• Verizon Vacates Gowanus Lot it Has Occupied Since 1977

    The entire block bordered by Nevins, Carroll, Union Streets and the Gowanus Canal has been completely vacated by longtime tenant Verizon. You might not recognize this lot from many of the nondescript warehouse blocks in Gowanus but for the dozens (hundreds?) of Verizon trucks that used to be parked inside. Here’s a picture from Google Maps Street View, dated June 2011, Verizon trucks in full force:

    Verizon Lot Gowanus


    Today, the lot is completely empty. Here’s a photo we took from the Union Street Bridge:

    Verizon Lot Gowanus

    The building had been a hub for Verizon field technicians since 1977. One has to wonder, with all the development both planned and already underway in Gowanus, did some anxious speculator snap up this entire lot for future development?

    After some quick Googling, we’ve determined that the answer is yes, of course: TheRealDeal.com reports that Property Markets Group, “a developer known for luxury residential buildings,” snatched the entire property for $14 million this past December.

    Those of us nauseated by the 700 unit residential development going up on the opposite side of the canal can breathe easy (the canal’s fumes notwithstanding) for now: PMG’s Richard Lam says there are no current plans for developing the lot. Indeed, it appears that the company is just looking for a tenant to rent the space for now while plans are made to develop the property, according to sign on the corner of Nevins and Union Streets:

    Verizon Lot Gowanus

    The Verizon vehicles previously housed in this lot have relocated to another facility on Third Street and Third Avenue. We’re sure that lot will become luxury condos too faster than you can say “FiOS.”

  • Is Construction Set to Begin on the Lightstone Group Condos on Bond Street?

    IMG_3939 Construction marking paint

    Gowanus Your Face Off has spotted freshly scribbled construction marking paint on the road and sidewalk on the east side of Bond Street between Carroll and 2nd Streets, the two square block parcel of land set to be the site of the controversial Lightstone Group condos. Construction marking paint is used to identify below-ground utility lines to protect them from damage during excavation.

    It’s worth noting that construction marking paint appears all over the city regularly and could’ve been laid down here for any number of reasons; road resurfacing, regular utility maintenance, cable or telephone repair, etc. But the exact location of these marks is suspicious; they are confined solely to the two-block parcel of land comprising the Lightstone Group site. The timing is right, too; while previous reports indicated the Lightstone Group would not break ground on the project until “late 2013,” it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which they decided to get an early start.

    These particular construction markings are yellow, which according to Wikipedia indicates “natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material.”

    We are absolutely dreading the sound of piledrivers, jackhammers, cranes and trucks streaming through our windows at 7am every morning six days a week once this behemoth gets underway. Say, what ever happened with Councilman Brad Lander’s threat to urge the City Planning Commission to reject Lightstone’s application?

  • Brad Lander Says Lightstone’s Development Should Be A Wash

    Carroll Garden’s Patch broke the news…

    City Councilmember Brad Lander, sent an open letter yesterday to David Lichtenstein, Chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group, pleading with the company to withdraw its application for development of 363-365 Bond Street. 363-365 Bond Street sits right off the Gowanus Canal at a property near the Carroll Street Bridge (formerly the Toll Brothers site). Councilmember Lander refers to the large amount of flooding from hurricane Sandy as the reason why The Lightstone Group should not build their current version of a 1,000 residential condo on the banks of the Gowanus Canal.

    You know this hurricane flooding…

    As one can see in the video the water from Sandy’s storm surge easily filled the property (behind the metal fence on the left side of the Carroll St. Bridge) where The Lightstone Group’s new condo is set to be build. This particular video shows the beginning of hurricane Sandy’s wrath. Later towards the end of the storm, this area had way more water in it. The flooding from the Canal actually went up Carroll Street in both direction and could have reached four to five feet on the 363-365 Bond Street property.

    Councilmen Lander is adamant about The Lightstone Group changing or canceling their plans for the location. He says that he would be glad to work with Lightstone in the future for development in the area, but gives them a very stern warning if they continue with their current plans. In the letter he tells The Lightstone Group:

    If you choose not to reconsider in light of what we have learned from Hurricane Sandy, but instead push forward with your existing proposal unchanged, I will urge the City Planning Commission to reject your application.

    Brad Lander doesn’t seem to be playing around and looking at the video and images during and after the storm no one should be.

    Gowanus dodge a bullet with this storm. The neighborhood is actually prone to flooding when it rains and hurricane Sandy was mostly wind and flooding from the storm surge. If there had been rain mixed with Sandy this situation would have been even more devastating for Gowanus and South Brooklyn. Imagine all the water running down the streets from Park Slope and Carroll Garden’s during a huge rainfall mixed with the power of a hurricane… it would have been disastrous!

    To read all of Councilmember Brad Lander’s letter go here.


  • Lightstone Group Says Hurricane Sandy Flooding Will Not Alter Development Plans

    In a recent article for The New York Times highlighting the damage sustained to buildings in Gowanus by the Canal’s floodwaters during Hurricane Sandy, a representative for the Lightstone Group — the developers behind the massive, 700-unit development that will break ground at 363-365 Bond Street in late 2013 — was quoted as saying that the canal and its toxic overflow will not impact the development’s plans at all:

    Ethan Geto, a spokesman for Lightstone, said that the plans for the project already take into account significant flooding and will not need to be altered. The buildings will be raised above the sidewalks, nine feet above high-tide level. The plans also call for state-of-the-art bulkheads and a new storm drain system to keep sewage from spilling into the canal.

    Oh well… it was wishful thinking to assume the development’s plans would be halted or altered in any way. But someone might want to tell Mr. Geto that Sandy’s floodwaters rose 14 feet above sea level.

  • Destruction of Gowanus

    it got bad… real bad…

    Starting Monday morning hurricane Sandy began pushing the polluted waters of the superfunded Gowanus Canal higher and higher. The Canal frist breached its banks near the Carroll Street Bridge during the morning high tide. The Canal’s water crept up into the area known as Gowanus Grove where Gowanus Girls just had their design fair and the future home of Lightstone Groups 700 unit 12 story luxury condos. The space had at least a foot or two of water by the time morning high tide ended. The water also flooded the Carroll Gardens side of the Canal at 1st Street, 2nd Street, and the bus parking lot 75 feet from the Carroll Street bridge. This would be minor compared to what was to come.

    Gowanus rising from Wicked Delicate Films on Vimeo.

    Most of MonDay was spent hiding from the wind, which bounded on old buildings and rattled windows as well as residents as hurricane Sandy began to make her way across New York City. All in all very little rain and no more than normal flooding was reported as the sun moved across the sky in the afternoon. As evening approached, even with public officials shouting the impending dangers, many felt like the worst was over, that the weather had once again spared Gowanus, Brooklyn, and New York City. But as the sun set the water of the Gowanus Canal began to rise again as it did all over NYC.

    The polluted waterway again breached its banks near Carroll Street Bridge, than areas near the Whole Food site at 3rd and 3rd, and up the banks where 2nd Avenue hits the Canal. Still many thought that the water would simply stop as it always had at the underbelly of all the Canal’s bridges. The water did not stop though… it began to overflow onto Carroll Street, up and over areas near 3rd Street, onto 2nd Avenue, and into parking lots near the 9th Street bridge. The water came up through street drains all over South Brooklyn, rising quickly to the surprise of many long term residents. The water filled basements and then filled the first floor of residents near the Canal. Its putride smell that, many joke about, was no laughing matter. The scent of gas, oil, and human waste filled the air as flooding became a serious danger to anyone close to the Canal. Most, if not all of Zone A was flooded. The water even crept up into Zone B by way of Nevins, Bond, and 2nd Avenue.

    Many unbelievable sites from last night’s flooding…

    Overflowing Gowanus from Barbara Kaminsky on Vimeo.


    The Canal’s pollution was not the only issue as fires began to start all over the place. A very large fire was reported on 2nd Avenue at a cardboard recycling center, which could be seen glowing from higher ground in Park Slope…

    posted by @taliator on twitter

    A fire was reported (not confirmed) destroying cars in a parking lot of Nevins Street.

    Residential fires were reported at Bond & Butler and a car/RV was seen on fire at Bond & President St.

    photo by @adamjscher on twitter

    As the day breaks more destruction is sure to be found.


    If you have any Gowanus or South Brooklyn photos please send to: [email protected]

  • CB6 Says: Bond Street Condo A Go Go…

    Despite its own sub-committee voting ‘no’ and despite a petition from FROGG with over 450 names in opposition, Community Board Six voted in favor of the Lightstone Group building a 700 unit condo at 363-365 Bond St. (formerly the Brothers property).

    PardonMeForAsking has the play by play from the meeting, which you should read. It opens with:

    Last night’s monthly meeting of Community Board 6…left many…scratching their heads and wondering about the board’s integrity.

    Read the story here.


Gowanus, Brooklyn

The crack between two hipster neighborhoods, home to the now superfunded Canal, the flash point for the new 'Buy Local' and textile revolutions, & filled with brilliant bohemians. . . this is Gowanus & it’ll awesome your face off.

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