Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Park Slope Fiend Attacks Again

In what adds up to the eleventh such attack since March, a 29 year-old woman was approached from behind as she left the Prospect Avenue R train station at 9:05pm last Wednesday night. The attacker, who is now known as the Park Slope Sex Fiend, grabbed her breasts from behind and then ran away after she screamed.

Typical of Other Attacks

The police are convinced that this latest attack is indeed the work of the same perpetrator of the other attacks.

“The victim’s description fits with the pattern of attempted assaults,” said a police source. “And it’s typical with the other incidents. She was grabbed from behind by surprise.”

Since March the fiend, or perhaps fiends, since there are different descriptions of what the assailant looks like, has managed to rape one woman and grope ten others, frightening women from South Slope, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Park Slope.

Residents Respond

The latest attack comes just one day after the police told a frustrated citizenry that they are doing all they can to nab the criminal. Residents, not satisfied with the police response, have held rallies, placed ‘Wanted’ posters, and organized self-defense classes. The police say they have added patrols as of August, after the fifth attack.

A woman from Kensington said that she called Crime Stoppers after someone who fit the description of the Park Slope Fiend exposed himself to her on the subway. Unfortunately, according to the woman, the officer on the phone hung up on her.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brooklyn Bike Patrol Take Back Brooklyn Streets

Jay Ruiz of Brooklyn Bike Patrol
Park Slope, a neighborhood just a bit north of Kensington, has responded to an increase in the number of sexual assaults that have taken place there lately, with a bike patrol composed of volunteers.

Brooklyn bikers will stand at the ready when a woman emerges from the subway station and will offer to accompany her home if she does not feel comfortable walking  alone at night.

Jay Ruiz, a 55 year old dispatcher for a bike messenger company,  founded the group and gave it the name Brooklyn Bike Patrol.  Ruiz said,

“We just want the monsters to stop already.”

The group began escorting women home last Friday.

Ruiz explained that they are not only covering the area of southern Park Slope, but the Brooklyn Bike Patrol will also be on the lookout for crimes in his own neighborhood of Prospect Heights, which has had several robberies in the recent past.

Ruiz explained his motivation: “It’s so bad to see women getting attacked. I feel like I have to do something.”
So far Ruiz has found 10 volunteers to help him cover the area from 8pm to midnight, with an emphasis on the five subway stations in the area.

What finally inspired Ruiz to take action was the “Take Back Our Streets” rally last week which was organized by women of the neighborhood.

"The cops can't be everywhere," Ruiz said. "Just give us a call and we'll have someone there."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diversity Abounds in Kensington, Brooklyn

Kensington is known as a quiet, verdant area in Brooklyn. It is only one square mile, but packed into that limited area are well over 70,000 residents. Among those residents are several well-established immigrant groups, adding to the neighborhood’s color, interest and wonderful diversity, with the neighborhood's children speaking at least 25 different languages.

Just south of Windsor Terrace, Kensington’s borders are Caton Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway on the North, Coney Island Avenue on the East, 18th Avenue on the south, and McDonald Avenue and 36th Street on the west.

Prices of homes are more reasonable in Kensington than in many other nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods. Gentrification is coming to Kensington, but at a much slower pace than in other areas, which should help keep the prices of homes down, while forcing residents to go elsewhere for good restaurants and other forms of entertainment.
Kensington Apartment Building

Among the diverse populations of Kensington is said to be the highest in Brooklyn. In Kensington can be found Bangladeshi and Pakistani residents; with Muslims along the eastern strip with Coney Island Avenue. An ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community lives along the southern border, next to Borough Park.  The main shopping is on Church Avenue, but there are many other streets with smaller commercial areas. There is easy access to the subway, which will bring you to Midtown Manhattan in about 45 minutes. Express busses get to town quicker, with a 15 minute commute to Wall Street and about 30 minutes to Midtown.

Considering everything, its nice to call Kensington home.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bike Share Coming to Kensington and Other Parts of Brooklyn

Brooklyn will soon be joining many major cities around the world that have an innovative and clever alternative means of transportation at their disposal; and that is a European style bike sharing program.
The Department of Transportation of New York City announced yesterday that Alta Bicycle Share won the contract to operate the bike system, after an evaluation of several proposals by a number of different companies specializing in creating and running such systems.

