Friday, February 27, 2015

Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting a Microcosm of Change Rocking Brooklyn

The good and bad aspects of changing Brooklyn were reflected at this year's Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting, held Tuesday night at Grace Church.

A nice new park, rampant development, overcrowded schools and a shrunken library were some of the topics discusssed.

BHA President Alexanda Bowie summed it up when she said, "... we are a quiet corner no longer... Change is not just coming; change is here."

BHA's Executive Director Judy Stanton is stepping down after 30 years of being the undisputed mayor of Brooklyn Heights. What the neighborhood has lost won't become apparent until after she departs this summer, when things will slowly begin falling apart.

Stanton was presented with a special award by Thirteen's Tom Stewart, who grew teary eyed as he spoke of her accomplishments -- see the Brooklyn Eagle for more on this.

Bowie presented the BHA's views on the major issues that have been rocking the Heights:

- Residential development in Brooklyn Bridge Park: "At this moment, we are not convinced that housing is needed on Pier 6."

- The height of the buildings at BBP's Pier 1: They are “larger than they should be, and ... their height contravenes agreements that were made in the community many years ago.”

- Brooklyn Public Library’s plans to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights branch:  “Cautiously optimistic.”

Overcrowding at P.S. 8: Mayor de Blasio must invest in schools “immediately -- not in 2017, 2018, 2019.”

Speaker Justin Davidson, New York magazine architecture and classical music critic, cast change in a positive light, for the most part. “Preservation is an empty pursuit if it doesn’t contribute to a vibrant city,” he said.

See here for more, and for a list of this year's award winners.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Would Brooklyn Terrorists Want to Bomb Coney Island?

The three alleged terrorists arrested on Wednesday had back up plans to set off a bomb in Coney Island, if everything else fell through.

Why would the three young men -- Brooklynites Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30 -- want to blow up a neighborhood in their adopted borough?

Speculating here: Perhaps it has something to do with the relatively large number of Russians in Coney Island

Russia is waging an "online war" against ISIS (or ISIL), according to Aljazeera. ISIS /ISIL has released videos with threats to liberate Chechnya from Russia. Many ISIS recruits are coming from the disputed Russian territory. In fact, there's an "Islamist insurgency" there.

All three of the accused were immigrants from former Soviet republics Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

According to Mashable, one of the defendants attended college for a while at City Tech in Downtown Brooklyn, though not currently. 

This is not the first time Brooklyn has been threatened by Islamic extremists, the Brooklyn Eagle reports. In 1997, police arrested terrorists planning to detonate bombs in the Atlantic Avenue subway station.

There have been 16 known terrorist plots against New York City since September 11, 2001.

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Complete U.S. Statement on 3 Brooklyn-Based Terror Suspects Arrested Wednesday

NYPD/FBI presser about the terror aarrests. Courtesy NYPD
 Three Brooklyn residents -- Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, were arrested early Wednesday and charged with attempting to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (also called ISIL), or, failing that,  carrying out attacks in Coney Island aand against President Obama, police officers and FBI agents.

One was arrested at JFK.

All three were immigrants from former Soviet republics Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Below is the full statement issued Wednesday by the U.S. government:


Department of Justice Document Regarding Three Accused Terrorists from Brooklyn

Three Brooklyn, New York, Residents Charged with Attempt and Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL

Two Defendants Allegedly Planned to Travel to Syria in Order to Join ISIL;

One Defendant Arrested While Boarding a Flight to Turkey

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Earlier today, a criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov, and Abror Habibov with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization. The initial appearances of Juraboev and Saidakhmetov are scheduled for later today before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. Habibov’s initial appearance will be held later today at the U.S. Courthouse, 300 North Hogan Street, Jacksonville, Florida.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).

As alleged in the complaint, Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement in August 2014 after he made a posting on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIL’s ideology. The investigation subsequently revealed that Juraboev and Saidakhmetov devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of waging jihad on behalf of ISIL. Saidakhmetov, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Kazakhstan, was arrested early this morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Juraboev, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, had previously purchased a plane ticket to travel from New York to Istanbul and was scheduled to leave the United States next month. Habibov, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, helped fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIL.

As alleged in the complaint, Juraboev was also prepared to engage in an act of terrorism in the United States if ordered to do so by ISIL, and Saidakhmetov intended to commit such an act if unable to travel abroad to join ISIL. In the August 2014 posting on the website that propagates ISIL’s ideology, Juraboev offered to kill the President of the United States if ordered to do so by ISIL. More recently, Saidakhmetov expressed his intent to buy a machine gun and shoot police officers and FBI agents if thwarted in his plan to join ISIL in Syria.

“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As alleged in the complaint, two of the defendants in this case sought to travel to Syria to join ISIL but were also prepared to wage violent jihad here in the United States. A third defendant allegedly provided financial assistance and encouragement. We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and those who support them. Anyone who threatens our citizens and our allies, here or abroad, will face the full force of American justice.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which comprises a large number of federal, state, and local agencies from the region.

“The charges against Juraboev, Saidakhmetov and Habibov reflect our commitment to finding those who wish to provide material support to ISIL, as well as those committed to fighting on behalf of ISIL, either at home or abroad, and preventing them from doing so,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters and financial resources to terrorist organizations operating in Iraq and Syria. I would like to commend all those whose tireless efforts helped bring these charges.”

“As alleged, the defendants looked to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant by flying to Turkey in a vain attempt to evade detection. And one of the defendants was prepared to commit acts of terror here—in America—if he could not travel, to include killing FBI agents. The defendants violated the true tenants of their faith in pursuit of their radical, violent agenda. We rely on help from the community, the public, and religious leaders to be mindful of those who could be radicalized. We cannot do this alone,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.

“ISIL calls on its followers to come fight for the terrorist organization in Syria,” said Police Commissioner Bratton, “and in messages to followers outside Syria, ISIL has called on them to attack police, intelligence officers, or the military in their home countries including the United States. By pledging allegiance to ISIL, these defendants allegedly conspired to fight for a designated foreign terrorist organization, either in Syria or even New York.” Commissioner Bratton commended the work of the detectives and agents of the JTTF and the guidance of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York throughout the investigation.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda, and Amanda Hector, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Danya Atiyeh of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

The Defendants:

Age: 24
Nationality: Uzbeki

Age: 19
Nationality: Kazakh

Age: 30
Nationality: Uzbeki

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-M-0172

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brooklyn's Cherry King Kills Self After Secret Drug Op Discoveered in Basement; and More Brooklyn News

- Drug  operation was in the basement: Owner of family-run Maraschino cherry company in Red Hook kills himself when police come asking questions. Dell's, in bussiness 67 years, is one of the largest processors of maraschino cherries in the country. [CBS] and [Daily News]

- VIDEO: Two arrested in Bath Beach after wild Verrazano Bridge chase. [Bensonhurst Bean

- De Blasio ends informed consent requirement for dangerous Orthodox circumcision ritual. [Failed Messiah]

- Lawyer integral in LICH case opens new firm. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Candidates vying for Michael Grimm's seat hit the campaign trail. [NY1]

- Overcrowding on NYC subways reaches all time high, makes you terribly late. [Brokelyn]

- Right-wingers not happy with Stringer's push for language help in court for immigrants. [Comments at Brooklyn Eagle]

- Cops find photos of naked toddler on Brooklyn man's phone, charged with child pornography. [Daily News]

- 104 in the shade: Soccer’s governing body should reschedule the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to avoid the stifling heat in the Gulf State during the summer months. [WSJ]

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Court/Smith Street BID, and More Brooklyn Briefs

Photo: MK Metz
 - Court and Smith Street BID in the works; another meeting planned. [PMFA]

- Brooklyn non-profit to convert 285 Schermerhorn St. into a 14-story tower. [WSJ]

- Comptroller Stringer in Brooklyn calls for more interpreters, language help in Housing Courts. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- $2,000 reward for info leading to arrest of gunpoint robbery suspect in Homecrest. [Sheepshead Bites]

- Man found shot to death in Canarsie. [NY Daily News]

- Bill O'Reilly threatens NY Times reporter. [Politico]

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Tolls on East River Bridges, and More Brooklyn Briefs

Invertebrates, St. Ann's School students. Photo: MK Metz

- Barclay's Center is about 63% behind its profit goals. [Atlantic Yards Report]

- Move NY plan to charge tolls on East River bridges gets airing in Boerum Hill. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Nothing official, but word is that Brooklyn City Council Member Vincent Gentile is the most likely to get the nod as the Dem candidate in the special election to replace Michael Grimm. [Gotham Gazette]

- Juice Press is coming to Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

- Billboard in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood angers many of the locals. [Failed Messiah]

- Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting on Tuesday features music & architecture critic Justin Davidson. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Brooklyn BP Adams launches Access-Friendly NYC, promoting more accessibility in public buildings across the city. [NY Daily News]

- The NYPD is searching for a woman accused of “handle surfing” cases in Staten Island and Brooklyn. [CBSlocal]

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Snow Scenes on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade on a snowy day is quiet and picturesque.

Nothing much has changed in 60 years.

Photos by MK Metz
A moment in time.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

2-Hr. Amazon Deliveries to Brooklyn; Brooklyn Folk Fest Coming to Brooklyn Heights; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The father and uncle of a Brooklyn boy killed in elevator attack are arrested in Montague St. bank heist. [CBS local]

- Almost-instant gratification: Amazon's 2-hr deliveries now comes to Prime members in Brooklyn. [re/code]

 - Brooklyn folk festival will expand -- and is moving to St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights. [NY Times]

- A troubled Park Slope assisted living facility has agreed to pay $750,000 to the family of Brooklyn's "Kung Fu" judge who died after being locked up there seven years ago. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- It's so freezing out that snowy owls from the Arctic have descended on Brooklyn. [NY Magazine]

- Brooklyn's most dangerous intersection is Eastern Parkway and Utica. [amNY]

- Autistic Brooklyn man with diabetes, 20, is missing since Tuesday. [PIX11]

- A man was shot to death in East New York Thursday night. [CBSlocal]

- TSA found 2 guns in 2 separate ladies' handbags at JFK on Thursday. One belonged to a Brooklyn resident.  [Brooklyn Eagle]

- The leading candidate in the special election to replace Michael Grimm in Congress says it's worth the cost. [NY1]

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Convicted: Hit-and-Run Con Who Killed Young Williamsburg Couple

"Sorry, it was an accident," convicted killer Julio Acevedo said in this jailhouse interview posted on YouTube by JewsOnTelevision.

Acevedo was driving a borrowed BMW 70 mph in 2013 when he crashed into a car carrying Williamsburg couple Nathan and Raizy Glauber, who was pregnant, on their way to Long Island College Hospital (LICH). The prematurely-born baby also died.

He was convicted Thursday in a Brooklyn court.

The NY Daily News says Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson "personally attended the evening verdict ... a signal of the importance of the trial that was closely-watched in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community where the victims were members."

Acevedo was caught for DWI two weeks before the incident but was released without bail "by a judge who didn’t suspend his license as required," the News says.

He previously killed the "original" 50 Cent, Kelvin Martin, a Brooklyn murderer who killed as many as 30 people, according to the Daily Beast. Acevedo was a member of Martin's "crew."

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fresh Landmarking Push for Crown Heights North, and More Brooklyn Briefs

Photo: MK Metz
- Tax season: Free filing help available in Brooklyn. (But if you're e-filing, watch out for tax scams.) [Brooklyn Eagle]

- How to get that Brooklyn real estate look everybody's talking about -- and still have room for a large furnace for disposing of medical waste. [The Owl]

- CUNY research team unveils storm resiliency ideas for Jamaica Bay. [Sheepshead Bites]

- Hipsters to start composting: Official mainstream composting coming to Williamsburg this spring. [Brokelyn]

- Forum on implementing tolls on East River bridges and other transportation questions, in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday. [Brownstoner]

- Fresh landmarking push for Crown Heights North. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Heat waves, storms, flooding and droughts: Two new studies paint a somewhat grim portrait of New York City in 100 years from now. [Sheepshead Bites]

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