From the Feb 2013 Issue

Brooklyn and Queens bring the world together and we’re proud to bring you the critical analysis to help you discover the East Boroughs. (Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr/CC)

The BQ Brew: Artisan Journalism for the East Boroughs

Starting a media outlet in New York City, the most media-saturated market in the world, has to be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences available. And yet we’re excited. We’re excited because we see a lot of important media work that needs to be done in our communities. If there’s ever been a modern symbol of simultaneous urban magic and misery, prosperity and inequity, well-conceived hope and unforeseen despair, then surely New York City is that symbol. If you need proof of this unfolding epic, go check out your corner store being priced out, check out the working families on your block living in overcrowded housing because developers want to extort rent prices as high as possible, check out the co-op owners and small property holders being milked so that Wall Street and the major developers can continue to profit off the city without chipping in for its expenses, check…


(Photo:lumierefl/Flickr/CC)

Understanding the Rule of One in Building Co-Op Management

There’s been a lot of interest in practical application of democratic principles and we’ve gotten a few questions about how folks can use these principles to bringer better, more inclusive management to their building co-ops. This is Part 1 of a three part series on learning the basics of building co-op democratic self-management. You can read part two here: A Co-Op Board’s Member’s Responsibilities and Duties (and What Constitutes a Breach of that Trust) In NYC about 75-80% of apartments available for purchase are in cooperative buildings with the remaining 20-25% in condominiums or townhouses. Co-op ownership remains a popular option as there is more inventory to choose from and therefore prices are usually more favorable (NYT). Additionally, co-op shareholders are considered tenants of the co-op and benefit from legal protection under the New York City landlord-tenant law that condominium owners do not receive. The intent of the residential landlord-tenant…


It took hundreds of sanitation trucks to clear the debris strewn across New York City in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. (Photo: NYC Department of Transportation)

Three Months After Sandy: By The Numbers

Three months after Superstorm Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers are still recovering. We took a look through some of the numbers and this is what we found. Second Costliest Storm in U.S History: Sandy was surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina in total damage. Sandy unleashed over $65 billion dollars in weather destruction in less than five days. Total number of homes affected by power outages: 8,100,000. Sandy damaged infrastructure to a point where some electrical grids simply shut down. People in at least 17 states were left without power in one way or another. Historic size and numbers: Hurricane Sandy’s greatest size was 820 miles in diameter. measured just before Sandy unleashed on Atlantic City. The last storm to affect New York City specifically, Hurricane Irene, was half the size and nowhere near the power of Sandy. Sandy also had the lowest barometric reading ever recorded – 940 millibars –…


The criminality of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who use marijuana for medical purposes hangs in the balance as upstate politicians dawdle. (Photo: Cosmo Spacely/CC/Flickr)

Cannabust: Playing Politics at the Expense of NY’s Medical Marijuana Users

Before she tried medical marijuana, a Queens woman named Natalie was in such pain from two bouts of breast cancer, chemotherapy, and the side effects of medication that she went for weeks not sleeping more than two hours a night—and some nights she got only 15 minutes. In the morning, she says, she hurt so much that “I couldn’t hold a toothbrush.” Regular painkillers didn’t help her. Percocet and Vicodin “did horrific things to my digestive system.” And Arimidex, the estrogen-blocking drug she takes to prevent the cancer from recurring, causes severe joint pain. “It makes me feel like I’m a 90-year-old woman with severe arthritis,” she says. Then her husband suggested that she try smoking marijuana before she went to bed. She took a few tokes of mild herb, and “it soothed me, it helped me go to sleep,” she says. “At night, it’s like a lifesaver.” But under…


Low wage workers all over the city, like these Domino's employees, are getting organized fir fair wages and treatment. (Photo:  New York Communities for Change)

Low Wage Workers Resuscitate NY’s Organized Labor

With New York’s barbell economy destroying traditional middle class employment, fast food workers aren’t the only ones fed up with low wages and unfair labor practices. Others rising up to fight for fair pay include workers from: • Farm Country in East New York – 63 current and former workers at Farm Country in East New York will receive a total of $500,000 in back pay as a result of being underpaid hourly as well as being shorted on overtime. Workers voted to unionize and will be getting 50-cent raises over minimum wage, overtime, and paid days off. • Golden Farm in Kensington, Brooklyn – Since 2008, workers from Golden Farm have been fighting for fair pay, overtime, and paid sick leave…and they’re winning. After contacting the Dept. of Labor, suing the owner for back pay, organizing a community-wide boycott that has resulted in a 20% drop in revenue, and…