Saturday, November 27, 2021

City Harvest Food Drive At Carroll Park On Sundays Now Through January

Friends of Carroll Park has organized a food drive with City Harvest each Sunday starting on November 28, 2021 through January2, 2022 and help feed those in need this winter.

Volunteers will be in front of the Bob Acito park house from 11am to 1pm to accept your food donations.

The most needed items are: canned fruit and vegetables, peanut butter (in plastic jars), mac and cheese, and hot and cold cereal.
*Important note: City Harvest cannot accept glass containers, home made items, expired items or dented cans.

If you’d like to volunteer to help out with the drive.  Spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon greeting food donors. We'll make sure there are at least two volunteers per shift so you will not be alone.
Consider volunteering as a family!
Contact us here for details

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Monday, November 22, 2021

When It Comes To The Gowanus Rezone, We Cannot Trust Brad Lander

Pardon Me For Asking has been a bit quiet of late, and for this, I apologize. I should have updated this little site long ago, I know.
Thank you to all who have reached out to say that they have missed the neighborhood information posted here and to make sure all is well.  I want to reassure everyone that I am doing great and that I intend to resume posting soon.

The reason for this long hiatus is simple: throughout the summer and fall, I have been fighting alongside Voice of Gowanus in opposition to Mayor De Blasio and Councilmember Brad Lander's efforts to create an unhealthy environment for current and future residents of Gowanus with their plan to rezone the neighborhood.

You might be aware of the fact that tomorrow, Tuesday, November 23rd, members of the New York City Council will cast a final vote on this massive 82 block rezone, despite the fact that the Gowanus Canal has not been fully remediated under EPA's Superfund program, that much of the area is a FEMA flood zone, and that the City still dumps raw sewage into the canal...and into our homes, as Ida has recently shown.

Most of the Council members will probably just rubber stamp the rezone, giving deference to Brad Lander, our 39th District Council Member, who has been shamelessly pushing for it.
As Lander personally escorted the rezone through the 7 months City Council Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), he has been shifty on many of the issues related to Gowanus.

Please take a moment to read an open letter just published in the Brooklyn Eagle by Debbie Stoller and Linda La Violette of Voice of Gowanus, which reveals that Brad Lander can’t be trusted "to heed his own ostensible progressive principles in Gowanus."

It will be up to us, as a community, to live with the consequences of this ill-fated rezoning. History has shown that politicians and developers promise much, but that promises are forgotten promptly when building permits have been issued.  We also know that we cannot rely on the Department of City Planning's projections for this large rezone, since those projections are often very wrong.
And most importantly, Brad Lander will be long gone when the resulting health and flooding issues related to supersizing an already environmentally-challenged Gowanus are on full display.

Voice of Gowanus will continue to fight. The group has recently retained environmental lawyer Richard Lippes, who represented plaintiffs in the famed Love Canal and Three Mile Island cases.

What can you do to help?
Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to Voice of Gowanus to continue the fight.

Thanks in advance, Katia

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

'Collective Kind', a Progressive Pre-School, Is Coming To Gowanus

Great news for those with little ones! Collective Kind, the first NYC-based network of Montessori Microschools "providing high quality early education for working families of all backgrounds", is coming to Gowanus.

The progressive pre-school offers a socially engaged early childhood education. It is based on the wonderful mission of creating a space where children are taught empathy for all, care of the earth, and love of learning.  Founded by Anna Caroline Tehan,  Anna Ellis Nesser and Clara Planel, Collective Kind supports "children to love themselves, their community and the planet."

This women-owned school also offers multicultural classrooms, slicing scale tuition to enable access to families of all backgrounds, flexible subsidy plans for employers of all sizes, access to co-working for adults, and above average salaries and intersectional feminist benefits for its teaching and school staff.
In short, everything we, as a community, should be supporting.

Collective Kind already has a location in Fort Greene and will soon open micro- preschools in Prospect Lefferts, Boerum Hill... and Gowanus, near Third Avenue.

Anna Ellis Nesser, the school's Director of Learning and Sustainability, wrote to us to express her excitement about the Gowanus location:
"As we, Collective Kind, are growing we are so excited to be coming to work with the Gowanus/Carroll Garden community. Adding this as part of our growth plan was a quick and easy decision - not only is Clara (one of our co-founders) a Carroll Garden resident raising her daughter in the community, this is also where Anna (another of our co-founders) grew up! Something that has not changed over the years here since Anna was a kid and Clara became a parent is the need for progressive early care that families can afford.

As our network of local families has continued to grow with families joining our adult-child classes we have been hearing that Collective Kind is just what the community wants! Anti-bias and nature-based education that supports children to love themselves, their community and the planet is what we are here to share and we look forward to having you join us soon."

Collective Kind just launched a crowdfunding campaign HERE for its teacher-led, female-founded school network. All information about the program can be found at

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Newly-Opened On Court Street, 'Mexico In My Pocket' Celebrates Mexican Culture And Artisans

In case you have not yet discovered Mexico In My Pocket at 415 Court Street yet, permit us to introduce you. This colorful and joyful little store, which opened just recently, celebrates the culture of Mexico. It features wonderful home decor items, gifts, and jewelry, crafted by artisans from different parts of the country.
The selection has been lovingly curated by store-owner Luisa Navarro, a Mexican-American journalist, who writes a successful travel blog under the same name as the store.  When the pandemic made travel nearly impossible in 2020, Luisa saw an opportunity to help Mexican artisans, whose businesses were impacted by the lack of visitors to Mexico.  By bringing their wares to an online shop, as well as to this small showroom in her Brooklyn neighborhood, Luisa is fulfilling not only her own dream, but directly connecting the artisans to customers here.

We stopped by the store last week-end and were charmed. We fell in love with the fancy handcrafted candles and hand painted Milagro hearts.  Do yourself a favor and Check Mexico In My Pocket out. You won't regret it.

Luisa Navarro

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

No Gowanus Rezone! Reverend Billy And His 'Stop Shopping Choir' Join Voice Of Gowanus In Celebration Of Biodiversity Day

In case you missed it, this Sunday was Biodiversity Day.  It only seemed fitting to us to celebrate the occasion in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with members of Voice of GowanusGowanus Artists In Alliance (GAIA) and Reverend Billy Talen for some good old fashioned activism 

Reverend Billy, in a lime green suit, led members of his Stop Shopping Choir and local residents in songs about the past, present, and future of this former marshland, which is so polluted today that the Environmental Protection Agency declared it a Superfund Site, a designation reserved for the most polluted lands in the United States.

Though a clean-up of the canal is currently underway, it will take another ten years to dredge all the toxic material from the 1.8 mile waterway.  Despite its toxicity, the canal and its banks are home to many birds, plants, fish.. and humans.

And of course, there were calls for actions against the proposed 80 block Gowanus rezoning, which is projected to bring 20,000-22,000 new residents to this FEMA flood zone, without serious consideration for necessary infrastructure and thorough environmental clean-ups.

One action is the demand for a redo of the Department of City Planning's Draft Environmental Impact Study for the Gowanus Rezoning, which is a mind-numbing 1,000 pages long. The DEIS has a major flaw since the EPA, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers were not involved in its creating as "involved parties." It is imperative that they be partner agencies in a rewritten, lawful DEIS.

It still distressed us how many Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope residents have no idea about the rezoning, let alone its sheer size and environmental impacts.

Actions like the one on the Union Street Bridge with Reverend Billy hopefully informed some more in the community.

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Friday, May 21, 2021

This Sunday, Come Celebrate Biodiversity Day In Gowanus With Reverent Billy And Local Activists

Sunday 23rd of May, Biodiversity Day 3:30 PM
Union Street Bridge, (Union St between Nevins & Bond) in Gowanus Brooklyn

A celebration with the Stop Shopping Choir (Reverend Billy), Voice of Gowanus and Gowanus Artists In Alliance (GAIA) for Biodiversity Day in advance of a city land grab - the proposed Gowanus re-zoning

Festive attire, protest signs, singing, children, pets and symbols of what attendees love about Gowanus are encouraged.
We'll be talking and singing about the past, present, and future of this former marshland and current home to birds, plants, fish, and people on the banks of our favorite superFUN Superfund site

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Picture of the Day: Subway Plaza

Lovely to see the space in front of the Carroll Gardens subway entrance at Second Place transformed into a cute plaza where people can meet up. What do you think?

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Great News! Seeds Of Love Coffee Shop On Court Street Reopens In Same Space as Psychedelicatessen Sandwich Shop


When Seeds of Love, the tiny coffee and pastry shop at 421 Court Street closed in mid-March after serving the Carroll Gardens community for over seven years, many local residents were surprised and saddened. After all, SoL had been one of the few local businesses who had consistently stayed open throughout the 2020 pandemic and represented a bright spot on Court Street during the confinement.

