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 info@BridgingGowanus.org.

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

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

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.