Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Warnings Before Roof Collapse on First Place in Carroll Gardens?

Were there warnings before the roof collapse at that building at 90 First Place in Carroll Gardens on Sunday night? Brownstoner has details on the collapse and the Department of Buildings response, including a Stop Work Order. A look at the DOB website, finds 6 complaints lodged against the building since May, including ones for large pieces of falling debris, an illegal fence, debris being tossed from windows and construction exceeding the approved permit (exterior work being done when the permit only covered interior work). Three of the complaints, however, relate to the roof collapse itself.

In any case, we got the following email via the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, saying neighbors have been concerned about the building:
The roof of a building under construction at 90 First Place collapsed last night. The fire, police and building departments were on site assessing the situation. There is currently a stop work order posted on site. The elected officials were notified. This is the building that has a construction shed that goes completely to the sidewalk, and that sometimes has a truck collecting debris in the courtyard. (Parking in the courtyards is illegal under the City Transportation Code).

I was told by tenants of the adjacent buildings that the roof had been sagging for some time, and that 311 had been notified by several of the nearby tenants and property owners. Some of the nearby neighbors surmise that the rain on Saturday probably may have facilitated the collapse. This building had been completely gutted and the walls had just been stabilized with supporting beams, but a neighbor who has a view of the building said that many of the beams seemed to have been knocked down by the weight of the roof debris. Neighbors told me that they have reported other construction site problems to the building's department and 311.
There's no record of "sagging roof" complaints on the DOB website, which is interesting.

[Photo courtesy of Property Shark]

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Gowanus Development Site: Yours for $12M, Canal Views

Gowanus for Sale

We're not even sure how we found the listing for this building at Union and Bond in Gowanus/Carroll Gardens, but it can be yours for a mere $12 million. It's listed on City Cribs, and this is what they have to say:
This corner warehouse on Bond Street is very large development site in a very hot area - Gowanus. The warehouse is located on the Gowanus Canal, hugging a bridge connecting the two neighborhoods. Lots of very famous artists have bought large studios there. The zoning has been changed on a number of properties to allow for more building. Currently there are several condo conversion projects underway.
The building itself is 40' by 247' and the lot is 28,500 square feet. The current zoning for the property is commercial, but the listing doesn't mention the ongoing process of an overall rezoning for Gowanus.


Kent Avenue Rising: 291 Kent

291 Kent

We're not entirely sure what is planned for 291 Kent Avenue, which is a long, narrow lot across the street from the Domino Sugar Plant (AKA, as of recently, the New Domino with 2,000 apartments). What we can say is that the building on the site has been demolished and that the Department of Buildings website shows approval for a new building with 23 units. (It also shows the new building being one-story tall, so we're figuring there's an error somewhere.) The developer of the property is 291 Kent Properties LLC. Anyone with further info, do let us know. What we do know is that any building going up in that spot and anyone moving into a property there better be a fan of long-term construction as the mega-development across the street should be going strong until 2017ish.


Domino #2: Questions About the "New Domino"


Without question, the proposed "New Domino" development that was formally rolled out to the press at an on-site event last week and which is has its first hearings today in from of the City Planning Commission, would be a huge project. It would include at least 2,200 residential units and several buildings of 30 and 40 stories. It would create serious transportation challenges and significant new density in the neighborhood, among other things. Overall, the $1.3 billion development would take at least eight years to build and be one of the most significant projects on the entire North Brooklyn waterfront. For anything that comes close (at least, in terms of announced projects) one needs to look at the Queens West project in Long Island City.

We say this in order to say that Norman Oder dug deep into the Domino project on Atlantic Yards Report yesterday, drawing parallels between the New Domino and Atlantic Yards. Mr. Oder, was particularly taken by the developer's spin on the project (which emphasized affordable housing, open space and historic preservation) and flipped it on its head:
The press release (not online) issued last week sure sounded good:
Plans for the New Domino Set Goal of 30% of Units for Affordable Housing in Mixed-Income Community on the Brooklyn Waterfront
Former Industrial Site Will Mirror the City’s Economic and Cultural Diversity and Preserve Historic Architecture in Williamsburg

An equally skewed, though likely not inaccurate, press release might have stated:
Plans for the New Domino Include 1540 Million-Dollar Condos on Brooklyn’s Waterfront
Four Tall Towers, Minimal Historic Preservation Needed To Achieve Profits for Much-Criticized Silent Partner; Significant Government Subsidies and Rezoning Sought
Mr. Oder's examination of the proposal is very, very long, but anyone interested in gaining a real sense of the development and its impact ought to read it. For instance, he points out that the developers will be seeking to upzone land across Kent Avenue from the main plant site, in addition to upzoning the waterfront site itself. He also notes that the developers spent $400,000 on lobbying the Department of City Planning in 2005 and 2006. The Department is holding "Scoping" hearings today from 2PM-5PM and from 6PM-8:45PM

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Domino #1: Domino Plant as as Art Museum?

The email we got along with the link to the YouTube vid above, which is really more of a Powerpoint presentation than a video, said "why can't we have affordable housing and something that gives back to the community, city, etc? it could even be private financing if need be." Yesterday, Lost City described the group advocating for this as "a group of prominent Billyburg arts leaders are trying to stir up support for a plan which would transform the Domino Plant into a world-class art center, a la The Tate Modern in London." He has an extended explanation of why the plan would make sense. And, the idea even makes the jump to a story in today's Sun. Anyone interested in New Domino alternatives should also check out the Waterfront Preservation Alliance's extensive postings on further historic preservation on the property. Right now, the Adant House, which is probably the most attractive historic structure on the property is not up for landmarking and would be demolished. Its loss would be an architectural tragedy for future generations of Brooklyn residents. One doesn't have to have an architecture degree to see how the Adant Building could be renovated and repurposed--say as space for the arts.

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Giglio Church's Former Sunday Construction Building Coming Along

525 Union Avenue

What you are looking at is the rapid progress being made on 525 Union Avenue, the luxury condo going up behind Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Giglio church on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg. One of the reasons that the building has gone up so quickly is that there had been a great deal of Sunday work on the site, which as we noted (and videotaped), was making a nasty racket for parishioners during mass. We're glad to report though that ever since our posts and the WNBC news crew that showed up one Sunday, all has been quiet. And progress on the building still seems fast.

Related Posts:
A Peaceful Sunday Morning in Williamsburg
Williamsburg's Giglio Church Under Siege by Construction

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Brooklinks: Tuesday End of July Already Edition

Wonder Wheel at Dusk

Brooklinks is a daily selection of Brooklyn-related information and images. Today, we pay our respects to Tom Snyder, who passed away yesterday.


Attack of the Car Alarms on Boerum Hill

Boerum Hill Cars Parked

If it's not one thing, it's another. In recent weeks, we've had a spate of stories about car window smashings and tire slashings on Boerum Hill, not to mention hookers under windows and (0ur favorite) the Boerum Hill Crapper. This morning, we find some emails about everyone's favorite urban sonic scourge--the screaming car alarm. We have this:
OK - this morning between 7 and 8 a car alarm of a blue-green Isuzu Trooper on the corner of Dean and Hoyt was going off for, like, a friggin hour. This is ridiculous. I am not a late sleeper - but who wants to hear this crap in the morning even if one is awake??? What can we do to get cars that go off like this towed?
And, we have this advice:
What to do? Go outside and write down the licence plate and make of the car. Then call 911, like I did, and give them the info. Put a note on the car telling the owner their alarm is malfunctioning. Tell the owner in a note of the time the alarm was going off and the problem that this noise has caused. (Theoretically, the police will come and deal with the problem and/or give them a ticket. However, as you know, this is not a high priority for the police.)

The car's owner at Hoyt-Dean moved the car at some point this morning (and it will probably annoy another group of neighbors tomorrow.)

The law is that all cars that have car alarms are supposed to have their contact info on file at their local police department and that local precinct's info and phone number should be posted on their dashboard.
Now, how many people have car alarm contact info on file at the local precinct and the precinct's number on their dash? Huh? Huh? In the meantime, all we can say is NaNa NaNa NaNa. Ehhhhrrr. Ehhhhrrrr. Ehhhhrrr. Woooooooo-Woooooo-Wooooooo-Wooooooo. NaNa NaNa NaNa. Etc. Etc. Etc.


Say What: Stop & One-Way on High

Say What--Up High Stop One Way

We return to our ongoing series of compromised Brooklyn signage with this example of signs that have been relocated to accommodate buildings construction. We continue to assume that this is a totally legitimate thing because it happens so frequently, but we might suggest to the city that stop signs that are several feet higher than where people expect to find them and somewhat hidden one-way signs are not necessarily a good thing. Just saying.


