Opinion from the Editors: Thursday, November 12

LAUREL to Councilmember MARK TREYGER for securing $850,000 in city funds to fight gun violence in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. The money, which came from the City Council discretionary budget, as well as a $300,000 grant from the city and $250,000 from the state. The funds are earmarked for expanding the mayor’s anti-gun violence Crisis Management System throughout Coney Island and funding the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative and other local organizations. The neighborhood has seen an uptick in shootings, making it an outlier in Brooklyn South, where shootings are down 23 percent this year. “Coney Island, historically, has been very much an under-resourced community,” Treyger told Brooklyn Eagle. “We’re working to make sure Coney Island is never under-resourced again.”

DART to the DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS, which, a month after an outcry from homeowners who were hit with violations from the department due to deteriorating retaining walls adjoining their properties, has yet to rescind the notices. The department promised to void the violations, but that still hasn’t happened, according to Assemblymember William Colton. A spokesperson for the DOB has said the notices will be rescinded once the New York City Transit Authority confirms they will take responsibility for the retaining walls at each of the properties. In the meantime, homeowners with violations could have trouble selling their properties or obtaining loans — through no fault of their own. 

DART to the DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, which has said it will take two years to implement a plan to address the traffic nightmare unfolding every day outside of the $1.9 billion Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side. Drivers at Clinton and Grand get backed up for blocks as they wait for pedestrians to cross, creating a cacophony of horns that residents say lasts long into the night. The DOT plans to open a second lane for traffic on Norfolk, and to ban right turns at the busy intersection, but says those changes will take at least two years to implement. “The whole thing sucks,” resident Leah Strock told Gothamist. “I would invite you to come over and sleep at my apartment. The only time it’s ever quiet is Sunday morning, for about two hours.”

LAUREL to performance artist DAVID DATUNA, who ate a $120,000 banana duct-taped to a wall at Art Basel in Miami last weekend. The piece drew huge crowds, generated media attention and eventually sold for its ludicrously high asking price. Datuna, who opened a gallery in Long Island City in June, plucked the banana from the wall and took a bite as part of a performance he dubbed “Hungry Artist.” He later told People magazine, “It was delicious.” I say, bananas are meant to be eaten, not duct taped to walls and priced at $120,000. Datuna was right to take this absurd exhibition to the pinnacle of absurdity. 

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