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Archive for the tag 'Vincent Gentile'

Source: Gentile's office

Source: Gentile’s office

Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get lai– okay, it’s probably not that kind of a party.

Councilman Vincent Gentile is inviting everybody to check out his new digs and enjoy some free treats from local restaurants this Saturday.

The local pol is celebrating the grand opening of his new district office at 8018 5th Avenue, and he wants neighbors from every part of the district to join him.

The party begins at 11am and lasts until 3pm. There will be free food and drinks from local businesses, according to the announcement.

Gentile’s office moved out of 8703 3rd Avenue in late June and into the new location, and they’ve spent the time in between putting on the finishing touches.

You can call the new office at (718) 748-5200 with any questions.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Councilman Vincent Gentile requested this week that the MTA drop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s $15 toll on the 50th anniversary of the span’s dedication.

The pol asked the agency to give drivers a free pass on November 21, or least give a significant reduction, to honor the occasion.

According to the New York Post:

“Or at the very least, roll the toll back to 50 cents,” which was the price when the 2½-mile bridge opened in 1964, Gentile told The Post.

“It would be the right thing for the MTA to do, considering all the money motorists have put into the bridge in tolls for decades,” Gentile said. “And it would really be the greatest way to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

The agency’s response? Thanks for the idea. Now bugger off.

The MTA’s spokesperson said the authority is “legally prevented from” reducing or suspending the toll from a day, saying that a state-bond requirement mandates that the toll is collected in full.

It’s the agency’s latest bridge-related snuff of Gentile, who earlier this month blasted the MTA for planning a spectacularly one-sided celebration of the 50th anniverary. While several events are scheduled to honor the semicentennial, all but one are on Staten Island. The exception is at a museum in downtown Brooklyn; no observances were planned at the bridge’s Brooklyn base in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A bill to give the boot to clothing donation bins on illegally placed on public property continues to gain steam in the City Council, where it’s now set to have a public hearing on September 8.

We reported earlier this month that the bill, introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile, had racked up the support of 20 sponsors in the Council as well as the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The New York Post reported yesterday that a public hearing on the bill has been added to the Council schedule.

The bill will authorize the Department of Sanitation to immediately remove clothing donation bins illegally placed on public property, including sidewalks, city-owned lots and streets. It also gives the agency the power to issue a $250 fine to first-time violators and $500 fines for repeat offenders, in addition to hauling off the offending bin.

According to the Post, complaints about the bins have been skyrocketing and the mischievous bin operators have taken advantage of the city’s leniency thus far.

The illegal containers are multiplying exponentially. In July alone, city inspectors tagged 670 bins — 11 times more than the 59 illegal bins they tagged in all of 2009. The city has marked more than 2,000 bins for removal so far this year.

… The illegal bins are installed in the dead of night, officials say. And even when sanitation inspectors quickly tag them, the bins’ owners take advantage of regulations giving them 30 days to haul them away.

They remove them on the 29th day and usually set them up around the corner.

The legislation would also create a registry of legal bins, where operators would be required to quantify the collected donations by weight.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

Legislation introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile that would give the boot to illegal clothing donation bins on city property now has the backing of the mayor and several of the pol’s Council colleagues, setting it up for swift passage.

“Vinnie convened a meeting with a bunch of citywide officials and borough presidents’ offices and made his case on why this is important, and we were able to get some action on it and it’s definitely moving in the right direction,” said Gentile spokesperson Justin Brannan.

The bill has picked up 20 sponsors and the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio since it was introduced on July 24, according to the Council’s website.

The bill will authorize the Deparment of Sanitation to immediately remove clothing donation bins illegally placed on public property. It also gives the agency the power to issue a $250 fine to first-time violators and $500 fines for repeat offenders.

The bins are not only a public nuisance and an eyesore, many are scams. While there are legitimate bins placed with the permission of property owners, several for-profit companies have been posing as non-profits. They take the clothing they’ve collected and sell it to thrift shops and overseas markets.

“Not only are these bins eyesores, they deceive well-intentioned New Yorkers who believe they’re donating their used clothing to charity,” said Gentile in a press release.

The bill is not yet scheduled for a vote or hearing, but Brannan said he expects it to move quickly.

“We’re happy they’re paying attention to it now and now it will be a priority, so that’s exciting,” said Brannan. “This will be fairly fast-tracked and we’re very happy about that.”

