architecture

Climate Change, Architecture and Design Take Center Stage at A/D/O

Talking Tropics via Prototropic's facebook page
Talking Tropics via Prototropic’s facebook page

Design and architecture buffs abound here in Brooklyn, and Greenpoint has even been called the home design capital of the borough, but Talking Tropics, a new series of discussions at A/D/O, the creative design hub at 29 Norman Avenue, is putting Tropical cities like Shenzhen, Rio and Chennai at the center of “a conversation about climate change and the future of design, architecture and construction in island and waterfront cities.”

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Patrick Keely, The Prolific Architect of Saint Anthony of Padua Church

Saint Anthony of Padua Church - image via Historic Districts Council
Saint Anthony of Padua Church. Photo via Historic Districts Council

For years I passed the graceful façade of Saint Anthony of Padua church (862 Manhattan Avenue) and admired its beauty, but never really thought much about the man who built it. Recently I researched the life of the amazing man who built this Greenpoint landmark and his story is every bit as amazing as the church he built.

Patrick Keely (1816-1896) was the most prolific church builder in American history, constructing, by some estimates, seven hundred churches stretching from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico and from New England to Iowa. He built St. Anthony’s in 1876. It is like many of his churches built in the neo-gothic style. Keely’s prolific career is all the more shocking when we consider that he never received any formal training as an architect. Continue reading

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Happening Now: “Automonuments” at Simon/Neuman² Gallery

Untitled (close up), 2010, Digital C print, 30 x 45 © Niv Rozenberg

Writing of Manhattan at the end of the 20th century, the architect Rem Koolhaas described a new kind of monument, one “available for meaning as a billboard is for advertisement:” Continue reading

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Forgotten Greenpoint: The Astral

The Astral © Greenpointers

The Astral is undoubtedly one of Greenpoint’s most iconic edifices. So much so, it even inspired it’s own novel. It sure is a purdy old pile o’ bricks, straight out of Victorian London, and with a great history to boot. While you may not know the fascinating story of the Astral, you’ve likely been inside the building while brunching at Brooklyn Label, or maybe you have noticed its picturesque brickwork while exiting Dandelion Wine shop, bottle (or two) in hand. So what makes this historic building distinctive enough to be designated both a city and a national landmark? Well, as mama always told you, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Continue reading

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“Hazardous Materials” Public Hearing on 77 Commercial St Project Tonight (8/20)

Tonight – August 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM there will be a Public Hearing on the 77 Commercial Street Project and an Informational Presentation on Newtown Barge and Box Street Parks at Automotive High School (50 Bedford Ave).

Like Greenpoint Landing, 77 Commercial St has also begun its ULURP process. (WTF is ULURP?) Approval of the proposal will mean 30-40 story towers in exchange for a park and affordable housing.

Aside from the impact on the character of the neighborhood as well as issues with infrastructure and transportation, the environmental issues at this site and the risk to public health are of great concern.

According to the convoluted and endless Environmental Assessment Statement issued on 8/1/13, the 77 Commercial St site is “currently or was historically a manufacturing area that involved hazardous materials” … “a site where there is reason to suspect the presence of hazardous materials, contamination, illegal dumping or fill or fill material of unknown origin.” When is the open house?!

Based on the findings in this statement, a detailed analysis of air quality, noise and hazardous material in respect to public health needs to be conducted. If you can get a word in edgewise this evening, it’s very important that questions with respect to these vital issues are addressed.

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Historical Greenpoint Walk With The Wooden House Project

Wooden House Project Tour

For anyone interested in exploring the history of Brooklyn, The Wooden House Project offers fantastic tours for lovers of Brooklyn’s wood-frame row houses. The walking tour I took through the streets of Greenpoint was an hour and a half long and was led by Elizabeth Finkelstein and Chelcey Berryhill. Continue reading

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Community Meeting Workshop on Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial St High Rises Tomorrow (6/27)

Don’t forget to join GWAPP & NAG for a Special Community Workshop on the Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street Developments on Thursday June 27th, 2013 at 6:30-8pm at the Newtown Creek Visitor Center (329 Greenpoint Ave). This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLICRSVP

Read more about the meeting here.

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WTF is ULURP? Community Workshop on Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St – Next Thursday 6/27

Many readers have been very concerned about the proposed Greenpoint Landing development on the waterfront. But you can’t just worry about it now –  then complain about it later. As Greenpointers, this is our neighborhood and we have to take responsibility for the vision and future plan of what Greenpoint can and will become.

Get active!

Join GWAPP & NAG for a Special Community Workshop on the Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street Developments on Thursday June 27th, 2013 at 6:30-8pm at the Newtown Creek Visitor Center (329 Greenpoint Ave). This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLICRSVP

Are you like a lot of people wondering what ULURP means? It stands for Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which is a standardized procedure whereby applications affecting the land use of the city would be publicly reviewed. In a nutshell, if you’re building something in the city, it needs to go through ULURP for public review and approval.

As a community, we will discuss what is “as-of-right” (per the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning) and what is still negotiable as these two developments approach certification and “ULURP” approval.

This is an opportunity to share ideas about what’s at stake, what we might gain in the ULURP process and how to prioritize our negotiating position.

Representatives from Greenpoint Landing will be making a brief presentation to familiarize everyone with the aspects of the project coming up for ULURP approval. The Center for Urban Pedagogy will be leading a workshop on how the ULURP process works.

Take advantage of this chance to get expert insight into the civic mechanism that is, typically, the last opportunity for the community to have input on impending development.

Special thanks to CUP and Greenpointers.

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