• You Decide How to Spend Taxpayer Dollars: Vote for Public Projects in Gowanus this Weekend!!

    PBNYC vote image small_1

    Residents of the 39th District of New York City — which includes Gowanus, as well as parts of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and Borough Park — are eligible to take part in a very unique exercise in public governance this week. Participatory Budgeting, which is now available in eight NYC districts, allows all taxpayers 16 years of age and older to vote on specific public works projects nominated by fellow residents in your neighborhood throughout the past year. For example, last year we voted for an expansion of the composting facilities at the Salt Lot on 2nd Ave that ultimately proved popular enough to win funding!

    Participatory Budgeting in District 39 has been spearheaded by our Councilman, Brad Lander, and this year’s slate of projects has been winnowed down from hundreds of proposals. Now it’s your turn to vote to determine which projects end up getting funded. This year’s slate of options include renovations to neighborhood schools, planting trees to reduce runoff on Third Avenue, adding bus clocks at bus stations throughout the district, improvements to parks, and many more. There are 24 total options, of which you are entitled to vote for 5.

    Voting takes place this Saturday and Sunday! For information about whether you reside in the 39th District (or any of the seven other eligible districts with Participatory Budgeting) and the voting location closest to you, visit this website. Check out a list of the projects that are up for voting this year in the 39th District by viewing this sample ballot.

  • The Smith-9th Street Subway Station Will Reopen in April!


    Photo credit: Daily News

    The project to rehabilitate the dilapidated Culver Viaduct and its Smith-9th Street Station — the highest elevation in the entire subway system and a vital link for residents of Gowanus — is finally nearing completion. Has it really only been two years? It feels like it’s taken forever. The station was originally scheduled to re-open in December 2012.

    The MTA swears that the station will finally, really, actually re-open, honest! The F and G trains will begin making regular stops at the station during the week of April 22nd while construction on some final details “that do not affect passenger functionality” will continue. And, more good news: the five extra stops that temporarily extended G train service to Church Ave. because of the Smith-9th Street construction project will remain permanent.

    We’ll give the new station a whirl and post some photos as soon as it opens. The art deco ornamentation we’ve seen from passing subway trains is a huge improvement over the downtrodden station of yore.

  • Relax, The Kentile Floors Sign is Not Being Torn Down

    Photo Credit: On Taking Pictures

    Photo Credit: On Taking Pictures

    Contrary to rumors that were swirling the Internet earlier today, the iconic Kentile Floors sign atop the former flooring factory at 9th Street and 2nd Avenue in Gowanus is not coming down any time soon.

    We’re not exactly sure where the rumors started, but Gothamist got to the bottom of the issue today by contacting BKR Partners, a company that represents Regal Home Collection, the building’s owners.  Bryan Kanerek of BKR had this to say:

    The sign’s not going anywhere. We love the sign. We have a lot of respect for it.

    Check this link for a little history about the sign and the Kentile Floors, which employed over 400 people in the 1960s but closed in 1992. We’re glad to be able to enjoy the sign from the F and G trains passing over the Culver Viaduct and from the Gowanus Expressway for years to come.

  • Avlee Greek Kitchen is Now Open!


    The Avlee Greek Kitchen on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens has finally opened its doors to the public. The restaurant has been under construction in the former spot of the beloved Joe’s Superette since early summer 2012 and missed the previously promised open date of “Fall 2012,” but the completed storefront and interior look gorgeous. As of 1pm today, when the top photo above was taken, several patrons could be sign trying out the restaurant’s Greek fare.

    An official website for Avlee offers no additional information about the menu or hours, although this Time Out NY post gives us a general idea (“moussaka, spanakopita… casual Hellenic favorites, including feta salads, gyros, souvlaki and roasted lamb with potatoes”). Guess we’ll just have to show up and try it out for ourselves.

  • 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?

  • The Coignet Building is Up For Sale


    New York and Long Island Stone Company Coignet building at 360 Third Avenue — at the corner of Third Street, soon to be completely surrounded on two sides by Whole Foods — has been placed up for sale by the building’s owner, Richard Kowalski.

    Brooklyn blog Pardon Me For Asking dug up the story and this listing for the property after spotting a “for sale” sign posted on the lot. The listing reads as follows:

    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.

    If you’re looking for a slice of Gowanus to call home, don’t get your hopes up: the building is zoned for commercial use.

    Whole Foods agreed to restore the exterior of the landmarked building in 2005 as part of the deal that allowed the big-box food retailer to build on the adjacent lot, but was unable to convince the building’s owner to part with the property. The roof was replaced in 2011, but the rest of the exterior’s still got a long way to go. We can only assume that Kowalski is holding out on selling to Whole Foods on principle, and we’re curious to learn who the building’s eventual suitor will be.


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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