Conviction Reviews, Haiti, Movies, Records, COVID19, and more

Good evening. Yet another stormy afternoon in the books, but tomorrow should be warm and sunny.

Today's Mayoral press briefing was again, almost entirely about the threat the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, which is now the dominant variant across NYC, is posing to those who are yet to be vaccinated.

As of today, new reported cases on a seven-day average are at 597 or 1.86% positivity, up significantly from 0.4% a couple of weeks ago. Southern and Eastern Brooklyn in experiencing numbers that are in the high 2-3% range, albeit not enough people are getting tested in these communities, according to the city.

It is not helping that 40% of healthcare workers in public hospitals are yet to be vaccinated, so the city will be mandating their health staff either a vaccine or weekly COVID-19 testing starting August 2.

You can see rates by ZIP code on the map above, full story here.

Controversial Head of Conviction Review Unit at Brooklyn DA’s Office Retires

Billy Richling • 4 min read

Conviction Review Unit Chief Mark Hale, second from right, in 2017. (Image: The Brooklyn District Attorney's Twitter account)

At first, the unit under Mark Hale received national attention as a model of reform. But the rate of exonerations slowed significantly during DA Eric Gonzalez's tenure. Advocates and reformers have pinned some of the blame for that slow-down on Hale’s history as a career prosecutor.

“It is much better practice to have someone in charge of a conviction review unit who did not come from that office, [as opposed to] a Mark Hale who practiced there for 25 years as a prosecutor who’s then in charge of reviewing his colleagues’ cases,” said Nina Morrison, senior litigation counsel at the Innocence Project who co-authored a report on the CRU’s exonerations and worked closely with the unit on a case that led to an exoneration.

Read the full story.

Brooklyn’s Haitian-American Electeds and Organizations Ask Biden to ease Pathway to Political Asylum for Haitians

Billy Richling• 2 min read

A group of New York-based Haitian-American elected officials and community organizations are asking President Joe Biden to make it easier for Haitians to obtain political asylum in the US.

Read on.

Outdoor Movies This Summer: Parks Edition

A Summer Movie Under the Stars. Jordan Rathkopf / Prospect Park Alliance

We have the full lineup for what's screening at Prospect Park and many other parks across Brooklyn this summer.

Bklyner Bulletin

1️⃣ A 57-year-old Greenpoint man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with unlawful surveillance for allegedly secretly recording two women roommates in the bathroom and in their bedroom without their knowledge - via Brooklyn District Attorney.
2️⃣ The Other Art Fair Brooklyn - opens tomorrow, July 22 through July 25 at Greenpoint's Brooklyn Expo Center offering a chance to see and acquire work by over 130 independent and emerging artists. But you don't have to go to Greenpoint - it is also available online.


In the Fiscal Year 2022 budget funding for Parks was increased by $25 million, and the agency is now hiring 150 maintenance workers and gardeners, 80 more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, 50 Urban Park Rangers, 46 forestry staff, and 15 GreenThumb staff members. Most of the positions seem to be seasonal. Apply here: Position of Gardener I, for example, pays $20.79/hr.

This spring Parks also hired an additional 2,500 workers as part of the City Cleanup Corps.

In case you missed:

When Will Brooklyn Get the Bus Network it Deserves?

Billy Richling • 7 min read

When Will Brooklyn Get the Bus Network it Deserves?

As the city reopens and the pandemic seems to recede (at least for now), the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) bus network seems to be reverting to its notoriously unreliable, pre-COVID self. But the MTA still has no specific timeline for when it will restart its ambitious plan to redesign routes and offer faster, more reliable service, despite months of pleas from riders and advocates to get things moving again after pausing the revamp during the height of the pandemic.

Read the story.

Celebrating Record Stores And Community

Piotr Orlov • 8 min read

Every day can be record store day, and Brooklyn has some amazing ones to get lost in - here's five of them.

Bene's Record Shop, Red Hook

Bene’s Record Shop (360 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook)  My “local,” or the one closest to my house that most operates like one, Bene’s Coopersmith’s Record Shop in Red Hook may have only been open since 2015, but it feels like it’s been part of this neighborhood’s community for much longer.

Its stock is all used, older records, though many of the local musicians who are part of the neighborhood’s fabric — and whom you can often find at the store — drop off batches of their latest releases. It hosts birthday parties and record release parties, and Saturday/Sunday afternoon hangs, with Bene or other folks playing records onto the Van Brunt sidewalk, where people always congregate. Often there’s a cooler with libations, free to take as long as you help restock it occasionally. It is the embodiment of one Red Hook vibe through and through: knowing, loving, disheveled, unapologetic.

On the shelves: Rarities from the likes of New Orleans’ Mardi-Gras Indians standard-bearers The Wild Magnolias, and ‘60s Greenwich Village proto-folk-punk mainstays, The Village Fugs. But also gorgeous hand-drawn boxes of 45s, and a dog-eared copy of the I Ching. Listening Stations: There is one and it some disarray. But Bene and the clerks are also pretty easy on the “we’ll play it for you” vibe, on the DJ set-up behind the counter. Prices: If you look up on the walls, things aren’t cheap (the Magnolias’ They Call Us Wild is $50), but there are numerous “3 for $5” boxes that are full of finds.

Read the full story.

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