Well, we have good news! After a two months hiatus and a total renovation of the small commercial space, owner Phillip Ellis is back. This time, however, he will be concentrating more on sandwiches and 'salty foods' rather than sweet pastry.

The new venture is called Psychedelicatessen Sandwich Shop and opened its doors this past week-end.
Stop on by and say hi to Phillip and his staff, and treat yourself to one of his amazing sandwich or salad creations. (See menu below).

Welcome back, Phil!

Owner Phillip Ellis (right) with employee Trisha

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Watch The Video Now! Voice Of Gowanus Town Hall "Water, Water Everywhere Town Hall: Climate Change, Flooding and the Gowanus Rezone"

On May 11, grassroots community coalition Voice of Gowanus hosted a Town Hall for the Gowanus community entitled Water, Water Everywhere: Climate Change, Flooding and the Gowanus Rezone.
It was a fascinating panel discussion with Flood Risk and Climate Change experts Adrian Santiago Tate,
D.J. Rassmussen, Noah Dewar, as well as Maureen Koetz, Esq, principal of Planet A+ Strategies.

For anyone who missed the event, PMFA is posting the complete video of the Town Hall so that as many people as possible can watch it and hopefully share with other residents living in and around the Gowanus. 

There were some crucial takeaways that everyone in the community should be aware of:
-Hurricane Sandy-like storm events will increase in prevalence due to climate change and the flood impacts of such storms have intensified due to sea level rise; current projections show that the Gowanus Houses would be inundated by flooding—much worse than Sandy—if a similar event happens in the near future. (See maps below)

the piecemeal flood mitigation measures for new construction included in the proposed rezoning, including raising the banks and bulkheads along the Canal, could actually have the unintended consequence of funneling flood waters towards older structures, like the Gowanus Houses, exacerbating flood impacts for those parts of our community.

- the substructures underneath Public Place indicate that the flow of dangerous contamination from the site could be going in multiple directions, including underneath the residential blocks of Carroll Gardens on the other side of Smith St; the flow of contamination is not only towards the Gowanus Canal.

-- a review of a 2005 Public Place Investigation Report by the firm GEI shows that the worst kinds of contamination were migrating off the site, including to the other side of the canal.

Please pay attention to this issue as New York City has now certified the proposed Gowanus rezoning and the Uniform Land Use Review Process has started in earnest. The clock is ticking and we need everyone to be engaged in this discussion.

And for those who still don't know: The Gowanus Rezone is the largest being pushed through by the De Blasio administration. It covers 80 blocks in Gowanus and will bring a projected 20,000 new residents, 8,500 new dwelling units on 63 development sites by 2035.
This, despite the fact that the Gowanus Canal has been declared an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Site, that the City still uses the canal as an open sewer and discharges raw sewage into our waterway, and that most of the development area is a FEMA Flood Zone A .
This point was very well illustrated during the Town Hall with the illustrations below.

From the Town Hall: Sea-Level Rise will increase the extend of the floodplain
Above: Hurricane Sandy Flood Extend in Gowanus in 2012. 
Red Line indicates the outline of the proposed Gowanus Rezone 
Projected 2050 Hurricane Sandy Extended Floodplain

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Thursday, May 06, 2021

A Jane's Walk This Friday: Gowanus – What the Hell is Going On?

The Municipal Art Society's much loved Jane's Walk event is a tradition to all those who love New York City and its diverse neighborhoods. This volunteer-led celebration of urban life, inspired by Jane Jacobs, includes two Gowanus tours this year that may interest you.

May 6th at 6pm on Zoom.

This tour is led by friends Brad Vogel and Jack Riccobono of Voice of Gowanus.

"What the hell is going on in Gowanus, Brooklyn? A superfund cleanup. A massive proposed rezoning. Fights over sewage overflow tanks. And zany cultural happenings. Join Gowanusian Brad Vogel and co-host Jack Riccobono, members of the grassroots group Voice of Gowanus, as they dive into the “civic hot mess” on the Gowanus Canal. Learn about toxins, flooding, sewage, and displacement issues – with one host Zooming in from the street to illustrate."

In person, on demand

This self guided tour was organized by friend Miranda Sielaff.

