Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CHA 50th Anniversary Celebration: CORRECTION

There was a printing mistake on the reply envelopes for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The ZIP code on the envelopes should be 11201, not 11231. *If you have not replied by mail yet but intend to, please cross out 11231 and handwrite 11201. Easier still, get your ticket online:


If you have already replied by mail, the post office has begun returning envlelopes to senders. Please forgive the error and re-send your reply to 11201. Thanks very much and sorry.

CHA Flickr photo pool

We are pleased to announce the launch of the CHA's Flickr photo pool. (Yes, that is regrettably how they spell it.) Here is the address:


If you have a Flickr account, please join the group 'Cobble Hill History'.

We invite everyone to add their photos of Cobble Hill, past and present, to the pool. We would like this to become a community resource of neighborhood visual history.

If you share photos in the pool, please tag and name the photos with the following helpful information: street, year, event, and anything else that would aid searching by others. Example: a photo of Halloween 2008 on Clinton Street would be 'Clinton Street, 2008, Halloween'.

Many thanks to Jennifer Wiese for overseeing the pool and to Franklin Stone for uploading many lovely photos of Halloween 2008.

Thanks for joining the pool.


Cobble Hill Plant Sale

It's time once again for the Cobble Hill Tree Fund's annual plant sale. From the Tree Fund's website:
Come join the Cobble Hill Tree Fund at our Annual Plant Sale, Saturday May 2, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
We expect to have an excellent selection of Annuals for planting in gardens, tree pits, window boxes, and some nice Perennials. There will be plants for both sun and shade.

Proceeds go to planting and supporting our neighborhood's street trees. Help be a part in keeping Cobble Hill Green!
WHAT: Cobble Hill Plant Sale
WHEN: Saturday, May 2, 10.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
WHERE: Cobble Hill Park

Brooklynite in the New Yorker

Vincent 'Jimmy' Cincotta was featured in a short item in Thew New Yorker for April 20, 2009. Jimmy was a Cobble Hill institution for decades. Here is the link.

LICH head and neck cancer screening

LICH is offering free head and neck cancer screening. Here are the details from LICH:

While lung cancer cases are down, cancers in the head and neck appear to be increasing. Fortunately, most head and neck cancers produce early symptoms and are curable if caught early. You should know the possible warning signs so you can alert your doctor to your symptoms as soon as possible.

"Remember—successful treatment of head and neck cancer can depend on early detection. Knowing and recognizing the signs of head and neck cancer can save your life," says Dr. Krish Sundaram, Vice Chairman of Otolaryngology at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) of Brooklyn.

If you are experiencing any of the following problems which won’t go away, please call the number below to schedule an appointment for Long Island College Hospital’s FREE screening:

A growth or sore in the mouth which does not improve,
Throat pain,
Difficulty or pain while swallowing,
Bloody cough, or
Lump in the neck.

Please call Elaine or Abby at 718-780-1498, ext. 0, to schedule an appointment.

For more information about head and neck cancers, visit the comprehensive website of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, at http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation.

WHAT: Free head and neck cancer screenings at LICH
WHEN: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 1.00 to 3.00 p.m.
WHERE: Department of Otolaryngology (ENT) at LICH, 134 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Henry Streets

Sunday, April 26, 2009

get your tickets soon: CHA party on May 7

The Cobble Hill Association will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary at a gala party at Borough Hall on Thursday, May 7, 2009, and you are invited.

This is going to be a fabulous event with music by Michael's Dreamland Orchestra and catering by EVENTfull.nyc. Just click the link to get your ticket. We are going to announce a major project that could run for the next fifty years. Come to the party to find out what it is.
What: CHA 50th Anniversary Party
When: Thursday, May 7, 2009, 6.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall

Thursday, April 16, 2009

100 trucks a day at Pier 7?

The CB6 Economic and Waterfront Development Committee (which I co-chair) has recently held meetings about the plans of the City's Economic Development Corporation to locate Phoenix Beverages, a beer distributor, at the Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. At the committee's March 16, 2009 meeting, EDC announced that Phoenix would relocate to Pier 11 in the Basin but also at Pier 7, near Cobble Hill. Not only that, but Phoenix would use Pier 7 as the launch and return point for one hundred trucks a day. Where is Pier 7? See for yourself:

Pier 7 is one pier south of Brooklyn Bridge Park and almost as close to Cobble Hill.

The Red Hook community has been kept in the loop about this. Now that it concerns Cobble Hill, we need to be heard, too. I urge the community to make itself heard at the committee's next meeting. Here are the details:

WHAT: CB6 Economic and Waterfront Development Committee meeting
WHEN: Monday, April 20, 2009 at 6.30 p.m.
WHERE: 250 Baltic Street

Brooklyn Bridge Park: the case against the berm

The Cobble Hill Association has been one of the strongest advocates for a Brooklyn Bridge Park for more than two decades. For the past five years, we have carefully critiqued the financial model and proposed design of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. We have recently focussed attention on the park's housing-based financial model. Today, let's turn some attention back to the park's unfortunate design.

A key element of our critique is the proposed berm. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines a 'berm' as:

1: a narrow shelf, path, or ledge typically at the top or bottom of a slope; also: a mound or wall of earth or sand.

2: the shoulder of a road.
The berm proposed for the park would be a long, thirty-foot-high mound that would run along the upland portion of the park parallel to the BQE. It will take up a lot of land and be off-limits to park users. What is its purpose then? The park's designers claim that it will act as a sound attenuator for the noise from the BQE. We don't believe it.

We object to the berm for the following reasons:
1. No one has convincingly demonstrated that it will achieve the proposed level of sound attenuation or that that level, even if possible, would be worth the costs.

2. The land that it will occupy and render off-limits could be put to better use.

3. It will turn Furman Street into a dark cavern.

4. The coming renovation of the BQE could result in a covered roadway anyway, thus obviating the need for the berm.
The state Department of Transportation has begun a study to decide how to renovate the BQE's triple-cantilever structure. The triple-cantilever includes the Promenade and the two levels of highway beneath it. The study is scheduled to conclude in 2017. (Yes, that's a long time.) Covering the roadway is one of the options that the DOT study group will consider.

We can make a covered roadway a more likely outcome if we begin working now to generate Brooklyn-wide consensus on its desirability. The CHA is beginning that work now, eight years ahead of time. We believe that the park's success depends in part on the quiet that a covered BQE would make possible. And if we can create that consensus, convince our elected officials to join us, and get the roadways covered, then for sure we will not need a berm that wastes valuable parkland. Let's use that land for recreation instead.

And we are not the only ones with this idea. The Brooklyn Paper recently reported that Donald Rattner of the Studio for Civil Architecture has proposed
'a solar-panel-covered envelope to encase the highway. The proposal calls for wrapping the BQE’s triple cantilever in translucent acrylic shells to suppress roadways sounds, allowing the builders of the open space component of the ailing waterfront development to eliminate the planned sound-stifling hills.'
We look forward to seeing their proposal and any other ideas for eliminating the wasteful berm from the park, with or without a covered BQE. But if we start working now to convince the DOT to cover the BQE, we can potentially have the best of both options.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

props to Mike McLaughlin

Congratulations to journalist Mike McLaughlin. The Brooklyn Paper reported last weekend that Mike has been honored by the New York Press Association as the best young journalist in the state of New York. Our community has certainly benefitted from Mike's work. His reporting on Brooklyn Bridge Park in particular has been indispensable. Keep up the good work, Mike. Democracy depends on good journalism.

new: Cobble Hill Neighborhood Happy Hour

The CHA is not just about politics. We are also trying to build community and draw young people and new arrivlas into the mix. With those goals in mind, we are launching a new monthly series of bar nights called the Cobble Hill Neighborhood Happy Hour. Jennifer Wiese has taken the lead in organizing these events. We hope you will come out and help us launch this new initiative by having a drink with your neighbors. Who are they? Now you can find out.