Alta Bike Share will not need any taxpayer money to run the program, and any profit they have will be shared with the city as a result of a revenue sharing agreement which is part of the deal.

Brooklynites will be able to use Alta bike share bicycles for a yearly or monthly fee, which will be made available to them at bike stations located at a large number of crucial spots around town. The idea is that riders take a bike from one station, for instance near their homes, and leave the bike at another station, perhaps near a subway stop. 

Alta Bike Share published their preliminary plans for station locations. They are planning on building stations in Brooklyn stretching from Greenpoint, Kensington and Brooklyn Heights to parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant and south to Park Slope.

“Public bike sharing is a great opportunity for the city to continue moving in a greener direction through expanding mobility options for NYC residents; the initiative also promotes a healthy lifestyle,” said Council Member Letitia James (D-Fort Greene/Prospect Heights). “Also, new jobs will be created through the NYC Bike Share program, along with an increase in revenue for the city, which should make bicycle sharing a win-win program all around.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kensington Resident Cleans Up Flooded Passageway

After days of waiting for city officials to alleviate the flooding and subsequent mess caused by the recent rains along the passageway to the Fort Hamilton Parkway F/G subway station in Kensington, one neighbor took the initiative of cleaning up the refuse. The neighbor borrowed a shovel from Sasco tools on Coney Island Avenue and a broom from Sean Casey Animal Rescue to get the job done, carefully placing the debris and trash in a neat pile for the powers-that-be to haul away as per their jobs.

The difference is huge and the entire neighborhood sends kudos to the good neighbor who made it his responsibility when no one else did to make the time and effort to help his neighbors despite there being no other reward than the satisfaction of helping out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later: Kensington Families Featured in Stories About 9/11

It is exactly ten years since the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, which killed almost 3,000 people and left about 3,000 children younger than 18 without a parent.

Some of those families were and/or are Kensington residents, and their stories are featured in such places as the New York Times and ESPN.

One of the stories, written by Steve Wulf for ESPN discusses the uplifting story of the Conroy family whose husband/father Kevin Conroy, was killed on September 11. The four children were taken under the wing of Bobby Valentine, former major league baseball player and manager.

The New York Times article focuses on the Vukosa family of Kensington, especially Adam and Austin, who also lost their father, Alfred, when the WTC was destroyed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FEMA Leaves Brooklyn Off Funding List in Wake of Irene

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is blowing up a storm in reaction to the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to leave Brooklyn out of the declared region which will receive federal aid to help clean up after the mess Hurricane Irene left in her wake.

Brooklyn is the only borough of New York’s five which was left out of the FEMA declared areas, although its status can still change. In the next few days a more complete assessment of the damage inflicted by Irene on Brooklyn will be conducted, which will hopefully change Brooklyn’s status for FEMA funding.

In the meantime Markowitz is blown away by FEMA’s preliminary decision to leave Brooklyn out.

"I am absolutely dumbfounded that federal officials have excluded Kings County from a disaster declaration for public assistance," said Markowitz. "I ... hope that FEMA immediately reverses this dreadful decision and includes Brooklyn.

"In Brooklyn, hundreds of trees were knocked down; doing significant damage to cars, homes and infrastructure, and some Brooklynites remain without power. Brooklyn's low-lying 'Zone A' neighborhoods that were evacuated saw significant flooding," Markowitz added.

Markowitz also said that parts of the BQE were damaged by Irene and will need to be repaired.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kensington Photographer Catches WTC Inside and Out and Through the Years

Kensington resident and photographer Richard Massie’s photos of the World Trade Center will be featured as a special section of the autumn show “Tales of Breukelen,” which will open this month at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC.)

The exhibition is in honor of the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the WTC on September 11th 2001, and will display views of the WTC from both inside and out using medium-format photos taken during the mid-‘70s through the ‘80s.

The photos follow the development of the towers from when they were first being built, including rare shots of their interiors while they were still under construction. Massie’s goal was to see and show the beauty of the towers at a time when not everyone viewed them with the same artistic eye.

“At the time they were considered monstrosities — they were hated at the time, and considered a boondoggle with public money,” Massie explained. “I was going to try to turn them into something artistically appreciable.”

Also included in the exhibition will be a “works-on-paper” montage which members of BWAC created to be installed in a ceremony in exactly one week, on Sunday, September 11.

You can come visit the exhibition at the BWAC gallery located in Red Hook at 499 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn.