‘Believe the Hype’ Column: Rest in Peace, Richard Lewis; New Bushwick Foodtown; Gowanus Migrant Shelter

By Christine Stoddard | cstoddard@queensledger.com

Richard Lewis

Less than a month after the premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 12, comedian Richard Lewis passed away. On the show, he plays Larry David’s best friend, but that was no fiction: The two grew up together in New York City’s comedy scene and were lifelong friends. They were even born in the same hospital—the now-defunct Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and Medical Center of Crown Heights—in 1947. Though Lewis was raised in Englewood, NJ, he brought a Brooklynite’s sensibilities to his stand-up and acting. I was recently reminded of his role as Prince John in my childhood favorite Men in Tights (1993):

Prince John: Such an unusual name, “Latrine.” How did your family come by it?

Latrine: We changed it in the 9th century.

Prince John: You mean you changed it TO “Latrine”?

Latrine: Yeah. Used to be “Sh*thouse.”

Prince John: It’s a good change. That’s a good change.

May his memory be a blessing.

New Bushwick Foodtown

There’s a big, beautiful Foodtown in Bushwick and I’ve got the photos to prove it. The supermarket, located at 54 A Noll St., boasts bright lighting, the air of cleanliness, and a wealth of prepared food, including a hot food bar. This was my neighborhood for a year not too long ago and, let me tell you, this Foodtown would’ve been convenient then. My only complaint was that there were only three egg bagels on Friday at 5 p.m., but I guess you snooze, you lose.

Gowanus Migrant Shelter

In my reporting for this column and stories you may have seen already and more to come, I have been outside of the migrant shelters at 47 Hall St. in Clinton Hill and Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park. I also visited the outside of the illegally run migrant “fauxtel”—that’s “faux hotel,” in case you didn’t get it—at Sarr’s Wholesale Furniture in Richmond Hill. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve bought candy from the same little Ecuadorian girl on the subway. I last saw her selling candy last Saturday, when an 8-year-old should be playing or doing homework. She was so young that making change from a $20 was a task because she is still learning arithmetic. (I felt bad and won’t try such a large bill next time; it was all I had at the time and I wanted to help.) The desperation that asylum seekers feel to flee their countries and start over, especially in the toughest city on the planet, brings tears to my eyes.

The migrant shelter I’m adding to my list for reporting purposes will open in Gowanus. While there has been pushback, including at a town hall meeting that took place on March 4, the city has already hired Bhrags Home Care Corporation. Due to open at 3rd St. and Bond St., the former brewery is slated to accommodate 400 migrant men. The Third Street Block Association has filed a lawsuit against the shelter due to concerns over the number of people and local environmental conditions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Gowanus Canal is not only “heavily contaminated” but considered a national priority for cleanup. Let’s see what happens.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing