Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Before The Downpour and Snow

Carroll Gardener Dianna D'Amico just shared this lovely photo of a Magnolia tree in full bloom on Smith Street taken before last night's  rain, snow and wind.
Many of the blooms were knocked down by this set back in the weather, but some still remained this morning.
As for the daffodils in my own garden, they were sadly beaten down.

Thanks for sharing the photo, Dianna.

350 DeGraw Street: The Story Behind A Façade Without Building

The original building at 350 DeGraw Street. (image credit:
Where once stood an old brick building at 350 DeGraw Street between Court and Smith Street, there now stands a sole ghostly façade. Since October 2013, the construction site has been in limbo because of a blatant disregard for rules and regulations.

Permits for alterations to the existing three story building to a four story building were issued by the NYC Department of Buildings in May 2013.  However, instead of enlarging the existing structure, the entire building was demolished.
Though the DoB received several 311 calls in regards to the illegal demolition, the agency did not act until the structure had been entirely dismantled and a new façade was going up.

By October 2013, the Department issued a 'notice to revoke' the permit and several violations were noted, including one violation for demolition work that did not conform to original plans.
In addition a complete stop-work-order was imposed because the percentage of existing walls remaining was less than what had been indicated on the approved plans. In addition, the existing foundation wall had been undermined and had become unstable.
The Stop Work Order has been partially rescinded by DoB to allow installation of a waterproofing membrane on the adjoining building and to backfill the excavated foundation.

The owner of 350 DeGraw Street subsequently filed for the legalization of the demolition and for the proper permits for a new 4,998 s.f. four story residential apartment building.  The plans were approved on March 31st, 2014.

Hopefully, the façade will soon be reconnected to a real structure.  I would like to point out that the original sister building at 352 DeGraw Street was recently lovingly restored.  Too bad the owner of 350 DeGraw did not do the same. 

As Predicted, Big Apple Gourmet Now Defunct

Big Apple Gourmet at 303 Court Street at the corner of DeGraw Street has just closed it's doors for good.  It's end was predictable ever since a hand written "Store For Rent" appeared in Mid-March, though the store had only opened  six months before.
As of a few days ago, the business is officially closed and most of the store has been emptied.
Only the outside flower action remains for the time being.

Big Apple Gourmet was owned by Billy Solmaz, who also runs Pacific Green, a popular Cobble Hill store at 303 Court Street at Pacific Street. In June 2013, it was reported that Solmaz was being forced out of his Cobble Hill location by his landlord, because national retailer J.Crew had penned a ten year lease for the space. Everyone seemed happy that Solmaz was able to relocate to the corner of Court Street and DeGraw Street.
But strangely, Pacific Green is still very much open to this day. Perhaps, J. Crew pulled out of the deal or Solmaz was able to renew his lease on Court Street at  Pacific Street.

I spoke with the flower vendor outside Big Apple yesterday and he seemed hopeful that another grocery store would be opened in its place.  Till then, he was going to continue selling flowers outside the store.

Of course, this location was once the home of Mastelone's, an Italian deli/superette that is still very much missed by many in Carroll Gardens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Carroll Gardens Greenmarket This Coming Sunday

The nice folks who organize the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket every Sunday would like to remind everyone in the neighborhood that this coming Sunday, April 20th, the Greenmarket will be CLOSED for the Easter holiday. Also, there will be NO food scrap collections or textile recycling.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday's Bark Avenue Adopt-A-Thon In Carroll Park A Great Success With 15 Adoptions.

Marion Fiore, organizer of the event

How very cool! 15 dogs and cats found new homes during 'Bark Avenue Adopt-A-Thon' held in Carroll Park this past Sunday. Organized by Marion Fiore, pictured above, the event brought together several adoption organizations, as well as non-for-profits that aid shelter dogs and cats.
Besides drawing a huge crowd, the Adopt-A-Thon highlighted the wonderful work of the volunteers who donate their time to rescue these animals in order to find them new owners.
The dogs and cats that were brought to the park on Sunday had received all their vaccinations and had been neutered.

Of course you can contact these organizations at any time if you wish to open your home to a pet or if you would like to make a donation to support their work.
Here is the list of Sunday's participants:
Animal Care And Control of NYC
Seam Casey Animal Rescue Inc.
Second Chance Rescue NYC
Mobile Mutts
Pillows For Paws NYC
Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers
Mobile Mutts
Love Thy Pet
Dogboy Inc.
Prospect Heights And Crown Heights Animal Hospital
Carroll Gardens Veterinary Group
British Canine Academy

If you were one of the people who adopted a feline or canine yesterday, please keep us informed on how things are going and consider sending PMFA a photo at pardonmeinbrooklyn at gmail dot com.

With Warmer Weather, Local Artist Regina Perlin Brings Her Easel Oudoors Once Again

There is no surer sign that spring has come to Carroll Gardens than to see artist Regina Perlin set up her easel once more.  This past Sunday, she could be found at the corner of Smith Street and Carroll Street capturing the view across the street, looking up Smith Street towards Second Place.
Regina's scenes of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Gowanus are just beautiful.
If you are not familiar with her paintings, you can see more here.

Savoia On Smith Street Closed For Good

Savoia, the Italian eatery and wine bar at 277-279 Smith Street has called it quits. Despite a note in the window indicating that the restaurant was "closed today", the signs have been up for more than two weeks now and a neighboring business owner confirmed that the space is now for rent.
Inside the restaurant, all the chairs have been stacked up and equipment has been moved to the front.

For the first few years, the food at Savoia was consistently good. Their brick oven pizza selection was extensive, their focaccia was delicious and their salads offered very interesting pairings. For years, Savoia offered home made gnocchi in a mushroom sauce that were simply amazing, especially accompanied by a glass of Primitivo.
Most of all, Savoia's unpretentious atmosphere made it a great choice for a casual dinner with friends.

Unfortunately, recently, the place seemed empty, even on week-ends.   Will you miss the place? What would you like to see in this space besides another nail place?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Return Of One Of The Red Hook Trolleys

(photo credit: Steven Skollar)

Reader Steven Skollar sent us a photo he took yesterday in Red Hook. It shows one of the vintage trolleys that seems to have re-appeared on the tracks behind Fairway.  And it looks as though it has been restored and been given a new coat of paint.
In February, this and another trolley had been removed and it was speculated that they were heading to the scrap yard.  Glad to see this one is back where it belongs.

Good-Bye Gowanus Silo: Phase Two Of Lightstone Group Demo Begins On Bond Street

Rendering of Lightstone Project on the shores of the Gowanus Canal (via Lightstone Group)
363 Bond Street (on the left) and 365 Bond Street (on the right) in fall 2013
The same view on Thursday this week
The building at 363 Bond Street that will be demolished early next week
The silo at 388-400 Carroll Street slowly being demolished
The iconic silo at Carroll Street on the shores of the Gowanus Canal will soon fade into history as  Lightstone Group has begun to dismantle the structure to make way for its 12 story, 700-unit rental complex. The Department of Buildings has issued demo permits not only for the silo, but also for a one story brick warehouse at 363 Bond Street at First Street which is in the footprint of the development.
In late December 20013, a similar old building at 365 Bond Street between First and Second Streets was taken down.
According to a flier that was placed on cars parked near 363 Bond Street, the area will be blocked off on Monday, April 14th at 6 AM, presumably for the demolition of the building.
Asbestos remediation was already  underway yesterday.

As for the Silo at 388-400 Carroll Street, it is being dismantled piece by piece and will most probably be gone by next week.  Until recently, the lot was known to many in Brooklyn as The Gowanus Grove/ Brooklyn Yard, where hundreds gathered on Summer week-ends for concerts, movie screenings and quite a few marriages.