Saturday, December 8, 2007

Please no anonymous posts!

I had to delete an anonymous post that called this site filth because it is my policy to delete unsigned anonymous posts.

I have been called worse, anonymous person, and I think you should get over it. Aren't there bigger fish for you to fry besides annoying me? Would you entertain the thought that homelessness is filth, people without access to health care is filth, war is filth and abuse of authority is filth?

The homeless guy in the condo is gone. They put garbage cans there. Still no one is living there but I think I saw one "sold" sign.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

From a posting on craigslist...

If NYC today was the same as it was in the 1980's, all these pasty white ugly ass nerdy hipsters and other outta state DORKS walking around Manhattan would be flooding the city's Intensive Care units with stab & gunshot wounds, cracked ribs, broken teeth, and other assault related injuries. But instead they're free to come here, unchallenged by anyone, to drive up our prices ($2000 STUDIO apartments??????) so abnormally that the native NY'ers are fleeing to live under the rocks that these freaks crawled out of to live here in NYC. I hope the immigrants in NYC's surrounding boroughs realize that while these nerds (disguised as hipsters) walk around their neighborhoods smiling at them like retards as if they love their culture (which they really might), they are there to crush & destroy the neighborhood they've spent decades building. To crush the small ethnic cafes and replace them with Starbucks and bars that charge $5, $10 or more for a Corona. They are there to steal their neighborhood from them. Ironic that individually, they probably move into the neighborhood because of it's character, as they started doing over 10 years ago in the Lower East Side and Alphabet City, but then as more & more follow, and the neighborhood's natives get driven out by kids armed with trust funds and over-educated dorks, the neighborhood becomes a "Little Boise" or "Little Little Rock" and loses the character that once made it what it was. Listen to me people of the outer boroughs - look at Manhattan as an example...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rally in Sunset Park, Thurs Nov. 15, 2007

Dear Neighbor,

I wanted to let you all know about some unpleasant things that are happening to low-income tenants in Sunset Park , and invite you to join Neighbors Helping Neighbors in protesting the unscrupulous methods used by landlord, Jack Geula, and his attorney, Samuel J. Hagan to displace their tenants. These two are using methods both illegal and immoral to force low-income, mainly immigrant tenants out of their buildings so they can raise the rent. Not only are individuals being mistreated, but the stock of affordable, rent-stabilized housing in Sunset Park is being permanently diminished.

Jack Geula may be familiar to you, since he was mentioned in a press conference about unscrupulous landlords that we sponsored April 27 which was covered in the Daily News and El Diario. Sadly, the problems that we sought to highlight in that press conference have only gotten worse. Mr. Geula, who purchased the nine buildings listed below in the fall of 2006, has enlisted the help of his attorney, Samuel Hagan, to use a variety of measures to intimidate and harass his low-income, Latino tenants with a stated goal of removing them from his building and renting to “white people from Oklahoma ”. Geula and his attorney were recently nearly sanctioned by the court for bringing frivolous no-cause eviction actions against two disabled Section 8 tenants. Geula has refused to sign required paperwork to recertify tenants for Public Assistance. He is refusing to make repairs in the apartments of certain tenants. He has made verbal agreements with tenants, and then reneged on

Despite our best efforts Mr. Geula and Mr. Hagan have removed a third to a half of the tenants of Geula’s nearly 200 rent-stabilized units. The majority of these long-term tenants have been low-income, Latino families. The units they have turned over are permanently lost to affordability.

We are coming together at 1:00 PM on Thursday, November 15th to demand that Geula and Hagan cease and desist in their efforts to drive low-income Latinos out, diminish the affordable housing stock in Sunset Park , and destabilize this diverse, working class, community. We invite you to join us at this event. We will be rallying at 908 4th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th Street ), which is the office of Geula’s attorney, Sam Hagan. You are also welcome to meet at the Neighbors Helping Neighbors office ( 443 39th Street, suite 202 ) at 12:30 PM to pick up a sign, and walk with us to the rally. Please contact Taylor Graham at NHN (718) 686-7946, ext 19, to let us know if you will be able to attend. Thank you in advance for your support!


Julia Fitzgerald, Executive Director
Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Defend Sunset Park! Stop Gentrification!

(This is about a sleezbag racist landlord and his slimey lawyer who are illegally harassing Latino tenants in Sunset Park. !CABRONES!)

