Thursday, April 27, 2017

Forget Clean Gowanus Canal By 2022: Schedule Proposed By Potentially Responsible Parties Adds Six To Seven Years To Completion Date

Doug Sarno facilitator for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Group
At the CAG's April General meeting this past Tuesday.
Christos Tsiamis of EPA addressing the Gowanus Canal Superfund CAG this past Tuesday
EPA timeline for the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal

National Grid, New York City, Honeywell, Amerada Hess, Con Edison and other Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) seem to be dragging their feet in regards to the Environmental Protection Agency's  Gowanus Canal Superfund Cleanup.
At last night's Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Committee (CAG) meeting, Christos Tsiamis, the EPA project manager for the canal, told local residents that certain differences of opinion have arisen fairly recently between his agency and the PRPs.

The differences relate to the schedule of the work that the group of 28 PRPs has been directed to perform in the canal by the EPA.

Following the selection of the environmental remedy for the site in September 2013, the EPA had issued orders to the PRPs to design the selected remedy on a specific timetable. The remedial design work is supposed to be done in stages in three remedial target areas along the canal.
-remedial Target Area #1 includes the upper canal area from Butler Street to the 4th Street Basin
-remedial Target Area #2 includes the middle canal area from the 4th Street Basin to 9th Street
-remedial Target Area #3 includes the lower canal area from 9th Street to the Erie Basin at 21st Street
According to EPA's timetable , the design for Target Area #1 of the Canal was anticipated to be completed by the end of  2017. However, a schedule submitted by the PRPs to EPA indicates a completion date of February 2019. That is a significant change, especially because work for the entire canal is estimated by EPA to be completed by 2022.

The delays could be magnified during the design phase of the other two target areas.  EPA has "reasonably assumed" that the work will therefore be delayed by six to seven years.
"If the PRPs have the same approach as they have now, we conservatively estimate going to 2028-2030 for the completion of the canal, not 2022," Tsiamis explained.

The timeline discrepancy is related to the difference of approach. "One is the 'organizing principle' of the work, the second is the sequencing", according to Tsiamis.  "Our agency's organizing principle from the time that we came to Gowanus to do the investigation, was to build on past work that already existed from the Corps Of Engineers and others.   Then we added what was needed and excercised good engineering judgement to make decisions. We are not trying to reinventing the wheel."

The group of PRPs, however, is insisting on repeating many elements of the work rather than to rely on information that already exists. This is not only a waste of time, it is also a waste of money, according to the EPA.

Sequencing refers to how the actual work is done and how one deals with sub-contractors.  "One of the important aspects of the clean-up is fixing the bulkheads," said Tsiamis. "From our perspective, it makes sense while we are doing other investigations in the canal, to start fixing them."
For the past few years, the EPA has been speaking with property owners, have prepared orders and have been successful in completing a number of bulkheads with others being completed in the near future.  Tsiamis stated that 'one can de-couple the bulkhead work from the rest of the work that is happening in the canal. 
The PRPs are taking the opposite approach, trying to lump all work together.

"I am doing everything in my power to push the work forward. I have issued a number of directives in the last month. I am not sure how successful I will be in compressing the schedule that they have presented." Tsiamis told the CAG. "What you need is willingness on the part of the PRPs."

Obviously the PRPs are taking full advantage of the Trump administration's gutting of the EPA. The Gowanus community should be outraged by any possible delays in the clean-up of our toxic waterways and should voice its protest loudly and clearly.
Enough is enough!

The Bark Avenue Adopt-A-Thon Returns To Carroll Park This Sunday

Have you been thinking about adopting a pet? Several animal rescue organizations will come together for the second 'Bark Avenue Adopt-A-Thon' in Carroll Park this Sunday, April 20th, 2017 between 1-5 pm. You will have the opportunity to meet some great dogs and cats looking for a home. And even if you can't provide a home for a pet, please come out and support the wonderful rescue groups that will be taking part in this event.

"The Bark Avenue Adopt-A-Thon! is a fun free educational event to save the lives of our city’s shelter
animals (and maybe a few human ones too!) with loving forever homes. This year’s theme will be Vintage Travel! Come join us for a day of delight as we watch our first class passengers board “Bark Airways” to their final destination - Loving Home! You can smooch with your pooch at Mobile
Mutts’ free photo booth, take a workshop in animal communication with Christine Agro, or watch your four legged friends leap for joy on DOGBOY’S agility course! There will be lots of fabulous free activities for our two-legged critters too!

