Williamsburg Waterfront

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Is There a Toxic Plume Under Your Building? This Map of North Brooklyn Will Tell You

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

The Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning transformed the East River waterfront area (and other pockets, including along parts of the BQE) from “mixed use” industrial districts to solely residential ones. Things may have proceeded quickly since 2005, but the transition has not been a seamless one– a new interactive resource, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg ToxiCity Map tells us why.

The map, spearheaded by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), a community group with a long history of fighting environmental degradation in North Brooklyn, reveals the sometimes toxic remnants of the area’s industrial past as a colorful barrage of moveable dots and lines. “A lot of factories were there, operating with a lot of chemicals, a lot of spills– I think that’s important to remember,” explained Rita Beth Pasarell, a board member at NAG. “For good old history, but also because there are a lot of health impacts associated with the chemicals, and in order to avoid them we have to know what chemicals are where.”

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Williamsburg’s Newest DIY Venue Reimagines the Comedy Club

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

While DIY music venues are pretty much done for on the waterfront, a new independent comedy club– run by comics, for comics– has popped up amongst luxury housing and sprawling new developments in Williamsburg. The Experiment Comedy Gallery isn’t located inside a gritty warehouse, but this former furniture store is an equally barebones kind of deal (for now anyway), save for a monochromatic psychedelic window mural.

The space is much closer to the Silent Barn than it is to, say, Caroline’s– and that’s very much intentional– the founder Mo Fathelbab and his artistic director, Eliana Horeczko, are trying to keep ticket prices at a minimum. “If there’s one word to describe what we’re really all about, it’s accessibility,” Eliana explained. “We’re really focused on giving people the opportunity to perform– like, all people, not just a small group.”

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Inside Williamsburg’s Ambitious New-Music Venue, National Sawdust

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

In many ways, Williamsburg’s newest venue couldn’t be more different from the (mostly) defunct DIY show spaces (bar/art-galleries and dingy old warehouses) that once lined the waterfront area. (Cameo, at least, is still here — for another month and a half, anyway). That’s because National Sawdust is a refined concert hall, a serious non-profit institution with powerful and moneyed supporters plus a leadership of established talent tapped directly from the music and art worlds.

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Ran Tea House Is Now a Zen Co-Working Space By Day, Venue By Night

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

It’s a challenge to think of many communal places in the city where one can find absolute calm, and good luck finding peace and quiet at anything resembling a coffee shop. Someone’s inevitably going to waltz in and play some bad folk music or talk well above normal conversation level about their Master’s thesis in who-the-hell-cares. Enter the newly made-over Ran Tea House. Once mainly dedicated as a private event space, it’s now a very grown-up co-working space by day and venue by night and weekend, complete with a fine selection of teas.

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The Plot Thickens: A Visit to the Farm Sprouting Up On the Domino Site

The farm's first flower (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The farm’s first flower (Photo: Nicole Disser)

It was more than a little depressing to see the first North Brooklyn Farms get clobbered by bulldozers last fall, even if everybody knew it was coming. But as of this weekend, the farm is back and better than ever with Sunday night dinner parties, a fireworks viewing, and a host of other community events extending through the tolerable months. But best of all is that North Brooklyn Farms, now the Farm on Kent, will be an accessible plot of nature for the neighborhood’s residents.

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Getting High at the New Home of The Muse, Bushwick’s Future ‘Circus Heaven’

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

In the farthest reaches of Bushwick, right on the border of Knollwood Cemetery, Moffat Street drops off into oblivion. The sidewalks are cracked and few working street lights are there to illuminate the barren warehouses. Last night, long after the sun had set, I was walking down this end of Moffat in search of The Muse‘s new space.
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Brooklyn Rod & Gun Fishing For Donors With Documentary Campaign

We reported back in late September that Brooklyn Rod & Gun will close its doors at the end of the year. As of now, it looks like things are still headed that way. But Chris Raymond and the social club’s members are determined to save at least something of its legacy through a digital archive of ephemera, a double album of live recordings, a short documentary film, and even a book.
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DOB Will Get a Wake-Up Call Regarding Weekend Construction at Domino Site

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Members of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 are expressing “outrage” that the Department of Buildings is allowing the developer of the Domino Sugar site to build on weekends, potentially disrupting Williamsburgers from sleeping in on Saturdays.
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Petition Asks Domino Developers to Chill With the Weekend Construction

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

A meeting on Tuesday regarding the impending Domino development on Williamsburg’s waterfront was a reminder to residents just how close construction looms. There was the usual push-and-pull between the developers and residents, but Two Trees and the locals reached something of an impasse on the issue of Saturday construction, scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. as soon as the first building is underway.
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Domino Developers Tell Naysaying Neighbors to Expect a Pool and Park

(Rendering courtesy of Shop Architects/Two Trees Management)

(Rendering courtesy of Shop Architects/Two Trees Management)

It’s safe to assume that the relationship between Williamsburg residents and Two Trees, the developers responsible for the Domino Sugar factory mega-development, is somewhat fraught. But last night at The Woods, which was uncharacteristically serious, the tension was all too palpable as nearby tenants and homeowners packed the darkened bar to hear updates about the development from Two Trees principal Jed Walentas.
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The Un-School Celebrates And Mourns the Passing Of Havemeyer Park

The view from Havemeyer Park (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The view from Havemeyer Park (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last night I spent some quality time at a beautiful park that’s about to be bulldozed beyond recognition. After September 30th, there will be no more mini-farm, no more tipi, and no more dirt moguls for bikers, when the lot will be wiped clean and prepared to make way for the massive Domino development.
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Williamsburg Will Lose Yet Another Homegrown Venue

(Photo: Brooklyn Rod & Gun Facebook)

(Photo: Brooklyn Rod & Gun Facebook)

On the heels of Death By Audio’s closing announcement, yet another Williamsburg waterfront institution is shutting its doors. Brooklyn Rod & Gun, a private social club and sometime performance space on Kent Avenue, will close by year’s end.
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