Thursday, March 30, 2017


EPA: Gowanus Canal cleanup fund nearly depleted, Trump won’t help (Brooklyn Eagle)

CityViews: Rent-Burdened Seniors Deserve Better from NY State (City Limits)

De Blasio's “Two Cities” – One with Transportation and One Without (NYSlant)

New York Spends $1.2 Billion a Year on Homelessness and yet the problem is only getting worse (New York Magazine)
I’m from right here — this neighborhood [Gowanus], all my life. I spent the first ten or 11 years on Union Street, on Garfield Place. That was the best part of my childhood — stickball, cocolevio. And then, for like 32 years, we lived on Butler Street. In my father’s house, there were nine of us. My parents come from Puerto Rico. I remember when the Puerto Ricans and the Italians were fighting on Fifth Avenue. I remember when Fifth Avenue was mostly abandoned from, let’s say, Barclays to Flatbush, all of Fifth Avenue, all of the buildings were abandoned.

Avery Hall closes on Park Slope grocery store site for $45.6 million (The Real Deal)

The Art of Broker-Speak?? - $2M 15th Street condo a "modern version of Narnia" (NY Times)

Getting to Zero: Recyclables (Open House New York)

MTA Bags Experiment of Removing Trash Cans from Platforms (NY1)

The Life and Death of (trumpet player) Lee Morgan (WNYC)

Volunteer Hike at Freshkills Park on April 9th (Freshkills Park Alliance)

Early Spring Bird Walk - Jamaica Bay, NY - Sat Apr 1st 10:00am - 1:00pm (American Littoral Society)

Weather permitting, Ruby's will be open noon-8 pm April 1 & 2. See you on the boardwalk! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Back to 139 15th. If you search for references to this address in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives, most often they appear in the Wanted-Situations-Female ads. The newspapers are full of these anonymous young women, looking for work - many of them new immigrants.  Here are four of them, placed between 1876 and 1905.





Though it didn't have as many as in neighboring Sunset Park, this part of Brooklyn once had a good number of Scandinavian residents. While the women commonly toiled on land, many of the men worked along the Brooklyn waterfront.  There was also a community of Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders around the South Brooklyn waterfront. Both of these groups were often referred to as "blue noses," In the 1939 WPA Guide to New York City:

Prospect Park West is an equally fine neighborhood, which west of Sixth Avenue changes into an area of seedy houses, industrial plants, and warehouses. In the latter section dwells a small colony of Newfoundlanders, known to the neighborhood as "blue noses" or "fish," who gain a livelihood on the fishing smacks that go down to the sea from Sheepshead Bay.

Seedy or not (we won't go into that here), the workers who lived in these houses close to the water are heroic for their labor and endurance.

139 & next-door 137 were real favorites of mine. 139 was demolished last year, but its next-door neighbor is still hanging on.

139 sold for $330,000 in 2010. Plans were filed for a new building back in 2011, and amended in '13. Now plans have been filed again, with the same architect as before.  The same old four-story-plus penthouse model too.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Sold on Fifth

499 Fifth, last home to Mexican restaurant Camelia, was recently bought by Breeaad Slope LLC, c/o the Botsaris Morris Realty Group, for just over $2M.  The space has been long vacant. Botsaris Morris purchased 555 Fifth (15th) in 2014; a Crunch gym & several other retail businesses will be opening at 555 shortly.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, here's a Botsaris Morris story from 2014, about an Astoria floral business forced to relocate after 92 years at the same address.

Astoria Flower Shop Forced to Move after 92 Years (Queens Courier)

At least 499 is empty already ...

On View

New additions to the 14th Street window: a paper dove attached to a child-sized crucifixion t-shirt. Turn or Burn remains.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

On the Canal

A grey day. Looking through a window at the Smith & 9th platform, I spotted Gowanus Man.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Survive and Thrive:Towards a Justice-Focused Gowanus Neighborhood (Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice)

From the report:

MTA Gave Scant Notice of Long-Term R Train Station Closures, Critics Say (DNAinfo)

Though the MTA has been planning the closure for more than a year now, transit officials only sent out an official press release with the closure start dates on Wednesday, five days before the 53rd Street station will close for service in both directions starting Monday.
The Bay Ridge Avenue station is scheduled to close next Wednesday, and the Prospect Avenue station is scheduled to close June 5.

DOT Aims To Make Brooklyn's 4th Avenue Less Horrifying For Cyclists, Everyone (Village Voice)

Archeologists to examine pre-k site for bones of Maryland 400 (Brooklyn Paper)

The city is currently in negotiations to purchase the empty Ninth Street lot between Third and Fourth avenues, after Council voted in December to acquire the site for a 180-seat pre-kindergarten school.
But before it can start construction, the state’s historic preservation agency requires the city to contract archeologists to spend a few days excavating the property to determine its cultural value.

Is the Garment District about to unravel?

The mayor's plan to move fashion workers to Brooklyn could signal the end of fashion manufacturing in Midtown (Crain's)

Why Robert Moses Keeps Rising From an Unquiet Grave (New York Times)                  

Breslin: Trump, 'Junior With a Big Ego,' said he'd buy the paper — I wanted out (Daily News)

The remnants of Dead Horse Bay, formerly a NYC landfill, are being explored in an UrbanGlass exhibit (Untapped Cities)

Creative Time Will Stage 25-Year Sophie Calle Project at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (Art News)

A New Documentary Explores the Wild Life and Tragic Death of Lee Morgan (Village Voice)

Greatest Love of All - still time to catch the Whitney Houston Biennial

Two Years On

Happy Anniversary 657-665 Fifth Avenue. The SWO has been in effect for two years this month, all works permits have expired and the lower portion of the property, on the Fifth side, remains open to the elements.  No-one's expecting any action anytime soon.