Monday, October 24, 2016

A Moment In Time: A Walk In The Park

Carroll Park on a sunny fall day.
Is there any nicer place in the neighborhood?

Exiting Day For Gowanus: EPA Starts Debris Removal Pilot Project At 4th Street Basin

Natalie Loney of EPA Region 2 at an press conference earlier today
"It's an exciting day"
Marlene Donnelly of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus and member of the EPA Gowanus Canal CAG  talking to the press
Today marks an important moment and a giant step forward in the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just starting the debris removal Pilot Project at the 4th Street Turning Basin located at the intersection of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue next to the Gowanus Whole Foods.

Over the next several weeks, environmental remediation and dredging contractor Sevenson will be clearing obstructions from the basin that prevent navigational access, Two huge barges and a giant crane have already been moved into position for that purpose. Prior to removal, a map of underwater debris was created using sonar technology. By far the largest piece of debris is a sunken boat hull, a smaller metal boat, and a yet unidentified rectangular feature that may be related to a collapsed bulkhead.
The EPA also expects to find lots of urban debris like old tires.

All will be removed and assessed at a staging area near the 7th Street Basin close to Huntington Street. It will then be transported out of the area via barge to appropriate recycling or waste facilities.

To make sure that the workers and the community stay safe during the debris removal, water monitoring as well as odor control will be put in place. Air monitors have been installed a few days ago, according to the EPA, to establish a baseline.

The EPA will use this pilot program to "evaluate different equipment types to efficiently remove debris and to evaluate processes for managing debris" and will help to "fine tune the different techniques that will eventually be applied to the entire canal."

The second phase of the 4th Street Basin Pilot will include dredging and capping which will take place in 2017. The results of that work will also inform the EPA on how best to dredge the entire length of the canal at a later time

The EPA will stay in close communication with the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group and will report on the results once they have been assessed.
The Community Advisory Group's next meeting will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, October 24th at 6:30 pm at Mary Star of The Sea Senior Houses last 41 First Street.

Community's Opposition To Proposed Local F Train Cuts Grows

from  MTA's "Feasibility and Analysis Study of F Express Service in Brooklyn" here 

Back in May of this year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed the implementation of express F Train service between the Jay Street-MetroTech and Church Avenue stations (with a stop at 7th Avenue Park Slope) in the fall of 2017, with half of all F trains running express each way during peak morning and evening rush hours.
The change in service would not involve adding new trains to the line.

Though this may save time for many F train riders, the proposal would mean 50%  fewer trains for riders in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Gowanus since express trains would bypass the Bergen Street, Carroll Street, Smith Street/ 9th Street and 4th Avenue stations.
In recent years, ridership has steadily increased at these stations and the platforms are dangerously overcrowded during the morning rush hour.  This, predictably will become an even bigger problem with planned development in this highly desirable area.

The reaction to the proposed change amongst local residents has been overwhelmingly negative.
Our local officials almost immediately expressed their dismay by "the utter lack of process on the part of the MTA ."

A Don't Cut Local F web site and petition was set up by Carroll Gardener Erin Lippincott to inform local residents and "to build a voice and the support of our political reps as well as let all of the residents and groups across the affected residents know what's at risk."
This past September, Erin brought our elected officials together with concerned  residents, business owners and local school representatives to discuss what the F Train changes will mean to many in the community. 
She was kind enough to recap the meeting for PMFA here.

Opposition to Local F Train Cuts in Brooklyn Grows
by Erin Lippincott  of Don't Cut Local F

On September 29th, residents, parents, business owners, school administrators, and community leadership from across the areas threatened by the MTA’sproposed cuts to F Train service in Brooklyn met with elected officials. City Councilman Brad Lander, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon pledged to fight the cuts and listened to attendees express the myriad ways these cuts would cause hardship.

Natasha Campbell, executive director and founder of the Summit Academy Charter School in Red Hook, said her school will not survive if the cuts go through.  Dr. Eric Kenworthy, a private practice physician in Cobble Hill, said not only his patients but also his staff depend on timely F Train service. Peter Freeman, co-owner of Carroll Gardens’ Brooklyn Farmacy, said any cuts to F Train service would be devastating for local businesses and their employees.

The MTA has proposed to its board a 50% cut in peak, Monday-Friday rush hour service at the following F Train stops in Brooklyn: Fort Hamilton Pkwy, 15St-Prospect Park, 4 Ave-9 St, Smith-9 St, Carroll St, and Bergen St stations. These cuts would start sometime in 2017. The MTA claims the cuts are needed to facilitate the return of the F Express. But the MTA’s own report shows that the local F Train cuts would hurt more people than the express would help. It also predicts that population growth in Brooklyn will be focused in the very neighborhoods for which it is proposing cuts.

The proposal was sent to the MTA Board and leaked to the media before public officials, community boards, or other public representatives were aware of it. A joint press release and petition released by local elected officials expressed anger and disbelief.

Attendees at the September 29th meeting formed two committees. One will work with transit and other specialists to review the MTA’s report proposing the F Traincuts (the MTA report is available at  The other committee will continue outreach within the communities that would be affected. To that end, Assemblyman Ortiz organized a meeting on October 20th, which brought together Red Hook school principals, PTA leadership, and representatives from the community outreach program at Santander Bank to discuss how to fight F Train cuts.

One parent, near tears, told the room how she suffered when the Smith-9 St station was closed for years of renovation and that she continues to struggle because there is no elevator in the new station, which is elevated and has dozens of stairs. The new plan to cut F Train service at her station, she said, is unthinkable. was founded to join communities together to fight these cuts and demand transparency from the MTA and its board. In its petition, it states: These cuts will have serious and negative ramifications across several neighborhoods; from long waits and overcrowding at the even now over-packed stations at Carroll and Bergen Streets to reducing subway access for the already under-served residents and businesses in Red Hook and the ColumbiaWaterfront to leaving our infrastructure unprepared for large-scale developmentsuch as what is planned for Gowanus. If the MTA wants to add the F Express, that is great, but it should not do so by stranding residents and businesses via cuts to local service.

Learn more, sign the petitions, and get involved at or email

Friday, October 21, 2016

Picture Of The Day: Fall Has Come

It's beginning to feel like fall here in Carroll Gardens. #mybrooklynlife #carrollgardens
It sure feels like fall here in Carroll Gardens.
Wet sidewalk and falling leaves on Carroll Street.

What Happens To Our Recyclables? A Visit To The Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility

photo above  courtesy of

Have you ever wondered what happens to the curbside recycling that the New York City Department of Sanitation picks up weekly in front of our buildings? If you live in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Gowanus and surrounding neighborhoods, what you collect in your blue and green recycling cans is transported directly to the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, which is operated by Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR).
The three year old state-of-the art facility is located on an 11-acre City-owned pier at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to learn about the facility on a tour organized by Community Board 6. It was and led by Eadaoin Quinn, the Education and Administrative Coordinator for SMR. After visiting the exhibit at the education center, where Quinn answered all sorts of questions related to recycling and re-using, the group got to see the actual sorting of material. It was fascinating and inspired me to be even more committed to recycling.

SMR, a division of Sims Metal Management Limited, has a twenty year contract with the City's Sanitation Department "to provide processing and marketing services for 100% of the metal, glass and plastic and approximately 50% of the paper collected in the largest curbside program in North America."
SMR and DSNY work as partners to make curbside recycling efficient and effective in order to keep trash out of landfills.

Recyclable material is transported to the Recovery Facility from all five boroughs by truck, rail and barge. Here, mounds of plastic, glass, and metal is sorted by sophisticated machinery. The sorted material is then bundled so that it can be sold and shipped out to processors and manufacturers, which will repurpose the material.

Our paper and cardboard is also shipped here. After the paper is sorted, it is directly shipped to a manufacturer in Staten Island who will use the pulp to make pizza boxes, tissues and other assorted paper products with it.

It is humbling to see the cheer volume that gets thrown out every day. Luckily, all these empty cans and bottles will stay out of landfills. So for all who still don't sort out their garbage into the proper bins because they believe that the Sanitation Department throws everything together anyway, that is simply not true.

Recycling, as well as composting, matters for us and for future generations. So, please, just do it!

To take a tour and learn about recycling and sustainability, and witness it in action, contact the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Former Deli On Hoyt Street In Carroll Gardens To Become Liquor Store

A few days ago, reader Ben made us aware of a notice posted on the front door of the former deli at 347 Hoyt Street at the corner of Carroll Street in the landmarked section of Carroll Gardens. According to the public notice, the new commercial tenant is applying for an off-premise liquor store license from the New York State Liquor Authority.

For decades, this was home to a neighborhood deli. For the past few years, it was called the 'Carroll Gardens Deli' and was owned by a young man named Mohammed, who, along with his helper Victor, has served the local community from morning to evening.
Unfortunately, Mohammed was forced to close his business in March of this year because of ever-increasing rent payments as well as several violations on the building that make it impossible for him to apply for permits to use the oven and griddle in his premises.

Interestingly enough, Avery Hall Investments, who is currently developing a 17-unit 'boutique' condo on President Street, purchased this property in 2013 with a partner.  On its web site, Avery Hall states that it "recognized the intrinsic upside of the asset and during the contract period, re-structured several leases at the property." Obviously, the restructuring included raising the rent of the Carroll Gardens deli.
Subsequently, AHI divested its interest to its partner, according to the web site.

Do you live nearby?  Do you miss the deli? Are you looking forward to a liquor store at this spot?  Would love to hear your opinion.

Here are a few photos of the former deli back in March 2016.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Moment In Time: Afternoon Nap

Making the most of a quiet afternoon.
Seen at the small appliance store on Court Street in Carroll Gardens.

Party Like It's 1993: Get Ready For A 'Pre-Giuliani Era' Basement Party In Gowanus

Party like it's 1993....
Producing duo Vijay & Stephens is getting ready to throw a 'Pre-Giuliani Era' Basement bash  in Gowanus on November 5th.  The even, called Watershed, will be hosted in the downstairs space of Halyards at 406 3rd Avenue.  Tickets are $5 online, $8 at the door.
The fun starts at 10 pm.

From Watershed's web site:
For the dance music audiophile, Vijay and Stephens present Watershed, a pre-Giuliani era basement party. Resident DJs Paul Feder and Miracles - along with a slew of New York's best up-and-coming talent - spin house, hip hop, future r&b, and more, in the low light that makes us all feel good.

All info on the event can be found here. Tickets can be purchased here.

Get Ready For The Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill Restaurant Crawl This Thursday

This Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 5-8 pm, join Tastes of Brooklyn for a fun restaurant crawl in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Sample food and drinks at some of this neighborhood's best eateries and food purveyors, including Avlee, Pharmacy, La Cigogne, Stinky and Sahadi's.
Tickets are $20 for 4 tastes, $50 for 11 tastes.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Seeds in the Middle.

From Tastes Of Brooklyn:
Our city's finest chefs partner with farmers, youth and healthy movers and shakers for an extraordinary restaurant crawl in the historic neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Take a walk to try exquisite delicacies using locally grown seasonal ingredients along Smith, Court, Clinton and Henry Streets, and maybe even Columbia Street, south of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Top chefs and artisans will offer sumptuous fare - all to empower our neediest children to access all they need to get healthy and save elephants. Our talented youth will share fresh beverages. Smoothies, lime/lemonade with fresh mint, fresh orange juice? Stay tuned for news on fitness fun at the local parks. Our local eateries date to the early 1900s to recently opened unique venues. Sample top cuisine and support local businesses without stressing over a reservation. Enjoy our deliciously fun fiesta - while supporting worthy causes!

Tickets available online  here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Carroll Park Kids' Halloween Costume Parade Scheduled For October 30th

Mark your calendars! The yearly Carroll Park Halloween Kids' Custome Parade will take place on Sunday, October 30 at 11:30 AM.  Organized by Friends of Carroll Park, the group of wonderful volunteers who take such great care of our neighborhood park, this is an event not to be missed even if you don't have kids.  Seeing the little ones in their costumes is just too wonderful.

From the Friends of Carroll Park:
It's time once again for one of our biggest treats of the year: the annual kids' Halloween parade! Gather up your little ghouls, get gussied up, and show off your costumes on the neighborhood's streets.
We'll be gathering at 11:30, then kicking off the parade at noon. Once you're back at the park, enjoy mingling with neighbors and elected officials, with snacks courtesy of Friends of Carroll Park!

We're also looking for volunteers to take on the following roles:
Parade leaders (1-3 people) - to head up the parade and help the NYPD officers keep everyone going in the right direction
Banner carriers (2-4 people) - to get prime photo op space at the front of the lineup holding the canvas banner seen above
If you're interested in taking on these fun duties this year, please email us at and let us know!

In addition, the Friends are looking for some help planting daffodil bulbs this fall, so that our park will be even more beautiful in the coming spring.
If you have some time and would like to get involved, here is the information:
Volunteers needed for our daffodil planting "Bulbapalooza" on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
We're looking for some community-minded Narcissus-ists to help plant more than 500 daffodil bulbs we've received from the wonderful folks at New Yorkers for Parks as part of their annual Daffodil Project!

No skills required except the ability to hold a trowel, so come help seed some of the park's planted areas for a beautiful display in the spring!

Stay connected with the Friends of Carroll Park on their web site here or through Facebook here.
They organize some wonderful neighborhood events throughout the year.