360 Smith Street and C.O.R.D on the News

In case you don't get Channel 12 as I do, check out the recent interview with representatives from C.O.R.D with coverage of the "Democracy Wall" (I do believe The Gowanus Lounge coined that name). The interview takes place at the Carroll Street subway plaza in front of 360 Smith Street where members of the community have not given up the fight to stop architect Robert Scarano from constructing another building which is out of character and out of scale with the existing neighborhood. Please note that at the end of the broadcast it is said that Councilman Bill DeBlasio's office says that Robert Scarano will be "submitting a revised plan for 360 Smith Street in the New Year that will work more with the community".

Let's hope so, but it seems nothing stops this man from doing what he wants. Will C.O.R.D be the first?

Meanwhile the community in Carroll Gardens and also in Kensington are well aware that Councilman Bill DeBlasio has been more unavailable than usual as he is in Ohio with Hilary Clinton rather than answering his constituents questions.


Best Architectural Blunder of 2007

Since it’s the end of year and everyone is making their lists of “Bests” and “Worsts”. I am going to put my vote in for this as “Best Architectural Blunder”. The people of Carroll Gardens and the Gowanus have been subjected to this postmodern Scarano sculpture for way too long. I say dismantle it! Or keep it as is. I’ve sort of gotten used to it in a sick way. It sort of looks like something I saw in the New Museum last month!

Check out how this hulking thing towers over the little 19th century row house that always goes all out in the decorating department for EVERY holiday. I suppose the new condo residents will think them “quaint”. That is, if the little house survives upcoming construction as I heard the D.O.B gave Scarano the O.K to start working on it again.

While I'm on the subject, the "Department of Buildings" goes down as the "Most Corrupt City Office", well one of the most, there are many. Doesn't matter that people have died on his building sites, neighboring homes have been destroyed, families have been displaced or that he has self certified and has built buildings way taller than he is supposed to; the City of New York says "Let him continue to build!", something is veeerrrry fishy here, don't you think?

The whole situation is mired in corruption, I hope someone blows the roof (literally and figuratively) of the Department of Buildings house soon.


Found on Nevins Street: F.I.B's Mandala.

Stare at this and think about just how friggin' classic the Chevy logo is. That elongated cross is strong!


Art Dog has an Arch Nemesis!

I noticed that demolition started up again on the corner of Third & Bond Street. The developers actually have a blog on Brownstoner chronicling the trials and tribulations of their quest to build housing on toxic land. Are they also trying to be down with the street artists while they are at it?

I am no fan of real estate blogs as I see them as part of the problem of the borification and homogenization of NYC (check out their advertisers!) but I do check Brownstoner out about once a month to see what the progress is on this fantastically interesting project as it up the street from me. What type of sinks will they use?! Who will do the gardening?! A real cliffhanger, I tell you.

Apparantly they've got an artist that works on many of their projects which include the fabulous NYU dorms on 12th Street in Manhattan. I guess she is the anti- Art Dog! They rarely mention the fact that they are opening up earth in the midst of toxic brown and aquatic brownfields but hey, it’s really no big deal. The fact that Whole Foods probably won’t ever be setting up shop a couple hundred yards away due to environmental reasons is a non issue.I just find it a shame that times are so tough in this city for artists that they find themselves employed by the very people that would displace them.

Unless that is, they make over 80K a year which seems to be the income that qualifies one as eligible for "affordable housing" in these types of units.

Union Street

Have you noticed the holidays have rendered F.I.B speechless? Not much to say, except, my body sort of feels like the way this house looks after three days of holiday indulging (all good of course!).

P.S - Happy Boxing Day!


Yule Tidings from F.I.B!

This about the only decoration I put out this year and yes, it was found on the street a few years ago!

Peace Babies!!!

Baltic Street


Photography is a Crime? Since When?

Along with the many people, places and things that have been disappearing at a rapid pace here in our beloved City of New York; it seems our rights as citizens of the United States are disappearing too. Although this is no new news about our current society, which uses terms like “Homeland Security” in order to violate people’s privacy, it hit a bit closer to home yesterday. Well-known Greenpoint Blogger Miss. Heather of New York Shitty was stopped and questioned by the police while taking photographs of Christmas decorations!

Here is what happened in her words:

I just arrived home from one of the most infuriating experiences I have ever had in my life. Although I plan to write a tongue-in-cheek post about it after I finish this email, I want to give you a quick rundown because the implications for anyone who takes the Bill of Rights seriously are NOT good.

Today I decided to go out and take pictures. This is something I have done 2-3 times a week for two years. Today, however, is the first time I have been DETAINED BY THE POLICE for doing so. Was I trespassing? No. Was I told why I was being detained? YES. After demanding to be told THREE TIMES: someone called 311 and reported a "suspicious person" taking photographs.

Now I will be the first person to admit that the intersection of Kingsland Avenue and Herbert Street is NOT located in the nicest neighborhood in the world, but does that bar a person (and anyone who has met me can attest that I hardly look like Public Enemy #1) from walking over there and taking photographs? If you were to hear the line of questioning the police "officer" used, one would certainly think so:

P.O.: If you live in north Greenpoint, what are you doing here?
Me: Taking pictures, is that against the law?
P.O.: No.
Me: Hausman Street always goes all-out with their Christmas decorations; I just got done taking pictures of them.

My identification was pored over, recorded and shown to (who I was told) a police Lieutenant (who pulled up in an unmarked police car). Obviously I was let go without a citation (I suppose they couldn't figure out what to charge me with), but my personal information will now grace a file folder at the 94th Precinct.

I have a creeping suspicion a contractor on Kingsland made this phone call--- although my recent drubbing of Ms. Lancaster makes one wonder. Consider yourself warned.

In my opinion these cops would be an asset to the Department Buildings Violations Bureau, imagine if they used that energy to question the contractors on what is going on at the construction sites? Just this afternoon I walked by Scarano’s building on Bond Street which has signs all over it, “Workers must Wear Hard Hats, and guess what? Nobody was! Oh well, it’s their head not mine.

I guess it makes more sense to go after a woman wearing a Sanrio hat taking pictures of Christmas decorations.

But I digress, I have actually been a bit hesitant to take photos of that building myself these days as not only does the building look like a bunker, he has loud barking attack dogs on the premises and they’ve recently put up signs that there are surveillance cameras on the premises. (Who was it that the Italians allied themselves with during WW II again?)

So kids, especially you blogger types that like to take photos and do not have the benefit of a press badge, be careful out there.


Meanwhile back in Brooklyn...

Sheesh...I didn't expect the dialogue regarding the post below so I just want to bring us back to reality. I enjoy this type of Christmas display just as much as the bling of Manhattan, if not more so!So in the spirit of Christmas which I should hope we all practice all year round, let's Let it Go! and look for a free (ie:recycled ie: green (the buzzword of 2007) together on Friday night, shall we?

But you have to admit, that "boot" picture below was pretty hot, no?


Christmas In Money Makin' Manhattan

My sister told me the other night that I have a bad relationship with people who have "money" and that I should stop bashing them on da blog. I really don't do it too much, yeah I had a fit about the couple with the double baby stroller on the subway, and yeah I also had a melt down on Smith Street one Sunday brunch time afternoon but I wouldn't have a problem if the people that had money walked around looking like Rita Hayworth, as I would if I could afford me some Alexander McQueen! F.I.B went to the 57th Avenue area today and was quite impressed with the Christmas windows in the old school New York Department store windows this year. These in particular are from Bergdorf's dahling...Anyway, it was another world from the craftsy Brooklyn Christmas stylee, I felt like I needed a face lift, a facial and a haircut. This one is for you Eileen!!!!

Help Appeared Just When I Needed It!


A "Green" Christmas Tip

Kensington Lobby

I haven’t been much in the Christmas spirit despite living in one of the decorating epicenters of Brooklyn. There is a guy with a Christmas-ized working Ferris Wheel on his front lawn that I walk by everyday and even that doesn't affect me. I think it's because I was raised in a house where we never got a tree until Christmas Eve. All my life I thought it was a quaint old world tradition (well, actually it kind of is) but a couple years ago I found out the real reason we did that was because the trees were half price on Christmas Eve.

Another childhood memory shattered.

These days you can't even get a tree on Christmas Eve; I know because I've tried in the past. All the sellers are gone. But ironically the sidewalks are already full of discarded trees as so many people leave town over Christmas and don’t want to come home to a dead tree. So a tip from me, if buying a 75 dollar Christmas tree is something you can’t fathom or afford this year, you can get one for free quite possibly as early as next Friday. This town is going to be deserted as Christmas falls on a Monday and mark my words the sidewalks, particularly in the posh brownstone neighborhoods, are going to be littered with perfectly good trees (the poor dears!).


Check WWIB Out.

F.I.B would like to direct you over to Who Walk in Brooklyn so you can read Brian Berger's interview with Jim Knipfel from the inside of the luxurious Shore Hotel out at Coney. They talk about more than just Knipfel's new book Noogie’s Time To Shine , they also riff on Brooklyn (of course), crime blotters, the band Killdozer, film noir, the internet, other writers and so much more. It's an interview that is more like friends hanging out talking about things like The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. (One of F.I.B's favorites too!) so it's a fun read.