This man will not eat a still living, half deep-fried fish. Whatever happened to leadership, America? (Source: council.nyc.gov)

Councilman Vincent Gentile is gallivanting around Taiwan, a.k.a. the Republic of China, on a diplomatic exchange with Taiwanese government officials and tech entrepreneurs. He hopes to learn about the nation’s bustling high-tech sector, particularly in their waste disposal systems, and in forging connections between New York City’s tech scene. Here’s the press release from his office:

Led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Deputy Leader Vincent J. Gentile will visit Taiwan as a part of a select delegation from the New York City Council.

The unique trip was organized by the Washington, DC-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the United States in the absence of diplomatic ties. Gentile and the group will be abroad until Saturday.

“I am honored to represent the 43rd District and its great diversity to the people of Taiwan,” Councilman Gentile said. “I am looking forward to a very busy, working trip of great mutual benefit – and I hope some of my Mandarin Chinese lessons will pay off!”

Indeed, Gentile and the select delegation will have a packed schedule for the 6-day trip abroad including meetings with the Taipei City Council along with the Ministry of Education, the Council for Economic Planning and Development, the Bureau of International Trade and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Transportation and technology will be a particular focus of this learning excursion as the delegation will visit the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation and discuss how to strengthen ties between Taiwan and New York City’s growing technology sector.

Taipei’s approach to garbage collection has been lauded for its efficiency and the delegation plans to meet with the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan and will later tour the Mucha Refuse Incineration Plant.

In an email sent upon landing at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, Gentile said he looked forward to meeting with the leaders of Taipei’s high tech sector, exploring ways of improving civic engagement through technology, learning about Taiwain’s innovative sanitation system, and discussing ways to strengthen the already strong ties between Taiwan and New York City.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office will cover the costs of airfare, lodging, ground transportation and meals, and the trip has been approved by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, according to spokesperson Justin Brannan.

Gentile’s district has a sizable population of Taiwanese immigrants, as well as many immigrants from mainland China’s Fujian province, across the Taiwan Strait.

Bensonhurst Bean issued a challenge to the councilman through Brannan, requesting dispatches on the nation’s unique delicacies, including duck tongue, blood on a stick and century eggs – as well as the famous Ying Yang fish.

“That is horrible,” was the only response we received.

Source: _chrisUK/Flickr

Councilman Vincent Gentile’s office says that the Department of Transportation will begin much-needed road repairs to 86th Street on Monday.

Contractors will begin scraping off the battered top layer of asphalt, a process called milling, between Gatling Place and 7th Avenue in Bay Ridge. After pouring new asphalt and painting lines, the work will move up the street towards Stillwell Avenue throughout the summer. It’s expected that the work will be done in three separate segments.

All work will be done at night in order to minimize impact on traffic. This could mean a few noisy nights for neighbors, as milling requires trucks, machinery and portable lights – although the machinery is fitted with noise reduction equipment.

Gentile and Councilman Mark Treyger said they won agreements from the DOT to do the work back in May. The DOT first said they would make repairs in Treyger’s district, covering 86th Street from Stillwell Avenue to 14th Avenue. Gentile worked to expand the project to include 14th Avenue to Gatling Place, the portion of roadway that falls in his district.

Gentile allocated $400,000 in the city budget to fund the repaving, according to his office.

Know of any other nasty stretches of pothole-pocked roads in the neighborhood? Let us know in the comments!

Gentile's new office was previously Ellen Fish Market. New signage is on the way. (Source: Google Maps)

Gentile’s new office was previously Ellen Fish Market. New signage is on the way. (Source: Google Maps)

Councilman Vincent Gentile has announced new digs for his district office, now open at 8018 5th Avenue, bringing it several blocks closer to Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights.

The office operated for years out of 8703 3rd Avenue, but the new space opened up this Monday as the old one shuttered its doors for good.

According to Gentile spokesperson Justin Brannan, the new location is still a work in progress, with signage and more on the way. Brannan notes it’ll be fully up to speed within a few days, and then a grand opening party will follow.

While the finishing touches might take some time, the office is fully operational when it comes to assisting constituents. Phone numbers and hours are staying the same, so you can call (718) 748-5200, e-mail vgentile@council.nyc.gov or stop by the new storefront for help.

gentile

Gentile (Source: Gentile’s office)

Councilman Vincent Gentile of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst confirmed to the New York Observer that he is considering a challenge to State Senator Marty Golden, and told the paper that he sees the Republican’s support drying up.

