Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Atlantic Yards Financial Documents Finally Public

We haven't had time to look at them closely, and reading financials isn't our No. 1 skill (and we'll defer to Atlantic Yards Report and Norman Oder for the in-depth analysis), but Brownstoner scores an excellent scoop by posting several of the most sought-after PDFs in certain Brooklyn circles. You can check out the post here. The documents don't seem to yet be up on the Empire State Development Corporation's website. The document shows a cash flow of $1 billion from 2012-15, but the initial read by Atlantic Yards Report is that the document lacks vital information and that it only covers ten years of the project. Develop Don't Destroy says that it "fails to shed light" on the developer's profit. We're sure there will be much more on this tomorrow.

Here's the Video: We Are the Pool!

PoolAid screened its We Are the Pool! vid last night. We won't rehash all the details about McCarren Pool here. Simply click on the embed below to watch or click on this link to go over to YouTube.

Another Erection in Williamsburg, Pt. I

165 n 10th construction

This pile driver was at 165 N. 10th Street in Williamsburg for a couple, banging away until it moved on to another site a few blocks away. This device is making the round in the neighborhood, because we'd also spotted it parked next to the Roebling Oil Field a couple of months ago. The site in question, which got a mortgage for about $4.5 million back in December from Bank Leumi, will be a six-story number and have 14 apartments. The developer is the Kiska Group, which also did the building behind this new one on N. 11th Street. The architect is Gene Kaufman who also did the N. 11th Street building. The rendering is below. We think the building has a very 1990s Berlin kind of feel to it, and hope the rendering makes the structure look more hideous than it will really turn out to be. The N. 11th Street building also had a really frightening rendering on the Kiska website, but in reality, is not that bad, especially compared to other new construction in the hood. Except for the view of the new parking lot full of trucks across the street, but that's not an issue of building design.

165 n 10th
Rendering of the new 165 N. 10th

N 11th Street
The new building on N. 11th

Speak No Evil: Thor Coney Tenants Required to Sign Confidentiality Clause

Lola Staar Boutique founder Dianna Carlin, who we reported in early February was evicted by Thor Equities, is speaking out about why she was forced to go. The entrepreneur says she was given the boot by the developer because she balked at a confidentiality clause that was part of the lease she was offered. Ms. Carlin tells Metro that “Thor has forced everyone to sign the confidentiality clause, so when people go to the businesses and ask about it, all you can do is shrug your shoulders." She adds:
Before the confidentiality issue, Carlin had a “good relationship” with Joe Sitt, principal of Thor. When Carlin contacted Sitt’s office about her eviction, “The lawyer said the eviction had to do with negotiations with the city. I just feel like I’m this prop. It’s this game for [the developer], but it’s my business.”
Thor's spokesperson did not comment to Metro about the allegations. However, a spokesperson for the city's Economic Development Corp. did comment about the loss of the Staar boutique on the boardwalk:
“It’s businesses like Lola Staar’s that have given Coney Island its unique flavor and authenticity, and we hope to see it relocate and succeed in the area for many years to come,” said Yonit Golub, spokeswoman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. “The city is committed to preserving and enhancing Coney Island’s historic amusement area, making sure it stays open to the public and creating economic opportunities for local residents. We have serious concerns that residential uses are not compatible with that vision.”
We'll be having our own conversation with Lola now that she is no longer entangled in lease issues with Thor and will report back. Her former boutique, by the way, is part of the location of where one of the luxury highrises the developer wants to build would go.

Related Post:
Coney Island Deathwatch: Lola Staar Boutique Evicted


Release of Atlantic Yards Financial Data Coming?

Don't look now, but all that previously private financial information about Atlantic Yards could be released soon. The Empire State Development Corporation had stonewalled requests for the release of the critical and revealing information during the Pataki Administration. That development is reported in today's New York Sun. The release of the information would come in response to a lawsuit by Assem. James Brennan and State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery. The Sun writes:
An ESDC spokeswoman told The New York Sun it now intends to release the documents to Mr. Brennan, likely this week, which include development company Forest City Ratner's business plan for the $4.2 billion project in Brooklyn. Assemblyman James Brennan, joined by state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Empire State Development Corporation alleging that the agency was improperly withholding documents detailing the project's finances.

