Sharks, Robot Servers, Raves, Congressional Races, Adventure Park, and more
Welcome to the summer heat, the extreme version. With temperatures expected to remain in the 90s through Sunday, do what you need to stay cool. Pools are staying open later and beaches are open, barring a shark sighting. This week, I bring you some updates on the Congressional race for District 10, proposed new city council districts, judgeships, and lots of news on the food and entertainment side.
August 23 is the primary day for the redistricted State Senate and Congressional seats.
- Congressional District 10 (Brownstone Brooklyn & Lower Manhatten)
With our former Mayor Bill de Blasio formally dropping out of the race, it leaves some wondering if his political races were less about getting elected and more about fundraising to pay off his debts.
“De Blasio spent less than 15% of the more-than $500,000 that he raised for his Congressional run, which itself strongly suggests that de Blasio has been using his purported Congressional run to build a war chest to use as a slush fund to pay off outstanding liabilities,” Aaron Foldenauer, an election and campaign finance lawyer told THE CITY.
His supporters seem to have humped to support Carlina Rivera instead. But where do the candidates stand following last Friday's campaign filing release? Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester, Rockland Counties, recently of Park Slope) leads, having brought in $3 million he raised for his original congressional race. He raised $524,000 this quarter and has $2.8 million on hand.
Dan Goldman, head counsel in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, has raised the most money for this race, with over $1.2 million in contributions, and has just over $1 million at his disposal.
Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan) and Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), who raised $400,992 and $241,214, respectively, are next, followed by Elizabeth Holtzman and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), at $122,849 and $181,587 respectively. However, some of the ladies did way better in the polls than the gents, though almost half the voters remain undecided.
- Proposed New Council Districts
The Redistricting Commission released maps of the draft new council districts, and sparks are flying as incumbents object -Bay Ridge Councilman Justin Brannan and Sunset Park Councilwoman Aviles would be vying for the same constituents under the proposed changes.
The new maps most heavily revise Brooklyn's South-western areas to cater to the massively increased Asian population in the borough (+43%). Proposed District 43 serves the large East Asian population, District 39 includes more of the areas settled by South Asian immigrants (though leaves Little Pakistan off), while District 44 becomes even more Haredi. District 47 would be significantly changing as well. Redistricting & You maps allow you to create your own and submit them for consideration, link below.
See the full map at https://nyc.redistrictingandyou.org
- Albert Vann, 87, a legend in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, died last Thursday. A councilmember, assemblymember, and mentor to many current politicians, he was remembered by all - and this Amsterdam News story pays the most meaningful tribute.
Crime & Justice
- Why Are We Still Electing Judges?
Judicial candidates donated more than $100,000 to party leaders and political clubs, seeking to secure jobs that pay almost $3 million over a 14-year term. That’s legal, thanks to New York’s “stupid law,” THE CITY reports (long read). Of course, the focus of the story is yet again the Brooklyn Dems.
Back in June primaries, the 10% of local registered Democrats who showed up to vote elected a slate of people I will safely say most of them had no idea about - Judicial delegates and their alternates. There were dozens of them on each ballot, and they are to vote in the upcoming judicial convention for nominations to the open seats in the Supreme Court (the lowest court in NY). The nominees - usually the same number as open seats - are on the Democratic line in your November ballot, guaranteeing election to the bench.
"But party insiders note that the decisions at the convention are largely determined ahead of time," George Joseph and Yoav Gonen write. "A few days before the August gathering, a few dozen party executives attend a private meeting where they hash out who the nominees will be — deliberations which are usually then rubber-stamped by the convention’s delegates."
- A presumed homeless man was stabbed and killed around 2:30 am in Prospect Park near Grand Army Plaza on Monday. A suspect has been arrested.
- Not much information is available about the shooting of one of the on-location parking staff for the Law & Order: Organized Crime series in Greenpoint. He was shot in the head while sitting inside the car, saving a parking spot for the filming.
- The three men who were convicted as teenagers for killing a subway token clerk in Bed Stuy after setting the booth ablaze were exonerated. This was yet another case linked to the notorious Detective Louis Scarcella - a review of about 70 of his cases by the Brooklyn DA has so far resulted in more than a dozen exonerations.
- A new dim sum restaurant, Dimmer and Summer, which opened last Saturday at 196 Smith Street in Cobble Hill, "hits all of the expected dim sum notes, with a full menu of both traditional fare (crab meat and pork soup dumplings) and more unexpected offerings (chopped cheese scallion wrap)," BKMag reports, noting that the server is"a whimsical robot with cat ears and a repertoire of cute “facial” expressions, bad jokes, and tinny songs" - a BellaBot.
- WenWen, a newish Taiwanese place at 1025 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, gets a lovely, full NYT review. Pork lovers, rejoice!
- Grubstreet's quest for the Best Chicken Caesar wrap in New York did not like any of the Brooklyn offerings and went with the one from Bobwhite Counter on the Lower East Side.
- Author Isaac Fitzgerald of Park Slope may like his coffee tepid, but this diary of what he ate for a week hits a lot of wonderful local spots.
- FREE FOOD - Tomorrow, July 22, Plantega is offering free Daring Foods plant-based Chicken Tender Sub and Chicken Quesadilla at the American Choice Gourmet Deli (218 Broadway, Williamsburg) from 11am while supplies last.
The brand is expanding across bodegas everywhere, making sure our somewhat vegan mayor has something to grab on the go in Manhattan and North Brooklyn. But they are also available at the King's Deli & Grill at 592 Albany Ave (between Rutland Rd & Midwood St).
- Availability of good, fresh and cheap food has long been an issue in some of the poorer areas of the city, and activists are urging the city & the Mayor to do something about the "food apartheid," finally.
- Chick-fil-A, meanwhile, is working on opening another location in Brooklyn, a 6,000-square-foot stand-alone restaurant with plenty of seating at 1573-1575 Flatbush Avenue (near Brooklyn College) sometime in 2023.
- Vacations Bar & Rooftop at 321 Starr Street (Cypress Avenue) in Bushwick gets a mention in the NYT for its views.
- Fini Pizza will open at 305 Bedford Avenue, near South Second Street, in Williamsburg, Eater confirms. No timeline yet, but owner Sean Feeney is also the co-owner of Lilia.
- Peaches Prime will open at the Gotham Market food hall at the Ashland (590 Fulton Street) on Tuesday, July 26. “We specifically chose to expand to Gotham Market at The Ashland because of its trendy aesthetic and ideal location,” Peaches owners Ben Grossman Craig Samuel said in a statement. “Our modern take on timeless dishes is the perfect fit for Fort Greene, a nexus of culture and history. We opened our first restaurant in Fort Greene and are excited to return to the neighborhood with our new flagship endeavor.”
- Debe Kitchen, a Roti shop located at 2124 Nostrand Ave. just off the junction of Flatbush and Nostrand avenues, opened on July 6.
- August 7 will be the last day for Lucey's Lounge in Gowanus (475 3rd Ave at 10th Street, next to next to Table 87). The building has been sold, the lease is up, and they are looking at another spot within walking distance in the neighborhood but could do with a helping hand. Thus a Kickstarter. Expected opening in September 2022.
- Founders of Filipino BBQ joint F.O.B. (271 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens) are taking over the location of old Bella Gioia at 209 Fourth Avenue in Park Slope. More BBQ?
- Artist Adam Pendleton shares his pancake recipe with NYT.
- Eater has updated its Best 20 Italian Restaurants list and they may be just a tad Brooklyn-heavy with 11 entries, not that we are complaining. Though ... they may have left some off.
Eater's Best Italian Restaurants, Brooklyn Edition:
- Lilia (567 Union Ave, Williamsburg)
- Bamonte's (32 Withers Street, Williamsburg)
- Faro (436 Jefferson Street, Bushwick)
- Ferdinando's Focacceria (151 Union Street, Carroll Gardens)
- Cafe Spaghetti (126 Union Street, Cobble Hill)
- Frankies 457 Spuntino (457 Court Street, Carroll Gardens)
- Fausto (348 Flatbush Ave, Park Slope/Prospect Heights)
- Al Di La Trattoria (248 5th Ave, Park Slope)
- Michael’s of Brooklyn (2929 Ave R, Madison/Marine Park)
- Joe's of Avenue U (287 Ave U, Gravesend)
- Randazzo's Clam Bar (2017 Emmons Ave, Sheepshead)
- Just in time to beat the heat, NYT reviews the city's movie theaters. Organized alphabetically, they include the two Nitehawk Cinemas in Brooklyn - 188 Prospect Park West and 136 Metropolitan Avenue.
- The Alligator Lounge Is a Nathan Fielder Bar Now.
- Brooklyn Poets is hosting a grand opening and tenth-anniversary party this Saturday, 1-9 pm at 144 Montague St. All are invited.
- A Middle Eastern Party Scene Is Thriving on Brooklyn’s Dance Floors, an NYT headline notes and we can't help thinking we said it back in 2019 ... Yes, it is all bigger and better now.
- Urban Air Adventure Park, a family-friendly indoor adventure park, is coming later this month to 4422 Second Ave. in Sunset Park (by Costco), Patch first reported.
- Lastly - Raving for Shrek, anyone? A lovely tribute to a party in East Williamsburg for the fans of the 2001 film. “‘Shrek’ really encapsulates a sort of post-9/11 urge for homeliness and American comfort, and the idea of defending your homeland from a threat really captured that American paranoia in one cinematic event,” comedian and actor Jaboukie Young-White told NYT strolling past the dance floor.
St. Lucy-St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, located at 285 Willoughby Ave (Kent Street) in Fort Greene, held its last Mass in late Fall 2021 and closed permanently on July 1. The church required significant resources to maintain, a lovely profile by Tablet remarks, and the changing demographic of the parish made that difficult. It is unclear what will become of the church.
Lots of wildlife news this week.
- Sharks, Turtles & Dolphins - as waters get cleaner and warmer, there are more of them circling our city. Rockaway Beach was closed on Sunday and Tuesday following shark sightings.
- Cats (and dogs) - New York City's three Animal Care Centers are overwhelmed with surrendered animals, the people dropping them off blame inflation and hard financial times, CBS reported. Numbers are up 25%, from 5,500 animals surrendered to them in the first half of last year to 6,800 this year.
- Rats were spotted in record numbers last year – just over 25,000—according to 311 data, a 54% uptick from the previous year. Citywide data analyzed by Crains' shows Central-Eastern Brooklyn in the lead, followed by the Upper West side in Manhattan. Zip codes 11237, 11216, and 11221 were particularly bad, with over 300 reported sightings each, especially considering how often one sees the rodents and fails to think to report it to 311. Gothamist also looked at the issue earlier this spring, and we all kind of know why nothing ever changes.
- Residents of 345 Ovington Ave in Bay Ridge face eviction after being caught in a massive swindle by the developer who vanished with $4 million of their money, NY Post reports.
Manhattan lost businesses while Brooklyn saw new ones open, and more interesting data was released by Comptroller Brad Lander's office. Brooklyn now accounts for almost a quarter of all of the city's private establishments.
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