What you missed from Wednesday’s CB1 meeting if you left after Domino: Recap Pt. II

by Heather Van De Mark on

It was a packed room at the Swinging 60s Senior Center for last night’s monthly Community Board 1 Executive Board Meeting and Public Hearing. The buzz in the room was clearly over the agenda’s first item: Domino Sugar, which was certified last week. The board agreed to have Two Trees present and then have all the public speakers regarding this issue speak up immediately afterwards rather than waiting until the end of the meeting per usual. And then the rest of the meeting would commence according to the agenda. And thus, I have split the CB1 recap respectively: Domino Sugar yesterday (#1) and all other items on the blog today.

#2. East River Ferry Text Amendment
A representative of the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) spoke on a text amendment that would support the continuation of East River Ferry service. Apparently, the ferry began as a pilot program and is set to expire in 2014. After 13 months in operation, they had exceed a million passengers, far surpassing predicted estimates. 40% of ferry riders originate in the CB1 district. They are commuters and residents who ride an average of 4x per week.

Currently, only 99-passenger vessels are allowed as of right in the area, but the NYCEDC has a special permit allowing them use of 399-passenger vessels until 2016. The text amendment would allow them to maintain the current schedule by increasing the capacity of the permitted as-of-right vessels.

NYCEDC also has plans to make improvements regarding queuing, trash receptacles, bike racks, ticket machines, and shelters.

Kai Feder, Capital Budget/Economic Development of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, added that the BBP’s office will be holding its public ULURP hearing on this topic on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 at 5pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn in the President’s Conference Room.

#3 Physical Culture Establishment
No one was present to present on this. Unclear to me if it was voted on or tabled.

#4 Williamsburg II Urban Renewal Area
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) wants approval for a change to the Williamsburg II Urban Renewal Plan. Basically, in the current plan, the sale of land is deposited in the Cross Subsidy Fund to “help finance housing and housing-related projects for low and moderate income households located in Williamsburg I and Williamburg II Urban Renewal Areas.” HPD wants to revise this text to read to “help finance housing and housing-related projects for low and moderate income households located in Brooklyn Community District 1.”

No one from HPD was present to present on this issue or answer questions from the board. The Land Use committee held a brief caucus and then brought it before the board for a vote. (Apparently, it was a time sensitive issue that needed to be voted on that night.) The board approved, with one board member stating for the record that HPD should have been here to answer questions and their absence was forcing the board to vote haphazardly.

#5. Sidewalk Applications
#6. Cabaret Licenses
#7. Liquor Licenses

I did not take notes for items 5-7. There will be an SLA committee meeting on November 26.

Chairman’s Report
The Chairman’s report was as written (I don’t have access to this.) There was discussion among the board that a representative of Dept. of Transportation needs to be strongly urged to attend a meeting and answer some long-standing questions that have received no attention by DOT.

OSA Minute
Ed Janoff presented the OSA minute.

  • Several of the smaller green spaces including Lentol Garden, Studzinksi Square and Popieluszko Square were investigated for clean up. Measures taken include: weeding, reseeding, mowing, new lock, new plantings, tree stump removal, etc.
  • McCarren Dog Run received a corporate donation from Purina and was being excavated and rehabbed currently, including fixing draining issues and adding a wind screen. The Dog Run group is looking for new membership.
  • A greent street is being added at the intersection of Meeker and Morgan Avenues courtesy of OSA and DOT. It should be in place before Thanksgiving.
  • McCarren Ice Rink opens today at 11am. For more information, visit the McCarren Rink website or call 347-482-7798. Janoff thanked CM Levin for providing OSA with some of the funds for the rink.
  • Lastly, Janoff reminded anyone preparing a GCEF application for a project within a park that they would need to get CB1 and Parks Dept. approval if their GCEF application is to be approved for funding. He recommended that if this was the case for anyone, they should contact him asap to discuss more.

Other items
Zeeshan Ott, the new Brooklyn Director for State Senator Daniel Squadron, introduced himself and announced a community town hall on Monday, November 18, 2013 at the Brooklyn Law School, 205 State St. at 7:30pm. (See above.)

