This week's newsletter is brought to you by Yuh-Line Niou for New York.
With less than a week to go before the primaries, that is what a big chunk of this newsletter is about. There's also news of a new bookstore, a good number of new food and drink options, and details on the Santa Rosalia Feast. The two other topics I'd like to bring to your attention are related to health and public space:
- For the first time in over a decade, I see our city's health department be this concerned about the mosquitoes – too many are carrying the West Nile virus, which can be deadly. Do your best to keep the pesky pests from biting you.
- Overdoses from non-heroin opioids have doubled since the pandemic started, and are killing four times as many Brooklyn residents as just a few years ago, with fentanyl playing a leading role.
- Lastly, many neighbors who volunteer to care for our public spaces are getting fed up with the city neglecting its job. Friends of Cooper Park put it well, and they are not alone in their sentiments:
"Cooper Park is far from the only neighborhood green space suffering from disinvestment and neglect. Every park that doesn’t enjoy private sector sponsorship or a well-heeled conservancy is in the same boat. The danger is that, as a city, when we seem incapable of caring for basic things – public spaces, sanitation, safe streets – it’s hard to feel confident that we can handle bigger challenges and achieve greater goals."
Congressional and State Senate Primary election day is on August 23, next Tuesday. You can vote early through Sunday and you won't have to wait. The turnout has been low, with less than 12,000 of Brooklyn's voters participating over the last five days.
There are only two Congressional races to watch, since Rep. Nydia Velazques (new CD7), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (new CD8), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (new CD 9) are certain to get reelected.
Congressional District 10: It is anyone's guess as to who may win. The number of votes needed to be elected is so small that every vote has an outsized influence, so please show up to vote if you live in the district. Daniel Goldman secured the New York Times endorsement. Here are two interviews I did this summer with two of the candidates: former prosecutor Daniel Goldman and with Brooklyn Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, whose district overlaps significantly. Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and Rep. Mondaire Jones are the other likely winners in this race, which has a total of 13 names on the ballots. Niou will also be on November ballots on the Working Families Party line.
Congressional District 11: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (Republican) has a challenger in John Matland. Democrats are deciding between Max Rose, who represented the district before Malliotakis, Brittany Ramos DeBarros (she will also be on the ballots in November on the Working Families Party line), and Komi Agoda-Koussema. The redrawn district voted 54% Republican to 46% Democrat in the last presidential election.
Senate District 17: This is the new district drawn to reflect changing populations of Southern Brooklyn. I spoke to Iwen Chu, who will be on the ballots in November on the Democrat line, against Vito LaBella on the Republican.
Senate Districts 18, 19, and 20: Senators Julia Salazar, Roxanne Persaud, and Zellnor Myrie respectively will remain in office. They are running unchallenged and unopposed.
Senate District 21: Senator Kevin Parker is facing a strong challenger in former prosecutor Kaegan Mays-Williams, who I spoke to last month, as well as DSA-backed David Alexis. While I do not see how Alexis could carry the district, he may just get enough votes to keep Parker, who is adding questionable spending of campaign funds to the list of other disturbing behaviors, in office. Whoever ever wins the primary will represent the district.
Senate District 22: Sen. Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat, is yet again running unchallenged across the ballot line as Democrat, Republican, and Conservative in the November elections and will remain in office.
Senate District 25: Mayor Eric Adams endorsed Rev. Conrad Tillard, a former Nation of Islam minister, now a Baptist minister in the race against Senator Jabari Brisport (Downtown Brooklyn and Bed Stuy). It was one among a number of endorsements across the city in what looks like an attempt to secure support in the State Senate for his agenda for the city. The other candidate is Renee Holmes.
Senate District 26: Comptroller Brad Lander endorsed Senator Andrew Gounardes, whose redrawn district includes parts of Lander's former council district. Former Taxi Commissioner David Yassky is the other democratic candidate. Whoever wins will face Republican Brian Fox in November.
It's time to worry about mosquitoes, who have been carrying the West Nile virus in record numbers this year. The city's Department of Health announced two confirmed infections on Tuesday, one in Brooklyn and one in Queens. Most people infected have no or mild symptoms, but one in 150 will develop a serious and potentially fatal disease, and those over 60 or with weakened immune systems are most at risk of complications. Over the last decade, 16 people on average were diagnosed across the city each year, and 23 died from the disease. Experts blame global warming and suggest you use insect repellant and cover up when out at dusk or dawn.
