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CB2 Finally Votes for Biggie and Discusses the Doubling of the House of Detention

Hip-hop legend Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace.

Two items – one of interest, one of urgency—were  among those discussed at the November 14thmeeting of Community Board No. 2 (CB2). Chaired by Irene Janne, the meeting was held at the lovely and lively Ingersoll Community Center on Myrtle Avenue, where Shirley McCrae, Chairwoman Emeritus, made an appearance.

Of interest to many is the planned – and much delayed – honoring of the late hip hop icon Biggie Smalls by changing the name of Saint James Place to Christopher Wallace Way. It looks like this will finally happen, with the full board present and 33 members approving, with one opposed and two abstaining. Although the matter was not resolved conclusively, it’s a near certain reality at this time. State Assemblyman Walter Mosley suggested the renaming be more inclusive of the family to acknowledge the positive impact his mother, Ms. Volletta Wallace, had on her lyrical son. The street would be called, “Wallace Family Way,” Mosley proposed. The item will be up for further discussion at a future meeting.

Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn.

Also up discussion was an item that would have a farther-reaching, possibly substantive impact on the Fort Greene community. The New York City Department of Correction’ proposes to expand the Brooklyn House of Detention from 20 to 40 stories in height and from an 810-bed facility to a 1,510-bed one. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery registered her objections in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Department of Corrections Administrative Architect Howard Judd Fielder.

The Land Use Committee submitted applications on behalf of 550 Clinton Partners, LLC and 539 Vanderbilt Partners, LLC for 809 Atlantic Avenue, calling for zoning-map amendments. The applicants also requested two special permits: one to transfer about 70,000 square feet of floor area from the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, both landmarked.” The other would waive the residential parking requirements, allowing for development of buildings on two distinct lots; one building being four stories in height and the other being a 29-story tower. The total units produced would be 286.

Though not mentioning the publication, McCrae referred to a local story claiming “CB2 was left rudderless.” Insulted, she said the statement “did not consider the people you’re writing about who are volunteering time and energy.” She gave special thanks to Second Vice Chairperson Mr. Lenue Singletary for running things well in Leonard Jordan during her absence.

Parliamentarian and Chair of the Nominating Committee Jon Quint led the nominating and voting portions of the meeting. Current Chair Irene Janner and Linda Singletary were nominated. First Vice Chair Leonard Jordan ran unopposed. Cheryl Gells and Barberelle Zallergringer vied for Second Vice Chair and Jessica Thurston ran unopposed for the Secretary post. Irene Janner withdrew her candidacy. Gells read a summation of her professional experiences and Zallergringer read from a prepared statement about her qualifications. Quint explained that community board members would know who voted for whom.


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