Friday, March 27, 2015

Picture Of The Day: It Won't Be Long Now

Witch Hazel in bloom.
Corner of Carroll Street and Smith Street
Yes, I know it still looks gray and sad outside, but slowly spring blooms  are popping up all over the neighborhood.

Meet Local Artist Regina Perlin At Brooklyn Workshop Gallery On Hoyt Street This Saturday

This Saturday, March 28, 2015, stop by the Brooklyn Workshop Gallery at 393 Hoyt Street to meet local artist Regina Perlin. The gallery will feature many of Regina's recent works, most of which depict street scenes of Carroll Gardens and Gowanus.
She will be at the gallery from 2pm to 5pm. Light refreshments will be served. Her paintings will be on display till mid-April.
Brooklyn Workshop Gallery consistently offers wonderful programing under the direction of its director Martine Bisagni . Check out some of the gallery's upcoming events here.

393 Hoyt Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets) 
Brooklyn NY 11231 

Giant Bathtub Mystery Solved: "Float Ventures, LLC" To Occupy Space Above Buschenschank on Court Street

The second floor of 320 Court Street will soon be providing floatation therapy.
One of the enormous tubs that were delivered to 320 Court Street in February

A few weeks ago, PMFA readers had a bit of fun trying to guess what business was moving above Buschenschank, James McGown's Tyrolian gastro-pub at 320 Court Street after a reader had taken photos of several enormous tubs which were being delivered to the address.
Some readers though they were birthing tubs, some others thought they were for swinger parties.
Those who guessed that they were floating tanks seem to have been correct.

Someone just forwarded me a copy of a the-year commercial lease agreement that was signed back in October 2013 between James McGown's Brooklyn Renaissance, LLC and Float Ventures, LLC., a business which will be offering floatation therapy.

Strangely, the agreement states that the landlord acknowledges that Float Ventures, LLC. "is reliant upon a lack of noise" and that he will "shall undertake reasonable efforts to ensure that the other tenants of 320 Court Street utilize their respective premises to minimize disruption to the Business due to sound."
That may be a bit difficult considering that there is a loud pub directly underneath the floating tanks.

James McGown is auctioning off 320 Court Street together with some of his other Brooklyn properties at a pre-foreclosure" auction, which will be held at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel today, March 27th, 2015  at 10 AM. 
A description of the 320 Court Street building estimates its value at $9.4 million. It states that the storefront is owner-occupied and will be delivered vacant, so perhaps the noise emanating from  Buschenschank.

According to a source, Float Ventures is putting the finishing touches on the second floor space and plans to open soon.
Meanwhile, a PMFA reader sent along the photos above of the second floor of the building bathed in black light.   He writes:
 "They’ve built out three interior private rooms, and the door was open to one of them- someone was working in there. There’s some weird shape in the room but for the life of me, I couldn’t even really figure what shape it was. I imagine it’s something that goes over one of those big tubs. Combine that with the black light, and it seems a little weird."

For fun, the reader also sent along a clip of the classic Altered States, Ken Russell's film featuring LSD and sensory deprivation tanks.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

He Helped Get Carroll Gardens Contextually Re-Zoned, But Mayor de Blasio's Proposed City-Wide Zoning Plan May Soon Undermine The Neighborhood's Character

Councilmember Rosie Mendez
Councilmember Corey Johnson
Mayor de Blasio walking past the protesters yesterday

Back on October 28, 2009,  the Carroll Gardens neighborhood received the long-awaited news that the brownstone neighborhood had finally achieved a significant measure of protection from out-of scale development.  On that day, the New York City Council had unanimously approved the Department of City Planning’s Contextual Rezoning of the neighborhood.

The purpose of the contextual zoning was to "preserve [Carroll Gardens'] neighborhood character and scale" by limiting building heights to "better reflect the existing, predominantly row house character."
It had taken months of hard work from neighborhood residents to get to that point and, deservedly, it felt like a wonderful success.

The contextual  re-zoning had been sponsored by our then- Councilmember Bill de Blasio, who called the measure a “victory" made possible by “the many community organizations and activists who demanded that the voice of their neighborhood was heard.”

That measure of protection for Carroll Gardens is now put in jeopardy by de Blasio now that he is Mayor.  In February,  he and his administration quietly released an ambitious plan to change New York City's zoning laws to purportedly increase the amount of affordable housing in the City and to "make it easier to  prevent out of scale development while still allowing for building upgrades, improvements and modest expansions." Further, the City will seek to unlock new development opportunities and lower costs by eliminating outdated regulations."
Called "Housing New York: Zoning for Quality and Affordability", the plan aims to increase height limits across the board, including in contextually rezoned neighborhoods like ours.

The De Blasio administration is pushing this through at break-neck speed. Barely a month after releasing the plan, the Department of City Planning held a public scoping meeting yesterday afternoon in Manhattan. It is the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Process, which will culminate with a vote in the City Council.

Ahead of yesterday's scoping hearing, neighborhood organizations throughout New York City joining together for a press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall to express their concerns about the plan, "which would drastically reduce neighborhood zoning protections and raise height limits throughout the city."
Councilmembers Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez joined protesters to express their concern.  Mendez believes that the new regulations will change the unique character of the city's neighborhoods forever and will undo the careful re-zonings of the past few years.
The general feeling amongst the protesters was that this plan represented an up zoning which was meant to benefit developers and that there was little proof that it would actually create the affordable housing that it promised.

During the protest, Mayor de Blasio walked past. He was greeted by loud 'boos'.

The sentiment of the protesters was echoed by many at the actual scoping hearing yesterday.
The Village Voice has a great write-up on the many testimonies given by representatives from many Community Boards across the city, as well as from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and 26 other Manhattan elected officials.

I urge everyone to please get familiar with this issue since it will affect our neighborhood as well as the rest of the City forever.

Below are some additional articles that are of interest.

‘Citywide Rezoning Plan Would Benefit Developers, Hurt Neighborhoods’

‘Zoning Changes Made in Haste Makes For Bad

‘Zoning Process Too Fast For CB4′

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Court Tree Collective Presents The Works Of Local Artist Linda Marchisotto

In the Realm of Psyche, 2010 by Linda Marchisotto
Be the Mystery, 2013, by Linda Marchisotto

Court Tree Collective, the small gallery/event space at 371 Court Street, will be exhibiting the works of local artist Linda Marchisotto. The solo exhibit will be featuring the artist's collages and diptychs, some of which are pictured above.
A free opening reception will be held at the gallery on March 28 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The exhibit will be on view till April 25th, 2015.

From Linda Marchisotto:
My work reflects my eclectic interests, studies and pursuits over many years: dreamwork, Jung, depth psychology, mythology, art history, alchemy, astrology,symbols, the power of image, the Tarot, shamanism, archetypes, language, the Ancient Mysteries, the Ancient world, Taoism, the I Ching, the Divine Feminine, ways of seeing, divination, Celtic spirituality and the land, quantum physics, poetry, and a lifelong obsession with and reverence for books.

My collage process is a seemingly random selection of images that is not random at all, but rather guided somehow. Working with a dream or an idea, the selection of the first image is serendipitous. As I sift through many layers of fragmented images on the table before me, one will speak to me and become the catalyst for what comes next and for how it will all unfold.

The selection of the subsequent images arises from the unconscious as I find and create associations between images. The images are mostly fragments of images abstracted from their original context. Meaning comes to light through the juxtaposition of these fragments, which allows for the unfolding of metaphor, symbol and meaning. A narrative arises which can be read as well as felt on many levels. Not every viewer will have the same experience, however, as the images and symbols will mean different things to different people. Mystery is that which cannot be known. It can be felt, but not necessarily put into words and so the experience of the viewer becomes intuitive.

The collages from the Book of Dreams are diptychs in dialogue with each other as are the boxes. Both of these formats invite intimacy and contemplation as well as entry into sacred time and space. The boxes reference devotional Books of Hours or small altarpieces yet have nothing to do with the religious and everything to do with the universal and archetypal.

"Support Our Teachers": Local School Parents And Students To March Through The Neighborhood Today

For the second time this month, parents and students in our area will be protesting against Governor Cuomo's controversial education reform. A " Support Our Teachers" march, organized by all of our local public schools, will take place today after class.

Below please find the pertinent information:Public School Parents in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill:

Support Our Teachers!

This Wednesday, March 25th, please join your fellow public school parents in a peaceful march to protest Governor Cuomo’s education budget and teacher evaluation plan.

Immediately after school dismissal, we will stage a march through Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill in a show of support for, and solidarity with, our teachers. Children are encouraged to join this celebration of the teachers and schools we love.
The march route represents the circle of solidarity among the schools of our community. You will start and end at your own school:
PS 58 will walk to PS 32
PS 32 will walk to PS 38
PS38 will walk to PS 261
PS 29 will walk to BNS
BNS will walk to PS 58

Please see attached map and join in as you can!
The entire route should take about an hour, so be sure to bundle up.
A few important things to remember:
At no point should any groups gather or stop at each school.
Please be mindful to obey traffic laws, walk on the sidewalks, and do not obstruct other pedestrians or vehicular traffic.
Feel free to disperse at whatever point you need to. It is not mandatory to walk the entire path.
Bring a sign!

According to the New York Times, the plan includes "making a teacher evaluation system rely more heavily on state tests, raising the number of charter schools in the state and allowing failing schools to be taken over by outside groups." If Cuomo's proposal becomes law, state aid will be increased by $1.1 billion.
The proposals are up for a vote on April 1.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chinese Delegation Visited The Gowanus Canal Superfund Site This Past Friday

Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement CoordinatorIMG_3252
Christos Tsiamis, EPA Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus CanalIMG_3260
Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 Legal CouncilIMG_3262
This past Friday, March 20, 2015, a delegation of scientists from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) of the People's Republic of China toured the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal, which has been nominated as a Federal Superfund site by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2010. 
The delegation had visited EPA's 's headquarter in Washington the day before, and had learned about the Superfund program. The visit to Gowanus gave them an opportunity to gain understanding of how the program is applied.

The Chinese scientists were greeted by representatives of EPA Region 2 at the Old American Can Factory on Third Street, where Christos Tsiamis, the Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal, gave them an overview of the waterway's industrial history, the resulting pollution,  and the complexities involved in cleaning up the waterway.

He explained that the remedy will include removal of the contaminants, capping in sections of the canal where contaminants have sunk deep into the native sediment, and the construction of two retention tanks to manage and capture Combined Sewer Overflow from New York City's sewer system during rain events. The cost of the clean-up is estimated at over $500 million, which will be paid by the polluters.

Tsiamis also explained that community involvement is an important part of the Superfund program, and spoke of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Group.

Our humble canal obviously continues to garner international interest. Over the past few years, scientists from Russia and delegates from India have toured the polluted waterway.

I would like to thank Christos Tsiamis, Brian Carr, Natalie Loney and Cecilia Echols for inviting me to join Friday's walking tour and for letting me document it for the community.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Last Snow Photo, Promised!

First day of spring 2015.
Come what may, I will not post another snow photo until next winter.
You have my promise.

Agnellini Pasquale Make Their Yearly Appearance At Court Street Pastry

It is wonderful to see that the Sicilian Easter tradition of the Agnellini Pasquale,  is still alive and well at  here in Carroll Gardens
Every year, the marzipan lambs make an appearance in the weeks leading up to Easter at Court Pastry Shop at 298 Court Street. No exception this year. The molded almond paste creatures have hand-painted faces, rest on a bed of fake green grass and are surrounded by a few chocolate eggs and candy.
It wouldn't be Easter without such a centerpiece for many Italian families here in Carroll Gardens.

"Bruiser Juice Co." Coming To Smith Street

The small storefront at 251 Smith Street most recently occupied by Sheslky, which relocated to a larger space on Court Street, seems to have found a new commercial tenant.
Construction of the space is currently taking place and a new sign has been hung above the store.
The name of the business, Bruiser Juice Co., would indicate a juice bar.
Does anyone have more info on this new place?


I was contacted by Jessica Williams and Luke Williams, who designed the branding for the new juice bar and are currently renovating the interior space.  They were kind enough to give PMFA more details about the new business.
Jessica writes:
"My husband (graphic designer) and I (interior designer) live in the neighborhood and collaborate on small restaurant projects such as this one. Bruiser will offer delicious cold press juices, fresh sandwiches and salads. As the warmer days approach us, there will be access to the back garden for additional seating and summertime hang. 
The shop will go by Bruiser, which is indicated by the striking red and three dimensional letters on the sign. More branding on the window to come.  

The couple will also be redesigning the OMG Taco space right next door in the coming weeks. A new sign for OMG will go up later this afternoon.