I'm sad to say that I arrived at the meeting late and missed the presentation on the potential food co-op (more info on this on the official site, and on Brownstoner [check out the entertaining comment thread]). Personally, I've never been to the Park Slope Food Co-op. To me, it has always sounded a little too cultish and crunchy for my taste. Then again, I hear there are amazing deals to be had. I think if we did this up FG/CH style, it could be awesome. Now, will someone with a membership please bring me into the PS co-op so I can see for myself what it's really like? Thanks. Speaking of groceries, next on the agenda was Admiral's Row in the Navy Yard. I'm no expert on this, but what I gleaned is that the crumbling Admiral's Row houses are slated to be demolished and replaced by a giant grocery store, with a parking lot for 300 cars (!!!!!). Various presenters suggested that the parking lot be reduced to accommodate approximately 80 cars (akin to the Key Foods lot in Park Slope), and retain the old homes at the same time. Since the supermarket is being touted as being for the benefit of public housing residents (who would WALK there), why are so many parking spaces needed? The renovated structures could be used for anything ranging from a bakery and fish market, specialty food stores (all of which could employ local teenagers), to condos or for use as the Navy Yard museum (which is being planned currently as a new building).
Someone at the meeting suggested the city (or whoever is ultimately in charge) consider bringing a Trader Joe's to the Navy Yard space, pointing out that it offers reasonable, high-quality food, produce and meat that the entire neighborhood desires. I am ALL FOR THIS plan. The city is home to far too many shitty Pathmark stores that smell like the 1970s. Of cours, Trader Joe's means LOTS of shoppers. Perhaps extra bus service could be extended to the area?
Another general suggestion regarding the Navy Yard was guided tours, or ferry tours from Manhattan. This is an interesting idea. The Navy Yard is vast, fascinating, mysterious and full of history. It annoys me that no one can get in just to look around. I think, ideally, the yard should be open to the public, contain public space and offer interesting retail. Creative reuse, people!
Atlantic Yards was mentioned briefly. The bridge on Carlton Ave is slated to be closed soon for construction of the Ratner Nightmare. This means that firetrucks will be rerouted to drive AGAINST TRAFFIC ON TWO STREETS SOUTH OF ATLANTIC. Giant trucks hurdling the wrong way down one-way streets?! This is a solution?! Maybe in the 'burbs, but jeez! No one even pulls over for siren vehicles here!
Finally, there was talk of forming various committees to interface with local police about neighborhood issues, including crime and trucks illegally driving on several streets (Washing Ave. specifically). The idea is that if we can present evidence that police action needs to be taken (for example, photographing and counting illegal trucks), the precinct will not be able to claim there isn't a problem. Also, residents were reminded to REPORT any and all crime. I know the cops sometimes make this difficult. One of the SCH board members explained that his car was recently broken into, and the cops wouldn't come out until the next day to look at it. By the time they arrived, he had moved the car due to street cleaning. They told him that once he moved it, they couldn't do anything about it. Classic.
(And speaking of cops, I've noticed several cop cars casually breaking traffic laws -- running red lights and driving the wrong way on one-way streets. There were no sirens or high-speed chases. They were doing it because they couldn't be bothered to abide by regular citizens' rules. I'm sure this is not unique to our neighborhood, but it really pisses me off.)
The meeting moved along more smoothly than usual, although a few speakers were kind of rude when prompted that they had gone over their time. One man actually mouthed off to the SCH officer who told him they were out of time. I find this extremely disrespectful. I know everyone has a lot to say, but the meetings are meant to be an overview of what's going on in the area. I think each issue presented should offer an email signup list, and those who are interested in discussing said issue in depth should sign up and attend a separate meeting or participate on a message board. My advice? Please tell us about your news, but don't be a dick about it. Be courteous of other speakers' and attendees' time!!!! Thanks!
(Special thanks to Thirst and Tamboril for the wine and appetizers!)