Western Brooklyn

Recap: Community Board 11’s November 8 Meeting


November’s Community Board 11 meeting focused on three main points: the gas crisis, the N train, and the continuing Hurricane relief effort.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Councilman David Greenfield and Councilman Vincent Gentile all attended Thursday’s meeting at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare to give their thoughts on these key issues.

The Gas Crisis

The odd/even rationing system went into effect on Friday. Abbate, Greenfield, and Gentile all said that they fought to get the rationing system in our community. Doing so, they said, would help to shorten the gas lines in Brooklyn.

Why did the lines get so bad in New York to begin with? It’s something Councilman Greenfield attributed to “panic buying.” He explained that residents would go out to gas stations and refuel when they still had more than half a tank of gas left. Many would fill multiple containers as a precaution. But Abbate stressed the hazard of keeping full gasoline containers in the garage or basement.

“It’s very dangerous,” Abbate said. He urged the public to hold off on usual gas purchases and to fill up limitedly, at least while the community gets back on track.

The N Train

At Thursday’s meeting, there was no straight-forward answer about when the train service would be fully restored. According to Abbate, “It was a serious blow we took in the neighborhood.”

But, as of this week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the MTA restored service to the stretch of the N line service along the Sea Beach Line in Brooklyn.

And while Community Board 11 Chairperson, Bill Guarinello said that the MTA did a “Herculean job” with restoring service in the neighborhood, he also said that the community still needs answers.

“The general public has to get better information,” Guarinello said, regarding the time-frame with subway construction and tunnel repairs.

Councilman Gentile added, “All we’re asking for is honesty. We just need better info all around.”

The Hurricane-Relief Effort in Bensonhurst

Though Hurricane Sandy ripped through New York a little more than two weeks ago, many neighborhoods are still continuing to feel the aftershock today.

The general statement from the Board was that we, as a community, were “very, very lucky.” Comparing us to Staten Island, Gentile added, “We’ve been spared.”

Still, these leaders are unhappy with the lack of communication between the government and New York locals.

“There was a lack of planning in New York,” Greenfield said. “The pressure really needs to be put on the federal government. Obama needs to help New York State.”

What should we, as a community do, moving forward?

“I think we need to do two things now – demand action from our leaders and hold people accountable,” Greenfield said.

Gentile added that we should continue to give back to those who were struck hardest by the storm.

Anyone who still wants to donate is encouraged to contact Councilman Gentile’s office directly at (718) 748-5200. The most needed provisions are blankets, pajamas, winter coats, baby supplies, and new (still packaged) underwear.

Other Announcements

There have been a few cases of looting around the 86th Street and Caesar’s Bay area. Officers from the 62nd Precinct suggest steering clear of the area in the evenings, particularly for night jogging, for the time being.

On Thursday, there will be a Participatory Board Meeting at P.S. 205, 6701 20th Avenue, at 7 p.m. With one million dollars to split between Brooklyn communities, Councilman Greenfield, who is spearheading the effort, said, “Every neighborhood is guaranteed a project.” He invites Bensonhurst locals to get involved. “You’re making a difference,” he said.

The community Greenmarket ends November 18th. Councilman Gentile wanted to thank Bensonhurst for bringing one of his “biggest dreams to life.”

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