Briefly Noted: Fort Greene Park, Bay Ridge Traffic Safety, and Other Stories

Briefly Noted: Fort Greene Park, Bay Ridge Traffic Safety, and Other Stories
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter on April 13, 2021. (Image: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

It’s been a busy week in Brooklyn—when is it not?—but the weekend is finally upon us.

The weather is rainy now, but should improve in the days ahead. Sunday is looking particularly promising, with a mostly sunny sky and a high of 63 degrees.

Here are some stories to catch up on in between catching up on sleep and personal time this weekend:

  • The city is rolling summer school and camp into one “holistic” youth experience this summer, in an attempt to improve student learning after a challenging academic year. The new program, called Summer Rising, will be driven by a “student-centered, experiential, academically rigorous and culturally responsive” curriculum.
  • In other education news: new data shows students living in shelters missed an average of nearly one of every four school days this January, a rate far worse than their peers living in stable housing.
  • NYC Parks announced a new $24 million redesign for parts of Fort Greene Park. The design combines elements of two earlier proposals, and is intended to update the park’s Myrtle Avenue-facing portion, improve park accessibility and add drainage capacity. The Parks department is also looking to move and shrink the park’s neglected Spanish Memorial Plaque, but the Landmarks Preservation Commission is not particularly happy with their proposal.
  • A 72-year-old Bay Ridge woman was fatally struck by an SUV while walking on the sidewalk outside a car dealership on Thursday. Safe streets advocates have long warned the stretch of Fourth Avenue poses an outsize threat to pedestrians because of vehicles parked on the sidewalk.
  • Reacting to the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black man fatally shot by a Minnesota cop who says she mistook her gun for a taser, Mayor Bill de Blasio asked: “Why are people allowed to be police officers if they don’t know how to handle their weapon?” Some Brooklynites are asking him the same question after NYPD Chief John Chell, who says he accidentally fired his gun in the fatal 2008 shooting of a Black man, was tapped to head the Brooklyn North Detective Bureau.
  • Bed-Stuy neighbors have launched a fundraising campaign to transform Jackie Robinson Park Playground into a community haven this summer, by organizing weekly events where neighbors from various backgrounds can socialize and connect through tennis.
  • Every election cycle, a crucial set of local races goes largely unnoticed, by voters and even by the press: the city’s judicial elections. This June, five judgeships on the city’s Civil Court and one on Surrogate Court are up for election in Brooklyn. Read up on what to expect when you head to the polls.
  • National Grid is building a massive natural gas pipeline through North Brooklyn. But does the borough really need it?
  • The Science, Language and Arts International School in Downtown Brooklyn is staring down a lawsuit from its landlord, who alleges the private school owes $6.1 million in back rent and $18.4 million in accelerated damages.
  • A Brooklyn nonprofit that entered a limited partnership agreement with an investor to renovate affordable housing in Bushwick in 1999 is now battling that investor—a subsidiary of the multinational finance and insurance corporation AIG—for ownership of the building. They say the future of a key affordable housing program is at stake in the fight.
  • For some Brooklyn residents, being laid-off, furloughed, or underemployed during the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. Local makers and chefs who turned to their own kitchens and began selling to neighbors via Instagram have managed to find success in tough times.
  • Restaurants, like people, come and go. Check out the latest openings and closings in Brooklyn’s food-and-drink scene.