This past week has been rather slow in the news, with most of the local outlets picking up the same press releases, crime reports, and celebrity spotting. NYT focused on features like Where is Pete Panto? or How Dan Perlman, of ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors,’ Spends His Sundays (both good reads), and BKMag checked out Soul Summit.
So what's new in Brooklyn?
As promised last week, we're doing our bit with more original reporting and wanted to see how well our new crop of council members is serving their constituents. CouncilStat was established by a previous Administration in an effort to bring more transparency to exactly this question. However, if garbage goes in, garbage comes out, as one council staffer put it.
The data in the official tracker shows a marked decrease in cases recently, and it seems to be not because people need help from their council members less, but because many of them are choosing not to record the cases the way they are supposed to, with Inna Vernikov (R, Sheepshead Bay) possibly a lone standout.
I should note that the map below is accurate as far as data entered into the system, if not representative of what is actually going on.
We heard just about every excuse for not recording in the "arcane" system, and yet not one office could instantly provide accurate, easily retrievable, much less - public - data to back up claims of processing hundreds, thousands of cases based on their alternative tracking systems. You can read the story here.
Tony Sirico's funeral mass took place at the Basilica of Regia Pacis in Bensonhurst yesterday and was broadcast live. Sirico, of Bensonhurst, famously played Paulie in The Sopranos. The New York Times wrote his obituary, and the show's creator David Chase talked to Variety about the only actor who ever asked to change his lines. Born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr., he died on July 8, aged 79.
- The next elections are on August 23. On the ballots Congressional and State Senate seats following the recent redistricting. Turnout in the June Primaries was just above 10% and is expected to be even lower in August. Congressional District 10 (Brooklyn/Manhattan) is the most watched race, followed by Congressional District 11 (Brooklyn/Staten Island).
- Gloria Steinem endorses Liz Holtzman for NY’s 10th Congressional District
- Assemblymember Robert Carroll backs Dan Goldman in the NY10 race.
- Assemblyman Brian Cunningham, who represents Crown Heights' large Jewish community, withdraws endorsement of Yuh-Line Niou in her NY10 race over her support for BDS.
- NYPD has a new spinmaster in Julian Phillips, who will have to deal with explaining moves to let cops smoke weed that some attribute to lowering standards in order to attract more recruits. The shortage of applicants led to lowered standards for lifeguards this summer, and the city is facing a labor shortage across the board.
- Despite promises of help, Ukrainian refugees find it hard to come by as they search for food, housing, and work.
- Artswalk and Cultural Festival will take place this Saturday on Lewis Avenue Open Streets (Fulton to Jefferson). “The Art Of Sola” art fair will be hosted by Joseph C. Grant Jr and include Lyndon “McCrayola” McCray, Tonia A Townes, Glori B., and others. Live jazz will start at 2:30 pm across from MS 35 – where the Black Cowboys will be offering horse rides for kids. Titled “Sample Sale,” the live music is curated by poet and community activist Tai Allen.
- Canarsie Courrier reports on a bike lane to nowhere and Canarsie's commercial corridors.
- Assemblymember Carroll slammed DOT for planned BQE Detours (we touched on that last week).
Just about everyone is talking - still, again - about the rents that only seem to be going up. Well, that and the food prices, which are also only going up (10% from last summer), but that is still not as fast as rents.
"Overall, average rental pricing in Brooklyn is up 26.95% from this time last year. Year-over-year, rental prices are up across the board with studio, one- and two-bedroom prices up by 23.73%, 26.65%, and 29.28%, respectively," reports MNS looking at the June rental market in Brooklyn:
Over the past month, the average rental price in Brooklyn has increased by 3.52%, from $3,385.05 to $3,504.15.
- The average rental price for a studio unit increased by 1.85% from $2,691.83 to $2,741.63. The average rental price for a one-bedroom unit increased by 2.80%, from $3,527.99 to $3,349.17. The average rental price for a two-bedroom unit increased by 6.99%, from $4,132.88 to $4,421.65.
- Neighborhood with the largest month-over-month decrease: Bushwick. Studios in Bushwick are down by 4.0%, from $2,569 to $2,466 in June 2022.
- Neighborhood with the largest month-over-month increase: Cobble Hill. Two-bedroom units in Cobble Hill are up 17.5%, from $4,591 to $5,395 in June 2022.
Of the 16 neighborhoods tracked by MNS’ report, 15 saw their average rental price increase month-over-month:
Bay Ridge (+5.77%), Bed Stuy (+3.44%), Boerum Hill (+8.14%), Borough/Sunset Park (+3.36%), Brooklyn Heights (+2.61%), Clinton Hill (+2.24%), Cobble Hill (+0.60%), Crown Heights (+5.36%), Downtown Brooklyn (+2.58%), Dumbo (+3.26%), Fort Greene (+3.92%), Greenpoint (+4.84%), Park Slope (+2.89%), PLG/Flatbush (+7.81%), and Williamsburg (+3.32%). Bushwick rents dipped slightly this past month with a 0.73% drop.
- Dumbo: June’s most expensive studio, one- and two-bedroom units with prices averaging $3,521, $4,880, and $7,057, respectively.
- Bay Ridge: June’s least expensive studio and one- and two-bedroom units with prices averaging $1,553, $1,926, and $2,501, respectively.
- While Mayor Adams may reside at the Gracy Mansion or any number of other residences he's been linked to, Politico reports he may also have a 'secret' office space. Will it ever get as bad as this old story about former mayor Giuliani though?
- 96-year-old Brooklyn landlord can't evict a tenant who hasn't paid rent in almost 3 years from his two-bedroom Benson Ave condo, CBS news reports.
- SGW Properties LLC has to pay back almost $300,000 of security deposits for Brooklyn tenants.
- How Much Would It Take to Walk Away? Locals Ask Developer, Owner of Bed Stuy’s Dangler Mansion.
Food & Drink
- Food insecurity since COVID started has jumped by 36%, Chalkbeat reports, noting that "an estimated 1 in 4 children don’t have enough to eat — a 46% increase over pre-pandemic numbers according to Feeding America, one of the leading anti-hunger nonprofits." This is their story of how some communities are working to make it better. Here are some resources on how to get free food you can use/pass along.
- Or - a more extreme way is to follow the footsteps of "Kaczmarek, 44, is one of several dumpster divers, or freegans, who has developed an intimate sense of the edible food that local bodegas and grocery stores throw out in her Brooklyn neighborhood." But the story is more about the city bringing back fines to reduce food waste.
- Crains' takes a look at the non-alcoholic drinks market and spotlights Boisson, a nonalcoholic spirits store from Nicholas Bodkins and Barrie Arnold, which had its start in Cobble Hill. The first location at 177 Court Street opened last February, a few blocks away from the Brooklyn Wine Exchange, and was an instant success. In the year and a half since, Boisson has opened five additional locations across the city as well as a warehouse and has ambitious plans to serve the rest of the country.
- NYDN writes that Dusty Buns is now sold at Brooklyn’s ‘Stranger Things: The Experience,’ along with Eleven and Yuri drinks.
And now to more fun stuff:
- The 30th NYC Restaurant week starts in a few days, and you may want to make a reservation at one of the 50+ Brooklyn spots offering specials. Or there are over 500 more restaurants to try between July 18 through August 21, where two-course lunches and three-course dinners will be $30, $45, or $60, depending on each restaurant's price point. So it's really more of a delicious month.
- Our favorite restaurant reviewer at Grubstreet zeroes in on the best ice creams in NYC, and Brooklyn melts the competition (the only two non-Brooklyn spots mentioned are in Queens). Check out the reviews and peppermint chip at Davey’s (Greenpoint), Cremelata ice at Dolly’s Ices (Mill Basin), Sorrel-rum-sorbet lemonade at Island Pops (Crown Heights), or Strawberry–and–sake-kasu soft serve at Rule of Thirds (Greenpoint). You could try banana ice cream at Bar Blondeau (Williamsburg) or Rose With Cinnamon Roasted Almonds at Malai (Carroll Gardens), and, of course, Coney Island Custard at Coney’s Cones (Coney Island).
- Two new restaurants are heading to Bed-Stuy - a version of the Fort Greene staple Brooklyn Public House, likely to be named "Bedford Avenue Tavern," and an expanded location for Greedi Vegan, formerly of Ralph Avenue, Patch reports.
- Global Citizen checks in with Emma's Torch, the wonderful little spot on Court Street that apprentices refugees and asylum seekers.
Seven Brooklyn businesses across Bay Ridge, Dyker, Sunset Park, and Carroll Gardens selling cannabis without a license received cease and desist letters from the state, Patch reports. "There are no businesses currently licensed to sell adult-use cannabis in New York State," Tremaine Wright, chair of New York's Cannabis Control Board, stated.
Oh, and as if hurricanes and flooding were not enough to worry about. This nuclear preparedness PSA ... leaves one with so many questions. Back in the USSR, school drills instructed us to hide under the desks. This sounds similar.