Board members brought attention to the East River State Park signing a new contract with Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg for the 2014-year. Many felt a great lack of transparency on this issue as the contract could be signed any day now and received little, if any, input from the community board. There are concerns that Brooklyn Flea is receiving a cheap lease, while the community and Parks Dept. are getting minimal return. Additionally, the issue of private enterprise in public space will also play out when the upcoming open space at Domino is planned. The board strongly urged Ott/Squadron to prevent the contract from being signed this week without additional discussion.

Committee Reports
Land Use

  • Rejected an application for a zoning modification that was asking to put less open space on a residential building’s roof and instead put it on the ground floor. The committee requested that they add affordable housing to the building and/or provide public access to the ground-level open space. The developer said they weren’t required to do so. The committee rejected the application and the board approved.
  • A fitness establishment was a no-show. The committee rejected the application, the board approved.
  • St. Nicks, on behalf of GREC, asked for a letter of support in regards to the Greenpoint Hospital. Board approved.
  • There was an application for a distinctive sidewalk. The committee found it to be similar and simpler enough to be okay. They passed the application, board approved.


  • On Thursday, Nov. 21, the EPA will be discussing the results of the first two years of testing on the Newtown Creek superfund at the Newtown Creek CAG meeting. More details can be found on the CAG website.
  • Dredging of Newtown Creek has been postponed until Dec. 2. The original plan was for it to take two weeks, but it’s possible it may take longer due to the weather. The dredged “stuff” will go to a DEP facility and is non-toxic according to tests. The dredging isn’t very deep and will mostly be dirt.


  • Approved a directional change on Maspeth Avenue near Kingsland Ave. (In the public session, two residents, including one from the Cooper Park Neighborhood Association, gave thanks for approving the change.)


  • The DOE withdrew its application for a co-location of 582-186.

*Meeting adjourned.*

View the complete CB1 November agenda online. [PDF]

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.
  • Larry Fisher commented:

    I just want Brooklyn Flea to Understand pain.

    I just want to help. I want Brooklyn Flea to understand that when you mess with people, sometimes you get messed up back in return. We would be doing them a big service not to give them the park to sell in next year.

    I am here to give Brooklyn Flea a hard time on getting their ability to sell in the State Park in Williamsburg. I am not here as a resident of Williamsburg. I am here for revenge against them.

    People have asked me to speak at Community Board 1 executive meeting because they believe that I could help turn the Board against Brooklyn Flea. I admit that I will try to do my best. It is obvious that I have a chip on my shoulder. I admit it. I hate the spin and dishonestly in which I and many of the vendors of P.S. 321 have had to endure by snot nosed greedy Brooklyn Flea.

    Some of you will ignore what I have to say because I am not a resident of Williamsburg. I don’t have my weekends free to go to a State Park and just sit and meditate by the water like I do when I go hiking in other parts of the state. I do know that when I go hiking and go to State Parks, I like the isolation and the ability to feel that I am getting away from everything. I would not like noise, or garbage, or the constant smells of meat, even if it is artisan and curated meat.

    I just want my trader joe jerky and some nuts, and some peace and quiet.

    I do like going hiking and getting away from the noise and the hub bub of the city and so I can imagine what it is like to be a resident near a State Park that has the tumult and circus which Brooklyn Flea brings every weekend from the Spring to the Fall. I wouldn’t want it. It must be infuriating to wake to cars honking and traffic jams on an early Saturday or Sunday morning after I have worked all week in the city. Suddenly, Brooklyn Flea comes in on the weekend with their tents and lemmings and I am supposed to take it. Why? I paid to be by the water and relax and now I have to listen to this nonsense. Take it away!

    Look, like I said, I have it in for Brooklyn Flea, cause they are not nice people. They talk community and they talk recycling, and they talk and spin, but they don’t walk the walk.

    I sold at Brooklyn Flea from the very beginning at Ft. Greene, and then at the Williamsburg location.

    There was always issues with them. The costs were high, and if it rained, they said it didn’t.

    “It’s raining.”

    “No, it isn’t. “

    “It’s raining.”

    “No it isn’t under your tent.”

    “I don’t want to sell today, it’s raining.”

    “You don’t have to sell, but you have to pay.”

