Adams Supports Historic Landmark Designation for Underground Railroad House
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday submitted testimony to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing to reexamine its consideration of 227 Duffield Street, the 19th century former home of abolitionists Harriet and Thomas Truesdell in Downtown Brooklyn, for individual landmark status.
The hearing marks the culmination of an advocacy battle that has lasted for more than a decade to preserve the building whose location, perched over a subterranean tunnel, led to strong belief that the residence at 227 Duffield Street was at one point a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Community activists and historic preservationists have worked tirelessly to keep the property, heralded for its historic significance, from being demolished.
“We are preserving the historical integrity of one of Brooklyn’s most revered monuments to show that the Black lives of freedom-seekers mattered, and still matter, while providing enticement to attract tourists to visit our borough and learn more about its Underground Railroad-entrenched history,” said Adams.
Retaining 227 Duffield Street (co-named “Abolitionist Place” during the Bloomberg Administration) celebrates an important recognition of the Truesdells’ abolitionist legacy. That, along with the possibility of the couple having opened their home as a safe haven on the Underground Railroad, providing refuge to runaway slaves in their perilous quest for freedom, makes the building worthy of consideration for protection and preservation.
If granted, the LPC’s designation of the former residence as a historic landmark would recognize Brooklynites’ role in securing freedom for those born into an inhuman practice that sustained a false economy and perpetuated the denigration and demoralization of a race, the effects of which are still felt to this very day.
Gounardes, Brannan Demand Restaurant Fines Forgiveness
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Homecrest, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, as well as portions of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, Midwood) and City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) yesterday demanded that the City forgive any fines levied in the NYC Open Restaurants Program on restaurant owners who have been forced to change their outdoor seating plans due to the shifting city guidelines.
According to local restaurants and numerous reports, the program added new guidelines after the initial set of guidelines were released – giving restaurants 24 hours to comply with the new rules and costing them thousands of dollars. The officials urged that any fines resulting from changes to the program be forgiven.
“It is outrageous to cause local restaurants, already struggling to stay in business, to have to spend thousands of extra dollars to comply with changing guidelines. It’s great that the city was able to start this program on a short timeline, but that cannot be an excuse for adding changing the rules after restaurants already complied — the definition of red tape and bureaucracy. The city must forgive any fines levied under this program and commit to clear, consistent guidelines going forward,” said Gounardes.
“No matter what, safety must always come first. I understand this program is brand new and was enacted at a frenetic pace. I also understand the need to get the guidelines right. But business owners should not be penalized for the city moving the goalposts. Fines should be forgiven, and if guidelines change yet again, then business owners need to be given more time to fix – otherwise, we are hurting our small businesses and this program was supposed to help them get through this tough time,” said Brannan.
Colton Successful in Helping People Get Unemployment Benefits
Assemblyman William Colton (D-Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) is saying that as COVID-19 epidemic started, his office was swamped with a phone calls from all over the New York City area from people pleading for help with applying for unemployment benefits.
“Within the past four months, my office was able to help an enormous amount of cases that we had received from people within the district as well as from the outside. I, together with my staff members were able to successfully help hundreds of people who came to me for help. I am thankful for the governor’s office and the Department of Labor for working with my office together helping to expedite a terrible logjam in processing claims stemming from the incredible number of claims due to the pandemic crises,” Colton said.
“The office is still receiving new unemployment requests for help. Community Liaison Declan Hong has been calling many of those who originally requested our help to see if they received their benefits and whether they needed any additional help and the office has been following up on any requests for additional follow-up for those who have run into any new obstacles,” he added.
Colton said that although his office remains closed due to the pandemic, constituents with any problems or concerns should call and leave a message on the office phone at 718 236 1598 or the office emails at [email protected]. Although due to the office temporary closing, it may take a day or two to respond to calls and emails, he assures everyone they will be answered.
Myrie Announces Redistricting Hearing
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) announced that the state legislature today will hold a hearing on the Constitutional provision impacting redistricting.
The state and federal government redistrict elective offices every 10 years after the census is completed to reflect demographic shifts.
The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment Co-Chairs Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assembly Governmental Operations Committee Chair Kenneth Zebrowski (D-Long Island) will take testimony to evaluate the current legal structure of redistricting in New York State in advance of the upcoming redistricting cycle in 2021-22. In the interest of public health and safety.
The hearing will be conducted virtually using web-based video conferencing. It is slated for 10 a.m., today, July 15 and viewable at this link.
Cornegy to Distribute Supplies in Bed-Stuy Community
City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) today will join the Met Council on Jewish Poverty to distribute supplies, including food and hand sanitizer refills. to community residents in Bed-Stuy.
The distribution comes as community residents facing the dual challenges of COVID-19 and the economic crisis.
The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, July 15 Restoration Plaza, 1360 Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.