Sunset Park is a culturally diverse community. It has traditionally been an affordable neighborhood where people can raise their families. Now working people are coming under attack from landlords seeking to charge luxury rents. Affordable housing is being lost and tenants are being displaced.

Rally Against Harassment and Displacement!

Thursday November 15, 2007 1:00 PM Jueves 15 de noviember 2007

904 4th Ave., Brooklyn (4th Avenue, west side of street between 33rd and 34th)

N, D, R, M trains to 36 St.

!Defienda a Sunset Park! !No mas gentrificacion!

Sunset Park es una comunidad de culturas diversas. Tradicionalment ha sido un vecindario economico para familias . Ahora nuestra gente trabajadora esta siendo atacada por duenos que quieren cobrar rentas altas. La vivienda economica se esta perdiendo y los inquilinos estan siendo desplazados.

Manifestacion contra el acoso y el desplazamiento

More info/Mas informacion

Taylor o Nico
Neighbors Helping Neighbors/Vecinos Ayudando a Vecinos
718-686-7946 x19

Friends of Sunset Park

Join us to bring beauty, educational programs, recreation, entertainment and preservation to a safe and clean park with the best views in New York City and the Sunset Park 9/11 Living Memorial Grove.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Save the dates!! Important meetings coming up.

1. Sunset Park Zoning/Community Planning Workshop

Monday Oct. 22, 2007
6:30 PM, 4201 4th Ave (Corner of 43 St.)

Come learn about zoning and development issues that will affect the proposed re-zoning of Sunset Park from Brad Lander and Paula Crespo of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

2. Zoning Conversations on the Future of Sunset Park will be held on Oct. 27th 1 PM(at the Sunset Park Recreation Center) and on Nov. 7th 6:30 PM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Everyone who is in Sunset Park and cares about affordable housing, the future of our neighborhood, the health and safety of the area should be there!!!!
Let them know we are watching this process.

Sponsored by Community Board 7 , Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez and Pratt Center.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Commentary by an NYU Student living in Sunset Park


"Since I moved to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, I’ve fallen in love with my neighborhood. I savor the brownstone blocks, the buzzing Mexican barrio, the borough’s biggest Chinatown and the grassy park with its views of the Manhattan skyline. I feel at home in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, I am destroying it.

My roommate and I discovered Sunset Park after realizing we couldn’t afford to live in any of the neighborhoods we considered cool. In one weekend, we saw eight apartments. Some crawled with roaches and rodents, others had beautiful bay windows and hardwood floors. Late Sunday afternoon, we found it – a cozy two-bedroom in a four-unit row house near the park.

Rent here is cheap, and food is cheaper. Mexican restaurants, bakeries, record stores, ride services and travel agencies line Fifth Avenue, the main drag, and on warm Sundays, vendors clog the sidewalks, hawking tamales and bootleg DVDs. A few avenues away, Chinese groceries, fish markets, karaoke bars and banks stretch for a mile. There are no movie theaters, bookstores or coffee houses – the closest options are in the next neighborhood.

Waiting for the D train, I’m legitimately surprised to hear English. When I go out for dinner (Chinese or Mexican), I pass kids riding their bikes, men playing soccer in a dried-up kiddie pool, families picnicking on park benches, and women working in sweatshops. In a New York that grows ever richer and ever poorer, Sunset Park is still a working class neighborhood. But if more people like my roommate and me move in, it won’t stay that way for long.

With the money my roommate earns lifeguarding, and the cash I saved interning, we can hardly cover rent and utilities, even with help from our parents. But as students seeking inexpensive living, our economic status differs greatly from that of our neighbors.

College students are the best gentrifiers. We move to neighborhoods with low rent and high crime rates. We feed the local economy with our parents’ money, but frequent bodegas only until a CVS opens. The businesses we close make room for bars, coffee shops and ethnic restaurants that better fit our demographic. We invite our friends and our friends’ friends for parties; the next year, our friends and our friends’ friends move in.

Many of us relocate every year. Whenever one of us moves out, our landlords increase rent by more than 4 percent – the typical inflation rate. After a couple of years of collegiate immigration, longtime residents can’t afford to stay.

We pay half as much rent as our friends in Greenwich Village do. Our neighbors probably pay about half what we do. When we moved in, our building was the only space on the block that catered to college students. In the last eight months, three new condo buildings have sprouted from vacant lots, all inhabited by gentrifying students and expats from the nearest gentrified neighborhood, Park Slope.

