• Damage to the Coignet Building?

    Today marks the official opening of the Whole Foods in Brooklyn. Some are saying the new store  ”Symbolizes Area’s Redevelopment”, while others are calling its the ‘end of Gowanus’. Either way the store is up and opening.

    One of the main concerns of having a mega store being built on the Whole Foods lot at 3rd Ave and 3rd Street has been whether or not the landmarked Coignet Stone Company Building right on the corner is adequately protected. One of the rules giving to Whole Foods is that they have to preserve and repair the building. Clearly the repair part of the agreement was/is not slated till after the store has opened. We can understand that a focus by a big company might be on launching their new place and not the complex repair of an old, somewhat forgotten building.


    Last night we received a tip from a GYFO reader indicating that some of the facade of the building had fallen off! They say:

    …a big part of the side of the staircase has crumbled overnight. It was not this way yesterday…and that whole front piece is missing.


    In the picture they sent in the concrete that wrapped around the front part of the staircase is just simply gone.


    top image sent in by L. Mariano taken by Martin Bisi


    -We went by and took another photo to clarify the damage. -

    More concerning is that according to the tipster the missing pieces are nowhere to be found and that they believe this most likely happened…

    cause the staircase was behind fencing through yesterday, and it was removed sloppily

    We wondered over after the sun came up and found tones of items lying right next to the Coignet Stone Company Building. Some of these items looked to be hastily placed (thrown) within the footprint of the history structure.


    ~derp! This looks like a great place to throw some wood. Who give a rats ass about hurting the side of the building or the old fencing. (not a real quote)

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  • Ted x Gowanus!

    Hang onto your nerd hats Gowanus peeps, it’s about to go all Ted Talks in Brooklyn’s Superfunest area!

    Ted, the global spreader of ideas via epic presentations, is coming to Gowanus January 26th, 2014 at The Green Building and 501 Union.

    According to the website the theme seems to be “Inspiring Community”, which is clearly Gowanus! (Suck it everywhere else!)

    TEDxGowanus is an event featuring TED-style talks inspired by the unique ideas, stories and arts that have incubated in or are related to the Gowanus area.  This event will involve a cross section of attendees and speakers, from original Gowanus residents and business owners to recent entrepreneurs, developers, and thinkers. The TEDxGowanus agenda will include a full spectrum of topics: from performances and presentations by local artists to stories and ideas that explore the neighborhood’s history, industry, ecology, and evolution.  During breaks, attendees will have the opportunity to interact with an exhibit area featuring displays and booths by local businesses, speakers’ projects, and artists of Gowanus.

    So, it’s like an epic nerd lecture Gowanustastic mix!


    Speakers so far include:

    Ate Atema – (who did this great talk already about bitches street creeks, which we assume he will talk more about at this event). He is the Managing Principal of Atema Architecture, ‘an award-winning New York-based architectural practice, and Flow Collaborative, an international team he formed to work on large-scale projects integrating architecture, ecology and infrastructure.’

    Eymund Diegel – (aka Professor Gowanus) ‘is the chair of Public Laboratory, a fun citizen science group partnered with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Grassroots Aerial Photography program, where local citizen’s Eymund Diegel is the chair of Public Laboratory, a fun citizen science group partnered with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Grassroots Aerial Photography program, where local citizen’s insights help improve Google Earth and City mapping of our neighborhood. As a Gowanus resident, he also helps out at the Hall of the Gowanus, a community historic research resource. ‘

    Andrew Gustafson - a geographer, historical researcher, and New York City tour guide. He develops and leads tours for the Brooklyn-based company Turnstile Tours, and his projects have included the research and development of tours at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, as well as about Brooklyn’s rich baseball history.

    Hans Hesselein – (aka the Green Planter) Hans joined the Gowanus Canal Conservancy as the Director of Special Projects in December, 2010 and was asked to serve as Executive Director in 2013. Throughout his time at the Conservancy, Hans has been responsible for developing and managing green infrastructure projects, watershed planning initiatives and volunteer stewardship programs. Hans comes to the Conservancy with a strong background in horticulture, construction technology, community engagement and landscape architecture.

    Plus a whole lot more see here!

    *code names from GYFO; speaker details from TedxGowanus website

    Grab your tickets early for $25 bucks today here

    Shout out to both the Team over at TedxGowanus for setting this bad boy up. Special big luv to Sean Gannet who’s organizing stuff and Joseph Alexiou (Gowanus history buff) who’s co-curating.

  • Revolutionary War Marylander Burial Ground – DRAFT Research Material

    There really is nothing like trolling through the interwebs past the gifs of cats and f*ckyeah tumblr crap to actually find some real history. (We’ve totally talk about this before.) Here’s the skinny… at some point during the 1st battle of America’s Revolutionary War (Battle for Long Island) a group of Marylander soldiers got iced by the Brits. It is believed that these soldiers where buried somewhere on the battlefield, which now so happens to be right here in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Below, is a document from Proteus Gowanus‘s public issuu account. In this super informative document, you will not only see where people believe us yanks retreated during our first big skirmish with the Britsh, but where possibly the last resting of our fallen Maryland brethren might actually be! Check it out history geeks!

    Bonus Your Face Off
    Proteus Gowanus is kicking off it’s exhibit season soon on Water with Containment Sept 15 – Dec 28, 2013

    Containment, exploring our increasingly troubled relationship with water.

  • Iconic Citroën Sign on Third Avenue Gets Painted Over

    I snapped the above photo of painters working on the building at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 7th Street on August 14th whilst picking up my car from the best repair shop in the city. Could they be painting over the beloved Citroën sign, a relic of the Gowanus of yore? I couldn’t be certain — maybe they’d save the top part, or even restore it — but unfortunately the worst did come to pass.

    Read more ›

  • The History of The Magic Touch Cocktail Lounge

    Photo credit: Triborough’s Flickr

    I’ve long walked by the gorgeous, old “Magic Touch” sign mounted onto the side of a building on the corner of Hoyt and Third Streets and wondered what — and when — the Magic Touch was (the street level space has been converted into what looks like an apartment or studio, with an interesting assortment of cacti and other plants in the large windows). A car wash in a neighboring lot? A “special” massage parlor? I finally consulted my old friend Google on the matter and discovered this post on Lost City, in which the blog’s proprietor spoke with several neighborhood old timers to reconstruct the legacy of Magic Touch:

    Read more ›

  • Made In Gowanus Tours

    Take a stroll around Gowanus, the Superest Superfunded neighborhood, to see who’s reigniting the American maker movement with Made In Brooklyn Tours. The tour will take you around the industrial neighborhood so you can learn about this neighborhoods fascinating and unmatched history. (How fascinating you may ask? try 1st American Revolution  and industrial revolution fascinating!)

    Check out the detail of the tour:

    Made in GOWANUS Tour
    Visit the heart of Brooklyn’s “maker movement” via its main artery and historic industrial waterway, the Gowanus Canal. See who’s makin’ it in Gowanus!

    Made in Brooklyn Tours are guided walking tours with a Made in Brooklyn theme. They tell the story of Brooklyn’s rich manufacturing heritage and today’s thriving “maker movement”. On Made in Brooklyn Tours the stars of the show make works of glass, metal and wood. They’re makin’ wine, chocolate, ravioli and more. All designed and Made in Brooklyn. Celebrate the creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of Brooklynites past and present. Don’t just come to see Brooklyn. Get to know the captains of industry who made it here and the aspiring entrepreneurs who are makin’ it in Brooklyn today!


    Additional Details
    Made in Brooklyn Tours are designed for adults in small to mid-sized groups for an especially good time together. No two tours – even of the same neighborhood – are alike. Tours last about three hours and each is a unique experience. We’ll make a number of stops moving at a leisurely pace. You’re encouraged to return to your favorites after the tour to shop, eat or drink. Please arrive a little early and use the restroom before we start. We’ll be outside much of the time so dress appropriately for the weather. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a bottle of water, and don’t forget your camera!

    Get your tickets HERE

    Learn about other maker tours in Brooklyn at: www.MadeInBrooklynTours.com

  • The Dead May Have Been Awoken

    You know those really spooky horror movies where someone disturbs some ancient burial grounds and all sorts of crazy weird stuff starts happening? Well, get ready for the crazy weird stuff to start happening…

