Monday, March 30, 2015

Atlantic Avenue deserves access to Governor's Island

Governor's Island has become a unique attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors with park space, art, food, and more. Wonderfully it sits just a few hundred yards award from Brooklyn. However accessing it is difficult. From Brooklyn, you can only get to Governors Island on weekends, and only in the summer.

Last week local Councilman Brad Lander sent out a petition hoping to fix that. It is of particular concern now because of Mayor de Blasio's recent announcement to expand NYC’s ferry service in his State of the City. It is a bold step forward in transportation options for the city however it did not include a Brooklyn-to-Governors-Island link...yet.

If you think Brooklyn deserves equal access to Governors Island, take a moment to sign Councilman Lander's petition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

50 years of Cobble Hill Park

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
   Albert Camus, The Rebel 
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Cobble Hill Park. At slightly more than a half acre, it was the City’s first vest pocket installation, established as a passive use environment to complement the surrounding brownstone area. It is well used and well loved.

Every Tuesday morning, spring through fall, you will find volunteers working there to supplement the tremendous efforts of the NYC Parks Department. This attention makes for brighter flowers, healthier leaves, and a welcoming environment for young and old. And yet, there is still some much needed maintenance that the volunteers cannot tackle and the Parks Department cannot address as often as is desirable.

The Cobble Hill Association, in conjunction with the Parks Department has begun to address some of these issues. It commissioned both a detailed survey of the Park’s aging trees and a detailed scope of work to address their ongoing needs. The recommendations for pruning and bracing have been accomplished, with funding from the Association and supervision by the Parks Department. Additional plans call for soil amendment and mulching, again to be supervised by the Parks staff. This extra effort will assure the community of a safe and enjoyable environment for decades to come.

This important work is underwritten by the community as are the supplies needed for the plantings and volunteer efforts throughout the year. Last weekend marked the start of spring and so we now ask that you consider giving the best gift you can to support these efforts. The Cobble Hill Tree Fund and a few generous residents have already begun lending financial support to help pay for both the current improvements and guarantee the park remains a cherished center of our community in the years ahead. We hope you will now join the cause too.

Please donate either on the web or by mail with the instructions below. Together we can speak for the trees in our own backyard.

DONATE on the web
- Enter your contribution via our membership form in the "Fund for Cobble Hill Park" category.

DONATE by mail
- Send a check to the address below with "Fund for Cobble Hill Park" in the memo.
Cobble Hill Association
P.O. Box 376
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Redesigning the Brooklyn Heights Library

Cobble Hill does not have its own library but instead relies on neighboring branches in Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights. While Carroll Gardens continue to have wonderful programming, the Brooklyn Heights branch will soon be closed, redesigned, and built anew (with private housing built above). 
See below for a message from that branch inviting all to participate in conversations about the library's redesign.

The design process for the new Brooklyn Heights Branch Library will launch on Monday, March 23, with a community workshop at the branch, located at 280 Cadman Plaza West. We hope you will join us at 6:30 pm to share your thoughts on the features and services that should be included in the new library. We also hope that you will take a moment to complete this survey.

Brooklyn Heights Library is no longer able to meet the needs of the community it serves. The facility is plagued by more than $9.2 million in unfunded repairs. Its HVAC system is broken, resulting in unplanned closures and unreliable service for patrons. The building is poorly designed, with much of its space unavailable for public use.

Brooklyn Public Library is working with the Hudson Companies and Marvel Architects to redevelop the Cadman Plaza West site with a mixed-use building anchored by a state-of-the-art, 21,500-square-foot library. The new branch will be one of the largest in Brooklyn, offering more public space than the existing neighborhood branch. The project will create 114 units of affordable housing in Community Board 2 and generate $52 million, $40 million of which will be invested in repairs at branches throughout the borough, including Walt Whitman, Washington Irving and Pacific.