Critics of the project for at least two years have been attempting to determine the amount developer Bruce Ratner stands to profit, and they say the hundreds of millions in city and state subsidies should justify its status as public information.

A spokesperson for the ESDC says that the new decision is the result of a reevaluation of the original decision by the Spitzer Administration. More analysis of the possible release of the documents is available, as always, at Atlantic Yards Report. Meanwhile, No Land Grab offers that release of the information is critical (even after the approval of the project) because "it is important to know how much taxpayer money will be committed to Atlantic Yards and what the taxpayers will get in return...It is important to understand how much Bruce Ratner stands to make...If the density issue is driven by the need for the developer to make a profit, then the public has a right to know what Ratner will earn in exchange for the public's acquiescence to an urban planning experiment of historical proportions.

GL's Construction Site Du Jour: 110 Green Street

110 Green St1

Our Greenpoint correspondent hit us off with multiple photos of the big neighborhood construction site at 110 Green Street that is destined to be the home of a very glassy new condo building. We present some of those pics here, taking note of the fact that it's a very accessible site to anyone in the neighborhood that wants the privacy of a vacant lot. The wide open site, however, in the words of our correspondent, has "a brand-spanking new metal gate. This is kind of funny given that other parts of the fence are totally falling apart AND another gate had been left open." The site also had a visit from the Department of Buildings today (for reasons that are unknown, although it has a couple of outstanding violations for work without a permit). More fence photos, and a shot of a visit from the Fire Department are below. If the past is an indicator of the future, this should be one of those spots that provides thrills until the day the last Sub-Zero is installed.

110 Green St3
Decorative Main Gate

FDNY Visits

Related Post:
Demolition Porn: Greenpoint Snow Scene

Brooklinks: Wednesday Arrivederci February Edition

"© Snapple Coney Island Park, Inc."

Coney Dusk 4

We found this posted by Astrolander at the Coney Island Message Board. It touches on the subject of what we'll lose with a Coney Island re-do that treats Coney as a brand name and nothing more:
The likes of Coney Island as we know and love, we will never see again, either with condos/corporate retail or just a new “Coney Island Park”.

What makes it so special, today, in 2007, is its low-tech, classic, mom & pop owned, non-branded/non-corporate/non-commercialized, very timeless essence that is still anchored to its glorious and outrageous past. You don’t have to look hard to see the old ghosts that frolicked there once. Coney is run, patronized and admired by people who really care about Coney, and obviously not the money or exploiting it for profit.

It is easy to criticize Coney today by some - it’s “dirtiness, open space of vacant lots, lack of ATM’s, no extreme spectacular death defying virtual reality sound barrier breaking worlds tallest/fastest rides called something like the “Beast” or “Nitro” in 3-D, and lack of mass crowds. The more difficult position to take on Coney is to see it and celebrate it as a one-of-a-kind precious jewel, the poetic art that it is, just as it is.

...To me, development should add to the critical mass of Coney that is there, not destroy it. Development could slowly add some spectacular new amusements that are a revision of some of the great lost rides of yore. Development could be designing new rides that incorporate grace, style, and kitsch rather than a ubiquitous indoor water park.

The corporate retail real estate developers are not motivated or driven by the same purpose as those who run Coney now. They are only guided by profits. In this day and age, they will resort to any tactics in order to maximize profits. This includes, playing both sides of the fence (condos/mall AND amusements) and holding the prize hostage (only amusements IF we can build condos/mall). Can you name any other amusement areas that could only be built from the proceeds of selling condos/renting corporate retail on the same property? There are many available plots for this outside of the Amusement land.

If they were interested in only creating a new amusement legacy at Coney, they would certainly figure out another means to fund this effort other than holding the prospect of continued amusement hostage...
We couldn't have said it any better ourselves.


New Red Hook Resident Reminds Us It's "Go-On-Us," Not "Go-Anus"

We stumbled across this item on Inprint, which comes from the New School University. It's a "neighborhood profile" written by someone that just moved to Red Hook. It's short and it moved us:
I just moved to Red Hook about a week ago. I still don’t know much about the place. There’s a lot of eighteen wheeler traffic and all the Fung Wah buses hang out in a warehouse about a block away from where I live. I met my neighbor yesterday, his name is James and he has a tiny dog with squinty eyes. I don’t have a bed yet so I sleep on a piece of cardboard on my floor.
Of Gowanus, the writer says, "The Gowanus Canal, pronounced “Go-on-us,” not “Go-anus.” Trash and heavy machinery are common sights."


