A larger than anticipated crowd of over 200 people showed up to discuss their concerns and wishes and help plan the future of Gowanus development Monday night at The Children’s School on Carroll Street. The meeting was the first of a series of public planning forums called Bridging Gowanus convened by local politicians about the ongoing development of and cleanup plan for Gowanus. The Pratt Center for Community Development moderated and presented findings from previous invitation-only meetings held over the summer.
City Council Member Brad Lander remarked that with the EPA’s Record of Decision for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site and the impending transition at City Hall, it’s an important moment for the community to come together and establish a shared vision for the infrastructure of the low-lying and industrially polluted Gowanus area before planning begins. The consensus of the crowd was that every effort should be made to preserve the area’s socioeconomic diversity and keep it affordable for the mixed uses (manufacturing, residential, commercial, artistic) that currently exist. A number of local artists in attendance expressed fears of gentrification and said they felt threatened by the diminishing affordability of studio space. In brief, locals called for a rezoning to preserve affordability and Gowanus’ eclectic identity as a community with vibrant street life and activity.
Other issues raised included the need for a permanent protection plan against coastal disasters; it was noted that the current recovery infrastructure is insufficient to handle even regular rain. The group also said another priority is more schools and suitable health care facilities to accommodate the area’s growing residential population. They would also like the canal to be opened up as a recreational public waterway.
A series of followup meetings will be held early in 2014. In the meantime, anyone interested in joining a working group can contact info@BridgingGowanus.org.
Is Soho House opening in Brooklyn? That’s the claim of an item in Out magazine, whose author says he heard it from someone who works at Soho House, the club “known for its raucous rooftop pool parties, swanky book, movie, and fashion events, and plenty of credible celebrity sightings,” as he put it. There’s no word about when or where exactly, although we’d bet Williamsburg, where new clubs are sprouting up around the Wythe Hotel. It would be interesting, though, if it located in Downtown near Barclays Center. There’s an older, more monied crowd there, but what are the chances they’ll make it back out the door once they go home after work to change? (At least we probably wouldn’t.) “Is this a good thing or bad?” the story continues. “Well, I live in Manhattan, so I don’t understand all the fuss. If you can have a backyard, a great farmers’ market, and a chic club, I say go for it. But people never like change. The reality is that Brooklyn, the commodity, has already been bought — and sold. So you better get your piece as fast as you can.” Is Soho House Opening in Brooklyn? [Out] Photo by Soho House
A transformer just exploded at Dekalb and Clinton, and power is out for blocks around, according to a tipster. You can see the smoke pouring out from underground. A Con Ed truck and police are on the scene. Anyone have more information? Update: Firemen are putting out the blaze now. Click through for more. (more…)
You can follow all the Sandy news in one place now, thanks to a new blog from Brown Harris Stevens broker Lee Solomon, Sandy Report. That rumor that fewer places are listed in Zone A thanks to Sandy destruction? Could also be seasonal fluctuations (the holidays approach) or scarcity of inventory unrelated to the hurricane, she reports. The Sandy Report’s Facebook page and Twitter feed are pretty handy too. Photo via Sandy Report
The controversial community organization that helped push through Atlantic Yards despite vocal opposition, BUILD, will officially dissolve by Nov. 16, said Atlantic Yards Report today. Meanwhile, a Barclays Center restaurant is now unionized, the AFL-CIO said. BUILD’s shut down comes on the heels of funding difficulties, tax arrears, and a complaint about spending irregularities from a former staffer. In addition, the organization, which was accused by some critics as being in the pocket of Forest City Ratner, was sued last year by seven participants in a jobs training program who allege they were promised construction jobs and union cards, and said they should have been paid for work they did during training. The lawsuit, which also names Forest City Ratner as a defendant, is ongoing. Levy Restaurants in Barclays Center is now unionized. The 750 workers there voted in Unite Here Local 1. Job Development Group BUILD Closes Down in Wake of Funding Troubles [AYR] Hotel, Broadcast, Theater Workers Join AFL-CIO Unions [AFL-CIO Now] Photo by Kuyata
An update on donations and volunteering:
*Much to its delight, Corcoran has been inundated with donations and has sent more than six carloads to a church organization distributing in the Rockaways and Breezy Point. Keep them coming, says Corcoran. The needs have changed slightly. There is a great need for cleaning supplies such as brooms, buckets, dustpans, mops and bleach.
*Above, so many people showed up to help out at the Red Hook Initiative in Red Hook over the weekend that volunteers were being turned away. Volunteers are still needed in the neighborhood this week, though. Just show up at 402 Van Brunt Street from 10 am to 5 pm. Supplies needed: water pumps, cleaning supplies, generators. Bring power tools if you are able. Also, needed at 173 Conover Street: cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, candles, feminine products, blankets, batteries.
*If you want to help out in the Rockaways, Coney Island, and other areas still without electricity and water, drop by St. Jacobi’s church on 4th Avenue and 54th Street in Sunset Park, where Occupy is dispatching volunteers and supplies to the hardest-hit areas. Thousands volunteered over the weekend, and thousands more are needed this week, said the group’s Facebook page on Saturday. Volunteers with cars and gas are especially needed.
*New York Methodist at 501 Sixth Street in Park Slope needs blood donations. Please stop by today.
Occupy Wall Street, operating under the moniker Occupy Sandy, has been directly aiding the worst-hit areas in Brooklyn and Queens with supplies, shelter, and help cleaning out flooded areas since immediately after the storm. Occupy groups in Red Hook and Sunset Park were among the Brooklyn groups who were already very organized and active, and able to immediately start helping out and coordinating volunteers in Red Hook, Coney Island, and the Rockaways. Several news outlets have reported Occupy was faster to deliver direct aid than the Red Cross and other national organizations. Above, a photo of Occupy taking donations in Sunset Park. Incidentally, Occupy has set up a “wedding registry” on Amazon for anyone who wants to donate supplies. Occupy Sandy Comes to the Rockaways [New Yorker] Occupy Wall Street Preoccupied With Sandy Relief [Brooklyn Paper] Is Occupy Outperforming Red Cross in Relief? [Slate] Occupy Wedding Registry [Amazon] Photo by Ellen Weinstat via Occupy Sunset Park
On Sunday, power had been restored to many areas in Southern Brooklyn and national aid had arrived. (Outside Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Staten Island remain in crisis, with many without power or water.) We checked out Brighton Beach Sunday afternoon, where we found the National Guard distributing water, blankets, diapers, and baby wipes, above. Down the block, a volunteer group gave out free clothes from a truck. Power was back on in most places and delis and groceries were open for business as usual. Debris had been gathered into piles dotted about the beach, which was mostly empty of people, but otherwise it looked pretty normal. Most buildings in the central area seemed to have already completed their basement cleanups, though a few were still siphoning out water and placing wrecked furniture on the sidewalks for pickup. Tensions seemed high; a fistfight almost broke out over a fender bender, we heard a lot of people arguing, and a woman said she was going to call the police because we were taking photographs. There was, of course, no subway service to the shore areas throughout Southern Brooklyn. Buses were running about every 20 minutes, and they were packed full.
We are receiving reports that stations in Brooklyn are out of gas. “We drove from Park Slope to Coney Island last night and passed 20 stations that were all out of gas. My colleague said she drove Pro Heights to Greenpoint in the middle of the night and could not get any then either,” emailed a reader. Gas stations throughout Crown Heights and along Bushwick Avenue near the Jackie Robinson are out. People with generators and cars have drained them, and apparently they have not received new deliveries, although roads into Brooklyn are open. Has anyone found a gas station open in Brooklyn with gas? Update: A reader found a station on Coney Island that still has some gas, above. It’s hard to tell, but the cars in the right-hand lane and past the station, beyond, are waiting in line for gas.
This was the scene this afternoon at the St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church on the corner of Classon Avenue and Sterling Place. Police taped off the entire block and looked like they were waiting for the portion of the roof to fall off. This church was built in 1905; the twin towers have clock faces on the right and the carillon of ten bells on the left. It’s the right tower with the structural damage. See a BOTD post here. See more pictures after the jump, including a dramatic shot of the collapse happening on the other side of the building. (more…)