Suspicious Scalfolding Going Up Around Original Dodgers Stadium on 3rd Avenue.

I don't want to be an alarmist but there is some suspicious scalfolding in the process of going up around the building owned by Con Edison on the corner of 3rd Avenue & 3rd street. I hope to God it is not getting ripped down. This is a HISTORICAL building! This structure was the original home of the Brooklyn Dodgers before they moved to Ebbets Field in 1913! This stadium was called "Washington Park" and it's left field wall is the wall that you see on 3rd Avenue Between 3rd and 2nd Streets.You can see in this photo the shape of the stadium style windows which might of been open back in the day.

A distraught friend of mine has been calling around to no avail to find out what the deal is. The landmarks commission is on vacation this week and apparantly this is a popular time of year for things to get ripped down that shouldn't.

Please comment or email me if you know anything.

*Read more about the history of Washington Park at Forgotten New York blog.


The "Fightin' Freddy's" Declare Eminent Domain Smackdowns!

Freddy's is not going down without a fight!

F.I.B passed by Freddy's as a 9 foot guillotine constructed of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans symbolically decapitated Eminent Domain in a suit. Manager Donald O'Finn spoke as did the grim reaper who questioned the cold war and called Bruce Ratner a "traitor to the country" by collaborating with one of the richest men in Russia to "take Americans from their homes". A dapper Gangs of New York style Undertaker declared "bar vs. banks" smackdowns coming to a "corner near you" before the decapitation.

Stay tuned for smackdown schedules



The Obama's in Bloomingdale's Window

Found in Manhattan

One of the stranger Christmas windows. The theme is great couples or something like that. Obama and Michele are in the window with Batman & Robin, Anthony & Cleopatra and I forget who else. I have to say, President Obama looks like a stand up comic.


Angry Santa Appears at Freddy's "Chains of Justice" Installation

An irate Santa made a suprise visit to Freddy's Bar & Backroom during the installation of the "Chains of Justice" to the bar. The atmosphere in the neighborhood was a tense as while this action in the bar was going on, two doors down, tenants were being evicted due to their landlords' building violations, one of them being no heat.

Scrooge DOES live.


Chained to the Bar * !Freddy's Bar Patrons Revolt Against Ratner * Sunday at Noon!

This is what eminent domain looks like.

This just in from Freddy's Bar and Backroom.

Due to ever increasing threats to the stability of Freddy’s bar in light of the Arena project, recent court decisions, an overwhelming number of Freddy's patrons desire to chain themselves to the bar if Scrooge Ratner and Grinch Paterson's Atlantic Yards Project attempts to shutdown and demolish Freddy's Bar and Backroom.

This Sunday, we are installing chains & shackles onto the Bar itself for just such a purpose.

We are hoping for a big turn-out from the press and TV when these puppies go on @ NOON on Sunday the 20th. I know you might be hung over...but please try to be in attendance to show your support, NO ONE will be chained yet since the threat is impending but not immediate. If you do have an extra set of hand-cuffs you can bring and donate PLEASE DO SO (for potential future use and to show that we are serious) we’ll even put your name on them.

With the coming of this Christmas everyone should be concerned with New York State and Governor Paterson’s capacity to hand privately-owned property over to corporations for profit. It is a disturbing trend that casts an ominous shadow over all of our futures in this country. Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, or the Ghost of Christmas Future, is intended to represent the uncertainty of the future:

Scrooge queries the ghost: “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”
Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”

What is it that the Courts are showing us regarding the power of our own Scrooges?
In light of the recent decision against Columbia University and the Empire State Development Corporation’s attempt to steal properties by eminent domain, and the confusion in the Courts that seems to allow taking Brooklyn properties for Ratner, but not Harlem properties for Columbia…we are angry. We are giddy for the victory against Columbia, but angry that our neighborhood can be taken, that our bar can be taken. We will stand in support of the Prospect Heights neighborhood, and the extended neighborhood of 5000+ supporters who have donated time and money to fight against eminent domain.

We believe the links of the chain represent all the individuals unbreakably locked in a chain gang seeking fair rights for the individual in the contemporary flurry of land-grabbing corporate greed.

The Backroom at Freddy’s Bar was the birthplace of this particular rebellion for fair treatment, the front room is where we bring out the hardware to back it up.

The Chain will officially be installed on Sunday, December 20th at 12:00 noon.

So while we install the chains, trying to fend off the mess that afflicts New London, Connecticut because of the abuse of eminent domain, we look to New York’s courts to rectify these injustices.

Afterall, ‘tis the season, and judges must enjoy the holiday spirit like the rest of us.


Freddy's Bar is located at the corner of 6th and Dean Streets.

Be there Sunday at noon, bring handcuffs if you have them!


Atlantic Yards Year 6 - Christmas Special Tonite on BCAT

From the folks at Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse:

Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse has updated it's perennial Christmas TV Special for year 6 of Bruce Ratner's attempt to take a Brooklyn neighborhood. It will be on BCAT Tuesday at 8pm on BCAT channel 1, Time Warner channel 34, and on MNN in Manhattan Time Warner 56, this Thursday at 8pm. Also available on Youtube.

Condemned For Christmas 2009 - The Mittens Are Off
Christmas # 6 of Bruce Ratner's attack on Prospect Heights for his Atlantic Yards project. The lawsuits against Ratner's use of the ESDC and MTA for his private benefit continue in full force. And the neighborhood is making it clear they are not going to be evicted. The recent court decision against the ESDC's attempt to seize property for Columbia University has revealed a pattern of Eminent Domain Abuse on the part of the ESDC. A new law has passed specifically prohibiting the ESDC and MTA favoritism toward Forest City Ratner. Can it be applied to this case? After a long battle there is renewed hope, and anti-Ratner activism is on the rise.

Should New York State take homes and businesses, at Christmas, and give them a connected Cleveland billionaire and his new partner, another billionaire from Russia? The billionaires, Bloomberg included say, "yes!" The neighborhood says "nyet!"

Starring The Prospect Heights Action Carrollers, Chris Owens, the Hagan sisters, Scott MX Turner, Daniel Goldstein, Velmanette Montgomery, and many others.

Special holiday activist messages at the end of Condemned for Christmas 2009 - The Mittens Are Off, include a message from Reverend Billy about the "Fracking" threat to New York State's drinking water. And another about a man who is being tortured just blocks from City Hall under Obama's justice department. The last piece features Wallace Shawn, Cathleen Chalfant, and Bruce Ratner's not-evil brother, Center for Constitutional Rights leader Michael Ratner. How could the Ratner family have one brother who is soooo good, and another who is soooo very bad? This hasn't happened since Cain and Abel.

Have a very happy and very activist holiday season!


Care About NYC's Water Supply?

Friends of F.I.B, Sabine Aronowski and Steve DeSeve continue to cover fracking, an gas extraction process which endangers our reservoirs and watersheds where we get our drinking water.

The filmmakers' description:

"Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse (FBR) presents excerpts from several recent NYC hearings and rallies on the controversial proposal to allow Gas Drilling in NY State using the highly toxic "Fracking" gas extraction process. The show focuses on New Yorkers asking the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Governor Patterson to scrap their plans to allow Hydraulic Fracturing in NY State, especially since the gas extraction process endangers our reservoirs and watersheds. Given the environmental track record of "Fracking" in other states, there are many calls for a Statewide ban. The show includes interviews with Carl Arnold of Chenago Delaware Ostego Gas (CDOG) and Laura Sheinkopf of SWiM (the Safe Water Movement), and footage from the NYC City Council Hearing and the DEC's NYC Hearing on their Environmental Impact Statement on proposed gas drilling in the NYC watershed and beyond. Additional footage from Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringers' "Kill the Drill" rally."

The filmmakers urge everyone to go here to sign the petition, deadline is December 31!


"Occult Gathering" : The Day After...

As I mentioned my cape was at the dry cleaners so I couldn't attend the occult gathering in Brooklyn Heights last night. It ends up it was raining with intense wind speeds but despite that my "informant" John M. checked out the scene and sent me this follow up photo. This is what he had to say;

"I went down to the promenade circle to see if there were any burned crosses or sacrificed goats... didn't find evidence of anything too sinister, but there were some loose pages scattered around... some writing about moon symbolism, all waterlogged. i gathered a few copies to read over... kind of a nice text actually."

And I might add done in the same font as the original flyer.

We have another full moon on the Winter Soltice in 3 weeks, will there be another "Occult Gathering"?

Stay Tuned!


Brooklyn Heights Occult Gathering Tonite!

Sorry for the short notice (it is now 6:00 pm) but I just HAD to spread the news about this cryptic occult gathering happening at midnight on the Brooklyn Heights promenade.

Thanks to John M. for sending F.I.B this notice. He says that he has seen them around Brooklyn Heights and was wondering if I knew what this is all about. While I know nada about this particular coven convergence, I do think that they are usually more secret affairs which is what makes this flier a wee bit suspect. I did find out some details about the power of the full moon via the Occult 100 website, which says that " the moon in it's fullest phase reflects all the light sent to it by the sun. The earth is completely out of the path between these two bodies and the energy of the moon is at it's most potent. The full moon is the most potent time of the entire month and the time when many traditions of witchcraft hold their esbats, or ritual gatherings or celebrations."

My cape is at the dry cleaners so I won't be making it, but if anyone goes, put out the positive energy because any negative is particularly potent tonight (put that voodoo doll of me away!).


E.P.A Hosts Gowanus Canal Info Meeting this Thursday

If you have been to any community meetings in the past regarding the nomination of the the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site, you are familiar with the city's spokesperson,Cas Holloway. Well today our fair Mayor named Mr. Holloway to head the Department of Environmental Protection. I would like to alert you that the man is a lawyer with (and I quote from the Daily News)

"no experience running an environmental or engineering agency."

Anyway, on Thursday night some people who actually have experience in an Environmental Agency -The EPA- will be hosting a public information meeting for the community.

From their email:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites you to attend a public information meeting to discuss upcoming activities at the Gowanus Canal.This meeting will include a formal presentation followed by a question and answer period.

When: Thursday, December 3, 2009
Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: P.S. 32 auditorium
317 Hoyt Street (at Union Street), Brooklyn, NY

For more info contact:
Natalie Loney
Community Involvement Coordinator
(212) 637-3639 or 1-800-346-5009


Found on Carroll Street

Stumbled across another forgotten belt around the Gowanus. I really don't know what to think of this picture except that that belt just looks like it just BELONGS there.


"Who Walk in Brooklyn" writes to Luc Sante (and he answers!)

A fan of Luc Sante? Like old postcards? Then you will *DIG* the interview done by frequent F.I.B photo contributer, Brian Berger.

And GET this! The interview was actually done via post written by HAND on old postcards. Brian not only talks old postcards with Mr. Sante but asks him compelling questions such as, "Who would you rather have seen lecture, Emma Goldman or Carry Nation? Neither mourned the assassination of President William McKinley, shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on September 6, 1901."

You can see Lucs' answer below, but better yet go read it at Who Walk in Brooklyn!

P.S- Berger is on a roll, he interviewed Jonathan Lethem the week before, check it here!


Found on Sterling Street

I was lucky enough to find this very cool gothic style (from a victorian era brownstown I'm sure) tin wall detail on Sterling Street last night. Not perfect but pretty cool.


EPA Reveals that the City of New York is a Gowanus Polluter!

The Gowanus was particularly foul smelling last night and as I was crossing over the Carroll Street bridge I mused over the battle of the Superfund. The whole ongoing brouhaha over the City's plan vs. the Feds, pitting developer against community and whatnot. How the City only got interested when there was potential for development to be stalled while the canal got the environmental clean up it so needed. How DESPICABLE it was that the city OK'd bringing large new condos and thousands of new residents into a place that is an aquatic brownfield.

So, today, despite the gloomy weather, I felt the sun shining on me when I read the news that the EPA is going ahead as planned and ignoring the City's stall tactics. Hey guess what? The City is one of the major polluters! No surprise here. Bloomberg's sudden interest in cleaning the canal was pretty transparent. The other polluters named so far are the U.S. Navy, Con Edison and chemical maker Chemtura. The EPA sent letters letting them know that they're suspected polluters who will have to pay if the canal becomes a Superfund site.

Also a recent article in Architect's Newspaper,entitled,Twice as Smelly it was called to attention that seven years ago in Mayor Bloomberg's first term, Bloomberg pulled a publicity stunt similar to his most recent in October where he announced the investment to a clean waterway. Seven years later, it hasn't happened. I quote from the Architect's Newspaper:

" The 2002 cleanup was to bring the city in compliance with the Clean Water Act, which was being violated during heavy rains that swamped the system and sent sewage into the canal. By 2005, when the improvements still had not been made the state filed a consent order compelling the city to come into compliance. But it was only this October that the mayor finally re-pledged the 150 million originally promised."

Read some of today's coverage on the EPA naming some potentially responsible parties. (PRP's to those who know far too much about this!)

The Daily News

The Gothamist


Ghost of a Used Car Lot on Fourth Avenue

Found on 4th Avenue between the Brooklyn Lyceum and Union Street.

For more old signage, check out the blog by the man who coined the term "fading ad" here.


Celebrate the fall of Communism with some Eastern European Punk Rock this Weekend!

Wanna do something interesting and witness some historical legends? Show your solidarity! Dezerter are apparantly the Clash of eastern Europe, I have been listening to some of their tunes and I can feel the similarities except these guys REALLY were working for the Clampdown!

From the Rebel Waltz Festival's description:

Legendary Polish hardcore punks DEZERTER are coming to the United States for the 1st time in nearly three decades. The band - who began operations in 1981 as SS20 - remain one of Poland's most well-regarded underground punk bands and one of the few non-English-speaking groups to actually attain international notoriety outside of Eastern Europe. Their extensive catalogue shows the band only improving on their sound over the years, as clearly evidenced by 2004's politically-charged, pile-driving masterpiece, Nielegalna Zakojca Czasu (Illegal Time Killer, Metal Mind records). If you like bands like early-Killing Joke, Dead Kennedys, DOA, Subhumans (both, UK & Candian), The Clash, the Effigies and early No Means No, these guys are in THAT league.

This tour was organized by the Polish Cultural Institute and Polskie radio and are mainly being promoted to the Polish communities in the New York, New Jersey and Chicago areas. Please spread the word!

Please refer to the following information for more details:

Friday November 6, 2009
Europa Nightclub
98 Meserole Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-5723
Club Europa
$30.00 admission
w/Projektor Apteka, Prime Prophecy, Abstrakcja & DJ Bubell (Polskie Radio)

REBEL WALTZ FESTIVAL: UNDERGROUND MUSIC FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN This event is jointly organized by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York)
Saturday November 7, 2009
Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleeker Street
New York, NY 10013
Le Poisson Rouge
$15.00 admission
w/Kontroll Csoport (Hungarian 80s post punk) & Pankriti (77-era Yugo punk rock)Extremely Hungary


"Toxi City" Exhibit at the Brooklyn Lyceum

There is a stunning photo exhibit called Toxi City at the Brooklyn Lyceum, catch it before it ends next week on November 8th. The photos are taken by Robin Michals and the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Site Remediation list was the starting point to determine sites selected to photograph.It's all about invisible contamination and there are photographs from Coney Island, Gowanus, Bushwick, Williamsberg to Greenpoint.

From the artist's description:

The exhibition Toxi City: Brooklyn’s Brownfields explores the legacy of Brooklyn’s industrial past and the spectrum of pollution in which we live. The exhibition features 30 photographs of sites in Coney Island, DUMBO, East New York, East Williamsburg, Gowanus, Greenpoint, Red Hook, Sunset Park, and Williamsburg where historic uses have saturated the soils and groundwater with a lasting toxicity. As we careen towards the greater impacts of climate change, brownfields remind us of the damage we are willing to inflict on the environment for the benefits of industrialism.To select the sites to photograph for the exhibit, the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Site Remediation list was the starting point to determine what qualifies as a brownfield or toxic site. In addition, old maps at the Brooklyn Historical Society were consulted.

The dichotomy of pristine and polluted is no longer a useful way of thinking. The alphabet soup of DNAPLs, NAPLs, BTEXs, PAHs, SVOCs, VOCs, TCE, PCE, and PCBs that have been left behind at these sites can never be entirely removed. Their dangers can only be better managed.

The exhibit will include photographs of sites in all phases of the clean-up process. Photographs of several completed remediation projects such as Pfizer and Lowe’s will be included as well as photographs of several sites undergoing remediation such as the Coney Island and Williamsburg Works manufactured gas plant sites.

In addition, the show will feature photographs of as-yet unremediated sites that once housed gas plants, electrical powerhouses, petroleum facilities and manufacturing operations or were tainted by landfill or dumping. Because Brooklyn is a dense, crowded, place, many of these sites are in use in some form today despite their toxicity.

This event is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC), as well as by grants from The City University of New York PSC-CUNY Research Award Program and from the Puffin Foundation.

Where: The Brooklyn Lyceum
227 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
PHONE: 718.857.4816

Click here for the Toxi City website.


"About Face" Opens at The Tabla Rasa Gallery in Sunset Park Tonite

The Tabla Rasa Gallery in Sunset Park is presenting a new group show called "About Face" and it opens tonight in Sunset Park. The sculpture shown is done by my friend Jeannine Bardo who I have had the honor of meeting in the Art Education program at Brooklyn College. This sculpture "Eve" is made out of natural birch wood shavings, it is too beautiful for words!

Go see it and all the works having to do with "the face" being shown at the Tabla Rosa Gallery.

Other artists included in this show are:
Stephen Basso
Simon Dinnerstein
Anita Giraldo
Clarity Haynes
Kiseok Kim
Alexandra Limpert
Alex Pimienta
David Prifti
Stuart Shedletsky
Larry Siegel

The Tabla Rasa Gallery 224 48th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11220
Opening is from 5:30 - 8:30pm
The show is up until January 23.


Don't Forget to VOTE Bloomberg OUT TOMORROW!!

Do NOT forget to vote Bloomberg out of office tomorrow. Voting will be light as the man has beat many down with his bloated self confidence and bank rolled media campaign. POLLS ARE OPEN FROM 6am to 9pm. You have no right to complain about Bloomberg unless you vote!

Enjoy some of his legacy. Thanks to him we have to look at/into the un-curtained windows of glass and steel condos. Many are empty while many are poorly decorated!

Atlantic Yards, Coney Island, Gowanus, Williamsburg, Long Island City, the lower east side, all uglified or on their way to become uglified. Get this man O-U-T!


Happy Halloween and Sam Hain....

Prospect Park
On Halloween or Sam Hain, the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and communication between the world of the living and the world of our deceased ancestors, the fairy folk, and other spirits is easiest. So don't forget to visit with them somehow! Light a candle and think on the people you love who have left you, you may get an answer!

Otherwise, listen to Black Sabbath's first album or maybe the Cramps,eat some candy and throw some eggs!


Found in Prospect Park

Beethoven looks slightly less intimidating with this amazing backdrop. The leaves are peaking! Get thee to thy park now!


Reverend Billy Speaks Out Against Fracking

This just in from my favorite video activists Sabine Aronowsky and Steve DeSeve. Green Party Mayoral candidate Reverend Billy recently visited their Brooklyn headquarters and spoke about an irresponsible New York Times article on gas drilling.

Why was it irresponsible?

They did not mention the "fracking" that's being done in New York State

What's fracking?

* "Fracking," as the industry calls it, involves injecting a million gallons or more of water and chemicals deep underground to pry out gas that's locked away in tight spaces. Many environmentalists want the federal government to regulate the practice because, in some cases, fracking may be harming nearby water wells. The industry says regulation should be left up to the states.

To find out more check out the trailer for a new documentary called Water Under Attack

*Info from an radio show by Jeff Brady on NPR a few months ago, read the whole article here.


Urban Divers Enviromedia Mobile Debuts!

Ludger Balan founder of the Urban Divers accepting one of two nice checks, this one from Waste Management! The other was a very nice sum from Assemblymember William Colton.

So nice to have some GOOD POSITIVE news regarding our urban waterways! Today I attended the unveiling of the fab Enviromedia Mobile which travels to schools throughout the NY area educating about all things aquatic in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall. Inside this long metal trailer your will find everything from aquatic artistic inspiration, info about effects of climate change on marine life amongst many other relevant topics. The mobile also has a lot of very cool historical nautical items and has a wonderful wood planked floor (you feel like you are on a boat once inside the metal trailer!). It is quite a accomplishment.

*After 11 years of continuing dedication, including eight years in conception and design, and three years of intense hard work. The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy has conceived a unique learning and cultural tool to help increase environmental literacy, youth development and maritime cultural enrichment in our community, in our schools, on the waterfront in Brooklyn.Senator Velmanette Montgomery, one of the few politicians to come out publicly to be for the EPA cleaning the Gowanus Canal (ie: she is PRO Superfund!) was there.

While there, F.I.B heard from reliable political sources that Mayor Bloomberg's push to have the city clean the canal is not deterring the EPA from stopping any plans for doing it themselves. Great News!!!! Is that an IRON LUNG?! Do correct me if I am wrong...FIB has more photos but the computer is dying, if it's not the camera, it's the computer, oy.... a (low tech operation here, anyone have an old laptop to donate? I have no shame!)

Anyway, the Enviromedia Mobile is an environmental center/museum and it travels to schools, community fairs/events, as well as host waterfront environmental awareness activities (e.g. eco-cruises, live underwater video exploration, birds of prey, clean-ups), in order to encourage Brooklyn residents and the general public to engage in environmental education, environmental stewardship, and maritime as to raise awareness about the ecological significance of the Gowanus Canal and the environmental impact that challenges it as well other waterways in New York’s estuarine ecosystem and urban watershed—where we live, work, play, learn and worship.

You can contact the Urban Divers Enviromedea Mobile at enviromediamobile.udec@gmail.com
to learn more or to set up an appointment for them to come to your school or neighborhood.

Congrats you crazy Urban Divers! (Yes they dive in the waters of NYC!)

* From the Urban Diver's press release.


Wake for ABC No Rio

I a am week late on letting you know that, if you are unaware, non profit art spot, ABC No Rio is preparing for the demise of it's existing structure. I attended the wake for the building last week where I witnessed the cast canvas shroud of this lower east side tenement being ceremonially removed and dropped into a waiting casket. The wake ensued in the gallery space after a procession around the neighborhood.

Check out an exhibit or a performance now before you say "I should of.." and the before the building is gone or even better! DONATE some money towards their new GREEN building designed by architect Paul Castrucci. There are different ways to donate, you can even get yourself some hand screened holiday cards or a one of a limited edition pinhole camera print of the building by photographer, Michael Bayard.

ABC NO Rio is the epitome of DIY so pay homage!!!


Gowanus Finally Gets Honest Major Newspaper Coverage!

I am reprinting this article from today's Daily New's because it is so nice to get an honest account about what is going on over the battle between the community & the EPA versus Bloomberg and assorted developers which include suburban home giants and Williamsburg condo blighters, The Toll Brothers.

Bloomberg nor anyone else in the city cared about the Gowanus until developers started snooping around dreaming about building condos like the glass/steel ones on the Bowery in Manhattan. Except these were going to be built on a toxic brownfield on the shores of an aquatic brownfield without a thought to health and environmental risks. I guess waterfront prooperty is waterfront property! For almost 2 years there has been a battle between the developers and environmental activists/historic preservationists concerning a rezoning that would allow over 2,000 new residents into this fragile area which lacks infrastructure (schools?!)and would bring significant traffic into a neighborhood with narrow streets.

Anyway! Surprise surprise, even though 80% of the comments were PRO Superfund on the governments website and there WAS a deadline, Bloomberg is acting like that the city is already the ones who are cleaning it, the pumping station is only PART of the puzzle.....I just don't get it. Condos are empty, constructions projects are abandoned- doesn't it make SENSE to let the EPA come in and clean the canal with money that does not come from us?

Anyway a long lead in to an article, honestly reported.

"Advocates of Superfund cleanup of Gowanus Canal denied entry at city launch of $150M cleanup"

BY Erin Durkin

Gowanus Canal advocates charge they were shut out of Mayor Bloomberg's kickoff of a canal cleanup because they support designating the polluted waterway a Superfund site.

The group of eight was barred by police from entering the Friday event, at which Bloomberg launched a $150 million project to improve water quality.

Some members of the group had hoped to attend as members of the Department of Environmental Protection's Flushing Tunnel Rehabilitation Stakeholders Committee, formed in 2002 to work with the city on plans to rehab the canal's flushing tunnel.

"It was really a private party," said committee member Marlene Donnelly. "They wouldn't let us through the gates. They actually told us we weren't allowed to stand on the sidewalk there because this was a private event."

Bloomberg has lobbied vigorously to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency from making the canal a Superfund site, saying the city can do its own cleanup faster and without driving away potential development.

"I had my Superfund sign with me. I'm not going to deny that," said Linda Mariano, another committee member, noting that local activists who oppose a Superfund designation and representatives of developer Toll Brothers were let in. "It was an extremely sad scenario there on Friday."

Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna said the event was "for invited guests and the media .... They [those denied entry] were permitted to be just outside the event on the street and make their voices heard."

The city project includes fixing the canal's flushing tunnel, upgrading a pumping station so less sewage will be dumped into the canal, and dredging part of the waterway.

Read the actual article here.

Gowanus Open Studios this Weekend (A.G.A.S.T)

A painting of the Gowanus I found on the street a few years back!

It's time for the ANNUAL GOWANUS ARTIST TOUR or A.G.A.S.T this upcoming weekend. It is an event that is completely free and allows you to wander around the neighborhood, roughly between DeGraw and the Ft. Hamilton Parkway, from Hoyt up to 5th Avenue and enter artist's workspaces as well as galleries.

As per an email I received:

The Annual Gowanus Artist Studio Tour (A.G.A.S.T) will take place in Brooklyn this Saturday and Sunday, October 17-18, 1-6pm.

Near the Gowanus Canal and in it's 13th year with some 150 participating artists, the A.G.A.S.T. tour is considered one of the most robust in Brooklyn. Several new artists as well as artists who have participated in the past will open their doors this weekend, so there's lots to see at more than 30 locations.

If you are traveling by subway, please note that the F/G will not stop at Smith/9th street this weekend because of track work. Instead, you can take the shuttle bus from A, C, F at Jay St/Borough Hall to Smith/9th Street, or N train to 4th Ave/9th Street which runs local in Brooklyn for the weekend.

A.G.A.S.T. Annual Gowanus Artists Studio Tour

Click here for more info which includes down loadable maps.


New FBR Video: Jane Jacobs Remembered with Reverand Billy Airs Tuesday Night.

Sabine Aronowsky and Steve DeSeve the duo behind Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse, have released their latest episodes this week and they can be viewed on BCAT & Manhattan cable tomorrow (Tuesday)night at 8:00 and in Manhattan on Thursday. The next two episodes focus on the words and ideas of Jane Jacobs and the current developments happening in NYC today.

As per their press release:
"The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs’s most famous book, helped change the blind acceptance of urban planners and their grand schemes to remake cities into unlivable places. Jacobs ended Robert Moses’ reign of bad building and urban destruction. With the misguided development of the Bloomberg administration today, Jane Jacobs's work is as important as it ever was. Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse presents two new episodes based on readings from Jane Jacobs, filmed at the Judson Church, NYC and hosted by Green Party Mayoral Candidate Rev Billy.

You can watch these episodes on TV in Brooklyn and Manhattan , air dates below, also on YouTube now here.

Episode 1: Features neighborhood activists, Michael Premo from Picture the Homeless, Philip Dipaolo from The People's Firehouse and Joy Chatel, Defender of the Duffield House Brooklyn Underground Railroad landmark.

Episode 2: Features neighborhood activists, Cathryn Swan of the Washington Square Park Blog and Save Union Square, Melanie Joseph of the Foundry Theatre and Christabel Gough, NYC preservationist hero.


Brooklyn BCAT Air dates

Episode 1 Tuesday Oct 13
8:00 PM - TimeWarner Cable 34 / Cablevision 67 / RCN 82 / Verizon 42

Episode 2 Tuesday Oct 20
8:00 PM - TimeWarner Cable 34 / Cablevision 67 / RCN 82 / Verizon 42

Manhattan MNN Air dates

Episode 1 Thursday Oct 15
8:30 PM - TimeWarner Cable 56 / Cablevision 17 / RCN 83 / Verizon 34

Episode 2 Thursday Oct 22
8:30 PM -TimeWarner Cable 56 / Cablevision 17 / RCN 83 / Verizon 34

Bob Holman, of the Howl Festival & Bowery Poetry Club and former City Councilwoman, Carol Greitzer, are other activists who spoke at the event and were not included in the above shows, due to lack of time, will be found here:


In solidarity to all of you working to stay “neighbors” in our neighborhoods, keep up the good work!

~ Sabine


Bloomberg Comes to Gowanus and LOCKS OUT COMMUNITY!

F.I.B's eyewitness news team showed up this afternoon for Bloomberg's celebration of the start of work on the Gowanus Flushing tunnel finally starting (of course it took the threat of halting development to proceed) and said that no one who really lived in the community was allowed to watch or participate in it! The usual suspects were there for this private celebration. You know, Toll Brothers,our former lame-o Councilman Bill DiBlasio, Buddy Scotto and his crew, Borough President Marty Markowitz, assorted politicians and the people who love them and of course the press.

Can't wait to see what slanted articles appear in the Post and the Daily News tomorrow!

Through the Gowanus grapevine I received this irate email from an extremely involved member of the community.

"Eight members of the DEP Flushing Tunnel Rehabilitation Stakeholders Committee were barred from entering and taking part in the celebration that is going on as I type this email at the Flushing Tunnel Station on Douglass Street. These 8 people and others spent many, many hours of their time freely to review documents and provide input into the planning for this effort since DEP convened the group in 2002.


Just wanted all of you to know how concerned citizens who give their time to better their community and all of New York City get treated by the current mayor of NYC."

Is anyone surprised? I wish I was.


Coney Island Film Festival #9 Wrap

Miss Cherry Delite and Scott Baker perform at the opening night party.

The Coney Island Film Festival once again successfully featured great films of all kinds this year. Despite the torrential rains on Saturday, the film fans came out. As usual, the opening party was fabulous. The amount of talent and work put into the show with it's mixture of burlesque, vaudeville and side show talent never ceases to wow me. Although not part of the film festival, F.I.B also attended the screening of the Warrior's on Saturday night, I saw the Warrior's on their HOME TURF! How cool is that? And how cool is it to listen to Dick Zigun tell people to be LOUD after telling everyone to be quiet and turn their cel phone off for days?

This year's 2009 Award Winners were:

Best Feature - Sea Legs - Craig Butta
Best Short - Basket Bronx - Martin Rosete
Best Documentary Feature - The Prince Of Mermaid Avenue - Charles Denson
Best Documentary Short - Young at Heart - Brian Paccione
Best Experimental - Who Shot Coney Island? - Howie Alex
Best Silent Film - The Institute of Séance - Kevin Corcoran
Best Animation - The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! - Jake Armstrong
Best Music Video - "Blue Sky" KaiserCartel - Grizlet
Best "Made in Coney Island" - The Poor Man's Follies - Micropunta

Congratulations to all!

Read more about it here.

Another Atlantic Antic

It isn't fall in Brooklyn without the Atlantic Antic! Although I have nothing against people selling their wares, the music and hanging out with friends is always the main draw, plus it didn't hurt that it was a 5 star stunner of a day weather wise..Once again Les sans Cullotes performed in front of the Last Exit bar...I was particularly enamored with the keyboard player's mime t-shirt and tuxedo jacket with zebra striped yoke and fringe!
And speaking of fashion - FOUND ON ATLANTIC AVENUE! The Reverend Billy Talen's shoes! Bloomberg would never pound the pavement in such fab shoes as the Reverend Billy Talen does as he preaches his word of a dream for a city for the regular folks.If you don't know, the Reverend Billy is running for Mayor, go to his website here to find out more.

PS- Looking for something to do on Halloween? While on the website I see that he is looking for people to dress like a zombie Bloomberg and march with him in the Halloween Parade!


Superfund Gowanus-Contact your Senators ASAP!!!

You know how F.I.B was begging you all to comment on the EPA's website that the Gowanus Canal should be Superfunded from April to July? And before that letting you all know that the Gowanus is not the place for the Toll Brothers as well as others to plant their condos as it is an AQUATIC BROWNFIELD? Remember how happy the community was when the EPA stepped in? The show of support of the community resulted in 80% of the comments to be FOR the Superfund! BUT apparently that means nothing because even though the comment period is OFFICIALLY OVER, the EPA in Washington is taking time to take meetings with Mayor Bloomberg and NOT the community (we've been trying to meet with them) and last I heard is stalling it's decision until December. Originally they said the reason for the delay is that they have to read each and every comment. Apparently it was the highest number of comments the EPA had received for ANY project. You would think that would say something about what should be done! But NO! It's the same old same old, "money talks ..",the City wants to clean the canal after years of ignoring it (um where is this money going to come from? Us and a WRDA grant they will have to apply for every year) now that it may slow their plans down to build, build, build...so people, once I again I ask you to take five minutes to cut and paste the letter (composed by C.O.R.D) below and send it to our Senators Charles Schumer and Gillibrand. We need to clog their mailboxes to let them know that the community needs to be heard,just as we were the majority on that comment site. I am so TIRED of the developers getting their way despite the lack of infrastructure,we barely have subway service and if you have been reading the news lately, the city needs to build more SCHOOLS not CONDOS! It made my day to see that L Magazine voted the Toll Brothers in this week's issue as one of the "villains" responsible for destroying New York...Von Sprecklesen no matter how hip you choose to portray yourself you still ain't!


Dear Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, 

We are residents of the Gowanus area. 
Our neighborhoods may have different names such as Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, but we are the people whose lives are touched every single day by the deplorable condition of the Gowanus Canal. 

We are the people who applauded Commissioner Grannis's request to nominate this open sewer to the National Priorities List. 

We are the people who signed a petition in support of that nomination. 

We are the people who attended the multiple meetings held in our community. 

We are the people who obediently sent in our comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in the prescribed, timely manner and we are the people who have been waiting patiently for science and common sense to lead our Canal into the healthier life the Superfund designation would offer us all. 

We are the people who are beginning to strongly feel that what residents want is of no importance; that the desires of those who stand to benefit financially somehow trumps the health of those who inhabit the area. 

We are your constituents. Our pro designation comments represent the majority and we ask that you speak on our behalf. 

The Gowanus Canal must be added to the National Priorities List. It must be designated a Superfund site. 

Work must begin with the sole motivation of improving public health and the environment. 
No other plan, no other dream, no other ambition is more important.

No other course of action should be permitted to take precedence over the health of Gowanus area residents and our children. 
The EPA indicated in those community meetings that they are ready, willing and able to proceed. 

We are the people. Represent us, please. Call E.P.A. Administrator Lisa Jackson

***Please copy, paste and sign the letter above and email to both senators.***

For Senator Schumer, click here

For Senator Gillibrand, click here


*******2009 Coney Island Film Festival******** October 2nd - 4th!

It's time again for one to THE BEST film festivals in one of the most unique locations in the United States, the Coney Island Film Festival! Now in it's ninth year, this years line up seems as fascinating as ever with opening night kicking off with a 28 minute short about side show performers called "Step Right Up" by Luke Marshall followed by documentary The "Prince Of Mermaid Avenue" by Coney Island historian, Charles Denson. "The Prince of Mermaid Avenue"The story of Jimmy Prince, owner of Major Meats on Mermaid Avenue, who retired after a sixty-year run as an anchor of the community.

These are followed by the always entertaining and WILD opening night party, where sideshow and burlesque performers hobnob with the film crowd. 25 bucks gets you a ticket to the films AND the party which includes an open bar.

Shorts! Docs! Features! This festival has it all! Get your tickets NOW as program #6 has ALREADY SOLD OUT! Also! Do not miss the screening of the WARRIORS on their home turf!!!

Click here for the complete schedule.


How Will Climate Change Effect Us Locally? Attend this Presentation on Friday.

Ever wonder how storm surges due to climate change might effect the Gowanus Canal and Red Hook area? Come to this presentation led by Malcolm Bowman, PH.D Professor of Physical Oceanography and a Distinguished Service Professor at the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) State University of NY at Stony Brook this Friday evening at 6pm to find out what the possibilities are.

This event is hosted by F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus) and the Sierra Club.

From the press release:

Storm Surges In Our Brooklyn Community

What does the current science indicate? How might climate change effect our area? What does this mean for our Gowanus and Red Hook districts?

Malcolm Bowman is the coordinator of the Stony Brook Storm Surge Group, where his current research studies include prediction and modeling of storm surges that threaten the New York Metropolitan area. This group is exploring ways the City can protect itself from flooding from extreme weather events in an era climate changes and sea level rise.

Dr. Bowman has made presentations on his research all over the world and in the United States. Just a brief listing of his presentations include the New York Academy of Sciences. Columbia University, US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, Engineers at Pratt, and many many more.

NYC on Storm Surges:
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that New York City's low-lying, heavily populated neighborhoods are more exposed to the threat of coastal flooding in a hurricane than most people realized. Large areas of southern Queens, southern Brooklyn, the lower east and west sides of Manhattan, and the perimeter of Staten Island could all suffer damage from a hurricane's storm surge. In addition, storm surge from a strong hurricane would not be limited to waterfront properties and could conceivably push miles inland in some areas. New York City's unique geography — located at a "bend" in the coastline between New Jersey and Long Island — makes it especially vulnerable.

Even a low-level hurricane that makes landfall near New York City could wash ocean waters over large sections of some coastal neighborhoods. Storm surge can make landfall five hours before the hurricane itself. It can also take place after a hurricane has moved away from the city, as high seas slump back into confined spaces like Long Island Sound.”

Friday night, September 25, 6:00 PM
at Long Island College Hospital, Atlantic Avenue and Hicks St., Conference Rm A/B


"Brooklyn Utopias?" Art Show Opens this Thursday.

This subway plaza and entrance at 360 Smith Street (F train, Carroll Street) is now closed for the next couple years due to the construction of Billy Stein's "Oliver House" condominiums. This was the site of the above art which will be featured in "Brooklyn Utopias?"

I received this press release from particiapting artist Triada Samaras:

Brooklyn Utopias? is a series of group art exhibitions and public programs organized for this fall. Brooklyn Utopias? engages artists, youth, and community groups in considering differing visions of an ideal Brooklyn.

The “Democracy Wall” featured paintings, photographs, newspaper clippings, blog excerpts, personal comments, drawings and more. It became a symbol of my neighborhood’s strong opposition to large-scale, luxury development in our low-rise, brownstone community, threatening the original planning of Carroll Gardens by the urban planner Richard Butts in the 19th century. In an on-going dialogue and protest, my neighbors and I were able to express themselves freely in public on the “Democracy Wall” for a period of time.

A partner exhibit with even more artists and artworks will open at Brooklyn Historical Society on Thursday, October 1. Two public events in October will engage community organizations in dialogue with the artists, exploring what it would take to build a "Utopian" Brooklyn. Both exhibits also provide opportunities for you as visitor to reflect on your experiences living/working in Brooklyn, and express your own ideas about a more ideal Brooklyn. More details on that later this month.

The opening is this Thursday from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the th Old Stone House at 3rd Street and 5th Avenue.

Click here for more details.


P.S.A: Don't Forget to VOTE on Tuesday!

Just think. After tomorrow our mailboxes will unclog!

F.I.B's voting guide for the many (I know you're out there!) who are also sick of over development, politicians selling out neighborhoods and overall dispicable behaviour. Will the new ones be any different? Only time will tell. BUT here's FIB's recommendations.

Norman Siegal for Public Advocate.
And locally, Josh Skaller for City Council.
Comptroller? A HARD ONE. Just don't vote for David Yassky.

The main goals here are to get Bloomie out, prevent Bill DeBlasio away from becoming Public Advocate and no David Yassky as Comptroller. Hope it happens.


Egyptian Mermaid

Found on Vanderbilt Avenue after the West Indian Parade last weekend.

*Sorry for the blurriness, this camera is shot after only 3 months, I hope to resolve this soon.


Parachute Performance Festival at Coney Island 9/12 & 9/13

The other weekend when I stopped in at the Coney Island History Project, I met Amanda Deutsch, the director of this new performance festival happening after hours at the Coney Island Aquarium. There are some interesting folks on the line up including actor John Ventimiglia (“Artie Bucco” from The Sopranos) reading Henry Miller’s words on Coney Island amongst others.

The festival aims to highlight the history of Coney Island, while simultaneously bringing people to discover what the present Coney Island has to offer. The goal is to create something new and create a bridge over the whole neighborhood—east and west. Festival-goers can come, spend the day, walk around Coney Island, eat lunch at a local restaurant, ride the Cyclone and enjoy a poetry reading.

And speaking of spending the day in Coney Island before the festival check out the Coney Island History Project located next to the Cyclone on Surf Avenue. It's a FREE fun museum and they are offering free downloads of a Coney Island walking tour for your ipod or phone! Click here to find out more.
>Free samples of Stumptown coffee will be available at the Coney Island History Project to get you caffeinated and ready to go....

Saturday – Hosted by visual artist and performer, Africasso.
Cara Benson
Charles Denson, author of Coney Island: Lost and Found
Jibade Khalil Huffman, author of 19 Names for our Band
Dennis Nurkse, former Brooklyn Poet Laureate
Patricia Spears Jones
Edwin Torres

Sunday – Hosted by the illustrious burlesque dancer, Angie Pontani (Miss Cyclone)
Edmund Berrigan, poet and member of the band, I Feel Tractor
Michael Cirelli, poet and founder of Urban Word NYC
Eileen Myles, poet, author, ran for president as a write-in candidate.
Akilah Oliver
John Ventimiglia (“Artie Bucco” from The Sopranos) reading Henry Miller’s words on Coney Island.

Where: New York Aquarium’s Alien Stingers exhibit (after hours)
When:Saturday, September 12th & Sunday, September 13th @ 6:30 p.m.

Surf Avenue at West 8th Street
By Subway:
F, Q to West 8th Street stop
F, Q, N, D to Stillwell Avenue stop

Eight Years Later

I don't often choose to go back to this day. The feeling of helplessness and overwhelming grief that went on for months sometimes feels like a lifetime ago yet when I think back I can remember everything. This post is in trIbute to never forgetting the pain and loss NYC felt that day.


I didn't think I'd mention 9/11 but here I am doing it. I was out the other night and seeing the beams of light shooting through the sky from the 9/11 memorial completely surprised me. I had forgotten about 9/11.

As everyone who was in NYC on that day and the months that followed it is almost unfathomable to think that time has dulled the memories of that day. Everyone has a story about where they were. Me? I was on my way to my job in Queens. I didn't listen to the radio that morning and actually left the house after the first plane hit. I had a car at the time and was headed toward the BQE. I did notice lots of people looking in the air and I had to keep pulling over to let fire trucks go by. When I think that most of those guys didn't make the return trip home I still get choked up.

My husband at the time was working at 4 World Trade Center. He was in the area early that morning and was ironically killing time at Record Explosion on Broadway. He heard the first plane hit and everyone around him assumed that the World Trade Center got bombed again. Rather than walk away from the scene, he walked toward it. You have to remember if you were there you had no clue as to what was going on. He looked up and watched what transpired from in front of Century 21 on Church St. He saw the people jumping, he heard the building groan and then he said it felt like a giant oven opening and everything went black and then white and he started to run. I didn't know if he was OK until almost 1:00 PM. He actually got home before me, by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, from there he saw the towers fall, he said everybody was dead silent.

I only made it to Greenpoint that morning and I saw the building with the gaping hole and the smoke pouring out but I didn't see it come down. I was listening to 1010 WINS and heard the hysterical announcement that the first tower had collapsed. The streets of Brooklyn were chaotic, everyone trying to get home. I remember pulling over and I actually vomited, thinking about all the people in the building. I was frantically trying to call my husband but could not get through. I remember crossing 3rd Avenue and seeing the streams of people who had walked from Manhattan, the office women carrying their high heeled shoes. It was like a science fiction movie.

Everyone in my building got together to listen to the news in shock. No television. Our transmitter was on top of the World Trade Center. We were relieved to learn that any firemen and people we knew who worked there were alive. My husband’s 2-way radio that he used for work was alive with coworkers checking to see if he was all right. It took a long time for him to tell anyone what he experienced. He said he didn't want to talk about it "out of respect for the dead".

The next night I remember seeing the first candle burning in the area in front of the Gowanus Yacht Club and then the first "Missing" poster at the same spot. In a very short time there were hundreds of candles and hundreds of fliers.

I've heard people say that 9/11 memorials should be put to rest, that they are a symbol of the war we are now in. Not for me, those beams of light are a very simple and elegant way of remembering the people who didn't make it home that day.


Found Photo Follow Up! They Were Heroes!

I posted this photo I found in a huge lot of photographs I came across about a year an a half ago. The strange juxtapostion between metal stoner dudes and fire truck intrigued me as well as made me laugh for some reason. It was one of my faves out of the over a thousand photos that i had.

Well guess what? Someone saw the photo and recogonized the guy on the right, contacted him and then he contacted me!

When I originally posted this my photo description was:

"Do you think these guys are hipsters or just fireman wannabes?"

Ends up there WAS a reason they were posed in front of a fire truck. They saved an elderly lady from her burning apartment 22 years ago on Russell Street in Greenpoint.

Read the words straight Tommy Scudiero (the guy on the right with the fat laces) mouth here!

"June 6th 1985. Me and Dave Monat just ran into a burning building on Russell street and saved an old lady. We ran up the fire escape. He had a fire extinguisher and we went to break the window and Dave squirted the fire extinguisher in my face . That picture was taken by the Greenpoint Gazette."

Here is the photo from the Greenpoint Gazette!

I just KNEW there was a story behind this photo and thanks to the keen observation skills of someone who grew up in Greenpoint and stumbled onto F.I.B one day, this mystery was solved! Thank you!

Read the original post about the photograph here!