Williamsburg Residents Chafe Over East River State Park Rules

East River Park Fenced Out

The complaints about East River State Park in Williamsburg make the big time today, in a manner of speaking, with a story in the Daily News about how people are ticked off about its short hours and the abundance of rules. (You can read one of our posts about the pre-sunset shooing of visitors here, locked out visitors pictured above.) Here's a sample of the story:
"You miss the most beautiful time of the day," said artist Dylan Williams, who frequently heads to the park to paint the Manhattan skyline. "It should at least be open until dark."

The park closes at 8 p.m., though rangers begin asking people to leave about 7:45 p.m. It opens at 10 a.m.

In addition, as in other state parks in the city, dogs, bike riding and roller skating are not allowed.

"This is ridiculous," said Ana Ruiz-Castillo, who was turned away last week when she tried to take her Labrador mix, Paca, for a walk in the park. "I won't come back. This is insane."

The park is the second state park in Brooklyn whose hours and rules have touched off complaints. Last summer, the Daily News chronicled similar frustration at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in DUMBO, which closes at dusk, prompting state officials to promise to install lights so it could be open later.
The punchline is that the lights weren't installed and that there are no longer plans to do so. State park officials blame the hours and lack of lights on a lack of money. Maybe it's us, but one would think that a state rolling in so much extra tax revenue from New York City could find a few extra dollars to invest in some lights and adequate staffing for its flagship New York City parks. On the other hand, given the public embarrassments and vaguely scandalous priorities that everyone already tolerates, what's some New Yorkers angry because their parks are being nickeled and dimed to death?


Monday, July 30, 2007

Coney Island #2: "Anarchy, Violence & Mayhem"

Looks like things got a little rowdy in Coney Island this weekend, at least, according to a dispatch from someone on scene. The action took place at Cha Cha's on the boardwalk where the band World Inferno played a show. According to reports, the crowd start tearing the bar apart. Here's the report that was in the email we got:
The band World Inferno played Cha-Cha’s in Coney Island last night but the show was stopped when the crowd started literally tearing apart the venue. From an eyewitness:

“The crowd caused several thousand dollars in damage in about ten minutes. The owner of the club asked the band to make an announcement to the audience to stop. Instead, the band broke into a song called ‘Zen And The Art of Breaking Everything in The Room’ and the audience did just that. Members of the audience pulled pieces of the ceiling and crowd-surfed with it, ripped out all the wiring from the ceiling, punched holes in the wall, broke all the ceiling fans, disco balls and light bulbs. One person got an entire light smashed in his face and had his nose ripped open…. The owner pulled the plug on the sound system (which may have been the worst idea ever). Meanwhile, the band grabbed their saxophones and led the kids outside pied-piper style. There, the audience began singing ‘Anarchists are Pretty’ until the police broke up the crowd.”
The vid below is the crowd out on the boardwalk singing 'Anarchists are Pretty.' Definitely a different scene for Coney Island.


It's Official: Park Slopers Have Fled for Summer

Summer Parking Three

What's wrong with this picture? Hint: It has to do with the abundant amount of parking available on a Sunday evening in Park Slope. In any case, you know that the height of summer has hit the Slope when the normal Parking Derby is suspended. For comparative purposes, the normal scene at the hour this photo was taken, about 5:45 PM, is one of cars desperately circling. Happy parking Slopers, through Labor Day. After which, back to Sunday evening parking as an Olympic sport.

Summer Parking Two


TV on the Radio Do McCarren Pool, Water Included

[Photo courtesy of Jonny Leather/flickr & jonnyleather.com]
We ended up a little beaten down by yesterday's weather and skipped the TV on the Radio show at McCarren Pool, even though we were on the list to shoot it and we love the band. In any case, the pool had a bit more water than usual and the show sounds like it was superb. We've got a few flickr shots here and you can catch a bunch of them by clicking here.

[Photo courtesy of evaporated/flickr]

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Coney #1: Photos of the Coney Sand Sculpting Contest

[Photo courtesy of azzface/flickr]

The 17th Annual Sand Sculpting contest, which was sponsored by Astella Development Corp., was held in Coney Island on Saturday. Here are a few great shots of the event and the fun sand sculptures that were posted on flickr.

[Photo courtesy of Sarah Paradise/flickr]

[Photo courtesy of dietrich/flickr]

[Photo courtesy of treether/flickr]

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GL Construction Site Du Jour: Back to the Cement Plant

Demolition Kind of With Fence

We keep returning to these properties whose official addresses are 157 and 173 Kent Avenue and 224 Wythe Avenue because the demolition process of both the cement plant that originally occupied the site and the building you see reduced to rubble above, has been so weird. About 2/3 of this full block in Williamsburg--across the street from 184 Kent and Northside Piers--is owned by the Chetrit Group. Some of the early demolition appeared to have been done without permits and, now, it's been done without a fence. We know: picky, picky. Anyway, to recap: A full fence went up. Then, it was taken down, making the full lot quite the spot for photo shoots. Since then, work's been going on with a partial fence around the site making it one of the most wide-open sites we've seen anywhere in Brooklyn. We can only assume the Department of Buildings approves wholeheartedly, because this has been going on for months.

Demolition Kind of With Fence 2

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Former Landfills Near Starrett City Set to Become Parks

If you've ever been on the Belt Parkway, perhaps you've noticed the big hills along Jamaica Bay near Starrett City that don't seem to be natural parts of the landscape. If you've ever thought that they look like capped landfills, well, they are. (And if you're a longtime resident you actually remember when they were active landfills.) Here's the latest detail from the Bay Ridge Courier:
Two giant mountains of rotting garbage in Brooklyn are being converted into remarkably beautiful public parks.

The former Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills, just south of the Belt Parkway near Starrett City, are the subjects of a $230 million makeover.

Recently, neighborhood residents and stakeholders were given a rare “sneak peak” at the two colossal sites...According to construction manager Nayan Shah of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, the 100-acre Penn Park is on track to open in the fall of 2009.

Its big sister, the sprawling 300-acre Fountain Park, is a year behind and could be unveiled to the public in the fall of 2010, pending state approval. The parks will become part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which is managed by the National Parks Service. The Department of Environmental Protection is describing the project as “ecological restoration.”
Back in the 1980s, there were reports of PCB issues at the landfills because of illegal dumping, including oil, that had gone on. Regardless, there are said to be great views from the top of the, uh, man made mountains. And, if you're interested in a WNYC report on the landfill parks from earlier this year, click here.
[Image courtesy of Berger World]


Brooklinks: Monday New Week Edition

Fourth Avenue View

Brooklinks is a daily selection of Brooklyn-related information and images. Today, we also quietly pay our respects to Ingmar Bergman.


Where They Put Doors & Bells in Greenpoint

262 Meserole copy

We know that there's an explanation for this, we just don't know what it is. We can only assume that, at some point, the staircase leading to this second-floor disappeared. Whereas, the doorbell sign did not. In any case, this image, which comes to us from Meserole Avenue in Greenpoint, was captured by our Greenpoint correspondent. Speaking of which, if you haven't checked out her Construction Site Catcall Map and Project, definitely do. She is accepting contributions and we think it's an absolutely rocking concept.


Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour: Coney from Train

Coney Island, Brooklyn
[Cool photo courtesy of vinnie716/flickr]

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Notary District Rat Problem Attacked

Russo Rat Bait 1

We don't know what's up with Vincent Russo, the gentleman who has owned these curious buildings on Smith Street for more than a half-century, and whose signage has adorned the neighborhood for decades. Months ago, a commenter noted that he had passed away (he is well into his 90s) earlier this year although we haven't been able to find any obituaries. City property records don't show the buildings have changed hands, but there are abundant signs of, um, rat abatement around. It means that either (a). the rat problem is totally out of control or (b). the buildings are being prepared for something and that it's best the rats be dispatched. Either way, the Russo Realty buildings may not have long. If you're curious about this unique Smith Street landmark, the Forgotten NY page on Gowanus (which is totally worth checking out on its own) has a lot more photos and an interesting story about Mr. Russo.

Russo Rat Bait 3


Disconnected in Brooklyn on Craiglist: I'm the Dude with Two, You Know...

For this week's Brooklyn Missed Connection we offer up this tale that we know is a fabrication, yet stands out for its desperate attention-getting qualities. It rings a bell too, so we may be onto a serial Missed Connection poster. Regardless, it amuses. In its bizarre way:
I was the man who was born with two penises at Pete's Candy Store - 29

You were the nice woman at the bar with whom I was speaking about my problem. As I told you, it is rare, but it happens. Doctors have wanted to remove "it" (I sometimes call penis no. 2 "Herrmann") many times over, but first my parents and then I refused. After all, a penis is not a mere wisdom tooth, and both of mine are fully endervated and functioning. There would be urological complications in getting rid of one, plus I fear the "phantom limb" effect. I am otherwise a normal man - I work for Fox and am good at what I do; women wonder why I am not seeing anyone and want to date me. But I find it hard to ask a woman out because of my two penises. I know that if I date someone at work, she will tell others, and they will tell others, and so on and so on. The end result will be that people will stare at me as though I were some freak. A man in my position cannot afford to be looked at in that way, so I felt that maybe I could open up to someone at a bar in Williamsburg, which is where all the artists types really live, rather than attempt to date someone at work or through church socials or MySpace.

Alas! I got shy and failed to tell you all of this, which I should have, since I'm afraid you looked at me like some sort of a freak. In fact, I am normal in my wants, which include being with a nice girl who can teach me things and not laugh at my two penises. I want to be coupled. I'm not looking for a freaky woman - just a nice normal girl, and you seemed like a possibility. If you are the one who met me, you know it. Or you told a gf who is reading this and remembers her friend's story. Please write back. I want a second chance to start things. Remember, what they say is true: two heads are better than one.

Interesting Missed Connection Factoid: This week the Siren Festival generated 22 missed connections. Alas, they were all very run of the mill. Nonetheless, it seems Siren produced more posted Missed Connections than the Mermaid Parade, which is interesting.


Busted Up Coney Boardwalk Continues to Generate Concern

Busted Up Boardwalk

The horrid condition of the boardwalk in Coney Island, a subject to which we've devoted countless, continues to generate some coverage. This week the Bay News notes the boardwalk's deterioration. It also makes the very interesting point that Coney Island redevelopment make encourage the city to allow the problem to get worse before it gets better because the city may be reluctant to make repairs only to see it torn up again by construction-related work. The paper describes the problem as follows:
The ever-popular promenade is now riddled with holes, rotting wood, wobbly boards and exposed nails. In some parts there are wooden planks that jut up several inches, almost inviting someone to trip.
The Parks Department says it's making repairs (the strategy this year seems to be nailing planks over the holes in the boards, presenting a brand new way for people to break their faces while enjoying the Brooklyn outdoors). They sent a statement to the Bay News saying "we continue to repair any hazards to ensure a safe pedestrian experience along the boardwalk." The pedestrian experience is so safe, in fact, that seven injury lawsuits were filed in 2005 and 2006 and $157,000 in settlements have been paid in nine cases filed since 1997. The problem is said to be "on the radar" at City Hall and some extra money will be put in place for emergency repairs. A major repair job, which the boardwalk desperately needs, would cost millions.

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Brooklinks: Sunday Summer Lite Edition

Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour: Scrap in Warm Sunlight

Scrap Yard 528
Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

[Photo courtesy of Gary Mirabelle/Mirabelle Studios]

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GL's Weekend Curbed Roundup

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Proposed Vid & Photo Restrictions Generate Strong Opposition

[Photo courtesy of bsing/flickr]

Here we go again--another proposed city rule that is raising serious civil liberties concerns. This time, the target is people shooting video and taking photos. The issue has been out there for a while, but it's coming to a head now that the deadline for public comment is approaching.

Here's what the rules will do: Require even small groups who film in one location for more than 10 minutes with a tripod or half an hour without one to obtain a permit. Industrial, fashion, wedding and architectural photographers will need a permit and insurance for anything that takes more than a half hour and two people to shoot.

Here's what they won't do: The rules will NOT prohibit an individual photographer from taking pictures.

That having been said, the rules run more than 10 pages and there are many and, if's and but's buried within. The bottom line is there was a protest against the regulations yesterday evening in Union Square (the photos above and below) and the opposition has gathered high visibility supporters (as you would expect in New York City). As with many such efforts, the new rules have their origin with a case involving a documentary filmmaker that was detained by the police in Midtown. You can go here to sign an petition opposing the rules and to read more about them.

It brings to mind the misguided effort to ban subway photography a couple of years ago. The fact remains, however, that the authorities can harass any photographer or videographer if they are so inclined. The rules, if they are enacted, would simply give them a powerful legal tool to selectively enforce regulations to stop people from shooting video or photos. Here's a bit from the email we got:
An overnight, massive grassroots fight against these proposed regulations has sprung up under the name 'Picture New York.' Fighting back with YouTube videos, petitions, handwritten letters, a website, Flickr space and a rally and press conference this Friday in Union Square, this ad-hoc group of working artists, photographers and filmmakers vow to stop the regulations going into effect as scheduled in September from the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB).

Albert Maysles, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Amy Arbus are among the celebrated artists who have already signed on to demand the MOFTB extend the period of public comment, currently ending August 3, and eliminate the proposed regulations: 11 pages of single-spaced rules where none existed before.

