Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Week in Review: June 29, 2009

Happy July Fourth Weekend!
This week has seen a flurry of new activity for CORD! The petition 's call for a moratorium on the building of or alteration of any structure to a height of over fifty feet until WE can be presented with and decide upon the type of zoning or landmarking that will reshape our beloved neighborhood, is rapidly spreading! Numerous blogs, newspapers, and people on the street are carrying the word, and to date we have 800+ signatures in under a week and we are still collecting!

We urge, no, we BEG you to please keep spreading the word.Encourage your Carroll Gardens neighbors to get informed.If you love living here, love the neighborhood we have all made, and what we say makes sense to you,please sign the petition.

It's the Fourth of July so why not reflect on what the word DEMOCRACY means to you and your family, friends and neighbors? For a democracy to work for the benefit of ALL THE PEOPLE concerned, the people must speak up! Why not make an effort and contact the POLS over the next two weeks and let them know how you really feel about this important movement? How do you really feel about outside developers coming into and irreversibly changing your neighborhood because Carroll Gardens has no TIMELY down-zoning and/or landmarking plan? Tell the POLS we need them to COME TO THE TABLE IMMEDIATELY!

News Update:
Last night in "PM Update" on Gowanus Lounge Mr. Bob Guskind reported:
"Permits are here (for 360 Smith Street. " (See
He even explains how you see that for yourself at the DOB website. Thank you, Bob!

In today's Gownaus Lounge Mr. Guskind, in the story, "Carroll Gardeners React to Smith Street Permits, Suggest Lack of Action", quotes an angry Carroll Gardens resident,
"Where is Bill deBlasio when really we need him? ??
Carroll Gardens is not stupid!"

We know the real issue at 360 Smith Street is building for excessive profit with absolutely no regard for the community or its residents, not [architect Robert] Scarano per se."Bill, if Mr. Scarano is being placed under some type investigation as your mass e-mail campaign reported, then why is the DOB still issuing permits and approvals this week?......."

Mr. Guskind closes with,
"To think that barely a month ago no one had even heard of 360 Smith Street! That statement should bring a smile to your lips if you have recently signed our petition and have been following our story!

That should bring a smile to the lips of many of you for the holiday weekend! Cord

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Buildings rise out of nowhere all over Carroll Gardens and its environs. Where is City Planning in all of this? Shouldn’t there be some sort of Master Plan by the Powers That Be ? in this great borough, or do property owners have rights that supersede homeowners, both long time and new, and community minded residents who seek to preserve the character and charm of our lovely Carroll Gardens.

We are not against development or improvement, but it is totally wrong to give absolute power to greedy developers and not attend to the needs and concerns of residents who collectively have made Carroll Gardens a lovely place to live. Do those responsible for preserving the quality of city life concern themselves with the impact of overpopulation? Massive buildings bring: massive numbers of people, more cars and traffic in an already congested area, tons of garbage, increased water and power use, and mass transit use. What they take away is: our light, sunshine, air; space to congregate; space to walk, maneuver safely with our children, necessary elements in this stressful city.

Where are our Politicians, our Civic Leaders in all of this? We need to have block representatives meet with the Representatives of the People i.e. our Politicians and the Developer of 360 Smith St., Mr. William Stein. If we cannot obtain Landmark Status or Rezoning NOW , then not only will Carroll Gardens be ruined , but all of Brooklyn will become Boxland –the high rising city. All we ask for is a 50 Ft. limit on building height until our status or zoning is changed. Leaders, Joan Millman, Bill DeBlasio,Marty Markowitz {Mr. Brooklyn}, and others, COME TO THE TABLE, and work for us or we will not work for you at election time. Help us stop the madness!!!!!!

Have you seen the trees in the plaza on 2nd Place and Smith St. today? There is a message on them from CGNSA (Carroll Gardens Squirrel Association urging all of us to write (in all seriousness and haste) to Amanda Burden, Chair, NYC Dept. of Planning, 22 Reade St. NY, NY 10007-1216. The tiny flyer suggests we say: "Dear Ms. Burden: We need your help to preserve our beloved neighborhood. It is nuts to build a 70' tall building at 360 Smith St. and 2nd Place. 2nd Place is a lovely brownstone street with 35' deep front gardens decorated with flowers, statues and fountains. The proposed Scarano building would stick out like a sore paw! The developer is exploiting a loophole in the zoning law that is unique to Carroll Gardens. He can build a bigger because 2nd Place is technically a "wide" street due to the deep front gardens. (The developer is also allowed to claim the new private school which is built on an adjacent portion of his property is a "community facility" to gain more square footage for his proposed new building. Cord) Though it may be in the letter of the law, it is surely not in the spirit of the law. Don't let this happen on your watch! We respectfully request a moratorium on all new construction over 50' tall in Carroll Gardens until this issue can be properly addressed. Sincerely, XXXXX"
You can also e-mail Ms. Burden. Go to this link:
Limit your email to 150 words or less.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Your Quotes from the Petition

Here is a very small sample:

"...Lets fix this problem.....This type of building needs to stop...

This building is a disgrace....The entryway plaza is a vital part of the CG landscape that mus be preserved at all costs. ...We need to address these zoning issues now!
...Please do not drastically harm the character of my favorite neighborhood.!.....Please do not think that we will forget this at election time if we are ignored....We're all for development that benefits the community, but development that only benefits the developers who only care about their investment and have no interest in the community is appalling......"
Please do go to the petition and view the comments yourselves!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Where is the CGNA in all this?

According to all the reports I've heard and/or read, the developer at 360 Smith Street, Mr. Stein, only wants to communicate with the CGNA (Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association) regarding the proposed building and how it will relate to the neighborhood. If that is the case, why has there been no public statement from them? Why are they not communicating with CORD? Or 2nd Place, 2nd St, and 3rd St residents? It seems they have either dropped the ball, (if this is the case, why not pass the ball instead?) or are working with the developer toward a set of goals we were not present in establishing. (Meaning they don't necessarily represent us!) So how about it CGNA, what's up?

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Signing the Carroll Gardens Petition/Protect Our Homes does NOT:

-ONLY protect the homes of the people immediately surrounding the 360 Smith Street site.

- say that we are anti-development.

-Single out an individual developer, architect or proposed structure.

Signing the Carroll Gardens Petition/Protect Our Homes IS:

- a SHOUT to our public officials that we who live here, own property
TO THESE "DEVELOPERS", will NOT accept an "as of right" attitude when
it comes to changing our neighborhood, the quality of our lives or the
value of our homes.

- a unique and perhaps the only way WE, THE
PEOPLE, of Carroll Gardens can regain a position which allows us to
speak for ourselves.

Signing the Carroll Gardens Petition/Protect Our Homes SAYS:

-Yes, we have a community board, but the phrase 'AS OF RIGHT'
eliminates that board from the equation. Our own community board can
say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about a project that falls under the "as of
right" rule.

-We don't like that---we want the ruling
changed---we don't want to wait the many YEARS our officials say it
takes to accomplish that---we do NOT want to be victimized by the
infectious greed that is permeating and undermining our quality of life.

-We want to PAUSE the erection of any structure or the change to any
existing structure that is scheduled to be built taller than fifty feet

-We then want our public officials to present to
us in the same mass manner they communicate with us when they are
running for office, ALL OF THE REZONING andLANDMARKING OPTIONS, not just the ones they like.

-We want a MAJORITY RULE VOTE, neighborhood wide, and we want the results of that vote ENACTED IMMEDIATELY.

-We WILL support the public officials who meet our demands NOW---we will NOT SUPPORT those who do not.
This is our All Hail to Bob!!!! corner:

To: "Bob" Robert Guskind, masterful journalist at and, and today's newly appointed "Guardian Angel of 360 Smith Street" where would CORD and Carroll Gardens be today without your superior, unflinching, astute, timely, courageous, and thankfully sometimes hilarious(!) coverage of our story? We thank you, thank you!

A brief history: Bob was the first journalist to break our story both at Curbed and at Gowanus Lounge when he featured our "Heavy Metal" nightmare that began on Memorial Day here in Carroll Gardens. That weekend, residents surrounding the proposed site, learned for the first time about the "imminent" changes coming to our corner: a massive new project now called "360 Smith Street" by developer William "Billy" Stein planned for the corner of
Second Place and Smith street: a 46 unit, 70 foot high towering project over the F train Station at Carroll Street and involving the public subway plaza.

Until Memorial Day, most residents had neither heard of the "imminent changes", nor the developer, Mr. Stein, not the chosen architect, Mr. Robert Scarano whose architectural license and self-certification ability Councilman Bill deBalsio has recently called on NY State and NY City and local residents to revoke! And, most residents did not fully understand the "AS OF RIGHT" ruling (now challenged in our petition) that allows developers in our beloved neighborhood to proceed without caution or warning to implement vast changes to our Brownstone Blocks without our input, consultation, support, or even knowledge. To date, we have not seen any architectural drawings of Mr. Stein's 360 Smith Street project despite our repeated requests. Nor have any of the proper local and community organizations/politicans stepped up to the plate to help us ACTUALLY SEE and discuss what our block will soon look like.

We at CORD have now taken the postion that "As of right" is JUST PLAIN WRONG !
and we have called for a MORATORIUM! on all buildings and alterations OVER 50 FEET until the politicans and other proper authorities can figure out a way to immediately protect our neighborhood in Carroll Gardens with proper re-zoning and landmarking. The "five-year long" re-zoning process that we we heard about at the CGNA meeting on June 11, is not acceptable. What will Carroll Gardens look and feel like in five years if we do not get immediate help from the politicians? We refuse to support any politicans who do not accept responsibilty for our neighborhood.

Mr. Guskind He has also provided invaluable links and story references at Gowanus Lounge to the many other blogs who have recently picked up our story. In addition countless local and city-wide newspapers and journals have kindly and intelligently been also covering our story including: the New York Times, the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Courier, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Brooklyn Papers, the Daily News, and more. To all of these sources as well. we send our enormous, heartfelt THANKS! to those who are keeping our corner and our new petition and blog in the news! (Look for coming archives of these sources as well). Sincerely yours,

FYI: Here is Bob Guskind's coverage (to date) at Gowanus Lounge and at Curbed:
1) 5-25-2007
Smith Street Could Get Very Very Shiny
2) Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Smith Street Revolt Brewing Over Shiny New Building?
3) Thursday, May 31, 2007
More Heavy Metal Backlash in Carroll Gardens
4) June 1, 2007
Carroll Gardeners Continue to Oppose Smith Street Building
5) Saturday, June 02, 2007
Not a Good Week to be a Controversial Brooklyn Architect: Scarano
Rally Planned
6) June 3, 2007
Anti-Building Signage Torn Down on Smith Street
7) June 5, 2007
Battle of 360 Smith Street: Fight for Your Right to Plaza
8) June 6, 2007
Major New Developments in the Battle of 360 Smith Street
9) Thursday, June 07, 2007
Robert Scarano is Having a Bad June
10) June 8, 2007
GL's Guide to Elected Officials & Community Board 6
11) June 11, 2007
Battle of 360 Smith Street: Strategy Session Tonight
12) June 12, 2007
New Shots Fired in Battle of 360 Smith Street
13) June 13, 2007
The Big Carroll Gardens Issues: Rezoning & Landmarking
14) June 15, 2007
More Curious Street-Level Developments in Battle of 360 Smith
Street: Mystery Paint Job
15) June 15, 2007
A Little Brooklyn Tour de Scarano
Scaranos copy 6-15-2007
16) Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Battle of 360 Smith Street: Councilman Circulates Scarano Email
Second Place Plaza
17) June 20, 2007
Carroll Gardeners Busy With Robert Scarano Wikipedia Page?
18) June 21, 2007
Carroll Gardners Post Online Petition, Report Illegal Work

From Curbed
1) Thursday, May 24, 2007
Heavy Metal Coming to Smith Street?
2) 5-30-2007
Scarano Pushback on Smith
3) Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Carroll Gardens 'Monstrosity' Seem to Have Fan Club
4) June 1, 2007
Carroll Gardeners Now Tossing Bricks at Big Smith Street Building
5) Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Will Carroll Gardens Fight 'South Beach' Look?

Friday, June 22, 2007

To Maria Pagano and the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association

June 11, 2007

To Maria Pagano and the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association

June 11, 2007

(Published this week in the Brooklyn Eagle)

To Maria Pagano and The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association (CGNA)

Here is an open letter I have written to the community re: 360 Smith Street. Please feel free to pass this letter on to Mr.DeBlasio, and any other elected public official, Mr. Klein, any community leader, businessman/woman and to any concerned resident of Carroll Gardens in support of “sane change, not just any old change”.

First of all, thank you for your clarification re: the June 4rth meeting. It is very positive to see that Mr. Klein did come to meet with to discuss various details of this project and seems to be negotiable regarding certain points re: the development of the 360 Smith Street site. I would not want to be overwhelmed by any crowd of people either! However we do need to convey to Mr. Stein that we are hardly a “crowd” but rather a collective of extremely intelligent, dedicated, and committed residents of Carroll Gardens. Many of us have been here for years, and we all share an enormous stake in its development. Essentially, our concerns are based on having our “eyes wide open” as to the 360 Smith Street project. With eyes wide open, and a decent visual imagination, it is easy and also very scary to see the results of any ill-planned development of 360 Smith Street. By that I mean any development that is out of scale, out of character, or out of touch with our historic neighborhood. I hope that we can get Mr. Stein to also come to see “with our eyes” so to speak.

I mean, when you think about all of the concerns the residents of Carroll Gardens have raised about this project, they are not coming out of left field. For example, the enormous scale of the building and specifically the proposed vertical height on Smith Street would be more than simply an eyesore for all of Second Street. It would be, in essence, an enormous wall/barricade blocking sun and light and air which are all critical to Second Street, Smith Street, and Second Place, and beyond. To get a good picture of this proposal, one merely needs to walk down Second Street a bit, turn around and look back up to Smith, and imagine this barricade. It is not a pretty picture (!) and I am not only talking about aesthetics, although why not talk about aesthetics as they are a primary factor in the character of this neighborhood.

Furthermore the traffic, both in terms of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, is an issue which will spill have repercussions all over Carroll Gardens, and will also, of course affect the subway system. I can not understand how such vast planning can occur (seemingly overnight, with little or no (!) prior knowledge by the surrounding community) without a full impact study and assessment for the community at large that carefully considers the development as a totality: e.g. the environmental issues, (air, sunlight, carbon monoxide, dust, rodents, etc.), the traffic issues, parking issues, public safety issues, the needs of the community etc. And, how can such building proposals occur without full disclosure by the developer to the public including architectural drawings, plans, etc. so that with “eyes wide open” we can consider the future of our streets? .! Furthermore, we need to seriously consider the disruption to our physical environment the physical construction of this building will cause that will surely affect everyone in Carroll Gardens, not just the surrounding blocks.

The beauty and scale and safety and lifestyle of Carroll Gardens is the reason many people have purchased such expensive homes (or are paying such high rent) to live here in the first place. It is also the reason the developers are here as they know a good thing when they see it as well. I believe building development can potentially increase the value of our collective investments in Carroll Gardens and also make a profit for potential developers, but I think it is also possible that development can bring the value of our neighborhood DOWN, not up. It all depends on the process, and the intent of those involved. If there is a “crowd” that has assembled around the issue of the 360 Smith Street development, it is because the very people who are investing daily in this neighborhood by living in it, utilizing it, improving upon it, etc. are also the same ones, unfortunately, who are being forced to play “defense” when it comes to a development process that imposes huge change and uncertainty upon their lives.

What strikes is this: Mr. Klein, is a private owner and yes, he has the right to develop this site, but is he alone to be trusted to determine what’s best for an entire community? As he has an obvious conflict of interest as the owner, it is very difficult for me to believe that he has our interest as a community truly in his heart. I have nothing against Mr. Klein, per se. But, is there no oversight committee to actually study his proposed project and its greater impact on the community at large? If there are not rules in place to have such oversight of this development project, isn’t it high time we created them?

I agree that 360 Smith Street is a great opportunity! I hope it will one day be the first development project on everyone's mind when they think of the concept: "sane development”, i.e. in neighborhood development that respects and enhances existing neighborhoods not monopolizes and dominates them. I sincerely hope that Mr. Klein’s reputation can one day rest on such laurels and that his profits increase as a result of this kind of action.

I also invite Mr. Bill DeBlasio to see 360 Smith Street as a “new beginning” in neighborhood development: a “kinder, gentler development” that respects the existence of neighborhoods as it also seeks to better them. I hope Mr. DeBlasio’s reputation can grow as a visionary. that his leadership can be rewarded by increased popular support.for him politically speaking. Mr. DeBlasio, sir, how about the creation of a new “win-win” development vision? The old style idea of neighborhood “take-over” development is surely obsolete is it not? Shall we sacrifice our neighborhood to people who have never lived here and never plan to live here, people who do not walk these blocks, use this neighborhood, or eat drive in it (except to pass thru it), i.e. people who are on their way to someplace else!

I believe if that if we want Carroll Gardeners to have a future as a community entity, we had better take a very serious look at this 360 Smith street development project both to ask questions of it, and to demand answers from it. For this we need to utilize professionals in the fields of planning, environment and engineering not just the proposal by private owner who can not help but have a serious conflict of interest as such. I propose we, as a community, immediately do whatever it takes insure that the Building Department does not grant any “acceptance” of any proposed building for 360 Smith Street until a reasonable environmental impact study/assessment can be made public to the residents of Carroll Gardens. Furthermore our neighborhood needs to immediately see any building prposal terms of actual detailed sketches not simply an old design that is already off the table. And. if old fashioned, bureaucratic, arcane laws exist that encourage ill-conceived building development by granting loopholes to land owners, builders, developers, architects, contractors alike, while they do not promote sane, healthy development for existing residents and communities, then HIGH TIME TO AMEND THESE LAWS AND GET RID OF THESE LOOPHOLES!

Sincerely yours,

Triada Samaras and The Second Street/Second Place Block Associations


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist


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........