04/11/14 4:00pm

Council Member Stephen Levin has announced the five community improvement projects in District 33 that will receive $1,560,000 of city discretionary funds. Residents voted last week on how their tax dollars should be spent in the district through a process known as participatory budgeting. Here are the projects that received the most votes, in order:

  1. Repairs at four NYCHA playgrounds – Gowanus Houses, 572 Warren Street Houses, Wyckoff Gardens, and Jonathan Williams Plaza – will receive $400,000.
  2. The Gowanus Community Center, pictured, will get $325,000 for renovations.
  3. The McGolrick Park Playground will be completely reconstructed, to the tune of $450,000.
  4. BOOKlyn Shuttle: $198,000 will be set aside to buy and retrofit bus a bus designed by Pratt Institute to “inspire, stimulate and improve the literacy of North Brooklyn’s youth.”
  5. The bathrooms at P.S. 261 will be renovated and repaired with $175,000 in funds.

Image of Gowanus Community Center via Better Late Than Never


03/21/14 4:00pm

Head down to Gowanus tomorrow afternoon for the grand opening of School of Rock, where kids and parents can take part in sample music classes, live performances, workshops and jam sessions. There will also be food and giveaways during the event, which will run from 1 to 4 pm tomorrow at 327 Douglass Street between 3rd and 4th avenues.

To reserve a spot in a class during tomorrow’s opening, email brooklyn@schoolofrock.com. The international franchise has 100 locations around the world, including another New York location on the Upper East Side.

Image via School of Rock

03/21/14 9:30am

Demolition crews have started gutting and demolishing the six 19th-century wood-frame houses and two commercial buildings near the corner of 11th Street and 4th Avenue where developer Adam America is planning to put up a large 12-story apartment building on seven tax lots. The house at the far left end of the row on 11th Street, No. 233, has been knocked down, above, and most of the others are in the process of being gutted, their windows and doors gone.

A construction fence went up a week and half ago at 470 4th Avenue, and new building permits for the project were filed at the end of February. The building will have 105 units with ground floor commercial space, a medical office and underground parking, as we’ve previously reported. More photos after the jump.

470 4th Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]


03/11/14 4:00pm


Scaffolding has gone up on the side of the Coignet Building next to Whole Foods, above, where it appears the grocer is finally making good on its obligation to repair the landmark, Gowanus Your Face Off reported.

As we noted previously, in December a renovation permit was approved and Whole Foods was fined $3,000 by the city for failing to maintain the structure (after complaints to the DOB that construction on its new building had caused structural cracks in the facade).

The scaffolding is in the tiny alleyway between the two buildings. A construction sign at the site says the restoration will finish in “late 2014,” said GYFO.

Coignet Building Restoration Has Begun, Anticipated Completion in 2014 [GYFO]
Look Inside the Crumbling Coignet Building [Brownstoner]
City Approves Permits for Whole Foods to Restore Coignet Building [Brownstoner]
Coignet Building in Bad Shape [Brownstoner]
Photo by GYFO

03/06/14 9:30am

After a few months of demolition, the Lightstone Group has filed the first new building application for its controversial 700-unit rental development at 363 Bond Street, on the shores of the Gowanus Canal. The application outlines a plan for a 12-story development with 268 units.

The 249,571 square-foot building will include 3,625 square feet of commercial space, 1,018 square feet of community space and 244,928 square feet of residential space. The building will also have 111 underground parking spaces, a basketball court, gym, locker rooms, a lounge, children’s play area, bike storage and a pool, according to the Schedule A filing.

Meanwhile, next door at 388 Carroll Street, Lightstone has just filed a new round of demolition applications to knock down a storage shed and two silos.

Lightstone Gowanus Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Gowanus Your Face Off

02/05/14 12:15pm

This new two-bedroom, two-bath condo for rent on the border of Carroll Gardens and Gowanus is spacious and comes with a roof deck. The 1,155-square-foot pad has a large open plan living room and kitchen with a garbage disposal, dishwasher and Nespresso machine.

And the master bedroom has two closets, an en-suite bathroom and access to the roof deck. It’s also just across the bridge from the new Whole Foods and three blocks from the Carroll Street F/G. What do you think of it for $4,400 a month?

404 Bond Street, #2 [Halstead] GMAP

02/04/14 4:00pm


Gowanus residents have been debating whether the neighborhood’s rapid development will bring positive changes. Now two filmmakers want to document how Gowanus residents and workers want it to evolve in the coming decades. Jamie Courville and Chris Reynolds plan to follow development in Gowanus for a year and collect people’s visions of the hood’s future in “Gowanus Current.” Here are their instructions on how to contribute:

“If you live, work or have other involvement in Gownaus, I want to hear what your vision of the future of the neighborhood is.

I have a phone line set up to record your thoughts at 347-765-0148. Nobody will ever answer that line and you can call at any hour. Please follow this format, ‘Hello. My name is _____________ and my vision of the future of Gowanus is ________________________.’ Answers may be posted on the project’s website or used in the film.

Please pass this around to your friends and neighbors. I want everyone to be heard.”

02/03/14 10:00am

Coignet Stone - 13 small edit

An anonymous urban explorer sent us these photos of his trip inside the landmarked but dilapidated Coignet building at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, which Whole Foods is supposed to begin restoring soon. The organic food giant had promised to finish restoring the building before it opened its doors in Gowanus, but construction may have further damaged it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission fined Whole Foods $3,000 in December for failing to maintain the property.

When we stopped by last month, the building was open to the elements, with broken windows accessible on the ground floor and what looked like new structural cracks at the base of the building.

Here’s the explorer’s description of the interior:

“For the most part the interior is characterless in terms of details and finishes, but it’s really neglected, which isn’t justified for it being such a badass New York City landmark. There’s a pretty cool spiral staircase that goes from the basement to the second floor and in the basement there’s a walk-in vault. For some reason I spent most of my time down there — a combination of incredible low light and the feeling like it was the only part that didn’t have a cheap 1950′s renovation. Didn’t Whole Foods make a deal whereby they can straddle the shit out of the Coignet Building as long as they help to restore it? Some of the floors and parts of the staircase are collapsing from water damage so clearly something needs to be done. I would hate to see this follow in the footsteps of Admiral’s Row.”

Click through the jump for the rest of the photos!

City Approves Permits for Whole Foods to Restore Coignet Building [Brownstoner]
Coignet Building in Bad Shape [Brownstoner]
Photos by Gothamr


01/13/14 12:15pm

This three-bedroom, two-bath triplex in Gowanus is charming and big enough for a family. Although the listing claims the apartment is in Carroll Gardens, it’s actually just over the boundary east of Hoyt and within two blocks of the canal. The apartment is spread across a parlor floor, garden floor and a furnished basement. It also has a little private garden.

The two parlor-floor bedrooms seem nicely sized. The third is located in what the listing calls the basement, but it’s below the garden floor, which technically makes it the cellar. Usually bedroom units on that level are illegal, and in this location, we’d be worried about flooding.

The kitchen has been nicely renovated and offers a Viking stove, dishwasher and washer/dryer, as well as an island for additional counter space. And it’s only two blocks from the Carroll Street F and G trains. Of course, all this space and a garden doesn’t come cheap. What’s your opinion of it for $5,500 a month?

57 2nd Street, #1 [Halstead] GMAP

01/10/14 2:00pm

The highly anticipated Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is hosting a soft opening next week on Union Street in Gowanus, according to their Facebook page. They were offering free tickets to anyone who’d like come test out the new courts, but they sold out pretty quickly.

Owners Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert built ten indoor, 50-foot-long shuffleboard courts at 514 Union Street, which had been a 17,000-square-foot warehouse. When the club was first planned, their neighbors were concerned about noise from such a large venue. But Schnapp and Albert have since gained the support of their local community board. Royal Palms promises kitschy, 1960s Florida-inspired decor, including potted plants and retro lawn furniture, as well as grub from a revolving group of a food trucks. They’re also organizing a Brooklyn shuffleboard league.

Gowanus Shuffleboard Club Ruffling Local Feathers [Brownstoner] GMAP

Photo by Gowanus Your Face Off

01/06/14 10:00am

The graffiti-covered and abandoned MTA powerhouse known as the Gowanus Batcave is finally being cleaned out by the state, First and Court reported. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a remediation plan for the site, which housed factories for Nassau Sulfur Works and Smith and Shaw Mattress Materials and Paper Stock beginning in 1886.

Brooklyn Rapid Transit acquired the property to use as a powerhouse in 1904, and “under their ownership, it appears that coal was delivered by water and transported beneath the site via coal tunnel,” the state notes. It was later owned by the Williamsburg Power Plant Corp. and then the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which used it as an electrical substation and switching yard until 1996.

Plans include removing “grossly contaminated soil” and any soil that contains high levels of PCBs. The public comment period for the plan will last 45 days, from January 3 until February 17. Owner Joshua Rechnitz has said he wants to build art galleries and studio spaces on the site.

Remediation Plan Proposed for the Gowanus Batcave [First and Court]
Photo by Gothamruins

12/19/13 10:00am

Lighstone has demolished the first of two old brick warehouses on Bond Street between 1st and 2nd streets in Gowanus, to make way for their 700-unit rental development, Pardon Me For Asking reported. Demolition work began earlier this week but hit a snag on Tuesday.

The demolition crew broke a water main and flooded the entire southwest end of the site, with water flowing down 2nd Street and into the canal, according to Gowanus Your Face Off. GYFO also got some great photos of the flooding, which of course happened while it was snowing.

The 100-year-old warehouse at 365 Bond Street has been reduced to a pile of rubble, and the adjacent warehouse at 363 Bond will likely be taken down in the next couple days, PMFA predicted.

After the jump, we’ve included a photo of the warehouse when it was still standing and another one of the demolition site.

Photos by Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking