Thursday, January 31, 2013

Best Comment Of The Day: Bay Ridge-ing The Neighborhood

Anonymous has left the following comment on the post ""Tropic" Juice Bar & Grill Brightening Up Court Street":
Nectar may use actual organic products. And yes the sign is awful but it's not as huge as 16 handles was. Look, let them be. Nectar is far better and homey. Nice workers and cute little place. I'll never go to this Tropic Place. considering rents it must have taken a bundle to open. So let the Bay Ridge-ing of the neighborhood begin.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Picture Of The Day: Moss

A moss-covered brick wall on President Street

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A Must-See: "Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride" To Screen At ICF Center

Zipper, a documentary about "greed, politics, land use and public policy' and the battle over Coney Island and the future of the 'people's playground" will be screening at the ICF Center on February 5th at 8 PM. Directed and produced by Amy Nicholson,  Zipper is a must see for all Brooklynites and for all those who miss the old Coney.

From Zipper's Facebook page:
"Small-time ride operator, Eddie Miranda, proudly runs a 38-year-old carnival contraption called the Zipper in the heart of Coney Island’s gritty amusement district. When his rented lot is snatched up by an opportunistic real estate mogul, Eddie and his ride become casualties of a power struggle between the developer and the City of New York over the future of the “People’s Playground.’’ Be it an affront to history or just the path of progress, the spirit of Coney Island is at stake. In a market-driven world where growth often trumps preservation, the Zipper may be only the beginning of what is lost."

To read more about Zipper, click here. To get tickets for the screening, click here.

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"Tropic" Juice Bar & Grill Brightening Up Court Street

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Tropic, a new juice bar/deli has opened its doors at 205 Court Street just recently.  Aside from smoothies, protein drinks, and aloe drinks.  Tropic also offers wraps, sandwiches and granola bars.
Though they are a few seats in the back, the place is more of a take-out place.
This location was the home of Wyckoff Corner Pharmacy for many years. (The pharmacy has relocated  across the street to 203 Court Street)

Have you stopped in yet?  What do you think?

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"Nature Nails" Joins "Pretty Nails" On Same Court Street Block

Seriously? Another nail place in the neighborhood? The proliferation of these places is simply astounding.  And they all seem to make enough money to survive, whether on Court Street or on Smith Street.
The latest nail place,  Nature Nails, is slated to open at 189 Court Street near Bergen Street, in the former Prudential Douglas Elliman office. (The realtor moved to 327 Court Street in Carroll Gardens.)

Nature Nails will be exactly two doors away from Pretty Nails on the same block.
Am I missing something here?

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Real & Imagined: Photographs And Illustrations By David Chalk At Gallery 505 On Court Street

An exhibit of works by photographer and illustrator David Chalk just opened last week at Gallery 505 at 505 Court Street at Huntington Street. David has been photographing for over thirty years and his personal work is represented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Library of Congress. Also included in the show are David's 3D “drawings". He learned the skills which he uses to make the illustrations while working as an animator on Film and TV movies.

The exhibition will be up until April 11th. Don't miss it.
You can contact David at To see more of his work, go to his web site here.

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Best Comment Of The Day: Toll Booth

Anonymous has left the following comment on the post "Gowanus Landmarked Coignet Building for Sale":
"Maybe the MTA can put a toll gate there to the entrance to Whole Foods. They'll make a killing with all the thousands of cars coming to the new store."

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Gowanus Landmarked Coignet Building for Sale

It would appear that the owner of the New York and Long Island Stone Company Coignet building at 360 Third Avenue at the corner of Third Street, has decided to sell or lease his badly dilapidated building. A sign by realtor Ken Freeman of Massey Knakal was put up just recently and the company's web site has the following listing for the property:

"Great retail opportunity adjacent to the new Whole Foods Market. Landmarked building in prime Gowanus location. The exterior of the building is to be completely restored by Whole Foods (interior requires gut renovation). 

Property was built in 1873 and was originally known as the Coignet Stone Company building. It has been referred to as a “pioneering example of concrete construction in the United States” by The Landmarks Preservation Commission and commonly considered a large part of the neighborhood’s history. The property includes a 750 sq. ft. dock space on the Gowanus Canal next to the 3rd Avenue bridge."

The is no indication of the asking price or of the monthly lease.

For quite a few years now, the historic structure has been deteriorating, its beautiful ornate façade slowly crumbling away. Its owner,  Richard Kowalski, of Beach Haven, N.J, had signed a Memorandum of Lease with Whole Foods back in 2005, when the company purchased the land surrounding the building in order to construct one of their food markets. Under the agreement, Whole Foods was to restore and repair the old house. The work, however, has been postponed till recently. In early 2011, the roof was replaced, which was an encouraging sign.

It is surprising that the owner and Whole Food Markets never came to an agreement.  It would, of course, make the most sense for Whole Foods to buy or lease the building themselves.  After all, they already have agreed to restore it.

The 1873 building was designed by William Fields & Son and housed the New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company, which occupied five acres along the Gowanus Canal. In more recent history, it was home to the Pippin Radiator Company.

The Coignet Stone Company building was landmarked in 2006 by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. You can read more about its history here.

Historic Etching of Conglon building
The Coignet building in all its glory. An etching from 1873.

Coignet Stone Company Building
Historic photo of the Coignet Stone Company Building

More history of the Coignet building from :Historic District Council (HDC)

"The New York and Long Island Stone Company Coignet Building was constructed as a show case for what the manufacturer’s product could do, create a strong, elegant, detailed building at a cost less than real stone. It is easy to forget that this is the earliest known concrete building in New York City, and one of the earliest in the country, due to the fact it has been primarily covered over with faux brick. Areas of the west and south façades though are uncovered and the building’s reason for being, concrete, is visible. 
While these two walls are certainly secondary to the main façades on Third Avenue and Third Street, they are not plain and instead some of the same detailing including arched windows, quoins and stringcourse are carried over. The west façade also includes a bay identical in design to the bays on the primary façades. It is troublesome that after years of planning by Whole Foods, the company is only now dealing with the fact that it owns a designated site and is asking the landmark to bear the brunt of the project. As shown in renderings, plans and elevations presented to the Brooklyn Community Board 6 Land Use Committee in August, the Coignet Building would be engulfed by new structures, while the other half of the block would be a parking lot. 
Obviously there are other arrangements on this block that would be more appropriate for the landmark. Although buildings were once unfortunately built up against the Coignet Building, probably in the mid-20th century, as their ghosts on the side walls show, they were shorter. Other factory buildings on the block were described by Brooklyn Daily Eagle in June 1872 as 32 feet tall – about 20 feet shorter than the planned Whole Foods buildings. The Coignet Building was always allowed to retain its prominence on the block. HDC urges you to keep the boundaries as they are so that any alterations to the sight are overseen by LPC and sensitively help preserve one of the few landmarks in Gowanus."

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best Comment Of The Day: "Looking Forward To A Time..."

Glenn has left the following comment on your post "Too Sad For Words: Dolphin Trapped In Gowanus Canal Dies":
"I look forward to the time that these wonderful creatures can visit us and survive. Let's make sure that NYC cooperates with the EPA cleanup so that the canal is no longer a "dead" end."

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Heartbreaking Photos Of A Sad End: The Gowanus Dolphin

Dolphin on snow at Gowanus Canal Union Street Bridge_pic by Eymund Diegel_Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club_2013_26 January
The dolphin which got stranded in the Gowanus Canal on Friday and sadly died after hours of struggling in the polluted waterway, was still very much on everyone's mind the day after the event.
The unusual story made its way through media all over the United States.

My friend Eymund Diegel sent me the heartbreaking photos above which he took earlier today. The dolphin was still lying close to the shore near the Union Street Bridge.
The images are now part of the permanent Proteus Gowanus photo archive of  The Fauna of the Gowanus Canal.  More photos of the poor creature can be accessed here.

Thank you for sharing them, Eymund.

According to the Huffington Post,  the dolphin has been removed and has been sent to a lab on Long Island for a necropsy.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Too Sad For Words: Dolphin Trapped In Gowanus Canal Dies

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Like many of you, I have been following the drama of the stranded dolphin in the Gowanus Canal since earlier in the day.  I should have taken a walk down to see for myself, but I just did not have it in me to see the poor creature as it struggled in the murky waters of the canal.
I wouldn't have been able to get the image out of my mind for a long time.
Odds were against the dolphin from the beginning, and predictably, it was just announced that it has died.
Even if it had made its way out of the Gowanus, it certainly had spent too much time in the toxic sludge to survive.
How very, very sad.

Thanks to Rick for sending me the photo above.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheers And Thanks For EPA Region 2 As Team Presents Proposed Clean-Up Plan For Gowanus Canal

Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement Coordinator addressing audience
EPA's Christos Tsiamis, Walter Mugdan and Judith Enck
EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck
Christos Tsiamis, Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal
Walter Mugdan, EPA Region 2's,
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Potential location for Confined Disposal Facility in Red Hook

Cheers and thanks from a grateful community greeted the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 team last night as they presented their Proposed Plan for the clean-up of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal at the first of two public meetings.
The praise for the agency was well deserved.
Not only has EPA Region 2 been transparent from the start, kept to its original timeline, and has stayed in constant communication since the Gowanus Canal was placed on the National Priorities list in March 2010,  it has designed a plan that delivers everything that the community asked for.
As one resident stated last night, "the Agency went above and beyond the call of duty."

The remedy proposed by EPA includes:

*Dredging, stabilizing and capping
Dredging of all soft sediment at the bottom of the canal
In -situ stabilization of target areas and native sediment
Capping the bottom of the canal with a three-layer cap

*Source control at the three major upland Manufactured Gas Plant sites along the canal.  The remedy for the MGP site at Public Place, will include a cut-off wall between the site and the canal, removal of major mobile coal tar sources, and recovery wells near cut-off wall.
Remedies for the Fulton and Metropolitan sites will be similar.
The work will be performed by National Grid under the supervision of NYS Department Of Environmental Conservation and will be coordinated with EPA's clean-up

*Control CSO discharges at two major outfalls and includes in-line retention tanks at the Fulton former MGP site and at the Salt Lot at the end of 2nd Avenue.  Both sites are owned by the City of New York.
The cost of the tanks are estimated to be about $78 million.

*Unpermitted pipe discharge:  EPA will coordinate with NYC DEP and NYC DEC to seal the 12 identified pipes in question.  The anticipated cost will be minimal.

*Excavation and restoration of the 1st Street Basin, which was illegally filled  in the 1950's

The preferred remedy for the treatment and disposal of the dredged sediment include offsite disposal, offsite or onsite stabilization with beneficial use, thermal desorption, offsite cogeneration or offsite or onsite stabilization and disposal in a constructed Confined Disposal Facility (CDF).
One such potential CDF site has been identified in Red Hook.

The cost for the remedy will be in the range of $467-504 million and will be assumed by the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs).  New York City and National Grid  have been identified as the most significant PRPs.
Treatment and disposal of the dredged material will cost from $179 to $ 216 million
That cost assumes that sediment from the lower canal ( RTA 3) undergoes on-site stabilization and disposal in an on-site CDF.
If off-site stabilization and beneficial use is selected, the cost will increase by $37 million.

The EPA Plan is contingent on both State and Public acceptance.  On December 2012, New York State concurred with the proposed remedy.

A second public meeting will take place in Red Hook tonight at 7 PM at the Joseph Miccio Community Center, 110 West 9th Street.
Public comments on its proposed plan will be accepted until March 28, 2013 and should be addressed to:

Christos Tsiamis
Project Manager
Central New York Remediation Section
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10007-1866
OR, contact Natalie Loney, Community Involvement Coordinator, at 212-637-3639

The final remedy will be selected by the summer of 2013 and the remedial design will be completed by 2016.  The completion date for the clean-up is 2022.

To access the EPA’s proposed plan for the Gowanus Canal site or for more information on the canal, visit or visit the EPA’s document repositories at the Carroll Gardens Library at 396 Clinton St. in Brooklyn or the Joseph Miccio Community Center, 110 West 9th Street, Brooklyn.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chocolate Room On Court Street Now Bigger And Better

Sweet news! The Chocolate Room at 269 Court Street has completed its long awaited expansion.

Back in May 2012, owners Jon Payson and Naomi Josepher announced that they had plans to combine their existing store and café with a small neighboring storefront, which had recently been vacated by Cobble Hill Car Service.

The additional space has already been filled with sweet temptations and the larger facility will allow the owners to serve more of their signature desserts and add home-made ice-cream, sorbet and toppings.

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