If he runs and wins it will be a sort of homecoming for the pol, who represented the district in the State Senate between 1996 and 2002, before being unseated by Golden. After losing office that year, Gentile ran in and won the special election for the City Council seat vacated by Golden – meaning the two effectively swapped seats.

Gentile told the paper that the recent show of support for restoring Democratic control of the State Senate is galvanizing his interest. The Observer reports:

“It would take a lot to pull me away but certainly I understand the bigger issues in our state and the goal of getting a Democratic State Senate so based on that I am getting the input I should be getting and we’ll see in a week or two,” Mr. Gentile said at City Hall yesterday. “I am enjoying my job but I’m saying there are bigger issues here.”

The Observer’s story came on the heels of another report that a coalition was emerging to flip Republican seats in the Senate, and was eyeing Golden in particular. The coalition was birthed during the Working Families Party convention, during which Cuomo pledged to support Democrats running for the legislative body and to break the power-sharing alliance between the Republicans and the Independent Democratic Caucus in exchange for their nomination.

NY State of Politics was the first to report that the coalition was floating Gentile as a challenger, but it had not been confirmed until the Observer report. A source told the outlet that approximately $1 million has already been earmarked to unseat Golden.

Gentile is optimistic that the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst portions of the Senate district are increasingly Democratic, boosting his chances – although he also slipped in a slap at the incumbent Senator for gerrymandering the district to rope in as many Republican enclaves as possible.

“I think my area has become more Democratic and eventually there will be smaller and smaller pockets that Marty Golden can rely upon so if it’s not this cycle, there will be a cycle very soon where he will not have the same deep support that he used to have in the same district that he drew, that he drew the lines for,” Gentile told the Observer.

While that may be true in Bay Ridge, Golden remains popular in Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach – conservative-leaning areas where Gentile is relatively unknown.

What this means for another Democratic challenger to Golden, Jamie Kemmerer, is not yet known. Kemmerer told this outlet last month that he decided to run only once Gentile personally urged him to do so. Kemmerer could drop out and throw his support behind Gentile if he chooses to run – or he could squabble with his former backer in a primary.

cb11

June’s Community Board 11 meeting focused on three main points: the curb-cutting ‘crisis’, the new Bensonhurst BJ’s location, and the Shore Parkway promenade changes soon happening in the neighborhood.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate and Councilman Vincent Gentile joined Community Board 11 at Thursday’s meeting at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare to give share their thoughts.

Curb-Cutting Crisis

Councilmen Gentile spoke passionately about his proposed bill to end what he called “the epidemic of illegal curb cuts,” a situation where non-approved parking spots are created by residential owners.

According to Gentile, the bill would require that the Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner have an illegal curb cut restored at that property owner’s expense.

“It takes away legal spots,” Gentile said. “It is a huge quality of life issue.”

The bill received overwhelming support from attendees at the meeting, with many nodding in agreement and expressing their own frustration.

“We need to get this bill passed to [get] the blight away from our community,” said District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

The Board previously expressed frustration with the curb cuts in 2013, when Chairman Bill Guarinello asked the Department of Transportation to look into the problem, and then appealed to mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to make it a priority.

New BJ’s Location

Bensonhurst’s BJ’s is opening on July 12 at 1752 Shore Parkway and the company is hiring — fast.

Elias-Pavia and Gentile are teaming up to co-host a Job Information Night at 6 p.m. on June 17 at the Sephardic Home Auditorium at 2266 Cropsey Avenue.

According to Gentile, there are 250 jobs available at this store and “we should give these jobs to the community.” Currently, 100 positions have been filled, leaving 150 opportunities still open, including those for clerks, cashiers, stock assistants, merchants, sales representatives, and more.

Shore Parkway Promenade

The stretch from Shore Parkway and 19th Avenue to Bay Parkway has been renovated. The redeveloped path is now open, paved, and accessible to the public. There are 15 new benches, freshly planted foliage, and new drainage systems that prevent massive puddles and flooding.

“You don’t see those moon craters when you walk any more,” Gentile said. “In two weeks, it will be fully ready to enjoy.”

According to Gentile, the project cost half a million dollars to complete.

Happenings This Summer, Save The Date:  

  • Bensonhurst Green Market: Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 81st Street and 18th Avenue
  • BJ’s Job Information Night: 6/17 at 6 p.m. at the Sephardic Home Auditorium at 2266 Cropsey Avenue
  • Free Family Movie Night, Frozen: 6/22 at 8:30 p.m. at Seth Low Park
  • Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting of the Second 47th Council District Office: 6/22 at 11:00 a.m. at 2015 Stillwell Avenue
  • Casino BBQ Night: 6/26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation
  • Free Family Movie Night, Wizard of Oz: 6/29 at 8:30 p.m. at Colonel Marcus Park  

Other Announcements:

  • There has been a small spike in neighborhood robberies. 62nd Precinct Captain, William Taylor, advises residents to not walk alone when it’s late, to be more aware of surroundings, and to keep cell phones and other electronic devices safely tucked away when walking in the dark.
  • Residents at Independence Avenue and 15th Avenue submitted over 100 signatures supporting the conversion of the two-way street at that corner into a one-way street due to poor visibility and dangerous driving conditions.
  • There are emergency sewer repairs at 67th Street and 18th Avenue, due to a pipe break. Currently, 300-feet of sewer pipe is being repaired, set to be completed by June 30th.
  • Elias-Pavia reported that she will be sitting on the planning committee to determine how to allocate $3 million of block grant funding as part of a Post-Sandy Gravesend/Bensonhurst community reconstruction project.

Source: DOT

Streetsblog managing editor Brad Aaron wrote a post last week claiming that a Department of Transportation rule change fought for by Councilman Vincent Gentile is making streets less safe, but the councilman is standing by the decision.

The rule in question was adopted in 2009, allowing drivers to park at T intersections, and making it legal to block crosswalks where there are no traffic signals, painted lines or stop signs.

In addition to creating more parking spaces, Gentile argued at the time that it made the streets safer for pedestrians, since there were no indications to drivers that a crosswalk was there and thus no reason to slow down.

But according to Aaron, the unmarked crosswalks are statistically safer, and by allowing cars to block them off the city is pushing pedestrians to more dangerous crosswalks.

[A]ccording to an NYU Langone Medical Center study of Bellevue trauma patients, more pedestrians are injured while crossing in crosswalks with “walk” signals than while crossing mid-block or against the signal. Data mapped by Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat show that, between 1995 and 2009, there were no pedestrian-involved crashes at Seaman and Payson, while the two closest signalized intersections saw a handful of injury crashes each.

Has blocking unmarked crosswalks — which are natural walking paths — stopped people from using them? No, but it has worsened sight lines, making it harder for drivers and pedestrians to see each other. What the city should be doing is daylighting space next to pedestrian curb ramps — the opposite of the Gentile rule.

The data cited appears to suggest that unmarked crosswalks or crossing in the middle of the street is safer, but a closer look at the source material seems to upend that. The data was pulled from 1,400 pedestrians and cyclists treated at Bellevue for collisions between 2008 and 2011. As the New York Times reported:

Of those injured on the street, 44 percent used a crosswalk, with the signal, compared with 23 percent who crossed midblock and 9 percent who crossed against the signal.

But the research makes no correlation, and seems to only suggest that pedestrian-related accidents happen where pedestrians are more likely to be – ie. marked crosswalks with a signal. It does not suggest that crossing mid-block is safer, just that less people were treated for injuries sustained doing so – which makes sense since fewer people are likely to do that in the “busiest corridors” in Manhattan and western Brooklyn, where most of the patients were injured.

Aaron didn’t turn to Gentile for a response, so we did.

Back in 2008, Department of Transportation engineers took a long hard look at unregulated “T” intersections. Even though these areas had been outfitted with pedestrian ramps, there was no denying their dangerous design due to the lack of marked crosswalks, signals, signage or other traffic control devices. In addition, inadequate sight distances made these intersections extremely unsafe, especially for the disabled. As a result of these findings, the Dept. of Transportation amended the rules which also allowed for drivers to park in these newly redefined areas. Since then, I have done my best to promote and publicize the existence of this obscure rule change because it first and foremost helps keeps pedestrians safe and creates a few more parking spots in the process. I continue to work closely with the Dept. of Transportation towards making our streets a safe place where pedestrians, cyclists and drivers can all co-exist responsibly.

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