I haven’t done a “Vines” column in a long time since they always seem to get me in trouble. Anyway let’s give it another try.
My last column (“Sex, Lies, Video and Audiotape”) generated a whole lot of feedback. I am postponing part two for now.
Here are two endorsements from “The Rock”. I enthusiastically endorse Phil Goldfeder for the Assembly. I will give a lukewarm endorsement to Ruben Willis (City Council). Both races are in Queens. Phil Goldfeder will make a fine elected official. This is a prediction folks. He is going to win handily. He is a very intelligent guy. He might become mayor or governor one day.
Now Ruben on the other hand is a troublesome selection given his many personal woes; but he deserves a chance at finishing out the term. We can reassess him in 2013. One of his opponents (Rev. Kayode) is “good people”. I see Allan Jennings is still in the fray and mixing it up: a tenacious guy isn’t he? You’ve got to like Allan. He has a puncher’s chance here: but he is still a long shot. read more »
As a head's up, the next Central Brooklyn Eating Liberally group meeting will be September 13, 7 PM at Cafe Steinhof in South Slope. The notice of that meeting will come later. For now I want to re-post my review of the restaurant.
I once knew an Austrian scientist who has since moved on to bigger and better things. Back when we used to hang out drinking together, he told me of a wonderful Austrian restaurant he had found right in my own neighborhood in Brooklyn. Thus I was introduced to the "Austrian comfort food" of Cafe Steinhof by someone who knew Austrian food from birth. read more »
As we were watching footage of Hurricane Irene's effects on New York City, Joy and I saw footage on NY1 that looked like the Gowanus canal flooded pretty high, flowing around vehicles. Those who aren't familiar with the unique smell of the Gowanus canal may not realize how gross that thought is. The Gowanus Canal is one of America's most polluted waterways, including both the water itself and the soil around it, saturated by years of pollution.
Local developers, Mayor Bloomberg, and many local politicians had wanted to develop the Gowanus Canal with hotels and luxury housing. Now this COULD be a good idea if it wasn't for the all that pollution. Thanks to considerable efforts on the part of community activists, the Gowanus Canal has been declared a Superfund site, so it is finally getting cleaned up. Here is what the EPA has to say:
As a result of years of discharges, storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants, the Gowanus Canal has become one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies. Contaminants include PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics. The contamination poses a threat to the nearby residents who use the canal for fishing and recreation.
In fact, since the EPA declared it a Superfund site, it has found that the site is even more contaminated than everyone thought!
Sounds like a perfect place for hotels and a Whole Foods (which is still being built!).
Here is YouTube footage of the flooding near the Gowanus canal near Smith and 9th St:
Joy and I went walking with Jacob to check out the canal after the waters had receded. To give an idea what is right across the street from the future site of Whole Foods, here is a picture Joy took of the water on the shore across by the 3rd St. Bridge:
"I don't understand why NYC Democrats aren't willing to fight a Tea Party candidate in their back yard."
That is what a friend said to me recently, referring to this year's Sept. 13th special and primary elections. Few are paying attention, and yet we are at risk of losing Anthony Weiner's former seat to a Teabagger extremist, we are at risk of losing an Assembly seat to an anti-gay, anti-choice right winger, and we are at risk of letting a civil court seat go to a corrupt crony of the Vito Lopez machine.
Three critical races that are being largely ignored.
We have to win as many of these as we can. They are particularly critical for LGBT rights.
DAVID WEPRIN FOR CONGRESS
CHERYL GONZALES FOR KINGS COUNTY CIVIL COURT JUDGE
JESUS GONZALEZ FOR ASSEMBLY
details below read more »
UPDATES: [NOTE: flow is most recent update at the top, going back in time as you scroll down.]
CLEANING UP: many homes are flooded or had more minor leaks or dampness. The whole city is humid and warm...mold and mildew WILL grow under these conditions and can cause health conditions for months after the storm. Mold and mildew are major contributors to allergy, asthma and other respiratory disorders. So I predict we will see months of health problems due to mold and mildew after this storm. Joy and I have dealt with mold and mildew in our homes for years and have learned a great deal about how to kill and prevent mold and mildew. Go here to find out how to deal with dampness and how to prevent and kill mold and mildew.
SUBWAYS: Subways seem up and running almost 100%. My commute to and from work to day was almost normal. From what I can tell, in both Manhattan around 23rd-33rd streets on the East side, and in Brooklyn around Park Slope, life is back to normal. Streets are mostly far cleaner than usual but otherwise normal.
EVACUATION ORDER TO BE LIFTED 3PM, but authorities still advise taking your time returning home if you evacuated. Transportation is still impacted and many buildings remain without power and with problems.
Staten Island ferry will start up at 3 PM, but trains still aren't working. So staying put is best thing.
Tornado watch technically over.
AIRPORTS STILL CLOSED; Airports will remain closed until the last round of flooding (due to high tide at around 11 AM) can be assessed.
We've passed the lowest pressure point but it is not coming up very quickly, so still storm conditions.
View from my roof looks good. I don't see much damage on roofs in my area of Brooklyn and the wind isn't even that strong.
THE TURNING POINT: Pressure is finally starting to go up, which is a classic sign of a storm passing on. It is officially the turning point. At the same time the high tide is hitting the north of the city, so there sill be some flooding there still to come. After that, it is mainly clean up, though winds will still be high throughout the day.
WHAT'S COMING: at 10 AM...the rain has almost completely passed us, so mostly okay...but we have another hour or so of possible flooding due to high tide and high winds at the north end of the city. Not a full storm surge, but still could cause another wave of flooding in parts of Queens, Manhattan and Bronx along the East River in the next couple of hours.
Weather Underground still shows pressure going down at 9:50 AM, which means the storm hasn't passed, but the radar seems to show that NYC won't be getting that much more rain. I expect pressure should be going up soon.
MORNING: around 9:30 AM got up from a reasonable night's sleep to find we are in the eye of the storm. Though as I initially reported (based on others' analyses) it is "only" a tropical storm by now. Winds around 40-50 mph. Rain tapering off already. Winds continue longer but tapering off this evening.
We fared well here in Brooklyn...no flooding (THANK THE SUMP PUMPS!)...the plants in the backyard aren;t happy, but not a big deal where I live.
TORNADO WATCHES CONTINUE UNTIL 11 AM in NYC
Tornado Watch for: (hurricanes often have accompanying tornadoes)
Fire Island Inlet Ny To Moriches Inlet Ny Out 20 Nm
South Shore Bays From Jones Inlet Through Shinnecock Bay
More on power outages, from Weather Channel:
Lower Manhattan Utility: Officials say 10 miles of steam lines are being shut off, and warned power will be shut off if there is flooding, which would take two to three days to be restored. That could mean Wall Street will not have power for the first part of the week. A Steam line shutdown affects hot water, central air-conditioning and heat. Office buildings, banks, apartment buildings and hotels could be impacted in Lower Manhattan. It would take 2-3 days to restore power, because the flooded customers have to be pumped out and checked by Con Ed, one by one.
Let me also quote the crane warning I mentioned earlier, also from the same Weather Channel source:
26 Tower Cranes: Tower cranes located in the city (13 of those at the World Trade Center construction site) do not disassemble quickly and may not be able to be taken down in time for the storm. They are only built to withstand winds of 65 mph or less.
Michael Bouldin passed this on to some bloggers. ConEd has a web page telling you where blackouts are expected. Check it out BEFORE power goes out.
According to the hourly forecast on the Weather Channel for Brooklyn, we can expect to be in the solid rain phase of the storm about now (by 8 PM) but winds only in the 20 mph. They should reach about 52 mph by 8 AM (in Brooklyn)...this is also high tide which means the storm surge may be closer to the higher predictions. Hurricane force is 74 mph...I don't know if this means the storm over Brooklyn won't be hurricane force or if it means these are measurements at different altitudes. Winds high up can be stronger, but can gust downwards, thus giving temporarily much higher winds than what is sustained on the surface. Gotta say even 50 mph winds sounds pretty bad to me! Rain expected to end for Brooklyn by 7 PM Sunday but with high winds (30 mph range) through out Sunday.
Power outages now almost a certainty. Reports are that people are getting calls from ConEd telling them to expect a power outage. Again, this is probably in any area where storm surge is expected to be high enough to affect the power grid. Often it is best to shut down in advance than wait for the disaster.
Right now Irene is still predicted by most sources to be a hurricane when it hits NYC, despite the earlier prediction I quoted, but by New Hampshire it is expected to have become "only" a tropical storm. Then again, Weather Underground has a map showing it degrading to a tropical storm by the tri-state area. So it is still unclear how bad the winds will be in NYC. Either way, rains will be bad. Storm surge is predicted to be 3-6 feet in NYC according to weather underground. This may mean flooding in subway tunnels may not be so bad, but best to assume worse. Other predictions are 5-8 feet. That would be much worse.
Cantor says "spending cuts" to offset additional $$ for disasters in 7th etc ..how about closing corp. tax loopholes for a start?
--E. Wayne Powell 25 Aug via web
So far predicted electricity cuts apply mainly to Lower Manhattan...presumably this is due to key power stations having a risk of flooding.
