6:39 PM: It’s far from a packed house tonight, oddly, as the school year is coming to a close. But I have to praise the spread. We’ve got Hawaiian chicken, which has a hint of coconut and a garlicky bruschetta with diced yellow tomatoes and sautéed onions.
Meanwhile in Bensonhurst, Congressman Ed Towns busy getting trounced by Councilman Erik Dilan for the highly coveted unpaid position of district leader. Here in Bushwick, there’s a Census representative on the agenda tonight who hasn’t showed up yet.
6:48 PM: Chairwoman Julie Dent calls the meeting to order — but since there isn’t a quorum the board can’t actually vote on anything. Does this mean the meeting will go much more quickly? You bet it does.
6:53 PM: A representative from FDNY Engine 271, Joseph Schiralli, notes that the company is not on the city’s closure list, which was released Wednesday — but Engine 218 is. He’s got some stats.
In Bushwick there were 21 structural fires, 19 non-structural fires, 280 non-medical, 327 medical emergencies, 47 accidental fires, 20 incendiary fires, and 11 auto-transit fires. Most importantly, there were zero fire fatalities in 2010, although two men died in a fire on Covert Street on Friday.
I ask about the Covert Street fire. Engine 271 responded to that one, but Schiralli did not have data for how many single-room occupancy (SRO) properties such as Covert the company has inspected so far.
"The fire department has come a long way with the amount of inspections we’ve made. Fires are down for a reason, because the FDNY has been proactive for fire prevention. Closing companies isn’t going to help that."
Board DM Nadine Whitted adds her thoughts on SRO inspections:
"I think it’s a tragedy — no one should have lost their life in there. When we talk about illegal conversions that turn into rooming houses that turn in to three-quarter houses, it’s not for our sake, it’s for their sake as well."
7:08 PM: The Census rep is here and she traveled all the way from the Bronx to be here tonight, which means she’s going to take up all her allotted time.
Demographic information from the Census results on the neighborhood level will be available next month. But here’s a teaser: Bushwick north has a population of 57,000 and Bushwick south has a population of 72,000. We’re not sure how those divisions are made.
As the Census rep continues for another 10 minutes, I take a moment to get a second helping of bruschetta. Is that a hint of thyme? I believe it is.
7:24 PM: Antonio Reynoso from Diana Reyna’s office said that a building on 19 Troutman Street collapsed. Apparently it was an abandoned building next to two residential buildings.
Julie Dent allows staffers from elected representatives to introduce themselves and then gives her report, referencing likely cuts to day-care centers, senior centers, and firehouses. She notes that Engine 271 responded to a distress call earlier this month on Wyckoff Avenue and arrived just in time to deliver a baby.
7:39 PM: District Manager Nadine Whitted is very upset that the board does not have a quorum.
"We’re still waiting for one other board member. Please don’t let this happen again. The borough President’s representative is still here. I don’t know if she brought applications for the board, but you can go on our website. We need people who can work with this board that are committed and want to be here."
Nadine notes that the Bushwick Day Parade will occur on June 9.
She also notes that Olivia Triana from the State Farm Insurance branch on Wyckoff Avenue has been promoted and is leaving Bushwick. Wow, she gets a standing ovation.
7:49 PM: Committee reports.
The Civic and Religious Committee notes the parade festivities will be held at IS 383 on Greene Avenue and they’re looking for volunteers.
Carlos Feliciano of the Quebradilla baseball league arrives, giving the board it’s elusive quorum.
Martha Brown from Land Use notes that students from Columbia University are working on a historic designation plan for parts of Bushwick Avenue.
Nadine was not impressed with the presentation, saying that the students were condescending, tossing around land use terminology and throwing around references about poverty and arson. Yikes. Their professor isn’t going to like this. Nadine continues.
"There are some wonderful homes, mansions on landmark property, but we have to think about what it means to the neighboring property owner when we name a building a landmark."
Austen from the Parks Committee is absent, but Nadine notes that on Saturday there will be a major parade of Bushwick’s youth baseball organizations at 9:30 am at Hope Gardens with a ceremony at 11:30 am at Knickerbocker Avenue near Menahan Street.
Barbara Smith from the nominations committee notes that the board will begin its nominations for officers for 2011-2012.
8:09 PM: Barbara makes her committee’s recommendations for liquor licenses and they pass.
234 Knickerbocker is a no
691 Knickerbocker is a yes
234 Starr Street is a yes
8:12 PM: Time for nominations! And this is going to go on for a while as the process is explained and board members vote.
Julie Dent got reelected chairwoman, Martha Brown is first vice chairwoman, Victoria Fernandez is second vice chairwoman, Sandria Simmons is recording secretary, Eliseo Ruiz is financial secretary, corresponding secretary is Virgie Jones, and the treasurer is Avellar Hansley, and parliamentarian is Odolph Wright.
Congratulations to all the new/old board members. See you next month.