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Local rapper profiled

Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez, originally from Sunset Park, pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. Now, he is the subject of “New Muslim Cool,”which kicks off P.O.V.’s 22nd season on PBS on June 23 at 10 p.m.

“New Muslim Cool came out of my long-standing interest in the power of pop music and culture to create social change, and a deep feeling that we urgently need more nuanced and authentic images of young people like Hamza and his family and community,” said filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor.

The P.O.V. series (a cinema term for “point of view”) is broadcast June through September, with primetime specials in the fall and winter.Check local listings.

Hubbies only

Swine flu concerns prompted New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope to say last week that it would allow only husbands or significant others in the maternity areas, and no one but parents in the pediatrics department.

“We’re being particularly cautious about our most vulnerable patients,” spokeswoman Lyn Hill said in a published report. “It’s purely precaution­ary.”

Since late April, 530 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with swine flu, and 12 deaths have been linked to the virus, according the city’s Department of Health.

The Health Department last week released preliminary findings from a household survey designed to estimate the prevalence of flu-like illness in New York City during the first three weeks of May. Some 6.9 percent of the New Yorkers surveyed said they had experienced flu-like illness between May 1 and May 20.

500 trees grow in Brooklyn

Nearly 500 saplings were delivered to the Brooklyn Bridge Park recently and are slated to be planted around the northern and Southern end of the 85-acre waterfront park.

The trees include magnolias, lindens, serviceberries, sweetgums, London planes catalpas and oaks are currently in a nursery midway along Furman Street between Old Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer said the trees will be planted during the first phase of construction this summer.

Arby’s in Fulton Mall


Will that be a roast beef with horseradish saucei

That’s what Fulton Mall shoppers will soon be asking after the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission greenlighted the fast food chain Arby’s to move into the landmarked former Gage & Tollner Restaurant between Jay and Adams Streets.

LPC commissioners praised the owner and architect for improving the plan, which was originally shown to and turned down by the commission on May 19.

The LPC approved the plan with the stipulation that the restaurant modify the proposed menu sign above the ordering counter in a way that detracts less from the arched and mirrored wall behind it. Some suggested turning the mirror into the menu, and write what’s on it in crayon, or stenciling.

“The sign is the one thing that prevents this proposal from being fantastic,” said Commissioner Roberta Washington.

Move to make bridge


Cyclists may have to less to fear when crossing into Queens from Brooklyn.

Two months after the motion was introduced, Brooklyn’s Community Board 1, covering Williamsburg and Greenpoint, will co-sign a letter with Queens Community Board 5 requesting that the Department of Transportation study the need for widening the Pulaski Bridge to include a lane for cyclists.

Transportation Alternatives members Kevin Vincent, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth’s Lacey Tauber and Greenpoint resident Marin Tockman delivered a presentation at last month’s meeting, and the motion to vote on the letter was tabled at CB1’s June meeting.

“Hooray!” said Tockman.“I think it’s a wonderful step and we’re really glad that CB1 is stepping forward.We’re looking forward to the next step to see what the study can show.”

Mayoral this!

City Councilmember Bill de Blasio launched a “20 Reasons in 20 Days” campaign this week.

Each day, he will offer a different reason why the state law granting mayoral control of the city school system, which sunsets on June 30, should be revised %u2013 and not reauthorized in its current form, as is feared now that the state legislature is in chaos.

Here’s reason 20: “Because in April 2009, hundreds of kindergarten parents in New York City were informed that there were ‘not enough seats available in the zoned schools at this time to accommodate all the zoned applicants’ and, as a result, their children were waitlisted at their own neighborhood schools.”

Let your voice be heard

For the first time, diagrams of proposed development projects that are intended to help the public determine whether the projects comply with local zoning will be posted on the Department of Buildings (DOB) Web site, as part of the agency’s new challenge process.

The challenge process %u2013 which will be put into effect on July 13 %u2013 will allow community residents and other interested parties up to 45 days to comment on the proposals. The public will also be allowed 15 additional days to respond should the agency rule that a challenge is invalid.

“New Yorkers have a right to know what’s being built in their neighborhood, and now they can easily find out by visiting our Web site,” commented Robert LiMandri, commissioner of DOB. The new challenge process, LiMandri contended, “opens the doors to the construction process like never before.”

Not only the diagrams will be on line. For the first time, the agency will also post its official response to challenges.

When the process was originally announced, DOB proposed to allow a public comment period of only 30 days; however, both elected officials and community activists complained that a month was not a sufficient amount of time to allow residents to learn about and review proposals that can be extremely complicated.

Diagrams will be found on the DOB Web site,, in the My Community section.

‘BID’ing on Fifth

Businesses along Fifth Avenue in Park Slope have united!

The city announced last week the kickoff of a new Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), which will include Fifth Avenue properties and directly adjacent side street commercial properties between Dean Street and 18th Street.

Organizers said that the BID will provide maintenance, supplemental sanitation and security services. It will also be responsible for the marketing and promotion of all businesses.

“The BID will help beautify and enhance the community while attracting more pedestrians and potential customers to the area,” said Irene LoRe, executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.

The BID’s first actioni Getting four solar trash compactors for the shopping corridor. Other planned events include “Focus on Fifth” where shops will display local artists’ paintings and photographs from July 4th through Labor Day.

To send in tips, e-mail attn: Borough Briefs.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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