National Group Says Brooklyn Public Library Censored Art

The discussion about the Brooklyn Public Library's exclusion--some would say censorship--of certain works in its current show about the community surrounding the Atlantic Yards project continues. The National Coalition Against Censorship is saying the exclusion of the works was censorship and takes the library to task for not including several works in the "Footprints" show. The group says:
When the Library offered to host the show, it also stipulated that some of the work, which could be perceived as advocacy against the pending development of the area, should be excluded. Even though the library offered other rationales– size and artistic merit – the political position advanced by some of the work was clearly the reason for the exclusion.

Is this censorship?

Libraries have traditionally been our best allies in defense of First Amendment freedoms. Librarians have gone to bat innumerable times to protect a book against groups calling for its removal and spoken fiercely in defense of the public’s right to access information freely. In this case, however, the BCPL made an error of judgment, which put them in the role of the censor.

The First Amendment defines censorship as the suppression of speech by public officials because of the point of view expressed in it. As the library personnel at BCPL are public officials and as the work was rejected because of its critical point of view, their action may well be defined as censorship.

Library officials insist that, because it “serves the entire community,” BCPL does not “offer platforms for one-sided advocacy on controversial political issues.” We doubt the library would reject a book because it laid out an argument on a matter of social importance no matter how one sided the argument was. Why reject an artwork?...

Removing work from a show because it takes a position on an important public debate not only goes against First Amendment principles, it also betrays the library’s mission to represent a diversity of viewpoints. It is a regrettable error of judgment on part of an institution that has traditionally been one of the most principled defenders of the free circulation of ideas.
A very reasoned and carefully worded opinion about the Library's actions, yet one that ultimately comes to negative conclusions about its actions.

The Crap Sewage Runneth Over in Gowanus

[Photo courtesy of bondidwhat/flickr]

We've done a lot of posts about what you might call Gowanus' crappy little secret--the tendency for sewage to flood basements flow into the streets from manholes during rainstorms. (Actually, it's no secret to residents, only to, say, future condo buyers.) In any case, the flickr photographer who goes by bondidwhat shot a photo of this sign publicizing a neighborhood meeting on Thursday (3/1) that mentions both the sewage problem and the Toll Brothers "urban village" that might someday rise on the banks of the Big G. It also notes that warehouse that was "quietly demolished" on First Street in what one can only assume is a prelude to development, pending rezoning.

Check out bondidwhat's very, very cool flickr photoset of BoCoCa & Gowanus here or go right to the slideshow here. Or, check out her entire photostream.

Beware the Gowanus Canal Shit Storm
Holy Crap: Sewage Geysers in Gowanus

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Cruising" Study Finds Park Slope Parking Hell

Looking for a parking space in Park Slope? Tough luck. According to a new study, more than half of the traffic in Park Slope is "just cruising for a parking spot." That interesting finding is in a report called "No Vacancy: Park Slope's Parking Problem and How to Fix It" conducted by Transportation Alternatives. The report says that curbside parking spaces on 7th Avenue are filled to capacity.

Among the findings:
  • On average, 94% of the area's metered parking spaces are occupied, with nearly 100% of spaces occupied at peak periods. Occupancy rates at non-metered spaces average 95%.
  • Nearly one in every six vehicles parked along 7th Avenue is illegally parked.
  • Nearly 2/3 of local traffic is circling the block cruising for parking.
Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives says that "Brooklynites are suffering from needless traffic and dangerous illegal parking that could be easily eliminated through inexpensive improvements like market-priced Muni-Meters and residential parking permits."

The study is the first of "cruising" in Brooklyn, and the third done in New York City overall, according to the group. It concludes that "market rate pricing" on commercial corridors like Seventh Avenue and resident parking permits could cut traffic in Park Slope by up to 45 percent. The group argues that making on-street parking closer in price to private garages would free up more parking spaces and reduce traffic.

