Does Brooklyn Need Another Smoke Shop?

Feb 20, 12 Does Brooklyn Need Another Smoke Shop?

Posted by in Opinion

Pretend naiveté is not savvy.  Green Leaf Smokes, a roll-your-own cigarette shop at 1326 Sheepshead Bay Road, has just opened.  They’ve done so, even though there is an ongoing – and quite vocal – Law Department campaign to eliminate places of this sort that allow customers to pack their own loose tobacco and to avoid the steep federal, state and city taxes that come with pre-packaged cigarettes. And, to make matters worse, the new shop is only a few blocks away from another smokes store.  Does one Brooklyn neighborhood really need two roll-your-own smokes shops?  Smokers who come out of Green Leaf Smokes, and City Smokes on Coney Island Avenue, have managed to grab a pack of cigarettes for as little as $3. They’ve skirted the $7.47 price tag attached to a regular pack of cigarettes and have avoided all of the taxes associated with it. John Weng, the manager of Green Leaf Smokes, defending the new shop, said, “When the owner opened this particular shop, he didn’t realize the other ones were getting shut down and thought this area would be a great place for business.” Really? He hadn’t read any of the local news, decrying this new practice and calling for it to be shut down.  He hadn’t heard about the city’s Law Department letter that explained why these shops shouldn’t be allowed? Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, explaining the suit recently filed against City Smokes, said, “These legal actions are part of our ongoing efforts against businesses that think they can invent loopholes to skirt New York City’s tough cigarette laws.” Let’s hope those loopholes get closed quickly, and that those who want to purchase cancer-causing cigarettes will go back to having to do so within the letter of the...

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Toilet Paper Troubles and Many Others at Brookdale

Feb 16, 12 Toilet Paper Troubles and Many Others at Brookdale

Posted by in Opinion

Come on people – we can do better than this.  A recent article in the New York Daily News featured a story about the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center hospital and the struggles it is facing.  Employees there have been complaining as of late that they don't have such common products as toilet paper, hand towels and even soap.  Soap? This is a hospital, after all, where sanitation is of the highest order. Management's Mismanagement Workers are pointing the finger at management, claiming that the hospital administration is looking to get out of the red by cutting back on supplies and by closing the pediatric intensive care unit.  Paulette Forbes, a radiology technician and a 1199 SEIU delegate explained that the hospital is, "trying to financially stabilize the hospital; that's what they are telling us." Meanwhile, she carries her own toilet paper with her to work. A Questionable Merger Based on a state advisory panel's recommendations, Brookdale is supposed to merge with Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. Many, however are skeptical about that move as well. State Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush) is very skeptical about this merger. As he said, “Kingsbrook is barely out of the woods. We don’t think it has strong enough shoulders to carry Brookdale. We’re very, very concerned this will wind up with the closing of one or the other.” Other Problems Ahead Now, the merger looms over the heads of the toilet-strapped workers, as do many other coming changes.  The hospital plans to get rid of its anesthesiology residency program, decrease its pediatric residency program, and make some layoffs. All of these issues come after former CEO David Rosen was convicted last September of trying to bribe three Brooklyn and Queens lawmakers.  The state advisory panel has also reported that Brookdale has $42 million in operating losses in 2010 and a $112 million long-term debt, not to mention liabilities that are $285 million greater than the assets it has. If only the toilet paper were the major problem...

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Woman Offering Great ‘Dos to Unemployed

Jan 17, 12 Woman Offering Great ‘Dos to Unemployed

Posted by in News, Opinion

If you’re unemployed and need a lift before that next job interview – a Bedford-Stuyvesant hair salon has just the thing for you.  Donna’s Hair Salon at 481 Nostrand Ave. is offering a special for out of work women.  Owned by Deivin Jemmott and her mom, the special is intended to help women to get back on their feet. To their disappointment, only five women have taken them up on the offer so far. As Jemmott explains, “At least one person a day comes in here and inquires about it. But they don’t come back. Maybe they have too much pride.” Jemmott first came up with the idea during a hair convention where stylists were talking about charity work.  She later posted a sign in the store that says, “Looking for a job and can’t afford to get their hair done…We’ll help! Come in on Mon & Tue 10am to 1pm to get a free hair service.” She explains that there will be no questions asked, and that she’s simply doing this to try to help women in the area. Hopefully, more of them will come in and allow Jemmott to make good on her promise and to give back to the people in her area. Charity work, after all, can only be done if those in need accept the...

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Nazi Chic in Greenpoint Boutique

Jan 11, 12 Nazi Chic in Greenpoint Boutique

Posted by in News, Opinion

Apparently taste and business have no bounds, at least when it comes to the sale of earrings in the shape of a swastika in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. The small earrings, which are available at the Bejeweled Boutique, are on sale for $5.99. When the shopkeeper was asked why the store carried such symbols of inhumanity to man, she had an embarrassed look and answered that they were requested by shoppers. Confronted with the statement that “It’s not worth it to sell them” the clerk just shrugged and responded, “Business.” The clerk could not clarify whether the earrings were selling well or if she thought they were offensive. Despite the fact that the Nazi symbol is also a symbol for some other religions such as Jainism and Hinduism, the fact remains that as long as the swastika evokes so many bad connotations in our culture, it should probably not be sold as...

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Sugar Plumb Fairy Too Plump for Her Part?

Dec 14, 10 Sugar Plumb Fairy Too Plump for Her Part?

Posted by in New York, News, Opinion

In his review of the New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, leading ballet critic Alastair MaCaulay stated that Jenifer Ringer, the Sugar Plum Fairy, “looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” Ringer, 37, has battled various eating disorders in the past, including anorexia and compulsive eating. After reading his review, and his remarks about her size, Ringer admitted that “it made me feel bad, it’s embarrassing. I really had to tell myself it’s one person’s opinion.” She explained that she understood that MaCaulay is paid to put his opinion in the newspaper, and she hopes that the 2,000 other people who were present at the show “had a different opinion.” On the Today Show, Ringer stated that her body is part of her “art form,” and is there to be criticized. Natalie Portman, who recently lost 20 pounds for her role as a ballerina in The Black Swan, came to Ringer’s defense when asked for her opinion on the matter. “In what other field is it acceptable to judge artists by how big they are? It is just amazing, all the pressure on dancers to starve themselves.” MaCaulay, in response to the dispute, wrote “If you want to make your appearance irrelevant to criticism, do not choose ballet as a...

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