Teenage Gang Debs

What?! You say?! ANOTHER film review over at that renegade blog Who Walk in Brooklyn?! Yeah, it's true. He's good bad but he's not evil. This time around I've been assigned the cinema classic "Teenage Gang Debs" shot in 1966, Brooklyn USA.

Dig it here!

The others:
The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight
All Dolled Up


Flatbush Americana.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been in this neighborhood. I felt like I was on vacation in another state and sort of like I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. I walked through the area on my way home from Vox Pop in Flatbush (I am going to be in an art show there, details upcoming!). The streets were so quiet, the birds were singing, the flowers were blooming,the houses so big and beautiful. I was waiting for a cartoon butterfly to whiz past my head. Or maybe walk by a lemonade stand. Is it ALWAYS like this or did they slip a mickey into my coffee at Vox Pop?! Camaro on Rugby Road looks like it's in upstate New York! It just seemed so country like!Also spotted when I hit Prospect Park, was the most patriotic 18-wheeler I ever laid my eyes on. And they weren’t even from out of state, the truck company is from Brooklyn!


Help Make an Impact, Send Copies of your Scoping Commentaries to...

I've heard through the Gowanus grapevine that a very impressive amount of people in the community have gotten their written commentary in regarding the Toll Brothers Project on Bond Street. From individuals to groups, many took the time to write very well thought out and researched comments. They are currently being compiled and copies will be sent to our elected officials early next week. Our pols need to be aware of the community's voice so if you have sent in a commentary, please send a copy to so it can be added to the very impressive stack.

It can be sent to this email address: mmaugenest (at) aol (dot) com

Also, I did go to the Toll Brothers presentation last night. Considering they are planning to build on toxic swampland with major sewage issues,they managed to make it sound sooo idyllic. Some of the adjectives they used were very creative, like who knew Bond Street "has grace"? Take a look at Pardon Me for Asking's take on the whole dog and pony show.


Anabolics on Friday

Hey..I know many of you Brooklynites enjoyed the Anabolics back in February at Freddy's, check them out tonite in Manhattan should you need another fix!
The details!
The Anabolics Live!!
Friday, March 28th
Real Gone Party @ Otto's Shrunken Head
538 E. 14th St. bet. A & B
with the Electric Mess & the Get Set
and the best DJs this side of...well, on every side actually...January
1963, Capt. Heartlock, Kitty Beat and Dr. Jones
10pm & free!!


Magnetic Field. The Final Days.

Yes I know this is not Mag Field but it IS Les Sans Cullote!

Magnetic Field will be swinging it's doors shut on Sunday or shall I say Monday morning. There are a slew of good shows to shut them down in fine fashion.

Tomorrow night, it's Les Sans Cullote with The Above. Show starts at 8:30.
Here some words from zee band.

"Bonjour Americains! Printemps is in the air, as March continue to be in like a lamb sound and not so much the sound of the lion. We’re getting back on the Gauls Gone Wild Tour Bus (now prostitute free) and frog-marching to Brooklyn’s Magnetic Field Good-bye Fete this Thursday March 27th (8:30 pm) as the magnificent Magnetic Field prepare to shut its door (“partir c’est mourir” – Bernard Henri-Levy).

We’re also making a crazy firehouse party in Red Hook on Saturday March 30th (midnite) at 199 Rue Van Brunt St for the burning man peoples.

Saturday March 30th- midnite-

199 Van Brunt St (b/t Seabring and Bowne)

Astronauts and Dinosaurs for A Cavallo ( 9 pm – 5 a.m.)

Dress: modern cave dweller, space tourist, astro-biker, etc. $15

Crazy man, unrelated to Mag Field but apparantly this fundraiser is to raise money to bring a carousel to Burning Man! Dress like a space age cowboy , alright!

But back to Magnetic Field, the fab A-Bones are playing on Friday, The Brought Low on Saturday and shutting the joint down will be The Miscreants and Shaw Nuff ( a garage rock all star super band) on Sunday.

Click here for the details on the schedule!

Mag Field, i shall miss yee!


Toll Brothers Presentation at CB6 Meeting Thursday at 6pm

Want to hear about the possible Toll Brothers project on Bond Street from a representative from the company? You can on Thursday night at 6pm.

From Community Board 6 Calendar:
Informational presentation by representative for Toll Brothers, Inc. of a pre-certified application, known as 363-365 Bond Street, that would allow the redevelopment of two blocks fronting on the Gowanus Canal including the block bounded by 2nd Street, the canal, 1st Street and Bond Street (Block 458, Lot 1) and part of the adjacent block bounded by Carroll Street, the canal, 1st Street and Bond Street (Block 452, Lot 1 and 15) with a mixed-use development. The proposed project would result in approximately 447 dwelling units, 1,500 gross square footage (gsf) of neighborhood retail space, 1,500 gsf of community facility space, 260 below-grade parking spaces and 0.6-acres of publicly accessible open space along the Gowanus Canal.

P.S 32 Auditorium
317 Hoyt Street
(at Union/Hoyt Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

6:00 PM

Also, if you are into Gowanus Real Estate Wheelings & Dealings, click here to read an "Exclusive" from Who Walk in Brooklyn about some happenings on 3rd Avenue.

Frank Shifreen

Frank Shifreen is one of the artists in the show at Freddy's, which will be up for another 3 weeks. I have gotten to know Frank since the show and I have to say he is a true artist who believes in collaboration and community in art. A rare bird these days. He has participated in hundreds of shows and curated many himself. Just google him, you'll see! (Hey, this a blog not Art News!)
Frank now lives in Manhattan but once upon a time he lived around the Gowanus and curated a show called "Monumental Redefined" in the 5 acre lot called "Public Place" on Smith & 5th Streets. Click here to read Katia Kelly's from Pardon Me For Asking's excellent story about that.

The painting he hung up is a dreamy yet vibrant abstract. You have to be a brave and confident man to use hot pink,magenta and turquoise! Here is what Frank has to say about the piece.

"I want my painting to be free of all constraints. I think about what painting can do now that we have had photography and now computer generated images. My piece is about the mystery of images as they appear on the canvas. I could follow them and make them recognizable or I could leave them in a mysterious state between the real and abstraction. I like the richness and multiplicity of images. It is just one of my recent painting experiments and the reason I put it in the show was because I liked it. It has references to Shamanism, which I practice."

Frank will be participating in the Pool Art Fair at the Chelsea Hotel this coming weekend. Please check it out. The Chelsea has a rich history in not only housing but suppporting artists. I had mentioned in a blog post many months ago when I was upset about the recent changes at the Chelsea, it's going corporate and many of the long time residents are being forced out.. This art show could be the last of it's kind there so make an effort to check IT and also the Chelsea Hotel out.

Also, another "Found in Brooklyn" artist, Gail Rothschild, the artist that did the "crack vial" piece will also be in an art fair this weekend, the Red Dot Art Fair in Manhattan with the Susan Eley Gallery from March 27-30th. Gail used to live in the Gowanus in the 3rd & 3rd building at the same time as Frank, a small world!

And last but not least:
The "Found in Brooklyn" Group Art Show will be hanging up at Freddy's for another couple of weeks. Do stop in between the hours of 11 am to 4 am, 7 days a week to see the whole thing.
Freddy's Bar & Backroom
located at:
485 Dean Street Brooklyn, NY 11215
phone: 718.622.7035
That's the corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn.


Like Darts? Live in Greenpoint or Williamsburg?

This just in from Justine over at Greenpointers, apparently the girl digs darts and is excited that a dart league is now forming over in that North Brooklyn area! F.I.B's been known to hit the Bull's Eye occasionally and is more than happy to spread the word. So, if that's your scene or if you know anyone else that would want to make that scene, click here!

Meet the man, Robert Toll.

This is last week's news from the New York Observer and it's been making the rounds in the Gowanus area email lists for days but since I love to take any opportunity I can to expose the Troll Brothers, I mean the Toll Brothers for the greedy land rapers that they are (hey i never claimed the opinions on this blog were impartial!) please read this article with the man himself, his vileness, Robert Toll.

The headline is priceless and it pretty much sums up the operation, "Everywhere you don't see high-rises, there are places to build."

Try not vomit.


Coney Island Sideshow Opens Sunday

A reminder from the folks at Coney Island USA

"The Coney Island Circus Sideshow Opens for the season Easter Sunday, March 23rd!

SIDESHOWS BY THE SEASHORE is the last place in the USA where you can experience the thrill of a traditional ten-in-one circus sideshow.

They're here, they're real and they're alive!
Freaks, wonders and human curiosities!
Runs from 1pm until dark, weather permitting!"

Sideshows By The Seashore
Corner of W. 12th and Surf Ave., Coney Island.
Coney Island USA


Final Reminder to get Scoping Comments In on Toll Brothers Gowanus Project.

The deadline is Monday if you care to comment on the proposed Toll Brothers project on Bond Street. The Friends of Bond blog has some excellent instructions to guide you through the complicated task and provide links to the Scoping document and Technical manual. Click here for that.

Also the Brooklyn Star attended the Scoping Hearing last week, go here to read it.


Midnight Madonna

Although I always have my guard up when I walk home late at night, the silent Saints and Madonnas I pass by are some added protection that I appreciate. I like how it looks like Mary is commanding the vine to grow.


Found on 1rst Street

A hippie bus! From Vermont!

This is certainly a first for the Bond Street area. I am having flashbacks from when F.I.B lived in Haight Ashbury for 2 years. I used to see buses from Southwestern Communes pull up in front of my apartment on the panhandle of Golden Gate Park. And then I used to have to watch them literally "panhandle" on Haight Street for their entire stay. That was sort of why I left. I like the hippie idealogy DURING THE 60's but it doesn't look too pretty 30 odd years later, unless that is, if it's pre-1967 and mod and futuristic looking!

If you guys know who the 13th Floor Elevator and Love are - I welcome you!! (but if you are a Deadhead, getthef*ggouttahere....sorry!)

Despite my anti-hippy rant, your clean running, diesel fueled Partridge Family bus is awesome!

Just don't ask me for change in front of my house!!

F.R.O.G.G Receives Grant to Investigate Gowanus Water & Land Contaminants!

Great News! F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Gowanus Canal) have received $275,000.00 grant from the state to investigate the aquatic brownfield and upland brownfield contaminants in and around the canal. As so many public officials and developers are chomping at the bit to rezone so they can dig and construct along this canal, the timing on this could not be better.

Congratulations F.R.O.G.G!!!

Below is a a copy of the original proposal which outlines what is hoped to be achieved with this grant.

Gowanus Canal Corridor Aquatic Brownfield & Upland Brownfield Area
Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program Pre-Nomination Study

Submitted by:
Friends of Community Board 6, Inc
Friends & Residents of Greater Gowanus
Brooklyn Community Board Six

Community Vision and Goals and Objectives.

The community vision is to realize a cleaner body of water no longer subject to contamination from combined sewer overflow (CSO) events. Natural run-off from adjacent properties some of which are brownfields and other pathways will also be investigated. BOA funding will enable us to further explore all contaminant pathways to develop a strategic plan for permanent, sustainable improvements to the ambient environmental quality of the Gowanus Canal and its environs. A remarkable amount of science and study materials have been underdevelopment on this study area for a number of years, studies produced on the city, state and federal levels. A cohesive community-driven plan, which put that science to use in order to achieve the primary goal of a clean waterway and sound environment, is still needed.

A goal of this proposed study is to develop plans that work towards a sustainable brownfield cleanup in the designated area; and to ensure that public money and tax incentives used for brownfield cleanup in the area not only achieve required cleanup levels, but maintain designated cleanup level for the proposed upland uses. While we have piecemeal information on water- and land-based contamination, we lack information on the dynamics of cross-contamination between the two.

After consideration of the aquatic brownfield contaminants and their impact on the banks and adjacent lands, the community could then look at a contextual approach to any development plans within this BOA, and suggest ways to enhance the region in a way that is consistent with the history of the Canal and its physical and natural properties, using science as a guide to what is possible and what is necessary for sustainable environmental cleanup.