GL's Construction Site Du Jour, Greenpoint Edition

West and Greenpoint Avenue 2x500

The photo above and below was sent to us by a Greenpoint correspondent who is always sending great photos and information our way. As we are always impressed by the number of construction and/or demolition sites with fencing that is wide open, poorly secured or that has been knocked down, this little winter scene caught our eyes. Our photographer writes:
This has got to be the most pathetic construction fence I have ever seen. The big site here on Green Street got a brand-spanking new metal gate. This is kind of funny given that other parts of the fence are totally falling apart AND another gate had been left open. On West Street alone, there are two more fences that have partially collapsed.
Given that we photographed several similarly well-maintained sites in Williamsburg this weekend, we're going to be featuring some of these wide-open sites. We're certain that some people appreciate them, because you never known when you'll need access to a vacant lot or construction site to do, you know, whatever you need that sort of spot to do.

West and Greenpoint Avenuex500

The Splasher Doesn't Like Scotch Either

We devoted quite a bit of space yesterday to the paint vandal known as the Splasher, but we didn't post a photo of the damage he did to a painted Dewar's ad on N. 6th Street. It's interesting if only to show that he is targeting advertising too.
Splashed N 6th Five

Related Posts:
Splasher Strikes Again Across Williamsburg
N. 6th Street Splasher-Artist War Continues

Who's Opening Windows at the Williamsburg Domino Plant & Why?

Domino Windows

Here's an interesting mystery: Why have dozens of windows at the old Domino Sugar Plant in Williamsburg been opened in the last few weeks? The Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint & Williamsburg, which is working hard to try to save the historic building, would certainly like to know. They write:
Now this building has stood solidly in its place for almost 125 years, so we can only hope that a few weeks of exposure to the elements will not do any damage. Still, it raises questions of what the developers are doing with this important historic resource, and why there are suddenly dozens of windows left open during the coldest part of the year. Seriously, in addition to the potential for damage to the structure caused by exposure, freezing pipes and freezing and thawing masonry, such neglect invites vandals and explorers.
Given the terrible fate that has befallen historic Brooklyn buildings in recent years, it certainly raises troubling questions. The group has an online petition calling for the landmarking of the building.

Brooklinks: Tuesday Train & Dome Edition

Brooklyn Bridge Park Meeting Tonight


The Brooklyn Bridge Park development is one of those projects about which controversy continues, even though it was approved by the Empire State Development Corporation during the reign of Chair Charles Gargano. Yesterday, there was a report that the park's cost could actually balloon to double the original estimate of $150 million. That report, actually, is connected to tonight's Town Hall Meeting, which will take place at 7PM at Founders Hall of St. Francis College, which is located at 180 Remsen Street. The meeting will focus on a host of topics, including a "fight to restore the ice rink, the swimming pool (a permanent pool, not a barge to be floated in and out according the latest public relations needs), a performance venue, stores, and restaurants). Organizers of the meeting write:
As it has done at Atlantic Yards, the ESDC and its satellites have run a relentless, well-orchestrated and financed campaign to make their plan look and feel like a foregone conclusion. A big and enthusiastic turnout on Tuesday will effectively contradict that perception. The press, the public and the new administration in Albany will be watching...Our panel of parks advocates, community organizers and traffic experts will answer your questions about how we can get a real park.
In particular, organizers say the want "restoration of the seasonal, year-round, indoor and outdoor recreation that's been systematically removed from the community's plan and replaced with frivilous, elitist features designed to discourage public use."

Designs and a new budget are supposed to be coming next month.


Related Posts:
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Part III: Where Will the Tall Buildings Go?
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Part II: The Sweetheart Deal Building

Poolaid Vid Debuts Tonight

As we noted a couple of weeks ago, Poolaid, the group concerned about various McCarren Pool issues, is debuting its "We are the Pool" tonight (2/27). The video will debut at Union Pool, 484 Union Avenue (cross street: Meeker Ave.), in Williamsburg. The event is from 7–9 pm.

The Poolaid people write:
The video is intended to draw attention to the situation with McCarren Pool here in Williamsburg. Poolaid wants to encourage our community to learn more about the pool and to let the Parks Department and our elected officials know what they want done with the pool. We want the pool to be for the people!

McCarren Pool, situated on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint border in McCarren Park, was built in 1936 as a WPA project. After being shut down in the late 1980s, the pool fell into major disrepair.

In 2005 the pool was reopened as a performance venue. A local group, Jelly NYC, put on free shows every Sunday that drew huge crowds. Noemie LaFrance's dance troupe performed the dance pieces Agora and Agora II. Unfortunately, the Parks Department chose to allow Live Nation, a spin-off and business partner of Clear Channel, to put on shows in the park as well. Live Nation then chose to charge $40 for their concerts.

We think a $40 cover charge for a show in a public park is wrong. Deeply wrong. Why is our pool being used to line the pockets of a corporation known for its predatory business practices? Furthermore, what does this mean for the future of the pool? Will some backdoor deal leave our community with a mini-Madison Square Garden and no pool? North Brooklyn is already lacking in park space and public facilities, and our pool should not be for sale.

And we want to go swimming.
The group argues for diversity of programming while the pool is used as a performance venue and for events that are "cheap or free." It says that profits from ticketed events should be set aside for the pool and that the Parks Department--which has engaged in relatively private planning for the pool--set up "a community committee and have regularly scheduled meetings for discussion of community concerns." The group also wants "a clear timeline and a funding plan for turning the pool back into a pool again." Oh, and did we mention they're not fond of Live Nation and other corporate concert promoters?

Related Posts:
Free McCarren Pool Concerts Are on for Summer
Poolaid Relaunches Website

Monday, February 26, 2007

Splasher Strikes Again Across Williamsburg

Splashed N 6th One-C

The street art vandal known as the Splasher has struck again in Williamsburg, splashing white pain on street art and ads on N. 6th Street, Kent, Berry, Wythe and other locations around the neighborhood. In contrast to the aqua and maroon paint used in earlier splashings, the new splashings were done with white paint. At first, on N. 6th Street, we wondered if the splashings were the result of a Copycat Splasher, but a look at 184 Kent, where another of the Splasher's screeds pasted on defaced street art confirmed that the white paint splashings were indeed the work of the Splasher.

It appears that the Splasher is particularly targeting the work of Faile and Swoon. We almost hesitate to say it, but he appears to have ignored the work of another artist that has been appearing around Williamsburg.

Street artists have already struck back on N. 6th Street (look below or click here), which is becoming the scene of a bizarre tit-for-tat, back-and-forth war between street artists and the street art vandal.

More sad splashings below.

Splashed 184 Kent Two
184 Kent Avenue

Splashed Wythe
Wythe Avenue

Splashed Berry

Splashed 184 Kent One
184 Kent

The N. 6th Street Splasher-Artist War Continues

Yesterday, we came across the results of renewed destruction of street art by the vandal known as the Splasher. (Insert your comment here about how it's all vandalism.) On N. 6th Street this has led to a series of punch-counter punch exchanges between vandal and artists. (You can see the full post about the latest Splasher strike above or by clicking here.) In any case, this is what art and vandalism scene on N. 6th Street between Kent and Wythe is looking like.

Splashed N 6th One-B

Splashed N 6th One

Splashed N 6th One-A

Splashed N 6th Four

Thor's Hammer Nearly Finished With Revere Dome

Revere 02-24 Two

We noted on Saturday that the Red Hook skyline viewed from a distance is now missing its iconic dome. These photos show why you can no longer see it. The demolition crews dispatched by developer Joe Sitt and Thor Equities have now started cutting holes in the base of the structure itself. In a couple of weeks, at most, all traces of it will have vanished except in photographs.

Revere 02-24

Revere 02-24 Three

Whole Foods Site From the Inside

Photoblogger The Food of the Future and flickr photog f.trainer scores again with some fun nice shots of the Whole Foods site in Gowanus viewed from the inside. (We hope he wore some good boots and didn't track any of the toxic back home.) He posted the photos on flickr last week and has been posting them on his excellent photoblog. He's also been over to the Revere Dome, up in the "Batcave" and the Red Hook Grain Terminal and inside the Greenpoint Terminal Market, to name a few spots. We're grateful for the priceless perspectives with which he provides us.

