning and parking their overnight. These included film trucks from Haddad, as well as large semi tractor trailers, container trucks and cement trucks. It turns out that the lot has been rented by Thor Equities to a commercial truck leasing agent. A simple sign was

put up identifying a company called OneStopLIC. OneStopLIC are property managers specializing in renting out large spaces to commercial vehicles. There website reveals that they are the company that Phoenix Beverages, operators of Red Hook Containerport, LLC, use to rent space there. They must be responsible for the garbage trucks and all manner of other vehicles that are now helping pay the Containerport rent.

two major bulk-handling yards, and approximately 186,000 square feet of divisible warehouse space.” Evidently a similar scenario will take place on the 400,000 square foot Beard Street lot. The lot is in the process of being paved, which is an environmental requirement for a truck parking lot.

On the website they write: “The Red Hook Container Terminal is located in Brooklyn, New York. Sitting on 65.6 acres, it handles bulk & break bulk cargos in addition to containers. This facility can accommodate all your operational needs including:six active container cranes, 2,080 feet of berthing space, 3,140 feet of break bulk space,

tea and coffee in the am, beer and wine in the pm

EVERGREEN LIQUOR STORE INC. 718 643-0739 196 Columbia Street, between Sackett & Degraw

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

Red Hook Star-Revue

517 Court Street, corner West 9th

(718) 522-4410

November 2014, Page 5

Intercourse, a local magazine

(continued from page 1)

This is something else I have been in the dark about. Somewhat thankfully, the author of this story also had been unaware of its existence, until assigned this article. It turns out that Hart Island, close to the Bronx, is a real place, owned by NYC, and is a publicly run cemetary. Over a million bodies are buried there, some in mass graves. It is a kind of potter’s field, where people who haven’t the means for a proper burial are interred.

Adam Green with his Genie, Francesco Clemente

Artist Melissa Hunt began an online project - the Hart Island Project - www. Hunt introduces the website saying “The mission of the Hart Island Project is to make the largest cemetery in the United States visible and accessible so that no one is omitted from history. We recently acquired a map of intact mass burials and GPS location information. We ask for your support to create a new application tied to our on-line database of burials.” The article is about Hunt, and it has piqued my interest. What follows is a two page spread featuring three top selling nude paintings on EBAY. I kind of wish the Star-Revue had thought of this first. Pretty imagina-

tive. One can discover a lot about current pop culture by trolling through the online marketplace, I am sure. You might tell that I am warming up to Intercourse. One use of it would be to give a thirty-something literati wannabee lots to talk about at parties. A less cynical view, which I am now tending to, is that one can get a well rounded idea of current culture by spending some good quality time with this magazine. I’ve just gone through a small snippet of content. Poetry, art, fiction and science litter it’s opulent pages. I did happen to buy the only copy of the Winter 2015 edition of Intercourse, but I imagine many more can be found at Pioneerworks, 159 Pioneer Street. It’s actually a bargain at $12.

Nancy’s UNISEX HAIR SALON Full Service • Highlights/color • Straighten/relax

718.852.9089 Page 6 Red Hook Star-Revue

• Keratine • Weave/braids

142 Union Street Brooklyn, NY 11231 November 2014


The new 25 mph speed limit is for everyone By Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz


he New York City speed limit goes down to 25 MPH on nearly every street and road in New York City on November 7. Are you ready for a safer New York? Ever since I was first elected to serve in Albany, public safety and good driving habits have been among my major issues. I was the original sponsor of the law banning talking on cell phones while driving and prohibiting texting while driving. I also supported the new law cracking down on texting and driving by younger drivers going into effect this week. That law will take those young drivers convicted of a texting-related offense off the road for 120 days. Earlier this year, Mayor Bill deBlasio initiated the “Vision Zero” program to help make New York the safest city to drive and walk in. Before “Vision Zero” approximately 4,000 New Yorkers were seriously injured annually and 249 were killed in 2011 alone. Pedestrian injuries are the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14. On average, vehicles have been seriously injuring (or even killing) New Yorkers several times every day. This has to stop.

The 25 MPH speed limit will help make the city safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Did you know that that driving at or below 25 MPH improves drivers’ ability to avoid crashes and hitting people? A pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 25 MPH is half as likely to die as a pedestrian struck by a car going 30 MPH. The use of seatbelts has increased from just over 20% in 1985 to 88% in 2005just thirty years later. Slower driving may also take time getting used to. But it will result in less injuries and safer streets. “Vision Zero” is based on a program first initiated in Sweden where traffic fatalities have dropped 30% since 1997. In Minnesota, Utah and Washington State, traffic fatalities have fallen steadily since the introduction of similar programs in recent years. The NYPD and other city agencies are enforcing “Vision Zero” several ways: issuing more moving violations to drivers, using more speed detection guns and devices and increasing training for highway police to enforce these new rules.


You may have already been given a “Vision Zero” leaflet by a police officer. “Vision Zero” is all over the news. New signs are being posted on major roads directing drivers to slow down. Every speed limit street sign in the city will be replaced with the new 25 mph or slower speed limits. You can even learn more about “VisionZero” on the internet at: http:// home.html and at #visionzero on Twitter. Soon, you‘ll see new safety engineering improvements at major intersections and along busy corridors. Street lighting will be improved. Efforts will be made to partner with senior centers to increase communication and to get feedback from older New Yorkerswho are often among the most injured by autos. I’ve been making efforts to get more school crossing guards at our pub-

lic schools to make them safer for our children. I’m also introducing a new bill that double fines for speeding in school zones. Please remember to drive 25 MPH beginning November 7. You’ll get to your destination knowing that you have made New York City a safer place.

Red Hook StarªRevue

481 Van Brunt Street, 8A, NY 11231 Red Hook Star-Revue

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz

718 624-5568 November 2014, Page 7

Red Hook’s home-grown parade text and photos by Kimberly Gail Price


andy the Sea Serpent battled a “Saarnitation Truck” throughout the 2014 Barnacle Parade throughout the streets of Red Hook on the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on October 29.

Marchers resupplied Saarnitation with their garbage bags - in the event of another immanent attack by Sandy the Sea Serpent - by sliding them back into the cannon barrels extending off the sides of the truck

The route ran throughout the streets of Red Hook, making stops at various businesses, including Steve’s Key Lime Pie, who provided marchers with free pies and cold Coronas. Other stops included The Good Fork and Fort Defiance.

The sea serpent was fashioned with huge gnarly teeth, menacing eyes and four arms that were used to spin and guide the creature.

Red Hookers participated by dressing as mermaids, sea monsters and other thematic outfits. Little ones dress themselves in Halloween costumes; some parents even decorated strollers. Even pets were dressed as lobsters or donned life jackets.

For Red Hook, the parade does not celebrate the storm, but instead celebrates survival as well as the community uniting in the face of adversity after Sandy.

The Saarnitation truck was half sanitation and half pirate ship. The float was built over a two week span at Pioneer Works. Pirates aboard the truck fought off Sandy with small black bags of garbage and explosive confetti when the monster stooped in her tracks and advanced on them.

This year, a block party was held immediately after the parade on the corner of

Van Brunt and Pioneer Street. Afterwards, people continued the celebration well into the night inside Bait and Tackle. According to the Barnacle Parade page on Tumblr, “The Barnacle Parade is put on by Red Hook for Red Hook. It’s not a political statement or affiliated with any other cause; it’s just about loving the place where we live and the people we live here with.”

A huge blue tarp - signifying the enormous storm surge of the hurricane was dragged, waved, and even had children playing under it.

Trevor Budd

Carlos Menchaca ditches his bike to march.

Elizabeth Ehrhardt

Mark Ehrhardt

Saundra Nicholas

John McGettrick with Captian Lenz

Page 8 Red Hook Star-Revue

November 2014

Kevin Moore and family

St. Jean Frizell

Sandy Face-Off



sday Night Jam”




James Ellis



Direct Marketing Services since 1988

df df df df df

George Fiala

481 VAN BRUNT SUITE 8A Brooklyn, NY 11231

718 624-5568

Red Hook Star-Revue

Brooklyn’s mailing company teams up with Red Hook’s NY Printing & Graphics Our clients have included:

St. Ann’s Warehouse, Eastern Athletic Club, BWAC & RHI

Services Offered: • Political Mailings • Non-Profit Fundraising Letters • Postcards • Brochures & Newsletters • First Class & Standard Mail

November 2014, Page 9


A good time for Red Hook


ouncilman Carlos Menchaca, Commanding Officer Justin Lenz, and Water Taxi founder Tom Fox are three important assets that Red Hookers are lucky to have. Menchaca is finishing his freshman year in the City Council. The Star-Revue has watched him grow in the office as he learns on the job. There are no classes in how to be a councilman. What Menchaca knew about the City Council came from a short time working for former speaker Christine Quinn. Additional experience came from his tenure with former Borough President Marty Markowitz. He came to office with seemlingly one big idea - the importance of opening up government to all citizens. This is a great beginning, and we have been pleased to watch him grow quickly in office. The one thing that we did learn during his initial time in the neighborhood in the first month following Sandy was that he is a hard worker.

He has quickly gone from the elation of his election victory to an understanding of the nuts and bolts of city government. He is learning the importance of managing a staff that is attentive to the day-to-day needs of constituents. We were most impressed watching him at a Participatory Budgeting session in Sunset Park a few weeks ago. Rather than speaking in the broad platitudes that he formerly used - and that many more experienced politicians never seem to get away from - he exhibited an understanding of how government should be transformed to adapt to the ever-changing needs of a growing district. He spoke of the need to change the culture of career government functionaries. It is this culture that brought a hugely inappropriate bathroom plan to Valentino Pier. It is not that the Parks Department had bad intentions, just that this is the way they are used to doing things. Menchaca listened to the community and to Parks and made

a decision to nix the comfort station plan. He arranged to have the money earmarked for the park to be used for a more appropriate, and cheaper solution, with the leftover money available for other Red Hook park projects that we decide on. For a couple of years, a roofing company has been emanating an unpleasant smell by burning tar in their Coffey Street building. Menchaca’s presence (as well as that of Karen Broughton, representing Assemblyman Felix Ortiz), at a community meeting sealed a deal in which the company agreed to heat their tar elsewhere. Menchaca seems to be driven not by ideology, but practicality. Coming from an elected official, this is a breath of fresh air. If his sophomore year continues this maturation, we will agree with many who have said that we are lucky to have him. Justin Lenz, who has commanded the 76th Police Precinct for the past year is another lucky break for Red Hook. In just one short year he has noticably changed the culture of the local police force. For one thing, he has abandoned the good guy/bad guys approach of his predecessor. He is sincerely interested in improving the safety of all Red Hookers - front and back. His officers no longer seem to glare at everyone, suspecting evil intent everywhere. Instead, he has set the tone for real community policing. He has become a familiar figure at local events, including the annual Old Timers Day.

This is NOT one of the reason’s for our current wave of optimism. It is Estate Four’s idea of Red Hook’s future. We are hoping that a strong community will be able to add its input to their vision.

He was at the Barnacle Parade, enjoying himself as the parade was officially sanctioned by his department this year.

Cruise Terminal, and has been underutilized for many years. Fox, along the Durst Organization, presented a similar plan around eight years ago, but for various reasons, it was not accepted by the EDC, the Port Authority and the Bloomberg administration.

At the monthly community meetings, he is not defensive giving a stock answer to every complaint (which was to take your complaint to the Civilian Review Board), as was done in With a new mayor, they will be the past. trying again. Instead, he listens carefully to After years of covering with everyone who shows up and, LICH and Brooklyn Bridge much as Menchaca does, tries Park, it was refreshing to see not to figure out a common-sense one luxury condo in the plan. answer to each problem. Instead, Fox and company seek All this is helped out by his to maintain and further Red easy going personality and evi- Hook’s maritime heritage. dent humanity. The Basin will provide addiThe third leg of this good news tional berths, and docking area chair comes from a meeting we for the Water Taxi. There will also be space for ship repair recently had with Tom Fox. As we cover local issues, we and other harbor related busifind many in the community nesses. In addition, there are to be reactive rather than pro- plans for a middle school conactive. Things happen to us, nected with Governor Island’s and only then complaints are Harbor School; some affordable made. We are very impressed housing, and a hotel. The howhen presented with an actual tel would help pay for the rest, plan. Mr. Fox came to us with but more importantly, create a his plan for the Atlantic Basin. reason for more ships to use the Cruise Terminal. The Atlantic Basin abuts the


(send yours to

Judith Dailey writes the Star-Revue on the park and other matters

I’m born and raised at 160 Kings Street, 1945, and we did not have bathrooms down at the docks. My grandmother lived at 107 Kane Street. We walked along the piers from King St. to Kane St. to visit my grandmother Rosa. We were a large family - 2 brothers, 5 sisters and ME!

I retired from working at PS 27 in 208. In 1999 I took two classes to the dedication of Valentino Pier along with Mrs. Coventor and many others. Louis Valentino was a great friend and is truly missed. He and Dr. Diane Person donated

Page 10 Red Hook Star-Revue

The Valentino family with Borough President Howard Golden (far right) at Valentno Pier in 1999)

many books to PS 27 in memory of his son. The children sang and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Valentino treated the chilfed to McDonalds. I retired from PS 27 after 37 years, was on CB 6 for twelve years and co-chaired the Red Hook Civic Association. I was the Vice President of Red

Hook East’s Tenant Association. I helped to bring Fairway, IKEA, Food First, RHI, and the Red Hook Justice Center to the neighborhood. I still love Red Hook. I hope you enjoy the photos I enclose. I agree with John McGettrick regarding the proposed bathrooms at Valentino Pier Park. - Judith T. Dailey Negron, Molly’s daughter.

November 2014


Corne r That Crazy World of Politics

by George Fiala Buddy’s idea makes some sense. There is something else. I have decided to write on this topic de- A look at the electoral maps show that spite not having an answer. in general, cities tend to always vote According to polling, most Americans Democratic, while suburban and rural feel their federal government is not voters go red. Elections are now decided working. To me it seems obvious that on the number of people who come to the problem has been the recalcitrance the polls, and where they live, rather of the Republican House. They pretty than the desires of the country as a much refuse to pass any legislation pro- whole. posed by a Democrat, regardless of mer- So the questions boils down to why city it. The unspoken reason is that a Dem- dwellers tend progressive, while suburocratic president will receive credit for bans and rurals go conservative. anything positive done by the Federal My thought is that where there is more Government. population density, there is more diverIt also seems obvious to me that Demo- sity. People in cities interact much more cratic platforms have always been pro- with people from different backgrounds. worker, while Republican platforms This knowledge of other types of people have always been pro-corporations. Be- usually brings tolerance. ing as there are way more individuals Less dense populations leave people a than corporations, one might think that touch more isolated. Much more of the Republicans ought to have trouble get- world is understood through the media ting elected to anything. But they do. rather than firsthand. It used to be that Republicans were iso- Buddy Scotto also likes to say that peolationist, and kept us from wars, which ple are more comfortable among those seemed to be the purview of Democrats. just like themselves. But that has changed starting with Reagan. Republican administrations have This makes sense as even in the big citoverseen wars in Central America and ies, communities are often separated

Why Republican?

the Middle East, while Democratic administrations have pretty much kept us from having boots on the ground in foreign countries. Obama won in 2008 in large part because Americans were war-weary, and he was counted upon to disengage from active fighting, which he has. Yet a Republican wave has been the result. Hence my befuddlement at finding an answer. Pundits have credited the Republicans for choosing likable candidates; with using unlimited campaign financing to push these candidates; and successfully bullying Democrats and their policies, faulting Democrats for not fighting back. I asked Carroll Garden’s icon Buddy Scotto what he thought. He told me that Democrats believe that the purpose of government is to make sure that each citizen has a fair chance to make their way successfully in the world, while Republicans believe that their role is to prevent the government from standing in the way of each person’s success that each person’s success should be the result of their own hard work. While this narrative fails to take into account historic handicaps that the poor and minorities start out with, it evidently rings true with the average voter. A look at bills that the Republican House claim have not been acted upon by the Democratic Senate and President show an inordinate number of proposals to roll back regulation. There are also initiatives to further reduce the ability of workers to unionize in their list.

Red Hook Star-Revue

ethnically. But the fact remains that except for stay-at-homes, most of us travel around the city and make connections with people of all faiths and ethnicities. The implications of this is that city dwellers are more receptive to progress and change, while the more rural population is more interested in keeping the status quo. Republicans have already begun working on strategies to make inroads into the city. If the Democrats want to keep the executive branch, and someday own both branches of the legislative branch, they will have to start thinking of ways to assure our country cousins that progressive policies work for the farmer and country dweller. Of course, there is another strategy entirely. An economic culture that would embrace both the monied and the non-monied interests at the same time would, in the long run, benefit both. Taking away the financial incentives of appealing to one or the other would foster a more communal spirit among the country. Elections are not sporting events. The end result of more enlightened citizens would be a better society for all.


News from the Gowanus Canal

There is seemingly good news for those neighbors who want to see the Carroll Gardens and Gowanus areas immediately adjacent to the banks of the Gowanus Canal remain untouched by further residential development in the immediate future. They should surely be buoyed by recent comments by the EPA’s Brian Carr at our September Gowanus CAG meeting, where he informed us about the sum exacted from the developer of the Lightstone project ($20,000,000.00) for additional remedial work and qualifying for a letter exempting it from any lawsuits for contribution to the superfund cleanup. Brian told us that the size of the payment would have a chilling effect ending prospects for more residential development at the most polluted sites along the canal. Not so chilly, however that it will keep Lightstone from securing a construction loan for the first phase of its project. Some who oppose large-scale development remain skeptical and given the recent sale and purchase of three acres at 225 Third Street extending from 3rd Avenue to Bond Street perhaps such skepticism is warranted. However, since the EPA has been otherwise straightforward throughout this process, I must take Mr. Carr at his word. Will the City take on a bruising rezoning fight in the 2 block wide area from Bond St. to Nevins St. that generates opposition from locals, if it will garner a paltry number of immediately buildable affordable units? Will it do so in light of the unsettled state of the design for the canal remedy? You can add to those negatives the community board’s clear expression of its distaste for spot zoning. However, if Third Avenue is to be rezoned then this 3rd Street site could easily be attached to that aspect of the rezoning. So while it would be difficult to pick and choose among the less polluted sites touching the canal that don’t complicate the canal cleanup and still avoid spot zoning it is not impossible to imagine. We could well wait until the federal government completes its task, packs its bags and moves on to other sites to press forward with the rest of the canal proper but the more properties we take off the table the harder it is to get a comprehensive upland remediation, comprehensive land use and infrastructure plans and a sufficient number of new affordable units in a reasonable time frame I foresee major problems ahead in achieving our goals for the maintenance and production of affordable housing in our City. There are always major impediments to advancing projects that can add a significant number of affordable housing units. Aside from the ever-present financial factors that are daunting but at least calculable, there is always that intense, if narrow spectrum, community opposition to building at meaningful scale no matter the neighborhood in question. Aside from being hamstrung by the lack of political will that causes planners to scale back proposals in order to obtain sufficient community support for new projects, we will now have a Republican (suburban/upstate) controlled State Senate. That State Senate surely will stymie any attempts to maintain the number of stabilized units by broadening NYC rent regulation protections. I enthusiastically support the current administration’s goal of building or retaining 200,000 units of affordable housing. Indeed, the City would thrive with twice that number of units. However, the approach of attempting to cobble together a local consensus prior to presenting each target community with a firm goal for affordable units within that community serves to mobilize opposition in a vacuum inevitably expanding timeframes and producing too few affordable units. The Bridging Gowanus the disruption at the last meeting seems a relevant case in point. First, wearing my community member hat, I enthusiastically commend Councilman Lander for attempting to lead the other elected officials and the community in creating a process to guide us toward a defensible set of priorities to productively interact with city planners. While this is at odds with my overall views about how to produce the maximum number of affordable housing units, still it would be great to have a local consensus that held the prospect of bending citywide priorities toward some of our local concerns. That no doubt was and remains the intention of the Councilman and the Pratt planners. However, there is no need for a process, if we are just going to take the (continued on page 12)

November 2014, Page 11

Mark on the Gowanus


(continued from preceeding page)


See you there! L L W W W L L

14 14 30 41 30 0 21

35 25 17 14 20 27 31



19 21 19 17 0 17 25

14 31 27 24 31 31 27


(eat in or delivery)

