A for-rent sign has gone up on the corner of the building under renovation at 247 Bedford Avenue, where Brooklyn’s first Apple store is supposed to be opening.

The sign went up yesterday, according to a tipster who passed by and saw it and sent us this photo.

There were no construction workers at the site and no work happening when he passed by at 8:45 am, he said.

“I wonder if this means that the Apple Store deal is dead?” he said. (more…)

bed stuy blizzard 12015

The latest from the National Weather Service predicts Brooklyn could get hammered with up to three feet of snow thanks to the nor’easter rolling through tonight and tomorrow, and the city will effectively shut down tonight. Cuomo declared a state of emergency around 1 p.m. today for New York City, along with Rockland, Ulster, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Subway trains will run on local tracks only after 8 p.m., as the MTA will use the underground express tracks to store trains.

City public schools will be closed tomorrow, and all non-emergency vehicles are banned from the roads starting at 11 p.m tonight. Parks will close at 6 p.m., and public libraries will shut at 5 p.m. Alternate side parking rules are also suspended today and tomorrow while plows clear the streets. And for those of you in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and southern Crown Heights, the CB 9 ULURP meeting is cancelled! For current updates, follow the Times’ live blog and WNYC’s Transit Tracker. And of course, steer clear of the long line just to get into the Court Street Trader Joe’s.

Update: All MTA service, including subways, will shut down at 11 p.m. tonight. From the MTA’s website: “The MTA is committed to the safety of its customers and its employees, and due to the forecast, will be suspending service on all bus, commuter rail and subway service at 11:00 p.m. this evening.”


As we’re sure you are all aware, there was a horrible fire at 265 Flatbush Avenue Wednesday morning. One man died, and at least eight were injured. The fire appears to have reduced the building to a shell.

Flatbush Hardware, on the ground floor, and the grocery store next door are both closed, according to reports in DNAinfo, The New York Times, and elsewhere. The fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring in the hardware store’s neon sign, they said.

A reader sent in this photo and said “Heartbroken about this. The building housed one of our last mom and pop hardware stores, Jamaican owned. I hope everyone got out safely.”


Clean Society cleaners at 307 Grand Avenue has been shut down by court order. The spot has been a notorious hotbed of suspicious activity for years, as we wrote in April when the owner was shot (but not killed). At the time of the shooting, a tipster told us he saw DEA agents taking cash and drugs out of the storefront.

A week later, the police claimed the owner and a customer got into a “verbal altercation about clothes” and the shooting was not drug related, according to DNAinfo.

Now there are two signs on the door, as you can see in this photo a reader sent us today. One says “Closed by Court Order.” The other is a restraining order that specifically prohibits removing anything from the premises. It also says “The following activity is prohibited: use and occupancy.” And then it just says “marijuana.”

A friend who lives in Kensington sent us these photos last night and told us that around 10 pm, she got home and found her water contaminated with gasoline. A fireman she spoke to said that someone may have dumped it into the sewers. Firetrucks came to her block as well (see a photo after the jump), near Dahill Road and Clara Street. Is anyone else who lives in Kensington having this problem?

UPDATE: A spokesman from NYC Department of Environmental Protection tells us that it’s not possible for anything in the sewers to end up in the drinking water, because the water supply is a closed, pressurized system that carries clean drinking water from the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers. He added that the fastest way to get rid of any discolored water is to run your taps. The water may be discolored because of a change in the flow, or because firefighters were running a firehose. The DEP plans to send someone to the area to investigate the water. Our tipster who lives on the block said the water smelled like gasoline, as did the block.


East River Ferry service to and from Greenpoint’s India Street pier has been shut down after the ramp to the ferry collapsed suddenly into the water during this morning’s commute, The Daily News reported. Less than a minute after 10 people had crossed the ramp onto the ferry, it collapsed into the freezing East River. Shortly afterward, New York Waterways, the ferry operator, issued an alert letting customers know service to and from Greenpoint had been suspended.

“East River Ferry service to and from the Greenpoint Pier is suspended until further notice as we continue to assess the cause of a gangway that detached this morning,” the company wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “A team of engineers will be sent to investigate the cause and repairs will be made as soon as possible.”

Photo by Alan Tansey

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced today that Forest City Ratner President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin and Makerbot CEO Bre Prettis had been named co-chairs of the organization’s board.

“MaryAnne and Bre embody a new generation of Brooklyn entrepreneurs, and I am delighted that we’ll be able to tap into their experience and wisdom,” Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said in a press release. “Nothing reflects innovation more than Bre’s ingenious MakerBot 3D Printing Ecosystem and there’s no better example of a prominent CEO and company dedicated to innovation and to the continued success of the Downtown Brooklyn area than MaryAnne and Forest City Ratner Companies.”

DBP is a nonprofit local development corporation that manages three business improvement districts: the MetroTech BID, Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID and Fulton Mall Improvement Association.

Photo by snackaroo


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

Gowanus Residents Meeting to Create Development Plan [Brownstoner]

After a peaceful vigil Tuesday, police and protesters clashed Wednesday in East Flatbush over the killing Saturday of 16-year-old Kimani Gray by police. Reportedly an officer was hit in the head with a brick, a police car windshield was smashed, and dozens of protesters were arrested. Unconfirmed reports online said NYPD had declared the area a “frozen zone,” meaning transit was shut down and no one was allowed in. The autopsy results also came through Wednesday, revealing Gray was shot seven times. Police said Gray aimed a pistol at them Saturday before they shot him; witnesses said he was fiddling with his waistband but did not see a gun; the boy’s family said he did not have a gun. Gray had an arrest record, but reports he was a member of a gang were not confirmed.
Anger in East Flatbush Persists Over Teenager’s Killing by the Police [NY Times]
Officer Smashed in Face With Brick, 50 Arrested in Brooklyn Protest [NY Post]
Flatbush Teen Kimani Gray Died From Gunshot Wounds [NY Post]
Dozens Arrested as Protesters Clash With Police at Rally for Shot Teen [DNAinfo]
Photo by DNAinfo