phndc.org

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) brings Prospect Heights community members together to build a safer, more just and sustainable neighborhood.


phndc.org is a portal for the exchange of news, events and information among Prospect Heights community members interested in the development of this unique and historic neighborhood.


End systemic police violence now

Posted: June 6, 2020 - 10:53am

Our country’s legacy of racial oppression has left us with governments whose law enforcement officers all too often single out people of color for mistreatment, abuse and violence. A democratic society cannot accept this condition, which is deeply offensive to communities whose strength comes from their diversity. Many voices are now raised calling for fundamental change to end this longstanding injustice. We stand with them.

Gathering places of Prospect Heights— Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum, and Grand Army Plaza—have become synonymous with the recent protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. We welcome peaceful demonstrators of conscience in our community. They exercise their Constitutional right to freedom of speech, and they should receive the respect and compassion of our police. Instead, we have been sickened to see our streets become the scenes of attacks by officers of the NYPD against unarmed protesters that should never happen in the New York City of 2020.

As public outrage at police violence finds an outlet in continuing and justified demonstrations, the risk of a terrible tragedy unfolding on our neighborhood’s streets must be addressed at once. We call on Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Shea, the New York State legislature and the New York City Council to take all action necessary to prevent further injury to those who assemble here and around the city seeking long overdue reforms. New York State’s police secrecy law, Section 50-a, which hides police misconduct and abuse records from the public and allows repeat offenders to stay on the job, must be repealed. We support New York State Attorney General James’ efforts to hold accountable officers who have engaged in misconduct during protests thus far. We urge persons with evidence of their actions to share it with the Attorney General’s office.

The NYPD’s budget has steadily increased during the de Blasio administration. As the City contemplates reduced revenues in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, we urge the Mayor and the City Council to take this opportunity to lower the cost of policing in New York City by finding creative ways to reduce the role of police in city life while maintaining vital public services like education and community development.

We do not choose racism. We do not choose police violence. We certainly do not choose a pandemic that has cost lives and livelihoods in our community, and brought our country to its knees. But we also have no choice other than to overcome them all together through commitment to our values, trust and respect for each other, and accountability from those who represent and serve us.

Open Streets come to Prospect Heights

Posted: May 29, 2020 - 9:59am

The New York City Department of Transportation has approved PHNDC's request to include Carlton Avenue from Park Place to Bergen Street and Underhill Avenue from St. John's Place to Bergen Street in its Open Streets program during the COVID-19 emergency.

These blocks will operate as Open Streets from 8am through 8pm daily. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) will place barricades at the start of the day and remove them each evening.

COVID-19 resources for Prospect Heights residents and businesses

Posted: April 2, 2020 - 3:19pm

All of our community members are coping in some way with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 emergency. Below are resources to help you understand the nature of the outbreak, where to go for medical help, what services are available to help you and your family, and where you can volunteer to help or donate to organizations providing relief.

This list will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. You can also follow PHNDC's Facebook page for updates.

General health information and emergency policy

New York City Department of Health  COVID-19 page, with latest governmental guidance

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths  in New York City

CDC guide to prevention, symptoms and a self-checker

What to do if you or a family member has been exposed or is sick

Where to go for testing

How NYC's contact tracing system works

NYC guidance for funerals and burials

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a new health condition associated with COVID-19 that is appearing in children in New York City (NYC) and elsewhere. The syndrome was previously called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome or PMIS. Find out more.

 NEW Information for tenants impacted by the COVID-19 emergency

Seniors and vulnerable individuals

If you are elderly, sick, or vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, you may order groceries for delivery from Foodtown, 632 Vanderbilt Avenue: Persons not able to shop in person and who live in the Prospect Heights neighborhood may order groceries for delivery by email to foodtown632@gmail.com, or call (718) 783-1887. When your order is ready, Foodtown will call you to take payment by phone. 

Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center has prepared a comprehensive list of food resources for the Prospect Heights community.

To sign up for Medicare or to change your plan, visit medicare.gov. To learn more about your rights under Medicare and understand plan options, visit Medicare Interactive.

The Department for the Aging (DFTA) works with case-management agencies to provide in-home care for people age 60 and older who cannot leave home and have financial need.

ThriveNYC offers mental health services you can access from home.

Workers who have lost income or benefits due to COVID-19

Guide to available aid based on personal circumstances

Apply for New York State unemployment benefits

Register for help finding a job through the City’s Workforce 1 program.

Find out how the CARES Act affects your unemployment benefits

New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has launched the NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline to help New York City residents impacted by COVID-19 to get answers to their legal questions.

If you have had to miss work because you were sick due to COVID-19 and work more than 80 hours in a calendar year, you can claim paid sick leave and contact the City’s Department of Health Call Center at 855-491-2667 to get the necessary medical documentation. Contact the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection if you face retaliation or face other adverse action such as threats or discipline for using your sick leave.

If your work schedule was reduced as a result of the coronavirus and you are unable to pay your rent, you can apply for a Cash Assistance special grant request to get benefits for emergencies.

Many banks are offering various options for customers with mortgages, loans and consumer debt concerned about payments. See this list of financial institutions to find what your bank may offer. (A similar list for credit unions is here.)

Eligible New Yorkers can get free tax preparation help from the City of New York. Find out more.

If you are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you can request debt collection agencies to stop contacting you about your existing debt. The City of New York has created a template letter you can use for this purpose.

People in need of health care assistance

Any New Yorker with questions about COVID-19 can call a clinician from 9 AM to 9 PM free of charge. Call 844-NYC-4NYC.

Enroll for health coverage through New York State of Health marketplace

NYC Care provides low-cost or free healthcare for all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. Call the 24-hour NYC Care service at 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-3373) to enroll and make an appointment.

Individuals and families in need of food

More than $880 million in additional food assistance will help New Yorkers with children who previously received free and reduced-price meals at school. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefit will be issued in June. Find out more.

Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center has prepared a comprehensive list of food resources for the Prospect Heights community.

The City of New York is now providing free meals for everyone in need. Meals Hubs will operate for children and families from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, and for adults from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. In Prospect Heights, I.S. 340 at 227 Sterling Place is operating as a Meals Hub. Find other locations here.

You can now use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to shop online for fresh produce and groceries. Amazon, ShopRite and Walmart now accept SNAP benefits for online orders and will deliver to you. (Note that SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay delivery fees. Be sure to confirm an online store delivers to your home address.)

Two local organizations providing food to those in need are:

Hope City Empowerment Center, 650-656 Washington Avenue, (718) 837-5698, operates a food pantry Fridays from 9:00 to 11:00am.

CHiPS Soup Kitchen & Women's Shelter, 200 4th Avenue, (718) 237-2962, is currently providing meals to pick up daily from 11:00am to 1:00pm. (Check their Facebook page for updates.)

Find a food pantry with FoodHelp NYC.

People who cannot leave home and can’t afford to have food delivered can sign up to have food delivered free by the City of New York.

Health care professionals and other critical workers

Healthcare providers, transit employees, first responders (NYPD, FDNY, EMS), critical City workforce, and those working at direct food-support non-profit organizations can obtain a free one-year Citi Bike membership by signing up through their employers. You must register by May 31. If your employer does not yet offer this benefit, they should email HeroBikes@Lyft.com to obtain enrollment information to distribute to staff. There is no cost for employers to enroll.

COVID-19 information for health care professionals

Donate personal protective equipment (PPE).

To volunteer with the City, register for ServNY, then register with the NYC Medical Reserve Corps.

The City is seeking businesses that can provide critical medical supplies.

Business owners

PHNDC has launched a series of Slack channels for local business owners to discuss recovery from the COVID-19 emergency with advocates from IMPACCT Brooklyn and the Business Outreach Center. Register to pariticpate.

 NEW The State of New York has issued guidance for the reopening of indoor dining.

The Small Business Legal Relief Alliance is a group of legal service organizations and law firms providing free consultations with pro bono lawyers assisting NYC small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses, non-profits, cooperatives and self-employed people are eligible for assistance. For more information, contact Dale Charles at IMPACCT Brooklyn.

Rethink Food has announced a program to fund up to 30 restaurants to assist with food need and access during the COVID-19 emergency. Selected restaurants will operate for at least 45 days as food distribution centers, creating meals for pick up and delivery. Restaurants are to use their existing food supply. Rethink will also work to get additional food from its various donation partners.

Read the guidance from the New York State Department of Health for essential food businesses operating during the COVID-19 emergency.

Find out if your business is an essential business exempt from workforce reduction executive orders.

Find out about COVID-19 related grants from the Small Business Administration.

Register to sell supplies to the City of New York.

Financial assistance from the City of New York for businesses impacted by COVID-19

How to volunteer or donate

The North Flatbush BID is partnering with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to raise funds for local businesses recovering from the COVID-19 emergency. You can donate here.

New York Cares is coordinating volunteers with the City of New York.

Brooklyn Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 fund for donations to vulnerable communities in Brooklyn, especially older adults, people with compromised immune systems, low-wage workers, and people who are unhoused. Find out more and donate.

The Food Bank for NYC is accepting donations to provide emergency food to vulnerable New Yorkers.

Owners of historic properties must act before March 31 to qualify for State preservation tax credits

Posted: January 10, 2020 - 11:56am

In 2016, the Prospect Heights National Register Historic District was expanded to include nearly 920 neighborhood buildings. Owners of properties in the National Register district are eligible to receive State and federal tax credits to help offset the cost of rehabilitating their buildings. A map of the NR district, showing eligibility for State and federal tax credit programs, is here

The New York State preservation tax credit program is currently available to owners of income-producing properties, as well as individual homeowners (including owners of cooperative apartments). It provides a tax credit of 20% of the amount of qualified expenses that are part of a project to rehabilitate a historic building. To be eligible, a property must be in a distressed census tract (shown in green on the map).

Unfortunately, after March 31, 2020, properties in the Prospect Heights National Register District will no longer qualify for this credit. However, we understand from New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that if a property owner sends in a Part 1 application before March 31, they will retain eligibility for the program for five years.

Therefore, property owners who are considering a renovation in the next five years of a building that would otherwise qualify for the New York State preservation tax credit should act quickly to file so they can preserve their elibility for this significant tax benefit. 

For more information, see the New York State Parks web page on tax credits. 

A decade in Prospect Heights

Posted: December 31, 2019 - 6:25pm

As we look forward toward the future of our community in the coming year, it’s a good time to reflect upon the significant changes that have come to Prospect Heights over the last decade. It was this decade that saw the dynamic, scale and quality of life in the northwest part of our neighborhood shaken by the completion of Barclays Center, and the construction of the first four residential buildings at the Atlantic Yards project. It was also the first decade during which nearly 850 historic buildings in Prospect Heights were protected by New York City landmark district designated near the end of 2009. And of course the years since 2010 have been marked by the continued gentrification of the neighborhood.

Here is a look back at these and other events that shaped the last decade in Prospect Heights.

A victory for tenants in Prospect Heights

Posted: June 19, 2019 - 11:41am

Recently, the New York State legislature passed amendments to the rent regulation laws, which will alter or eliminate many common elements of the landlord/rent regulated tenant relationship. These new laws include:

  • Limits on decontrol. Currently, rent regulated apartments whose rent increases beyond a certain point or whose tenants make more than $200,000 a year may become market rate apartments. The new laws abolish or limit this practice.
  • Rent step-ups.  Currently, landlords may raise rents more than the annual amount due to vacancy or major capital improvements, or due to the difference between the maximum legal rent and a lower 'preferential' rent. The new laws abolish or limit these step-ups.
  • Conversion. Currently, landlords may convert a rental building to a co-op or condominium (without evicting existing tenants) if 15% of the units have bona fide purchasers.  The new laws require 51%, and the purchasers must be existing tenants, not investors. 
  • Permanence.  Currently, the rent regulation laws must be periodically reauthorized. These new laws are intended to be permanent. 

The new laws represent, in our opinion, a shift in the balance of power from the landlord of the rent regulated building to the rent regulated tenant: the laws remove many tools and incentives for landlords to vacate and decontrol regulated apartments and turn them into market rate units. Prospect Heights has seen significant displacement of residents by income over the last fifteen years. In PHNDC’s 2016 neighborhood survey, residents identified social and economic diversity as being one of the characteristics most important for a good quality of life. Residents also most frequently cited housing as the area in need of greatest improvement in Prospect Heights. We believe these new laws will make it easier for Prospect Heights tenants in rent stabilized housing to remain in the neighborhood as housing cost continues to increase, so consider their passage a win for our community.

More information about the rights of tenants, and services available to assist them, is available at http://www.phndc.org/KnowYourRights.