Friday, October 13, 2017

Linda Mariano quoted in this NY Times Article "Can Gowanus Survive Its Renaissance?"

Brooklyn's very own Linda Mariano, a founder of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus is quoted in this NY Times article on Gowanus.

"Can Gowanus Survive Its Renaissance?"
by Andy Newman
NY Times

Left Image:
Stroller traffic on Carroll Street. Credit Stephen Speranza for The New York Times

Those opposed to high-end housing along the canal remain unimpressed. Among them is Linda Mariano, a founder of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus. She was recently persuaded to take a stroll along the waterfront walkway, which is open to the public though largely hidden from the street.

“This is not Gowanus,” said Ms. Mariano, a retired art teacher who bought a fixer-upper on President Street in 1974. She brushed past a beach rose in a planter. “This is not the beach,” she said. “We should be retreating from the water, not creating an artificial utopia.”

The neighborhood should refit old industrial buildings for small manufacturers and artists, Ms. Mariano said. “What Gowanus had — and still has to a certain extent — is what America used to be,” she said. “We made things. We had jobs here, and people could live near where they worked.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dredging Pilot at Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Begin

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that its dredging and capping pilot project will begin next week as part of its overall cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, New York, one of the nation’s most seriously contaminated bodies of water. Starting late next week, equipment will be brought in to support the dredging and removal of  approximately 22,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment in the Gowanus Canal’s Fourth Street Turning Basin (located at the intersection of 4th St. and 3rd Ave). The project includes installation of steel sheeting to support existing bulkheads during the pilot project. EPA will also monitor air and water during this project. Work is expected to continue through the spring of 2018. The dredging and capping pilot will inform the full scale dredging project. This work is being done in close cooperation with New York State.

For more info please see Gowanus Superfund Update: EPA Ready To Begin Phase 2 Of Pilot Study At Fourth Street Basin Near Whole Foods


HDC Preservation School!

Hello, Six to Celebrate partners!
HDC would like to extend free admission to you for our upcoming Preservation School series.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn a lot about historic preservation practice in NYC in a short amount of time.  We will likely be restructuring the program next year, so this is your last chance to catch these classes!
If you’re not already familiar, the program welcomes professionals in the field to give concise lectures about their area of expertise.  There are four classes, each 90 minutes long and offered once a week in October.  I’ve attached the program announcement, descriptions of the classes and instructor bios if you’d like to learn more.  This info is also on our website.
The first class, entitled “Preservation 101,”  is this Thursday.  It will provide an overview of the various preservation regulations in NYC, as well as the broader governing structure for land use issues, like zoning.
There is no need to register online – simply respond to this email and let me know if you’d like to be put on the list for individual classes or for the entire series.
We hope to see you there!
All the best,
Barbara Zay
Manager of Preservation and Research
Historic Districts Council
232 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
t 212.614.9107 x10 | f 212.614.9127

Sunday, April 9, 2017

March 2017 Gowanus Canal CAG General Meeting Summary

The March Gowanus Canal CAG General meeting was held at the St Mary's houses on Carroll Street on its regular last Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM

In attendance were EPA Project Manager, Christos Tsiamis and Legal Counsel, Brian Carr as well as representatives from the Army Corp of Engineers,  NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and US Fish and Wildlife Service. They were there to explain their role as some of the Trustees in a program called the National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)  which helps neighborhoods/communities recover monetary damages suffered from environmental accidents/disasters/situations.

We were given an update by both EPA representatives:

--4th Street Basin pilot study/design is 50% complete.

--The First Street Basin may begin by late fall early 2018.

--The 5th Street basin has had some work done. some data collected and that data is currently being reviewed. There should be more updates regarding this basin at the next general meeting.

There is still work to be done in the design of the upper canal

--- stabilizing the banks of the Canal to prohibit any further contamination from leeching into the waterway-- a complicated task of the project since there are multiple properties/owners involved. The bulkhead construction must come before the dredging can begin and all legal agreements must be in place for this to proceed.

EPA hopes to begin dredging at the head of the canal by late 2018.

Part of the discussion turned to some of the financial facts of our Gowanus Superfund Project. Lately, there has been quite a bit of buzz regarding the Superfund status of the Canal since the new administration has taken over.

There have been articles claiming that the funding is endangered--indeed the project could be endangered.

During the course of last week's meeting, funding (or lack thereof) did come up. We were told that a particular "basket"  of funding would be running out very soon. This would mean that the work would continue but at an extremely slowed pace. The slowdown would NOT affect or extend the consent agreement timeline that EPA has with the City of New York regarding the April 2020 deadline for the city to acquire the properties they wish to either purchase or seize at the head of the canal for the required retention tank placement.  But a slowdown in general should be expected and of course, a slowdown is never welcome.

Shortly after that on March 30th, to be exact, EPA issued the following statement:

"Work on the Gowanus Canal is expected to continue using funding that the EPA already has and, as is the goal of the Superfund program, relying on the work being conducted by those parties responsible for the pollution at the site. The regional office has not requested additional funding from EPA's national office.

The EPA currently has several administrative orders in place which ensure the completion of design work and a dredging and capping pilot. Under those orders, work is expected to begin later this year on the pilot in the 4th Street Turning Basin.

2022 remains the EPA estimated target for completion of the dredging work at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site, with work on the Combined Sewer Overflows completed after that."

So, with that good and most welcomed news, things seem to be progressing mostly on schedule.

The rest of the evening were presentations made by  NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Services and the Army Corp of Engineers regarding the possibility of NRDA recovering additional monies from the responsible parties in order to sort of replace or make up for some of the environmental damages done to the community because of the polluted condition of the Gowanus waterway. 

The representatives, explained how this can work by using oil spills in different parts of the country as examples. So, an oil spill diminishes or decimates the wildlife in a waterway---the fish/wildlife habitat has been destroyed or severely damaged, the NRDA program, through the Trustees, which are people from the attending organizations, as well as others, works with the community and the facts of the site itself to determine that there are significant injuries to proceed with an attempt to compensate the public through monies recovered from the Responsible Parties for those lost resources. 

In other words, National Grid, City of New York and other responsible parties would ideally contribute monetarily to pay for the environmental damages suffered by the community, This is not a sure thing, but it is possible.

The community would be encouraged to work with the NRDA Trustees to try to come up with ideas as how to use those monies in ways to restore/maintain the habitat. For example perhaps adding softer edges, where possible, along the waterway to create a "wetland" habitat where certain types of aquatic life would be encouraged to return and flourish. 

There are other ideas and all ideas are encouraged. The CAG Land Use Committee (please see the Gowanus Canal CAG website for the calendar of meetings) will be having continuing discussions about this and it will be further discussed at upcoming general meetings as well.

As always, all meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome to bring their ideas and voices to the CAG!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary of the "Democracy Wall" in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

The Democracy Wall in Carroll Gardens Anniversary 2007-2017

Did you know?
It is the ten year anniversary of the "Democracy Wall" in Carroll Gardens!

What was the Democracy Wall?  It all started with one simple mural:

This mural was put there by local artist Triada Samaras as a protest to a looming development project in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in 2007.  Samaras and long-time Carroll Gardens residents, Rita Miller and Lucy DeCarlo simultaneously created
"CG CORD/Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development".
Thus, "CORD" and the "Democracy Wall" were  born and an enduring and inspiring piece of art activist/community activist history followed! For more on this story please see this LINK. 

"Entry from July 08, 2016"
"Democracy Wall (Carroll Street subway station, Carroll Gardens)
China’s “Democracy Wall Movement” existed from November 1978 to December 1979, when a brick wall at Xidan Street in Beijing included posters of protest. 
Brooklyn’s “Democracy Wall” was in Carroll Gardens, by the Carroll Street subway station at 360 Smith Street. In 2007 and 2008, murals on the Democracy Wall reflected community issues, such as real estate developments. Construction covered over the wall in April 2008." 
Above:  CG CORD Co-Founders, Rita Miller (left) and Lucy DeCarlo (right) sit with community activist and creator/author of PMFA, Katia Kelly.

