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How Many Ways Can You Say ‘Where’s My Williamsburg Waterfront Park’?

What is there to say other than, ‘Where’s our park?’ and, ‘The promise was made,’ and, ‘Do it’?” State Senator Daniel Squadron asked Sunday at the CitiStorage site, on the anniversary of a seven-alarm fire that renewed calls for the greening of the eight-acre plot on the Williamsburg waterfront. Turns out, there was more to say: the state senator was joined by Council Member Stephen Levin, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and other elected officials and activists who once again called on Mayor de Blasio to acquire the land and make good on a promise made by his predecessor. So how many ways are there to say “Where’s our park?” Play the video to find out.

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Year After CitiStorage Fire, Park Conversion Is Still a Hot Topic

Site of the fire. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Site of the fire. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Nearly a year after a seven-alarm fire ravaged the CitiStorage building in Williamsburg, the fate of the hotly contested land remains in limbo. On Sunday, the fire’s anniversary, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park will gather to once again call on the city to turn the controversial plot into parkland.

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Shops and Union Square Theatre Vacate Tammany Hall, Clearing Way For Makeover

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

There was a closing sale today at Frank’s Wine and Liquor store on 46 Union Square East, one of four stores forced to leave the historic Tammany Hall Building on the brink of a massive renovation. Already shuttered are Trevi Deli, a smoke shop, and a newsstand.

The big moving vans came Friday to clear out Tammany Hall’s most prominent tenant, The Union Square Theatre around the corner from Park Avenue South at 100 East 17th Street. Within a matter of hours, it was a ghost building, emptied of all vestiges of the Tony-Award winning hit comedy, 39 Steps, which had played on Broadway and other venues for 1,135 performances starting in 2008.

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Work Begins at Astor Place and the Cube Will Soon Return From… Jersey!?

Former home of the cube. (Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Former home of the cube. (Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Hard to believe, but it’s now been over a year since our beloved Astor Place cube was boxed up and unceremoniously hoisted onto a flatbed and hauled off. We were briefly consoled by a human cube on Halloween, but mostly there’s been a hole in our heart — or, at Astor Place, anyway — where the cube used to be. This week, however, excavation of the future Astor Plaza finally commenced, and the city tells us the reconstruction should be completed by spring.

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The Halls of Umbrella House: Suicides, Slayings and Squatters On Avenue C

Herewith, the final installment (for now!) of our A Lot About a Plot series, diving deep into the histories of storied addresses around town.

Gabriel Pintado

(Photo: Gabriel Pintado)

Sometimes he hears them whispering in the halls.

“Horrible things have happened here,” Jean Paul tells me. “There are spirits still lingering here.”

Jean Paul Chatham is a 40-year-old gay plumber from Belize, dark-skinned with a large bush of curly, Creole hair that he keeps brushing away from in front of his face. He’s lived at Umbrella House for about 14 years. When he greets me he is shirtless, wearing camouflage pants and two protective amulets on a chain around his neck. Although clearly physically fit, he keeps apologizing for his appearance. He says his face looks the way it does because the entire building is trying to cast spells on him, or “bless him with negative energy,” as he puts it.

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Lights, Camera, Activism: How a Radical TV Studio Kept a Firehouse From Sinking

The DCTV building today (Photo by Mariam Elba)

The DCTV building today (Photo by Mariam Elba)

In 1978, Jon Alpert was out walking a colleague’s dog across from his loft at the intersection of Lafayette and White Streets. He stopped for the dog to do his business in front of a firehouse that had been abandoned eight years earlier, and noticed an auction sign on the door. There was a name and a number to call.

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Where an Armory Once Stood, Met Pool Swims Against the Tide of Gentrification

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Metropolitan Pool and Recreation Center on the corner of Metropolitan and Bedford Avenues (Nicki Fleischner).

Metropolitan Pool and Recreation Center on the corner of Metropolitan and Bedford Avenues (Nicki Fleischner).

It was a morning for nostalgia when Charles Hart won the bid to demolish Grand Army Hall on February 7, 1898. The building was a Brooklyn icon in sorry disrepair. Its roof leaked, its wooden floors had rotted, and the entire northern wall leaned over Metropolitan Avenue, threatening to collapse onto pedestrians below. Just 35 years ago the building had been constructed as an Armory during the Civil War, and now its very existence was a “menace to life and limb.”

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From Warfare to Housewares: The History of the Ikea Red Hook Site

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Ikea, located on the Erie basin of Red Hook. (Camila Osorio)

Ikea, located on the Erie basin of Red Hook. (Camila Osorio)

We’ve all been there: duking it out with a roommate or a significant other over which couch or flimsy dining room table to buy at Ikea. The memories are cringe-worthy. But for what it’s worth, Ikea’s corner of Red Hook has always been a cradle of conflict – and much deadlier conflict. As in, Dutch colonizers displacing Native Americans, and the British confronting Revolutionary armies led by General George Washington. It’s also where battleships dry-docked during the Civil War and World War II.

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Before the Spate of LES Towers, There Was Confucius Plaza

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

(Photo by Jesse Coburn)

(Photo by Jesse Coburn)

Shopkeepers across the Bowery tracked its progress: 42 stories, 43, and finally 44. Pedestrians on Canal Street craned their necks up to take in the expanse of brick that stretched across the slow curve of its facade.

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‘A Strange Story': How 160 Bleecker Went From Slum House to Bohemian Bastion

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

Evening in one of the courts in the Mills House, no. 1." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1902.

Evening in one of the courts in the Mills House, no. 1.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1902.

At the end of the 19th century, Ernest Flagg had a vision. Educated in the École des Beaux-Art in Paris, the young architect came back to New York in 1890 wanting to “reform the barbaric housing standards of the day.” Then he met banker and philanthropist Darius Odgen Mills, and before long Mills House No. 1, an inexpensive hotel for working men, opened in Greenwich Village in 1897.

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Bootlegers, Stuyvesants, and Slovaks: The Colorful History of Blue and Gold’s Building

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

Blue and Gold. (Photo: Yun Cee Ng)

Blue and Gold. (Photo: Yun Cee Ng)

You could spend a night at Blue and Gold Tavern without ever hearing a single word of Ukrainian, but the beloved bar embodies the East Village’s enduring reputation as a hub for New York’s Ukrainian diaspora. It’s owned by three generations of the Roscishewsky family, and takes its name from the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

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Why Did the Members of an East Village Fishing Club Go ‘Down to a Watery Grave’?

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

A docked tugboat, early morning on the East River. Early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of NYPL)

A docked tugboat, early morning on the East River. Early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of NYPL)

On the morning of June 24, 1894, the Kirchner brothers — Charles, Frank, William and Gus — probably rode the elevated train from 72nd Street to what is today the East Village. On the way, they would’ve passed the headquarters of the Herring Fishing Club. They were members of the club, located inside of a tenement house at 55 First Avenue, but it’s possible that when they disembarked at the 1st Avenue station, they instead walked directly to Pier 6 on the East River, where they boarded the James D. Nichol, a tugboat the club had chartered for a daylong fishing trip.

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