Depending on where you look, North Brooklyn is still replete with rusty reminders of its fairly recent manufacturing past, but as that history recedes farther off into the distance, pushed along by developers mining the cityscape for residential conversions (and now, slick new tech office space too), the memory of what stood there before is fading too. The area’s transformation has proceeded so quickly and dramatically that many new residents have no idea that they’re living next to an old pencil factory, or in some cases a Brownfield site.
Charney Construction & Development and Tavros Capital are planning to build a 22-story mixed-used building in South Williamsburg that is positioned to be one of the biggest high rises in the area, according to documents filed with the city yesterday.
Venerated art space, punk venue, and community center ABC No Rio has filed to have its building torn down, Department of Buildings records show. And thus ends an era filled with countless art exhibitions and Saturday hardcore matinees, stretching all the way back to 1979. Unlike just about every other venue closure we’ve seen in the last few months, however, this one promises to have a happy ending, as ABC No Rio will be back in just a little while with a shiny, new building at its current location. The new space at 156 Rivington will be bigger and more modern—complete with LEED certification—and is poised to provide artists, activists, and other weirdos with a place to congregate for years to come.
Since the news that the L Train will be shut down for 18 months became official, people have been scrambling, much like a crowd stuck behind a stroller on the Bedford stop’s narrow stairs, to figure out what to do about it.
Earlier this afternoon, a group of 32 elected officials, led by State Senator Daniel Squadron, called on the city, state and MTA officials to create an “interagency working group” to come up with mitigation solutions and prevent those along the L Train from getting completely stranded during the shut down. It’s important to remember, they argue, that, to a certain subset of Manhattan-bound commuters, this is a monumentally important issue: “As you know, the L train is a transit lifeline for many of the communities we represent,” Squadron said in a statement. “It is clear that mitigating the impacts of the closure requires bold action within and outside the MTA and significant interagency coordination.”
A major Manhattan real estate player has sold off three of its East Village buildings in deals totaling $32 million.
After making my way through a gilded, marble-floor lobby worthy of Home Alone 2, I found myself at Civic Hall. The techy meetup spot and educational center is where likeminded hackers convene for “labs” and shamelessly use the kind of words (“disrupt”) that have become emblems of that heady cocktail of superiority and entitlement powering controversial profit vacuums like Uber and AirBnB. I was hardly surprised to see that Pierre Omidyar’s foundation is a sponsor of Civic Hall, as is Google. Even if the #HackHousing event had been pitched as an occasion for discussing “creative ways to empower New York renters,” I was more than a little skeptical.
Earlier this year, when the East Village’s beloved Stage Restaurant closed in the wake of a dispute with its landlord Icon Realty Management, Brooklyn-based artist Gilf! plastered the diner’s former home with caution tape reading “Gentrification in Progress.” It wasn’t the first time one of the company’s properties was the site of artistic protest: Karen Platt, a resident of an Icon-owned building on East 5th Street, has been known to chalk up the sidewalk with messages like “Enough Is Enough,” and over July 4th weekend, someone spray-painted a message on the sidewalk in front of the now for-rent Stage space that advised, “DO NOT RENT HERE. DO NOT BUY HERE. BOYCOTT IN EFFECT.”
There’s been many a Bushwick disappearance lately. Punk venue The Acheron recently said their goodbyes, acclaimed restaurant Northeast Kingdom put away their plates for good, and Palisades is closed until at least August. In nearby Williamsburg, the Experiment Comedy Gallery, DIY space for funnies, just had to relocate to a new spot that’s quite literally underground.
Last month, the city made a $100 million offer on the final parcel of land needed to complete the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park along the Williamsburg waterfront, giving the property owner 60 days to take the money. The owner, Norm Brodksy, promptly declined the city’s offer and now appears to have set a deadline of his own.
Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate company that’s handling the sale of the property, has set up a website to collect offers for the land between now and 5 p.m. on July 20—two weeks from today—after which Brodsky will presumably make a decision on the matter. Keep Reading »
A group of a dozen small business owners and community advocates from Bushwick gathered at Esmeralda Valencia’s restaurant on Myrtle Avenue this morning with an alarming message on posterboard: “Los pequeños negocios nos declaramos en crisis”—We small businesses declare ourselves in crisis.
It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious.
A slew of city agencies and elected officials are asking Bushwick residents for direct input on how best to handle the rapid change that’s consuming the neighborhood.
“We’re here to make sure we give the people the opportunity to make a decision on what their neighborhood’s going to look like in the future,” City Council member Antonio Reynoso told the crowd at a Monday meeting at Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center. Among the areas of concern: population growth, demographic shifts, the loss of affordable housing, an influx of luxury housing, private interests, and businesses that cater toward the moneyed. In other words, gentrification.