From "The Big Apple" website:
Entry from July 08, 2016
Democracy Wall (Carroll Street subway station, Carroll Gardens)
China’s “Democracy Wall Movement” existed from November 1978 to December 1979, when a brick wall at Xidan Street in Beijing included posters of protest. Brooklyn’s “Democracy Wall” was in Carroll Gardens, by the Carroll Street subway station at 360 Smith Street. In 2007 and 2008, murals on the Democracy Wall reflected community issues, such as real estate developments. Construction covered over the wall in April 2008.

Wikipedia: Democracy Wall
During the November 1978 to December 1979, thousands of people put up “big character poster” (Chinese: 大字報) on a long brick wall of Xidan Street, Xicheng District of Beijing, to protest about the political and social issues of China. Under acquiescence of the Chinese government, other kinds of protest activities, such as unofficial journals (Chinese: 地下刊物), petitions (Chinese: 上訪), and demonstrations, were also soon spreading out in major cities of China. This movement can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese Democracy Movement. It also known as the “Democracy Wall Movement” (Chinese: 民主牆運動). This short period of political liberation was called as “Beijing Spring” (Chinese: 北京之春).

The Gowanus Lounge
Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall Gets New Mural
We enjoy the Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall at the Carroll Street subway station. It is part of the now well-known plaza at the Second Place exit that will be closed for construction of the controversial building at 360 Smith Street, which led to both the wall and the CORD neighborhood group. Dozens of message appear on the Democracy Wall at any give time, with the large murals usually being related to whatever issue is at hand in the neighborhood.

Gowanus Lounge
Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall in Danger?
December 10th, 2007
Is the Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall where residents have been posting murals and news articles about development news in their community in danger? It could be. There’s a sense among residents that both the police and local politicians may try to put an end to what has become a community fixture over the last six months.

Democracy Wall
Uploaded on Dec 30, 2007
News 12 reports on the Democracy Wall at 360 Smith Street and CG Cord’s Moratorium Petition on 12/30/2007.

The Gowanus Lounge
MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008
Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall Comes Back as Love Fence
The Carroll Gardens Democracy Wall, which had been used by residents as a kind of community bulletin board since last year, disappeared last week behind the big blue construction fence for the controversial 360 Smith development. While it’s unclear if the blue fence will end up serving the same purpose or just get plastered with advertising the way that many do, the fence has taken a turn in the direction of love, being decorated with hearts.

Curbed—New Yrok
Carroll Gardens 360 Smith, Now with Extra Love
BY ROBERT APR 21, 2008, 4:54P
The lightening rod Carroll Gardens development at 360 Smith Street has featured many things since the first Heavy Metal rendering surfaced last year. There have been protests and signs, including a “Democracy Wall” of signs protesting the development and calling for a downzoning of the neighborhood. Well, work is underway and the wall’s been covered up, but it’s now covered in hearts like a kind of Love Fence.

New York (NY) Times
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Real Estate Buying Guide
(January 30, 2010?—ed.)
Though brownstones constitute the area’s best-known housing, condo developments are evident in growing numbers. (A wall next to the Carroll Street subway stop, nicknamed “Democracy Wall” by residents, featured murals and open letters to the community. One read “Make Love Not Tall Buildings”— and was later covered up by construction.) 


See the Democracy Wall at the Actipedia Here

Friday, September 9, 2016

Protected Views...Justice Gone Wrong

 Justice Gone Wrong!

Hello from CORD

Here is some important information and a request from our friends and neighbors at Save the View Now:

Danielle Cyr has asked all of us to read up on this situation and help them to fight what they rightfully call "justice gone wrong"

Ms. Cyr, an eighteen year resident of Carroll Gardens and a volunteer board member for Save The View Now is reaching out not only to raise funds but to raise awareness.

