Diana Reyna envoy Alejandro Echeverri, left, with CB4 Parliamentarian and grill master Odolph Wright. — Photo by Aaron Short
7:00 PM: Community Board 4 is getting off to a late start tonight, even for Bushwick Time. It is the last meeting of the year until September. (I think they’re waiting for a quorum to show up, as the room is half empty). A couple of notes. Ashley Khan, the manager of 979 Willoughby, threatened to come to the meeting tonight. So far, there’s no sign of him.
Instead, we have Charlie Verde from Verde and Son Contracting. Last I had heard of Charlie, he was trying to establish a merchants’ association for businesses on Irving Avenue with some help from the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council two years ago. The businesses’ chief complaint was what to do about a spate of robberies and break-ins.
7:01 PM: Chairwoman Julie Dent calls the meeting to order and District Manager Nadine Whitted takes the roll. Twenty-six members are present. Dent begins her report, noting that even though the board has the summer off, Whitted is still going to call people regarding urgent matters. Dent introduces the elected representatives. No surprises here, as Vito, Marty (Dilan) and Darryl (Towns) are stuck in Albany until they pass a budget and Diana and Erik are stuck in hearings. Meanwhile, Borough President Marty Markowitz is at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Opening Day. It’s good to be the King.
7:10 PM: Nadine gives certificates to all the committee chairmen and women. Of special note, Odolph Wright, the Parliamentarian, received another award for being the top griller at the Hope Gardens barbecue during last week’s parade.
7:17 PM: Italia Guerrero from Markowitz’s office hands out the perfect attendance awards. And they’re going to Deborah Brown, Martha Brown, Avellar Hansley, Barbara Smith, Raul Rubio, Barbara Smith, and Odolph Wright. So far, Wright has the inside track for tonight’s MVP award.
7:20 PM: Dent wants to identify four new board members. Lucy Garrado, who is returning to the board, Charlene Moore, Angelina Rodriguez, and Luisa Aguadila.
Dent continues her report, thanking CB4 Religion Chairwoman Elvena Davis for organizing the Bushwick Day Parade, Wright for working the grill, and Jason Andrew for working with children at the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center for an exhibit last month.
7:36 PM: Whitted begins her report regarding the reorganization of Wyckoff Hospital and its community advisory board. Its redesigned Emergency Room has a ribbon cutting on July 8th. The hospital has a long history with the board and with the community and it might be time for a check-in.
Whitted attended a design charette for Knickerbocker Plaza at Knickerbocker Avenue and Myrtle Avenue. Construction will start in 2011. Everyone wants to see trees planted there, but Whitted isn’t sure whether that will happen.
Also, the L train won’t operate at all on Monday, July 5 from Brooklyn to Manhattan from 5 am Monday to 5 am Tuesday, July 6. There will be alternative service and buses.
7:51 PM: Odolph Wright gives his economic development report. He hands out a questionnaire about street vendors and notes that Bank of America will be taking part of the space of Party Fair on Knickerbocker Avenue, which is reducing its square footage. Ahhh, that’s why Charlie Verde is here. The Myrtle-Irving Merchants Association, which asked CB4 to do the questionnaire, wants the city to crack down on unlicensed street vendors who are competing with storefront businesses by selling the same goods. They’re looking at food, clothing, CDs and DVDs, and arts and crafts as the products being sold.
Whitted adds her two cents in on the complexity of the issue. Ten years ago, stores had a better working relationship with street vendors, because they attracted more traffic to the neighborhood, and even charged them rent. Whitted urges sensitivity to the vendors, many of whom are immigrants who also live in the community.
"Were not trying to put anyone out of business," says Whitted. "They’re a part of our community. This is a very sensitive issue. There will be more meeting about this. Vendors need to be offered options, training programs on how to become legal, possibly developing a flea market, rather then just being told ‘you have to go.’"
8:07 PM: Parks! Scratch that. Public Safety! Barbara Smith addresses the soccer players at Bushwick Campus High School. The soccer players are apparently urinating around the building, drinking beer, and leaving bottles, and being a general nuisance to those on the block, playing soccer as late as 1am! Smith and Whitted are demanding that the Parks Department meet with the league to change the playing time hours and give the board copies of all the permits.
8:13 PM: Whitted takes nominations for officers for the following year. Chairwoman Julie Dent wins reelection. So does Martha Brown, Austen Martinez, Barbara Smith and pretty much everyone else. Congratulations.
8:33 PM: Will Harris, CB4 member and a liaison from Vito Lopez’s office, announces that 979 Willoughby Avenue is no longer a sober house and gives a shout out to BushwickBK for the coverage of the building. Will wants that MVP award. He can smell it, but Odolph is putting up big numbers tonight.
8:36 PM: Announcements! Let’s keep these brief.
*Will notes that it’s time once again for Vito Lopez’s Sunken Gardens Annual Senior Picnic. This year it will be held on July 22. Buses will be departing from several locations across the districts from 7 am. Chicken lunch. Steak dinner. I’ve already marked my calendar.
*A rep from Ridgewood Bushwick is announcing its summer streets program on Maria Hernandez Park, which will close Knickerbocker Avenue next to the park each Sunday from July 11 to August 1st. This is one of RBSCC‘s newest public events and it’s one of their best ones.
*Finally, three students from the Academy of Urban Planning are announcing its new clothing line, D3DAZ, which is a fundraiser for college scholarships. They are selling shirts for $15 and shoes for $30 that they have designed and printed themselves. They are very cool and they’re of a kind.
"Everyone likes Bushwick, everyone’s from Bushwick," said student Kashiera Franklyn.
This sounds like a feature. That’s a wrap. See you in September.
Bushwick’s Community Board 4 meets on the third Wednesday of every month (except July and August) at Hope Gardens Community Center, 195 Linden Street at Wilson Avenue. To contact the office any other time, call 718-628-8400 or visit 315 Wyckoff Avenue, 2nd Floor.