Current development proposals in the area—presently under the state Brownfield Cleanup Area program-represent one aspect of the community’s view of the Canal and it corridor, yet competing development proposals do not accord with legal zoning and are inconsistent with the existing historical neighborhood character. At this time, such developments may restrict and/or eliminate all opportunity to address the extent of the aquatic brownfield conditions and run the risk of not being sustainable brownfield cleanup sites for the intended use, due to the unmitigated and ongoing surrounding contamination within the waterway.

While ideas regarding the development of the Canal vary among local groups and government agencies, current proposed development designs do not accord with legal zoning and are inconsistent with the existing historical neighborhood character. The BOA grant would allow us to address this issue, and also to harmonize growing constituency of interested parties, including residents, businesses, and environmental groups, to preserve the existing historical low-density neighborhood character, preserve and support maritime uses for properties adjacent to the waterway. Any revitalization strategies must also include and supplement current Department of Environmental Conservation efforts to clean the water and also the Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to restore wetlands at various points along the banks of the Canal. We will also be able to consider building designs for possible commercial and residential development consistent with a “green district.”


The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight

Yowsa! F.I B has been moonlighting as a film reviewer over at Who Walk in Brooklyn. This weeks' assignment was a film made in 1971 called "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight".

And yes, that IS Herve Villechaize on the Carroll Street Bridge. And no 333 Carroll Street Scarano cube!

Read it here!

Positive News

Isn't it hopeful that....

Our local Community Board Manager, Craig Hammerman (CB6) eloquently spoke up for the Gowanus Community at the Toll Brothers Scoping Hearing? (PMFA)

Our new Governor David Paterson has already addressed the issue of Emminent Domain? And he is AGAINST IT! (The NY Sun)

The Toll Brothers continue to have financal problems. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Made me feel a little less fatalistic this morning anyway...

Brooklyn Blogade last Sunday.

Unrelated photo but Joyce was nice enough to not make it mandatory (the right to remain silent) if one didn't want to read at her blogade, and also I just love Jackie's 5th. Happy Early St. Paddy's Day!

I didn't mention that I went and participated in the Brooklyn Blogade hosted by my pal Joyce. I have to admit I went because she is my friend and I wanted to support her. I am the type that has alway "sat in the back of the class". Too cool for school I guess. As I get older I am shaking that but I am still fairly immature for someone my age. I was actually annoyed that it stared at noon! Will someone please slap me?! I have never been much of a joiner. Anyway, I was happy to join in with the folks who showed up last Sunday even if it did start at noon! I don't think any of them were really "joiners" either!

Between the excellent readings, fab company and Joyce's breezy hostessing style the afternoon flew by.

I would like you to read my friend Michelle of Shellytown's description of the day and also Amy's over at Brooklynometry!

I would like to also note also that the food at the Brick Cafe was phenomenal!


Free Happening at Coney on Sunday!

Just because it's still winter doesn't mean nothing is going on out at Coney!

This just in from the fine folks at Coney Island USA. They are having a "Band Organ Rally" on Sunday afternoon. Mind you, I really can't tell you what this entails but it is sure to be something you rarely see. It screams carnival really so Coney is most likely the MOST PERFECT SETTING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD for this event.

Here's the details:

Coney Island USA and the Lady Liberty Chapter of the Automated Musical Instrument Collectors' Association kick off the season with our annual Band Organ Rally!

Sunday, March 16, 2008
Noon to 4:30pm
Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum
1208 Surf Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Coney Island USA

And while you're there, check out the museum, it's open on the weekends and costs only 99 Cents to get in!



Reminder! Thursday is the Public Scoping Meeting regarding the Toll Brothers Project!

This is a typical hunk of raw sewage that appears on the Gowanus Canal after a good rain. Imagine HOW much more there is going to be once there are 1000's of new residents in the area? Clean up of the canal is not slated to happen until after construction starts! FUN!