At last Monday’s Community Advisory Committee meeting, we presented more detailsabout the project, including a draft timeline. The Brooklyn Heights project will be subject to the City’s environmental review and land use process (ULURP), which requires the review of the Community Board, Borough President, City Planning Commission and the New York City Council. Construction is expected to commence in 2016.

Friday, March 20, 2015

City Hall Rally against Blasio's Proposed Citywide Re-Zoning

Just in from our friends at the Park Slope Civic Council, see below for rally info to oppose zoning changes that would greatly harm historic districts like our own Cobble Hill. 
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Attend a City Hall Rally & Public Hearing Press on Effects of Mayor de Blasio's Proposed Citywide Re-Zoning

Concerned neighborhood organizations throughout New York City are holding a press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, March 25th at 3:00pm to express their concerns about Mayor De Blasio's citywide re-zoning proposal, "Zoning for Quality and Affordability," which would drastically reduce neighborhood zoning protections and raise height limits throughout the city. If adopted, the proposal poses a serious threat to Park Slope's cherished streetscapes on hundreds of blocks outside the historic district through tear downs and multi-story additions to existing buildings. Coupled with the Landmarks Preservation Commission's slow down in processing the extension of the Park Slope Historic District, it would undo many of the positive steps the neighborhood has taken over the last 10 years to safeguard Park Slope's character.

Please join your neighbors in expressing your concern by attending the rally and the public hearing that will immediately follow.

Date: Wednesday, March 25 1st Event: Press Conference and Rally
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Steps of City Hall, City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007

2nd Event: Public Hearing on Citywide Re-Zoning Proposal
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: New York City Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street, New York, NY 10007
(a few blocks away from City Hall)

The press conference will be at 3:00pm and the public hearing on the scoping begins at 4:00pm at a few blocks away at City Planning, 22 Reade Street.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future

Landmarks preservation is a benchmark of what makes Cobble Hill the great neighborhood we all cherish. Our colleagues at the Historic Districts Council just informed us of an upcoming program that is part of the ongoing HDC 2015 Preservation Conference, Landmarks at 50; Honoring Our Past, Imagining Our Future. This evening, they will hold an event in the area that will be of special interest to local landmarks aficionados. If you pre-register, use this link here for the Friend Rate.

Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future
March 18, 6:30 PM
Shape Shifter Lab
18 Whitwell Place
Gowanus


When Brooklyn Heights was designated the very first New York City historic district in 1965, the architectural styles found there exemplified the types of buildings that the Landmarks Preservation Commission saw as worthy of protection. While protecting classic Federals and grand rowhouses has never gone out of style, over the past 50 years, the question of what types of buildings can be landmarked has slowly been re-examined. Beginning in 1973 with the designation of the SoHo-Cast-Iron District, acceptance has slowly warmed to the potential diversity of historic districts, including with vernacular or industrial buildings. This panel will include a presentation of the evolution of historic districts by architectural historian Francis Morrone, before considering the issues of the present and future. The panelist, urban plannerPaul Graziano, Gowanus advocate Marlene Donnelly and Ward Dennis, Columbia University professor and Brooklyn Community Board 1 member, will discuss potential historic districts, technological and bureaucratic strategies for looking ahead, and questions such as Can Gowanus ever be designated? and Is there a place for a historic district in suburban Queens?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Madam Secretary filming in Cobble Hill Park

Yet again, Cobble Hill Park will serve as the backdrop to another locally made TV series. Next Wednesday, March 11th keep your eyes peeled for several scenes taking place in and around Cobble Hill Park of the CBS series featuring Tea Leoni.

Expected scenes include...
1. a walk and talk in Cobble Hill Park where Madam Secretary and her husband are jogging along a path
2. a driving shot on Verandah Place which consists of a family getting in their car preparing for a lesson on driving
3. an interior scene in another house on Verandah place.
4. an exterior scene on Congress consists of an actress walking up to a door

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cobble Hill's new state of the art ER

(c) Joshua Bright
For several years the community fought hard to preserve Long Island College Hospital. Despite the backing of our local elected officials, the Governor continued and shuttered the gates of our area's health care in the name of future development. The neighborhood no longer has a fully functioning hospital. There is no denying that.

However, we do have some new facilities for health care service now operated in a brand new, state of the art free-standing ER run by New York University's Langone Medical Center. Several members of the Cobble Hill Association and neighboring community groups got a private tour of the ER recently and learned many great things like the incredibly short door-to-doctor time window they have to get patients seen quickly.

Now NYU is rolling out even more details to the general public. Below please find a list of all the services NYU Langone - Cobble Hill offers so that you and your loved ones can make informed decisions when choosing your health care. Perhaps the biggest item to note is that as a free-standing ER, there are no beds for these top tier doctors to admit patients. They instead focus on a system of "Treat, Stabilize, then Transfer" to a nearby hospital that allows for patient intake.

Also worth pointing out the mention that the receives both walk-in patients and those arriving by private or FDNY 911 ambulance is not 100% accurate yet. NYU needs state permission to accept FDNY ambulance. They claim "we made a request weeks ago for the State to allow us to receive “critical” ambulances; we are awaiting their decision. We continue to care for critically ill patients who arrive by other means."

And though it should go without saying, please know in a true emergency... always call 911.




(c) Joshua Bright

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Free Small Business Financial Workshop, March 11th, 5-7p

While many bemoan mom and pop shops getting replaced by large chains and bank ATM vestibules, it is good to know some community banks remain in our neighborhood. It's even better to know that they are often focused on reinvesting in our community.

Ridgewood Savings Banks on Court Street has long been a financial sponsor of the Cobble Hill Park summer concert series. They also make a point to offer free educational classes ranging from Fraud Prevention classes at the Eileen Dugan Senior Citizens Center, to Teach Children to Save at the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Next Wednesday, they will be hosting a free Small Business Financial Workshop at our branch in Cobble Hill. This workshop is meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs or anybody interested in learning the necessary steps to form a successful business. Check out the flyer below.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PS29 gets some green accolades

Photo by Lauren Young
Check out the Brooklyn Eagle's article which covers Cobble Hill's local elementary school PS29 as it recently earned top honors for a spotlight on sustainability. Many electeds were on hand to offer their praise including State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, BK BP Eric Adams, and more.
http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/3/2/green-sweep-cobble-hills-ps-29

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Senator Squadron Community Convention April 12

Mark your calendars for this year Community Convention, put on by local State Senator Daniel Squadron. This will be his seventh annual event that invites all constituents to give direct feedback on an assortment of topics. Though it is held in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn viewpoints are of course welcomed and encouraged.

Please RSVP via this webform or call Squadron's office at 212-298-5565.

The event is on Sunday, April 12 from 2:00-5:00pm at the Lower East Side Preparatory High School at 145 Stanton Street (btwn Norfolk & Suffolk)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two Info sessions for Court Smith BID's creation

A new Business Improvement District is in the works for Court & Smith Streets. How's it work? First, a group of local property owners, commercial tenants, and residents come together and set up an organization (the steering committee) which then draft the district plan. The second phase is to document local support. When enough local support has been demonstrated, the BID formation moves into the final, legislative phase. Right now the Court-Smith BID is nearing the end of phase two.

Next week there will be two events providing more information on the BID that will review the plan and answer any questions people might have. If interested in attending, check out of the sessions listed below. Both meetings are informal - people can show up whenever they want and have a drink on the steering committee's tab.

Tuesday, 2/24
@ 61 Local 
11a-12p

Thursday, 2/26
@ Angry Wade's
5p-7p

You can learn more about the proposed BID here: http://www.courtsmithbid.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MoveNY final plan unveiled

This Thursday, February 16th, the Cobble Hill Association joins many other groups from Brooklyn and beyond in supporting a town hall forum on the developing MoveNY traffic/transit plan. Today, the final version of the plan was officially announced and it has already garnered tremendous support. Read some of the press highlights linked below for more background, and join on Thursday to hear more in person and get your own questions answered.