(eat in or delivery)

One 18” large pie

One 16” Square pie

10 Wings (hot, bbq or plain)

10 Wings (hot, bbq or plain)

2 Liter Bottle of Soda

2 Liter Bottle of Soda



Cash Only

Cash Only

326 Van Brunt Street (bet. Pioneer & King)

Open daily 10 am to 11 pm, Sundays 11 am - 10 pm. Free Delivery Available

(718) 624-0690 (718)624-1628 Fax (718)624-2145 All Credit Cards Accepted ($10 min)

Mark Shames and friends at a recent Gowanus CAG meeting.

temperature of the closest in part of the community. You don’t need a weatherman to know that those who live in expensive and trendy neighborhoods are there for what it is at this moment in time and abhor any change that adds density and disruption. Even people inhabiting less sought after neighborhoods fear that any change will only end up being for the worse. When it came down to it, too many who attended the Bridging meeting were not looking to meet in the middle but to hold the line. When the process breaks down what seems to emerge is just another predictable NIMBY moment. I remember hearing someone say that “there must be something between REBNY and NIMBY” and I agree. Development that may be good for the City and its future, if it occurs near us, unavoidably disrupts our equanimity. Noise, and traffic and rats, oh my. I don’t mean to take this sort of thing lightly I have depressing first hand experience having had to relocate due to the undermining of the building where I live. Still we know about eggs and omelets. A vocal minority of those in attendance at Bridging Gowanus held uncompromising rejectionist opinions, an additional number also distrusted the authenticity of the process and so chaffed at any attempt at guidance by the Pratt planners. I wasn’t about to alter my opinion either but having voluntarily entered the process, I was prepared to suspend my disbelief, accept its premise and remain open to accommodation.

Visceral negative reaction to the prospect of change coupled with acting out behaviors by a dozen or so self-righteous and self-important individuals wasted too much of our time and obscured what was being said in the break out groups. That small band would leave us in the position of waiting to see what the administration has in store for us. Thankfully the Bridging Gowanus report is finally coming out. I was comfortable with City Planning setting an expansive agenda, but the local community should be relieved that the process is going forward. Even when wearing my local hat, I would rather have a rezoning than continue to fear a return of noxious uses, a row of discount hotels, or a parole office. And yes that parochial part of me still hopes that with the aid of his colleagues, who were MIA at the last meeting, Councilman Lander is successful in raising a pre-emptive plan from the embers of that last meeting and salvage a good bit of local flavor and prospective. As an aside, the likely reduction in the number of new affordable housing units that we can now anticipate in the Gowanus corridor may lead to additional pressure to do high-rise housing in other places. Of particular concern for me as a columnist for the Revue is any added pressure that might be brought to bear for rezoning on the Red Hook waterfront. Certainly there is heightened awareness since a good bit of property has changed hands here as of late. I haven’t heard any rumblings. At least I haven’t heard anything yet.

JABUS BUILDING CORP. Serving Red Hook for over 25 years

Specializing in Construction and Historic Preservation • New construction • Renovations, additions and extensions • Masonry specialist • Concrete floors/radiant heated • Concrete/bluestone sidewalk repair • Flue linings, chimneys and fireplaces • Demolition and waste removal • Violation removals • Landmark Preservation contractor

Jim & Debbie Buscarello

98 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook (718) 852-5364 HIC License #0883902

Page 12 Red Hook Star-Revue

Fax: (718) 935-1263 Trade Waste License #1135

November 2014

Red Hook Star-Revue

November 2014, Page 13

Scotto/Heyer Funeral Home celebrates All Saints day with a special mass at Sacred Hearts/St. Stephens by George Fiala


ast Saturday, November 9, the Scotto Funeral home took over Sacred Hearts/St. Stephen’s church for their 54th annual celebration of All Saints Day. All Saints Day is a Catholic holiday celebrating those that have passed through this mortal plane and ascended to heaven. Scotto Funeral home, owned jointly by the Scotto family and John Heyer, decorate the church with beautiful bouquets of white flowers and bring in a tremendous orchestra to present a first class religious ceremony. The packed church included Scotto friends from the Mola and Pozzallo community. Buddy’s daughter Debra came to the pulpit to read a selection. Father Massie spoke of the importance of the funeral home in his sermon. He in fact mentioned that when his time would come, Scotto’s would be taking care of him. One of the readings was made in Italian.