Though one meteorologist I am following is convinced it will be a tropical storm by NYC, Weather channel is still predicting category 1 hurricane. It all depends on the exact path. The more over land it goes, the less energy it will have. It will pick up energy over the ocean. Since it is tracking up the coast it could do some of both, so the energy input is
Mayor still saying power might be cut...probably means if there is any doubt he will cut it. This could be disastrous for buildings like mine that depend on sump pumps. Rain already hitting and by now we have broken all rainfall records for August in NYC. Storm surge still predicted to be 4-8 feet above ground level in New York Harbor, but if my previous update is true and we may see a weakening of winds by the time it gets here, we may see less. Let me be clear about the weakening: even if it weakens the amount of rain is likely to be massive. The weakening mainly affects the wind, which is the main variable that is uncertain right now affecting storm surge.
Park Slope Food Co-op Update: The Co-op will close 5 PM Saturday, will remain closed Sunday (yay! I can skip my shift!) and plans on being open normally Monday.
Irene has weakened. It was predicted to hit America as a category 3 storm but has already weakened to a category 1 storm. That may mean she is "only" a tropical storm when she hits NYC. The winds are hopefully going to be below hurricane force by then, though still strong. We will still get a lot of rain though. I think lower winds will mean lower storm surge. I noted in the original post the problem with the large construction cranes. If the wind is below hurricane force then the risk should be minimal.
This morning the Park Slope Food Co-op was open and busy, but still well stocked. Plenty of milk, bread, etc. I have heard the Upper West Side has seen a run on stores and was running out of stuff (including toilet paper...the co-op has plenty!), which is probably a bit silly on people's parts. But the Food Co-op was holding its own. As of now the Co-op plans on having regular hours (and I will have my workshift tomorrow) during the storm. But that is still in flux and could change.
The mayor is warning of a possible power shut down. I suspect he is warning for a worst case scenario and it won't be necessary. There is a lot Bloomberg does badly, but since his big blizzard flop, I think he is trying to do well in a crisis. So far so good this time around. For those below I think it is 6 stories in NYC, water should still be running even if power is out (because the water flow is gravity driven). Above that electricity is needed to pump against gravity and you might want to stock up...just fill some pots with water before the storm hits. You don't have to buy the stuff.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
All of NYC was talking about the earthquake. Me...I barely noticed, coming from California.
But the hurricane has my attention...
As of now the rain is supposed to start this afternoon. Then get heavy by 8 PM or so. Wind forces look to peak in NYC around 10-11 AM Sunday. Then it is predicted to taper off by Sunday afternoon. It will remain quite windy into Monday. The eye is predicted to pass right over NYC at last report so sometime in the middle of the night it should go calm for a bit before picking back up. We are expected to be affected by the worst of the winds for about 21 hours total.
All NYC airports are closing to arriving flights at 12 p.m. Saturday. They'll remain open for departing flights, though I wonder if things will get bad enough to change that. That is also around the time public transportation will shut down, so get where you need to get before noon on Sat.
One bit of preparedness that cannot be taken is the removal of the really big construction cranes. They can't be taken down or put up quickly so they have to stay up. They are expected to withstand up to 65 mph winds. The winds I am seeing predicted are around 46 mph, but I also see a maximum wind speed of 75 mph forecast for NYC. So
My apartment was right under the Brooklyn tornado, and that was pretty impressive. But I think hurricane Irene will be the biggest weather event I have been through. Yet I have to admit my family hasn't really prepared. We are likely to get flooded on our basement level and I am planning with the rest of the board of the building how to handle the hurricane...most importantly we got our sump pumps checked out and gotten running optimally in advance of the hurricane. That should help. But otherwise we have just been waiting for it to come...though we have been checking to see if we have to work our Park Slope Food Co-op workshifts. As of Friday night I still have to work my workshift at 8 AM Sunday morning...in the middle of the hurricane. In fact right when the winds are peaking. We'll see if that is still on once Irene actually hits. For those who want to keep up on what is going on with the Food Co-op during Irene, go here. At the moment my work place is one of the hospitals that are being evacuated. I suspect I will still be going to work on Monday, but you never know.
Daily Kos has a special group dedicated to watching and preparing for Irene. Go here for general info and preparedness tips from Daily Kos.
My impression so far is that Obama and Bloomberg have been doing everything they can to prepare for impact. Hell, the MTA is even suspending fares on some routes to help people evacuate! This is in considerable contrast to when Katrina was bearing down on America when I was astonished at how little Bush was doing to prepare. Time will tell if Obama and Bloomberg's preparations are enough, but I think they are doing everything they can.
