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BPL Oral History Project Comes to Clinton Hill

August 12, 2015
Clinton Hill Public Library in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ehblake

Clinton Hill Public Library in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ehblake

The Department of Outreach Services of the Brooklyn Public Library is embarking on an ambitious project which will “explore the Brooklyn that is and the Brooklyn that was, from the words of the community that lives here,” said Emma Clark of the BPL.

“The goal of the project is to create neighborhood-specific history archives based around interviews with Brooklyn residents, in order to record and preserve the history of our changing neighborhoods before it is forgotten,” said Clark. “As a public library, we are uniquely positioned to not only witness the change taking place all around us, but also to record and preserve the history of our neighborhoods before that history is forgotten.”

Essential to the success of the project are the older people of the neighborhood. Seniors are the main repositories of our past, and the project is seeking out their help. Others well acquainted with the neighborhood, such as those who have done extensive work in the area, are also encouraged to contact Clark at
The outcome of the project will be spoken stories recorded and place online and scanned photos of the people and places in the neighborhood.

“We want to know what makes Clinton Hill unique, and record the perspectives and memories of the people that live and work here in order to illuminate the changes in the neighborhood in a specific and personal fashion,” Clark added.

“This is not a commercial enterprise in any fashion, rather it is an outreach initiative of the public library designed to connect neighborhood residents with their local history and to facilitate conversations about the changing face of the neighborhood.”

Paintball Thugs Targeting Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg

July 9, 2015
Ultra-orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. Photo by: Anna i Adria

Ultra-orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. Photo by: Anna i Adria

Hooligans have started back up using Orthodox Jews as targets for paintball attacks in Williamsburg after a lull in similar attacks since last March.

About one week ago at about 1:45am on Monday a car drove past the Bondo’s 24 supermarket on Lee Avenue and Rodney Street, shooting a paintball at two Orthodox Jewish men sitting outside. The paint canister missed the men, but instead made a dent in the store’s awning. Several minutes later about 7 blocks away on Lee and Rutledge, this time the paintball found its target and hit another Jewish man, covering him with neon paint.

A policeman was quoted as saying: “We have the same kind of assault, in the same neighborhood, on the same race of people, and we have some evidence that makes us believe there is someone targeting Jews.”

Another similar incident happened this week. According to CBS a man and his grandchildren were shot at and hit with a green paintball as they were leaving their local synagogue.

Rabbi Moshe Indig, a Brooklyn community leader commented:

“It’s unfortunate that in 2015, this is still happening.”

There is a $2,500 reward being offered by the police to anyone who gives them information that leads to the arrest of the paintball thug or thugs. If you know anything please call Crime Stoppers at (800)577-TIPS (8477) or the area detectives at 718-963-5368.

Clinton Neighborhood Library Nominated for Award

June 10, 2015
Clinton Hill Public Library in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ehblake

Clinton Hill Public Library in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ehblake

At the end of last month the Clinton Hill branch of the Brooklyn Public Library celebrated its nomination as one of the ten finalists in the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. To recognize the contribution of the library to the neighborhood, City Council-member Laurie A Cumbo came to the library on May 19 to join the staff and residents to beautify the building and its surroundings. Mirroring a similar planting that took place last fall, there was also a planting and children’s arts and craft program.

“Our neighborhood libraries serve as a gateway for millions of readers to travel across the globe and throughout history without ever leaving their seats,” said Cumbo. “The Clinton Hill branch has been an outstanding resource for area residents by providing critical programs and services that promote literacy, learning and community. I applaud the librarians, staff and patrons whose dedication has made this branch an invaluable part of our lives and a shining example of excellence.”

The Brooklyn Public Library has been requesting that the city invest more of its budget in essential community institutions like the BPL, as well as its partners in Queens and Manhattan. The three library systems together created the Invest in Libraries campaign, through which they are urging NYC to invest $65 million in the restoration of operating expenses for this year.

“Brooklynites rely on our 60 branches for helpful, free programs like resume-writing workshops, English-language classes and after-school programs for children of all ages,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson. “As the staff, volunteers and patrons of BPL’s Clinton Hill branch celebrate its well-deserved Neighborhood Library Award nomination, we urge the city to restore a sufficient level of funding to New York’s libraries.”

Four Clinton Hill Properties Bought for $38 Million

May 6, 2015
Underwood Park in Clinton Hill. Photo by:Gryffindor

Underwood Park in Clinton Hill. Photo by:Gryffindor

According to property records filed with New York City today, a group of four apartment buildings in Clinton Hill were purchased for $38 million. The buyer of the properties is called Coastline Apartment Investors. The sellers of the buildings are Yechiel Weinberger and Bernard Miller.

Together the portfolio has 129 units within more than 123,000 square feet and varies from 4 to 6 stories high. The properties are located at 29 Putnam Avenue, sold for $6.5 million; 90 Downing Street, went for $11.5 million; 425 and 435 Grand Avenue both gone for $10 million per building.

One year ago the partners sold a property in Crown Heights for $25 million to an Australian real estate investment trust, Dixon Advisory. That group of buildings had 124 units.

Brooklyn Tech Gets A+

April 20, 2015
Looking northeast across Ashland Place parking lot at Brooklyn Tech on a sunny afternoon. ZIP 11243.

Looking northeast across Ashland Place parking lot at Brooklyn Tech.

A report conducted by and published on the web site says that Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene is the 40th best public high school in all of New York State.

The school was given an overall grade of A+ based on reviews from parents and students. The school was evaluated and received an A+ on the quality of the teachers, administration/policies, educational results, and extracurricular activities. For academics and student culture and diversity the grade came slightly down to an A, and for resources and the facility, unfortunately the school was only able to pull a B-. Brooklyn Tech almost failed in the food department, receiving a scant C+.

“Brooklyn Tech prepared me for college in just about every way possible,” a former student wrote in an assessment of the school. “The curriculum itself is meant to push students above and beyond in order to give them an advantage in the real world and in college. As a college student, I can honestly say that most of the work has been easy, whether it’s writing essays, computing math problems, or brainstorming ideas for projects.”

The web site had the task of ranking a total of 14,431 public high schools all over the United States. They collected over 4.6 million evaluations from 280,000 students and parents.

Top ten New York public high schools include:

1.    Stuyvesant High School
2.    Staten Island Technical High School
3.    Jericho Senior High School
4.    Rye High School
5.    Horace Greeley High School
6.    Edgemont Junior/Senior High School
7.    Great Neck South High School
8.    Scarsdale Senior High School
9.    Blind Brook High School
10.    Manhasset Secondary School

Clinton Hill Storage Facility to be Class A Office Space

March 11, 2015
 Looking north from Clinton Avenue through the main gate of Brooklyn Navy Yard on an early springtime afternoon. Photo by Jim Henderson

Looking north from Clinton Avenue through the main gate of Brooklyn Navy Yard on an early springtime afternoon. Photo by Jim Henderson

A 215,000 square-foot building across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard was purchased by Madison Realty Capital for $45 million for the stated purpose of turning it into Class A office space.

The property is located at 29 Ryerson Street and is a vacant, eight-story loft warehouse in Clinton Hill. The developers plan to market the office space as an affordable alternative to other areas of Brooklyn. Built in 1951, the owners would like to see high-tech firms and other creative types of businesses housed on the property.

Some of the enticing features of the building are 15+ foot-high ceilings, three-side exposures providing great light and air circulation. The building has 440 feet of exposure on Ryerson, and an additional 110 feet on Flushing Avenue, making this a great location for the growing retail marketplace in the area.

“Rising rents and the lack of large, classic industrial spaces throughout Manhattan has changed the value proposition and driven tenants to look elsewhere for space. We’re excited about the investment and the opportunity to participate in the transformational change that the neighborhood is experiencing,” said Joshua Zegen, co-founder and managing member of MRC.


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