Thursday, March 07, 2013

That New Gowanus Whole Foods Store Is Mighty Close To The Polluted Waters Of The Canal

Whole Foods construction as seen from Third Street at 4th Street Basin
Whole Foods site at Gowanus Canal's  4th Street Basin
(photos by Martin Bisi)

I find it ironic that representatives of  Mayor Bloomberg's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) are holding an informational meeting to address "how we will rebuild New York City to be more resilient in the wake of Hurricane Sandy", while construction on the new Gowanus Whole Foods store on the shore of the polluted canal, an EPA Superfund site,  is in full swing.

The photos above were taken by Martin Bisi, who has documented the construction almost daily since it started.  The images show how incredibly close the store will be to the water's edge at the 4th Street basin at Third Avenue.
Yes, the EPA has formulated a plan to clean up the toxic waterway, but it will take a few more years before the actual remedial work will start.  In the meantime, the water of the Gowanus is highly toxic.
The site on which Whole Foods is being building is former march land and prone to flooding. Yes, it has been raised with fill, but it certainly won't be enough to prevent flooding.
As a reminder of how much the water rose at that site during Hurricane Sandy, here is a photo taken by Martin Bisi during the actual storm.  It was entirely covered in water.
Whole F(l)oods site during Hurricane Sandy, October 2012
(photo credit: Martin Bisi)

Bisi also took the photos below of the Coignet building on the same site. The future organic market continues to   encroach on  this historic, landmarked structure.
(photo credit: Martin Bisi)


Anonymous said...

Being close to the water's edge is quite different from being close to the water's level.

Anonymous said...

Yawn! Your anti-whole-foods propaganda is so tiresome. It's not in the canal, it's near the canal. The store will have plenty of flood prevention systems and rest assured that you will not be getting lettuce washed in sewage water. Most of us who live within a few blocks of this site (we live a block and a half away) are thrilled to finally have a badly needed grocery store in that location instead of the blight that it was for so many years. Give up already and concentrate on something that's really important. I am so tired of this baseless butchery.

Anonymous said...

There goes the organic arugula. WF is definitely tempting the gods.

Anonymous said...

Just like Fairway, Whole Foods will have plenty of insurance and will be able to rebuild if something like the hurricane happens again. It will also be in their best interest to have a clean canal, they have deep pockets and can be a good resource for change.

And Whole Foods is the only chance the Coignet bldg has for being saved. Who would have restored a crumbling, landmarked building sitting alone in a toxic field? At least now it has a chance of being restored and used.

Anonymous said...

I have no use for Whole Foods but I'm happy the building is finally going up.
And the other commenter is correct -- this whole anti-development schtick it getting pretty old.

Gemma Byrne said...

With its upper middle class target demographic, I see Whole Foods spreading the wealth although its anti-union stance reeks of corporate greed. Fairway's workers, on the other hand, are unionized.

imho, the assumptions of anti development critics are largely unfounded (eg. traffic, congestion). ikea and the cruise ship terminal, for example, have not really impacted the community.

although i avoid whole foods due to its ceo's politics, i actually look forward to its construction. from a layman's perspective, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with the other people posting about this article. give it a rest already and face facts:

The area desperately needs a supermarket. WF has deep pockets and will do everything in its power to make a clean and safe store and environment. They have gone out of their way to raise the property and follow code for a brown field. They are saving a historic building from certain death, who cares if it is close to the store. They will add hundreds of good jobs to the area (union or not, a job is a job), etc, etc, etc.

Your blog should be celebrating this and not cutting it down over silly and trumped up reasons.

Anonymous said...

Nothing trumped up about objecting to this idiotic placement of a supposedly a healthy food store. Gross and inappropriate for that particular location. Period.

R said...

Whole Foods is high end food market, not Pathway or Associated or Key. Let's stop that argument that it's just a regular old grocery store helping out the poor down trodden people of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. There's a reason there isn't anything on Third st and Third Ave because hardly anyone lives over there. Why else are they building a parking lot? Because they know no one lives over there. They're not close to anything and they're expecting the bulk of their customers to be coming from outside of Gowanus hence why they're building a big parking lot. It's not like it's near the subway either.

Anonymous said...

"No one lives over there." - I do. So do all of my neighbors. Also, it's only a few blocks from an F train and an R train. What about Fairway? Talk about no trains. I'm glad WF is going in. Call it a high end grocery for the rich. I call it a place to get organic produce and natural products. We have enough junky Pathmarks, C-Towns and Met Foods. Finally an alternative to Union Market which is a total rip off. I'm tired of all the complaining. Third Avenue needs some uplift. The Coignet bldg at 3rd and 3rd wasn't being taken care of by anyone. Now it'll finally get some badly needed TLC.

Anonymous said...

Whole foods plans to have a gray water system. And "rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming"* And public space along the canal. I believe they are taking the property in a positive direction.