Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brooklyn Losing Landmarks Left and Right

Red Hook from Water

We had forgotten that we wanted to post this Live Journal post written after the sale of Astroland, but the news about the pending demolition of the Revere Sugar plant in Red Hook, reminded us. Back when CBGB's closed Patti Smith made a remark that stuck about "the empty new prosperity of our city." The remark was right on target in terms of Brooklyn in the early 2000s. In any case, here's the post:
Man, this is just getting tiresome. Yet another NYC landmark has crumbled under the thumb of a developer. Scarily named developer, Thor Equities has finalized the purchase of Astroland, the Coney Island amusement park. The Astrojump Tower is coming down. The Wonder Wheel probably is gone. And, despite promises that the Cyclone won't be touched, there are no guarantees the City won't allow for the sale of that property, so it too can come down.

They've already bought up a ton of other land in the area, and plan to knock down Astroland to build a year-round attraction, put up luxury condos, and throw people out of the main drag (Stillwell Ave) to make way for a promenade. Surely, only places like Virgin Megastore and Starbucks will be able to afford the rents.

Maybe I'm a jinx on this city. Since I moved here, the Lower East Side has seen a number of luxury buildings open, gritty birthplaces of the Ramones -- CBGB's and The Continental -- have closed down, the Williamsburg waterfront was rezoned for rich, tall buildings, and the plans for the new Nets arena was finalized, which will displace thousands.

I'm in a relatively untouched enclave of Greenpoint, but can't help but think this area will be next. After all, there's only so much land left to gentrify for the rich and corporate, and who cares about the Polish, right? Sigh....The scary part is that other than a few small groups and token rallies, everyone more or less is resigned to this happening, and don't seem to have the energy to put up a real fight against any of this. Most communities are bending over faster than Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember that before there was the Continental, CBGB, grit, or anything else you recall fondly, there was some earlier joint, some earlier feel, some earlier scene.

Change itself is not bad. New kids will come and make something from the post-CBGB space. Protecting landmarks is good. But not just for nostalgia.

10:28 AM  

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