Friday, November 30, 2007

BREAKING: Underground Railroad House Spared

2007_11_227%20Duffield.jpgThe Underground Railroad House at 227 Duffield Street will be spared from eminent domain and the wrecking ball. A press release has gone out from the owner and several groups working to save the building that the city "has pledged that it will not use eminent domain to condemn" the building and that it "has agreed to re-draw its plans for Downtown Brooklyn so that the condemnation of 227 Duffield Street will not be necessary." The building is on the site of the proposed Willoughby Square Park atop a big underground garage that will serve some of the massive developments planned downtown. The city was planning a commemorative of the Underground Railroad. Could the shift indicate that after enduring bad publicity in what became a national story, the city might be planning a museum that would include an actual Underground Railroad structure? (The other buildings on Duffield aren't involved in the agreement.) There will be a press conference on Monday. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn has posted the press release.


Call for Independent Atlantic Yards Security Study Gets Louder

Press Conference
[Photo via Jonathan Barkey/pBase]

A broad-based group that includes local officials supporting the Atlantic Yards development renewed their call for an independent study of security at the planned arena at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Citing a setback that is only 20 feet in some places, the officials said a full public airing of issues is needed. Some of the strongest criticism actually came from arena supporters. “If they start talking about street closings, they will have unyielding opposition,” said Council Member David Yassky. "They will have two choices—push the building back, or close streets.” Atlantic Yards Report picks up the Yassky narrative:
"When the security thread is pulled, it may unravel a whole ball of yarn,” Yassky said, noting that security considerations in Lower Manhattan caused “serious changes” in building designs. McClure noted that the Freedom Tower had been moved back 90 feet from the original 25 feet after a security review.
Council Member Bill de Blasio, who is a candidate for Brooklyn Borough President and was a vocal supporter of the Atlantic Yards development said, according to AYR:
"I don’t think that people want to be baited and switched...We need an independent review that says there’s no need for street closings." He said he had some hope that the administration of Gov. Eliot Spitzer would recognize the importance of transparency.

"The ball game’s not over," he said, noting that subsidies and other issues must be resolved for the project to move forward. If the developer doesn’t behave more transparently, "then the future of their project is in danger," he warned.

There is full coverage of the press conference in Atlantic Yards Report and by Jotham Sederstrom in the Daily News. A document by a security consultant says the developer has considered "in detail the ability of the structures to resist progressive collapse or to otherwise fail in a manner that could compromise life or interrupt facility operations." The press release from the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, which sponsored the event, is here.


Meanwhile, on Dean Street Again: Buy Now

Dean Street Sign of Times

A sign of the times? Perhaps. Or just another Brooklyn come on. A GL reader spotted this on the construction fence in front of 47 Dean Street, which had a serious Stop Work Order issue until a couple of week ago. That's all better now, but the owners of the building being advertised as being in pre-foreclosure could be another story. Act fast. It needs to be sold TODAY.


Minerva Stop Work Order Music Video

Here's a Stop Work Order music video from Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights. It concerns 614 7th Avenue, aka the Minerva Building site. Their narrative:
Lots of shiny new DOB and DOT permits up ...and what do we have here? TWO SWOs! Deplorable conditions on the site that includes TONS of garbage, tires, hazardous waste and a huge water filled (no longer mosquito producing) pit in the middle of the site. Seems DOB felt it was unsafe, let alone untidy! Stinky eyesore be gone! Minerva thanks you do the residents. Category Code:* 73 FAILURE TO MAINTAIN
One has the sense this site--which is in disgusting shape--will continue to entertain in 2008, just as it has in previous years.

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Roebling Oil Building Update: Warehouse 11 on the Market

Warehouse 11 Screenshot

The building that we've been waiting for--having been photographing and posting about the building site for more than year--is upon us. The Roebling Oil Building Warehouse 11 is on the market. It is "modern industrial design redesigned." There are eight apartments listed so far and the opening screens of a website, a couple of screen shots of which we reproduce here. The marketing copy says that it was "created with a Whimsically Artistic, Outside-the-Lines Approach. Crisscrossing Chic Industrial and Sumptuous Modern in Williamsburg’s oh-so-sweet Bedford Avenue/McCarren Park location." It goes on to say:
Life at Warehouse 11 is anything but by-the-book. Industrial sensibilities overlap with modern design, and decadent five-star amenities take the Lifestyle component to the most luxurious of levels. At Warehouse 11, you’ll be properly catered to by your attentive full-time doorman, seated in style in your modern gallery lounge, exercised to perfection in your state-of-the-art fitness center, spiritually awakened in your yoga garden, refreshingly wowed in the open-air rooftop sun deck. And for the little ones—they’ll be imaginatively inspired in the children’s playroom.
Amusingly, the website refers to the building perched atop the former (and cleaned up) Roebling Oil Field as W-11, which is one letter and 29 numbers away from WD-40. If you and the little ones want to see what the W-11 site looked like around this time last year, click here. Also, if the little ones are interested in learning about the "localized plume" of oil in vicinity (and the test wells in the sidewalk outside), in the words of a state Department of Environmental Conservation Official, you can click here and read them a bedtime story imaginative inspiration.

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Brooklyn Nibbles: Tempo Presto Closure Edition

[Photo courtesy of aaronchamberlain/flickr]

There are Park Slope food & drink-related developments to report, with one being a closure and another being an opening:

1) It would appear that Tempo Presto on Seventh Avenue at Third Street is about to become Tempo Morto. First came the rumor: Tempo Presto is closing. Then came word on Brooklynian that a "For Lease" sign has been spotted in the window of the storefront that has gone through a number of incarnations. Says one poster on Brooklynian: "its not the place. its Michael Fiore. he brought down both Cucina and TP. Hopefully he will let the dream go and find another venue to torture his employees. I say good riddance." Safe to say, then, that not everyone in the Slope was a convert, although many are mourning the potential loss of favorite sandwiches.

2) Beer Table is getting closer to opening further south on Seventh Avenue in the space formerly occupied by Tost. According to Beer Table's website: "Beer Table is an intimate drinking and eating room that serves a daily selection of rare and special beers paired with an unusual assortment of snacks, preserved foods, and small meals." Beer Table will be at 427B Seventh Avenue, which is between 14th and 15 Streets.

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Williamsburg Rising: N. 5th and Berry

This is both the (artist's version of) future and current state of the northwest corner of N. 5 Street and Berry in Williamsburg. The rendering is of 154 Berry, a six-story Karl Fischer building with 40 apartments. (The rendering was posted by Brownstoner back in late October.) The bottom photo is the construction as it appeared a couple of days ago.

154 Berry


Bklink: Dealing With Construction Next Door

"Say that you and your neighbors have been living a quiet, peaceful life on your tree-lined city block for years and years. Suddenly, you see construction workers digging in that vacant lot next to your condo or co-op building. So you go down to the city offices—or these days, go online—and find out that someone has bought the lot and filed plans to construct a new, taller building. Even if you're not upset about having your vistas blocked by new development, what about the work itself? What can you do if there's excessive noise or dust—or worse, problems like a broken water pipe or phone line?" Continue reading for some basic answers.--The Cooperator

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Williamsburg Slice of Life: Siege of the Bulldozers

The subject of this thread on the Williamsboard caught our attention: "It's Official! Williamsburg is now the worst place to live in N.Y.C.!!" Here's the post that started the thread:
Woken up at 6:00 am because there's bulldozers on 3 sides of my fucking apartment. Can't find a god-damn parking space 'cuz they're takin up by the 100's of construction workers whom are working on one of the Giganto-rectangular boxes on every fucking corner of every fucking block. Will the last person out please take the fucking flag!!!! This place is OVER!!!!
Nothing like a good Williamsburg construction rant to start the day.

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Brooklinks: Friday End of November Edition

Bklink: MetroTech's Bogus Birds

Hey. Look. Up there. It's a weird sounding bird. But, wait, there aren't any birds. Ah, there are speakers with bird sounds. Oh, that Ratner.--McBrooklyn

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Tis the Season: Tree & Reindeer


From Park Slope, come tree and reindeer.