    “The wind and the dust. It’s all blowing away.”

    “You have to pay.”

    Eventually, I started selling more and more at P.S. 321 in Park Slope. The manager sometimes would call me,”It looks like a bad day rain wise. Don’t come. If you come, I will only charge you if you make money.”

    What a difference. I became friends with Paul the Manager at P.S. 321 and I realized that the anxiety that Brooklyn Flea put me under wasn’t worth it. I could make less money, but not really because I only had to work when I wanted to.

    I decided to go with Paul full time. No matter what, I showed up. Heat, cold…I wanted to support Paul and his small market. We became friends.

    When Brooklyn Flea took over. They won the bid fair and square (I think). I can’t be sure and The Village Voice Writer was not able to find out what the bidding was about. there were unanswered questions, that the school was not even able to give her.

    The vendors who sold at P.S. 321, were not offered spots. We were told there is a waiting list to get in toBrooklyn Flea, even though we obviously sold there for years and knew our customers. . Brooklyn Fkea did not come to us and care about 40 vendors who sold there on a regular basis. After they discovered that nobody wanted to sell at P.S. 321 from their waiting list they scrambled to accommodate a few of the vendors who used to sell there.

    And then there was Paul. He had been the manager for over 10 years. He had sold in that market for 32 years. Brooklyn Flea did not approach him. That flea market at 321 was all he knew. It was everything for him. So, when he told me he was starting a new flea market, where was I supposed to go? What was I supposed to do.?Was I supposed to grovel to Brooklyn Flea who mistreat their vendors and pretended they are some know it alls about what sells and what is good for Brooklyn. Oh they are sharp foodies, but they don’t really know Brooklyn, they don’t know what real Brooklyn is about because they and none of their vendors are from Brooklyn. Most of the 40 vendors who were not invited to the new Brooklyn Flea in Brooklyn were actually born and bred in Brooklyn.( I was born in Brooklyn but when my parents split up, I was raised more in the Bronx, and only traveled to Brooklyn on weekends.)

    Brooklyn Flea is actually an embarrassment for Brooklyn in the way they handle their affairs. They attempt a market in Philadelphia and try to call it “Brooklyn Flea!” That is a joke if you know anyone in Philly. They hate everything New York. The Phillies fans, The Eagles Fans, The Flyers fans, are they going to a market that is called “Brooklyn?”

    So, it doesn’t work out in Philly and they end their run in Philly with a tweet. That was it. What a slap in the face to the Philly vendors. How were the Philly vendors supposed to feel when Brooklyn Flea just cut them loose without any notice.

    And so I am begging you for Brooklyn Fleas own sake, not to let them have the State Park to sell in next year. Cut them off. They need to learn how to treat people better, and the only way for them is to hurt their pocketbook… If you cut them out of Williamsburg next year, maybe they will begin to think about what it is like for vendors to be without an income when they just cut people out. Maybe their own vendors won’t hate them as much if they show some compassion on an obvious bad weather day . They only know their bottom line, but they are always ready with a cute spin on community and “direction of a city” statement.

    I have a family to feed and support. I have an 8 year old daughter and a 6 year old son who are counting on me to figure out how to get them holiday gifts. Believe me, if you stop Brooklyn Flea from getting the State Park, it will teach them a little humility. They won’t be hurting from giving presents for their kids, or for paying for their mortgage, but maybe, and maybe even my attempts to teach them something about how to treat other people fairly will sink in, even if they don’t want to. You can teach them a moral lesson and let the residents of Williamsburg sleep in on the weekends without being harassed with tourists, vendors, and screaming Brooklyn Flea employees.

    And I am sure, that if you get them to not have a market, that State Park will be used by people to breathe a little fresh air, and not make them think they are stuck on a subway platform. They paid for the right to live near a park, let people use it. Of course, there is also the issue of what Brooklyn Flea actually did pay to to have that right to sell there. That seems to be a big issue as well, am I not right? I hear it is a pittance of what should really be asked. How did that happen?

    At the very least, the new mayor needs to get involved and an investigation needs to be pending. Should I go try to submit my application to Brooklyn Flea now or wait till the spring?