If you live near the F line in Gowanus and points south, you’ve probably noticed a second set of train tracks in between the active passenger platforms at certain stations. Maybe you’ve even seen an MTA work train buzz down them once or twice as you waited patiently late at night and saw those headlights coming, only to be disappointed and befuddled.
A serious source of pollution in the Gowanus Canal comes when the sewer tanks at the canal’s head overflow during a heavy rainfall: human waste spews into the canal. Anyone who lives nearby has smelled it after a rain storm.
Part of the EPA’s cleanup plan for the Superfund site involves building out two gigantic holding tanks that will retain sewage during heavy rainfall until it can be pumped out to treatment plants. The EPA has charged New York City with building these tanks.
But where? Of the 86 potential locations the city suggested, many are already unavailable, such as the Whole Foods site and the Lightstone Group site. And now the NYC Department of Environmental Protection wants community input on the matter: they will be holding a public meeting tomorrow evening, September 17th, to discuss the potential location for the two combined stage retention tanks, and all residents are invited to attend. Here are the details:
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
6 PM to 8 PM
Wyckoff Gardens Community Center
280 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn
On September 14th from 11am – 5pm, dogs will takeover President St in Gowanus for the 2nd Annual Badass Brooklyn Fall Festival! The event put on by Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, in association with Canal Bar, will have local food, craft vendors, activities for the kids, a raffle, pet tricks, and of course dogs. Plus, there will be an After-party at Canal Bar!
Wonderful shopping with local food and craft vendors: Vendors for every taste and budget, in every category including home goods, dog clothing and accessories, coffee, winterwear (yes, it’s coming), and delicious street food to eat while you shop. Kick out your Christmas shopping early and stay out of the box stores!Activities for adults and kids and dogs will include: Mr. Bones and Co. and their famous pitbull kissing booth, an agility course offered by the Gowanus-based Doggie Academy, and more being confirmed.Badass Raffle: Amazing raffle prizes include donations from Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club,Twig Terrariums, CMJ Music Marathon, Maker Faire NY, Ample HIlls Creamery, Evermore Pet Food and more being added.Badass Pet Tricks: Modeled after Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks. A super-fun spirited contest with celebrity MC/judge, to be announced.After-party at Canal Bar with beer tickets available by advance sale or day-of.
Event Location: President Street btw 3rd Ave & Nevins Street
Date: Sunday, September 14 from 11am-5pm, rain or shine.
More details on Badass Brooklyn go to www.badassbrooklynanimalrescue.com
In mid-August we wrote a piece about how neighbors had rallied together to temporarily stop the removal of 1/2 the trees on the beautiful Brooklynesque Carroll Street between 3rd Ave and Nevins. After an intervention from Brad Landers a meeting was convened between the residence of the block and the City groups looking to take away the trees. This meeting took place some time in August and involved around 6 newer residents of Carroll Street and about 20 something members of various Cities agencies including Gas and the Parks Departments. Of course residents in the meeting were like…
‘WTF are you taking our trees!’
And unfortunately, the City had a very good reason (all be it a little late in giving a solid explanation). It seems that Carroll Street is slated for so much construction under its streets and sidewalks, that even if they went around the trees they most likely wouldn’t survive. You see, the trees, like all trees, have roots… and the construction outside of the base of the trees would damage the roots so much that they’d most likely die from the trauma. Although the Parks department fought hard to save the trees, this project, which is to prevent flooding and also most likely relating to keeping sewage run-off from going into the EPA’s Superfunded Gowanus Canal, outweighs the life of these trees; some of which were like 30 years old.
So, it is with a heavy heart that today 1/2 the trees on Carroll Street had to make like a tree and leave ! The City this morning came and took away the trees. As you can see in the photo below, Carroll Street residents on the North side of the street will be getting a lot hotter without the shade of now removed trees. Sad face
If you’ve been near the Lightstone construction site along Bond Street you may have noticed some art lining the walls that cover the site. These various works of arts are being presented by a grouped called ArtBridge. Artbridge promotes local emerging artist though mostly outdoor exhibits. They focus on beautifying the constructions fencings that commonly make NYC streets look ugly.
To find out more about the group and this Gowanus exhibit we spoke with the Executive Director of ArtBridge, Stephen Pierson.
What impact will the art shown in the Gowanus have?
We hope that Gowanus residents will be inspired by some provocative and diverse art–or, at minimum, have something more interesting to look at than construction fencing. Our nine emerging artists will get some phenomenal exposure for their work both at the outdoor exhibition and elsewhere. In addition to exposure and recognition, the winning artists are also awarded prize money.
On a more personal note, I lived in/near Gowanus (depending on your definition) from 1999 to 2005 (next to the Smith/9th St. subway). I still feel an intense attachment to Gowanus. It’s such a unique neighborhood–in some ways detached from Brooklyn, but in other ways fully emblematic of what makes Brooklyn so wonderful. It’s my hope that Lightstone’s enthusiastic support of this project is an indicator that they truly care about the history and culture of Gowanus–and will continue to care, in tangible ways, as the new development becomes a part of the neighborhood.
Is there a particular artist for the exhibit in Gowanus that you gravitated towards?
I defer to our jurors. This exhibition used a panel jurors from the Brooklyn Museum, Hyperallergic, and the Gowanus Ballroom—respected people in the art community whose opinions about art I trust more than my own. The curators sorted through over 600 submissions from emerging artists to select the winners. They chose these 42 pieces from nine artists.
That said, I personally love the work of Marilia Destot and Simona Prives. Marilia’s submission consists of Gowanus-based photographs of the dancer, Laurel Tentindo. The photos are minimalist, but lovely and meticulously crafted–they are the work of a highly skilled and thoughtful artist, and speak to the artfulness that we can sculpt out of even the most bleak urban blocks. Simona Prives is a Gowanus-based artist who mashes up fragments of Gowanus construction sites to create brilliantly strange, new urban landscapes.
Are your artist local to each boro or neighborhood?
All of our projects utilize local artists (though each project defines “local” slightly differently). Local artists, we believe, should be at the center of a community. New York City’s artistic vibrance is the main reason I’ve chosen to live here for the past 15 years. ArtBridge’s mission is to preserve this.
For this project we all felt it was important to solicit art from emerging Brooklyn artists, though we especially targeted Gowanus-based artists. Of the nine winning artists in this exhibit, six either live in or have studios in Gowanus.
Is the art for sale? How much goes to the artist and how much goes to ArtBridge?
Yes, all the art in the exhibition is for sale. 70% of all sales go to the artist, 30% to ArtBridge. This is in contrast with sales at NYC galleries, where 50% goes to the gallery. ArtBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In 2015, we are planning major outdoor exhibits in Brownsville and East New York–two of Brooklyn’s most artistically underserved neighborhoods. Any revenue we receive from art sales will go towards these exhibitions.
Also, once the artwork is removed from the construction fence, the canvas will be made into bags and be sold to benefit the homeless. We partner with another nonprofit, Urban Samaritan, to make this happen.
Are there other spots that ArtBridge has been placing art?
We’ve installed art at numerous construction sites in NYC over the last five years. Most prominently, we’ve had three exhibitions surrounding Barclays Center since 2012. We are also in the process of placing art on construction fencing throughout the city of L’Aquila in Italy. In 2009 L’Aquila was absolutely devastated by a massive earthquake. The entire historic city is still immersed in construction. ArtBridge is leading an effort to install art by local artists throughout the city, as a means to re-inspire residents and re-build a sense of community.
Did you approach Lightstone about showing the art off around their construction area?
Lightstone approached us. They were surprisingly adamant about supporting local, Gowanus-based artists, while also giving residents something better to look at than dull fencing. They also gave us and the jurors full autonomy with the art selections.
When’s the exhibit?
It open(ed) Wednesday, August 27…. The exhibit will stay up for roughly 8 months. ArtBridge also runs a gallery in Chelsea, called The Drawing Room. Works from the this exhibition will be concurrently displayed at The Drawing Room, with an opening on September 11.