Monkeypox is spreading, as is Polio, so you also should make sure you have your Polio vaccinations up to date. And yes, COVID is not going anywhere, but there are vaccines and treatments (Paxlovid) available.
And then there are the recreational drugs, whose supply has been dangerously laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that you can't see, smell, or taste, but which has become the most common drug to be associated with overdoses in the city.
In Brooklyn, overdoses from non-heroin opioids have doubled since the pandemic started, and are killing four times as many residents as they did just a few years ago. These are preventable deaths if there is someone nearby that can administer Naloxone, and that someone could be you. Read more in our story.
Crime & Punishment
Vandals sprayed the word "Hitler" on the walls of Congregation Beth Shalom in Sheepshead Bay, as anti-semitic hate incidents keep rising across the city - 149 in the first half of 2022, up from 106 last year according to NYPD.
Brooklyn Democrats effectively appointed lawyer Edward King to the Civil Court, an elected position he did not even run for in the June Democratic primary. The seat was vacated by Civil Court judge Craig Walker, who ran unopposed, after he won a nomination for the Supreme Court seat in August, both with the party leadership backing. King will now be on the November ballots, unopposed. It is currently legal. Read more.
- Troubled Sleep, a new bookstore, opened this week at 126 6th Ave between Park and Sterling Pl., stocked with new and used books.
- Cotton On is open and Sephora is opening its new location later this fall at the Kings Plaza shopping center.
- A new workspace, The Malin Williamsburg, is opening next month on the 9th floor of The William Vale building, with room for 200 members.
A Message from Yuh-Line Niou for New York
Vote Yuh-Line Niou by August 23rd. Learn more at NiouForNewYork.com. Paid for by Yuh-Line Niou for New York.
- Kensington: Afghan mantu (dumplings) at Dunya Kabab House at 696 Coney Island Avenue (Ave. C) are really good, Grubstreet reports. Neighbors who've tried it recommend most things on the menu.
- Windsor Terrace: At Syko, a Syrian and Korean food takeout counter that opened recently at 116 Windsor Place (at Prospect Park West), it is a family affair. "Partners in business and life, Rosette Khoury Kim and James Kim, who are Syrian and Korean respectively, piloted the launch for Syko with packaged foods they sold at popular South Brooklyn bodega J&H Farm," Eater reports, "Rosette’s brothers, Mazen and Michael Khoury are the chefs."
- Prospect Heights: Amy’s Vegetarian, a middle eastern fast-casual restaurant, is open at 490 Bergen Str. (at 6th Ave.)
- Clinton Hill: White Tiger Tavern – a Korean restaurant by White Tiger on Vanderbilt Ave. – is open at 455 Myrtle Ave. (at Washington Ave.) Dreamery, a vegan dessert shop is opening on August 27 at 299 Greene Ave. (by Classon Ave.)
- Fort Greene: Oma Grassa pizzeria opened recently at 753 Fulton Str., corner of South Portland Ave. A 14" pie will set you back about $20. BKMag says it's terrific.
- Bed-Stuy: Bótani - part cafe part store by neighbor Michael Angeles is open at 173 Lewis Ave. (at Van Buren Str.). Caroline’s Donuts opened last month at 202 Ralph Ave. (at Decatur Str.) – has mouthwatering photos with their story – and cocktail bar Dick and Jane’s has expanded with another location to 300 Malcolm X Blvd. (at MacDonough Str.)
- Bushwick: Two new bars, Witching Hour at 1312 Decatur Str. and a halal bar Curry in Handi, which only serves non-alcoholic drinks at 443 Bushwick Avenue, are open.
- Williamsburg: Eater says Alligator Lounge at 600 Metropolitan Ave. is the new pizza-bar, waxing poetic about the 'better than they should be,' free pizzas that accompany the drinks. Sleepwalk, is the new 1920s-inspired cocktail bar with moody lighting at 251 Bushwick Ave., and – in line with every coffee shop being a store – the new As You Like at 428 Humbolt Str. sells ceramics along with the brews.
Last but not least - the Feast of Santa Rosalia, celebrating Bensonhurst's Italian heritage, starts tonight and will continue for the next 11 days on 18th Ave between 68th Street and Bay Ridge Parkway.