Lighten Up Brooklyn registration
Lighten Up Brooklyn, Marty’s eight-week campaign to encourage overweight Brooklynites to lose a few pounds got underway today as the campaign’s 156 designated weigh-in stations officially opened. The weigh-in stations are located in health clubs and Y’s, hospitals, churches, government offices, and in all Modell’s Sporting Goods stores, Duane Reade drug stores, and Pathmark supermarkets in the borough.
Brooklynites can go to any weigh-in station to register and be officially weighed. They should return to the same location during the week of June 9th, the final week of the campaign, to record their new weight. In the meantime, Marty encourages you to join him in eating healthier and getting more exercise. To find out the locations of the weigh-in stations nearest you, click on the Borough President’s web site, www.brooklyn-usa.org, or call the Lighten Up hotline at 718-802-3777.
The first Lighten Up Brooklyn registrant, Steve Chambers, weighed-in at 5:30 this morning at the Flatbush YMCA. Marty was there to offer encouragement as was Channel 4’s "Today in New York" program, which broadcast live. Then, starting at 7:30 AM, Marty was joined by friends and neighbors as he walked to his Borough Hall office from the corner of 9th Street and Prospect Park West. He’ll follow the same route every Monday morning. Everyone’s invited to join him. (For the exact route, click on he the Borough President’s web site or call the Lighten Up Brooklyn hotline. Or follow your own walk-to work route every Monday. If you work too far from home to walk, try getting off the subway a stop or two earlier and walking the rest of the way.
Lighten Up Brooklyn is receiving international attention. Reflecting the fascination of the Japanese public with how Americans eat, TV Tokyo covered Marty’s official weigh-in as he kicked-off Lighten Up Brooklyn on April 16th, filmed him as he led a vigorous group walk onto the Brooklyn Bridge right after the weigh-in, and returned to Borough Hall today to catch participants registering for the program at the Borough Hall weigh-in station. The BBC and German TV are also covering the campaign.
Bell’s Bagels: A Brooklyn food manufacturing success story
Speaking of food and Japan, would Japanese consumers eat bialys, that quintessential Brooklyn delight? That’s what Warren Bell, owner of Bell’s Bagels in Canarsie set out to learn in 1998. He researched the Japanese market, slightly altered his recipe to suit the Japanese palate (in Japan, they like them sweeter), found a Japanese distributor with the help of the U.S. Commerce Department, and pretty soon was shipping caseloads of bialys to Japan.
So at a Borough Hall ceremony last week hosted by Marty and joined by Rep. Edolphus Towns and U.S. Commerce Department officials, William Spitler, head of the department’s export assistance office in New York awarded Bell the department’s "Export Achievement Award." Bell’s father started the bakery in a storefront in 1947 and over the years father and son gradually expanded the business into a multi-million dollar enterprise that ships baked good all over the country, as well as to Japan and other overseas markets.
Bell’s Bagels is an example of one of the "niche" manufacturing sectors that is thriving in New York City. A recent study by the Brooklyn-based NY Industrial Retention Network, Food From New York, estimated that the food-manufacturing sector could add over 1,500 new jobs in the coming few years if affordable space is made available.
The City’s five Deputy Borough Presidents meet at Borough Hall
The City’s five Deputy Borough Presidents are getting together periodically to learn from each other how they can better manage their offices and to discuss potential areas of inter-borough collaboration. Their first gathering was held in late January and was hosted by Staten Island Deputy Borough President Dan Donovan at City Hall.
The second meeting — marking the first 100 days of the Borough Presidents’ terms — was held last Friday at Borough Hall and was hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham. The main topic of discussion, which she raised, was how effectively community boards interact with their communities.
According to the report of the Community Boards Subcommittee of Marty’s Transition Committee, many Brooklynites do not even know that community boards exist. According to Deputy BP Graham, she and her colleagues discussed convening a forum that would bring together community board members, district managers, and small community-based organizations. The community-based organizations would in turn reach out to their communities to inform them about the important role of community boards.
Support Brooklyn Baseball
Brooklyn’s own basketball team, the Brooklyn Kings of the United States Basketball League, started their 2002 season last Friday night as they played the Adirondack Wildcats at the Long Island University gym. To mark the occasion, at a ceremony in front of Borough Hall last week, Marty presented Ken Charles, general manager and head coach, with a proclamation designating Thursday, April 18th as Brooklyn Kings Basketball Day in Brooklyn.
Charles thanked Marty and urged Brooklynites to attend the team’s home games, all of which are played at LIU. The next home game is this evening at 7:00. Tickets are only $10, so take the whole family. Click on www.brooklynkings.com for the team schedule. General Manager Charles added that he and his team are "100 percent" behind the Lighten Up Brooklyn campaign and he urged Brooklynites to use the borough’s athletic facilities.
Valasquez seeks new brownfields redevelopment aid
Brooklyn is blessed with hundreds of acres of vacant land, much of it conveniently located near mass transit and truck transport routes. Unfortunately, this land remains vacant because it consists of "brownfields" – property previously used for industrial purposes that is potentially contaminated. Brooklyn’s brownfields are concentrated in East NY, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Red Hook and along the Newtown Creek.
To help spur brownfields redevelopment, last week Rep. Nydia Valasquez introduced the Brownfields Use Invigoration and Land Development (BUILD) Act. The Act would provide federal grants to pay for market analysis and re-use plans. These grants would stimulate redevelopment of brownfields once environmental cleanup is complete, filling a funding gap in the brownfields redevelopment process.
The Act would dovetail with compromise brownfields legislation pending in Albany that Marty supports . Among its key provisions, the State legislation would relieve potential brownfields developers of concern about being held liable for the full cost of an environmental cleanup. In Brooklyn, these two measures could stimulate the creation of thousands of new jobs and housing units on long-fallow land.