Your weekly newsbriefs

A bridge too far

Daily multiple bridge lifts requiring full periodic closure of the Marine Parkway Bridge will continue through the end of March, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said last week.

The lifts, which cause a halt to vehicular traffic for approximately 15 minutes, are required by the U.S. Coast Guard to allow for crossing marine traffic.

A construction vessel belonging to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs the height clearance as it conveys sand shipments and other materials into Jamaica Bay for a major marshland restoration project.

There have been almost daily multiple lifts for this vessel since the transports began in January.

Motorists can sign up for customer email alerts regarding the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge by visiting the MTA’s website at mta.info.

Gere’s final analysis

Richard Gere, star of the film “Brooklyn’s Finest,” compared life in a borough housing project to life in the West Bank.

Here’s what he told globalgrind.com: “I went to Ramallah and it was during a curfew and no one was going from the Israeli side into Ramallah. It was curfew time, you see, Israeli troops where everywhere all the roadblocks were up and we some how got in. When I showed up in Ramallah they were like children in their openness of just thank you for coming. The only time we see Westerners here they’re yelling at us or selling us guns. That’s it.”

The iconic actor continued, “In a way I felt that way in the projects it was like, what you guys are really here, you’re not just here to beat us up or yell at us or pass through, you’re actually here? You’re actually talking to us it was kind of that same revelatory feeling of you know we are all just human beings and we are all trying do the best we can to get by.We have real issues. I was walking around saying these building that this could be an incredible art center because I know there are great dancers and great musicians that could really lift the community so we would get into discussions with locals and I know for them it was like wow someone is really thinking about us in a deeper way rather than just afraid of us.”

Much of the film was shot in the Van Dyke Houses, in Brownsville. “Brooklyn’s Finest” opens March 5 nationwide.

Burst pipe closes

Manhattan Beach

A broken water pipe last week left several Manhattan Beach residents without water and/or with flooded basements.

“The pipe bust last Monday night. It was a very old pipe that was part of the New York City waterline behind a home on Hastings street,” said Edmond Dweck, spokesperson for the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA).

Dweck said a crew from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection tried to turn the pipe off, but the valve was so old that it was stripped.

They located the faulty pipe on Thursday, but the work got halted by last week’s snow storm, he said.

The work was scheduled to be completed early this week, but several homes on Girard Street, Hastings Street, and Irwin Street had to have their water turned off while repairs were being made.

The burst pipe also caused the cancelation of last week’s MBNA meeting.

It is rescheduled for 8 p.m., April 18 at P.S. 195, 131 Irwin Street.

$12G offered for missing boy

The city is offering $12,000 for any information that will help lead them to seven-year-old boy who has been missing for over a month.

Patrick Alford was last seen leaving the lobby of his Vandalia Avenue foster home in Spring Creek at 9 p.m. on January 22 after threatening to run away.

The 4’8”, 65-pound child, who was wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers at the time, witnesses said.

It was first believed that Alford had run off to his biological mother, Jennifer Rodriguez, but the woman was released after being questioned and undergoing a lie detector test. Investigators have also hypothesized that Alford may have run off to relatives in Baltimore and Florida.

Rodriguez lost custody of Alford after she was arrested for theft and the city’s Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) deemed her to be an unfit caregiver.

Alford was put into foster care until he was placed with his current foster family in Spring Creek.

Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward.

Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimesStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Freezing for a good cause

Members of the Coney Island Polar Bears wished they had their namesake’s fur to keep them warm Saturday as they brrr…aced the cold for, basically, all the fish in the New York Aquarium.

Stripping down to their bikinis, bathing suits and skivvies, dozens of weather resistant warriors participated in the club’s second annual “Naked” Polar Bear Cruise.

The daring, slightly unhinged and those with very few nerve endings greeted the cold February morning bare-skinned on the deck of a Circle Line boat which took them on a one hour cruise around the Statue of Liberty and back. Participants received pledges in advance for each minute they remained topside clothing free.

All of the money collected will go to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which oversees operations at the Bronx Zoo, Coney Island’s own New York Aquarium and the Prospect Park Zoo.

The event was sponsored by both the Coney Island Polar Bears and Circle Line Cruises.

Help for pregnant ladies

The city Health Department has launched a new Web site designed to provide helpful information and resources to expectant mothers.

Check it out at nyc.gov/health/pregnancy.

“Whether you’re a new parent or planning to become one, the Health Department’s new Web site can help you find your way,” department officials say.

“The site can help you plan a pregnancy, stay healthy while you’re expecting, or find the services you need to help your new baby thrive. The available services range from birth control to free cribs — and the site provides information on topics as varied as breastfeeding, childhood development and finding affordable health insurance. Stop by and see what your city has to offer,” experts note.

Archive center announced

The Brooklyn Academy of Music is preserving history.

The arts institutionhas announced plans to establish the BAM Hamm Archive Center at 230 Ashland Place through a generous gift from board member Charles J. Hamm and his wife Irene F. Hamm.

The gift has enabled BAM to purchase the 3,800 square-foot ground floor of the Forté building at the corner of Ashland Place and Fulton Street and to construct a needed home for the renowned performing arts institution’s archival holdings, dating back to 1857.

“The creation of the BAM Hamm Archives Center is a vital step forward for our institution and serves as an acknowledgement of BAM’s significant historical role for the past 150 years,” said BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins. “This collection, pre-dating the American Civil War and BAM’s opening in 1861, is a hidden treasure for Brooklynites, New Yorkers, and performing arts aficionados.”

Plans for the BAM Hamm Archive Center call for construction of the interior space in early 2011, and will house thousands of photographs, programs, posters, articles, and brochures.

Prior to public access, the historically significant archives will be accessible to researchers by appointment.

Barclays Center suites

for sale

With construction ongoing at the Barclays Center at the Flatbush/Atlantic avenues intersection, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) is offering advance deals on several different styles of arena suites.

The arena is being designed with 104 suites, including 68 loft suites consisting of 10 seats and marketed to the 40,000 small to mid-sized businesses in Brooklyn.

The arena also includes 15 Brownstone Suites (16 seats each) — 14 of which are already sold, six Studio Suites, and four Party Suites.

The arena will also include 11 Backstage Suites, which will offer exclusive access to a Champagne bar.

The Barclays Suite buyers will also receive membership into the Barclays Center Suite Alliance, which will offer business networking opportunities.

The suites are available for both Nets basketball games, professional and collegiate sports, family shows and concerts.

The Barclays Center is scheduled to open in 2012.

For more information call 646-616-9500 or visit www.barclayscenter.com.

Art for Haiti

Brooklyn artist Victoria Silverstein will be exhibiting her abstract paintings at the United Nations this Friday, March 5,at the International Women’s Day Celebration and benefit for Hatian Relief.

Silverstein is one of 30female artists displaying their artwork.

“I am honored to have been invited into this show at the United Nations where the arts and women are being celebrated, and where people are coming together to continue to send aid to the people of Haiti,” said the artist. “We each can offer something.If not funds, surely we can offer our prayers for those who are suffering.”

Silverstein’s paintings are in the style of “action painting,” inspired by Jackson Pollack.

The exhibition is from 6-11 pm at 45th Street and First Avenue. There is at $15 donation at the door. All guests must RSVP at 212-963-3845.

All aboard the Sweet Shop

You don’t really need a ticket, just hop on board The Sweet Shop.

Pratima Naithani’s multimedia, mobile art installation takes the form of refurbished school bus and celebrates the pulsating palette of sounds, sights, and tastes that make up India’s vibrant street culture.

Parked periodically in front of the SCOPE New York Art Show from March 3 to March 7, The Sweet Shop will also shuttle people for free among the various art fairs airs.

Additional mixed-media depictions of Indian sweet shops from this series will be on display at the Agró/Glickman STEP (1) wall inside SCOPE.

For more information, visit http://www.step1art.com/scopeny2010_home.html.


The blog of Community Board 14 chair Alvin Birk is citypragmatist.com. The site was listed incorrectly in last week’s paper. We regret the error.

To send in tips, e-mail [email protected] attn: Borough Briefs.

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