Friday, January 18, 2008

340 Court Street #1: Big Ironic Rat Edition

Rat Anastasio Now Then

If only Anthony "Tough Tony" Anastasio were around to have seen the big inflatable rat outside the former International Longshoreman's Association Building on Court Street yesterday that once bore his name. (Mr. Anastasio, who died of natural causes in 1963 and kept his position with the ILA even after his brother Albert Anastasio was killed, ruled the Brooklyn docks and the Longshoreman's union with an iron fist.)

We have said many times that the 340 Court Street project is going to be fodder for many blog posts this year, but we didn't anticipate the delicious irony of a big blow up rat protesting the use of non-union labor at a building named in honor of a mob-related union boss (that's him in the photo above on the right). Seriously.

The photos here came to us from our Special Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Correspondent, who captured images of both the rat and the flier that union members were handing out. Remember that asbestos removal that we mentioned last week? Well, it's ongoing, and it turns out that its being done by a non-union contractor. Hence the rat and the flier below. Demolition of the building is slated to start around January 28 (no permits have been issued yet) and we are certain that process is not going to be uneventful, if only because many of the neighbors are less than cheerful about the development that is about to get underway. The most recent complaint to DOB was Wednesday, for asbestos being removed from the building at 12:15 AM. The project has already logged eight complaints.

Asbestos Flier


Anastasio Memorial Wing

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not clear Union vs. non but more substandard labor vs. unprofessional lunk-heads. If Clarett is cutting costs at this stage..well, we have more rats to come.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sceptical of Clarett for sure, but that flier is pretty offensive. A cartoon speech bubble coming from the photo of a deceased 23-year old?

Meanwhile, lots of aspersions are cast about New York Insulation, but no supporting facts - give some numbers, cite come violations, censures, any reported and verified instances of their alleged irresponsible practices.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live nearby and routinely see shadowy figures leaving the building and driving out of the parking lot at midnight. It's a very sketchy scene. I can only assume they've begun the demolition and asbestos removal in the dark of night...that or they're having some great poker games in an empty building.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live adjacent to the project - they seem to be doing all of the asbestos transfer to the enclosed dumpster from 11:00pm on through the night.

As an Architect who deals with construction issues on a day-to-day basis, this is a perfect example of sneaking around and questionable business practices. There does not seem to be work going on during the day that would necessitate a "night shift" due to trade conflicts.

Unless a tight deadline requires a 24 hour shift, the only reason to do the work at night is to avoid drawing attention to what's going on and begs the question: What exactly IS going on?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the main reasons we are so strongly against this mass intrusion of monster buildings. Our homes, over 100 years old , were built on cement and wooden beams. The explosive digging so deeeply underground , to provide for the foundation and parking , will most certainly shake up these existing homes. City Planning, Dept. of Buildings, Politicians, have you given any thought to that possibility??? Or is it just a matter of concern to us residents who are told the developer "has the right to build." What can we do to allay our fears.?

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Bob!!


10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deeper and bigger and taller and glass and steel. Old, quaint and wood doesn't enter the new vernacular. Developers weilding flavor of the month architects hide behind a veneer of hipness dictated to them from the pages of fashion magazines. A Neutra house in Palm Springs is one thing, a faux Richard Meier dropped down in the middle of a block of row houses in a residential neighborhood is another. Now, I love good architecture and the way it is used when it is used correctly or to make a statement. Like the new museum on The Bowery in Manhattan. Or for an extreme, the Gudggenheim! But nice, traditional neighborhoods need something easy on the eyes. Not a big slab of concrete with balconies overlooking what? The Marco Polo restaurant? Hello, Clarett? Is anybody home? Wake up and work with us! You're not off to a good start, here.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's 12:06am Sunday morning and there are 5 guys on the roof tossing bags of debris off the roof into a metal dumpster. I called 311 and the local precinct. Disturbing my sleep is one thing, but tossing asbestos around like that? Jeez.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greatest irony is the union rat is made by a non-union company!
Go to

1:11 PM  

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