Sunset Park is calm compared to how it was 20 ago, when it earned its rough reputation. It still has its problems. Coming home from class, I pass rows of cars with smashed windows and missing stereos. I’d play more basketball in the park if the kids weren’t wearing gang colors. These are the times when I’d like to see Sunset Park change. I want the drugs out of the park, the gangs off the streets and the sweatshops closed. If that makes me a gentrifier, I don’t feel bad about it.

Other times, I regret killing Sunset Park. I should support the community, but most local businesses don’t fulfill my needs. The movie rental shops don’t carry anything I want to see, so I rely on Netflix. I’ve tried to get my groceries from only local shops, but the two nearest bodegas don’t carry cheese or bread. I used to walk four blocks every morning to get the Times, but delivery is so much easier. A few times a week, I grab a torta or a banh mi, but giving service to restaurants isn’t the same as giving back to the community.

It’s easy to criticize the knockout punches of gentrification, like Whole Foods or Starbucks moving in. But the baby steps of gentrification are rarely criticized – often, they’re praised. When young people (students) “revitalize” a neighborhood, we force out longtime residents. The new neighborhood becomes a destination. Ten years later, we mourn the death of this trendy, quaint, “authentic” neighborhood. No, gentrification doesn’t begin when big business dominates a neighborhood. Gentrification begins when students arrive."

(My feedback to this)


You don't need to feel so much guilt! I don't think you are "killing" the neighborhood. You are doing the very typical thing that everyone in this neighborhood has done, which is to seek out an affordable place to live.
You can use your skills and abilities to help the neighborhood, by getting involved in community organizations and patronizing the small businesses here. What bodegas don't carry cheese or bread? I get really fresh cheese in the grocery next to the JFK chicken place on 5th Ave. next to the Sunset Park Diner (39th and 5th). Did you know there is a Farmers Market every Sat. until Nov. at 4th Ave and 59th St. Also there are several produce vendors on 5th Ave usually on the weekends, near 52nd and 53rd St.
I feel as you do in that not everything I need is here. There are a lot of things I would like to see here...bookstores, healthy restaurants. But not at the price of jacking up the rents....if that is the case, I will use the old metrocard to seek that stuff elsewhere. I don't care much about dvds but I do belong to the Park Slope Food Coop because I do like to eat organic food. But we DO NOT NEED a Starbucks here!! That's where I draw the frickin Line!!!

Any other feedback to his article?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Condo News

I pass by the condo every day and can't get used to this sight....the graves are steps away from the building.
The website for the development says: "The Greenwalk offers an affordable family-size place to call home in one of Brooklyn's most convenient neighborhoods."
Yeah, I guess if you are home dying you can just jump out the window because the cemetary is right here. How's that for convenient?

Meanwhile, most nights when I come home late, I see that this condo has an early occupant..
he sleeps in the shelter for the building's not yet arrived garbage receptacle.

The Mexican record and video store across the street from me, going out of business...

Sunset Park for sale....

Summit news...Brooklyn is NOT the new Manhattan!

The Sunset Park Summit on Sunday Sept. 23rd was a great success.
I am not sure as to the head count but I am sure it was well over a hundred. I neglected to bring home a program but the opening presentation consisted of inspiring words from the pastors of St. Michael's Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran Church, and an awesome educational presentation on zoning by Rosten Woo, of the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Mad props to them all!!
Later on we broke up into workshops and the workshops each picked a representative to present their workshop's conclusions.
A lot of important issues were discussed, the most emphasized of which were: maintaining and expanding affordable housing, preventing the displacement of current residents, making Sunset Park a greener community, maintaining the ethnic and economic diversity of the neighborhood; and preserving the architecture and character of the neighborhood. I hope I haven't left anything out but I will post a more comprehensive report of what is going to be presented to the Community Board and City Planning in the near future.
The main message of the summit was that the area is going to be rezoned and the people of the neighborhood need to have a voice in this process. That voice was and is going to be heard.

A report from one of the various workshops. Every workshop group picked five points that they wanted the City Planning Commission to take into consideration.
One person said: "Affordable housing means affordable to the people in this community, not affordable to people who want to move here from Manhattan."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy September

22 days till the Summit....

in the meantime, have a great Labor Day weekend.