"Participants are invited for a self-guided walk of Gowanus and to share recordings of their experience on Instagram by tagging @gowanussoundwalk. The Gowanus Canal became an EPA Superfund site in 2010, and historically polluted areas are undergoing remediation and redevelopment while life is ongoing for current businesses, residents and wildlife. Listening to all sounds in the environment brings us into contact with changes as they occur."

For more MAS Jane's Walk tours this week-end, click here.

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Picture Of The Day: May, Coffee And Smith Street

I love the month of May in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. After a long year of isolation, it is wonderful to walk along Court and Smith Street and to run into neighborhood friends I have not seen for so long.
Here is to community, here is to beautiful sunny days, and here is to finally coming out of the Covid fog.

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Help A Carroll Gardens HS Senior By Taking A Quick Survey On The Gowanus Rezoning

We were recently contacted by Linnea, a Carroll Gardens High School student, who is currently conducting a survey she created as part of her final senior research paper. She would like local residents to take just a few minutes to provide answers to a few quick questions to allow her to complete the paper. Won't you please help her?

Linnea's assignment focuses on a local issue and the policy surrounding it. It also asks students to conduct a survey.  She chose to center her paper around the proposed rezoning of the Gowanus and, more broadly, on environmental racism in NYC.

Linnea writes:
"I’m one of the leaders of my schools environmental club so I wanted to focus on an environmental issue and the Gowanus seemed like the perfect place to start. It kind of developed from there, broadening to environmental racism in NYC. The goal of the survey is just to gather community opinion on the Gowanus Rezoning and to directly find what change community members want to make a priority."

All answers will be kept anonymous.The survey can be accessed here:

Thanks for helping Linnea out!

*Linnea will take answers till the end of the week, so don't wait to complete survey.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Water, Water Everywhere: Climate Change, Flooding And The Gowanus Rezone

Grassroots community coalition Voice Of Gowanus invited everyone to a Town Hall event next week about the Gowanus rezone. Please read on to learn more, and register for what should be a very informative evening. And please tell your neighbors.

Water, Water Everywhere: Climate Change, Flooding, & the Gowanus Rezone
A Panel Discussion with Flood Risk and Climate Change Experts hosted by Voice of Gowanus
Tuesday May 11, 2021 6:00 pm

Featured panelists:

ADRIAN SANTIAGO TATE, PhD has a background in coastal engineering, hydrodynamic modeling, and uncertainty quantification. Adrian researched nature-based solutions for reducing coastal risk as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, and later for his PhD at Stanford. He’s published his research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Adrian is conducting sea level rise vulnerability assessments to help state governments prepare for future flooding.

D.J. RASMUSSEN is a climate scientist, engineer, and policy scholar. He studies coastal floods, sea-level rise, and public works strategies for managing their economic and social costs. He is co-author of “Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus”. D.J.’s research has informed multiple climate assessment reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He completed his PhD at Princeton University.

MAUREEN KOETZ, ESQ. is principal of Planet A+ Strategies. Ms Koetz has served as counsel and advisor to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, former Senator Domenici, and the EPA. She has sued to eliminate duplicative real estate LLC donations, has been lead plaintiff in the successful Lefrak/Gateway tenant class action suit, and a strategic advisor in the Two Bridges, Inwood, and South Street Seaport zoning actions.

NOAH DEWAR is a hydrogeophysicist, machine learning expert, and PhD candidate at Stanford university studying environmental geophysics. Noah’s PhD research has focused on the development of methodologies that leverage geophysical surveying systems to study aquifers in the Central Valley of California. His research is part of the Groundwater Architecture Project (GAP) which aims to revolutionize how groundwater models are built.

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Monday, May 03, 2021

Cookies And Coffee: Chip City Opens On Smith Street

Chip City, a small chain that started in Astoria, Queens, has just opened its seventh New York City store at 361 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. The store offers freshly baked cookies in four different flavors every day and rotates its menu weekly. Besides classic cookies like chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate, and white chocolate macadamia, the offerings include more unusual flavors like Nutella Sea Salt and Glazed Pear. 
The price per cookie is $4, or $20 for five.  Customers also have the option to purchase frozen cookie dough bundles that can be baked at home.
Though Chip City also offers coffee to go and is right next to the F train subway station, I wonder if a store selling just cookies will do at this location.  After all, Momofuku Milk Bar, which had a similar menu, decided to close its location right across the street in 2019.
What do you think, dear Reader?

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