Please read what she has to say.


(someone) "just forwarded me your post about Brad Lander's Magic Show. You wrote about a complex issue with many moving parts and made it easy to read and comprehend the b.s. that is taking place.  Well-done!"

"I am attaching our recent fundraiser post to explain our newest issue with The Pierhouse blocking 5 protected public views in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  (The attached is only part of the story - we have 2 lawsuits going at this time.)"

"If you know anyone who might want to write a story about our issue/the attached, please let me know.  Sadly, we cannot seem to get much press about this illegal taking of 5 of the public's views for the millionaires who will be buying condos in The Pierhouse."

Thank you, Danielle Cyr!

We encourage you to send your comments to
We will only reprint if YOU specifically request us to do so.  We will never print your comment without your permission. Don't be shy...this is YOUR neighborhood!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

More Reaction to Brad Lander and His Inaction

Another community member is not fooled by Brad Lander's  BG (Bridging Gowanus) sleight of hand:  our CORD post: Brad Lander's Magic Show, Brilliant Sleight of Hand--- And Slight to the Community....has inspired our readers to share some of their thoughts and experiences.  Please read on and see what Jenny Dubnau has to say:

I work with the Artist Studio Affordability Project (ASAP): We work against over-development citywide, particularly trying to save what remains of our manufacturing zones, where many working artists have their studio spaces. As many of you know, the influx of hotels, self-storage units, and restaurants (not to mention the occasional rezoning to include residential development) into manufacturing zones has caused rents to skyrocket, and threatens the very existence of jobs-producing manufacturers and artists, all of whom depend upon affordable rents. 

ASAP is fighting to preserve and indeed tighten the manufacturing zoning restrictions to keep those areas viable for industry and working artists, and in addition we are fighting hard for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a bill in the City Council that would offer lease protections to ALL commercial renters. This bill would protect mom & pop stores in all of our neighborhoods, as well as artists and makers in industrial zones. The bill is not commercial rent control, but would guarantee the basic right to renew, and would mandate mediation and then binding arbitration if the rent increase was felt to be too high. 

This is in fact a very mild bill, and is a common-sense first step to easing the commercial rent crisis in our city. In 2009, Council member Lander supported this bill. But now he opposes it, saying that it is "unconstitutional." How on earth is it "unconstitutional" to simply offer lease protections to struggling small businesses and artists in our city? And why the sudden turnaround on Landers part? The bill is essentially unchanged from 2009, when he, along with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill deBlasio (who have also made a cowardly about-face), supported it. Naturally, NYC real estate lobbyists loathe this bill: they are making a killing from soaring commercial rents. 

Many of you know about the recent mass eviction of artists and small manufacturers from the building on 9th Street, near the Smith/9th St subway station. If the SBJSA were in place, the landlord would not have been allowed to simply refuse to renew the leases of dozens and dozens of commercial tenants in good standing. The building is being emptied, to make way, most probably, for a gut renovation and a lease to a high-end retailer or higher-rent-paying "creative/tech" firms. 

This is a concrete example of how our manufacturing zones are being gentrified. Though Council member Lander came to our rally and press conference against the mass eviction of the artist building on 9th street last fall, he has disappointed us by refusing to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). He promised to meet with us to discuss this further, but after much pressure, he wouldn't meet with us in person, and we spoke to two of his aides instead. 

Very, very disappointing. We will not stop pushing for this bill. 
If anyone wants to work with us on this locally, please email us at

Jenny Dubnau, ASAP

Thank you, Jenny Dubnau!
We encourage you to send your comments to
We will only reprint if YOU specifically request us to do so.  We will never print your comment without your permission. Don't be shy...this is YOUR neighborhood!

For More Info Please See:
Brad Lander's Magic Show, Brilliant Sleight of Hand--- And Slight to the Community... 
Not Fooled by Brad Lander's Bridging Gowanus Sleight of Hand, Another Attendee Speaks


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........