Interesting reading

Friday, August 31, 2007

Article in Downtown Express on Gentrification in Chinatown

This was in the Aug.31-Sept. 6 issue of the Downtown Express, which is a free paper that is distributed there. There is a pretty good article on the battle against gentrification by the Asian community in Chinatown, "Game Teaches Chinatown Youth the G-Word" by Annie Lok.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don't Be Shy! Introduce Yourself!

All people and comments are welcome here.
From now on I will be deleting unsigned anonymous comments.

Monday, August 27, 2007

All Out to the Sunset Park Summit Sept. 23rd

What is your vision and hope for the future of the Sunset Park Community?


Sunday Sept. 23, 2007 1:00- 4:30 PM

PS 24, 38th St and 4th Ave.

Childcare, translation and food available.

When a proposed 12-story building on 42nd St. threatened to destroy the quality of life and the historic low-rise nature of Sunset Park, a group of home-owners, tenants and activists organized a historic effort to stop it. They called themselves the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors (SPAN). After several well-attended community meetings, protests, calls and letters to elected officials, a petition drive, community board meetings and press conferences, the developer agreed to cut the building in half. With that battle won, however, the real struggle began: In order to protect the WHOLE neighborhood from similar irresponsible development, Sunset Park needed to be rezoned. So once again, SPAN volunteers worked night and day to get the Community Board to support and eventually the NYC Dept. of City Planning to commit to a rezoning study.

To find unity in the diverse voices of Sunset Park and create a plan for the future development of Sunset Park that will support families and residents.

These areas were agreed upon by neighbors attending the Aug. 4 Neighborhood Action Meeting.

Housing-- Preserving a wide range of low to middle income housing; Affordability; Imposing requirements on developers to develop affordable housing; Preservation of the architecture of Sunset Park; ending displacement of current residents; Creating solutions to overcrowding; conversion of 2-3 family homes to boarding houses.

Schools/Education: Lack of high school; Size of schools (too big); Quality of schools; lack of parent education with regard to parent rights & involvement in schools; Police presence; support; seats.

Infrastructure: Transportation/trains; sewers; firehouse; "green" building; construction within space; environmental concerns; pollution; traffic; floodplain; brownfields.

Resources: Family support; sanitation; community education.

Safety: construction permits; signs; safety at worksites; noise; environment.

Aesthetics: Preserve character of neighborhood; Preserve view from Sunset Park; impact of "flippers" investing to make a quick buck.

Business: Support small, local businesses, big box corporations are displacing local businesses; Dwindling manufacturing--preserve and accommodate manufacturing; hire community residents for developing projects.
Create apprenticeship opportunities for community residents.

Open Space: More trees; Preserve Sunset Park and the diversity of programs and people who use it.

Waterfront: Waterfront access

Unity: Support ethnic and class unity and diversity; Encourage cross-ethnic community involvement; Encourage community investment and involvement.


Summit Registration
or register in person at the summit

Also email if you want to volunteer to distribute flyers to get the word out.

at our regular Monthly Membership Meeting
Every Second Thursday of the month
Trinity Lutheran Church
4th Ave bet. 45 and 46 Street
Sunset Park, Brooklyn


The fund-raiser/party on Aug.25th was awesome! There was a great crowd and a great sense of community.
Updates: there is more mural going up, this time on the street side of the school. This time it looks as if the themes are from the guys. Pics to follow.

Quotes from Time Out New York (Aug. 23-29, 2007)
"Manhattan's getting whiter, while ethnicities multiply in the other boroughs. Welcome to New York's future."
(I think "ethnicities" means not white and not African-American.)
"...groups identifying themselves as Hispanic or Asian saw bumps of 90,000 apiece over (the past six years)" in New York City.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Aug. 25....Party and Fundraiser

Host: SPEAC & SPAN Collectives
Location: Eclipse Restaurant
4314 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 US
View Map | Find a Hotel
When: Saturday, August 25, 9:00PM
Phone: 718- 851-3936

Join us for a benefit party to support grassroots organizing in Sunset Park, Brooklyn! All proceeds will support the Sunset Park Education In Action Community (SPEAC) School Planning Team - a group of community residents and allies seeking to open a new public community school in Sunset Park - and Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors (SPAN) - a collective of Sunset Park residents organizing to protect the community from over-development and gentrification.

Please come out and support! Food & alcohol will be available. A DJ and great live performers will keep you groovin' all night long, plus, there is an outdoor patio space for chillaxin'...

We are asking for a minimum $10 donation at the door.

SUBWAY DIRECTIONS: R Train to 45th Street

This school will be founded on
* A BELIEF that youth succeed in an individualized, responsive, and rigorous learning environment with clear relevance to the world around them.
* AN AWARENESS that wellness is the intersection of social, economic, and environmental justice, individual health, and community strength.
* AN UNDERSTANDING that students, families, teachers, and neighbors play an active role as community builders working towards a healthier, more just world.
* A COMMITMENT to developing sustainable wellness both within our walls and in the community beyond.

SPAN (Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors) is a group of people who love the community of Sunset Park, Brooklyn and are committed to its preservation and empowerment. We are committed to open and honest communication and education about the past, present and future of our diverse community. We recognize and work to preserve the economic, racial, ethnic and generational diversity of our community. Together, we can maintain and create an environment where all can freely and enthusiastically enjoy everything Sunset Park has to offer, in the present and future, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and equality.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mural vs. Condo

Hello. My name is Amina. The place I call home is the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, or more specifically, the Latino area of Sunset Park. (There is a Chinatown here that starts a few blocks from me.) My neighbors are from Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and a few other places. I am half Puerto Rican and half Arab-American and I have lived here since 2001.
For many years the place I call home had suffered a bad reputation. During the time of crack (80s and 90s) a lot of people would not set foot here. I lived in Park Slope at the time, so I did not need to. All I heard about Sunset Park was...Don't go there, it's a real shoot em up.

Then I got displaced, or became an economic refugee. After over six years of living month-to-month in a studio apartment with no lease or one single rent increase, I was told to vacate the premises because my landlady needed the place for her aging parents who were selling their house. When I looked around the Park Slope area, the rents told me I was not the kind of person they wanted there anymore. Which is why I ended up looking in other parts of Brooklyn and found a rent stabilized one bedroom in Sunset Park.

It was easy for me to adapt since I speak Spanish, a skill you needed then to even do your laundry here. During my first year, one guy got shot in the head in a club around the corner from me (that club was closed down), and a woman got shot in front of her children across the street from another club--a gang-related case of mistaken identity. Those two clubs are now a bakery and a church, respectively. Also during my first year year an off-duty police officer while driving drunk wiped out a family. He is now in jail.

So you can see things are getting better. As of today, August 9, 2007 there is still a lot that could be better. But I love my home. I love that all the countries of Latin America are repping here and that we pretty much all get along. Some people are here illegally and some like me are born and raised here, but pretty much everyone is just here to make a better life for themself and their neighbors, sometimes against formidable odds. Their strength inspires me.


Last summer work was commenced on a mural on the PS 24 building at 4th Avenue between 37 and 38th Streets. The name of the mural is Feels Like Home: An Immigrant Journey and it is a project of the public school and Groundswell Community Mural Projects Voices Heard Series.

I quote from the wall: "This mural depicts the immigrant experience as told to us by women from the Sunset Park community. Beginning with the women's thoughts about leaving her homeland, the visual journey takes you through the various phases of immigration.
We hope to convey this story in all of its complexities as one full of hardship and happiness, struggle and hope. We celebrate the dedication and determination of these women as they move towards a brighter future."

Over the past year, the mural has become a significant source of pride for the neighborhood
and a second mural project is now underway on the street side of the school building. (More pictures to come!)


Well by now you must have surmised that this neighborhood is not full of millionaires. An interesting fact I learned recently is that 40% or more of the housing stock in this area is rent regulated.
Here are some images of the Sunset Park I have been living in for the past 6 years:

Mexican flag in a grocery store window.

Taqueria, 99 cents store, Santo Domingo Invita restaurant.

The Taqueria Mixteca Restaurant

and here are our new future neighbors, on the corner of 36th Street and Fourth Avenue:

This structure is called the Green Walk, and the units are being sold at prices between $437,000 and $775,000.

The condo's website describes the building as being located in "greener pastures" in Greenwood Heights. Actually the building is in a cemetery and when you walk out the door you are in

Sunset Park!!......Welcome to the hood.


Stickers like these....this one says "The gringos come, the rents go up."

and these "Hello, my name is Barrio.
Get out gentrifier"

Here they come....

to be continued......