Friday, August 3, 2018

Does anyone really want more condos in the Gowanus? Who?

Will the Gowanus rezoning be what developers hoped?
After nearly a decade of uncertainty, a new proposal outlines the neighborhood’s residential and commercial needs — and condos aren’t on the wish list
By Erin Hudson | July 01, 2018 01:00PM
Rezoning Gowanus has been on the agenda of developers and politicians alike for a decade. As a result, investors have paid what many saw as speculative prices for land up for rezoning. And one-third of the 130 properties along the coveted, albeit polluted, Gowanus Canal have traded hands over the past decade, according to a study by DNAinfo last year. Although rezoning efforts are still in a nascent stage, prices keep climbing. For example, Kushner and SL Green Realty paid $70 million for a 140,000-square-foot property in 2014. This spring, Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty bought the parcel from them for $115 million. Meanwhile, home prices rose 7.2 percent in 2017 and are expected to increase 8.8 percent in 2018, according to Zillow. The median listing price is $1,107 per square foot."

See link below for the rest of this article:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Petition to Landmark the S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse

Please sign this petition to: 

Landmark the S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse

FDNY suspects fire in Chetrit warehouse was set intentionally

Blaze gutted Red Hook property as locals sought to landmark it

Sunday, July 22, 2018

EPA Invites Media to View Cleanup of Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The EPA has just sent out thus notice:

EPA Invites Media to View Cleanup of Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Contact: Elias Rodriguez,, (212) 637-3664
(New York, N.Y. – July 20, 2018) EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez will be at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, New York, one of the nation’s most seriously contaminated bodies of water, on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. with other dignitaries to discuss the progress of the dredging and capping pilot project. The media are invited to witness the ongoing project at the Gowanus Canal’s Fourth Street Turning Basin (located at the intersection of 4th St. and 3rd Ave). The pilot project will help inform EPA on how best to clean up the rest of the canal. 
What: View and discuss the pilot project at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. Photo op, question and answers with EPA leadership and subject-matter experts, site tour.
Who: EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, Dan Wiley, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez’s District Director for Southwest Brooklyn and a community representative
When/Where: Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at 214 3rd St, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11215. On the banks of the Gowanus Canal next to the Whole Foods supermarket parking lot overlooking the Fourth Street Turning Basin.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Suspicious Fire at the Browne Storehouse on the Gowanus Canal is Officailly Deemed "Highly SUSPICIOUS"!

Isn’t it interesting - and rather telling - that the owner of the property, a 19th Century storehouse has not commented for over a month about a fire on its own property? 


Was a Fire Set to Destroy Part of Brooklyn’s Industrial Past?

By MICHAEL STAHL - July 12, 2018

"A 19th century storehouse, damaged by a suspicious blaze, becomes a symbol of the struggle to preserve sites in Gowanus and Red Hook"

"The two-alarm fire that swept through a 19th-century Red Hook warehouse on the night of June 14 was a spectacle, complete with fireboats in the Gowanus Canal aiming multiple streams of water at the blaze. It sparked immediate controversy as well. The next day, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, whose 38th District includes Red Hook, declared the fire “highly suspicious.”
"Now, a month later, the city’s fire department (FDNY) has affirmed the elected official’s hunch. FDNY spokesman Jim Long told The Bridge this week that while the investigation is continuing, the event is now being “treated as a suspicious fire.” The FDNY’s current view was first reported by Crain’s New York Business."
"The building is at the symbolic center of a conflict between the owner, who has petitioned to tear down the historic building, and neighborhood preservationists, who want to save notable examples of 19th-century industrial heritage, as the Red Hook and Gowanus neighborhoods are being transformed by residential construction."
"What’s most inflammatory about this particular conflict is the timing of the fire. “It occurred after the Red Hook community raised alarms about recent, potentially illegal construction activity on the roof and after my office and community leaders took steps to start landmarking the building,” Menchaca said in his statement."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Petition to Landmark the S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse Building

Please read the story below and consider signing this important petition.
Please share this as well!
Thank you.

On June 14, 2018, under the cover of night, the S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse was set ablaze. This two alarm fire, fought from land and water, arrived at the same time as efforts to landmark the structure were advancing. The day prior, neighborhood advocates met with Councilmember Carlos Menchaca to discuss advancing landmark designation after the community discovered--and halted--illegal destruction of the building's roof structure. Sadly, the roof was ravaged by the fire shortly after. CM Menchaca, who fully supports landmarking of the building, condemned the fire as "highly suspicious." 

Attention toward this iconic structure recently has been raised as a part of a larger community effort by the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition to secure landmark protection for a collection of notable buildings in Gowanus in advance of the Department of City Planning's proposed upzoning of the neighborhood. As a result of the Coalition's efforts to emphasize the historic and cultural significance of many buildings in the area, the S.W. Bowne was highlighted in a photo essay a few weeks prior to the fire. 