Just a reminder about the public scoping hearing happening on Thursday. If you aren't much of a speaker but have something to say about it you can also send in written comments. The below is taken from the "Friends of Bond" blog. Go there for more information.

My compadre Katia over at Pardon Me for Asking blog has made an excellent point about how the schools may be effected by the rezoning. Read it here.

Get the whole Public Scoping Document here.


When: THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008
Times: SESSION ONE: 2-5:30 PM

Dear Neighbors,
As many of you are aware, the Toll Brothers, a very large, luxury developer has set its sights on two blocks in our neighborhood. Some of you may have attended the community meeting on Monday, March 3rd to learn more about this project. Toll Brothers wants to build approximately six hundred units of housing, ranging in heights up to twelve stories in that three acre space.

Since the area is not zoned for this type of development, several steps must be taken with the city before any construction work can begin.

One of these procedures is a scoping hearing with City Planning where the residents of our neighborhood get to speak their mind, raising important questions and issues about the things they like or dislike about the proposed project.

The following is a list of subjects that the developer must address according to a Scoping Document which must be filed with the city before work can begin on the site. Look over the list. Whether you are concerned, for instance, about how larger-sized buildings might affect your sunlight, how almost 600 new units and their occupants will affect the amount of raw sewage flowing into the canal, or how the additional cars might affect parking and traffic conditions, this is your chance make your voice heard.

At the scoping hearing, each person has three (3) minutes to orally communicate their concerns. It’s best to speak from the heart, sharing a personal anecdote or experience related to your question or area of concern.

Here is the list of subjects:

Land Use, Zoning and Public Policy, Socioeconomic Conditions (what will happen to the residents and businesses as a result of this project), Community Facilities and Services (this includes schools, emergency response availability, health services) Open Space, Shadows, Historic Resources,Urban Design/Visual Resources, Neighborhood Character, Natural Resources,Hazardous Materials, Waterfront Revitalization Program, Infrastructure, Solid Waste and Sanitation Services, Energy, Traffic and Parking, Transit and Pedestrians, Air Quality, Noise, Construction Impacts, Public Health, Alternatives (what kind of development/ improvements could you envision there?)


There is also an opportunity to address your concerns in writing. Written comments must be sent in before March 24, 2008 and should be focused on a particular area of concern, using factual data to support your points. If you are planning on writing a letter, one copy should be sent directly to City Planning, to the following address:

Robert Dobruskin
Dept. of City Planning
22 Reade St.
New York, NY 10007

A copy of the same letter should be sent to Community Board 6, to be kept on file:

Community Board 6
250 Baltic St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231


Gail Rothschild

"Found in Brooklyn" by Gail Rothschild.
Crack Vials, fabric and thread.

Gail Rothschild’s submitted this piece, which has generated a lot of conversation at the “Found in Brooklyn” art show at Freddy’s.

Yes. Gail found all these crack vials in Brooklyn. Most of them come from under the benches on Eastern Parkway near the Brooklyn Museum. Who knew that crack viles came in such a rainbow of colors?

This photograph does not do this piece justice. It is hard to tell that Gail has hand sewn these crack vials onto the fabric with her amazing embroidery skills. Gail Rothschild is actually a competitive rock climber and finds much of her influence for her art in nature. When I visited her Prospect Heights studio I was bowled over by her intricate embroideries of rhizomes, which are the stems of plants. When I asked her, if any of them were from her backyard searching for the “Found in Brooklyn” angle she said “no, but I am found in Brooklyn!” I was fine with that but later she contacted me and said she had something for the show that she had forgotten about and was absolutely perfect. She couldn't have been more correct!

Someone recently mentioned to me that they were mesmerized by the repetition in the piece and in reading Gail’s artist statement I found a quote from her; “Through repetition may come transcendence.”

Not quite sure if that applies to the person who is actually smoking the crack (I bet the transcendence runs out as soon as the supply!) but I know that repetition through tasks like sewing can be very meditative.

Not only has Gail exhibited at Freddy’s but she has also exhibited at P.S 1 in Long Island City and Kentler International Drawing Center here in Brooklyn amongst many others. She will participate in the Red Dot Art Fair in Manhattan with the Susan Eley Gallery from March 27-30th.

The show will be hanging up at Freddy's for another couple of weeks. Do stop in between the hours of 11 am to 4 am, 7 days a week to see the whole thing. Take a look at Gail’s website to see more of her fine work.

Freddy's Bar & Backroom
located at:
485 Dean Street Brooklyn, NY 11215
phone: 718.622.7035
That's the corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn.


"Friends of Bond" Information.

The neighborhood group called "Friends of Bond" who put together the meeting to discuss the potential Toll Brothers condo development now have a blog.

FRIENDS OF BOND describe themselves as "a group of neighbors, living on or near Bond Street, who initially came together in response to the proposed Toll Brothers development on the Gowanus Canal. FOB seeks to bring together community groups in order to effectively address questions and issues of concern about development in the Gowanus area."

Please bookmark it or subscribe to it and check it frequently for information regarding the upcoming Scoping meeting with City Planning on March 13th.

Friends of Bond Blog


Astor Place Soothed My Soul Today.

My work has been taking me into the neighborhood of my old stomping ground of the East Village lately. It has me an emotional wreck some of the time seeing many of the landmarks of my life knocked down and turned into glass and steel. I know the East Village has been an alcoholic Disneyland with all the bars that the NYU kids have been flocking to for the past twenty years or so, but it somehow has retained a flavor until the last couple years. I actually lived on St. Marks Place briefly in 1984, when there used to be more Ukrainian businesses and that guy John Spacely otherwise known as Gringo (once immortalized on a mural the building at the start of St. Marks Place) used to constantly be roaming the block in his frilly shirts. I was a young punk and used to spend my nights hanging out in Tompkins Square Park and going to shows and odd performance events in abandoned buildings and after hours around Avenues B & C. One of my favorite places to go was a place called 8 B.C (8th Street between B & C) anybody out there remember it? It was common to see Quentin Crisp, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Smith, Dee Dee Ramone, Richard Hell, ANDY WARHOL! showing up in the weirdest places at the weirdest times. I am so grateful to have experienced that. There are not many of people of that ilk around anymore. Mostly because back then it was slightly less difficult to be an artist and live here, Berlin wasn't as much of a seriously realistic option as it is now. The only one around out of that bunch now is Richard Hell and I actually did see him in that neighborhood two years ago looking healthy. He must have a rent controlled apartment. I am digressing again, I am in such a melancholy mood these days. Just so sick of hearing about and seeing things disappear in the name of "progress".

Anyway, I got my haircut at Astor Place Hair today and that made me happy. They haven’t been at street level for quite some time but they've got their own world going on in the basement below. There has to be at least fifty barbers operating out of that place. And the energy is pure old school New York. Brisk yet friendly, just how I like it. I used to get my hair buzzed off there back in the day, I had never thought of going there now that my hair is longer but I needed a trim and as going to a salon would kill me this month I popped into Astor on a tip from a friend that they would do a passable job.

Ladies, a beauty tip from FIB, go see Suzy at Astor Place Haircutters, she is a miracle worker. For 16 bucks she will, as she told me "make you beautiful". She is also is an awesome colorist if that is what you need.

Just keep in mind that you are in a real barbershop atmosphere with no Aveda products being used or for sale. There is no smoke and mirrors at Astor Place. Just the basics and I witnessed many a fantastic hair transformation, it was fun to sit there and take it all in.

Since I am talking about the East Village I have to mention this blog that I love and also hate. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. I hate it because it is documenting the death of Manhattan but I love it because he is not letting it pass by silently. I mourn every time I read it, seriously.

Today he is pissed at the Toll Brothers, they've got a building on 3rd Avenue that blocks the familiar view of the Chrysler building that you would see when you would walk uptown. Bastards. Check out Jeremiah's commentary and photo of some cheap fraying laminate in their NEWLY BUILT lobby. I guess some of those things they say about the Toll Brothers are true!

*Photo courtesy of New York Daily Photo. Next time I better remember to bring my camera!


