One of the Strangest Corners in Brooklyn

And I love it!!!!

Gowanus Canal "Conservancy" Hypocrisy and other Gowanus News.

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is hosting a festival called "Gowanus Goes Green" this Sunday. Much of the festivities will be held at The Yard, which in case you live in the neighborhood and wonder just what the heck is going on with the music and the hipsters walking back and forth between the deli on Hoyt (for beer) and the bridge, click here to find out just what goes on behind those big gates. Don't get me wrong I like the Yard and have attended a couple of events there but I know many of the locals don't really know who or what they are.

The photo above is what may be built by the Toll Brothers should the canal area be rezoned to build condos.

Anyway it is quite confusing to me as The Gowanus Conservancy (a brilliantly deceiving name) is for the most part in cahoots with many of the developers who have great condo development plans for the Gowanus. Many of them for the greening of the Gowanus but not the type of green ($$$) they are trying to promote in this fair. Just check out the list of their sponsers here. You see, the Conservancy doesn't come right out with it but they are for the most part pro-development and the enviromental clean up in their opinion will be done with the help of the developers (yeah right!!!!), they mask it very well and I have heard that the Park Slope Food Co-Op has been hoodwinked by them as well. The conservancy presented them with some sort of award for being "green". Oh please. I noticed that the Toll Brothers name is not on their sponser list but now that more is known about the brother's Troll it's probrably a good p.r move not to include them. The people responsible for their great work in New Orleans (The Army Corp of Engineers) will also be there to assure you that they will "do the best they can" to clean up and fix the pumping station for good. It's soooo comforting to know that they are involved too!

Anyway if you want to attend this shiny happy shindig, click here for details.

ALSO! Important City Planning meeting tonite at PS 32 at 6pm regarding what's going on with the rezoning at this point. P.S 32 is located at Hoyt and Union Streets.

ALSO! I received a press release that Councilman Bill deBlasio who will be holding a press conference outside the school at 5pm. He is against the building of more hotels/motels around the Gowanus. I can't argue with that. The potential for them to turn into "hot sheet" motels are pretty high with the close proximity to the BQE and convenient to the long existing skin trade around Nevins and Third Avenue and they could also very well displace the current functioning businesses in the area.

Related posts:
This is the open sewer where Toll Brothers want to build...

Toll Brothers Make the Bad Boy List

*All photos lifted from The Toll Brothers/Gowanus website.


Metaphor Gallery opens "Back to the Garden" Friday Night

The group show opening up on Friday at Metaphor Gallery includes Gowanus area artist, Melanie Fisher. I had some fun in Melanie's studio during the AGHAST (Gowanus area open studios) last fall. Check that out and some of her work here!

Metaphor Contemporary Art Gallery is located at 382 Atlantic Avenue.
The "Back to the Garden" Group show opens on Friday and is from 6 to 9 pm.

Artist's Opportunity Workshop at The Dumbo Arts Center May 30th - June 1rst.

The Dumbo Arts Center is hosting a highly informative workshop for all you artists out there. It starts on Friday night and goes through to Sunday. There will be panel discussions on topics ranging from navigating the art world, portfolio presentation, artist's websites, fund and grant sourcing and artists statements. There will also be "Doctor Sessions" where attendees can have a one on one meeting with one of the many gallerists and curators participating on the panels and show them their artwork. And it's ALL FREE!

Dumbo Art Center’s annual workshop is a free total immersion weekend for emerging visual artists at the threshold of a professional career or new to New York City. The workshop aims to empower artists with information, practical know-how and self-sufficiency in order to advance their careers in the complex and competitive New York City art world.

NO PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Click here for the complete schedule.


Five O'Clock Shadow on Bond Street

Toll Brothers want to knock this building down, what a sad day that will be (IF it happens!). It's a calm strip of block and I love the painterly imperfect paint splotch grafitti cover ups. So abstract expressionist!

O.K, I never claimed to be a mature adult...The Tolls are Trolls!