Historical significance
The 1886 S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse is a rare remnant of what once characterized the Brooklyn waterfront. By the mid-19th century, the scarcity of space in lower Manhattan for the storage of bulk commodities shifted commerce to undeveloped Brooklyn, the result of which was the birth of Brooklyn's industrial waterfront. From roughly 1850 through the 1880s, over 300 storehouses, similar to S.W. Bowne, erupted along Brooklyn's shores. So prolific were these structures--which began just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and continued to Red Hook--that the waterfront was known as the "Wall of Stores." The sole interruption of the presence of these buildings was located at Fulton Ferry, which was dominated by passenger ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The storehouse building typology was created to store bulk raw materials, like grain, as opposed to warehouses which housed manufactured and/or finished products, or wares. Today, most of these storehouses have been lost along the waterfront, with a few surviving and thoughtfully adaptively reused. The S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse is a tangible example of the burgeoning grain industry of the 19th century and a touchstone to the Erie Canal's impact on the economic growth of New York City. Its unusual gable-ended design and roof is a departure from other storehouses, which were usually flat-roofed. Despite the fire, S.W. Bowne retains a high degree of architectural integrity, including its original fire shutters and star-ended tensile tile rods, and still visually reads as a 19th century industrial giant. 

Other proposed landmarks on the list
Proposed for individual designation:
  • Gowanus Flushing Tunnel Pumping House, 209 Douglass Street
  • ASPCA Memorial Building and horse trough, 233 Butler Street
  • Gowanus Station, 234 Butler Street
  • R.G. Dun and Company Building, 239-57 Butler Street/206 Nevins Street
  • Scranton and Lehigh Coal Company, 233 Nevins Street/236 Butler Street
  • American Can Factory, 232 3rd Street
  • Brooklyn Rapid Transit Powerhouse, 322 3rd Avenue
  • S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse, 595-611 Smith Street
  • Union Street Bridge Control Tower
  • Eureka Garage, 638-44 Degraw Street
  • Lavender Lake, 383 Carroll Street
  • National Packing Box Company, 543 Union Street
  • Norge Sailmakers Building, 170 2nd Avenue
  • The News Brooklyn Garage, 209-215 3rd Avenue
  • T.H. Roulston, Inc. buildings, 70-124 9th Street
  • Culver Viaduct, 9th Street over Gowanus Canal
  • William H. Mobray Building, 400-04 3rd Avenue
  • 4th Street Brewery and Icehouse Complex, 401-421 Bond Street
  • The Green Building, 450-460 Union Street
  • St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, 419 Sackett Street
  • Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church Complex, 522 Carroll Street
  • 505 Carroll Street
  • Warehouse with decorative pavings, 129-131 8th Street
  • Tile Works Building, 130 3rd Street
  • Planet Mills, 376 President Street
  • Industrial Complex, 530-550 President Street
  • Flats building, 57 3rd Street
  • Residence, 388 Hoyt Street
  • Remnant Shanty, 101 4th Street

Proposed for scenic landmark designation:
  • Belgian Block street-ends abutting Gowanus Canal

Proposed for historic district designation:
  • A head-of-canal district comprised of the first five individual sites on this list
  • 2nd Street two-story row houses, Carroll Gardens side of the Gowanus Canal
  • 12th Street row houses, north side, between 3rd and 4th avenues

A quick update on the CAG Land Use Committee meeting held on June 11, 2018

A quick update on the CAG Land Use Committee meeting held on June 11, 2018 at 543 Union Street at 8 PM. 

There were two major topics of discussion. The first was about the  Upcoming re zoning  of Gowanus along with the impact of the retention tank designs* on that re zoning. 

A committee, unrelated to the CAG, was previously formed by NYC Councilman Steve Levin - The Gowanus Envisioning Committee - made up of an assortment of local groups, businesses and residents. 

Notably absent from this committee are the FROGGS, a long standing, outstanding advocate for the canal and the surrounding area. Makes one wonder what type of “envisioning” is ultimately being sought when such an icon of an advocacy group for the area is not part of the process...

Peter Reich, a Gowanus resident, having previously been named as an Envisioning Committee member before last week’s Land Use meeting will also wear the CAG representative’s hat on Envisioning. 

We requested and received Peter’s commitment that he will serve as an unbiased CAG representative. We are certain  he will. 

This brings us to the retention tank/head house design which according to the agreement between the City and the EPA, must be submitted by the Gowanus Superfund’s main PRP, the City of New York, to the EPA, for ultimate approval. 

*An important note here - it should not be forgotten that the agreement stipulates that two (2) designs for two (2) separate possible tank locations must be submitted simultaneously for approval. One design submission for the NYC preferred site at the head of the canal and one for the EPA preferred (and much less costly) location under the DD pool in Thomas Greene Park. (Remember that the pool will be dug up for much needed sub pool de contamination and later replaced no matter which location is chosen). 

So, there was much discussion when all was said and done about asking for a timeline from the EPA regarding design approval given its potential impact on the area being rezoned. 

CORD has always found the EPA perfectly willing to not only provide a timeline but to stick to it - often even surpassing its own goals. 

So, we are not as interested in speed as we are curious to know where BOTH designs are in the process. 

We are not as interested in speed as we are in the most beneficial, environmentally responsible and public health safety conscious  end result possible - 

We now, as always have complete faith in the EPA. We don’t worry about their work ethics or their commitment to our neighborhood. 

The PRP City  - not so much. 

We look forward to hearing what EPA Project Manager Christos Tsiamis has to share with us this coming Tuesday, June 26 at Mary Star of the Sea, 41 1st Street at 6:30 - 8:30 PM


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........