Documentary Coming on Mysterious Coignet Building


Filmmaker Max Kutner just released a trailer for his film At the Corner of 3rd and 3rd, a documentary focusing on the the Coignet Building, which sits right next to the in-progress Whole Foods development in Gowanus. Here’s his synopsis of the film, and the mysterious building itself: “Constructed in 1873, the building at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street is a historic landmark, but has been mostly abandoned since the 1960s. The Coignet Building got back in the news when Whole Foods broke ground on its first Brooklyn market just a few feet away from the landmark. Through archival materials and interviews with historians, activists, artists, photographers and local residents, the 20-minute film presents the first comprehensive account of the past, present and future of the Coignet Building and how a community looks to the future while fighting to preserve the past.” You can also read more about the project at Max’s Tumblr. He expects to release the full 20-minute film this summer at festivals. He’s also organizing several screenings in the Gowanus and South Brooklyn area for the end of summer.

3 Comment

  • The filmmaker is entitled to their opinion, but they are wrong. I can’t believe that this craziness is still going on! Whole foods has cleaned up a toxic site, elevated it with neutral landfill to be more flood resistent, and is obligated by contract to refurbish the exterior of the Coignet building. There will be no traffic disasters, and it will not destroy an already destroyed area; it will make it better.

    End of story!

    • I agree. This documentary is clearly an example of a pedestrian and sensationalist approach to dealing with the issue of historic preservation. Whole Foods, rather than neglect, is the enemy of this mysterious, bizarre, and charming building? Please. What Whole Foods is doing for that area better reflects the neighborhood as it existed when the Coignet building was constructed. The building will now be saved. That is worse than letting it crumble even more or flood with toxic water? As fun as it may be for drama queens to celebrate the visual mystery of urban decay, this is New York, not Detroit. This may be the only place left in the United States where a blighted and desolate urban area is attractive to commerce and can be rebuilt and actually serve the people who live here. Wearing green-rimmed glasses and lamenting the preservation of some kind of ruin fetish for a tiny group of bohemians doesn’t make you Jane Jacobs. This isn’t the tragedy of Penn Station. A toxic pit will now have some use and the big, scary building will look more like it did when it was was a source of pride rather than a jack stack for some ruin porn addicts.

  • I’m sorry – I dont live in that part of Brooklyn and am not too familiar with the politics of Whole Foods or any of that stuff. I’m commenting simply to state that the trailer I just watched was one of the worst trailers I’ve ever watched. Sorry, but that was way too long and super boring. The movie might be awesome but that trailer was, I’m guessing, an example of a ‘filmmaker’ who thinks they can edit too.