When novelist Ben Schrank moved into a factory in Gowanus ten years ago, he had views all around and could see as far as central Park Slope. Since that time, buildings have risen all around, gradually shutting off air and light. In an essay that ran in yesterday’s New York Times, Cinder Block City, he describes a place that time forgot, for a while, and how it’s being changed by development.
On the Internet, on community watchdog sites, I watch the plans go up for all kinds of awful buildings…The Lightstone Group is trying to do just what the Toll Brothers realized was too foolish to try — put up a huge apartment building in a flood zone that is also a Superfund zone. Do they know that the Gowanus sends sewage into the basements of the residents already living here whenever there’s even an inch of rain? They know. They don’t care.