Preservation Support for the Gowanus Awarded by Historic District Council!

I am happy to learn that the hard work of a Gowanus neighbor of mine has paid off. This person, who chooses to remain anonymous, has been tirelessly working to get the Gowanus Urban Industrial district considered for preservation since before the Toll Brothers knocked down the Blades-Forman Lumber Company warehouse at the end of 2nd street near the canal (which should of been landmarked) back in December 2007.

Contrary to what many developers say, there are many beautiful buildings in the Gowanus which exude their own unique industrial revolution era charm. The type of charm which has vanished from other parts of Brooklyn and other parts of the city and needs to stay. The Gowanus district spans from Butler up to Hamilton Avenue and is bordered by Hoyt and 4th Avenues. It really is quite larger than most people think. Since 4th Avenue has been partially destroyed and marred by some pretty fugly condo buildings it is a bit of a relief that an agency in NYC actually cares about maintaining what is so special about the Gowanus corridor.

The Gowanus has been chosen along with 5 other neighborhoods in the five boroughs by the New York Historic District Council as part of a program called "Six to Celebrate". The other neighborhoods chosen are Bedford-Stuyvesant,Jackson Heights, The Bowery, Mt. Morris Park and Inwood.

Here are the details from the New York Historic Distict Council's website.

"The six, chosen from applications submitted by community organizations, were selected on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area, the level of threat to the neighborhood, strength and willingness of the local advocates, and potential for HDC’s preservation support to be meaningful. Throughout 2011, its 40th anniversary year, HDC will work with these neighborhood partners to set and reach preservation goals through strategic planning, advocacy, outreach, programs and publicity.

“Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures. By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorkers’ attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development.” said Simeon Bankoff, HDC’s Executive Director. “As the first list of its kind in New York, the Six to Celebrate will help raise awareness of local efforts to save neighborhoods on a citywide level.”

Read more at the Historic District Council's website here.


Blizzard Greetings from Found in Brooklyn

F.I.B failed to address the holidays this year. Soooo may this blizzard be the beginnings of good luck, health, happiness and prosperity being forcefully blown into your New Year!
My block here in the Gowanus, which is a fire truck route from the Red Hook Station did not see a snowplow until 11:30 am this morning. It was strange not hearing continuous plows throughout the night as done in all other storms. What's up with that? I have a feeling Bloomie is going to get an earful on this one. Just sayin'...And here is Hoyt Street completely forgotten at 1:30 in the afternoon. And no trains running in Carroll Gardens either...I am glad I did not have to be anywhere. I feel for you all that had to walk all the way over to 4th Avenue and Union to catch the R today.When I returned to the quiet almost country like tranquility of the Gowanus area I was lucky to hit the bridge at the moment the sun shone through the little holes of the rusty old corragated fence by the bridge.
Our own version of Stonehenge right here in the Gowanus!

* More photos at my Gowanus flickr set.


Third Avenue Icon


Shop Proteus Gowanus for Cool Gifts this Sunday

Tired of the usual schlock? Want some thought provoking and also utilitarian gifts? Get away from the maddening crowds to the serenity of Nevins Street in Gowanus. Check out the art in the galleries while your at it...dig the list of examples below to get an idea of what the aesthetic of Proteus Gowanus is all about!

From their press release:

You are cordially invited to the Proteus Gowanus All Day Holiday Shopping Party!
Sunday, December 19, 12-6 pm

"Are you searching for unusual, offbeat, unique or peculiar gifts to give for the holidays?

Are you dreading the slog through mall and mayhem with the accompanying auditory torture of repetitious holiday music?

May we suggest you attend our all day (12-6 pm) Holiday Shopping Party and solve your shopping problem while drinking grog and listening to unusual, offbeat and peculiar holiday music.

Shopping at Proteus Gowanus is intellectually stimulating, likely to result in conversation and often amusing.

Among the many gifts you might find here are:

Umbrella Bags made by the Fixers Collective - $25
Reflective Vests for Uninsured Bikers - $20
10 Postcards of the Gowanus from the past 100 years - $25
A Pocket Cloud, complete with silver lining - $18
Felted Angels- $25, Enameled Jewelry - $40 - $85, and Knitted Slippers - $35
from the Republic of Georgia
Taxidermy Mice adorned with wings and costumes - $70
Fone Art Figures - $50-$150
Miniature Library Furniture made from library catalogue cards - $20-$35
Songs of Lewis and Clark, a CD - $18
Colored Blocks from the Learning Materials Workshop - $30 and up
Handmade Book Brooches - $30
A wide assortment of new and rare books
Plus books published by Proteotypes, our publishing arm,
including the newly released:
A Little Common Place Book - $15.00
The perfect gift for the itinerant thinker"

Where: 543 Union Street down the alley off Nevins


Plane Crashed in Park Slope 50 Years Ago Today

I found these proofs of the event in a collection of old photos that were in my possession. Here is the story on what happened.


"You Are Real": A Salute to the Mars Bar-A repost from 7/7/07.

The Mars Bar is the latest old school place that is getting the wrecking ball, although not really old in the old sense of the word, the Mars has been around since the late 1980's and has been the last hold outs of the type of east village bar where the punks, the postal workers, the homeless,the artists and all matter of people in between mingled. Things and conversations happen in that shoebox of a place that frequently seemed like hallucinations. It kind of stepped in where another 80's era east village bar, Downtown Beirut left off. Anyhow, it's closing. I don't care what the owner Hank says, the developers are probably not "good guys". Another bar that went on the chopping block this week was Max Fish on Ludlow Street. Also not really old but old compared to everything else on the block. I guess they were the beginning of the onslaught.

Anyway this is a post I did about 3 years ago saluting the Mars or as I like to spell it Marz.
How I spent my 7/7/07.
Man, am I glad I didn’t go to that drumming thing over at Brooklyn Bridge Park yesterday! Sounded like it turned out to be an over crowded nightmare. It was sort of fascinating to me that the Boredoms had managed to attract such a crowd. Was it the Boredoms or the hype of the importance of the date 7/7/07? OK I just answered my own question, clearly it was the latter….What did we do on 6/6/06? Does anybody remember?! On 7/7/07 I could NOT get out of bed or out of my house, it must have been the centrifugal force of the sun telling me to stay home and meditate or simply exhaustion. So, after the sun set I ventured out and it was quite a lovely evening.

A friend was in town from LA and wanted to meet at the Motor City Bar on Ludlow Street in Manhattan. I ventured out into the 7/7/07 night to join Margie aka Vena Virago and CalmX (long time East Village resident and artist).Well, we lasted about 10 minutes before fleeing. The saturday night bar scene on Ludlow Street is pretty soulless. The music at Motor City was loud yet you still couldn’t hear it. SO the three of us old timers ended up at the Mars Bar, one of the or shall I say THE ONLY old school cheap punk rock NYC bar left. It is now surrounded by what else? Luxury condos! The ugliest tall tower glass and metal kind with Whole Foods just a hop skip and a jump away. The Marz is still doling out the cheap drinks (2 really strong vodka drinks and one beer = $11.00)has ranting bartenders, (this evenings hostess started complaining at the top of her lungs when someone put some jazz type music on…’WHO PUT THIS SH*T! ON!!” Of course she intercepted it and put on what SHE wanted to hear, “Too many creeps’ by the Bush Tetras) and a cast of regulars right out of “Midnight Cowboy” mixed in with an eclectic bunch of others. There is a lot of coming and going at the Marz Bar (it is a total “I’m waiting for my man’ bar, IF you know what I mean) but it's sort of a punk rock "Cheers" for all the "black sheeps" of the family to feel at home.

I salute you Marz Bar, long may you continue to be a zit on the airbrushed cityscape that our town has become. You are REAL.

See the original post here.


Last Week to See "In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards"

This show about the Atlantic Yards fiasco has gotten rave reviews and it is the last week to see it performed. I just know you all want to see Marty Markowitz being played by a basketball!


The Civilians presents the world premiere of In the Footprint, a new play with music at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene. The site of the future Atlantic Yards Project, including the Barclays basketball arena, is located two blocks away from the theater where In the Footprint chronicles the conflicts surrounding the largest land development project in Brooklyn's history. This lively theatrical production is inspired by interviews with the real-life players in the controversy, representing many different perspectives: Daniel Goldstein, residents of Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, political leaders such as Letitia James and Marty Markowitz, members of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, union members, and project supporters such as ACORN's Bertha Lewis.

This show is the culmination of a two-year long company investigation. The creative team listened to Brooklynites from Borough Hall to barber shops to gain insights into both the Atlantic Yards drama and the ongoing story of gentrification. The company previously presented a week of sold-out workshop performances at the Brooklyn Lyceum in 2008 under the title Brooklyn at Eye Level. In the Footprint, along with several pre- and post-show dialogues, will examine the conflicts that erupted in the case of the Atlantic Yards through to their current resolution in an attempt to discover how the fate of the city is decided in present-day New York and what can be learned from this epic and ongoing story of politics, money, and the places we call home.

The Atlantic Yards development project was first proposed in 2003 by real estate developer Forest City Ratner. The construction plan includes a basketball stadium for the New Jersey Nets, high-rise condominiums, and new commercial spaces, and the demolition of established local businesses and existing homes. The groundbreaking for the development project occurred in March, 2010 after seven years of negotiations, legal battles, and community protests. The New York Court of Appeals' decision permitted the use of eminent domain.

Post show speakers this week are:
December 6 at 7PM: BrooklynSpeaks: The Future of Atlantic Yards
*USE THE CODE FUTURE when purchasing tickets to the show on December 6th and a portion of the ticket goes to support continuing legal action challenging the Atlantic Yards development process.
December 7 at 8PM: Letitia James , New York City Council Member (Invited)
December 9 at 8PM: Stacey Sutton, Urban Planning Professor at Columbia's Architecture Grad Dept.

Also! NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHTS are special performances for Brooklynites! If you live or work in Brooklyn, use the code NEIGHBORHOOD when purchasing online or at the box office for $20 tickets to Tuesday 8PM and Saturday 2PM shows! They all include a Post-Show Event (schedule HERE)!

Go to the Civilians website to read much more, view videos, read reviews here.


Reminder: Serious Whimsy Group Show Opening this Sunday 6 to 9pm at Littlefield in Gowanus

"The artists in this show are driven --these objects are the inevitable manifestation of their unique, often obsessive drives. "

I would also like to add that I am in this show and I invite you all to come to the opening!

This show is curated by Cat Weaver of the Art Machine blog. Artists in the show include: Gail Rothschild, Justin Gignac, Kit Warren, Mark DiBattista, Stephanie Homa and Sztuka Fabryka.

When: Sunday, December 5th from 6 to 9pm.
Where: Littlefield Art & Performance Space - 622 DeGraw Street, between 3rd & 4th Avenues.
A Free Event
Click here for more information.


Gowanus Flood Prevention

A tire, a log and sandbags will hopefully do the trick. Sort of looks like some sort weird art installation of a strange bed except it's not,these are cellar doors being battened down on Carroll Street.

Anyway it's old news at this point that Whole Foods is now saying that they are going to start to set up shop on 3rd Street after years of delays. It's a well known and documented fact that the area that surrounds the site and around Gowanus Canal sits in a flood zone (hence the need for the Root Hill Cafe to go the measures that they do) It should be interesting to see what happens when Whole Foods puts their foundation in, it will be sure to fill with water whenever it rains. That site was full of water until a couple weeks ago, it was like a little swamp most of the time. Anyway I saw foundation flooding happen repeatedly on the Scarano building on Bond Street and it took YEARS to finish that stupid looking thing. So, in closing I really hope that the D.E.P really did magically re-mediate the toxic plume that runs (or ran?) beneath the soil on the site for the sake of the construction workers health and also the local communities.