Bklink: Greenpoint Holiday Gift Guide

Here is the beginning of a list of cool local places to shop in Greenpoint. If you want the Chandelier Earrings, then you've got to go to Brooklynski.--Greenpointers

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Upcoming: PS 154 Winter Festival

On Saturday, PS 154 at 1625 11th Avenue in Windsor Terrace invites everyone to their Winter Festival. There's breakfast with Santa from 8AM-10AM, plus pics with Santa and gifts. The cost is $15 for one child, $25 for two children and $35 for three. Two adults per family are free. Then, there's the Joyous Annual Winter Festival scheduled the same day 10am to 4pm throughout the building. This event includes performances,
food, over 150 Silent Auction items, a Live Auction, Children's Auction, raffles, games, crafts and more. The This year's theme is Alice in Winterland. All proceeds benefit PTA sponsored programs in the school such as Shakespeare in the Schools, Chess, Band, Chorus, Bam's Dance Africa Program, language classes, Ball Room Dancing and more. Anyone that feels like making a further contribution in this season can bring in "gently" used books and school supplies that will be donated to a sister school in Zimbabwe. Drop of the donations at the storage closet located at the Sherman Street Entrance to the cafeteria.

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Bklink: Williamsburg or Soho for Holiday Shopping?

It's definitely a sign of the times. Do you want to do your holiday shopping in Williamsburg or in Soho? Of the Burg, it says: "Williamsburg is where the hip kids hang - we all know that by now - converging en mass each weekend to hit the late night scene." Of Soho it says: "Soho was hip before Williamsburg was born." Long lists of shops in both, if one ignores the implication that Soho's fate awaits the Burg.--amNY

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Tis the Season, Part I: Bed-Stuy Charlie Brown Tree

[Courtesy of aprilchild/flickr]

This is a rather compelling example of the classic Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which comes to us from a window sill in Bed-Stuy via flickr. It's actually quite pretty in its own way.


Bklink: Do You Hear Boat Noises?

What are those boat noises--like the sound of a foghorn--that you hear from time to time? We hear them and apparently they hear them in Clinton Hill, and elsewhere, too. We assumed it was the Staten Island Ferry. Other possibilities?--Clinton Hill Blog


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Atlantic Yards Security Press Conference Today


A group of Brooklyn officials--including several that have supported the Atlantic Yards project--will be having a press conference today to further their call for an "independent security study" of the Atlantic Yards arena. The group includes State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Assembly Member Joan Millman, a representative of State Assembly Member Jim Brennan, City Council Members Letitia James, David Yassky and Bill de Blasio.

The arena setback issue arose thanks to the Prudential Center in Newark. There, local officials decided that an arena 25 feet from the street could be seriously damaged by terrorists with a truck bomb. Streets around the arena are now closed during events.

Part of the glass-walled Atlantic Yards structure and adjacent buildings are only 20 feet in places from Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Those with long memories might recall that terrorism and security issues have been raised repeatedly about the arena going back to the environmental impact review process. (Security was dismissed as being outside the purview of the review.)

A press release from the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods says, in part:
A spokesperson for Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner last week admitted publicly for the first time that portions of the planned “Barclays Center” would sit back just 20 feet from two of Brooklyn’s busiest thoroughfares. Council Members James, Yassky and de Blasio, Senators Montgomery and Eric Adams, and Assemblymembers Brennan, Millman and Hakeem Jeffries formally requested an independent security study on October 29th, and questioned what would make the planned Brooklyn arena more secure than Newark’s arena. Street closings – or even lane closings – in Brooklyn similar to those instituted in Newark would create a nightmare of traffic and gridlock more than 230 days a year.
It will be interesting to see the security argument unfold. We offer our own thoughts on the subject below.


Williamsburg Belvedere Halted in Mid-Vedere

135 n 9 street Belvedere

Every time we look at this building all we can see are those huge jutting balconies which seem ridiculously out of place on N. 9th Street in Williamsburg and on the building. We've been so busy contemplating those out-size bad boys that we failed to notice something that our Greenpoint Correspondent's sharp, sharp eye: the nasty Stop Work Order afflicting this Belvedere. For those that are not Belvedere fans, there are 28 of them and some have the same really huge balconies. Miss Heather deconstructs Belvedere XX today, in fact. Now, what would happen if one got about fifteen people to jump up and down on one of those things?

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GL Analysis: In Ten Years, Will They Ask "How Did This Happen?"

Whether one supports or opposes the Atlantic Yards project, an arena that ignores the threat of truck bombs and other terrorist attacks is far more than a planning blunder: it is a calculated and almost unthinkable act of public negligence. Bromides from city government that the security threat is under control and that the issue simply can't be discussed are unacceptable and dishonest. The Atlantic Yards security issues need to be dealt with publicly before a single shovel of Brooklyn soil is moved.

Like any other facility where thousands of people gather, the arena will, sadly, be a potential target. Unlike facilities that were planned in a pre-9/11 world, however, or are post-9/11 acts of public stupidity like Newark's new arena, things can be done to make a possible Brooklyn arena safer and less disruptive. There are not many alternatives--the cost of knowingly putting thousands of people in harm's way is too awful to contemplate. The prospect of creating a situation that will create a bigger traffic nightmare in the heart of Brooklyn during events is more benignly negligent, yet reckless too.

What if nothing is done? Our fear is that in ten or fifteen years, when maniacal mass murderers espousing a cause no one has even contemplated yet detonate trucks loaded with explosives outside of the Atlantic Yards arena during a basketball game or concert, there will be terrible loss of life. It will be followed by one of those wretched "How did this happen?" moments that inevitably follow catastrophes that could have been prevented. There will be an investigation and a blue ribbon commission. In Albany, there will be a legislative panel that points the fingers of blame at Gov. Pataki and at Gov. Spitzer. In Washington, Representatives and Senators will demand national security standards for arenas so there will "never be another Brooklyn." Then, the arena will be rebuilt, set back further from the street, and become the "Barclays Memorial Arena" or the "Freedom Center." More children will lose fathers and mothers, millions of hearts will be broken and billions of tears will be shed.

The risk of a terrorist attack on Atlantic Yards demands impartial studies, public hearings and corrective action before thousands of people are slaughtered in the interest of expediency. To do otherwise would be criminal negligence on the part of every public official that will have a role in a future tragedy.

One hopes such a scenario will never play out and that this will all prove to be unnecessary worry, but a more honest public process than has previously been the case in planning and approving the Atlantic Yards development is a minimal step to ensure that it is less likely to happen.


Meanwhile, on Dean Street: Smith N Court

Smith N Court One

This is the Smith N Court Condo, which is actually at 52 Dean Street rather than being on Smith Street or Court Street. Brownstoner has checked in on the 23-unit building previously, noting that the website went up early this spring and returning to the scene when the facade was a bit more complete. A GL reader sent us these photos of what she calls the "Sugar Cube Condos" which are now at a very advanced stage. The building reminds us in a funny way of condo developments we have seen in Atlanta.

Smith N Court Two


Tis the Season: Christmas at Metrotech

[Photo courtesy of threecee/flickr]

We're tempted to put caption, "Marty, did you fart?" under this, but we won't. We will simply say that there is an entire Metrotech Christmas Tree Lighting photoset from last night's ceremony.

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New Nabe Group: The Windsor Terrace Alliance

Windsor Terrace Alliance

There's a new neighborhood group in town. It's called the Windsor Terrace Alliance and it's been set up talk about community issues like development, edcuation, traffic safety and other important quality of life issues. The group's website can be found here. The group lists it priorities as:
  • Expanded Education and Child Care: pushing for a new middle school in or near the neighborhood and more day care.
  • Traffic Safety and Parking: working towards implementation of traffic calming measures and monitoring the potential impact on WT of the proposed residential parking permits for residents of Park Slope (this may be part of the congestion pricing plan).
  • Appropriate Residential Development: monitoring new development throughout WT to assure that it is in keeping with the scale of the neighborhood.
  • Environmental Education: providing information on different environmental programs such as choice of utility.
  • Neighborhood Beautification: slotted for spring 2008.
For more info, head over to the website.


Bklink: Who Set Up the Community Group for Ratner to Buy?

One has to love a mystery, and this particular one is fascinating. Someone told an anecdote the other night that a local politician set up a community group "with the express purpose of being bought out by Bruce Ratner." Sounds like an interesting business model.--Atlantic Yards Report

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Tis the Season, Part I: Gerritsen Beach Edition

[Courtesy GerritsenBeach.Net]

From our friends at GerritsenBeach.Net comes this street decoration on Gerritsen Avenue.


Brooklinks: Thursday Whole Lotta Yards Edition

Bedford Ave. Dancer Makes TONY

Bedford Ave Dancer

Matthew Silver, aka The Bedford Avenue Dancer, who has been featured a great deal on both GL and Curbed, makes the jump to print in this week's Time Out New York:
The man in the gigantic striped pants wrestling a rubber snake on Bedford Avenue isn’t crazy—he just wants to spread the love. Specifically, the Summer of Love. Every Sunday, Matt Silver (a.k.a. the Cosmological Jester or the Village Idiot, depending on your take) can be found near the Bedford L station in Williamsburg, hopping around in a one-eared rabbit costume or grunting like a pirate in a three-cornered hat. He serenades passersby with a stringless guitar, challenges kids to hula hoop competitions, and cavorts like a madman with makeshift props (a busted umbrella, a paper heart on a stick, etc.). The 28-year-old performance artist likes the idea of a greater force telling him to act a fool, but he actually has a really down-to-earth motivation: to ignite “explosions of joy and wackiness” in the artistic nabe.
You can see some of our vids of him here, here and here.


Bklink: DIY Gift Guide

Here's an ultimate list to craft fairs and other Brooklyn handcrafted goodies that you will absolutely want to check out. Seriously. If you're into buying Brooklyn created things locally this is a must-read list. Also check out the Brooklyn Sampler they've put together.--Brooklyn Based

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Check Out Icky's Holiday Guide to Brooklyn Handcrafted Gifts

Blogger Icky in Brooklyn over in Windsor Terrace has put together an excellent list of handcrafted holiday gifts that are totally worth checking out. He'll be adding to and updating the list in coming weeks, but some of the offerings so far include knitted goods from adknits, cool holiday cards from Alex Richman, tumblers vases and bowls from Alyssa Ettinger, cool wallets and stuff from Jilluary and a heck of a lot more. Head on over and check it out. We intend to crib mercilessly from it when we put together our own Gowanus Lounge Holiday Gift Guides that we will start running next week.


Say What--Sprinklered Again

Say What--Sprinklers II

We don't focus much on altered signs on private property, but some of them are too hard to pass up. Like this sprinkler sign on a desolate street on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border. Nice.

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Bklink: Navy Yard by Night

Photographer and photoblogger Nathan Kensinger visited by Brooklyn Navy Yard the other night for a cool reading put on by writer Gabriel Cohen at PortSide New York's Mary A. Whalen which is now at the GMD Shipyard. The pics he has posted are very cool.--Nathan Kensinger Photography

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Memory Lane: Remembering the Roebling Oil Field

Remembering Roebling 11-26 Two

With the Roebling Oil Building coming to market as Warehouse 11 in "North Williamsburg," we're feeling nostalgic for all the time we spent at the site shooting photos of oil oozing up through the ground as the clean up process was underway. All traces of the oil were gone by late spring as a "protective membrane" was put down and a foundation was poured. The Department of Environmental Conservation has continued drilling test wells and trying to figure out how big the spill is and where it's coming from. We've been feeling some strong pangs of oily nostalgia, so here are a few from the Roebling Oil vault.

Roebling Oil Field Oil

Remembering Roebling 11-26 Three

Roebling Oil2

Remembering Roebling 11-26 One


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Atlantic Yards Gets an Ombudsperson

The wait is over. The Empire State Development Corporation has finally hired an ombudsperson to oversee the Atlantic Yards project. Atlantic Yards watchers point out (see image from No Land Grab) that it took 203 days from promise to announcement to get the ombudsperson on the job. The ombudsperson is Forrest Taylor. The ESDC's press release says:
Mr. Taylor, who has a long and distinguished background in the public and private sectors, will be the dedicated project coordinator and liaison between ESDC, elected officials, community representatives and the public.

“Understanding and addressing the community’s concerns are a high priority for this administration. We believe this important development project will help transform Brooklyn by bringing much-needed housing, transit improvements, open space and jobs to the downtown area,” said Avi Schick, President and COO of ESDC. “Forrest’s background in government, transportation and community affairs makes him ideally suited to provide the public with direct information and direct access to the state and the developer.”

Most recently, Mr. Taylor served as manager of Prowess Initiatives and Analysis, a boutique firm advising corporate clients on government relations and corporate communications. He has also held a number of government posts, including chief of staff to the City Council president, deputy executive director for operations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and chief of staff for the deputy mayor for finance and economic development.
As always, Atlantic Yards Report has complete coverage of the new hire. One suspects that Mr. Taylor is only the first in what will be a long line of ombudspeople, given the long timeline of the project and the likely contentious nature of the post.


Return to Manhattan Beach: Mudslinging Time

Manhattan Beach Cover

[Image courtesy of the Brooklyn View]

When last we paid attention to Manhattan Beach, the neighborhood chitchat was about privatizing the beach to keep out "thugs." Well, the Manhattan Beach Community Group, from whence the controversy came, is electing a president. (Bear us out on this, it gets quite interesting.) GerritsenBeach.Net, which does a superb job of chronicling interesting things in Southern Brooklyn, picks up a fascinating story from the PDF-only Brooklyn view. At issue are the two rivals for civic leadership, one of whom is apparently supported by Sen. Carl Kruger, most recently heard from for shutting down the Coney Island Development Corporation's informational community forum about Coney Island rezoning. The two civic rivals are Manhattan Beach Community Group President Dr. Ron Biondo and VP Ira Zalcman. Group members are circulating some of their emails. From the Brooklyn View via GerritsenBeach.Net:
One email from Zalcman said, “So we have BBQ smoke, dead fish smell, feet in the fountains, garbage everywhere and a policeman sitting on his you know what.” It continued, “To me, can your (sic) VP do anything about this like making the beach into a private spa charging 1000 (sic) million dollars.” Zalcman said that the email was tongue in cheek and he was not talking about any race.

One email dated February 16, 2007, sent at 1:35 p.m., Biondo said, “We had a meeting last night and changed the proposal from the company. Please notify the rest of the troops that we want to get this done to make MB a safer community especially in the summer when most of the animals in the community are on two legs.”

Another email sent from Biondo on May 29,2007, stated, “I hate watching thugs parade down my block. Imagine a group of white boys parading down Livonia Ave.”...

Some members opposed to Biondo, say he has already garnered support from Councilman Mike Nelson and State Senator Carl Kruger. Politicians don’t usually get involved with civic groups. State Senator Carl Kruger’s office denies his support wholeheartedly. However, members of he community say he and Councilman Mike Nelson are secretly endorsing Biondo. Community residents say Nelson and Kruger are heavily influenced by developers ...
And you thought civic groups were boring.


Bklink: One Commissioner Fined & One Appointed

Outgoing City Planning Commission member Dolly Williams was fined $4,000 by the city's Conflict of Interest Board on Tuesday for voting to support Atlantic Yards while she was an investor in the project. Borough President Marty Markowitz, who appointed Ms. Williams, named Community Board 2 Chair Shirley McRae as Williams' as her prospective replacement to represent Brooklyn on the Planning Commission.--NYDN


Weekend Construction Makes Friends in Burg

Give Us a Break One

These signs have been pasted up outside the former site of the Manhattan Chocolate building at 580 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, which is in the process of becoming a condo. The firm that tore down the old building is the same one involved in the tear down of 5 Roebling, aka the Giant Fart Cloud Building, which was hit by a Stop Work Order after some drama.

Give Us a Break Two

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Rough Going Ahead for Zoning Proposal?

R10 Base Height

It appears those zoning amendments being pushed by the American Institute of Architects that could result in bulkier, taller buildings and that have upset some community activists in Brooklyn could be in for some rough going. The proposals had flown way below the radar--and still is in the sense of broad public recognition, the way most zoning matters are--but have gained some visibility. Before Thanksgiving, Aaron Brashear of Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights noted of the Borough hearing on the changes:
It was obvious the AIA and CPC [City Planning Commission] should have been smarter and done public outreach way before the holiday season's time line (this process has been going on 3 YEARS, unbeknown to most in the room) and given everyone time to discuss the pros and cons of their recommendations. Some of the other CB reps definitely "woke up" and realized the implications of the zoning text changes. I hope they will take it back to their Boards and discuss further.
Another email now circulating says that, "It seems the AIA along with City Planning were trying to sneak this proposal through" and notes that there is some opposition to it on the City Council in its current form. There is significant sentiment that the amendments could be a way to get around some of the changes that contextual rezonings in areas like the South Slope are trying to accomplish. Public comments are due by January 7, but we would guess there will be requests to extend the deadline. More developments to follow, no doubt.


Bklink: Carroll Gardens Back in the Day

The corner of Smith and President was fashionable back in 1900. And, honestly, the park house in Carroll Park was looking a bit nicer too. Not to mention the corner of Smith and President where the Rite Aid now stands.--Pardon Me for Asking


McCarren Park Street Couch Replaced by Mattress

McCarren Mattress-Couch

Once upon time, we took pictures of street couches (which is one of our bits of oddness, but we find them strangely compelling). More recently, they seem to move around or have their parts scattred about. Our Greenpoint Correspondent, who is alway on point, hit us off with this mattress, which took the place of one of last week's couch parts. This part of Lorimer Street is certainly a popular little dumping spot.


Brooklyn Getting a Really Big Piano


Anyone that still doubts Brooklyn will be a very different looking (and feeling) place in a few years, might want to take a look at these renderings of the City Tech Tower that Bruce Ratner wants to build at Jay and Tillary Streets. The rendering made the rounds yesterday after it was first posted on the Wired New York Forum on Thanksgiving Weekend and then picked up by the 110 Livingston Blog. It is widely noted in print media followups today. The building will be very glassy (note the Empire State Building reflection) in the tower and quite tall. The estimates on Wired ranged from 850-1,000 feet. Jotham Sederstrom reports in the Daily News that the rendering "may not reflect the developer's current vision" for the building. Even at a reduced height, however, it may still be taller than the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building.



Brooklinks: Wednesday Still Looking Like Fall Edition

Tis the Season: The Old Tyme Brooklyn Cakewalk

[Photo courtesy of I like/flickr]

Okay, so it's not in Brooklyn. It's a photo from the Christmas Funfair in Glasgow, Scotland, and it's clearly Brooklyn-related and very amusing.


Bklink: Brooklyn "Autographica"

If one pays attention there is much variety to be found in Brooklyn auto-related signs: collisions shops, mechanics, etc. Have a look at the first batch.--Brit in Brooklyn


Tis the Season: More Tree Lightings & Celebrations

There are a couple of more holiday events to report:

1) Dumbo Tree Lighting. The DUMBO Improvement District is having the second annual tree lighting in Dumbo on Thursday, November 29, at 6:30 pm. It will take place at the Pearl Street Triangle (the space on Pearl Street between Front and Water streets that has been reclaimed from cars and decorated and recreated as a place to sit and relax. There will be a reception afterwards at Superfine for which an RSVP is necessary. Call(718) 237-8700 for that. More details at About Brooklyn.

2) On Saturday, December 8, the Cadman Memorial Congregational Church on Clinton Avenue is having its annual Christmas Candlelight Celebration, which is a "64 year old tradition." It's at 7PM at 350 Clinton Avenue. Details at the Clinton Hill Blog.

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