Take a scroll over to Bond Street and check out the art and maybe even take a peep at the construction.
For more information on ArtBridge go to www.art-bridge.org
Greetings from the front lines of the Lightstone Group’s Gowanus development where we’ve got a front row view of the every day happenings at the construction site. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re still alive. Continue reading
The Ice Bucket Challenge to strike out ALS has reached the point at which no regular bucket of ice water will do: it’s got to be extra special. The best I’ve seen so far is the guy who took a hit from a bong with ice inside the chamber, poured the water and ice within atop his head, then exhaled: classy!
But Brooklyn chef Justin Warner of Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dine may have him beat: a bucket of Gowanus Canal water with dry ice and rotten fish heads in it… as if that putrid water alone wouldn’t be enough. GROSS!
CHIPS, is a local charity that feeds the hungry and provides shelter for both women and children. Coming up in September, CHIPS will have a 5K Walk & Run in Prospect Park to raise funds for their wonderful organization. For only $25 bucks you can register and know that all the proceeds will go to help the local soup kitchen and shelter.
For information on the run go here: nycruns.com/races/?race=chips-5k-run
For more information on CHIPS go here: chipsonline.org
Carroll Street is one of the prettiest mostly residential blocks in Gowanus. Its beautiful old Brooklyn buildings shadowed by large trees is actually quite nice as you walk off hectic 3rd Ave and head towards the old Carroll Street bridge. So, it came as a surprise to Jonny, a local Gowanus homeowner, to find the sign below posted on a tree along Carroll Street.
The sign, which has no City Department logos or anything official whatsoever on it, declares that there is no parking because…
TREE REMOVAL Monday August 18, 2014 & Tuesday August 19, 2016 6AM – 4PM…
A single tree being removed from the block sounds awful to imagine for lovely Carroll Street, but it wasn’t the only tree marked with an unofficial looking sign. Multiply signs were placed on all the trees on the north side of Carroll Street between 3rd Ave and Nevins St. So, like 7 trees, some old (30-40 years?), some brand spanking new, were to be removed. To make matters worse none of the home owners on the block were told that their picturesque street would lose half of its trees. The removal of these trees would surely take away half of the shade on the block and a natural sound barrier against the Lightstone Condo Construction going on just down the street.
Jonny thought this was completely insane, as any normal person would. So, he started reaching out to everyone for help. Even Jonny’s young son, a real boy of action, wanted to help and posted the sign below on Carroll Street in protest of the trees removal!
The sign reads:
Booooo! we need our trees back! you! cannot! do! this!
Let’s Stop! this! from happening!
As you can tell the kid’s passion is a clear call to action.
Jonny got ahold of the City’s Forestry Department (Parks), who claimed that the tree removal was illegal. He reached out to the NYPD, who knew exactly zip about the situation. (Car towing seems like something the NYPD Traffic Team should know about.) Jonny hit up Gowanus Alliance and they, along with a few others, reached out to City Council Member Brad Lander’s office. Council Member Lander’s office finally got results. They asked the Parks Department and National Grid to hold off on removing the trees on Carroll street this Monday and Tuesday. As of late afternoon Friday the tree removal signs had all been taken down. However, the halt requested by City Council Member Brad Lander’ office is just a pause, it is not a ‘don’t take the trees’. More actions seem to be needed to actually prevent the trees on Carroll Street from being removed. (#savecarrollstreettrees - created by Gowanus Alliance)
The removal of so many trees is related to the the new Gas Lines running through the neighborhood, which are a part of the storm water/sewage management project for the whole Gowanus/Park Slope area. But, since construction began back in June residents and businesses have received very little communications. For instance, although information was provided that Gas would be turned off during the project, some residents got only a day notice that their gas would be shut off and that they had to be home when it was turned back on. For residents parking has not been very fun in any way. Unofficial looking signs have been popping up stating “no parking” for the very next day. If you want to sleep at any point on the historically quiet residential streets of President or Carroll near 3rd Ave, you can forget it. Construction Vehicles start beeping before 7am every weekday and almost every Saturday. The seemly hastily installed metal plates along 3rd Ave will clang frequently through the night with trucks and cars running over their spring board like surface.
For businesses on 3rd Ave things have been way worse. Supposedly some owners got only a days notice before the sidewalks in front of their business were turned into deep trenches with ominous – customer scaring – construction barriers put up to mark the temporary walkways.
This pretty much sucks! But it doesn’t stop there for these businesses. Rumor has it that by digging the tenches, damage was done to some of these businesses’ basement walls. Although the basement walls seem to have been quickly repaired (and reinforced?), it sounds super not fun to have not only your storefront look like crap, but worry that more damage could be done by this project.
The unofficial word from Council Member Lander’s office at the moment is that they are going…
to gather more information about this project and create an opportunity for the neighbors to speak with its planners
Let’s hope that this happens. Because this is just the beginning. The Gas Lines and Electric work looks like it will wrap up first… next will come sewage piping and catch basins! The project is being tied to the flooding that happened during Hurricane Sandy. But as Gowanus residents know, it’s been 100 years of sewage coming up through basements, flash floods in the streets, and more recently, the EPA telling the City to key their crap (sewage) out of the Gowanus Canal that this project is really all about. (um… also maybe that Condos are moving in and that the rich get the perks of repaired infrastructure while the none rich are priced out of their community built neighborhoods. Yeah we said it. We all think it; might as well just say it!)
If you are having problems with this project, call 311. It may not help in the short term, but it should show a pattern of what’s really happening in Gowanus.
SPECTRUM is a light art exhibition by Colin Bowring, an emerging artist-scientist out of San Francisco. Known as the Wizard of Bartlett Street to his West Coast following, Bowring is making a name for himself with improvised optical experiments and light projections. SPECTRUM is his first foray into the Brooklyn art scene and he has come to Gowanus Ballroom to lay siege to the city and create guerrilla-style. Starting from scratch and working with whatever he finds, Bowring repurposes, barters, and liberates metal, mirrors, and glass to evolve his inventions of light.
The resourceful, makeshift nature of Bowring’s work embodies his belief that the physical is where it’s at. His work makes clear that light-based art is manifested most powerfully in the analog world—our physical environs—and not through computer generation or digital chicanery. The phenomena he is able to harness make visible a heady and potent art form. With each exploratory trial that the artist undertakes, physical and conceptual are merged as he makes real his fanciful imaginings.
SPECTRUM is a nod to the light investigations and optical wonderments of the past and a playful hope for what the future might hold. Behold one artist’s highly enhanced vision of the physical world and all that he believes we are truly meant to see.
SPECTRUM also features Serett Sessions 1-5, a sound montage created by William Tucci in collaboration with the metal fabricators of Serett Metalworks. The composition is derived from an ongoing series of field recordings that reconstitute the cacophonic aural activities of Serett at work. A reimagined soundscape, Serett Sessions takes tactile sounds of industrial productivity and recontextualizes these resonant properties of manufacturing into a futuristic sound environment reminiscent of early electronic sound synthesis pioneered by Leon Theremin and Robert Moog.
SPECTRUM Opening reception Friday 8.15.14, 7pm-1am
SPECTRUM runs 08.15.14 thru 08.23.14
55 9th Street, BK
all information provided by Gowanus Ballroom press release
Ever since Whole Foods opened up it seems like development in Gowanus has switched into warp nine: it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the new projects launching on a monthly, weekly, daily basis.
TheRealDeal.com recently published an article detailing nine real estate projects currently underway in Gowanus. While most of the projects are old hat that we’ve covered here at GYFO quite a bit already — Lightstone, the luxury condos at 345 Carroll Street, the former Verizon lot on Nevins Street, the new hotel on Third Avenue owned by the same folks as Le Bleu, the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Courts and the new ice cream shop Ample Hills Creamery – three projects listed in the article came as news to us.
In this day and age nothing goes un-Instagrammed, and hundreds of people did exactly that from the F/G subway overpass as the sign was being dismantled. Now someone has culled together a bunch of those shots to create a really neat timelapse of the sign’s demise. Check it out: