Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dondi Does Dumbo

We caught Dondi the Elephant at the Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival yesterday. We were transfixed. Dondi is a very, very smart creature and pretty darned cute too. Someone asked the guy who lays down under her at the end of the vid if he was afraid to do so, and he said, "I trust this elephant more than any person." Watch Dondi in Dumbo.

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Shroud Lifted from Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building!

Williamsburg Savings Bank De-Shrouded

Workers were busy yesterday lifting the black shroud that has surrounded the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building all year. The black netting was supposed to have been down by July 4, but there was a bit of a delay. Nonetheless, netting and scaffold removal was in full swing when we stopped by. This photo was shot around 3PM and there was significantly less netting than Friday evening around 7PM. So, who knows, there's probably even less right now on Sunday morning.

Dumbo Under the Bridge Art Fest Pics


Here are a few photos we took at the Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival yesterday. It continues today and is very, very much worth checking out. We'll have more pics and a full flickr set tomorrow.

Cabbage Tossing


Mug Shot


God is Great

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Disconnected in Brooklyn on Craigslist: Trashpicking Disco Balls on Flatbush

It's time for another Brooklyn Craigslist Missed Connection. This week's top choice isn't long, but it is certainly to the point. It's also the first Missed Connection we've seen that has to do with trash picking:
trashpicking on flatbush - w4m

you gave us your discoball although you took scene it. we told you we planned to put the discoball to good use -- send us your phone number so we can invite you to the party.

ps we won't tell anyone that you took the tuna. even though it was for your 'cats'.
Was it a sealed can of tuna?


Newtown Creek Nature Walk Opens

[Photo courtesy of newyorkshitty & chicapoquita/flickr]

We've poked some fun at the new park on Newtown Creek at the massive sewage treatment plant in Greenpoint, but if the truth be told we think it's cool to have public access to that long-suffering body of water. Yes, there is irony in a nature walk at a sewage treatment facility and craziness that there's a fishing area (we feel that any fish that lives in Newtown Creek should ever have to face a hook, even if it's a catch it and toss it back situation...leave those fish alone). Regardless, New York Shitty paid a visit to the opening ceremony. You can check out her post her here and the excellent flickr set that she posted here.


Brooklinks: Sunday Reflections Edition

Look in the Mirror

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


Get Frantic at the Atlantic Antic Today

In case you've been out of borough for months or in a place without internet access, today is the famous Atlantic Antic. The 33rd edition of the Antic stretches for 1.5 miles down Atlantic Avenue, from Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights to Fourth Avenue. It runs from 10AM-6PM. There is food. There is drink. There is entertainment galore. And, yes, there are tube socks. Also, The New York Transit Museum's 14th Annual Bus Festival coincides with the Antic, on Boerum Place. A collection of vintage buses dating all the way back to 1917 will will be on display and ready to board, and there's also free admission to the Transit Museum, which is a block away on Schermerhorn Street. For all the info you need, click here.

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GL Sunday TV: Brooklyn Heights

A few vids from the YouTube of and from Brooklyn Heights, including one of Richard Thompson and David Byrne performing Psycho Killer at St. Ann's in 1992.

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Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour: Casting Call

Casting Call
Dumbo, Brooklyn

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Greenpoint House Attacked by Truck (Doing Illegal Work) at Scarano Building

53 Java Truck

Paying attention to the rampant violations of work hours and stop workers can be a rich and rewarding endeavor, although not necessarily for the victims. Take the case of 53 Java Street, a project designed by Brooklyn architect Robert Scarano, in Greenpoint. What you are looking at is a photo of a truck that tipped over into a house while workers were pouring concrete at the site yesterday evening in violation of a stop work order on the Scarano building. Our Greenpoint correspondent captured this scene as it unfolded, phoning in a report and, then, writing:
As the fine chaps at 53 Java Street were violating a stop work order today (pouring cement), the truck turned overturned and bruised up the front right-hand corner of its neighbor, 51 Java Street. As of 6:42 this evening they were still busy extracting it.

Per the owner of 51 Java (who I spoke to this evening), this is the second time they have hit his property. This time he fears there might be structural damage. The first time (these people hit his property) was 3 weeks ago. That time it was an earth mover. They destroyed 1/3 of his garden.
A complaint was filed with the Department of Buildings at 4:53 PM:
Can't wait to see how this one does, or doesn't, turn out. A pretty sunset shot of the house damaging truck, below.

53 Java Truck Two

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Another Detour on N. 7th Street's Road to Modernity

Modern Stop Work

That was fast. Yesterday the New York Post reported that the Stop Work Order at The Modern on N. 7th Street--a development that we've chronicled extensively--had been lifted. We also blogged about it over at Curbed. The Modern (205 N. 7th Street), you might recall, had problems with damaging a building next door, busting a sewer line and, possibly damaging the L Train tunnel that runs along the property. Activist Phil De Paolo emailed us yesterday to say:
I was amazed when I noticed last week that the stop work order at 205 N 7th st was lifted when the violations that the stop work was issued for were not fixed. This is the second stop work order that the DOB has lifted at this site with the violations not being fixed. My greater concern is that there is a crack at 203 N 7th and the DOB is going to allow drilling and pile driving while the violation for failure to shore up this property is unresolved! The residents of 203 N 7th are seniors and their daughter and have lived at 203 all their lives. Something has to be done.
By the end of the day, another Stop Work Order was in place at the property. Among other things, construction work has undermined a building next door and nothing has been done to protect it.

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Translating the Miss Brooklyn Naming Story from Japanese

So, how would Frank Gehry's story about naming Miss Brooklyn--his Atlantic Yards tower--read if it were translated from its Japanese version back into English by an auto-translation program? No Land Grab did and the results are funny. A sample:
All these motley colors, all these sincere Victoria type construction, took his starry night recollected a monochromatic background will be very wonderful. [Gehry] rides in a carriage along the urban district seeks the inspiration, and not only pays attention to a block or a resident organizes, moreover pays attention to a bride, in a movie slow motion. In the lid, this building domain movie direct, had found the lead which he imagines. He calls her to be called "Miss Brew Kelin" (Miss Brooklyn), and uses in an architectural complex central construction wave shape this name to do by the white glass the wall surface the tall building. In the Brew Kelin, the picture in Los Angeles, in the lid is designing a medium city.
"In the lid," for some reason, is how Mr. Gehry translates from Japanese back into English. Click over for a full read about In the Lid, Mr. Ratner and Miss Brew Kelin.

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Check Out Coney Island's Baby Walrus

There is, apparently, a vote taking place for the New York Aquarium's baby walrus. Here he is.

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Brooklinks: Saturday Very Visual Edition

Hearse Tug Dead End

Not Photos:


Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour, Part II: Sunflowers

Gowanus, Brooklyn

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The CB7 Waterfront Festival, Today in Sunset Park

The 9th Annual Brooklyn Community Board 7 Waterfront Festival takes placer today on the 58th Street Pier, off First Avenue, in Sunset Park. It runs from Noon-6PM and includes food, music, art, peformnces, boat rides and more. Here are some of the listed activities: Music / Art / Dance, Refreshments / Food, Canoe trips / Free boat rides, Community information, Health / Dental screenings, FDNY smokehouse, Historic buses...and more. You can find more information here at their website.

Just in case you're wondering how many different choices of activities you have in Brooklyn this weekend, check out the long list posted yesterday by Brownstoner.

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Gowanus Lounge Photo Du Jour, Part I: At the Park

At the Park
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Environmental Technician Calls Roebling Oil Spill "Huge"

Another test well was drilled yesterday on N. 11th Street across the street from the Roebling Oil Building. One of the technicians working on the project--who is very familiar with the spill area--called the underground spill "huge," according to a resident who had a long conversation with the workers. "It's much bigger than just a tank of oil," he reportedly said. The workers, who are with a firm called Envirotrac, are drilling test wells for the Department of Environmental Conservation. The resident who watched the drilling noted that the soil became "as black as charcoal" as the crew drilled deeper.

Here is some of the report we received:
[The technician] explained that he thought this oil spill was "huge." He gave me some of his opinion. He said that the developer/owner of McCarren Park Mews opposite first started his own investigation which is why the initial test wells were put down. The DEC then took over at state level to continue the investigation because they realized it was much bigger then a few test wells. He believed that when the building opposite started digging they went well below the water table to start their structure and in doing so started to pump the water. When pumping the water, it pulled up the oil from the subsurface and it kept coming as they kept pumping. The guy said to me that it's much bigger then just a tank of oil. They are even putting wells on Union and N 11th for this one. He said they have got work in the area almost everyday.
Here is what the worker is reported to have said about obtaining test results, which many people have complained have not been available to the public:
When I asked if we could get test results, he said "No, I can't give you those." I said, "not from you of course, but would they ever be published in such a way that we(residents) could get them? Like from the DEC?" He said, "You could try but the DEC would never give you that either. They can be difficult most of the time."
We have always been very restrained in characterizing the extent of the underground oil at the Roebling Oil Field because we don't know how much is there or its source, nor have any of the documents we have seen shed light on the mystery. We do know that when people in the field that are doing tests--who are employed by a major player in the environmental testing field--call a spill "huge" and say that it is "much bigger than just a tank of oil" that it tends to set off some alarm bells. Or, at least, creates a strong desire for state environmental officials to fully disclose every bit of information about what is under the ground near the Roebling Oil Field and the potential scope of the oil contamination. Hundreds of new residential units are planned in areas that could potentially be impacted by a "huge" underground contamination issue. The source who had the conversation with the worker concludes by saying this of the lack of information:
It's like sitting on a mine field with nowhere to turn. No one will help us poor residents. Clean up could take decades. And by then we will all drop dead from cancers! What do we do now?
More to come.

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Brooklyn Nibbles: Huge Ricky's Greenpoint Special

So, what Brooklyn neighborhoods won't have a Ricky's outpost by this time next year? The big news out of Greenpoint yesterday--proclaimed in photos of signage--was that Ricky's is opening a store on Manhattan Avenue. Our friends at Racked conveyed the news, noting that it will be a Halloween store and then open up as a regular Ricky's by December. The inimitable New York Shitty, meanwhile, welcomed Ricky's with open arms. She calls Ricky's "a godsend to all Greenpointers who wish to shop for adult novelty items," and said something about plugs. And, she wasn't talking about earplugs. Just think of all the Brooklynites who won't have to go to Manhattan anymore to buy, you know, whatever it is they were going there to buy that will no be on sale in Greenpoint. Interesting days in the world of North Brooklyn retail, people.

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Say What: Gold Medal Award Winner

Say What--Stop-Stop Ahead

Let's just say this wasn't like this a couple of weeks ago. The photo was emailed to us by Williamsburg blogger INSIJS and is of the corner of Wythe Avenue and N. 6th Street where the old National Sawdust building is being demolished. He emails:
That's a "stop ahead" sign almost entirely engulfed in the shed, warning drivers about the equally-obscured stop sign at the corner. Ironically, that's a notorious intersection for both stop-sign blowers, and NYPD stings of said blowers. PD sits at that corner often in the morning, pulling over drivers who coast through the crossing....lets hope there's not a heinous accident because of this.
Excellent, excellent work. Anyone up for a Music Hall of Williamsburg Pedestrian Fatality Betting Pool?

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Cruise Ye Olde Gowanus on Sunday

Gowanus, Sunday Morning

Ever wanted to see the Gowanus Canal from the water? Of course, you can always do that in a canoe courtesy of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, but here's a chance to do it in a boat. The Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, which sponsors many great tours all year long, is offering its Gowanus Canal Cruise on Sunday, Sept. 30 from 9:30AM-12 Noon. The tour will be led by Dan Wiley and the boat will leave from the Fulton Ferry Landing, opposite the River Cafe, where the New York Water Taxi stop is. You have to pre-pay and pre-register and can do so my calling Ruth Edebohls at 718-788-8500 at Ext. 208. You can also email edebohls (at) bcue (dot) org. They write:
Join us as we cruise the Canal and introduce newcomers and old fans alike to the secrets of this now legendary waterway. See the changes in the Canal and its neighborhood and hear tales of the area's environment, history, industry and planning. Check-in will take place at 9:30 am, with the vessel departing promptly at 10:00. This is the rescheduled summer tour that was canceled due to Hamilton Ave Bridge construction, now complete until next summer.
More information is available at BCUE's website.

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L Train Report Card: A Lot of "C"s

Still Testing

The L Train, which is the lifeline of an awful lot of people living in North Brooklyn got a mixed set of marks in the latest NYC Transit report cards filled out by riders. While they're far from stellar grades, they're a lot better than you'd think, given service disruptions, overcrowding and the like. Here's a bit from the story in today's Daily News:
Riders who filled out NYC Transit report cards have graded the line a C. More than 4,000 straphangers completed the report cards, rating the line in 21 categories, including room at rush hour, lack of graffiti in subway cars and sense of security on trains...

"The line has also seen unprecedented ridership growth, growth we didn't fully anticipate and have been unable to respond to as quickly as we would have liked," Roberts added.

Riders didn't give top marks to the line in any category but gave it a B-minus rating in five areas: onboard signs that help riders find their way; lack of graffiti inside trains; comfortable temperature in subway cars; ease of use of subway turnstiles and the availability of MetroCard vending machines.

No F grades were issued, but the line did receive a D for lack of room onboard trains at rush hour.

Straphangers doled out C, C-plus and C-minus grades in the bulk of the categories, including sense of security on trains and in stations, working escalators, station announcements and helpfulness of staff.
Only a D for lack of room at rush hour?


Brooklinks: Friday End of Another Week Edition

McCarren Park Track

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


Brooklyn Paper Reporter Ariella Cohen Leaving

It makes us sad to note that our friend Ariella Cohen, who has been a superb reporter at the Brooklyn Paper for the last two years, is leaving. We are happy for Ariella--she is moving to New Orleans to pursue new professional challenges in a town that is full of them. Yet, Ariella's departure will leave a void here. We've greatly respected her work in Brooklyn and she brought a passion for urban issues and a knowledge of urban planning to the table. She is a terrific reporter and, more importantly, a very nice person. Check out a couple of her stories and columns this week to see why she will be missed:

Big Weekend in Brooklyn: Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival Kicks Off Tonight

The Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival, which is one of our favorite Brooklyn arts events of the year, kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday. Brace for two full days and nights of outdoor events, performance art, special exhibitions, sculpture installations, open studios and more. Every year when we go, there are always a few surprises that manage to stay with us. At night, there's going to be a "Project Glow" with lighted installations in Empire Fulton Ferry Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, along with free Water Taxi rides so you can see them from the water. A full schedule is available here, just click on "Download PDF."

Of course, the Festival is just one part of a Brooklyn weekend that is full of events including the Atlantic Antic on Atlantic Avenue on Sunday, the Chile Peper Fest at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Sunday and the Coney Island Film Fest, which starts tonight and runs through Sunday. Brooklyn Based has produced a nice guide to some of this weekend's festivities.

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Open Door Policy in Red Hook


This is the new jazz club and restaurant in Red Hook on Beard Street that will be known as Mordecai's. It will occupy the space that once was Lillie's and have Ikea as its neighbor across the street. Work is progressing, albeit slowly. We found its recent doored, yet door-less, state amusing.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Greenpoint's 143 Huron Wins Many Friends

143 huron 92607

Looking for a building that could compete for being the poster child for what ails the system that is supposed to regulate construction? It appears that 143 Huron Street in Greenpoint is in the running. We will get to the narrative from our Greenpoint Correspondent in a moment. First, however, we will note that it has racked up 25 complaints at the the Department of Buildings. Three of the recent ones, for illegal after-hours work, on September 9, 19 and 25, do not appear to ever have been investigated. Why is this interesting, except to those who wish to obsessively and compulsively chronicle the dysfunction of a critical city agency? Well, here's the scene from the other night, as related by our Greenpoint correspondent:
This building is going up very, VERY fast, even for here... the employees at this site have been engaged in metal work and making a LOT of noise. Enough so to find it annoying a block away. Last night they worked until ~9:00 p.m. They were not the least bit sneaky about it either: when I walked by they had FLOODLIGHTS directed at the site so they could continue working. These lights were very bright; it was like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I have never, EVER seen such in your face illegal after hours construction. Even here--- and that's saying something. About 12-18 onlookers just stood on the street and stared. That's about all you can do because the Department of Buildings clearly isn't going to do a fucking thing about it. Why bother even having regulations if something this obvious manages to slip by? Whoever is responsible for letting this situation persist should be fired. Fucking FLOODLIGHTS for Christ's sake. How much more obvious can you get?
No wonder residents are always staring at the building, like here and here and here.

worker 143 huron 92507

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'New Domino' & Williamsburg: An Interesting Map

Williamsburg Housing Map

To get a sense of how much housing and how many people the New Domino project would add to Williamsburg, simply look at the map above. It comes from a post on Wild Green Yonder by Adam Brock. We reproduce it here, because it shows the impact in a graphic way. Simply put, New Domino would double the population of the neighborhood within a quarter-mile radius. The Domino development--which would be in the white rectangular shape on the waterfront--would have about 2,400 units of housing, mostly in towers up to 30-40 stories tall. The first ring in the map, which still has a lot of industrial properties, currently has 2,751 units of housing. The second ring totals 9,778 units. And the third ring out brings the overall total to 28,095 units. So, even viewed in the context of the bigger one-mile radius, Domino would boost population by nearly 10 percent. We only related this in order to show that New Domino would be a significant development with a major impact on schools, police & fire protection and transportation.

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Will Dolly Get Dumped?

It appears that the interesting tenure of City Planning Commission member Dolly Williams, who is an appointee of Borough President Marty Markowitz, may be numbered according to Jotham Sederstrom writing in today's Daily News. You might associate Ms. Williams' name because she had to recuse herself from voting on the Atlantic Yards project because of her investments, or because she had to recuse herself from voting on Gowanus rezoning because she owns land in the area. If those issues don't ring a bell, there are others too, like a recent billing dispute over a Forest City Ratner project in Harlem. And, of course, there's the issue of her bright yellow Porsche and its parking space in Park Slope (pictured above). You can find a nice summary of issues here. In any case, Mr. Sederstrom writes that Ms. Williams "has been serving the board for three months without an official reinstatement, fueling speculation her days are numbered...Markowitz, whose term as borough president expires next year, wouldn't say whether he had decided whether to reappoint Williams but insisted that the real estate developer had 'represented the borough admirably as my appointee.'"


Williamsburg Rising: Karl Fischer on Roebling

63 Roebling Update

There are many Karl Fischer buildings rising on Roebling Street in Williamsburg. Well, actually, three currently in progress, one of which is the Roebling Oil Building at N. 11th and Roebling. This is his building at N. 8 and Roebling, 63 Roebling, which is diagonally across the street from a completed Fischer, on what we might call Karl Fischer Corner. It will end up at six stories. The interesting thing about 63 Roebling is that there was no excavation on the site for a basement, meaning that contractors only dug down a few feet before pouring a foundation.


Get Your Chile Pepper on at the BBG

We've noted it before, but we'll note again after getting an email from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that their 15th Annual Chile Pepper Fiesta will take place on Sunday, Sept. 30 from Noon-6PM. we've been to the festival a couple of time, and it can be a bit crowded under the tent where the food is being served and the entertainers are performing, but it's an otherwise fun reason to visit the BBG, which is always a wonderful place to spend some relaxing time. Here's what our friends at the BBG said about it in the email they sent:
It's an absolutely delightful event designed to celebrate the chile plant as it is used in cultures all over the world, from the Caribbean to Asia to South & Central America and Mexico. Positively chock full of music, dance, and culinary adventures inspired by these cultures-- this year's lineup includes duo Ringold & Ellis performing fiery feats of flame (including the famous "fire umbrella"-- woot!), Peruvian dance from Ballet Folklorico Peru, hot Caribbean rhythms from Sesame Flyers Steel Pan Orchestra, the borough's own Brooklyn Petro hot sauce makers whipping up a batch of their spicy manna, Latin/Jewish fusion cooking from the Brooklyn ladies of the Post Punk Kitchen and much more.
The full schedule is available here.


Cute Animal Event Alert: Saturday in J.J. Byrne Park

If you like dogs and/or cats, this one's for you: There will be a "Dog Parade and Kitty Carnival" with pet adoption opportunities in J.J. Byrne Park in Park Slope on Saturday (9/29) from Noon-6PM. The event is sponsored by State Sen. Eric Adams and will include clowns, magicians, live music, food and prizes for best costumes (for the pets, we assume, not the people). It's billed as:
A fun-filled day of felinie festivities and canine cavorting! Festival-goers will enjoy rows of sponsor and vendor booths, live music, a Kid's Zone featuring face painters, characters, clowns and magicians, food and much much more.

Dog training demonstrations throughout the day.

Proceeds to benefit the Brooklyn Animal Foster Network, a network of more than 500 homes, and New Hope Partner of the Animal Care & Control of NYC.
The dog picture here is actually from last year's BARC Parade in Williamsburg, but in any case, GL loves a good dog parade.

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Brooklinks: Thursday Skateboarding Edition

Say What: One Way Bent Edition

Say What--Bent One way

Today's specimen, which has gotten a little turned around, comes to us (as usual) from Williamsburg. Say what you will, but this doesn't look like damage from truck traffic to us. The alteration seems a little too deliberate.


GL Photos Du Jour: Leg & Fish Head (Art) in Williamsburg

These pics of street are in Williamsburg had to go together. They're from Williamsburg, of course, actually within a half-block of each other.

Fish Head



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PM Update: Northside Piers Tower Briefly on Fire

New tower N4 & Kent fire

[Photo courtesy of Sandra Cheng]

A GL reader sent this pic of the Northside Piers tower on the Williamsburg waterfront that was on fire about twenty minutes this morning. Williamsburg blogger INSIJS alerted everyone to the story and quickly posted a photoset on flickr. No word on cause, but it appears to have been extinguished relatively quickly.

UPDATE: Gothamist reports that the smoky blaze was caused by a kettle being used to prepare roofing tar, which would account for the massive amount of smoke. There were no injuries.

[Photo courtesy of i'mjustsayin'/flickr]


Ford Flambée: What's Up in Park Slope?

sixth street 1

There have been a number of cars set on fire in Park Slope and Gowanus in the last week, mostly on Sixth Streets. Some of the torchings have occurred between Fourth and Fifth Avenue and some between Third and Fourth Avenues, making them Gowanus arsons rather than Park Slope ones. Our friends at Brownstoner posted about them yesterday morning, beating us to the punch by a few minutes over at Curbed. Later in the day, we posted a follow-up we received, along with some narration from a reader who happened to have one of the cars go up in flames right outside. Along with the reports of arson, we also saw reports of an increase in burglaries.

So, is Park Slope in the middle of a crime wave? Not really. The arsons are very disturbing, but we checked Compstat for the 78th Precinct and found a 56 percent increase in burglaries reported during the last month over the same period in 2006, but decreases in other reported crimes. (In terms of numbers it's 25 burglaries versus 16 in 2006.) The numbers are current through September 23. Overall, burglaries are up 10 percent for the year. To put it in historical perspective, there were 1,644 burglaries reported in the 78th Precinct in 1990 and 191 last year. There are no figures for car arsons, though.


GL Analysis: Domino Landmarked, but Is It a Victory?

The main buildings of the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg were landmarked yesterday in a vote that was, ultimately, a formality. As it's one of the very few preservation victories in North Brooklyn recently, we should be jumping up and down and cheering. The buildings weren't demolished before anyone moved to landmark them, for instance, the way the Old Dutch Mustard Factory was leveled to make room for a pedestrian structure. And they didn't go up in a conflagration sparked by a drunk scavenging copper wire who was later said to be in Upstate New York, the way the Greenpoint Terminal Market did. They're still standing, and they'll be standing in the future. This rare waterfront victory of history over demolition is almost enough to bring tears to our eyes.

So, why are we wondering if this is a hollow victory?

For starters, one of the most significant structures on the Domino site--the Adant House--is not on the preservation list. Its loss will be an architectural tragedy no less significant than leveling the old waterfront warehouse in Dumbo or the Beard Street Warehouses in Red Hook. Likewise, the preservation vote doesn't necessarily protect the iconic Domino sign. The developers have said they will try to preserve it, and most likely it will end up sadly detached and re-erected like the Pepsi sign in Long Island City or the Colgate Clock in Jersey City. Even this outcome, however, isn't guaranteed.

The reason for tearing down the Adant building--that it would stand in the way of a new, tall building--leads us the other reason we're concerned: the sheer magnitude of the New Domino plans. When all is said and done in about a decade, the surviving Domino structures will be surrounded by 30-40 story buildings, hemmed in by what will be the biggest Brooklyn development project after Atlantic Yards. The developers are planning 2,400 units of housing. Overall, the project will add so many new residents that it will double the population of the neighborhood within a 1/4 mile radius.

We will await the architect's designs before deciding whether the New Domino is acceptable or a design nightmare. Our initial reaction is that a thicket of 30-40 story buildings is too much for that stretch of the waterfront. More to the point, however, is the fact that Williamsburg and Greenpoint will be taking in many thousands of new residents as dense new developments come on line. No steps are being taking to create the infrastructure to handle them, the most glaring omission of which is a total failure to strategically plan to expand the transportation infrastructure.

While we're glad we won't have to say goodbye to Domino the same way we've bid farewell to so many other buildings in recent years, we're still wondering if that will only turn out to be a technicality. In the end, the preservation of the Domino plant is a victory, but it could turn out to be a very bittersweet, if not hollow, one.

