Active shooter in Sunset Park subways

New York City experienced an active shooter situation early Tuesday morning, when an unidentified male individual began to open fire on the N line subway in Sunset Park.

According to police officials, the individual appeared to be wearing a gas mask when he boarded the train around 8:20 a.m. at the 36th Street Subway station. He then opened a canister of smoke that filled the subway car and began shooting, stricking multiple people inside the car and on the platform. Police describe the shooter as a tall black male, about 5-foot-5, with a heavy build wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a green construction vest.

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, a representative with FDNY indicated that 16 people were injured in the attack – 10 of which were being treated from gunshot wounds. Other patients were injured from smoke inhalation or shrapnel, according to investigators. Five people injured in the fracas were identified as being in critical but stable condition at the time of the press conference. According to officials, none of the individuals injured face life threatening injuries.

“There are currently no known explosive devices on our subway trains and this is not being investigated as an act of terrorism at this time,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

Police indicated that no motive has been established for the shooting as of press time. The investigation remains in its preliminary stages and any information may be subject to change.

Photos from the scene, released on social media, showed blood around injured individuals who were receiving medical help on the scene as others tried to escape through the clouded platform.

“Today, we saw New Yorkers in a difficult situation and emergency helping each other,” MTA Chief Janno Lieber said at the press conference, comparing the moment to 9/11. “That’s who New Yorkers are… everyday they’re showing people in the subway, which is our public space, that New Yorkers of all varieties can come together in small spaces and get alone and create something bigger. That’s what we remember in these emergencies, as well as the tragedy.”

“Our community is shaken by this senseless act of violence,” NYC City Councilwoman Alexa Avilés, who represents Sunset Park, said in a tweet. “The investigation is still active at this time. My thoughts and prayers are with all 16 of those injured. At this time we know that 10 are being treated for gunshot wounds and 5 are in critical, but stable condition.”

NYPD is asking for the public’s help with information. If you have any information you can confidentiality call Crimestoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

The Brooklyn Bards’ Donal Nolan, dead at 58

He was many things—the family archivist, a regular at Kitty Kiernans, a native son of Bay Ridge, devoted caregiver for his mother, and an often corny joke teller. But more than anything did he know how to belt out “Danny Boy” with the best of them.

Donal Nolan, a local musician who co-founded the tri-state touring and traditional Irish acoustic band The Brooklyn Bards, died April 5, at age 58. Nolan is survived by his mother Mary, brother John, sisters Maureen and Carol, and nieces and nephews.

Nolan grew up in Bay Ridge and attended St. Patrick’s School and Fort Hamilton H.S.
He worked in the Financial District for many years before dedicating his tenor opera-trained vocals to beautiful Irish ballads.

The first gig The Brooklyn Bards ever played was at Kelly’s Tavern, an Irish sports bar in Bay Ridge owned by his cousin John Nolan. He was never surprised that Donal got into music, as a kid he was constantly involved in the church choir. Although he was born in America, his parents instilled a home culture that celebrated their Irish heritage. “Danny Boy” was one of Nolan’s most recognized covers; it’s no accident that it was his father’s favorite tune.

Joe Mayer joined the band in 2016, two years after it was founded, after finding a call for auditions on Craigslist. After playing a few songs, he and Nolan immediately hit it off over their passion and talent for music, and became close friends in the process.

Mayer still has trouble believing the news of the unexpected passing of someone who was so clearly full of vigor and life. The Sunday before he passed, Nolan performed one of his best renditions of “Danny Boy” at a funeral at Bay Ridge Manor.

“He just gave an amazing, amazing performance. He sang as strong and powerful as ever. And it’s so weird that he would be this good and then all of a sudden just suddenly gone,” Mayer said.

Although his cousin owns Kelly’s Tavern, Nolan was a regular at other Bay Ridge joints like Hunter’s Point steakhouse and Kitty Kiernans.

“And it literally took me an hour to get from the front door to say a word by his casket, say hello to his mom, and offer my condolences. It was just an hour just to get that. Place was packed, packed,” Steve Gannon, the owner of Hunter’s Steak & Ale House, said.

It makes sense to Gannon, though. He was always pleasant and smiling, never had a bad word to say to anybody and was just one of those neighborhood guys who seemed to know and run into everyone anywhere he went. Although he would frequent Hunter’s for dinner Gannon simply knew him from around the neighborhood.

Among his many other attributes, Nolan was something of a matchmaker. He helped set up Gannon with his now-wife Melissa.

Melissa and Nolan lived in the same building so Steve mentioned his interest. One random night after, Nolan walked up to Melissa, whispered in her ear, and said “Steve has a crush on you – but don’t tell him I said that.”

And all these years later, they’re still together.

“He was so friendly, listened and talked… someone you would naturally gravitate towards,” Melissa Gannon said.

If Donal Nolan wasn’t in either Hunter’s or Kelly’s, you’d most likely find him in Kitty Kiernan’s. The small Irish pub with space for open mics, was Nolan’s watering hole of choice, which he would visit almost every day.

Danny Sullivan, a regular at Kitty Kiernans, who knew Dolan for years, put it bluntly, “The whole neighborhood feels in mourning.”

Sullivan already misses Nolan’s bad jokes. It was a part of his act, incorporating jokes like “What do you call a successful Irish farmer? A man outstanding in his field,” while the band played along as the straight man.

“I keep expecting him to walk to the window, finish his cigarette, and walk-in” Sullivan said before getting emotional.

When asked how he would remember Nolan, Anthony McElroy, another regular at Kitty Kiernans’, said that besides being “a funny guy with bad jokes” he was one the only people he knew who would wear Ireland patterned pajamas to the bar and be spit-shined on Sundays.

“He did it well though. He did it well,” McElroy said in an interview, laughing as he reminisced.

Whenever Nolan was at the bar certain things were guaranteed to happen. You would get your fair share of bad jokes. You would get to see him sing and dance. You would hear him complain about bad singers at the open mics—McElroy said Donal never really “got” the idea of an open mic. He would give you his time and attention. He would do impressions of people in the bar. He would pick out good music for the jukebox. While he wasn’t a fan of rap in general, the fifty-year-old’s favorite song to play in the bar was “In The Morning”, a rap song about morning sex by J. Cole, a detail that bartender Maria Lopez said showed how funny of a guy he was.

“I was blessed to know him and he touched my life deeply,” Sullivan said.”The hardest working band in BK.”

Lets hope, wherever Donal Nolan is, that they have a tin whistle and a mic. It would be the proper avé to him.

Students look to revamp city bus service

While NYC may have the slowest buses in the country, these advocates think they can make it one of the best – with the mayor’s help.

Around two dozen students, advocates and politicians stood outside City Hall on Monday to announce a “student bus rider platform,” which includes a series of reforms and investments to the largest municipal fleet of buses in the country.

The platform includes expanding fair fares to college students, advocating for the Mayor to fully fund the NYC Streets Plan and bus improvements, building 30 miles of new busway this year, instituting all-door boarding and permanent One Metro New York (OMNY), the city’s contactless paying system, fare capping on buses.

Some plans like all-door boarding have been on transit advocates’ wishlist for years. Members from Riders Aliance have been advocating for the system since at least 2018, while the Metropolitan Transit Authority has languished to still roll out a pilot program.

While Mayor Adams has pledged to fulfill the promises of the NYC Streets plan, the city’s five-year master plan for transportation, he has not spared the Department of Transportation from across the board cuts in his preliminary budget proposal.

“Traffic congestion has worked back to pre-pandemic levels and commuting patterns have shifted away from the traditional Manhattan-centric model, making efficient and reliable bus service all the more important, particularly in the outer boroughs. Students are among the most transit-dependent in New York City, and they need much better bus service to connect them to school and work opportunities,” Liam Blank, the policy and communications manager for the Tri-State Transportation Committee, said.

David Dugue, a 22-year-old senior at Brooklyn College, is one of those students. His commute from his home in Marine Park to college should take 15 minutes but often takes longer due to delays. But the express bus he has to take is often too expensive, forcing Dugue to make the decision between transportation and food costs. Sometimes, Dugue has to walk home just to be able to have enough money for lunch the next day.

“Why does it have to be like this? To rely on unreliable transit that will make us late even when we wake up on time? Having affordable transportation affords us the agency to go to class,study at the library and attend events like these,” Dugue said. “The lack in investment and planning for transportation has left us in the freezing cold, wet in the rain and flooding in the heat.”

Dugue clarified later in an interview that he felt that Mayor Eric Adams has been more talk than action when it comes to transportation, but that the hard work will be done through pushing the mayor and city council on the policies. Dugue is involved in campus advocacy relating to both the Strap Hangers Campaign and the New York Public Interest Research Group—the two groups that helped host the press conference.

“Many tens of thousands of college students in New York City rely on buses to get to class — but our slow, unreliable bus system is failing them,” Councilman Lincoln Restler said in a statement. “I’m grateful to the New York Public Interest Research Group for their student-led advocacy in demanding new busways, fare equity, and bus improvements. We need to do everything we can to improve our bus system and make our City more just, inclusive, and sustainable.”

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