    Yesterday, construction workers doing preliminary work for a possible school in Gowanus did some digging right where supposedly a mass grave from 1776 exist. The construction worker used this machine…

    to take samples. What they may not have realized is that their drilling might be going right down into the last resting place of 256 Marylander soldiers who died during the first battle of the Revolutionary War (Battle for Long Island / Battle for Brooklyn). There’s very compelling evidence from Eymund Diegel of the Public Laboratory & Proteus Gowanus and his community Grassroots Mapping team, that identifies this location, 170 8th Street (Parking lot), as part of a very historically significant mass grave. The supposed grave runs from the middle of properties near 9th Street and 3rd Avenue (American Legend) under 8th Street to properties at 8th Street and 3rd Avenue (Brooklyn Homebrew and Four & Twenty Blackbirds). Eymund Diegal and his team have done tons of research and aerial mapping of these locations. Some of the most compelling signs that their really might be a huge grave in the 170 8th Street parking lot is the direction of the plants growing in the lot, which seem to match the layout of dug trenches, and the cracks in the parking lot’s concrete that are about 8 feet a part (8 feet being the length of a grave). Because of the efforts made by Eymund Diegal and the community based Grassroots Mapping team the story of grave existence has reached those   who would be very horrified by someone drilling or even digging where such a treasure trove of American history might exist. Back in September Martin O’Malley, the Governor of Maryland, sent a note to New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg saying the Maryland would help preserve the site. Although, it is not known if efforts have been made by the Major’s office to control the 170 8th Street site, which is currently privately owned. What is known is that the lot is open for development and based on the testing being done by the construction workers, it looks like a school might want to use the property.

    We’re not saying that Revolutionary Soldiers are going to come back from the dead and wreak havoc on Brooklyn! (or are we!)

    What we are saying is American archaeologist and historians would be appalled at knowing the site was not properly excavated and history was simply covered up.







    More details on mapping here.

  • Birds Eye View From A Giant Red Balloon

    So last weekend you were probably bee boppin around Gowanus and might have seen a big red balloon floating in the sky near the Canal. As usual whenever you see a big red balloon you thought two things:

    1) 99 Luftballons (99 Red Balloons) – the song by that band you can never remember the name of!


    2) Le ballon rouge (The Red Ballon) – the 1956 movie by Albert Lamorisse that you fell asleep watching in film class and failed to ever watch all the way through, even though it’s only like 30+ minutes long.

    Neither of which have anything to do with the balloon you saw in the sky.

    The floating red balloon you possible saw is for an ongoing mapping project being conducted by the Public Laboratory, local residents, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Low Altitude Mapping Program with the help of Gowanus Dredger’s canoes…aka a whole lot of Gowanus nerds! The data is being collected by all these sciency types for a Proteus Gowanus Over My Dead Body Expedition map and the Conservancy’s Gowanus ReLeaf Expedition aerial review. The team used a Red Balloon from Grassroots Mapping filled helium donated by Liberty Industrial Gases.

    The Googlesque images taken shows the here and now of Gowanus, Brooklyn from above!

    Check out a few of these aerial shots that show Thomas Greene Park Pool, Bayside Fuel Depot, the Canal, Bond St, President St, the controversial Royal Palms Shuffleboard rooftop, and a few of balloonist enjoying themselves.

    (images provided by Eymund Diegel)

    In addition to the fun shots above another round of photographs, found here , were specifically taken for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to show Canal edge vegetation, new plantings, and street end sites that local residents would like converted to parks. The images also show the greenery the Conservancy has added near the Gowanus Canal and their outdoor office known as the Salt Lot. It probably shows other sciency stuff too like water levels and icky things like pollution.

    Also, a group of photos for Proteus Gowanus were taken in the search for one of Gowanus’s biggest secrets. Supposedly hiding under a large slap of concrete maybe 250 plus dead bodies! The bodies are possible of a Maryland Regiment killed in the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, the 1776 Battle for Brooklyn aka the Battle for Long Island. The image shows 8th Street and 3rd Avenue from above. In it you see someone laying on the ground for scale and a large amount of concrete that has what appears to be cracks making patterns. The theory, listed  under one of the images on Proteus Gowanus’s flickr page, is that if there is a mass grave…

    expansion cracks in the concrete would run north south, contrary to the logical northeast to southeast layout of the lot and steel reinforcing grid’s expansion joints.”

    The images alludes to such cracks and truly might be the final resting place for America’s first soldiers to be lost in battle. Further studies of the images and from other historical documents may force the excavation of this particular lot in Gowanus in the future.

    The mapping program is ongoing and previous birds eye view photos are available on the Proteus Gowanus flickrGowanus Canal Conservancy’s flickr pages and Mapknitter.org.

  • Brownstoner: A History of the Strong Place Properties

    Brownstoner gives a history lesson of Strong Place, which was one of the earliest settled streets in the southern part of what is now Cobble Hill. In the piece one learns little about South Brooklyn and Gowanus too…

    Nerd out 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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