Adams thanks diocese for COVID relief efforts

Standing in front of Borough Hall this past Friday, Borough President Eric Adams honored the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Emergency Task Force for its year-long effort to assist first responders and frontline workers.
The task force consists of volunteers who worked closely with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Diocese leadership to distribute food and equipment.
Since the pandemic began, the group has delivered over 500,000 masks, 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 40,000 gloves to police and fire departments, hospitals, nursing homes, and other entities in need throughout the state.
Additionally, the group delivered iPads to students throughout the borough to assist with virtual learning.
“When we were out there criss-crossing Brooklyn, we saw the borough president out there criss-crossing as well,” said task force member said Vincent Levien. “He has always been there helping us help the people most in need.”
Adams awarded citations to all of the members present before offering his own brief remarks.
“We want to thank all the members of the organization for being the COVID heroes we expect,” he said. “Even during these challenging times, we should acknowledge how our faith-based institutions played such a vital and critical role in getting our city up and moving.”
“We are able to hope to get back to normal life because of dedicated people like them,” added Councilman Mathieu Eugene. “They put themself in danger to help of those in need. If it weren’t for them, the crisis would be worse.”

Diocese dealing with two hate crimes

Leaders of the Catholic church are worried they are in the midst of a hate crime spree after two acts of vandalism in just three days.
In the early morning hours of May 14, a crucifix was toppled and damaged and an American Flag burned at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.
The damaged crucifix was discovered by Monsignor David Cassato around 8 a.m. on his walk from the rectory to the academy to greet the students. It was found adjacent to the school at the corner of 61st Street and Bay Parkway, toppled and lying face down.
The crucifix was installed at the parish in 2010 in memory of Monsignor Cassato’s mother. The parish plans to repair and reinstall it in the same location.
“This was truly an act of hatred and today is the saddest day of my 20 years here at this parish,” said Cassato. “I went over and spoke to the students in the school about what happened, telling them that hate never wins.”
Over the weekend, a statue depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus was vandalized on the grounds of the Diocesan administrative offices at 310 Prospect Park West in Windsor Terrace. Jesus was decapitated.
The destruction was discovered by a facilities manager. The diocese is already working towards repairing the statue to its original form.
“We are definitely concerned that there is a pattern of hate crimes against Catholics,” said Monsignor Anthony Hernandez of the Diocese of Brooklyn. “The Diocese will be notifying our churches to be on alert, and we are asking the NYPD to increase patrols in and around the area of our churches.”
The NYPD is investigating both incidents as hate crimes. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

Mayor announces $31 Million for Brooklyn park projects

This past Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver announced that construction has begun on four new capital projects in Brooklyn.
Representing more than a $31 million investment, the projects are focused on adding to and improving green space throughout the borough.
“A recovery for all of us means increasing access to parks in historically underserved neighborhoods and creating greener, healthier communities,” de Blasio said. “These four Brooklyn parks will bring joy to and serve New Yorkers for generations to come.”
The four projects include the construction or renovation of parks in multiple neighborhoods.
In Williamsburg, new recreational facilities will be added to Bushwick Inlet Park at 50 Kent Avenue. The additions include new seating areas, expansive lawns with views of Manhattan, and water sprinklers for the summer.
“For years, North Brooklyn has been asking ‘where’s our park?’” said Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher. “With this historic investment at 50 Kent, we’re one giant step closer to making the full Bushwick Inlet Park a reality.”
In Ocean Hill, Callahan Kelly Playground will receive its own renovation. The project will add fitness equipment and a skate park.
“This needed upgrade continues the legacy of Ocean Hill-Brownsville, as a neighborhood where residents can live, play, and raise a family,” said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.
DUMBO’s Susan Smith McKinney Steward Park will be reconstructed with a new playground, fitness area, synthetic turf, and performance stage. Formerly Bridge Park II, Susan Smith McKinney Steward Park was officially renamed last December as part of Parks’ efforts to honor the Black experience.
Susan Smith McKinney was the first African-American woman in New York State to receive a license to practice medicine. She was born, raised, lived, and practiced in Brooklyn.
“Green spaces are critical for wellbeing, for children to play and as a gathering point for the community,” Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez agreed in her own statement. “These new projects will go a long way in bringing park equity to places like North Brooklyn and throughout the borough.”
Lastly, La Guardia playground in Williamsburg will be furnished with new play equipment, seating, landscaping, and a spray shower.
The La Guardia renovation will be completed through the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), the City’s first-ever parks equity initiative. Phase I of this CPI project was completed in fall 2020 and reconstructed the sports courts and plaza in the southern part of the park.
“It’s great to see our Parks capital projects getting underway again,” said Councilman Steve Levin. “Both of the long-awaited projects in District 33 will add much needed open space for people to use.”

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