Monday, September 22, 2014

From 86 To 14 Possible Locations: Deadline Nearing For DEP To Site CSO Retention Basins Mandated By EPA

NYC DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd
Angela Licata of NYC DEP
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EPA Region 2 Gowanus Canal site manager Christos Tsiamis, who attended the meeting, with DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd

By September 30th, 2014, New York City Department Of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a list of no more than two locations for each of the two retention tanks, which are components of the remedy selected in the Record of Decision for the Gowanus Canal Superfund site.
Along with the list, DEP also needs to including a summary report containing the basis for which locations were screened out and retained.

Construction of retention tanks is an important part of the remedial design. As per the EPA, the tanks are "combined sewer overflow (CSO) control measures for the upper reach of the Canal to significantly reduce overall contaminated solid discharges to the Canal."
The retention tanks will retain discharges from two of the largest outfalls in the canal, RH-034 and OH-007. 
According to the Federal Agency,"it is estimated that an 8-million gallon tank and a 4-million gallon tank shall be required to address CSOs from outfalls RH-034 and OH-007, respectively." 

The EPA had suggested two locations for those tanks in the ROD, but was willing to discuss alternative locations with the City during the remedial design period.

New York City responded by hired a consultant, who came up with a list of 86 possible sites along the Gowanus Canal, some, if not most of which could easily be dismissed outright. Obviously, this was a delaying tactic by the City.
This prompted the EPA to issue a Unilateral Order to compel New York City to get moving on siting and designing the tanks.

Which brings us to last Wednesday's public meeting with DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd at the Wyckoff Gardens Community Center in Gowanus.
Commissioner Lloyd began by giving a brief overview of DEP "commitments" in Gowanus, which include pump station and flushing tunnel upgrades at the head of the canal, the construction of high level storm sewers, and green infrastructure initiatives.

Loyd then gave a presentation on the possible sites for the EPA mandated CSO retention basins. "The DEP has narrowed down the original 86 sites to 14 sites," she told the community. She displayed maps of the sites still in the running, which include the Green Building on Union Street, and the site of the new parol office currently being built on Second Street along the canal.

Among the proposed 14 locations were the two sites originally proposed by the EPA
It is important to note that some of the locations identified by DEP were actually just variations of each other, so that the current list of sites is much more like 6.  Take away the sites that are non-city owned and would need to be acquired, and one end up right back to the two sites proposed by EPA:
The Double D pool at Douglass Green Park and the Salt Lot as 2nd Avenue between 5th Street and the Canal.

After the presentation, Commissioner Lloyd took questions from the community.
My question to her: "How much money has the City spent on consulting fees to come up with the current list of 14 sites for the tank?" 
She could not answer.
However, a DEP representative I spoke to at the meeting told me that $50 million had been spent by his agency on consultants so far "to help us navigate the conversation with EPA."
The sum, if correct, is pretty astronomical.  But that does not seem to be the end of the expenses yet.

An engaged Gowanus community member just came across a Request for Services (RFP) in the tune of  $30,385,000 for a "Superfund Support Contract for the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek" which will run from 2015 to 2020. (see below)

Gowanus Community Represented At People's Climate March

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In the midst of the 300,000+ people who attended the People's Climate March this past Sunday in Manhattan were members of the Gowanus Community.
Their signs reminded of Hurricane Sandy, the fact that most of the neighborhood is in Flood Zone A and that global warming will have a huge impact on the area.
It was quite impressive how many fellow marchers who had come from all over the country, seemed to respond or ask about the Gowanus.
Obviously, there is national interest in the area. No doubt, the community is a poster child for all the issues associated with climate change.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Join Gowanus Neighbors And Friends At Sunday's People's Climate March!


If you are planning on attending Sunday's People's Climate March and live in or near Gowanus, you may want to meet up so that our neighborhood, which has and will continue to experience the effects of global warming in the future, can be well represented.

Join Gowanus neighbors and friends at The People's Climate March! 
Meet-Up: Sunday September 21st 
at Carroll Street Station at Smith and 2nd Place

Time: 9:30 AM

The march is in NYC at 11:00 am on Sunday, September 21st.

To mark the UN Climate Summit, a massive march will take place in Manhattan 
on Sunday, September 21 Street at 11 AM.  The march will begin at Columbus Circle and continuing on to 11th Avenue and 14th Street. 

Gowanus, Brooklyn is experiencing climate change first hand! We've seen how 
frequent, heavier rainfall causes sewage to flow into the canal.  We have seen how developers are pressuring city government for more zoning changes to build their large-scale, residential buildings on toxic land, in a flood evacuation zone. 

Let's continue to speak up on behalf of the environment and our Gowanus community!

Let's march together on September 21st, under a Gowanus banner, and demand action on local and global climate crisis issues!

Participate in a historic demonstration and demand action on the climate crisis from local and world leaders!

Below is some interesting information regarding the effects of global warming on Gowanus.
The videos were taken in 2012 during a walking tour of the Gowanus Canal with climate change expert Klaus Jacob of Columbia University and with Paul Reale of The Climate Reality Project, which was founded by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States.

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Charts courtesy of Gowanus Canal Conservancy.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ricky's (Halloween?) Coming To Smith Street Soon

Posters in the storefront window at 209 Smith Street between Baltic and Butler Streets indicate that Ricky's will be moving in soon.  This may be a temporary location for the chain, since the posters include the link to the store's Halloween costume and accessory site.
The nearest Ricky's haircare and make-up shop is located at 107 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Thanks to both Bob and Donald for alerting us to the opening. Donald wrote: "The recent loss of Met Food means that 3 of the 4 stores on that intersection are currently vacant, so it's good to see some activity."

The storefront was the home of Faan, an Asian fusion restaurant for ten years. It was replaced by the short-lived Burger on Smith, which closed in May 2013.
The space has been for rent ever since. It is currently still listed by Thor Equities, which would support the assumption that this will be a seasonal pop-up store for Ricky's.

Animal Loving Care Celebrates New Court Street Location With Open House Event

photo credit: Animal Loving Care
Animal Loving Care, which has provided services for cats and dogs in the neighborhood since 2000, has recently relocated to a larger space at 556 Court Street.  To celebrate the big move, everyone is invited to stop by check out the new facility on September 28th.
Here are the details:

Animal Loving Care, a dog and cat grooming, daycare and boarding space in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, is pleased to open its doors to the community for a special open house event on Sunday, September 28, 2014.

The open house will feature a host of attractions to local pet owners in the facility’s bi-level Court Street location from 12-4 PM. Come meet the staff and tour the facility, get pet product samples, put your name in for fun, pet-oriented raffles, check out specialty pet products and artwork only available at Animal Loving Care, and more!

Animal Loving Care is owned and operated by Yukino Ushimaru, a neighborhood resident who founded the business in 2000, at first primarily as a dog walking service. After training at the New York School of Dog Grooming and working as a groomer in other NYC shops, Yukino decided to expand her business with the intention of creating a gentler, kinder experience for the animals. Five years later, Animal Loving Care outgrew its Sackett Street space and moved to its new residence at 556 Court St. The company has also expanded its caring mantra to “home style” boarding – cage-free, 24-hour care – and doggy daycare.

The open house will serve as a means for new and old customers and friends to get to know Animal Loving Care’s new space. Dogs welcome!

Animal Loving Care Open House Celebration
Sunday, September 28
12-4 PM
556 Court St between West 9th Street and Garnet Street

'Amazing Garden' On Columbia Street To Host Its 4th Annual Competition For Best Grilled Sandwich In Brooklyn

Photo Credit: Amazing Garden

The Amazing Garden, a green oasis on Columbia Street that has been tended by the community since the 1990's, is hosting its fourth 'Annual Grilled Sandwich Competition' on Saturday, September 20th at 3 PM.

Taste grilled sandwiches from this year's competitors: Henry PublicVekslers and Bar Bruno and cast your vote for your favorite. Amy Eddings of WNYC will be one of the judges.

Below is more information:
Please come to the Amazing Garden on Saturday, September 20th for our fourth annual grilled sandwich competition.
How it works: three chefs compete for the title of best grilled sandwich (meat) and best grilled sandwich (vegetarian). 

This year's competitors: Henry Public, Vekslers, and Bar Bruno.

As sandwiches come off the grill, ticketholders get to sample them and vote on which was tastiest.
Entry: $15 (kids are free). It's a fundraiser, and all revenues will be used for maintenance and repairs of one of the most popular community gardens in our part of Brooklyn.

Benefits: continuous delicious food, live music, WNYC's Amy Eddings, friendly faces

Location: The Amazing Garden, at the corner of Carroll St. and Columbia St. in Brooklyn.

Follow The Amazing Garden on Facebook here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This Fall At The Carroll Gardens Public Library

The Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is hosting several weekly classes and clubs for young and old this fall.  Besides "Toddler Time" on Thursday mornings and "Babies And Books" on Mondays,  one can take advantage of english conversation classes,  the Knitting and Crochet club, the open Writing Memoir Group and fitness classes.

Jeana Musacchiosenior hosts senior exercise classes every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am to 11 am with yoga, aerobics, strength training, chair exercises.
Classes are free.  No registration or experience necessary, either! Please use the Union Street stairwell entrance when entering.
On Thursdays from 10-to 10:30,  join Lisa Catanzaro for  'Mindful Meditation', followed by Chair Exercises.
There is also "Sit Down To Get Down", a six-week series of chair exercises led by Akwesi Asante, Owner of Arts in Performance. He is an Actor, Dancer, and Fitness and Nutrition Consultant. Those classes are held on Thursdays at 10:30 am to 11:30 am.
For Further Information, call the Library at 718-596-6972

For the full line-up of classes and clubs hosted by the library, click here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baba's Pierogies To Open On Third Avenue In Gowanus

Interior. photo credit: Baba's Pierogies
Gowanus is about to get a new lunch and dinner option.  Baba's Pieroggies will soon open at  295 3rd Avenue, between First Street and Carroll Street.  The eatery's menu will be "designed around the pierogi".

Whether fried or steamed, this Eastern European comfort food will probably be well received in the neighborhood.

Check Baba's Pierogies' website or Facebook page for information on the grand opening. In the meantime, you can whet your appetite by clicking on the restaurant's You Tube clip above.

The restaurant's name and the video seem to indicate that there is actually a Baba (or grandmother) involved, which would be very cool.

Important Public Meeting On Siting Two Combined Sewage Retention Tanks In Gowanus


This is an important meeting.  Please make sure to attend!

Exactly a year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Record Of Decision (ROD) for the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site and signed it into law. The document explains which cleanup alternatives will be used to clean up the toxic canal.

The ROD for the Gowanus Canal Superfund required the City to implement measures to control the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). EPA expects the City to construct two retention tanks in the upper portions of the canal to retain discharges during heavy rainfalls, until the overflow can be pumped to the local sewage treatment plant.

The EPA suggested two locations for those tanks in the ROD, but was willing to discuss alternative locations with the City during the remedial design period.

New York City responded by delaying and hired a consultant, who came up with a list of 86 possible sites, some of which can easily be dismissed outright.
This prompted the EPA to issue a Unilateral Order to the City for conducting the design work for the remedial actions described in the ROD. Specifically, the Order compels New York City to perform the design for siting and building the CSO retention tanks and for the excavation and restoration of the 1st Street Basin, as described in the ROD.

Obviously, the City is starting to take the EPA more seriously. The NYC Department of Environmental Protection will be  holding a public meeting tomorrow evening to discuss with the community the potential location for the two combined stage retention tanks.
DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd will be on hand to answer questions.   So will our elected representatives.

Public Meeting On Siting Two Retention Tanks To Reduce Combined Sewer Overflow
NYC  Department of Environmental Protection
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
6 PM to 8 PM
Wyckoff Gardens Community Center
280 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Moment In Time: Painting Gowanus

This past Sunday.  Carroll Street Bridge.

'Taki 183': Accidental Find In Red Hook Recalls A Bit Of Graffiti History

Jason Schwartzman
photo by Jason Schwartzman
Carroll Gardens resident Jason Schwartzman made an interesting discovery in Red Hook recently and shared the photo above with PMFA readers. Jason writes:

"This is a photo of a graffiti tag, 'Taki 183,' that I found accidentally at the handball court in Red Hook right by the BQE Atlantic Avenue Exit.

When I was a kid in the late 60's/ early 70's, one of the first graffiti tags I saw in the subways was Taki 183--a black magic marker on the subway tile (it's famous enough to be google-able). I always remembered it, but didn't think about it for eons till I glanced down yesterday and was stunned by this archeological find (or so it felt). Of course my 9-year-old son could hardly be bothered by this bit of history, but perhaps your readership will feel differently!

Of course, I googled "Taki 183".  Sure enough, Demetrius, the graffiti writer behind the tag not only has his own web site but also a Wikipedia page.
'Taki' was Demetrius' nickname. '183' stood for 183th Street in Washington Heights, where Demetrius lived  in the early 1970s.  Back then, he was a teen, going to high school in Midtown Manhattan. He began leaving his tag on subway trains, light posts and 'anywhere he felt was a good spot."
After he became a messenger, he moved about the City, leaving his signature in other neighborhoods.

The New York Times article shown below appeared in 1971. It brought Taki instant notoriety.

According to Wikipedia, Taki "was one of the most influential graffiti writers in its history".

Here is a link to his bio.  In a follow-up article in 2011,  the New York Times calls Demetrius the "forefather of graffiti."

Obviously, Demetrius made it as far as Red Hook in the 1970. Thank you so much for sharing, Jason.

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