Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Improvements at Boerum Hill Nightmare Post Office?

It just could be that the way to get improvements at a Brooklyn Post Office that everyone's unhappy with is to start a campaign of collection complaint that make their way into online, print and television media. So it is with Boerum Hill's Times Plaza Station, aka the Nightmare Post Office. (A couple of weeks ago, we featured some details of the problems here and here.) There was also a News 12 story on the issue. There are actually signs that things may be improving, including an email on the Boerum Hill Group that says things are better:
went to the post office last week to mail packages. you can tell that they are very aware of the complaints. every teller was working, they've cleaned up the forms table and i could hear construction going on in the back. the manager was out front helping people with the self-postage machine and answering questions. two days later, a package was delivered when i was there and handed to me with a smile. its working!!!!
Meanwhile, some neighborhood representatives met with postal official last week (Archie Warner, the Manager of Customer Service Operations from the Brooklyn Postmaster's Office and Andrea Burrows, the Customer Relations Coordinator). Here's some detail about that get together, in which the postal officials noted that "frustration was evident" from the community, but that managers in the postmaster's office weren't always aware of service problems. They said a search is underway for a better space for the station and also promised to look into problems with package delivery. As for bitter complaint about the service offered by clerks at the post office they said "The Brooklyn Postmaster has personally spoken with each clerk about this issue, and there will be job-related repercussions if no improvements are made, or if improvements turn out to be of a temporary nature." Also:
An agreement was reached that the entire community will look for the promised changes in the post office, and will promptly report any problems. Such a report should contain the name of the clerk (all clerks are required to wear name tags) and/or the clerk's ID from the receipt. By the same token, exceptionally good service should also be reported, with the clerk's ID...It was furthermore understood that if improvements fall short of expectations, or are not maintained indefinitely, this matter will be brought before the press, the politicians, and the Postmaster General in Washington DC.
We know there will be follow up on this one.

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Beat the Downzone: Grand Street Olympics Edition

Grand and Driggs Sunday Work

On Tuesday, we ran an item about weekend work that developers hoping to build a 14-story Karl Fischer building at Grand and Driggs have been doing. Presumably, they are working to get out in front of a downzoning that would allow a four-story building on the site. If a foundation is complete before the downzone, the taller building can go up. In most neighborhood, such situations have led to significant amounts of after-hours and weekend work as well as charges of forged documents and other practices to try to get projects approved. In any case, photos of work that took place on Sunday were forwarded to us yesterday and are above. (The photo below is from a different day and is included as some demolition porn.) Here is bit of the email that came with them:
These are photos taken by a number of people on with different views of the construction site. They show the dust, a wrong way truck on the street, work on Sunday before 9am and lack of hardhats for workers...
All indications are that it will be a long few months on Grand Street. Residents are working to try to speed the approval process on the downzoning, but they're also hoping for honest enforcement (or just-plain enforcement) of building rules. We look forward to an array of photos and videos from residents documenting any illegal or unsafe work. As always, readers are invited to send photos and information about this or any other development site to thegowanuslounge (at) gmail (dot) com.

jan112007 unsafe

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Bklink: Burg School Tensions

The city's plan to put a school that would serve people moving into upscale Williamsburg housing has created a lot of tension with Latino Williamsburg residents in whose school it would have been housed. "The new institution at Public School 84, on Berry St., would have catered to the neighborhood's growing group of white families, the Hispanic families charged - an arrangement that smacked of segregation, they said. City school officials backtracked on plans for the new school this week, saying there was no final approval, and they denied the Hispanic parents' characterization. Still, the incident exposed an ugly side of Williamsburg's fast-paced gentrification.--NYDN

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Details on Tragic Clinton Hill Construction Worker Death

525 Clinton

There was a fatal accident yesterday at a 13-story building under construction at 525 Clinton Avenue. A worker plunged 13 stories to his death when scaffolding collapsed and another was seriously injured. A third worker was unhurt. Brownstoner had both an early report and a follow up yesterday. An early eyewitness report said a worker had been blown through a window, but the Department of Buildings later reported a scaffolding collapse. The accident happened at 10:15 AM and the victim, Jose Palacios, was a resident of Astoria. He and other workers were applying stucco to the building. There was a high wind advisory in effect during the day and the Department of Buildings had issued an advisory to building projects in the city to take appropriate safety measures. Here is DOB's email about the accident:
Earlier today, Buildings inspectors and engineers responded to emergency calls about a pipe scaffold collapse at 525 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. Upon inspection, Buildings engineers and inspectors determined a three-frame pipe scaffold installed on the roof of the new building under construction had collapsed. Sections of the pipe scaffold collapsed onto the 2nd floor and 12th floor setbacks of the new building under construction.

Preliminary reports indicate three workers on the pipe scaffold were performing stucco work on the exterior of the rooftop bulkhead at the time of the incident. The workers were employed by a sub-contractor, Bell Tower Enterprises, retained by the general contractor overseeing construction of the new building, Clinton Court Development LLC. Buildings forensic engineers are investigating to determine the cause of the collapse. While preliminary reports indicate high winds may have contributed to the collapse, Buildings forensic engineers are looking into whether the scaffolding was secured to the roof and the rooftop bulkhead.
The Stop Work Order on the building indicates the collapse was due to the scaffold not being properly secured and the high wind. The building has had six violations in the past. We posted a video of loud Sunday construction work at the building several months ago. Mr. Palacio's death was the third fatal construction mishap of the year.

Related Stories & Posts:

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Bkllink: Super Bowl Weekend & Beyond

Here is a long list of options for entertaining yourself on Super Bowl Weekend and beyond, including, but not limited to, possibilities for the game itself. There are sports bars (suprise!), art parties, live music and more.--Brooklyn Based

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Yesterday Was "Resolution Day" in Carroll Gardens

Yesterday, City Council Member Bill de Blasio formally introduced a resolution calling for an immediate downzoning study for Carroll Gardens and a halt on construction of anything taller than fifty feet both of which were subjects of a rally on Tuesday. The Carroll Gardens group, CORD said that "for all intents and purposes, he asked for the interim moratorium that we have been hoping for" and that CORD is "most appreciative of this first step. Councilman DeBlasio promised this to us back in September and he has delivered. " The CORD group also said that "we think it took courage to take this very politically unpopular idea to the Council Chambers."

A moratorium measure introduced in 2005 by Council Member Tony Avella has languished. That proposal would have banned all development and demolition once a rezoning study started. Mr. de Blasio did not sign on as a supporter of that bill.

"We think that this is the way change begins," CORD said in an email sent out last night. "It starts with thinking about things differently, challenging what is no longer working and looking for a way to do and make things better. What was introduced on January 30th, in the NYC Council Chambers was a small, but very good first step. We must remember that real change takes determination, purpose, conviction and tenacity. It takes resolve. January 30th was Resolution Day." It is unclear what impact the resolutions will have. The City Planning Department has said it is committed to a Carroll Gardens rezoning study. At the same time, a significant upzoning of neighboring Gowanus is far along in the process, which can take 18 months or more before plans are submitted to the City Council for approval.

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Bklink: Empty Smith Street Storefronts

Like many retail strips in Brooklyn where businesses are facing skyrocketing rent, Smith Street currently has its share of empty storefronts. They come from old businesses being squeezed out and from restaurants that have gone belly up. Is Smith Street "fizzling"? Well, here are photos of ten vacancies.--Pardon Me for Asking

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Carroll Gardens Downzoning Rally: The Videos

A volunteer with the Union-Sacket Block Association uploaded videos of Tuesday's rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall calling for fast action on the downzoning of Carroll Gardens. The two vids (Part I is on top and Part II is below it), which show a significant part of the rally, are below:

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Bklink: "Crapped Upon"

It's fair to say that Greenpoint residents aren't fans of the big sewage treatment plant in their midst that leaves the neighborhood smelling like a toilet at times. The stench will eventually dissipate when the huge project at the treatment is done, but for now, it remains fragrant. "As a community, we are literally crapped upon, constantly," said Richard Mazur of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation at a public meeting with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) last Wednesday.--Brooklyn Downtown Star

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Upcoming: Domino Plan Presentation

Domino Plant

The plans for Williamsburg's landmarked Domino Plant will be presented to Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee tonight. The meeting is at the Board's District Office, 435 Graham Avenue, which is at the corner of Frost Street. It takes place at 6:30PM. It will include presentations by Susan Pollock, Project Director/Community Preservation Corporation and Mr. Michael Wetstone, Architect/Beyer Blinder & Belle. An application for approval of the plans will go before the Landmarks Preservation Committee on February 5. They include removal of all of the interior "structure," the creation of a courtyard on the eastern half of the building to provide light and air for apartments on the upper floors (with retail and community facilities on the lower three floors and a five-story glass addition to the filter house (the taller portion of the structure, where the smokestack is), with mechanical equipment enclosures on top. Some of the changes, like the five-story glass addition are significant.

The New Domino development would have 2,400 apartments. The preserved factory building would be surrounded by towers up to 40 stories tall. The total project would be 2.86 million square feet--Brooklyn's largest after Atlantic Yards.

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Brooklinks: Thursday End of January Edition

McCarren Park Soccer

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


Coney Island on the Subway


Coney Island is featured in one of the MTA's new "art cards" on the subway. This photo, which was posted by Rapid T. Rabbit on the Coney Island Message Board, is from the 4-5-6 line. The posters are actually available for purchase through the New York City Transit Museum's online store.


Bklink: Last Chance

Today is the last chance for interested buyers to do an on-site inspection of five connected parcels of land on Atlantic Avenue. Fittingly, the auction will take place on Valentine's Day. The last-chance look is today at 11AM.--McBrooklyn


An Old Car in Red Hook

Old Red Hook Car

Parked on Columbia Street at Summit Street in Red Hook.


Bklink: Dumbo Mystery

What, exactly, is going on the 3 1/2 acre parking lot at 85 Jay Street in Dumbo? It's hard to say, but work crews were spotted there doing something and it's of interest because it's one of the most desirable parcels of undeveloped real estate in all of Brooklyn. The land is owned by Watchtower, which has been selling a lot of property over the last 18 months.--Dumbo NYC

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Street Couch Series: Sofa with Cement Shoes

Sofa and Cement Combo

This sidewalk sofa comes to us from Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Not the combination of sofa and bags of concrete. The photo, of course, is courtesy of our Greenpoint Correspondent.


Bklink: Completely Committed

Says Forest City Ratner spokesperson Bruce Bender after the company has endured several days of media speculation about whether further delays in its Atlantic Yards project will cause problems in sagging credit markets: "We remain completely committed to making Atlantic Yards and its numerous benefits a reality for everyone. Regardless of the opponents' delay tactics, we will continue to move forward as quickly as possible."--No Land Grab

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Ending: Windsor Terrace Dog-Napping Victim Found!

The story of Samantha, the dog-napping victim from Windsor Terrace, has ended happily, although the story is still strange and disturbing. We got an email last night that said:
There were signs up in stores all over Windsor Terrace. Today Samantha's owner was going to the stores carrying Samantha, who has been retrieved! Her owner told me that Samantha was put up for sale on the street. Someone bought her for $650 and then saw the story about her missing on the news. Now she is home again. (The whole story is strange--I've never seen anyone selling a dog on the street...)
Samantha's story was run here on Saturday, on New York Shitty and on many other blogs and online news sites before being picked up by the print media and television. We're not entirely sure who buys a dog for $650 "on the street," but we're certain that print and TV will be "breaking" the story shortly.

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Carroll Gardens Downzoning Rally: Morning After


Yesterday morning, Carroll Gardens resident, community activists and local politicians gathered on the steps of Borough Hall to try to create some momentum for a downzoning of their neighborhood, which is under increasing development pressure. The 45-minute long rally was organized by City Council Member Bill de Blasio, who is introducing a City Council resolution asking the Department of City Planning to move quickly on rezoning the neighborhood. Mr. de Blasio said that the City Planning Office is committed to a study of rezoning the neighborhood, but the Department's timetable has always been 18-24 months.

Gary Reilly, who produces the Brooklyn Street, Carroll Gardens blog and is running for Mr. de Blasio's seat next year, said that he wanted to prevent Carroll Gardens from "becoming the next Williamsburg." He later wrote in his blog:
A quick note on the Williamsburg comment, before it's taken out of context - I've got nothing against Williamsburg. What I'm opposed to is what crap developers and their architects like "Hot Karl" Fischer have done there . . . and for the record, Hot Karl is currently straddling Carroll Gardens and making his first deposit at 100 Luquer Street. We can't have more of that.
Meanwhile, blogger Pardon Me for Asking wrote:
Had it not been for the tireless work of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association and C.O.R.D., we may not have gotten as far in our effort to protect C.G. I guess this is the place where I should thank our Councilman Bill de Blasio for his contribution. His announcement that City Planning will begin consideration of our rezoning request was welcome news. Also welcome was his resolution for a moratorium on construction until City Planning initiates the the rezoning even though it is not legally binding. In another positive development, the city is going to review and clarify the wide-street issue, hopefully closing a loophole for developers to build higher on blocks with deep gardens which were being counted as part of the street.
The Carroll Gardens rezoning push picked up speed last May after early renderings of the "Heavy Metal Building" at 360 Smith Streets were circulated and has been pushed with particular vigor by the CORD group. Yesterday, CORD launched another email and letter writing drive, this time urging residents to contact the Mayor and ask for help to "preserve" the neighborhood in the face of development pressure.

Related Stories/Posts:
Carroll Gardens Downzoning Rally [Brooklyn Streets Carroll Gardens]
Carroll Gardens is Mad and Isn't Going to Take It Anymore! [PMFA]
At Rally, News of Carroll Gardens Downzoning Progress [Brownstoner]
PM Update: Rally Calls for "Short and Happy" Carroll Gardens [GL]
Keeping Carroll Gardens from Being the 'Next Williamsburg' [Curbed]
Carroll Gardens Residents Seek Zoning Change to Protect Low-Rise Character [BDE]





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GL Analysis: The City Needs a "Moratorium" Law to Put an End to "Beat the Downzone"

Carroll Gardens Street Shot

Yesterday's rally to call for a downzoning of Carroll Gardens was an uplifting thing. There has been little doubt that the neighborhood would be rezoned at some point. Yet, the key issue remains the point at which it will happen. Getting the zoning changes enacted will take time, and a game of what we call "Beat the Downzone" is likely to ensue among developers intent on taking advantage of the old zoning. In this sense, it is imperative that local representatives and citizen groups work behind the scenes to try to speed up the timetable.

There are limits imposed on what is possible by the city's land use process and timetables that must be followed. Studies must be conducted. Public sessions must be held and votes must be taken. This will all take time. It is why everyone needs to work to find a mechanism that would allow for big zoning-busting developments to be stopped while the downzoning process goes on. Currently, even if a moratorium could be enacted, it would have to follow a similar process to zoning and would, in and of itself, take 12-24 months.That's why there needs to be a legal mechanism that will stop the clock at the beginning of a zoning study--a legal "moratorium" mechanism, if you will.

This is not just an issue for Carroll Gardens. It is one of the most critical land use issues in all of New York City. In this sense, City Council Member Bill de Blasio or any other leader who can develop a workable, effective solution and get it through the City Council would be making a critical contribution to every neighborhood in New York City that is under development pressure and awaiting a downzoning that will take two years to happen. Without it, developers will rush to complete buildings, working around-the-clock and violating city laws with impunity to make it happen. Yesterday, we ran an item about an ongoing Beat the Downzone Match on Grand Street in Williamsburg in advance of a rezoning that would chop a planned 14-story building to five. Ironically, these are the worst developments in the city in terms of adding insult to injury by assaulting neighborhood quality of life with work at all hours. With an interim moratorium, neighborhoods would be protected. Rallies are uplifting and great for community spirit, but someone needs to take the lead and make sure a measure is enacted. Who ever does so would earn a great deal of political capital in neighborhoods where it will make a positive difference.

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Carroll Gardens Group Starts Another Letter Writing Campaign

The CORD group, which helped to generate significant attention for a Carroll Gardens downzoning and has pushed for an interim moratorium on buildings taller than 50 feet, is now pushing an effort to write Mayor Bloomberg. (Their petition drive for the moratorium has attracted more than 3,000 signatures.) The letter was posted yesterday on the CORD blog. Here are a couple of excerpts, as they underscore neighborhood fear of overdevelopment:
We have sought relief from the hyper-development that is taking place here through moratorium petition (3000+ signatures), contextual downzoning application (an undetermined wait time), amendments to the zoning text (a fairly lengthy and only partial solution), City Council Resolution (valiant and appreciated, but unbinding), expansion of our historic district (a volatile, divisive topic) and a rally at Borough Hall organized by our Councilman and Assemblywoman....We are all concerned. The pace here is fast, and all too often, homeowners are paying the price in property damages, simply for living next to, nearby or behind a developer who has hired careless workers employing, at times, questionable practices.

Read the local blogs, Mr. Mayor, take a look at our local papers. We have been crying out for months for help. We are not anti-development. All we want is thoughtful, responsible, respectful development. We love where we live. We would like to preserve it. Won’t you please help us?
The post includes a link that residents can use to send the text as an email to the Mayor's office.

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Bklink: Poking Holes

Workers are up on the roof of the old International Longshoreman's Association building at 340 Court Street poking holes in the roof. Hard to say what they're doing other than prepping the building for demolition. "First one, then two little masked figures.
Poke, poke, poke. Just a little longer, then this place comes down!"--PMFA

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Check Out Some Industrial and Working Brooklyn

We've posted some links recently to items on the Fading Ad Blog by Frank H. Jump, which has been around for nearly a year, but every time we look at it we're captivated by some of the Brooklyn posts. (We wish we'd found it and put in our RSS feed a looong time ago.) The blog ranges broadly, but there's often a fantastic focus on corners of Brooklyn that many people rarely visit like Canarsie and even more obscure blocks in Red Hook. The photo above is from a post yesterday about Old Dutch Brewers Inc. on East 42nd Street in East Flatbush. The shot below is one from a post on Hecht's Hardware on Foster Avenue in East Flatbush. We could go and on and on with mentions of posts we're loving, but simply suggest a click over to Fading Ad and a good look around.

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Carroll Gardens 340 Court vs. Prague Building: Part II

Carroll Garden vs Prague Two

Yesterday, we posted a side-by-side comparison of the former International Longshoreman's Building at 340 Court Street (which has an impending date with the wrecking ball) with a modernist building in Prague. This is Part II, featuring another two photos sent to us by our Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Correspondent. Call it the Tough Tony Anastasio Building vs. Praha Architektura.

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Brooklinks: Wednesday Midweek Edition


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


Bklink: Bay Ridge Pharmacy

The suicide of the owner of Lowen's Pharmacy, who was caught up in a steroids scandal was reported yesterday. "I've shopped at Lowen's many times over the years. This business has long roots in the neighborhood - Kenny was telling me how he remembers their old location, and the real life Mr. Lowen, pharmacist ,who ran it, near 68th and Third, right next to Three Jolly Pigeons. When the neighborhood's other small pharmacies --including Alpine Pharmacy and Physicians & Surgeon's, both on Fourth Avenue, quietly expired, Lowen's actually expanded. It moved to 69th Street and took over I think three stores. This gave it some degree of size, so that it actually prospered while competing against Rite Aid and the ohter mega-chains that invaded Bay Ridge and all of America. Now a suicide. I took some comfort in knowing that it didn't happen in the store...Lowen's Pharmacy has been a beloved part of the neighborhood for 30-40 years or more."--Bay Ridge Blog, Photo, Soup Flowers/flickr

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More Cool Coney Island Photos on View


The photo above is from Deborah Matlack, a local photographer who's contributed some photos to GL in the past. Coney Island is among the places she photographs often, and some of her Coney pics are on display at the Patio Lounge in Park Slope through early March. Patio Lounge is s located at 179 Fifth Avenue. In addition, the photographer has a very cool page of Coney photos posted on her website.

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Upcoming: New York Matters Film Series in Gowanus

There's very cool series of film present by Spoke the Hub called "New York Matters" coming up at the Gowanus Arts Building, which is located at 295 Douglass Street between Third and Fourth Avenues. The films will be shown at 7:30 PM on the second Friday of every month. Here's some wording about the series, plus the schedule:
Spoke the Hub is proud to host the upcoming film series "New York Matters", curated by Isabel Hill. The New York Matters film series digs deep into the core of the issues, stories, places, changes and people that make New York a community. On the second Friday of every month, Spoke the Hub will open its doors at the iconic Gowanus Arts Building to present films that are unmistakably New York. Perfect for families, dates, friends and nights when you would love to watch a great movie in a huge loft space among fellow Brooklynites. Suggested donation: $5.00

2/8 "City of Water" by Jasper Goldman & Loren Talbot: A look at how public officials, environmentalists, recreational boaters and regular New Yorkers see our waterfront and its future as development proceeds at gold-rush pace. (Filmmaker will be in attendance for a question and answer session following the film.)

3/14 “Every Mother’s Son” by Kelly Anderson and Tami Gold: Three different women lose sons to police brutality in New York City and unite to fight for change.

4/11 “The Collector of Bedford Street” by Alice Elliot: An Academy-award nominated film about a neighbor with disabilities and how a New York community makes a plan to help him stay in the neighborhood.

5/9 “Metropolitan Avenue” by Christine Noschese: An inspiring film about a Brooklyn community, the changing role of women and how powerful ordinary people can be when they join together to fight for something they believe in.

6/13 “Made in Brooklyn” by Isabel Hill: The compelling stories of factories that flourish in Brooklyn challenge the notion that manufacturing is dead in America.

7/11 “Lavender Lake” by Alison Prete: A Brooklyn community dreams and battles over a new and suddenly desirable urban landscape.

8/8 “Taking the Heat” by Bann Roy: The daring story of the first women firefighters in New York City.
Good stuff right through August.

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Street Couch Series: Senior Edition

mary ds couch for seniors

This sofa comes from the streets of Greenpoint. It was titled "Mary D's Couch for Seniors" after the residence behind which it was photographed by our Greenpoint Correspondent.


Bklink: In the Beginning

The trouble at 475 Kent "all started with a standpipe. When the Fire Department passed by for a routine inspection of the sidewalk in front of 475 Kent Avenue last week, they discovered a rusted, non-working pipe. This led them to follow the pipe down to its source in the basement, where they were greeted with a sea of grain boxes piled high to the ceiling." And the rest is now Williamsburg history.--Brownstoner


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PM Update: Rally Calls for "Short and Happy" Carroll Gardens


The planned rally to call for action on a downzoning of Carroll Gardens took place on the steps of Borough Hall this morning. Our special Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Correspondent was there and reported back with photos and a details of the rally. City Council Member Bill de Blasio promised to push the downzoning, which City Planning is committed to studying. Among the groups involved were CORD, FROGG, the Union-Sackett Block Association and the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. Blogger and City Council candidate Gary Reilly seemed to have the morning's soundbites, saying that he didn't want Carroll Gardens to be "the next Williamsburg" and, "Keep Carroll Gardens/South Brooklyn SHORT and happy!" We will have more extensive coverage and more photos tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the superb coverage and photos at Brownstoner.


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Developer Racing to Beat the Downzone on Grand Street

Grand Street Demo

It looks like the race to get a fourteen-story Karl Fischer building in the ground at Grand Street and Driggs Avenue before a downzoning is moving full speed ahead. The building was approved last year under current zoning by the Department of Buildings. A rezoning, which must still work its way through the city's land use review process, would limit a building on the site to 40 feet. The current design would be 159 feet tall. Here is an email we got about the site:
The Grand St merry-go-round is happening full force. Developer’s crew was out working at 8:15 Sunday morning - also Saturday. They might have had a permit but no permit allows 8:15 work on Sunday. There were workers without hardhats, dust, trucks parked the wrong way on Driggs etc. Neighbors called 311 on DOB issue and also DEP regarding lead laden dust. I think DOB inspectors arrived this morning and natch, workers were wearing hard hats today.

How can we facilitate speeding up the zoning amendment approval process in City Council? The site manager at 227 grand told me yesterday that they plan on working at least the next 4-6 weekends!! No sleep for neighbors – with the bars traffic on Friday and Saturday night and construction in the morning....maybe we can throw eggs out the windows. Breakfast meetings???
Community activists were trying to get the downzoning fast tracked and Community Board 1 actually voted quickly to approve it. If the developer has the foundation of the building in place before the downzoning, it can be built to the 14-story height.

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Carroll Gardens 340 Court vs. Prague Bldg: Separated at Birth?

Carroll Gardens-Prague

On the left is the former International Longshoreman's Association Building at 340 Court Street in Carroll Gardens. On the right is a building in Prague. We would love to take full credit for juxtaposing these two structures cut from the same cloth, but it actually goes to our special Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Correspondent who writes:
I am actually going to miss that chunk of fifties modernism. Reminds me of this building in Prague I used to walk by. Very Funtionalist...the two buildings could be fraternal twins separated at birth!

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Brooklyn Nibbles: 2nd St. Cafe Sadness, Laila Closed Too, Frozen Yogurt on Seventh Ave.?

A followup and a more tidbits from that wild frontier of retail and dining excitement, Park Slope:

1) Reaction to the closing of 2nd Street Cafe in Park Slope has been mostly one of dismay, if not anger. One reader writes, "This was my one of my favorite reasons to go to my girlfriend's neighborhood...Hopefully they'll put in a Ruby Tuesdays so Park Slope will have a 'New,' 'Edgy' vibe or at least somewhere that will be over $30 a plate so i'll know i'm earning my well spent money in style." But not everyone is shedding tears, one of our readers writes: "This was one of the worst restaurants I've ever been in - period. The place was more like a bad day care center. My only concern is that the parents and the screaming kids will now be invading more civilized dining spots. At least with 2nd St Cafe, they were quarantined." There are many comments over at Brooklynian.

2) The South Slope's Laila, from which we once got an order of hummus with a staple (small, and already stapled closed) inside, is closed. The Middle Eastern restaurant was on Seventh Avenue at Fifteenth Street, which unlike the northern stretch of the avenue around Third Street, has seen a lot of openings the last few months. No word on a replacement for Laila, which had both fans and detractors. Us, we sort of soured on it after our staple experience.

3) The empty storefront on Seventh Avenue north of Union Street and south of Berkeley that is between the mediocre Indian restaurant Amin's and a liquor store is said to be heading toward opening some sort of food etablishment. One rumor on says it will be a frozen yogurt establishment. Given that Tasty Delight is down the block on Union Street and Oko is on Fifth Avenue that would leave a retailer whose name begins with Pink as a possibility if it is, in fact, a frozen yogurt emporium.

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Bklink: Brownsville Infant Mortality Skyrockets

"The infant-mortality rate in Brownsville surged dramatically in 2006, jumping from 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 12.5 - eclipsing all other neighborhoods in the city, records show. The grim statistics, which also reveal a slight spike in HIV-related deaths in East New York and Canarsie, come as the city's overall death rate fell to an all-time low." The dramatic increases in heart disease occurred in Park Slope and Bay Ridge, but Bensonhurst, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay have the large number of heart disease fatalities in the city.--NYDN


Carrol Gardens Downzoning Rally Today

The rally organized by City Council Member Bill de Blasio to call for fast action on a downzoning of Carroll Gardens and an interim moratorium on any buildings more than 50 feet tall takes place today at 11AM on the steps of Borough Hall. It will include Assembly member Joan Millman, The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Carroll Gardens Coalition For Respectful Development, Baltic & Warren Neighbors, Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association and The Union-Sackett Block Association. Mr. de Blasio is introducing a resolution calling on the Department of City Planning to immediately start a downzoning study of Carroll Gardens and "to implement the appropriate procedure to protect the character of Carroll Gardens until the downzoning is complete."

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Bklink: Union Market Does Sunset Park

So, what was a Union Market van doing in Sunset Park? Uh, perhaps buying produce from Rossman's Discount Fruits, which is a wholesale/retail fruit market / grocery store on 3rd Avenue under the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park. "So the next time you pay $15 for that independent-grassroots-organic-locally grown-farm fresh avocado or that artichoke direct from Castroville now you'll know where Union Market is really getting their produce from... straight from the bucolic farms and rolling hills of Sunset Park; 26th street and 3rd Avenue to be exact."--Gotham City Insider

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GL Construction Site Du Jour: 261 N. 9 Street

261 N9

Last week, we had some photos of workers doing what appeared to be asbestos removal on the building at the corner of N. 9 and Roebling. Today, we feature this lot at 261 N. 9 because it is such a wretched mess. The fence is down and the lot has been used for dumping...for a long time, just like empty land that makes up the rest of the block that is owned by another developer. A Karl Fischer building is going to rise on the parcel. It will be a five-sory building with 91 units.

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Brooklinks: Tuesday Marketing Edtion

It Stinks

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


Observe Alternate Side Rules When Abandoning Boat

N9 Boat

We came across this boat on N. 9 Street between Wythe and Kent Avenues. It had both a parking ticket and one of those bright stickers they attach to vehicles that interfere with alternate side of the street cleaning. There were some chopped car parts inside the boat and the trailer had flat tires. Curious.

N9 Boat Two