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Arena in the Front Yard

Okay, the Barclays Center wouldn't be in the front yard of this little yellow house on Dean Street, it would be across the street. Actually, one of the tall buildings attached to the arena would be across from across the street from this little 474 Dean. We've seen these kinds of juxtapositions before, but in places like Houston where zoning hasn't exactly been a priority. No Land Grab writes:
Meet 474 Dean Street, a three-story clapboard townhouse across the street from the footprint of Bruce Ratner's arena superblock. If Ratner has his way, this three-story 1,800 sq-ft house will be facing the south side of the Nets arena and Building 3, which, , would be the shortest high-rise on the arena superblock.

According to the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement, "the New York City Zoning Resolution prohibits arenas within 200 feet of residential districts as some of the operations could be incompatible with districts limited primarily to residential use." Because the State of NY is using its power to supercede the NYC Zoning Resolution, Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan circumvents this regulation.

In other words, the Atlantic Yards plan goes beyond the Manhattanization of Brooklyn, because even in Manhattan, you will not find an arena across the street from a home, such as 474 Dean St.

Maybe Mr. Gehry could do something to incorporate the spirit of 474 Dean into his big buildings?

[Photo courtesy of threecee/flickr]

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Williamsburg Rising: 55 Berry from Behind

Behind 55 Berry

We keep returning to the area around Berry, N. 10th and N. 11th Streets because of all the ongoing construction. This is the view behind 55 Berry. The building under construction is 125 N. 10th Street. It offers a case in point about why one should always carefully check out all the neighborhood construction possibilities before deciding to buy a condo, particularly in construction-heavy neighborhoods like Williamsburg.


Windsor Terraceans Fight for Their Key Food Market

Windsor Terrace residents have apparently started a petition drive to "demonstrate the desire to have the owner of the C-Town on 9th St, Steven Reifinger, buy the Key Food Supermarket on
Prospect Ave. in Windsor Terrace. The Key Food is currently up for sale and will be available for public purchase if no other Key Food contingents want to buy it. Many of us feel that the C-Town is of great value, with their excellent Produce, great sales, top notch fish and meat department and friendly service. We would welcome them in our neighborhood." There's no contact info and no iPetition, but we're sure that will become clear shortly.


Broolinks: Wednesday Midweek Edition

Up on Wheels

Brooklinks is a daily selection of Brooklyn-related information and images:
Anti-Semitic Vandalism:


Brooklinks: Special Sugar Edition

Don't Forget the Coney Island Film Festival Starting Friday

One of the fun things about the fall (in recent years) is the Coney Island Film Festival. Here's a reminder that the 7th Annual Coney Island Film Festival is coming up this weekend, from Friday through Sunday (9/28-30). It will take place at Sideshows By The Seashore and The Coney Island Museum, which are located at W. 12th Street and Surf Avenue. The opening night screening is American Scary at 7:30PM on Friday, Sept. 28, followed by an opening night party at 9:30. There will be:
documentaries about New York Mets fans, The Cinema of Transgression, Indian Larry, Horror Film TV Hosts, Cult filmmakers, Coney Island Circus Sideshows Scott Baker!, The History of Vaudeville, Circus Amok, the amazing 1977 documentary Coney Island Cyclone plus more!

A special Screening of The Warriors!, Horror films, a hip hop program, music videos, animated films, dramas, experimental films, films shot at Coney Island, comedys, family films!
There are no films yet about the Coney Island redevelopment drama, but you that's coming in future years given the number of documentarians shooting footage this year. The entire schedule can be found by clicking here and you can go here to buy tickets.

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Prospect Park Open House New York Tours

The Open House New York locations won't be released until this weekend, but the identities of some of them are coming out. In this case, the well-oiled Prospect Park publicity machine sent out an email blast announcing that "three of Prospect Park’s architectural treasures, the Litchfield Villa, Lefferts Historic House and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, are included in America’s largest architecture and design event: the Annual openhousenewyork Weekend (OHNY), October 6 & 7." This is cool news in that getting up on the Grand Army Plaza is great opportunity and the Litchfield Villa (which was the country house of Gowanus Canal and Park Slope developers Edwin Litchfield) is a beautiful building. There will be two tours of the Villa--which serves as office space for the Parks Department--on Sunday, October 7. They're from 2-3PM and limited to 20 people. The lobby and second floor rotunda will be open to the public on Sunday from 1PM-4PM. The Lefferts Historic House will have three tours, at 11AM Saturday and 10AM and 11AM Sunday. The Arch in Grand Army Plaza will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-4PM. Guides will take visitors to the top. All the OHNY info can be found here after it's posted on the 28th.