WHAT: The first-ever CH Neighborhood Happy Hour
WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 6 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Last Exit, 136 Atlantic Avenue

Jennifer says,
'Come on over and meet your neighbors! Cobble Hill residents get $4 pints and well drinks, and buckets of Miller High Life for $15.'
High life, indeed.

candidates' forum, 33rd District

Besides the 39th City Council District debate on April 25 that we already told you about, there is also a debate scheduled this month for the 33rd District, currently represented by David Yassky.

WHAT: 33rd District candidates' debate
WHEN: April 20, 2009, 7 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street

The event is sponsored by the Independent Neighborhood Democrats and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

write a letter for Brooklyn Bridge Park

Senator Squadron has devised a visionary yet viable plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park. The plan calls for more amenities, better governance, and, most importantly, a revenue-generating model that would allow the proposed high-rise apartments to be permanently eliminated from the park. You can see his presentation at his website.

The Cobble Hill Association is asking everyone to join us in writing to Mayor Bloomberg and others to support Senator Squadron's plan. Every public meeting that we have held for the past several years has reiterated that removing the proposed new apartments from the park is a very high priority for our community. Now, with a new proposal on the table and the old plan in greatest doubt, is the time for all of us to act.

Below is the text of our letter to Mayor Bloomberg. We ask that you copy it, add your name and address to it, print it, and mail it. You may modify it as you see fit.

If you would like to go a step further, please see the list of addresses of other officials, at the bottom, to whom we are sending our letter.

Finally, if you don't mind, we would appreciate an e-mail message letting us know that you have sent the letter. This is just because we would like to have an approximate head count of how many letters we generate.

Thanks very much for your participation. It means a lot right now.


April 12, 2009

The Honorable Michael Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, New York 10007

Re: Senator Daniel Squadron’s proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

The Cobble Hill Association has been one of the strongest advocates for a Brooklyn Bridge Park for more than two decades. Continuing our historic role as park advocates, we are writing to encourage you to support Senator Daniel Squadron’s plan for the Park’s amenities, governance, and revenue. The Squadron plan is a viable way forward that we believe will lead to a world-class park on the site and will heal the divisions sown in our community when new housing was added to the Park as a revenue-generating element.

We wholeheartedly endorse the Squadron plan in nearly all its particulars. In the amenities portion of the plan, we support the Senator’s call for:

• active, affordable, year-round athletic recreation, housed within a bubble if necessary;
• a floating pool dedicated to the Park;
• a seasonal ice-skating rink;
• a ferry landing at Pier 6 that will link Atlantic Avenue to Governors Island; and
• a facility for community recreation and the arts.

We are intrigued by Senator Squadron’s call for a public school at 360 Furman Street, or elsewhere in the Park, and we urge the City and State to consider it seriously. A school in the Park would have the added benefits of insuring year-round use of the Park and would obviate the need for a school at 10 Dock Street in Dumbo, a project that threatens to obscure the historic views of Brooklyn’s great bridges.

In the governance portion of the plan, we agree with Senator Squadron on all of the following points:

• designating Brooklyn Bridge Park as parkland, as defined by law and regulation;
• creating a Harbor Park Task Force to coordinate governance of all the parks in the harbor; and
• creating a Marine Infrastructure Task Force to coordinate efforts to attract federal and state revenues for the maintenance of the harbor parks’ marine infrastructure.

We are especially excited by Senator Squadron’s proposal for a new revenue model, the Park Increment Recapture (PIRC). The PIRC will not raise anyone’s property taxes, nor will it take any revenue from the City’s financial plan since it is based only on future rezonings. It is a simple and elegant solution to a problem that has vexed Park supporters for half a decade: how to maintain the Park without the proposed new housing. The argument all along has been that housing is necessary to pay for the park’s operations budget. No one wants the housing per se. The housing plan has only sown division and distrust since it was first foisted on the neighborhood. Nor does housing belong in a park as a matter of principle. What an awful precedent the City would be setting by building apartments inside a park. Senator Squadron’s PIRC proposal may be the way to prevent that dreadful precedent from ever happening. It deserves your support.

We disagree with the Squadron plan on only one substantive point: we believe that the PIRC’s cap ought to be raised so that the proposed hotel at Pier 1 can also be removed from the Park.

Our community in Cobble Hill has been known for its keen criticism, these past five years, of nearly all aspects of the Park: its revenue model, its design, its governance, and so on. We have made these criticisms because we care deeply about the Park. We believe that the Squadron plan is the best way forward. It eliminates the need for new housing inside the park by replacing the revenue from the development parcels with revenue from future rezonings that, by definition, are no part of the City’s financial plan. If the Park increases property values, as it undoubtedly will, we think it’s a fine idea for the Park itself to benefit from that outcome.

We urge you to adopt the Squadron plan so that the Park can be built housing-free and without the re-direction of a single budgeted dollar from the City’s coffers.



The Honorable David Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

The Honorable Christine Quinn
224 West 30 Street, Suite 1206
New York, New York 10001

The Honorable Marty Markowitz
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

The Honorable Sheldon Silver
250 Broadway
Suite 2307
New York, NY 10007

The Honorable Joan Millman
341 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231

The Honorable Bill de Blasio
2907 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11218

The Honorable David Yassky
114 Court Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Ms. Regina Myer
President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017

The Honorable Malcolm A. Smith
205-19 Linden Boulevard
St. Albans, NY 11412

Friday, April 10, 2009

candidates' forum: April 25

Because Bill de Blasio has decided to step down as the member of the City Council for the 39th District, there is a wide open campaign to succeed him this year. We decided not to host a candidates' forum ourselves because we thought it would be redundant, given how many other forums were already scheduled. We encourage everyone in Cobble Hill to attend the upcoming forum in Carroll Gardens on April 25. The event is sponsored by the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association.

Here are the details.

WHAT: Candidates' forum, 39th City Council District.
WHEN: Saturday, April 25, 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Carroll Gardens Library, Auditorium B, 396 Clinton Street (at Union Street).

One way that you can participate in the event is by submitting questions by e-mail to cgcord [at] gmail [dot] com. The deadline for questions is April 17. There will also be questions taken from the audience.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Squadron hosts Bk Bridge Park meeting: Sunday

State Senator Daniel Squadron will present his proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park at a public meeting on Sunday at LICH. Yes, this is the event that was postponed earlier.

I have seen the presentation already, and I think it is a very promising idea that everyone in the community should consider. Squadron may have found a way to eliminate the proposed housing from the park once and for all.

From Squadron's office:
'Senator Squadron will outline his plan for how to build a real, world-class Brooklyn Bridge Park. The meeting will consist of a presentation, followed by a Q&A session.'
It is very important that the Cobble Hill community come out for this event.

WHAT: Senator Squadron's public meeting about BBPark
WHEN: Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 3 p.m.
WHERE: LICH, conference room A

The CHA's goals for the park remain what they have always been. We want:

-A world-class park with year-round recreation;
-No new housing or hotels in the park;
-The proposed berm elements replaced by usable land;
-More neighborhood diversity on the board of the BBPark Development Corporation;
-Ferry service at Pier 6; and
-Full financial disclosure by the BBPDC.

Please come out on Sunday and join us in supporting these priorities.

next precinct council meeting: April 7

The 76th Precinct Council continues to meet on the first Tuesday of the month at 7.30 p.m. at the 76th Precinct. The Precinct Council is a great opportunity for everyone to contribute to public safety by discussing matters of local concern with the officers of the precinct. Whenever I have met with anyone from the 76th, I have always come away feeling like they listened very attentively to my concerns and I learned something valuable from the encounter.

We encourage everyone in the community to attend a precinct council meeting and to get to know the men and women who keep our neighborhood safe. We are all partners in public saftey.

WHAT: 76th Precinct Council meeting
WHERE: 76th Precinct, 191 Union Street
WHEN: Tuesday, April 7 at 7.30 (and every first Tuesday)