You can also follow the path of the hurricane at Weather.com.
And for anyone who wants to read how the Greedy Oil Party is trying to take advantage of the hurricane and hurt you and me for their own political gain, click here.
I have done a couple of endorsement roundups for the upcoming Brooklyn elections already, but I am falling behind. I want to catch up.
Here are the endorsements of some of Brooklyn's most independent and reform-minded organizations:
Lambda Independent Democrats: LGBT focused
LID is proud to endorse…
David Weprin for U.S. House of Representatives, 9th Congressional District
David Weprin has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community for many years, and he has consistently voted to support marriage equality as an Assemblyman. His opponents are trying to use his marriage votes against him in their campaign to win the seat. Plus, the national Republican party is pouring large amounts of resources into this race so they can claim to have a mandate from the American people.
Let’s make sure David wins. Please contribute or volunteer here.
Jesus Gonzalez for State Assembly, 54th Assembly District
It is rare that we would support someone who is not running on the Democratic line in a primary. For this race, however, we could not support the Democrat. The candidate endorsed by the Democratic County Leader is both anti-choice and anti-marriage equality. Jesus Gonzalez, on the other hand, is a fresh new voice with a progressive vision for his district. He is running on the Working Families Party line and has been endorsed by New Kings Democrats, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and many other progressive leaders and groups. Please contribute or volunteer here.
Cheryl Gonzales for Countywide Civil Court Judge (Kings County)
Judge Gonzales is currently a Housing Court judge who is widely respected by her peers. Yesterday, on the first day of marriage equality, she volunteered to preside over the civil weddings of dozens of same-gender couples in Brooklyn. She has a deep knowledge of the law and brings a human touch to her courtroom.
Mark your calendars! The primary and special elections will be held on Tuesday, September 13th. read more »
This comes from Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform:
Will you be an informed voter on September 13th, 2011?
Please join Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform
for a Civil Court Candidate Forum
with Cheryl Gonzales,
candidate for Civil Court judge
Friday August 26
721 Franklin Avenue
(between Park & Sterling)
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Voting shouldn’t be a spectator sport. read more »
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Or this one?
"It's been ten short years. Everyone remembers," the ad says, with dreary music playing over images of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center. "Some, though, want to commemorate the tragedy by building a mosque on Ground Zero."
This is not just a partisan thing, though I'm obviously a Democrat. It's a question of values. And my values tell me that trying to skate into Congress in a low-turnout special election based on (deceptively) bashing a vulnerable minority, in this case Muslims, is reprehensible. New Yorkers deserve better than this.
Go vote on 9/13. read more »
Fasten your seatbelts and let me take you on a ride through the politics of East New York, Brooklyn. All the while, do remember this is a serious story worthy of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s attention. In the end, a man’s future is at stake. As far as I know, if this man is convicted, then he has to become a registered sex-offender because of the charges filed against him. However, when you examine everything closely, you do find a strange story with a whole bunch of twists and turns; and with a host of unanswered questions.
This is the column I promised readers a couple months ago. I came in a lil earlier than promised. After you read it, draw your own conclusions. I will also tell you why it took me a year to fully expose it (probably in part two of this column). read more »
I admit I use online bookstores more than regular bookstores these days. But we have an excellent local bookstore practically across the street from us that is a great alternative to the mass market online stores when you want something unusual. It is a great atmosphere to read, shop and hang out. Comfortable and relaxed. It also has a long history in the community since it claims to be Brooklyn's oldest bookstore (40 years of serving the community!). read more »
The August meeting of Central Brooklyn Eating Liberally will be
Tuesday, August 9th at 7 PM at Zaytoons in Prospect Heights.
594 Vanderbilt Ave
(between Bergen St & Dean St)
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Good Middle Eastern food and I am sure people will have a lot to talk about with all that's going on these days.
Some special elections in NYC to discuss plus general discussion about
national politics. That also happens to be the night the fate of
Wisconsin will be decided!
This comes from my Democratic district leader, Chris Owens:
Hey, northwest Brooklyn, wake up! We're getting screwed again! It's time to take action -- and you can do it from your home and your computer.
The Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was established by Congress and signed into law by President Obama to provide resources to individuals who were injured or killed between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002 and who resided, worked, attended school or assisted with clean-up or rescue activities within the "crash sites" as defined in the legislation.
The Zadroga legislation itself provides two types of support: (i) funds for free medical monitoring of victims, and (ii) the Victim Compensation Fund referred to above (the "VCF"). A Special Master, Sheila Birnbaum, Esq., has been appointed to oversee the administration of the VCF. Under the Zadroga legislation, the Special Master has the power to make many decisions per her discretion. read more »