Van Brunt Street


Calvacade of old electronics...

Found on Bond Street.


*SEWERAMA! * Proteus Gowanus on Sunday

Sewage has been a topic discussed on F.I.B on many a blog post but Proteus Gowanus has taken it 1 million steps furthur by devoting several hours to the topic starting at 4pm on Sunday.

From their press release:


"A multimedia presentation with all the information you can stomach about our sewers
and how they affect the Gowanus Canal.

The first in a series of events sponsored by
The Hall of the Gowanus
The only exhibition space in NYC dedicated to the Gowanus Canal
A Project of Proteus Gowanus

One of the defining features of modern life is that we can dispose of waste with the push of a button or the crank of a lever and never think twice about the consequences. But still there lurks the nagging question: Are we really rid of it all?

If you live in Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, or Gowanus and it’s a rainy day, chances are that what you flush down the toilet will end up in the Gowanus Canal. That’s because New York City channels street runoff and household sewage into a Combined Sewer System which responds to excess flow (ie from heavy rains) by discharging it into our waterways.

Will the recent designation of the Gowanus as a Superfund Site solve this problem? The answer is decidedly murky. But that does not mean that solutions are not available. Find out what New York City’s Combined Sewer System means to you and whether there is any hope for the Gowanus Canal, Superfund or no.


Novelist Elizabeth Gaffney will read from the chapter “Down the Manhole” in her novel of 19th C New York, Metropolis.

Environmental Planner Kate Zidar and teaching artist Valeria Mogilevich will explain how the Combined Sewer System works by using the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s Sewer In a Suitcase.

Eric Rothstein, Managing Partner of eDesign Dynamics, will describe sustainable methods for reducing combined sewer overflow. These low-impact development methods will include technologies for infiltrating, detaining, and re-using stormwater before it reaches the combined sewer system.

Susannah C. Drake, principal of Dlandstudio, LLC, will present the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park plan, a multifunctional public open space project that slows, absorbs and filters surface water runoff with the goal of remediating contaminated water.

In addition, on display in the Hall of the Gowanus will be The Water Underground, a video by City-As-School high school students in conjunction the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), and other art, artifacts and books relating to the Gowanus."

Rebecca Levi "Dirty Lines" Pop Up Art Show

I received this invite to Rebecca Levi's show that takes place in Greenpoint over the weekend. Love the pulp fiction inspired embroideries!

Dirty Lines: Illustrations & Soft-Core Embroideries
The Art of Rebecca Levi
2-Day Pop-Up Gallery at

Kill Devil Hill
170 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

*take the G to Greenpoint Ave


Characters of the Gowanus

The Watchdog from Characters of Gowanus on Vimeo.

Check out this fab multimedia website made by Sarah Portlock and Rob Anderson. It is the culmination of "many hours of inhaling eau de Gowanus". The duo has done a thorough job presenting all sides and facets of the that neighborhood and features interviews with both pro and anti-superfund supporters, the EPA's Walter Mugdon, photographers, scientists, denizens of the american can factory etc...lots of great video and photographs, check it out!

From their press release:

"The beloved waterway and surrounding neighborhood has been in the news a lot lately, but there's more behind the facts of this long-awaited Superfund cleanup. Amidst the muck and stink, there's a vibrant, thriving community of New Yorkers — Brooklynites, really — who care deeply about this post-industrial neighborhood, its diverse history, and its rich potential. You may know these citizens as your neighbors, friends, or someone you see regularly crossing the Carroll Street bridge, but these are also the people who have managed to thrive on what the neighborhood offers them. Artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs are inspired by the area's landscapes and details, and have opened up studios, event spaces, and businesses in former manufacturing warehouses. Scientists have discovered micro-organisms that might be used to create new medicines. Architects and urban designers imagine waterfront esplanades, recreation and a thriving oyster population in and along the canal’s shores. And its own longtime residents aren’t going to let planning for the future happen without their input.

This Web site, created as a multimedia thesis at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, features those stories and captures the passion and the energy of this unwavering breed of Brooklynite — the characters of Gowanus. We also created an interactive timeline of the Gowanus Canal from the 1600s to present, interviewed the EPA regional Superfund director, Walter Mugdan, and explain just what it is that's going on here."

Click here to see the whole thing!


The Perfect Getaway Car

Van Brunt Street, Red Hook.


X: THE HUMAN CONDITION perform this Thursday (answer trivia question for a free pair of tickets!)

Experience the feeling of "synesthesia" at the record release party and performace by X: THC when they perform at Clemente Soto Velez Center ’s Flamboyan Theater on Thursday, March 25th at 8:00pm.

From their press release:

"X: THC combines both music and film in this creative and unforgettable live experience taking on themes of isolation, loneliness, and detachment. By integrating different media forms through “synesthesia” (cross-sensory experience), X: THC extends their own experiences to the audience, including them and affirming the fact that each of us is not alone.

Musically, X: THC combines chilled, shattered beats, and edgy indie rock songwriting to create a lush, ambient soundscape. The songs conjure shades of post-punk, new wave, and electronica—yet they weave a seductive, hypnotic sound all their own.

The album is accompanied by X: THC’s original film, whose wistful and mysterious imagery creates an utterly unique and uplifting experience. Citing Tim Burton, Michel Gondry, Darren Aronofsky, Jean Cocteau, and The Brothers Grimm as major influences, X: THC’s visual companion to the performance is a surrealistic trip inside the human subconscious."

X: The Human Condition Record Release Party
March 25 at 8PM (Doors at 7pm)
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center’s Flamboyan Theater
107 Suffolk Street, (between Rivington and Delancey St .) New York , NY
$10 Admission (Purchased at door)

Giveaway Trivia Question!

What is the first song that appears on the media player in the top right corner when you click here.
Tickets are still available!!!! (as of 10pm on monday)

A: Mr Happy
B: Don't Cry
C: A Human Flood

send answers to Lisannem(at)gmail(dot)net. The first correct answer gets the tickets.



Atlantic Yards Bobbleheads take on Cuomo over Tainted Campaign Contribution on Thursday

This just in from the Fightin' Freddy's.

Bobbleheads Attack - Doing Lunch with Cuomo

Atlantic Yards Bobbleheads take on Cuomo over Tainted Campaign Contribution

"One week ago, Thursday, March 11, 2010, the controversial groundbreaking for the Atlantic Yards project took the headlines. Yet, all Brooklyn politicians except the borough president avoided the ceremony. This is the first public indication that the political tide is turning against developer Bruce Ratner.

Nine bobbleheads, seen last week on television and in the top five political pictures in the The New York Times and the Washington Post, will be calling on Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo will be asked, by the bobblehead likeness of himself, to do his job for the people of New York by investigating Ratner. It's a slam-dunk because the evidence is nine blocks up the street at the Federal Courthouse. But first, Cuomo must return the $5,000 contribution he has received from Bruce Ratner. This contribution gives the appearance that Cuomo is favoring Ratner by his unwillingness to indict Ratner for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to bribe a city council member in Yonkers.

Ratner has received favors from the government, including land, subsidies, and--apparently--immunity from prosecution. But the bribe Forest City Ratner allegedly paid in Yonkers could lead to the end of Bruce's career now that Brooklyn politicians have largely abandoned Ratner and his Atlantic Yards project. It is huge. And the bobbleheads (3 ft tall photo-realistic heads of NY's leaders) want to help Attorney General and possible future Governor Andrew Cuomo move the case forward.

FIRST: RETURN RATNER's DONATION: Cuomo has accepted campaign donations from Ratner, and this gives the appearance of gross impropriety, since Cuomo has dragged his feet in investigating and indicting Ratner despite evidence (cancelled checks) held by the U.S. Southern District Court just up the street from Cuomo's office.

SECOND: GET THE ALLEGED BRIBE CHECKS FROM THE FEDS AND INDICT RATNER: According to the federal indictment against City Council Member Sandy Annabi and her alleged co-conspirators, the "corrupt payments" allegedly came in the form of paychecks for a no-show job to a relative of Annabi.

Annabi is charged with changing her vote on Ratner's $631 Million Ridge Hill project which overrode the Westchester County Planning Board's rejection and let the massive project go through. The allegedly tainted vote has not been annulled, and the project that is the subject of the bribery allegations is continuing, although at least one anchor store, Saks Fifth Avenue, has pulled out since the start of Annabi's trial.

At Thursday's noon press conference outside of 120 Broadway, Bobblehead Cuomo, and others, will remind Atty. General Cuomo that you don't let Mr. Big go free so you can catch the little fish. And you don't keep donations from someone who has allegedly provided evidence that he and his company bribed a public official."

WHAT: Bobblehead Lunch Hour Press Conference

WHO: Bobbleheads of Governor Paterson, Former Governors Pataki and Spitzer, Senator Charles Schumer, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Mikhail Prokhorov, Bruce Ratner, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

WHERE: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's Office, 120 Broadway, Manhattan. Outside.

WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 12 Noon

*Photo from the New York Times.


Gowanus Whole Foods Site Flooded

To those that don't take the threat of rising tides and flooding in the Gowanus seriously, all I can say is a picture is worth a thousand words. These photos were sent to me by a reader with some very astute observations.

View from 3rd Avenue Bridge that is over the turning basin behind Whole Foods site.

"Wetland it is! Looking at the picture makes you wonder just how a "green" organic market can look at this wetlands and think "good place for a market". It more mind boggling that they designed a building as a cellar with parking on top. A cellar would have to be 2/3rd below grade!"

And here we have the canal flooding Dyke's lumber yard which is across from the Whole Foods site.

I wonder how high the tides are in the basement of the lumberyard?

Some food for thought, Whole Foods!


Vigil for Hate Crime In Carroll Gardens-Monday.

Many of you might of heard that last Tuesday a man was brutally beaten by a bunch of thugs shouting anti-gay epithets on Hamilton Avenue near Luquer Street in Carroll Gardens. (Read more about it here.)

In response, many groups, elected officials and community members are holding a vigil which will take place on Monday evening.

Time: 8:30 p.m.
Place: Luquer St. between Hamilton Ave. and Clinton St., Brooklyn.

Show up to show your support for this innocent man but also to send a message that hate crimes will not be tolerated.


Gowanus Artist Melanie Fischer brings the "Outside in" to the Central Park Arsenal Gallery

Two years ago I visited the studio of Melanie Fischer during the Gowanus Aghast Open Studio weekend. I just loved how fun, tactile and interactive her work was, while I was in her studio I even took a ride on a swing (click on link at bottom!)

Melanie currently has a fantastic sounding installation in the Arsenal building (near the zoo) in Central Park. I for one can't wait to experience it.

Check out what "Art Talk" has to say about the show.

"Push anxieties aside, step away from the television, and take a seat in Melanie Fischer's imaginative world, Outside In, a uniquely interactive installation of fabric foliage that transforms the Arsenal Gallery into a textile wonderland.

From March 3 to April 22, Fischer creates a fanciful retreat, relying on materials that would not exist without technology-such as Astroturf and printed fabrics-yet still craft a tactile experience normally lost in our increasingly virtual world. Visitors are invited to utilize the exhibit's coloring books and sheets, draw on fabric coins, and make wishes in a mermaid fountain.

"For six weeks, an animated Central Park will slip into the Arsenal building during Melanie Fischer's exhibit, Outside In," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Just as the park is waking up for milder temperatures, Melanie Fischer's creations will rouse the senses of its viewers. We hope this exhibit will inspire visitors to head outside to experience the natural beauty in New York City's parks this spring."

Bright colors, animated scale, and wooly materials lure viewers into warmly nostalgic worlds that increase in complexity upon closer inspection. Fischer's vibrant cloth sculptures are composed of sewn and embroidered fabrics that cover wire and pipe frames. She also transposes these sculptures into collages, drawings and miniature escapes. Fischer's lively refuges, small and large, ignite anesthetized senses."

The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks, and park history. It is located on the third floor of the NYC Parks & Recreation headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for holidays. Admission is free.

Read the post about my visit to Melanie's studio here.


!!!PROTEST EMINENT DOMAIN at Atlantic Yards "Groundbreaking" Ceremony!!! Thursday @12:30!!!

From a message from the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods:


The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods today called on its dozens of member organizations and the tens of thousands of community residents of Prospect Heights, Ft. Greene, Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant and Boerum Hill, and all citizens disgusted with the abuse of public process that is called Atlantic Yards, to show up for a protest to the “groundbreaking” scheduled for March 11, 2010.

From the Call To Action message:

“To all CBN members, Brooklyn residents, NYC residents, fellow advocates for good government, and everyone disgusted by taxpayer abuse, corporate welfare, and sham politics:

The poster child for everything wrong with development in New York State today, Forest City Ratner’s disastrous Atlantic Yards project, is scheduled for a sham groundbreaking tomorrow. We must ALL show up to protest this

The Shams and the Shame
The AY process has been a sham since before day one.

Sham #1: Six years ago, in violation of every development requirement for an open bidding process, Mayor Bloomberg, Boro President Markowitz, and then Governor George Pataki announced a development to be called Atlantic Yards. After the first howls of protest at this dismissal of process, a sham Request for Proposals was circulated. The winner? The previously annointed Forest City Ratner.
Sham #2: The Starchitect. In an attempted gloss on the mostly hideous buildings previously inflicted on Brooklyn, FCR announces the miraculous Frank Gehry would be the sole architect. Gehry, who had never engineered a single skyscraper, designed at least four iterations of his unworkable designs before being canned.
Sham #3: FCR announces significant community support with the unveiling of a document signed by 8 organizations, 5 of them formed by FCR and all of them receiving payments from FCR. This was called a Community Benefits Agreement. All good government groups have already labeled this sham a SHAM, earning Atlantic Yards another star on its Poster Child of Bad Development scoreboard.
(…Skipping ahead…)

Sham #167
: Politicians and prosecutors ignore FCR’s involvement as what some have describes as an unindicted co-conspirator in Yonkers’ Ridge Hill (a development by Forest City Ratner) bribery scandal which has resulted in FBI indictments of Yonkers city councilmembers for allegedly soliciting and accepting bribes from “Developer #2,” identified as Forest City Ratner.
Sham #168: FCR maintains it will break ground on another building in addition to the George Foreman Grill-like arena during the current year, even though no architect has been contracted and no designs exist, a process that generally takes a minimum of 2 years. In a related Sham, the new head of the Municipal Art Society blesses the arena and says his firm would be happy to be considered to design towers for Atlantic Yards.
Sham #169: Governor Paterson defends continuing the money pit of the public subsidy sucking Atlantic Yards project, despite his own warnings of imminent Depression status for New York. He said we wouldn’t be able to see if it was a good project or a bad project until we wait another 10 years!

Is that a good enough evaluation to close schools and hospitals to balance a budget that showers public subsidies on a billionaire from Cleveland, and a Russian billionaire-“oligarch”, for an unnecessary arena and NO PUBLIC BENEFITS?


March 11, 2010
12:30 PM
Gather at 6th Avenue and Dean Street, (in front of Freddy’s)


Brooklyn Documentary Night @ Freddy's Wednesday* 8:30 Sharp!

On the eve of Ratner's ceremonial groundbreaking, the Kings County Cinema Society, "an informal organization devoted to the unfettered, unbiased love of film and the moving image in the borough of Brooklyn , and occasionally beyond" presents:

Locally-made docs at Freddy's, screening 3 Brooklyn made docs which include footage and clips from "Battle of Brooklyn" a doc about the Atlantic Yards.

Michael Galinsky will be on hand with interview footage and clips from a rough cut of their investigation into the politics of the massive Atlantic Yards/ Barclays Center development, Battle of Brooklyn.

Wednesday, March 10
Wed. 3/10, 8:30pm SHARP.

Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, 485 Dean St. @ 6th Ave , 2/3 to Bergen , any train to Atlantic Pacific.
Freddy's Backroom.

P.S- There is going to be a rally on Thursday during the groundbreaking, gather at 12:30 at Freddy's, read about it here.


Art Show at Freddy's this Sunday

This could very well be the last art show held at Freddy's Backroom as the wrecking ball of Bruce Ratner looms over their roof. Please come and show your support for this neighborhood institution which is not only a bar but a place that has been host to a plethora of creative artists.

Freddy's you shall be missed!

From Freddy's press release:

13 Years of Art in Freddy’s Backroom:
What is Gone is Not Forgotten
Sunday, March 7th 6pm.

Freddy’s Bar and backroom responds to New York State Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges ruling that will allow the condemnations to move forward on the building that houses Freddy’s Bar on Dean Street by holding an art retrospective of 13 Years of international as well as local art exhibited in Freddy’s backroom. (This will still give us months to continue the fight, we will never die.)

From Painting to Video to the Museum of Drunken Art, this show will exhibit a wide variety of Fine Art from Freddy’s finest artists. Proceeds will go the “Hand Cuff Fund” for the Chains of Justice that were installed into the physical Bar at Freddy’s on 12/20/09.

Artists: Katie Welty, Margot Spindelman, Steve Pauley, Nancy Drew, Lisanne McTernan, Donald O’Finn, Steve DeSeve, Dirk Richarson, Dan Sagarin, Peter Teraberry, David Strome, Andy Friedman, Haynes Atkins, and Tim Harrod.

Freddys Bar & Backroom
485 Dean St. @ 6th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 622-7035

EPA Meeting Recap Addressing the Superfund Nomination of the Gowanus

It was a long meeting and I took tons of notes, the usually things were discussed except this time it is actually going to go forward! This is an abbreviated version in layman's terms.

The steps are first for a remedial investigation which will be done by the end of 2010. Then a feasibility study, where they basically analyse data and come up with costs hopefully by the end of 2011. Then they announce a proposal with another comment period until the middle of 2012, pick their final choice or "record of decision" based off of comments and data. Then they design the chosen option and figure out how much sediment to dig out (it's risen 3 feet in the last 7 years!) They have already started their studies and basically it's all about how to dredge all that coal tar out of there and figure out where to transport it (i told you layman's terms!). They did say that they are going to try to do as much as possible by barge so not to create major new traffic in the area. OK, so I figure in 2015 they will start construction. Many of the PRP's or "Potentially Responsible Parties" are big companies with "deep pockets" like National Grid, Kraft, DuPont, Chevron who will be paying for the cleanup in their areas. The best part was after the meeting and many activists in the neighborhood could FINALLY celebrate something!

Read more about it at Pardon Me For Asking.


Thursday Night Happenings

So much going on this Thursday, here is just a few.

I am sure by now you have all heard that the Gowanus Canal has gotten Superfunded! If you are not sure what this is all about, click on the youtube video at the top right to see community outrage before the desigination and understand why we will all be celebrating tomorrow night after the meeting!!! I have been listening to the Mayor's office whining about how their plan is quicker today and all I can do is laugh. All I have to say is, "Where were you before the Toll Brothers wanted to build?" And to the Toll Brothers."Thanks for pulling out of your project even though there is no stigma here, the canal has ALWAYS been polluted, people know it and live here anyway but in buildings that were built over 100 years ago. The gall that you guys had to dig into the ground and say that it's not that polluted is astounding. For once the truth has prevailed!"

OK so back to Thursday..

1. Thee EPA meeting.
The EPA will meet with the public to discuss "upcoming activity" along the Gowanus.
When: Thursday, March 4, 2010
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: P.S. 58 auditorium
330 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY
(entrance to the school is on Carroll Street)

*Should be a media circus so I advise you to get there early.

2. Melanie Hope Greenberg, illustrator of the fab book >Mermaids on Parade and friend of F.I.B will be at Superfine in Dumbo for the March 2010 Women's History Month Celebration where Brooklyn Honors Local Artists and Literature. Superfine is a at 126 Front Street Dumbo Brooklyn 718.243.9005
Opening Reception March 4, 6-8pm

3.This one sounds positively gothic!“Death Becomes Them”: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious; a reading and lecture at Proteus Gowanus.

Nevins Street and Union (entrance in the alley on Nevins)

Time: 8:00
Admission: $5.00
Read the gory details here

4. Jenna Hunt Astrology readings at Beast Restaurant & Bar in Prospect Heights!
Info here.


Treat Yourself to an Astrology Reading by Jenna Hunt this Thursday Night at Beast!

Ever feel like you just want to know if there really *is* something in the stars that make certain things happen at certain times? I know I do. So, the other week I stopped by Beast in Prospect Heights and had my astrological chart analyzed by Jenna Hunt. Jenna knows her stuff and has a natural intuition that will have you wondering if she has been eavesdropping on your life! This is not only a unique thing to do for yourself on a Thursday night but also fun and cost less than a mani/pedi!

If you go, you must provide Jenna with the time, place and date of your birth. Jenna charges just 15 dollars for a 20 minute reading and Beast has a nice comfortable candlelit atmosphere. It is a restaurant but it is also seems to be a popular neighborhood bar. And the night I was there, there were drink specials for "the ladies". Jenna is sincere and works hard at what she does, astrology is confusing but she has the ability to explain just what exactly happens when "your mars is in scorpio"! LOOK OUT!!!!

From Jenna's bio:

"Over the years, the concept of synchronicity or "meaningful coincidences" is the touchstone theory which has become a central focus of Jenna Hunt's work, recognizing patterns, iterations, and symbolism, through her studies and experience with feng shui, astrology and flower remedies and how people can benefit when seeking meaning, answers & understanding."

Check out her website here.

And a review of one of her consultations here.

Go found out what are in your stars!

Beast is located at 638 Bergen Street at the corner of Vanderbilt.
Jenna will be there from 7:30 to 11:00.

Gowanus Canal a *DESIGNATED* Superfund Site!

From a statement from Judith Enck, the E.P.A. regional administrator:

“After conducting our own evaluations and consulting extensively with the many people who have expressed interest in the future of the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding area, we have determined that a Superfund designation is the best path to a cleanup of this heavily contaminated and long neglected urban waterway,”

After years of community activists speaking up against the developer's plan to put housing on the shores of the aquatic brownfield that is the Gowanus which then turned into supporting the EPA when they stepped in last April when the Toll Brothers got special "spot zoning" to build, something rational has finally happened. The canal will be cleaned the RIGHT way without putting the developers before the existing community. Hallelujah!!

The RESIDENTS of the community have tirelessly spread the word of the importance of Superfunding, a massive petition drive was organized within days of finding out about the nomination to encourage people to submit comments to the EPA's website, films were made, politicians were met with, the EPA themselves said that they had never had such massive community support.

I am happy to say that sometimes you can fight city hall and WIN!!!

Read the statement in today's New York Times.


*EPA Hosts Meeting to Discuss Upcoming Activities on the Gowanus Canal*Thursday

Yes, another meeting. I hope there will be some news on if it's getting designated as a superfund project or not! The use of the words "upcoming activities" gives me some hope.

From the EPA's press release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites you to attend a public information meeting to discuss upcoming activities at the Gowanus Canal.

When: Thursday, March 4, 2010
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: P.S. 58 auditorium
330 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY
(entrance to the school is on Carroll Street)

This meeting will include a brief presentation followed by a question and
answer period.

For more information about the meeting or other site related issues you can contact:

Natalie Loney
Community Involvement Coordinator
(212) 637-3639 or 1-800-346-5009

Christos Tsiamis
Remedial Project Manager
(212) 637-4257

Additional site related documents are available here.