Sunday, March 8, 2009

In Memory of Robert Guskind:

In Memory of Bob Guskind:

We will be re-posting, in the days and weeks to come, some of the Gowanus Lounge posts featuring our numerous, overdevelopment issues in Carroll Gardens that Bob Guskind so consistently and passionately helped us bring to the public eye. Bob not only featured the hard news about Carroll Gardens, but was generous enough with his blog to let ordinary people from Carroll Gardens speak. This gave the everyday Carroll Gardener a boost of a kind that is difficult to explain. It spread courage and communication about the real issues facing Carroll Gardens to our streets, and gave a voice to the real people in the Carroll Gardens. It was no accident that Bob coined the Carroll Street Subway Plaza (F train) wall with all the neighborhood protest art work, the Democracy Wall. Bob was a true believer in democracy and it spread like wild fire throughout our neighborhood. Our C.O.R.D petition and coalition was born, naturally, of the same spirit. We offer our profound thanks to Bob, as well as our sincere condolences to his wife, family, and friends.

P.S. To the Zoning and Franchises Committee of the New York City Council who failed to show up to hear your constituents and community members testify on the Toll Brothers/Gowanus project last Wednesday (with the exception of Councilmember Tony Avella), we are very sure that Bob would join Katia from PMFA blog and CORD in saying: SHAME ON YOU!!! and see the devastating environmental report below***


First the history:

January 22nd, 2009 ·

"This letter from an architect who identifies himself only as JL, comes our way via the CORD neighborhood group. We’re running it because we think it makes some interesting points about how development is outstripping the community’s ability to handle it:
"As a trained architect and urban planner, but more importantly, as a concerned 20-year resident of Carroll Gardens, I write to register my utter incomprehension of the real estate development scenarios being played out in my Brooklyn neighborhood. The scale and density of the developments planned and conceived for the Carroll Gardens area, since it’s creation a part of ‘brownstone Brooklyn’, are grotesquely out-of-place and severely at odds with the realities of the current economy. Just as the laissez-faire de-regulation and greed of the financial industry fanned the flames of the present economic disaster, ill-conceived planning motivated by the greed of outside developers will lead to the unraveling of Carroll Gardens’ charming neighborhood fabric. In the same year that our fire-house has been abandoned due to the inadequacies of City funding, the Toll Brothers development alone aims to add some 500 additional housing units to the area."

"At the same time that the MTA threatens service cuts and austerity measures, the current wait for morning and evening F-line service has entered the realm of the ridiculous, with the subway platform crowds swelling as already fully packed trains pull into the station. So, now, add a significant percentage of these developments’ occupants into the mix, and an already bad commute just becomes that much worse. I implore you to join our rush-hour commute from Carroll Street to Manhattan one weekday morning between 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM, and enjoy the wait for a train that just might offer enough space to squeeze onto. Meanwhile, with the rush to development at both the Clarett Group and Oliver House sites, the community has so far been left with nothing more than huge holes in the ground –now more blight than benefit. On-street parking has become increasingly more difficult, as crossing both Court Street and Smith Street has become more dangerous."

"These being just a few examples of the contradictory logic at play here, there appears to be a disconnect, whether political or financial in nature, I don’t know. However, the irony of these facts is not lost on the neighbors of Carroll Gardens, as we remain actively engaged in the fight to protect the unique character, historic charm, look, feel and sense of community which is our neighborhood. Whereas our Mayor seems to speak frequently of ‘quality of life’, I can only assume that the billionaire quality of life is far more immune from these mundane daily concerns than our working middle-class quality of life."

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 s // Jan 23, 2009 at 12:27 am

    AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2 Thomas // Jan 23, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    How true…
    Nothing more than greed and hubris from a suburban developer.

  • 3 Anonymous // Jan 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Totally true. I hope the cultural changes in our country this week kicks these developers and accompanying GREED IN THE BUTT!

  • 4 jerry farina // Jan 26, 2009 at 12:43 am

    how I wish Public Place was going to be turned into a park instead!


Now today's news:

***PMFA blog is reporting today on the following

Below is a report prepared by the Environmental Liability Management Of New York, L.L.C. in 2005 on 363 Bond Street, the Toll Brothers site. It was sent to me by a reader who obviously shares the concerns of many Gowanus and Carroll Gardens residents. Pretty scary stuff...wouldn't you agree? (PMFA)

Toll Brother’s, May 31, 2005, PHASE II INVESTIGATION REPORT 363 Bond Street,
Prepared by: Environmental Liability Management of New York, LLC.

"On April 15, April 20 and 21 and on April 28, 2005, ELM conducted the Phase II Investigation activities, which consisted of the advancement of ten (10) soil borings, five (5) of which were completed as ground water monitoring wells.

Evidence of petroleum contamination (odors, staining or elevated photoionization detector [PID] readings) was noted in all ten soil borings/ground water monitoring wells installed during this investigation. Soil was noted to be saturated with product in two boring locations: MW-5 and SB-1. Additionally, free product was encountered in two monitoring wells: MW-3 and MW-5; however, no free product was noted in the soil samples collected from MW-3.

Elevated concentrations of VOCs, above New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [NYS DEC] Technical and Administrative Guidance Memorandum 4046 [TAGM 4046] Recommended Soil Cleanup Objectives [RSCO5]) were noted in soil in five sampling locations: MW-3, MW-5, SB-1, SB-3 and SB-4. …….

SVOCs were detected in soil at concentrations atypical of urban fill material in 6 boring locations: MW-2, MW-5, SB-1, SB-3, SB-4 and SB-S. One or more soil samples collected from each of these boring locations contained concentrations of total SVOCs above 100,000 ppb. Samples from two of the locations, MW-S and SB-1, contained concentrations of total SVOCs above 500,000 ppb, which is the TAGM 4046 RSCO for total SVOCs.

Pesticides were detected in soil above TAGM 4046 RSCOs in two boring locations: MW-2 and MW-5. Pesticides were also detected in ground water above Class GA Standards in MW-5.

Metals were detected in soil above TAGM 4046 RSCOs in all 20 soil samples collected. …. Mercury was detected at concentrations one order of magnitude greater than the TAGM 4046 RSCO of 0.1 ppm in soil collected from five boring locations: MW-2, MW-4, MW-5, SB-1 and SB-5. ….Lead was detected in soil at concentrations exceeding the upper limit of the average background level in metropolitan areas in one or more samples … Arsenic and lead were detected at concentrations above their respective Class GA concentrations in ground water collected from monitoring well MW-5." |elm|


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........