Brooklyn Heights Press and Cobble Hill News

77TH YEAR, NO. 3,970THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017TWO SECTIONS50 CENTSJehovah’s Witnesses Pulling Out of BrooklynWatchtower Garage in DUMBO…
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77TH YEAR, NO. 3,970THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017TWO SECTIONS50 CENTSJehovah’s Witnesses Pulling Out of BrooklynWatchtower Garage in DUMBO Frees Up Mixed-Use Space SEE PAGE 2Pier 6 DevelopmentIssue: Are New Buildings in Brooklyn Bridge Park Necessary, and if So, Why So Big? SEE PAGE 3Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver's Realty GroupArguments in Court Continue as BHA Fights Mayor, ParkJehovah’s Witnesses Sell DUMBO Development Site at 74 Adams St.The building on the corner is 74 Adams St., which the Watchtower has just sold to developer Jeffrey Gershon. By Lore CroghanBrooklyn Heights PressAnother piece of the Kingdom is gone. On Wednesday, the Jehovah’s Witnesses announced the sale of one of the last remaining properties in their once-massive Brooklyn real-estate portfolio. A vehicle-repair garage currently stands on the property they sold, which is 74 Adams St. in DUMBO. The property is zoned for almost 145,000 square feet of mixeduse development, the Watchtower said in its announcement, meaning residential, commercial and retail space can be built. In September, the purchaser, Jeffrey Gershon of Hope Street Capital, applied for a permit to demolish the one-story garage, city Buildings Department records indicate. His name appears on the Buildings Department filing as the authorized signatory of 80 Adams Property Owner LLC. Gershon did not respond to a request for comment about the purchase of 74 Adams St. The purchase deed for the site has not yet appeared in city Finance Department records. So the Brooklyn Heights Press was unable to confirm the purchase price. But The Real Deal reported last May that Gershon had signedLevin, Other Incumbents Win Big in Local Races By Paula KatinasBrooklyn Heights PressElection Day 2017 was a good one for Democratic incumbents in Brooklyn, but a rough one for their challengers as experience won out at the polls. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, running for his second term in office, easily defeated Republican challenger Vito Bruno and Reform Party candidate Ben Kissel by a wide margin. Adams, a former state senator and retired police captain, earned 83 percent of the total number of votes cast in Tuesday’s election. Bruno came in second with 15.2 percent. Kissel had 1.8 percent. Incumbents also won all of the City Council races in the borough. In the 33rd Council District, incumbent Stephen Levin beat challenger Victoria Cambranes, who ran on the Progress for All ticket. The district takes in Greenpoint and parts of Williamsburg, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. Levin garnered 88.7 percent of the vote, while Cambranes trailed with 11.3 percent.  See for full election results. 2 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, November 9, 2017Photo courtesy of Jehovah’s Witnessesa contract to pay close to $60 million for 74 Adams St. The development site has frontage on Adams, Front and York streets and Fleet Alley. It is located outside the boundaries of the DUMBO Historic District. The Watchtower had owned 74 Adams St. since 1975.The Towers Recently Soldfor $202.5 Million Until recently, the Jehovah’s Witnesses had a major presence in DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights. But they’ve been selling off their holdings in the two neighborhoods because last year they moved their world headquarters to upstate Warwick, New York. Their former Brooklyn Heights headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights now belongs to a joint venture called Columbia Heights Associates that includes the Kushner Cos. The company was headed by Jared Kushner until he stepped aside to become a senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. The former headquarters complex has an iconic red “Watchtower” sign on it that the new owners plan to remove. Kushner Cos. and various investor partners have paid around $1 billion for Watchtower property purchases in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. A different investor made a big Watchtower property purchase just last week. Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors bought The Towers at 21 Clark St. in Brooklyn Heights. The deed, which has just appeared in online Finance Department records, indicates that the real-estate investor paid $202.5 million for The Towers. Before the Watchtower owned The Towers, it was an elegant hotel where the top-paid players on the Brooklyn Dodgers stayed during the baseball season. The new owner of the storied property plans to turn it into a seniors-housing complex called The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights.Arguments in Court Continue as BHA Fights Mayor, Park on Pier 6 DevelopmentIssue: Are New Buildings In BBP Really Necessary? By Mary FrostBrooklyn Heights PressOral arguments continued on Monday in the lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) against Brooklyn Bridge Park opposing two residential towers the park has begun to build on Pier 6. State Supreme Court Justice Carmen St. George, presiding at the Civil Branch in Manhattan, asked sharp questions of attorneys on both sides as BHA attempts to show that the park is going ahead with the two large buildings — 28- and 14-stories high — in violation of the park’s General Project Plan (GPP). The GPP states the intention of development in the park is “to build only what is necessary to support annual maintenance and operations.” The park maintains that the Pier 6 development is financially necessary and that units of affordable housing planned for one of the towers, which would not bring in revenue, serve a social good and are not expressly forbidden by the GPP. Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for the affordable housing component through Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. This was the second appearance for both sides before Justice St. George, who took the case over in August from Justice Lucy Billings. Billings has been reassigned to be in charge administratively of every asbestos case in New York County. BHA attorney Richard Ziegler stated the community organization’s case during opening arguments on Nov. 2. During that hearing, St. George attempted to broker a compromise between the park and BHA, to no avail. On Monday, as park attorneys David Paget and Haley Stein began arguments, St. George again called the two sides into her chambers. But talks fell through and the arguments continued. St. George leavened the lengthy hearing with dashes of humor, much appreciated by the audience seated for hours in the packed courtroom. When a question about a 9-foot stairway atop one of the disputed towers came up, the judge asked the park attorney Paget, “Stairway to what?”The proposed Pier 6 development. After a pause, Paget tentatively answered, “Stairway to heaven?” “We all need one,” St. George shot back. “You stumped me,” Paget said.Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver’s Realty Group“It doesn’t happen often,” St. George rejoined. Oral arguments will continue on Nov. 14 at 2:45 p.m. in courtroom 308 at 80 Centre St. in Manhattan.Thursday, November 9, 2017 • Brooklyn Heights Press • 3Selfies with Elves Is Back on Montague St. Family Holiday Tradition Returns to Heights By John AlexanderBrooklyn Heights PressSelfies with Elves will be back on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights on Saturday, Nov. 25, which also happens to be Small Business Saturday. The elves will be collecting new hats, gloves, scarves and socks to help keep children and familiesMichelle Darrell takes selfie with her son London and Elf Emily Seasons.warm this winter at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s The Family Center. And anyone who donates something can take a free Selfie with an Elf (an Elfie). Last year, The Family Center provided more than 4,000 New Yorkers with hands-on support from health services to legal support. Throughout the day, merchants and businesses on Montague Street will offer special discounts, complimentary treats, holiday cheer and free gifts with a purchase to celebrate Small Business Saturday. “We are so grateful to the Montague Street BID and all Brooklyn residents willing to donate items to keep our children and families warm this winter,” said Ivy Gamble Cobb, executive director of The Family Center. “Over 95 percent of our client families live on incomes below the federal poverty threshold and sometimes, a new pair of gloves is just not in the budget.” Selfies with Elves is a fun way to get into the spirit of the season and the perfect time to take a holiday picture without waiting on a long line for Santa. “The holidays are a time of thanks, giving and celebration,” said Kate Chura, executive director, Montague Street BID. “Selfies with Elves was such a success last year that we hope all New Yorkers will come out again to support small businesses on Montague Street and generously support members of our community in need by donating cold weather gear for the children and families at The Family Center.” So while you are shopping, dining and enjoying the many businesses on Montague Street, you can stop by and visit the Elves on the corners of Montague at Hicks streets between noon and 2 p.m. “Now more than ever, we all need to show each other more kindness,” Chura added. “On behalf of the businesses on Montague Street, we4 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, November 9, 2017From left: Montague Street BID Chair Kate Chura, mascot Wiley, BID member Deanna Rasa, Emily Season and Kirk Bixby take the first “Selfie with Elves” of the day at last year’s event. Heights Press file photos by Andy Katz hope that everyone will show Brooklyn’s families in need that we support them and believe in a sustainable, brighter future for them.”This event is free and open to the public. Visit for more information.BROOKLYN EAGLEVolume 18, No. 13Two SectionsTHURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017$1.00Photo by Gerry GoodsteinRenowned Clowns at Polonsky Shakespeare CenterMarcello Magni plays the title role of “Marcel,” a comic one-act play presented by Theatre for a New Audience. See page 2.ays t 16 e is d at klyn klyn, .mom gle.commRenowned Clowns Seize the Stage at Brooklyn’s Polonsky Shakespeare Centerarcello agni at le wrapped in red drapery) and J os H ouben share a dramatic moment in the comic one- act “ Marcel” at Polonsky Shakespeare Center.Photos by Gerry GoodsteinTheatre for a New Audience Presents Comic One-Acts “Marcel” And “The Art of Laughter” By Lore Croghan Brooklyn EagleComic genius is a wondrous thing to behold. This is another way of saying Marcello Magni and Jos Houben will make you laugh like a hyena and maybe shed a furtive tear. They are preeminent physical-theatre artists — in other words, renowned clowns, as opposed to the creepy kind that populates horror films such as Stephen King’s “It.” Magni and Houben make audiences guf-faw in two comic one-acts — “Marcel” and “The Art of Laughter” — that Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is presenting in a double bill at Polonsky Shakespeare Center. The plays opened at this Brooklyn Cultural District venue on Nov. 1. The comic duo comes from Theatre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, a 19th-century theatre that was reopened in 1974 by Peter Brook, the celebrated British director of William Shakespeare’s plays. Magni and Houben created “Marcel” and Houben created “The Art of Laughter.” They're the entire cast of the two plays. It’s just them lighting up the stage with humorarcello agni pla s the title role o arcel presented b heatre or a N ew Audience. through the brilliantly skillful use of their bodies and faces and a few props.Old Age is a Clown’s Worst Enemy “Marcel” has heart-wrenching moments inJ os H ouben does a solo turn in he rt o aughter a comic one- act in a double bill with “ Marcel” at Polonsky Shakespeare Center.the midst of its hilarity. People who are getting older will identify with the title character, who’s played by Magni. Marcel is a physical comedian who rehas been summoned to a testing place to re new his clown license. unHouben, who is dressed in black like an un dertaker, plays a dour, sour-faced individual who administers the licensing tests. He gives Marcel tasks to carry out that the clown finds difficult because he’s no longer young. Old age ain’t no place for sissies, as actress Bette Davis famously said. And as it turns out, it’s not such a great place for physical-theatre artists. At some moments, though, Marcel gives the audience glimpses of the agile comedian he must have roubeen in his youth, such as when he does a deft rou tine with a Charlie Chaplin-style bowler hat. It wouldn’t be right to reveal all of Magni’s and Houben’s bits of schtick. Suffice it to say that Magni can turn a cheap umbrella into a laugh-getter. A folding chair is an even bigger laugh-getter in his hands.A Seminar in Physical Comedy The second one-act, “The Art of Laughter,” is a solo turn by Houben. As if he’s teaching aseminar, he shows the audience how actors use their bodies to be funny. This play is hilarious and utterly absorbing — whether he’s tripping over his own two feet, imitating a drunk trying to screw a cap on a bottle or pretending to be a chicken looking at modern art in a gallery. Polonsky Shakespeare Center is the first venue where “Marcel” and “The Art of Laughter” are being presented in a double bill. They work really well as companion pieces, adding up to a thoroughly satisfying theatre experience. Also, this is the U.S. premiere of “Marcel.” Italian-born Magni and Belgian-born Houben are long-time theatrical collaborators. They met at Jacques Lecoq’s mime and movement school in Paris. In 1983 Magni was among the founders of a physical-theatre company in London called Theatre de Complicite. Houben was one of the company’s original members. *** Theatre for a New Audience’s 2017-2018 season opens with “Marcel” and “The Art of Laughter.” The double bill of comic one-acts runs through Nov. 19 at Polonsky Shakespeare Center. The theatre is located at 262 Ashland Place in the Brooklyn Cultural District. For tickets, see or call 866-811-4111.os ouben at le and arcello Magni are j ust horsing around in the comic one act arcel presented b Theatre for a N ew Audience.Founded in 1841 by Isaac Van AndenThe Brooklyn Eagle (USPS Number 019555) is published weekly except first week of January, first week of July, last week of August, last week of December for $50 per year by EBrooklyn Media, 16 Court St., 30th Fl., Brooklyn NY 11241. Telephone: (718) 422‐7410. Periodicals postage paid in Brooklyn, NY. Postmaster: Send address changes to Brooklyn Eagle, 16 Court St. 30th Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11241.Publisher ‐ J.D. Hasty: Managing Editor ‐ Kathryn Cardin: Senior Editor ‐ John Alexander: Sports Editor ‐ John Torenli: Community Editor ‐ Mary Frost: Religion Editor ‐ Francesca N. Tate: Chief Copy Editor ‐ Stephanie Kotsikonas: Consulting Editor ‐ Chuck Otey: Consulting Editor ‐ Sam Howe: samhowe@brooklyneagle.com2 • Brooklyn Eagle • Thursday, November 9, 2017Publisher - J.D. Hasty: Exec. Consulting Editor — Charles F. Otey: Managing Editor — Paula Katinas: Business Manager — Alice Peters: alice@brooklyneagle.comBAY RIDGE EAGLE (USPS 5170) is published weekly except first week of January, first week of July, last week of August, last week of December for $35.00 per year by EBrooklyn Media, 16 Court Street, 30th FL, Brooklyn, NY 11241. Periodicals Postage paid in Brooklyn, NY. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Bay Ridge Eagle, 16 Court St., 30th FL, Brooklyn, NY 11241. Telephone: 718-643-9099, Ext. 103, E-mail:, November 9, 2017 • Brooklyn Eagle • 3Follow @BrooklynDailyEagle On Instagram and See Your World in Photos!Let’s Connect: Tag @brooklyndailyeagle or hashtag #bkeagle 4 • Brooklyn Eagle • Thursday, November 9, 2017Thursday, November 9, 2017 • Brooklyn Eagle • 56 • Brooklyn Eagle • Thursday, November 9, 2017Greenpoint YMCA Unveils Updated Fitness, Spin Rooms, Renovated GymnasiumYMCA of Greenpoint day care program kids prepare to cut the ribbon with help from Eagle photos by Andy Katz Marian Klein and Sharon Greenberger.The Greenpoint YMCA spin room was fitted with black lights.President and CEO of YMCA of Greater New York Sharon Greenberger.View of the newly renovated fitness room during inspectionGrant from Greenpoint Landing Associates Helps Bring Century-Old Plant into 21st Century By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Eagle“When I was a kid,” Frank Carbone, vice chairman of the board for the Greenpoint YMCA, told the group gathered on the freshly lacquered gymnasium floor, “we came here, to this Y. “There wasn’t any buzzer on the door, so we’d just sneak in past the desk. We thought we were getting away with murder, but the director knew every single time … One time, he caught me trying to sneak out. He told me to bring my friends back — we could form our own basketball team in the Y gym if I’d volunteer to do one thing for the Greenpoint YMCA. “And I’ve been working on their behalf ever since,” he con-cluded to applause. Greenpoint YMCA board Chairman Paul Pullo concurred: “I played here as a kid. And I’m very happy to get the chance to see it this way.” “This way” referred to the freshly renovated gymnasium, fitness room and spin center — the latter two fitted with the latest in technology, the former boasting new flooring, basketball hoops, scoreboard, benches, light fixtures and newly padded walls — thanks largely to a $250,000 grant from North Brooklyn waterfront developer Greenpoint Landing Associates.Looking for an experienced Man or Woman Bookkeeper/Payroll. Needed urgently. Part me 2‐3 hrs $40 per 3hours. for more info kindly email below: !!!G rand O peningContinued on page 8Seeking licensed real estate salespersons for busy Greenpoint location. OFFICE: 347-916-0049 754 Manhattan Avenue | Brooklyn NY 11222FLATBUSH: Nostrand Ave & Ave M:YMCA day care program kids jump for joy in the newly renovated gym.2BR, Kitchen, Dinee, Living Room, Bathroom, Brand New Lux Apt. 1000sqƒ. 2Fl, Brand new Appli‐ ances, $2400, Call or text Agent 347‐903‐1072, Brokers FeeThursday, November 9, 2017 • Brooklyn Eagle • 7Eagle photos by Andy KatzGreenpoint YMCA board member Michael Kawochka, Greenpoint YMCA CEO Paul Pullo, YMCA of Greater New York President and CEO Sharon Greenberger, Greenpoint YMCA Vice Chairman Frank Carbone, state Assemblymember Joe Lentol, Park Tower Group Senior Vice President Marian Klein, Park Tower Group founder George Klein, Greenpoint YMCA Executive Director Kendall Charter, Broadway Stages’ Gina Argento and YMCA of Greater New York Vice President of Operations Melvin Tse. George Klein, founder of Park Tower Group and principal donor for the Greenpoint YMCA’s improvements, takes his shot.Greenpoint YMCA Unveils Updated Fitness, Spin Rooms, Renovated GymnasiumContinued from page 7“It’s important to give something back to the community,” explained Marian Klein, senior vice president of the Park Tower Group, of which Greenpoint Landing Associates is an affiliate. “And the YMCA is the center of the community here.” Indeed, just a few weeks prior to the gymnasium unveiling on Oct. 25, families camped out along Messerole Avenue and Lorimer Street to secure spots in the YMCA’s vaunted and reasonably priced day care program. The new fitness room, though not large, doesn’t have that cramped feeling that some do, leaving you to fear a poke in the eye from your neighbor’s next arm curl. The equipment gleams and looks state-of-the-ObituaryIn addition to fitness, spin,From left: YMCA Business Manager Danielle Peterson, gym sports and day care, the Healthy Lifestyles Director Ali Alimmari and Greenpoint Greenpoint YMCA also offers an indoor pool, a runners YMCA Vice C
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