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Archive for 'Gowanus'

Watch List Highlights, Friday, February 25, 2011

Gowanus Canal - Photo by Giles AshfordGowanus: Architects Launch Design Competition This infamous Superfund site may have been abandoned by developers, but a group of Brooklyn architects are hoping to renew interest in connecting the canal to neighboring communities. The competition, sponsored by the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation, requires participants to come up with ways to creatively transform the neighborhood into a more livable area. Continue Reading>>

Sunset Tour of New York Harbor

sunset water guard towerThe 19th Annual MAS Summer Boat Tour Toward a Sustainable Upper Bay Wednesday, July 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Come along as the sun goes down for a boat tour of the Harbor Islands, the Buttermilk Channel and Gowanus Bay—the scenic and the hidden parts of New York’s Upper Bay. We’ll hear about successes and challenges on the way to a sustainable future—from imaginative and dedicated individuals who are helping to lead the way. Our Host: Vin Cipolla, president, Municipal Art Society. Devoted to preservation, conservation and the arts, Mr. Cipolla has consistently provided civic leadership in these areas throughout his adult life. He was appointed president of the MAS in early 2009. Continue Reading>>

Kentile Sign, a Place that Matters

Place Matters is a joint project of City Lore and MAS. kentile floors sign gowanusThe Kentile Sign along the Gowanus Canal was nominated to the Census of Places that Matter for serving as a symbol of Gowanus’ industrial heritage and for being a remnant of this former Brooklyn business. Highly visible from the both the Gowanus Expressway and the F train, this 8-story-high sign dominates the Gowanus skyline even though Kentile Floors left Brooklyn in the late 1980s and the sign’s neon purple letters are no longer illuminated. Founded in 1898 by Arthur Kennedy (hence the name, Kentile), the company had factories in both Queens and Long Island before building a new plant on 2nd Avenue along the Gowanus Canal in 1949.  The iconic “Kentile Floors” sign was likely erected at this time. Kentile specialized in vinyl and asphalt floor covering that featured bold colors and patterns. Continue Reading>>

MAS Statement on EPA Designation of Gowanus Canal as Superfund Site

gowanus canal 9th st bridgeWe expect that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gowanus Canal Superfund designation will create the comprehensive clean up plan this polluted waterway so desperately needs. We believe the Gowanus area has great potential as a thriving manufacturing and arts district. The city has pledged to support the EPA’s clean up efforts. MAS looks forward to working with the city on developing a plan for the Gowanus area that nurtures and safeguards existing businesses and creates space for new industries and sorely needed job growth.

MAS Patrons Get Up Close and Personal with the Gowanus Canal

On September 24th, an intrepid group of Richard Morris Hunt patrons gathered for a private boat tour of the Gowanus Canal. The tour was a rare opportunity to visit a historic waterway and see some of Brooklyn’s most interesting historic industrial buildings and travel through the “museum” of historic draw bridges still in operation on the canal. See the slideshow below. The discussion on the boat focused on the fact that the canal and the adjacent manufacturing area is currently at the center of a debate about how to best clean New York’s polluted waterways and sensitively develop in its manufacturing zones. The tour leaders, Lisa Kersavage, Senior Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at MAS, Dan Wiley, Community Coordinator for US Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and Josh Verleun, Staff Attorney/Investigator of Riverkeeper, a NY-based nonprofit that advocates for clean water, all brought different perspectives to those issues. Continue Reading>>

A Greener Future for Manufacturing in
New York

Director of MAS Planning Center Eve Baron and MAS Senior Planner Susanna Schaller review the most important issues raised at last week’s panel discussion on the future for manufacturing in New York City. A few years ago, many believed that manufacturing was dead in New York City, but now it is widely understood that manufacturing jobs are critical to a diverse, decentralized, and healthy economy as well as to a greener New York. Manufacturing jobs are also good jobs, which pay $10,000 more per year than restaurant work or entry-level retail jobs. Plus, over 60% of manufacturing jobs come with health care coverage, unlike most restaurant and retail work.

Reclaiming the Gowanus: From Lavender Lake to Superfund?

As long as the 1.5 mile long Gowanus Canal in Southwest Brooklyn has been polluted, people and government agencies have sought solutions to the vexing problems posed by this artificially created waterway; and, through the decades community organizations have organized to clean up the canal’s water and adjacent land and to prevent further contamination. Most recently plans to reinvent and redevelop the Gowanus Canal area have collided over the potential registration of the Gowanus as a national Superfund site by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This potential designation, sought at the behest of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, recognizes the complexity of cleaning up the area due to the widespread presence of highly noxious toxins found both in the Canal’s water and abutting land. Continue Reading>>

MAS Conducts Survey of Gowanus Canal Historic Resources

In light of the City’s plan to rezone 25 blocks of the Gowanus Canal corridor, MAS is conducting an investigation of the area’s historic resources, including the canal itself. See slideshow below. Although the Gowanus Canal is sometimes better known for the pollutants from decades of heavy manufacturing and industrial use which earned it the nickname “Lavender Lake,” the canal should also be considered a historic industrial landscape. In fact, the waterway has been officially recognized as eligible for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.  MAS recently completed a historic resources survey of the Gowanus Canal rezoning area, and will expand the study to include the other blocks along the canal and adjacent to the rezoning area that may be affected by the rezoning. The survey has already identified several unprotected potential historic buildings and structures, many of which are featured in this slide show.  Continue Reading>>

Meet Business Owners in Gowanus

The Department of City Planning is holding a hearing today about its proposal to rezone 25 blocks along the Gowanus Canal to allow for a mix of uses, including residential, commercial, retail, light industrial, community facility and artist spaces. MAS believes that existing businesses in this thriving manufacturing district should be nurtured and safeguarded, and that the rezoning presents a tremendous opportunity to create space for new industries and jobs. We are concerned that, given the area’s industrial past and present, and the lack of adequate sewage and storm-water infrastructure, new residential development may not be the best solution for the Gowanus neighborhood. Read our full statement here. For more information about MAS advocacy on Gowanus, click here.

Gowanus: A Great Place to Work, But to Live?

The City is proposing to rezone 25 blocks along the canal to allow for a mix of uses, including residential, commercial, retail, light industrial, community facility and artist spaces. The Department of City Planning will have a hearing tomorrow about the rezoning. MAS will be there and share how the thriving manufacturing district could be a tremendous opportunity to nurture and safeguard existing businesses and create space for new industries and sorely needed job growth. Continue Reading>>

A Moveable Landmark

One of New York City’s most unusual landmarks is the Carroll Street Bridge, which spans Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. Built in 1888-89 (Robert Van Buren, chief engineer; George Ingram, engineer in charge), it is one of the oldest remaining bridges in New York City, and one of only four known “retractile” bridges in the United States. We were lucky enough to be in the neighborhood when the bridge was opening, offering a special opportunity to see how this rare bridge operates. As you can see in the photographs, the bridge rolls horizontally on a track in order to open to allow barges to pass. As an official New York City landmark, the bridge is protected from inappropriate changes or demolition. However, MAS is concerned that plans for a major residential development, by Toll Brothers, adjacent to the bridge could bring increased auto traffic challenging the limits of the bridge’s structural capacity. [AFG_gallery id=’16’]

Former Eyesores, New Life Comes to Columbus Circle, the Highline, and Fresh Kills

Metropolis published two articles today on several successful major redevelopment projects that MAS encouraged, such as Columbus Circle, the High Line, and Fresh Kills in Staten Island.  All at various stages of completion, these areas, former notorious eyesores on New York City landscape, are being reimaged in ways that increase open space and activate their surrounding neighborhoods. In other news, the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected the current General Growth proposal for the South Street Seaport while there was no vote at the hearing, the Commission objected primarily to the inappropriate scale, massing and height of buildings in a historic district and the relocation of the historic Tin building. Continue Reading>>