Jem Cohen, the critically-acclaimed filmmaker whose alarmed e-mail prompted the first formal meeting of concerned filmmakers, says, "Because street photography is, by its very nature, inextricably born out of free and random movement through the city, street photographers cannot know exactly where and when they intend to work, or for how long. One cannot regulate an art form or activity by negating its very premise. The proposed rules, in refusing to recognize the spontaneity which is at the core of street photography, are untenable for that reason alone."
Don't be surprised that even if the rules are withdrawn or defeated, if they come back in revised form the same way the city's "parade" rules did. In that case, they passed the second time around.

Photographers and videographers are asked to post pics and vids to flickr and youtube and to tag them picturenewyork and camerawars. (You can check out the flickr results so far here and here.) They're also asked to email the links to jcho@film.nyc.gov and to us at info@picturenewyork.org

[Photo courtesy of Zodak/flickr]

Checking in on the New Brick Thing at Smith & Ninth

S9 Radusky

Granted that the surroundings at Smith and Ninth Street are not the most uplifting in Brooklyn. That having been said, however, the contribution this structure will make toward neighborhood beautification is of, uh, limited value. The building is the work of of Henry Radusky and the ubiquitous Bricolage Designs. It's a four-story, 50-foot high building with three units. Mr. Radusky has earned the nickname "Too Tall" for his many tall-ish building in low-rise neighborhoods. That top patio is going to offer killer views of the F and G Trains rounding the bend on their way to and from the Smith-9th Street Station.

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On the Sofa: GL Reader Comments

Every weekend, we survey the comments that GL readers have left in the past week. Here's a look at a few of this week's:

1) Got Time? Help Brian Lehrer Count SUVs on Your Block. "I know it is easy to pick on these oversized ego machines and feel all self-righteous about yourself. But also take a look at how much housing space you occupy (or dream of) and energy to heat/cool that space each year....and the huge refridgerators and all the other electronic junk we accumulate. Just sayin', no need to be so smug. [Anonymous]

2) Report Details Williamsburg-Greenpoint Job Losses, Gentrification & More. "I don't dispute the report, but comparing the loss of industrial jobs in these hoods to "other nearby North Brooklyn neighborhoods" is like comparing apples to oranges. the OTHER neighborhoods aren't sitting on a coastline facing Manhattan. 'This suggests that the industrial sector overall was stable and that something specific was happening in Greenpoint-Williamsburg.' Yes, something specific called re-zoning. [Pretzel Logic]

3) New Controversy Over Thor's Handling of Historic Coney Island Building. "Now, ultimately Thor is the villain here. Lying to people and generally being what is colloquially described as an "asshole" to others. But I can't help but think that Dick Zigun might have been louder and more vocal about what is happening to Coney Island had he not be in tallks with Thor. Hopefully now that Thor has officially screwed everyone over, more and more people will speak out about what they are doing and how they are doing it." [preworn]

4) Is This Why the Bunker on Bond Doesn't Have Windows? "The upper floors have a great view. Most of the apartments are duplex enough windows to the front and light flooding in from the courtyard windows." [devpro]

5) More Photos of the Mysterious Park Slope Brownstone Bride. "Very sad...but I am getting married & want to find a similar dress. Anyone recognize it?" [Anonymous]


Help Out on PortSide's Mary Whalen on Sunday


We got an email from Carolina Salguero who runs PortSide New York, a wonderful organization that runs a host of programs dedicated to the city's maritime heritage. PortSide is in the process of converting an old tanker, the Mary A. Whalen, into its new headquarters and as attraction and community amenity. Ms. Salguero needs volunteers to help out on Sunday with the Whalen, which is docked at the Container Port in Red Hook. She writes:
We could use your help. It's always fun around PortSide, and you usually get a great waterfront location in the deal. Folks of all ages, skill and fitness levels welcome. Next chance: this Sun 7/29/07 1-6pm, followed by BBQ. Please chip in at least two hours.

We are installing PortSide’s offices aboard the tanker, so tasks include refinishing two metal desks, and moving file cabinets, bookcases, and boxes from pier to ship. If we get a lot of people, we'll do some other work on the ship (moving stuff, putting chafing gear on docklines).

Wear clothes you can get dirty. Bring workgloves if you have them.

When n Where:

Aboard the Mary Whalen. Enter gate for American Stevedoring/Brooklyn Marine Terminal at Hamilton Avenue and Van Brunt Street. Due to port security regulations, you must RSVP so we can get a list of names to the Guard. RSVP to mail (at) portsidenewyork (dot) org Bring a photo ID to show the guard at the gate. We’ll pick you up at the gate if you don’t have a car.
If you've never been in the Container Port or aboard a ship docked there, donating your time to PortSide and the Mary Whalen is a great way to do it. You can check out a page on the Mary Whalen here if you're interested.


Brooklinks: Saturday Very Visual Edition

[Photo courtesy of one of our absolute favorite photobloggers, seriously excited!]

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



Send Your Nasty Newsrack Pics to "Outrage!"

The way things go from day to day in Brooklyn and New York City generally, "Outrage!" could refer to everything from the construction site next door to a plan to toss food vendors from a local park. In this case, it's a photo contest being run by the Municipal Art Society, which is looking for the "dirtiest, most unkempt, most repulsive newsracks in New York City." We'll let the MAS explain:
The streets of New York City are littered with filthy, poorly maintained and decrepit newsracks that are both eyesores and potentially hazardous to New Yorkers.

Paris, London, Berlin and Amsterdam don't tolerate this scourge on their streets, and Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami Beach, Houston and San Francisco have cracked down on the newsrack blight too. But New York City continues to tolerate it, and we think this is outrageous!

Ridding our streets of these nasty newsracks is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it, and the Municipal Art Society needs your help. Submit your photographs of the dirtiest, most unkempt, most repulsive newsracks in New York City to our OUTRAGE! contest and help persuade elected officials that filthy newsracks are rotting the Big Apple and that they must commit to regulating them.

Contestants are invited to submit multiple photograph entries of the most disgusting newsracks they can find in the five boroughs (amusing caption optional) with cross-street details of where the offending newsracks are. Photos of newsrack eyesores that are also illegally placed (within 15 feet of a fire-hydrant, in a bus-stop, within 5 feet of a corner area, etc., will be given special consideration!) The winner will be rewarded for finding the worst newsrack in the city with a $100 gift certificate for Urban Center Books.

So, grab your camera, hit the streets and send something perfectly horrible to newsrack (at) mas (dot) org, and we'll pick the winning photo on the basis of sheer ugliness! Deadline for entries is Friday, September 14, 2007. Flickr users tag your pictures nastynewsracks or join our Nasty Newsracks group.
A couple of months ago, we ran a post about a solution that the Park Slope Civic Council is working on in Park Slope that has a lot of merit. The MAS push could help create sentiment for a solution.


Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour, Part I: Beautiful Concrete

Cement Plant 528
Gowanus, Brooklyn

[Photo courtesy of Gary Mirabelle/Mirabelle Studios]

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Upcoming: The Waterfront Farewell Tour

So, if you find yourself looking for an activity next Sunday, consider "The Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront: The Farewell Tour." The "farewell tour," which is not the first waterfront tour to bear the name, take place on Sunday, August 5 from 2PM-4PM. It's a walking tour sponsored by the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment. The email for the event says:
Rezoning has turned these East River waterfront neighborhoods into two of the hottest properties in town. The gritty industrial strip is yielding to sleek high-rises and luxury condos. Experience some of the old industrial atmosphere and learn about changes on the horizon. Visit the ruins of the Greenpoint Terminal Market, a landmark-quality group of industrial buildings ravaged in a horrendous blaze, and the almost-landmarked Austin Nichols Warehouse designed by architect Cass Gilbert.
The picture above, of course, is the Greenpoint Terminal Market before it went farewell. Check the BCUE site for more info.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

More Pics of the Brownstone Bride


A GL reader sent us some new photos of Park Slope's Brownstone Bride yesterday and we thought that, since they're different angles than the ones we've previously run and since they're exclusively ours, we'd offer up a couple of them. If you've got vids of the odd bridal incident or more pics, shoot us an email at thegowanuslounge (at) gmail (dot) com. Naturally, we always welcome your informational tips and photos on any matter of interest and stand at the ready to help you get the story out there.



The Gowanus in the Rain

Why, you might ask, is this picture interesting? Our answer: Because it shows what happens to the Gowanus Canal every time it rains as countless hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater runoff and untreated sewage flow directly into the canal. This photo and the pics in this flickr set were shot by Raymond Tan and posted by Gowanus Canal on flickr, aka Ellie Hanlon of the Gowanus Dredgers. The Dredgers have taken an active role in trying to get the Gowanus cleaned up so that, someday, you can use it and not have to go to the emergency room if you fall in. The shot above was taken at the Third Street Bridge, which is adjacent to the site where Whole Foods will build its Gowanus store. Ms. Hanlon writes of the photos:
These photos show what happens around the canal when it rains. However, this situation is not hopeless! Incorporating storm water best management practices (pocket wetlands, street trees, porous pavement, swales, rain barrels) around the canal will tremendously reduce the amount of runoff and raw sewage that enters the canal every time it rains. Our city agencies (including the Department of Environmental Protection) are studying the area and making plans to reduce the amount of combined sewer outfall events.
The photo below shows water flowing directly into the canal from the end of a Gowanus Street. Of course, if the situation is bad enough water can also flow from the canal into the streets, creating an entirely different set of issues. It's all especially fascinating given the push to build luxury condos in the neighborhood.

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Selling Real Estate: The Homemade Approach

590 7th Ave

We got the photo above from the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights mailing list. The email that came with it said:
Passed by this stunning new establishment today. See attached. I Guess you could call it "hanging out your shingle," except it looked like scrap of aluminum siding and a sharpie doing the magic. Gotta be in the game to play, right?
Definitely in the game, in a manner of speaking.

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Leaky Modern Hydrant Wears Dunce Cap, Nearby Tree Implodes


Perhaps you've followed the tale of the hydrant being used for water by The Modern on N. 7th Street in Williamsburg. If you haven't, all you really need to know is that neighbors complain the luxe condo building has been a huge pain in the ass and that, now, a water leak threatens possible problems for some of them. We don't know if there is a causal relationsip with the nasty tree trouble in the email below, or if that's just a cautionary tale for people with old trees on their property. Regardless, it's a miniature Williamsburg tale of woe:
On Wednesday two inspectors from DEP came out to look at the Hydrant again. Although they validated all of my concerns, I was told that they could not make the contractor stop since he has a permit. So the hydrant has been used despite the damage being done to my home. The pictures below were taken at 9:10am today. I also have to deal with the sudden imploding of my hundred plus year old Apple tree. I inspected the tree today and the trunk of the tree is rotted and very wet. Could the water from the hydrant cause this?

It’s heartbreaking to my family to lose this once beautiful tree. And my insurance company has told me I am on my own since they would only pay to remove the tree if it was hit by lightning. So now I am facing a bill of at least $2000.00 to remove the tree. I’m on quite a roll. Anyone handy with a chainsaw?
Only if the tree is hit by lightening? They sure know how to write policies to make sure the odds are in their favor. As for the hydrant, we have a feeling we haven't heard the last of it or the damage it will do if the city doesn't address the issue. And, as for The Modern itself, we suspect we'll be running posts about it until people start moving in.



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New Greenpoint Blog: Greenpointers


There's a new Greenpoint blog called Greenpointers, which may be one of the first Brooklyn neighborhood blogs produced by two actual sisters. (Or may not be. We can't see we've tracked the phenomenon.) In any case, the two are natives or Greenpoint, so we're sure the blog will be offering an interesting perspective one of Brooklyn's more fascinating neighborhoods. Here's a little sample of one of the early posts, which dealt largely with landmarking:
I think it's great that they're considering these types of buildings to be saved from demolition - or God forbid more Belvederes. Not that I hate the Belvederes all that much, they're pretty nice, actually. Compared with some of the row housing that Greenpoint is made up of, they might even be better. The true monstrosity is that Eckford & Engert. They remind me of those old commercials for termites where the people live in all concrete housing - even the couch.

I live in a landmark myself. A landmark building that has waterbugs, bed bugs and live mice that are apparently stuck in glue traps and tossed from windows so that you are privy to a dying, writhing little critter on your fire escape. Or so the handwritten note on the mailboxes suggests.
We look forward to more.


Brooklinks: Friday Ready for the Weekend Edition

More Detail on the Baby J Condos in Gowanus

2006_07_Third Street

There are a few more details on that condo project that is going to be developed in Gowanus by the Hudson Companies, which built the 33-story J Condos in Dumbo. Last month, we noted the sale of the property at 3rd Street and Bond for $7.75 million. The Brooklyn Eagle reported yesterday that the developer is planning 50 condos in "nine or 10 four-to-five-story townhouse-style buildings" on the property. Rogers Marvel Architects will design the project, according to the Eagle. Demolition on the site is expected within 45 days and the developer plans to start construction so they don't "miss the amended 421-a tax exemption deadline" of December 31. which is Dec. 31.

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