And while your'e over at WWIB , puh-lease click on the photos that are waaaaaaaaaay too small on his blog (so you can actually SEE them!) as Brian is an excellent documentary style photographer.


Overdevelopment a Runaway Train?

The Artist/Activist known as Art Dog has had to find new venues for his or her message as the paintings (or as Councilman Bill de Blasio has called "graffiti") have been being destroyed recently. Looks like this expressionist piece is comparing "out of control development" to a "runaway train".

F.I.B likes to look at this as a symbol not just for Carroll Gardens but for ALL of Brooklyn.

Anyway, here is the cryptic message that came along with this photo.

Seen in a 'prominent' Upper East Side gallery recently,
this painting has the words:
"OVERDEVELOPMENT in Carroll Gardens is a runaway train."
"Where is the Councilman?"
"Who really cares about 360 Smith Street?"
"Shame on Bill D. and Billy Stein: Second Place is not a wide street!"

Signed, NYC Art Lover


Icky goes to 11!

Carroll Street

I am pleased to announce that although I do not live in Windsor Terrace and refer to myself in the third person at times, F.I.B has just made Icky in Brooklyn's Windsor Terrace Top Eleven! Many of my favorite bloggers are on this list so I am highly honored to be amongst them. Check us out!

P.S- This is what Icky says about Found in Brooklyn: "Funky fotos and found stuff from Carroll Gardens and Gowanus." This one's for you. Icky!


Redd Kross Freak Out at Southpaw!

The Brothers McDonald. Back off girls they're married!

Who are Redd Kross you say? Bubblegum, Psychedelia, Pop, Punk, Linda Blair, Charles Manson and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls are just a few of the influences that explain their music. They've been around over 20 years so just read this wikipedia description if you care to know the fascinating details. They made no bones last night about the fact that they were going to play nothing but what the fans wanted to hear on this trip to NYC and that they did. All the old stuff, Linda Blair, Charlie, White Trash, basically everything from "Neurotica" and "Born Innocent" albums. Lots of smiles and screams from the audience.

Check out my cheap camera video of Redd Kross covering this classic Frightwig tune, "It's a crazy world". The screaming was pretty constant during the whole show, the girls just love Redd Kross!


New York Calling goes Uptown.

In case you misssed it, my very opinionated (in a good way!) compadre, Brian Berger, over at Who Walk in Brooklyn was interviewed in The Gothamist yesterday.Also the good folks over at Develop Don't Destroy have featured him as well.

F.I.B readers may have noticed I've been pimping the book Brian co-edited called New York Calling:From Blackout to Bloomberg for the last couple months, that's because it's a must read! I believe this is the last stop on the tour.

Here is the info:
December 7 at 7:00 pm
Book Culture (formerly Labyrinth)
536 W. 112th St
The Island of Manhattan!
novelist Meredith Brosnan
acrobat Marshall Berman
mime Brian Berger & ...

Check out Brian's blog people, it does not review restaurants, promote Christmas Craft Fairs or talk about construction violations. It's different. It's weird. It's wacky. It's real. He is interviewing Jim Knipfel from the inside of the Shore Hotel next week. Plus F.I.B has a film review up on his site, stay tuned for my next assignment, it's a doozy.


Found on Bond Street near DeGraw.

I swear I didn't arrange this scenario! I passed by this grecian pogo stick scene (with broom I might add) on my way to that Gowanus Forum which even though representatives from the city, state and federal goverment were there, surprise surprise, not many of the communities concerns were answered. The city is using population and rain accumulation figures from 1987 to conduct their "studies". It's hard to believe this information is given out with straight faces. Nevermind the fact that condos are sprouting all around the Gowanus and the population will grow into the 10's of thousands once the Atlantic Yards are built. Oh and also what about the increase in heavy rain due to global warming? We all know heavy rain brings on the sewage and how about the combination of heavy rain and 1,000's of new residents? None of these issues were addressed by the panel but of course those were the questions that F.R.O.G.G and other local groups wanted to talk about. The general consensus on the panel was that if the Gowanus Canal were in Iraq we might get the funding to clean it up oh and that the City's Enviromental Protection Agency is open to everybody's "out of the box" comments. I'm sure they will be all over them (not!).

Calling All Brooklyn Artists!

