9th annual Spring Egg Hunt in north Brooklyn

It’s never too early to plan ahead for Easter.

On Sunday, April 5th, Town Square is hosting the 9th annual Spring Egg Hunt.

The event will take place at Four Five Six, located at 199 Richardson Street in Williamsburg, which Town Square describes as a “fun lounge with comfy couches and gorgeous backyard.”

There will be hundreds of eggs, and the hunts will run in groups of 15 to 20 kids.

Kids will get to meet the Easter Bunny and enjoy craft activities, face-painting and live music.

Buy your egg hunt tickets quickly because last year, tickets sold out!

It’s $20 in advance, with special mommy/daddy tickets for $5.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.townsquarebk.org.

Greencycle KIDS Swap set for February 29

PS 34, located at 131 Norman Avenue, will play host to Town Square’s Greencycle KIDS Swap on Saturday, February 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to bring their clean and gently used kids toys, clothes, shoes, books, art supplies and more. But please, no oversized items!

There is a $5 suggested donation.

This special kids version of Greencycle Swap is a partnership with PS 34’s PTA Green Team and Parachute Brooklyn.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact greenteam@ps34pta.org.

Grand Street Winter Restaurant Week from now to March 1

Grand Street BID’s 7th Winter Restaurant Week is finally here!

From now until March 1, patrons can enjoy three-course dinners for no more than $35 from participating restaurants.

That means there’s no excuse for you to try something new in the the neighborhood, or perhaps visit one of your local favorites.

Here are the 15 participating restaurants:

As you can see, only one restaurant is charging the cap of $35. Seven eateries are charging $20 or less for three courses. What a deal!

As usual, the Grand Street BID is rewarding patrons who share their prix fixe experience with #DineOnGrand on social media.

Every photo shared is an entry into a contest to win $50 to a Grand Street BID restaurant of your choosing.

So come out to Grand Street, eat to your heart’s content and be sure to share your experience on social!

3-K is coming to School District 14

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

3-K is coming to north Brooklyn schools in the 2020-2021 school year.

At his 2020 State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio announced the expansion of his 3-K for All program to two additional school districts, bringing the total number to sixteen.

3-K already exists in the following school districts:

  • District 4 (East Harlem)
  • District 5 (Harlem)
  • District 6 (Washington Heights and Inwood)
  • District 7 (South Bronx)
  • District 8 (Country Club, Pelham Bay, Throgs Neck, Castle Hill, Soundview, Hunts Point)
  • District 9 (Grand Concourse, Highbridge, Morrisania)
  • District 16 (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
  • District 19 (East New York)
  • District 23 (Brownsville)
  • District 27 (Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Rockaways)
  • District 31 (Staten Island)
  • District 32 (Bushwick)

In the fall of 2021, 3-K will come to these four districts:

  • District 1 (Chinatown, East Village, Lower East Side)
  • District 12 (Central Bronx)
  • District 14 (Greenpoint, Williamsburg)
  • District 29 (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans)

Through this expansion, the 3-K for All program will serve 26,000 children across the city. That includes all 3-year-olds served in Head Start and Child Care programs, which transferred from ACS to DOE management to create one single early childhood system for families.

The application for 3-K opened on Wednesday, February 5, and will remain open until Friday, April 24.

Families can find programs and apply online at MySchools.nyc.

St. Stan’s celebrates Catholic Schools Week

Last week, St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy in Greenpoint welcomed Diocese of Brooklyn’s Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski for a special visit.

The event was part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

Bishop Mroziewski began his visit with mass for the students and faculty, followed by a school assembly.

St. Stan’s students sang a variety of songs, played Chopin on the piano and danced traditional Polish Polonaise.

Mroziewski then toured the school and spoke to students in each class.

Catholic Schools Week began in 1974 as a national celebration highlighting the successes of Catholic education in the United States.

This year’s Catholic Schools Week theme was “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”

More protected bike lanes coming to North Brooklyn

Here’s some good news for cyclists in north Brooklyn: more protected bike lanes are on the way.

The city announced that it will build 10 more miles of protected bike lanes in 2020, and 30 more miles overall throughout New York city.

As you can see on the map, those projects include Franklin Street & West Street in Greenpoint, and Meeker Avenue in Greenpoint/Williamsburg.

Last year was a really bad year for pedestrian and cyclist safety, as 29 bike riders died on New York City streets.

In response, Mayor de Blasio announced his Green Wave plan to create a connected network of protected bike lanes, as well as adding a lot more miles.

The protected lanes on Meeker Avenue will be especially important, given how many cars use the thoroughfare to connect to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).

Espinal resigns from City Council to run Freelancers Union

File photo

Just days after Rafael Espinal said “more details to follow” regarding his future, he dropped the news that he is resigning from the City Council.

Espinal, whose last term was set to end in 2021, will instead lead the 500,000-member Freelancers Union, which is based in Brooklyn. He begins his new job on March 2.

District 37, which spans Cypress Hills, Bushwick, East New York and parts of Ocean Hill and Brownsville, will now have a special election within 80 days. The winner of that race will serve in the City Council for the remainder of the term.

In the meantime, the City Council speaker’s office will help handle constituent duties as the race to replace Espinal begins.

Espinal dropped out of the Brooklyn borough president’s race abruptly this month, and now we know why.

The ex-lawmaker got a lot done in his six years in office, including passing legislation to repeal the city’s Cabaret Law, establish the city’s new Office of Nightlife, and support green roofs and urban farming.

He was a co-sponsor of the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” which extends protections against harassment and discrimination to independent workers. That bill was passed in 2019.

Espinal made news last week by saying term-limited council members are “lame ducks.” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson agreed, but noted that being a lame duck doesn’t mean being unproductive.

More than three dozen seats in the City Council will be up for grabs in 2021, making it an interesting election year. The mayor and comptroller positions will also see turnover.

Speaking of the mayor, de Blasio praised Espinal on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” on Monday night by calling him a “great legislator,” citing his work on the Cabaret Law and Nightlife Office. He said working for the Freelancers Union will mean having a national impact.

“I don’t think that’s a bad outcome,” the mayor said. “I think that means he’s applying his skills in a really good way, but in another venue.”

Could Espinal return to public service? It’s possible. He didn’t leave the door closed for future opportunities, according to reports.

Rafael Espinal drops from Brooklyn BP race

(Photo: John McCarten/City Council)

North Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal has ended his campaign for Brooklyn borough president.

Espinal, who represents Cypress Hills, East New York and parts of Bushwick, announced his decision last week.

“Being elected to lead and serve our city’s greatest borough has always been a dream of mine,” he said in a statement.

The councilman touted his work to secure “historic” investments for his district, the Holocaust Survivors initiative, and pass legislation for green roofs and the Office of Nightlife.

“As a born and raised Brooklyn boy, I believe there is no greater honor than to serve as the Brooklyn Borough President,” Espinal continued, “but after months of consideration I have decided not to continue my campaign.”

He added that given his record and ability to work with Brooklynites, he believed he could have put together a “strong and winning campaign. But “right now is just not the time for me,” he said.

Espinal, who is term-limited in the City Council by 2021, previously ran for public advocate on his own “Livable City” party line. He placed seventh, collecting 12,929 votes, just north of 3 percent.

What’s next for Espinal? That remains to be seen. In his statement, he said he would have “more details to follow” in the days to come.

Notably, he raised $11,749 for his campaign, far behind other candidates. He could transfer those funds for a future run for higher office.

Espinal’s exit from the Brooklyn BP race could consolidate support for Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who, like Espinal, is a young, Latino and progressive lawmaker from north Brooklyn.

Bed-Stuy Councilman Robert Cornegy is also in the running. He has more than $150,000 in his campaign coffers, far outpacing Reynoso, who raised $84,000, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

The only other candidate who filed with the CFB is Lamor Whitehead-Miller, a Crown Heights-based activist.

Of course, there have been rumors that First Lady Chirlane McCray may jump into the race. She and Mayor de Blasio are reportedly close to the Brooklyn Democratic Party, now run by Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, as well as current Brooklyn BP Eric Adams.

We will keep a close eye on the race as we head toward 2021.

Brooklyn Legal Services names new project director

Brooklyn Legal Services, which provides free civil legal services to low-income Brooklyn residents, has named Tanya E.M. Wong has its new project director.

Wong began her career at Legal Services NYC over 20 years ago, when she joined Harlem Legal Services, and later the Brooklyn branch of LSNYC, before becoming its director of government benefits.

She is an expert in the areas of government benefits, specializing in welfare rights and other anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs.

Wong was the lead attorney in Huerta v. Zucker, which established due process rights and procedures for women and children who receive nutrition and healthcare supplements through WIC.

She served as acting project director in Staten Island from October 2018 to December 2019. Wong is a graduate of Harvard University and Northeastern University School of Law.

“Brooklyn Legal Services has a long history of legal excellence and fighting for social justice and I am looking forward to building on that legacy in partnership with the communities we serve and our very talented and experienced staff,” she said. 

“Not only will we continue to provide access to justice to those who cannot afford it, but we will leverage our resources to address structural inequities and biases impacting our clients.”

North Brooklyn coalition to host U.S. Census jobs fair

File photo

The North Brooklyn coalition of Neighbors Helping Neighbors, in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, is hosting a local jobs fair on Wednesday, January 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The fair will take place at St. Nick’s Workforce Development Center, 2nd floor, at 790 Broadway, near Woodhull Hospital.

Up to 120,000 Census workers will be hired in the state of New York for the count that happens later this year. New York City residents are expected to make up over 75 percent of that workforce.

Workforce One, another job recruiter, will also be present during the event. U.S. Census Bureau and St. Nicks’s workforce staff will be there to help applicants.

Residents age 18 and over are welcome to apply for positions paying $22.50 and up.