I happen not to be of Italian descent, and I thought that perhaps I was listening to a Latin recitation. For some reason, probably because the whole program was actually about death, my thoughts turned to my own father, who passed away over 30 years ago. My father happened to be a doctor who did much of his studying in Europe before he emigrated to the US, and he once told me that he had to study Latin as part of his medical training. This was because, at least then, many Latin words were being used in medecine. He told me that it wasn’t easy for him to learn the language, but he did it because he had to. I guess this was something he was telling me as I was complaining about having to learn something not so thrilling myself. I spent much of the next half hour thinking about my dad. I’m already as old as I remember him being, actually, even older. I starting putting myself in the mind of my father, realizing that I was actually knowing him better than when he was alive. As a busy doctor, he didn’t have that much time at home, and my sister and I hardly saw him during the week. Luckily he did have some good time with my mom, as he generally took Wednesdays off, as many doctors did at least in those days. He didn’t play golf, instead he often



Buddy Scotto with his daughter and grand daughter, Mike Racciopo, Joan Millman and former District Leader and current movie star Ralph Perfetto downstairs after mass.

took my mom out to lunch in Manhattan (we grew up in Queens). Both of my parents came from eastern Europe, and the Upper East Side boasted some fine Czech and Hungarian restaurants back then.

thing worse than studying would have been to return to his village. He loved the big city, and in fact ended up living out his life in one of the world’s biggest (right here).

I had a realization then, sitting in the pew of this beautiful church, that probably much of the way my mind works has something to do with the way my dad’s mind worked - at least that seems possible. I thought about him as a young man struggling through Latin. I do know that he enjoyed music as I do, and dancing even more. It must have been tough for him to give up his fun time for his studies. I know he did a better job of it than I did. I only was tasked to stay in college. Those were the days of the Vietnam war, and my student deferment would have turned into a 1A were I to flunk out. So I did the minimum and stayed in, without learning as much as I should have.

I enjoyed thinking about my dad, and how his mind might have worked. I think it tells me a little bit about my own.

My dad came from a small town in Czechoslovakia. It was a sacrifice for his parents to send him to medical school in Prague, and they told him that if his grades were not tops, they would bring him back to the town. For him, the only

My dad, Dr. Alexander Fiala, in 1951, the year before he got married.

Help Wanted at the Red Hook Star-Revue The Star-Revue is looking for free lancers to help write our newspaper. Let us know where your interests lie - most probably it will coincide with our editorial needs. There is some pay involved, but don’t try to pay the rent with it, especially around here. We will help you with your writing, enthusiasm you will have to bring to the table. Call

718 624-5568 or email:

34 VAN DYKE ST, BROOKLYN, NY 11231 (718) 246-8050

Page 14 Red Hook Star-Revue

November 2014


180@360, 2014

Is an art show of 12 new drawings and collages of mine at 360 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231. In the process the work had to go through several stages that would drastically change both the image and the material. This cuts seemed to be necessary at that time to bring forth the transparency and substance of each peace. I want my images to move the eye of the observer. I hope in their stillness they will give you infinite ways to do that. Franz Landspersky

The Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association (CEI-PEA)– a nonprofit organization that works to improve NYC schools and provide educational programs for at-risk neighborhoods, is recognizing the Red Hook Community Justice Center for the educational and youth programs offered at the Justice Center at their benefit dinner. Judge Calabrese will be accepting the award on behalf of the Justice Center. Several court staff including Sabrina Carter (Youth Programming) and Jasmine

Bobbis (GED teacher) plan to attend.

VINNIE MARRONE PROMOTED TO DETECTIVE Community Affairs officer Vincent Marrone, a familiar Red Hook fixture was promoted to Detective grade last Monday. Marrone, who represents the 76th Precinct at many local functions and helps the public in their dealings with the local police force, will retain his duties at the precinct. According to Commanding Officer Justin Lenz, in a addition to the enhanced prestige of being a detective, he will aslo get a nice raise.

November 10, 2014

PART TIME BUILDING SUPERINTENDENT New York Quarterly Meeting’s Brooklyn Quaker Meetinghouse in downtown Brooklyn, seeks a part time building superintendent to manage building’s maintenance and repair needs and supervise two full time custodians. Candidates should have sufficient years spent in managing building maintenance. The right candidate will have good communication skills and experience in doing simple plumbing, electrical and woodworking repairs, including boilers. Work hours are 16 a week, divided in 3 days. The salary for this position is based on experience. If you wish to apply, please send a resume with employment history to: New York Quarterly Meeting, 481 Van Brunt St., Building 8, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Star-Revue Classifieds Auctions

Buy or sell at Contents of homes, businesses, vehicles and real estate. Bid NOW! Lights, Camera, Auction. No longer the best kept secret.

Auto Donations

Donate your car to Wheels For Wishes, benefiting Make‐A‐Wish.  We offer free towing and your donation is 100% tax deductible. Call (855) 376‐9474

Help Wanted

AIRLINE CAREERS begin here Get FAA approved Aviation Maintenance Technician training. Financial aid for qualified students – Housing available. Job placement assistance. Call AIM 866-296-7093

acre+ lots, Bay & Ocean Access, Great Fishing, Crabbing, Kayaking. Custom Homes. www.oldemillpointe. com 757-824-0808

Real Estate

Discover Delaware’s Resort Living Without Resort Pricing! Milder winters & low taxes! Gated Community with amazing amenities! New Homes $80’s. Brochures available‐ 1‐866‐629‐0770 or


CASH for Coins! Buying ALL Gold & Silver. Also Stamps & Paper Money, Entire Collections, Estates. Travel to your home. Call Marc in NY: 1-800-9593419

$8,000 COMPENSATION. EGG DONORS NEEDED. Women 21-31. Help Couples Become Families using Physicians from the BEST DOCTOR’S LIST. Personalized Care. 100% Confidential. 1-877-9-DONATE; 1-877-936-6283;

FREE Fundraising Workshop for Nonprofits YOUR BOARD MEMBERS CAN RAISE MONEY! Empowering your Board Members to be Successful Askers

Home Improvement

Save $ on your electric bill. NRG Home Solar offers free installation if you qualify. Call 888‐685‐0880 or visit HIC# 1427914, HIC# 5972, Wc24767h12, H11586400000

Thursday, September 11, 2014 9:30 am to 12:00 pm Brooklyn Law School Feil Hall 205 State Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

Land For Sale

Catskills 9 Acres $29,900 2 hrs Tappanzee Bridge the best deal in Greene county, beautiful woodland. long road frontage, surveyed, easy access thruway, Windham Ski Area and Albany, bank financing available 413 743 0741

Lots & Acreage

WATERFRONT LOTS-Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Was 325K Now from $65,000- Community Center/Pool. 1

Red Hook Star-Revue

Licensed Electrical Contractors Commercial • Residential • Industrial Free Estimates

Violations Removed All Types of Wiring Emergency Service EMERGENCY SERVICE

Pre-registration is required for this FREE workshop. To register, visit or call 212-502-4191 ext. 230.


REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS Buy/Sell. Expd Attorney, Real Estate Broker, ESTATES/CRIMINAL MATTERS Richard H. Lovell, P.C., 10748 Cross Bay, Ozone Park, NY 11417 718 835‐9300. www.LovellLawnewyork. com


137 King Street Brooklyn, NY 11231 Fax: (718) 935-0887

Vito Liotine (718) 625-1995 (718) 625-0867


Skilled welder-fabricator experienced with wrought iron railings, fencings, gates, furniture etc. Necessary experience of no less than 3 years.

Blacksmith assistant. Training provided.

Resume by fax (347) 529 6353 or by e-mail

No job too big or too small

Toilets, Boilers, Heating, Faucets, Hot Water Heaters,

Pool Heaters.

B & D HEATING 507 Court Street 718 625-1396 To place an ad in this section call 718 624-5568 or email Rates start at $30 per issue. November 2014, Page 15

Page 16 Red Hook Star-Revue

November 2014

Star revue november 2014  
Star revue november 2014  

Sandy Anniversary, Sewage retention tanks, Red Hook in a good place