Well, not all artists, not those snobby humorless types but the fab type that are willing to hang their art in Freddy's Backroom for the month of February. I've got a pretty good group together so far but I WANT MORE! Do you like to make art out of stuff you've FOUND on the streets of our fair borough? Have you FOUND art on the streets? Do you take interesting photos of Brooklyn? Any variation and any other configuration is acceptable in order to participate in the "Found in Brooklyn" art show (which also coincides with F.I.B's 1 Year Anniversary).

Contact the email address at the above right hand corner (lisannem@gmail.com) for more info.

Bands to follow opening. Very to happy to have the swingin' Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.on board!


Gowanus Canal Public Forum * Thursday

When you're talking Gowanus Canal, you can't NOT mention it without noting its toxic state. If you are curious about what the State, Federal and City representatives are saying about it then go to this meeting. It's brought to you by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

"The Future of the Gowanus Canal: A Community Forum on the Environmental Quality"

In attendance: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis. Representatives from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and a variety of Gowanus Canal advocates.

There will be a question and answer period. The question must be written up on index cards that will be provided.

Thursday December 6, 2007
6-8 PM
Belarusian Church - Atlantic Ave at Bond Street
For details call State Senator Montgomery's Office at 718-643-6140

Sponsoring organizations include Community Board 6, the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corp, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, FROGG, the Urban Divers and many others.


New Museum on the Bowery

The grand opening of the New Museum of Contemporary Art last night was calm and civilized. I was expecting lines and crowds. I half expected friend K and I turning around and going to the Mars Bar and hanging out with the antithesis of the cultural set instead, but we did not!

We had free entry tickets courtesy of Target for the monumental 48 hour grand opening of the “Unmonumental” show at this uber mega modern European style building built by Japanese architects, Sejima & Nishizawa. It's located next to the Sunshine Hotel and one block down from the Rivington Housing Projects on the Bowery. Not sure if the Sunshine Hotel (one of the last Bowery flop houses) is still operating or they just left the sign up for ironic appeal. The front of New Museum is made up of stacked tiered boxes, it is said that it changes with the light during the day but we were there at night and got to see the “Urban Outfitters” style “Hell Yes!” neon sculpture on the fa├žade instead. By the way, which came first? Urban Outfitters or the latest crop of contemporary artists? Sometimes it’s really hard to tell.

Anyway, the interior was as expected, big and white. Lots of space, not a lot of art. I saw it as wasted space but then again, I am not a minimalist and I understand that the curators wanted to have sort of an “underwhelming” vibe as they did name the show “Unmonumental”! The art was fairly low tech with poorly constructed (on purpose) sculptures and assemblages made with found objects. No paintings at all so the walls were completely bare, all the art was scattered around on the floor with lots of space in between. Despite K and I’s mocking commentary on everything in the show (while viewing some crumbled up construction paper lying on the floor..K: “what is this cleanup time in kindergarten?”) I think that in the future they will probably do some really great things here, in January they will start a music series called Get Weird! put together by The Fader Magazine that seems like it might be cool. And I also heard that they will be filling it up with more art in the next couple weeks.

It’s free on Thursday nights if you want to check it out for yourself without investing any coin. Free candy on the 7th floor courtesy of Target who are sponsoring many events here.

***ALSO!*** A reminder that F.I.B is curating an artshow to be hung at Freddy's Backroom. Some really cool artists are participating but I NEED MORE (remember I am not a minimalist!) Check this out for more info.


DeBlasio can be reached at 718-854-9791.

The Carroll Gardens Activist/Artist who goes by the name Art Dog has a new piece up at the Carroll Street Station as of last night and has sent me this message to pass along....

It looks like an awful lot of people in Carroll Gardens are trying to "Wake up Bill!!" (DeBlasio) as words to that effect plus his telephone number are painted across the top of the mural. They seem to be saying: Councilman, the clock is ticking on our beloved neighborhood (as we still know it) and you are STILL ASLEEP at the wheel.....!!

The new piece has a cord which is representing all the neighborhood groups who are fighting the rampant development in the neighborhood. At this point Carroll Gardens has five groups that I know of : Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, The Columbia Street Group, 340 Court Street Group, F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus) and of course C.O.R.D.

C.O.R.D urges everyone to call up Councilman Bill DeBlasio and wake him up. See number above!

Read more at the CORD Blog (Carroll Gardens Organization to Respectfully Develop).

Duffield St. Underground Railroad House Saved!

I am so relieved that the city has not decided to spit in faces of African-Americans and destroy the (227) Duffield Street Underground Railroad house in downtown Brooklyn in order to put up an underground parking lot. Just the IDEA that this was such a struggle to overturn is disgusting but it happened, so I suppose we should all be grateful.

Read more details at The Duffield St. blog.