Activities will include a pup photo booth,  ask a vet,  draw your pet, and children's activities.
The event is sponsored by Douglas Elliman.

Here is a list of participating animal shelters and rescue groups:
Animal Care Centers of NYC, ASPCA
Second Chance Rescue, NYC
Sugar Mutts Rescue
Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue
Ready For Rescue

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Rain Delay

I bought these beauties at Mazzone's over the week-end, but the rain prevented me from actually planting them. #waitingforthesuntoreturn

Well, Hello! Raccoon Having Fun With Garbage Next To PS 58

(Photo credit: Alison Fargis)
(Photo credit: Alison Fargis)
(Photo credit: Alison Fargis)
(Photo credit: Alison Fargis)
(photo credit: Lee Crespi)
(photo credit: Lee Crespi)

Yesterday afternoon, a raccoon was happily diving into garbage right next to Public School 58.  He was caught on camera by both Lee Crespi and Alison Fargis, who were kind enough to allow me to use their photos.
There are quite a few raccoons in the neighborhood, especially in the Gowanus Canal area.  Two years ago, the Department of Health was called to investigate if the population was growing after worried residents reported several sightings on Second Street, between Hoyt Street and Bond Street.

Since raccoons are mostly nocturnal, it is unusual to see one in brought daylight, obviously unafraid of passers-by.

Books Are Magic: Our New Local Indie Bookstore Opening May 1

The most anticipated neighborhood opening has to be the one of Books Are Magic, a new independently-owned local bookstore that is coming to 225 Smith Street at the corner of Butler Street.  The opening date has been set for May 1st and we all should make it a point to support and promote this business so that it can thrive here for many years.  We have all complained about the many chain stores  that have taken over our storefronts, this is our opportunity to show that an indie book store can survive here as well.

Books Are Magic's owner, Emma Straub, is the author of New York Times bestsellers 'Modern Lovers' and 'The Vacationers'. She was once an employee at Book Court, the beloved book store on Court Street, which closed late in 2016.  That closing left her 'heartbroken" and on her website she explains:
"A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart. And so we’re building a new heart.
We’ve spent the last few months looking at spaces, getting our math together, and thinking about light fixtures. We have secured initial funding and crossed our fingers. And so, dear Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Columbia Waterfront, and beyond…you won’t be lonely for long. Books are magic, and we want to make sure that this neighborhood is positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come.

We feel really lucky to know so many bookstore owners and booksellers and writers and publishers, and to already feel the support of our community. We are working hard to make sure that our children (and yours) have new corners to claim as their own. Let us know if you have ideas to share, hands to lend, or some magic of your own to add to the mix."

To stay in touch with Books are magic, visit its web site here. You can also find Books Are Magic on twitter:@booksaremagicbk or instagram: @booksaremagicbk.

Red Hanger Cleaners: A Utah-Based Laundry Service Coming To Smith Street

New signage recently went up at 251 Smith Street, indicating that a laundry/cleaner service was taking over the empty storefront previously occupied by OMG Taco.
We have all complained about the many nail salons and banks proliferating in the neighborhood, so the new business, Red Hanger Cleaners, may actually be a business that will be useful for local residents.
A quick internet search reveals that Red Hanger Cleaners is actually based in Utah.  There do not appear to be any others outside of that state.  This new Brooklyn location therefore seems to be a bit random, unless they want to expand on the East Coast.

If the Smith Street Red Hanger location will be similar to the ones in Utah, it will offer a variety of dry cleaning and laundry services and perhaps provide pick-up and delivery.
It is doubtful that many of the services will actually be done on site, since this is really a very small space.

What do you think?  Will "Utah's most quality and convenient cleaner" be a welcome addition on Smith Street?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Spring In C.G.

On Second Place
Just one of Carroll Gardens' front yards currently in full bloom.

Tastes Of Brooklyn's Invites To Its Spring Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Crawl

This Thursday, April 27 from 3 to 8pm , Tastes of Brooklyn will be popular restaurant crawl throughout Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Sample food and drinks at some of this neighborhood's best eateries and food purveyors, including Avlee, La Cigogne, Stinky, Sahadi's and Fawkner.
Tickets are $20 for 4 tastes, $50 for 11 tastes.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Seeds in the Middle.

From Tastes Of Brooklyn:
"Our city's finest chefs partner with farmers, youth and healthy movers and shakers for an extraordinary restaurant crawl in the historic neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Take a walk to try exquisite delicacies using locally grown seasonal ingredients along Smith, Court, Clinton and Henry Streets, and maybe even Columbia Street, south of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Top chefs and artisans will offer sumptuous fare - all to empower our neediest children to access all they need to get healthy and save elephants. Our talented youth will share fresh beverages. Smoothies, lime/lemonade with fresh mint, fresh orange juice? Stay tuned for news on fitness fun at the local parks. Our local eateries date to the early 1900s to recently opened unique venues. Sample top cuisine and support local businesses without stressing over a reservation. Enjoy our deliciously fun fiesta - while supporting worthy causes!"

2017 participating restaurants and food donors
Ambrosial Granola
August Laura
Avlee Greek Kitchen
Bar San Miguel
Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Strategist
Caputo Bakery
Caputo's Fine Foods
Cobble Hill Coffee Shop
F. Monteleone Bakery and Cafe
F.O.B. Filipino BBQ
La Cigogne
Kor Tor Mor
Local Roots NYC
Marco Polo Ristorante
The Owl's Brew
Scotto's Wine Cellar
Smith & Vine
Stinky Bklyn
Sunken Hundred
Travel Bar
Urban Oyster
White Maize Arepas

Pre-order your tickets here.

Au Revoir, Anne & Valentin! French EyeWear Boutique To Close Smith Street Location

Anne & Valentin, a high-end French eyewear boutique that got its start in Toulouse, has just announced that it will be closing its Boerum Hill location at the end of this month.  An email to current customers reads:  "We chose your neighborhood because of its strong and vibrant community and we have loved being part of it. It felt like home and we will dearly miss it. Anne & Valentin and its entire team want to sincerely thank you for your tremendous support. It's been incredible being your neighbor!"

Gabriel, the reader who sent PMFA the announcement regarding the closing of the store, wrote:
"I have been a longtime fan of their glasses, pricey but stylish, and was surprised when they opened a store a few years back. But I always wondered how our neighborhood was going to sustain a whole store. It seems like Smith St. might not be ready for high-end retail, despite what I am sure the landlords wish."

Anne & Valentin had opened at 200 Smith Street in early 2015.
Customers can continue to find them at their two other locations in Manhattan, 2 Prince Street and 248 Columbus Avenue.

Gourmet Fresh On Court Street Expands Into Former Amelia Hair Salon

Carroll Gardens has been in dire need of a regular (and reasonably priced) supermarket ever since Met Foods on Smith Street and Pathmark on 12th Street in Gowanus closed their doors.  Now only Key Food on Henry Street remains, unless one has the means to shop at Whole Foods in Gowanus or Union Market on Court Street.
Gourmet Fresh, at 437 Court Street between 3rd and 4th Place, has been another option, though it is rather small.  However, a recent expansion into the space next door has increased its space by 50%, which is great news.
Gourmet Fresh now has a larger fruit and vegetable selection and hopefully, more items will be added to provide the neighborhood with another viable grocery store, even if their prices are still way too high.

The storefront Gourmet Fresh took over for the expansion was previously occupied by Amelia's Hair Salon which had been there for quite a number of years.  Amelia herself can still be found at Donne Salon on Smith Street, so she is still in the neighborhood.

What do you think of Gourmet Fresh's extra space and food offerings?  Does it replace a full sized supermarket in Carroll Gardens?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sounds On Sackett Presents Jazz Pianist And Singer Roslayn McClore This Saturday

 Beautiful music in a spectacular setting right here in the neighborhood? Yes, please!
This Saturday, April 22nd at 7pm, Sounds on Sackett at St. Agnes Church in Carroll Gardens presents jazz pianist and singer, Rosalyn McClore. A jazz stylist, Rosalyn will perform jazz standards inspired by Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald.
St. Agness is located at the corner of Sackett Street and Hoyt Street.
Tickets are $20 for adults. Children under 12 are free.
Stay for the reception after the concert and meet new neighbors.

'Indian Table' Now Open In The Former Brucie's Space On Court Street

Indian Table has taken over the former Brucie's space at 234 Court Street between Baltic and Kane Streets. According to the first Yelp reviews, the food is fantastic.
The storefront and the interior space have been nicely renovated. A tiled accent wall looks lovely and so do the mosaic tiled tables.  Several bar stools line a nice wooden bar in the back and there is additional seating along a copper-lined shelf along the street side.
The menu includes interesting options, many of which are vegetarian.  Prices range from $7.95 to $9.95 for appetizers, $12.95 to $20.95 for entrĂ©es.  There are choices of  six different Tandoori breads and several variations on Basmati rice.
Indian Table has applied for a liquor license and hopes to have a full bar soon.

Have you been here yet?