Spring Flowers along the Gowanus

A gratuitous Spring photo sorry ya had to look at that drawing of George Bush for so many days, I love Drew Friedman but there are so many BETTER images to put on a promo card...but I digress. Think good thoughts F.I.B readers as my cat Neptune is having some eye problems.
I wish he could tell me what happened and he's hating me right now for putting him in a headlock over 10 times a day to administer various drops of antibiotics and cleansers. Put him in your prayers for me, O.K?
His brother is pretty distraught and has been by his side throughout, he already only has one tooth, I hope he'll be able to hold onto that beautiful green eye. They were calling him "Rocky Balboa" at the vets office last night. He's looking pretty scrappy but he is still all lovey dovey so I guess that's a good sign.


Drew Friedman Reception @ Rocketship Friday Night!

I made a vow to myself to become less of a "bulletin board blog" but this one is so cool I can't not mention it. Drew Friedman is one of the gods of humorous illustration, I have been a fan of his since first seeing his work in Weirdo Magazine a million years ago.

The details:

Join cartoonist/illustrator DREW FRIEDMAN for a special exhibition of original art and objects, along with a book signing in conjunction with the release of More Old Jewish Comedians.

Friedman’s illustrious career has included comics work published in Art Spiegelman’s RAW, R. Crumb’s Weirdo and MAD Magazine, and frequent illustrations in National Lampoon, The New York Times, The New York Observer, among countless other publications. He was the recipient of the 2001 Reuben Award for newspaper illustration. Friedman’s work has been collected by Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books in The Fun Never Stops!: An Anthology of Comic Art 1991 - 2006, Old Jewish Comedians, More Old Jewish Comedians, and Warts and All.

More Old Jewish Comedians is the sequel to 2006's wildly popular Old Jewish Comedians, and has earned raves from Jerry Lewis, Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, The Believer, Entertainment Weekly and many others. The book includes the famous (Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Soupy Sales, etc.), the less-famous (Jerry Stiller, Zeppo & Gummo Marx, Larry Storch, Zero Mostel, etc.) and the largely unknown (Molly Picon, Herbie Faye, Jan Murray, etc.). The Reuben Award-winning Friedman presents a thorough visual history of the 20th Century's greatest Borscht-Belt comedians in 34 full-page, liver-spotted portraits.

A reception for the artist will begin on Friday, May 16 at 8:00PM.
Admission is free to the public of all ages. The exhibition continues though June 4, 2008.

Click here for a link to Rocketship which is located at 208 Smith Street.


Bond Street Jungle


Have Friends in the Motor City Area?

Because I am in this show at the Museum of New Art called "Souped Up Pontiac: Notes from the Underground."

There is an opening on Saturday May 11th from 6pm to 9pm.
Free booze and a live "paint off" whatever that means!

Pass the word on to anyone you know in the Detroit/Pontiac Michigan area!!

Click here for the musuem's website.


"Gowanus Transformations" & "Brooklyn Blog Fest" happen on Thursday Night.

I mentioned this before but I want to remind people that this exhibit opens tomorrow night at the Brooklyn Historical Society. FROGG (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus) members Christine Mackellar and Margaret Maugenest have curated this exhibit. It's a celebration of 150 years of manufacturing around the Gowanus. They spent some time canvassing the area interviewing and taking photographs of the many interesting businesses (special effects designers, bicycle makers, just to name a few) that are currently active in the Gowanus area.

There will be a walking tour with the curators on Saturday, June 21st from 2 to 4pm.

The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at 128 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Exhibit Dates: May 9- August 24th.
Opening Reception: May 8th, 5:30-7:30.


The Third Annual Brooklyn BlogFest is happening at the Brooklyn Lyceum. It's not just for bloggers, all are invited. All kinds of speakers and visual presentations. Food & Drink.

The Brooklyn Lyceum is at 441 Fourth Avenue at President Street. It starts at 8pm. Click here for details.


Forum on the "Future of the Gowanus" al fresco * Wednesday Night

Sit down by the Gowanus waterfront and talk to Councilman Bill de Blasio and friends about Gowanus development happenings, not sure if folk guitars will be involved.


City Hall— Councilmember Bill de Blasio will host a forum tomorrow night to discuss the future of the Gowanus area. The event will focus on the Gownaus Canal corridor that is outlined in the framework developed by the Department of City Planning and the future development of the Public Place site. With Brooklyn's current state of hyper-development it is important that we plan for the impact that the growing population has on our borough's aging infrastructure. Topics will range from transportation, combined sewer overflow, traffic, schools, affordable housing and more.

The open discussion will include officials from various New York State and City agencies. Co-sponsors include Community Board 6, Gowanus Dredgers, Gowanus Canal Development Corporation and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

Who: Council Member Bill de Blasio, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Department of Environmental Protection, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYPD, FDNY, NYC Parks and Recreation, and Department of City Planning.

When: 6:30PM-8:30PM, Wednesday, May 7th

Where: 2nd Street at the Gowanus Canal (off Bond- near the public dock). * Take the G/F train to the Carroll Street Stop, get off and walk on 2nd Street in the direction of Hoyt St until you hit the canal. The event will be held outdoors and a tent will be provided in case of rain.

What: Plan For the Future Forum: The Gowanus

DeBlasio's Thoughts on Gowanus Up-Zoning.

Some very interesting information came into my mailbox regarding Bill de Blasio's thoughts on the future of the Gowanus. Keep it in mind if you plan on attending the al fresco meeting Wednesday night. Our sender questions the lack of consideration taken to the landscape and enviromental factors, also it is quite insulting that he considers the loss of small businesses such as auto shops as "not displacing anyone".

Council Member de Blasio's published thoughts on up-zoning in our neighborhood.
BKLYN Magazine

Summer 2005

by Jem Aswad
with contributions from Alec Appelbaum

page 20:
"In terms of choosing appropriate places for development," says City Council Member Bill de Blasio, "I think the rezoning struck a very good balance by basically freezing the area up the slope from Forth Avenue the way it is and keeping its human scale. And it was a rare opportunity in a city where we are short literally hundreds of thousands of units of housing: Forth Avenue is essentially in a valley, so you can build higher, and there are a lot of auto shops and small stores and even vacant lots, so you are not really displacing important elements of our community." (An assessment that might come as a surprise to those who work at and own those auto shops and small stores.)

**The article goes on to conclude with another statement from de Blasio**
page 21:
"I think there's nowhere to go but up," says de Blasio. "The only real limitation is physical space, which means that after Fourth Avenue and then Third Avenue and then the canal--you're done. And then parallel to Park Avenue is particularly germane: There is no place else to go, and values will be set accordingly."

Our emailer comments:

Clearly our Council Member has some sense that "human scale" communities are something to be protect, at least from his neighborhood. But does he know anything of landscapes and earth science given his vision of putting the tallest buildings down in the swamp which he thinks is "essentially a valley".

Equating building 14 stories structures built all the way to this canal with Park Avenue in Manhattan is a parallel that requires a great leap, along with denial of the actual landscape we are dealing with here. But others should be concerned about the long term results de Blasio sees from all this construction when "values are set accordingly". Just how does this thesis of his serve his deep desire to provide affordable housing when he sees the finality of all the building leading up to 4th Avenue becoming a neighborhood like Park Avenue--that is, a dense and pricey place that lacks human scale.

We all need to take a real look at what high rise construction along the Gowanus Canal might actually bring to our neighborhood. What will it mean to have 12-14 story structures on both sides of the 100 foot wide canal; a canal that is actually an inland estuary that is used to drain a highly urbanized city? De Blasio needs to show us some pictures of his vision; what will it look like in his Gowanus canyon, especially at low tide when the water level drops 4-6 feet lower, what might it feel like in that canyon especially if those buildings do make the water less clean?


The Atlantic Yards Rally

I was a good concerned Brooklyn citizen for the people and went to the Atlantic Yards Rally today. I heard a lot of great, passionate speeches, City Council Member Letitia James gave one of the best. Word on the street is "it's not a done deal". While the people who live in the neighborhood were rallying together, on the other side of the yards were loud, pro-atlantic yards union workers rallying, supposively paid. My friend Sabine, wandered around with a video camera for an hour asking them if they were paid and no one said "yes" so I do not want to assume but why would anyone from Long Island take their Saturday afternoon to do this if they weren't on the clock? Anyway much later after the rally I was walking down 5th Avenue and ran into some friends in front of O'Connors. Many of the pro-Atlantic Yards union guys were drinking in there, you know I tend to get along with these types better than "hipster" types so I was able to find out whether they got paid to be there. They see it as a big joke and were jokingly saying "we want to displace you". Most are born and raised in the city and live in the burbs so they just think it's time for people to "get out" as they have. It's not a big deal to them.

On another note, I was really interested in hearing in what our local councilman Bill DeBlasio had to say as he was suppposed to be there. I got there about 20 minutes late and as far as I know, no one saw him. DeBlasio was once pro-Atlantic Yards now all of a sudden he is upset about the "lack of affordable" housing, like they really would have any! Because in his world "affordable" is an income of $90,000 a year! His credibility just keeps going lower and lower with me. I heard him on WNYC the other day talking about his regrets of being pro-Ikea in Red Hook, all of a sudden it dawned on him that building a box store on the Brooklyn waterfront was sort of a bad idea. It's like, why does he even bother to say that? IT"S BEEN BUILT STUPID!!!

F.I.B "Exclusive"!

Ha Ha! I just had to say that. There are blogs out there who think they have "exclusives", duh! Anyone is welcome to see this, photograph it and talk about it cause F.I.B ain't like that! Anyway, I know it's been about 3 years since this neck of Bond Street has been free to park (Between Carroll & President) at as I know because I sold my car 2 years ago and was PISSED that this block was blocked off by Scarano's scaffolding. Can you imagine? FOR THREE YEARS THIS WHOLE BLOCK HAS BEEN BLOCKED WITH DUMPSTERS AND SCAFFOLDING! It's still not done but as you can see, this place has a couple of garage doors. It took a long time as for the most part the mighty Gowanus interfered with the construction of the underground parking garage as the ground is soft around here and when it rains for some reason everyone's basement floods. It's my "exclusive" report to you!! Enjoy! Isn't it fascinating?!


Some Stuff to Do on Saturday

I admit F.I.B has been nothing but a bulletin board lately, not to make excuses but everybody needs a break and paying attention to all this development stuff can take you down into the depths of despair and apathy, plus it bores many of my friends to tears! Alright, I'm exaggerating just a tad there sometimes as they say "life just gets in the way" but while some of that is true F.I.B's been mostly busy getting ready to participate in an art show in Pontiac, Michigan of all places.

So take your vitamins and get your rest on Friday because Saturday is just chock full of MUST DO's! First off it's: Go to Rocketship Comics on Smith Street and get your free comic book. They are having some events there, click this link to find out more. Then it's on to :The following elected officials have confirmed attendance: NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery, NYS Assemblywoman Joan Millman, NYS Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, NYC Councilwoman Letitia James, NYC Councilman Bill Deblasio, NYC Councilman David Yassky, NYC Councilman Tony Avella.

I heard DeBlasio has changed his mind about the Atlantic Yards. I heard him on WNYC yesterday and he also changed his mind about IKEA in Red Hook. Too bad it's been built already, is he for real?

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn sez:

So come on out on May 3rd -- bring your friends, join your neighbors, fellow New Yorkers, elected officials and community leaders in telling Governor Paterson:

** No More Demolitions!
** No More Eminent Domain!
** No More Subsidies!
** No More Changes to Infrastructure!

whew! and after that head over to Matchless in Greenpoint for some dinner and dancing at:I heard that it's the coolest Hullabaloo out of all Hullaballoos. An all day music marathon, with the best dj's in town and bbq included all for the amazing low price of FIVE count them FIVE BUCKS!

Matchless is at the corner of Manhattan Ave & Driggs Ave in Greenpernt.
Starts at 4pm goes till about 2 am.

So there you go some low brow fun with a little community activism mixed in for that ying yang effect.


Free Screening of "Brooklyn Matters" Tonight in Cobble Hill

Playing tonight (Thursday) at the Cobble Hill Cinema on Court Street, first come, first serve.

No single event will have a more drastic and long-lasting impact on Brooklyn than the proposed Atlantic Yards development. This uncommon proposal, however, is mostly misunderstood. Brooklyn Matters is an insightful documentary that reveals the fuller truth about the Atlantic Yards proposal and highlights how a few powerful men are circumventing community participation and planning principles to try to push their own interests forward.

Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 pm
265 Court Street (at Butler), Brooklyn
Subway: F, G to Bergen Street
Free Screening: First Come, First Serve

And don't forget about the rally on Saturday at 2pm!