Sunset Park Highrise Has Few Fans

That 12-story building proposed for 42nd Street in Sunset Park continues attracting opposition. Last week, Community Board 7 voted unanimously to denounce the "non-contextual" building, which would be located at 420 42nd Street. Now, CB7 is going to have a community meeting on the development on Thursday (March 1) at 6:30. The meeting will offer an update on the project and a discussion of how the community can "fight the project." The meeting will take place at the Community Board Office, which is at 4201 4th Avenue at the corner of 43rd Street. (Which is basically a block from the development.) The Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors (SPAN) will have a meeting on the development on Saturday, March 3. (We don't have an address on that meeting.) Neighbors are objecting to the development because it would rise on a block of three- and four-story buildings and because it would interfere with views from Sunset Park and of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church.

Related Posts:
Sunset Park Tower Continues Raising Concerns
Battle of Sunset Park Escalates

Brooklinks: Monday More Sloppy Than Snowy Edition

An NYT Op-Ed and Words from Cleveland About Atlantic Yards

We neglected to link to the New York Times op-ed by Jennifer Egan on Saturday (which was, astoundingly, the paper's first such treatment of the most important development in Brooklyn history). The op-ed is absolutely worth a read (the writer is very up front about her position) and places the development in the broader context of New York City and Brooklyn and the political and planning environment that communities must confront. Ms. Egan writes in part:
Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to about the Atlantic Yards project, whether they favored or opposed it, assumed that it would be scaled back. In fact, the plan approved by the Public Authorities Control Board in December was more than 600,000 square feet larger than the one first unveiled.

That approval came despite sobering revisions by the city and the developer of his initial heady claims about the project’s benefits to Brooklyn: the proportion of affordable housing has slipped, and much of it won’t be completed until 2016; the public park on the arena’s rooftop is now only for residents; the number of promised jobs has shrunk; the projected tax revenue has fallen; and the taxpayers’ bill is colossal and apparently open-ended.

Also interesting is this item from a Cleveland blog called Save Our Land that we came across thanks to an item over at No Land Grab:
We need to take our money back, along with our cities. We in Cleveland have seen all this before, as we swirl further down the drain, and now Ratner is sucking Brooklyn into the vortex as well--the earmarks are the same--the faddish Frank Gehry buildings, the promises of jobs and tax revenue and affordable housing, the sports arenas, the doctored impact statements commissioned by the developer. Read the entire article. You'll recognize the patterns of lies, deceit, sins of omission and commission, the corruption. Dwell on the last sentence. Blog. Congregate.
All very much worth reading.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Disconnected in Brooklyn on Craigslist: I Oogled Ogled You

Yes, Sunday. Time for our Brooklyn Craigslist Missed Connection of the Week. There are a lot of tough choices this week, like the simple, yet compelling, one for the woman wearing the cheetah print shoes on the F and the bit of nastiness left for the "ass face" that took someone's Arecibo car in Dumbo. Finally, after much back and forth, we settled on the oogler ogler, mainly because of the funny use of the word "oogle," which we googled just to double checking that the correct spelling is "ogle" not "oogle." So, Mr. Oogler, this we, we salute you:
Cutie at 1st Ave L station with skinny jeans and brown suede shoes - m4w - 27

This was around 9:45pm. Sorry if I oogled a little too much. You are extremely nice looking. My mother would love to meet you. Problem is, I'm likely soooo not your type. You stood the whole time, though our wait was short. You had dark denim skinny jeans that were made to be wrinkly at the knee. You also had on a pair of comfy looking dark brown suede shoes. You were blonde and had strong and straight hair. You wore a black (was it wool?) coat. Again, you're extremely nice looking and I'd love to share a sandwhich with you, discuss politics or Williamsburg over a hot chocolate, or make-out! Or become really great platonic friends or something. You likely know who I am, so I won't say much about me, maybe you could write and possibly say one thing about my appearance so I'll know it's you i you do decide to write, if you see this...

If not, enjoy your weekend and your life, and your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/life partner/significant other is very lucky.
Good luck with the search!

Brooklinks: Sunday Dreaming of Oscars Edition

Garage Door

Brooklinks is a daily selection of Brooklyn-related information and images.

Brooklyn Back in the Day: Coney Island

Coney Bowery 1948

We return to our episodic feature, Brooklyn Back in the Day, with this specimen from the Brooklyn Public Library's wonderful collection of historic photos. This photo is Coney Island's Bowery in 1948. The taller building on the right is the Henderson Building, which will eventually fall to Thor Equities demolition crews. The caption to the photo says: "Section of Coney Island amusement area known as Bowery that extended from Steeplechase Park to Feltman's Restaurant; two men standing on ladder platform working on large sign ("...Irish House") with arcade game below in right foreground, moving truck in center, and several amusement rides in background."


Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour, Part II: Broadway

South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

GL Brooklyn Sunday TV

Here are some Coney Island vids posted to YouTube this week. Click on the embed or on this link to go to YouTube.


GL's Weekend Curbed Roundup

Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour: End

The End-Coney Island
Coney Island, Brooklyn


Saturday, February 24, 2007

The New Emptiness of the Red Hook Skyline

Revere with Swan

Part of our routine, every day, is to check out Red Hook from the F Train and from the Smith-9th Street Station. We do this because we like the view and because since December, we've been instinctively glancing toward the waterfront to check on the progress made on the Revere Dome demolition. We look to see that it is still there. Yesterday, for the first time ever, the Revere Dome was no longer visible from the F. We looked and we looked and all we could see was the towering smokestack of the old plant.

There are many people in Brooklyn--both newcomers and long time residents--that have never known this view without the Revere Dome. It was something that was simply always there.

And, now, it's not.

Call us sentimental fools, but we're going to miss that waterfront skyline with its towering cone very, very, very, very much.

Federal Magistrate Recommends State Courts Hear Eminent Domain Case

A Federal Magistrate has said that the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case should be heard in state court. The decision actually focuses on procedural issues, not the specific issues raised in the case. Atlantic Yards Reports notes that while the Judge's "recommendation to federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis is not binding, judges generally follow such recommendations. Still, the parties in the case have ten business days to file objections, and Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the coalition organizing the 13 plaintiffs—homeowners, business owners, and renters—promised to do so."

The Judge wrote:
This action represents important public policy concerns and is essentially local in nature...The state's interest in adjudicating this case in its own forum outweighs the federal interest in retaining jurisdiction.
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn responded with a press release saying that the decision reflects the strength of the merits of their case and that they hope to prevail with the presiding Judge.

Related Items:

It's the "New Park Slope"!

2007_02_Novo Park Slope Screencap

We've had our share of fun with the Boymelgreen development on Park Slope called Novo Park Slope (which we dubbed Boymelgreen Hall because of its, um, institutional look). The marketing campaign for the development is on now, and it may set a new standard of salesmanship. Here's what Corcoran's site says:
Novo is the new Park Slope. This handsome condominium sets a new standard for full-service living, offering amenities previously unavailable in Park Slope. Come see how your new home pioneers comfort and style as Fourth Avenue evolves into a modern and exciting residential corridor, rich with the ambience and energy of Park Slope. Luxurious lifestyle begins when entering the lobby from a landscaped garden off a quaint 5th street approach. Once inside, open layouts and an impressive array of sunlit building amenities are several of the hallmarks of life at the NOVO. The building’s proximity to JJ Byrne Memorial Park offers not only wide open views, but also provides convenient access to extras such as a playground, a dog run and basketball courts. Facing west, many residences offer impressive views of the Manhattan Skyline, Verrazano Bridge and the East River.
"Facing west" is, of course, the big yellow taxi place, Pep Boys and Staples, but we're sure it looks a lot better from above than it does at street level and we also think Hotel Le Bleu is going to polish things up when it opens. In any case, we can't wait to see the full Novo's website. The attempt to try to remake Fourth Avenue's image has started.

Brooklinks: Saturday Very Visual Edition

I Love You Ritz

Brookinks is a daily selection of Brooklyn-related information and, especially on weekends, images.

Not Only Images:

Sunday Fun: Walking Tour of 'Gorgeous Gowanus'

Canal With Ducks
Looking for something to do on Sunday, assuming the weather cooperates? Try a walk of "Gorgeous Gowanus" sponsored by Shorewalkers. According to Shorewalkers, which sponsors many interesting urban excursions, "this narrated tour will cross four of the five bridges over the canal and cover 400 years of history. Tour ends at the launch site of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. Pace: Slow, 2 miles. MEET: 1:00 PM downstairs in front of entrance on 9th St. Check out the view from the subway platform (highest)." Fee is $3 per person. Call (718) 781-1228 for more information.