A Reminder about the Blogade on Sunday.

Someone called "The Mermaids of Brooklyn" sent this to me. A pick me up on this grey blah day.

As I mentioned before, my pal Joyce of Bad Girl Blog is hosting a Blogade on March 9th over in Kensington.

She would appreciate RSVP's by tomorrow!

This will be F.I.B's first although I did attend that big one at the Old Stone House last Spring midway by unknowingly and naively entering up through the back stairs. I thought it was the entrance and had no idea people got turned away!

Here is what Joycie has to say.

"I'm hosting the Brooklyn Blogade on Sunday, March 9, at 12 p.m., in Kensington at the Old Brick Cafe, a little Italian/Balkan/Mediterranean restaurant on Church Avenue. Please come!

Time for "Show & Tell": Bloggers are encouraged to be brave and give a reading from one of their best blog posts. Or bring along your laptop and a screen and show us your best pics. Or just tell us about your best post. Please plan to limit your presentation to about five minutes so everybody can have a turn."

Any blogger is welcome, please spread the word if you know anyone that may be interested in participating.

Click here for the details!


Surprise visit by the Toll Brothers at Gowanus Community Meeting.

The neighborhood meeting hosted by Friends of Bond regarding the SCOPING hearing for the Toll Brothers project along the Gowanus Canal between Carroll and 2nd Streets drew quite a large and concerned crowd from the immediate area around Bond Street. The whole premise of the meeting was to discuss how to strategize for the upcoming Scoping Hearing on March 13th with City Planning. Why does the neighborhood need to strategize you may ask?

Well, mostly because the neighborhood currently lacks the infrastructure for an influx of about 1,000 new residents, especially with potentially more coming in with all the other development projects that will descend once the zoning is changed. Why are the current residents justifiably concerned? Schools, traffic, FIRE HOUSES (response time?! C.G. lost their fire house) shopping and at the top of the list seemed to be the uh…..sewage problem.

A big unexpected surprise was that at about 15 minutes into the meeting, we learned that the Toll Brothers themselves or at least some representatives of the Toll Brothers were in attendance. I give them credit for putting themselves out there. What did they have to say? Well, they still haven’t closed on the property where the condo development is slated to be built. The sale is contingent on the rezoning. Rezoning? Well, right now the land between the Gowanus Canal and Bond Street is not zoned for residential, the zoning is for light industry and manufacturing. This upcoming Scoping meeting will have a lot to do with whether that zoning change goes through or not.

Special guest speakers Craig Hammerman (District Manager Community Board 6), Queens Councilman Tony Avella and Williamsburg community organizer Phil DePaolo of the NY Community Council spoke plainly about what the community needs to do in order to fight this thing. It is VERY IMPORTANT that people from the community SHOW UP at this scoping meeting on March 13th. It is everybody’s chance to speak his or her mind. Mind you, make sure when you speak you can back up everything you say with statistics, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SPECIFIC, which was a very important pearl of wisdom. Tony Avella is actually ON the NYC zoning committee and painted a very depressing picture about how money talks, that’s why big projects like these get pushed ahead of things like the brownstone area of Carroll Garden wanting rezoning as their streets are too narrow for big condo projects. It’s all about the moola. And Toll Brothers has PLENTY of that! BUT he did say that we shouldn’t just give up and go along with the process.

I urge anyone who lives around this area and is concerned to PLEASE come up with a statement to read at the Scoping meeting on March 13th. Relate your personal experiences and be VERY specific.

The Scoping Hearing will be on Thursday, March 13, 2008 from 2:00 to 5:45 PM and from 6:00 to 8:45 PM at the City of New York Department of City Planning, Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, New York, New York 10007

Craig Hammerman can be reached here if you need get help in framing your objections.

If you have any questions or need any other help email here at lisannemct at yahoo dot com. and I can direct you to the right people.

Get the whole Public Scoping Document here.

If you want to read about some of the Toll Brothers more unsuccessfull projects click here

Neighborhood blog, Pardon Me for Asking and Brownstoner also attended the meeting, check their synopsises.