GPL cuts down 75 yr old trees. Parks Dept scoops up $414,000 in Restitution Fees

Old London Plane Trees hang over GPL Property Photo Credit: Darren Lipman
Old London Plane Trees hang over GPL Property
Photo Credit: Darren Lipman

In recent weeks, some of you may have spotted the mutilation of 5 trees bordering the northern edge of Barge Park. These trees, identified as 75 yr old London Plane Trees, have been around longer than most of us and recently met their untimely death at the hands of our new neighbor Greenpoint Landing, and the Parks Department.

How they were chopped down and how much money Greenpoint will be getting out of the deal is rather murky indeed.

Let’s just say, in NYC money really does grow on trees. Continue reading

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Neighbors test dust from Sludge Tank demo and find contaminants. Plus info on tonight’s Nuhart Superfund meeting.

Photo Credit: DEP

The last time we checked in, we were waving bye-bye to our beloved Sludge Tank as it was being demolished to pave way for some of Greenpoint Landing’s grand developments. Now that the demo is over, nearby residents are learning that the construction dust floating in the air, the same dust that entered homes and left residue over a children’s playground, was filled with lead and other harmful chemicals.

Welcome to remediation gone bad, where government agencies hire unscrupulous contractors who do shoddy work and leave us wondering if that odd smell in the air is just in our heads, or if something else is really going on, something infinitely more dangerous.  Let me set the record straight—it’s not in your head: The people responsible for protecting our health aren’t doing their jobs.     Continue reading

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Let the pile driving begin! Greenpoint Landing starts construction

Greenpoint Landing construction on Commercial Street. Photo credit: Kim Masson

Greenpoint’s got a new kid on the block and he’s entered the hood with a bang. For anyone who has seen the mounds of excavated dirt, or the felt the head-splitting thunderous claps of  wooden piles being driven into the ground at 7 am, knows Greenpoint Landing has officially arrived. Continue reading

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Park-Goers Rejoice! City Approves McCarren Park Expansion


In the latest construction news to hit North Brooklyn, the city approved a McCarren Park expansion that has been in the works since 2010. The plan would expand the park by 33,800 square feet, connecting the section of McCarren Park that holds the dog run and farmers market to the park’s southern end. The chunk of Union Ave. between Driggs Ave. and North 12 Street will be dug up and replaced with a fancy shmancy pedestrian plaza.

Naturally, residents are concerned with how traffic will be affected. Additionally, the expanded green area will remove 34 parking spaces. Gothamist reported, however, that these spaces may likely be recovered nearby.

While the the Parks Department works on securing funding for a permanent design, a temporary design is expected to be completed by summer 2014, giving us all something to look forward to just as the weather starts to turn cold.

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ExxonMobil Private Sewer Project on Monitor St

Joe Lentol shared this document on facebook this week. There is a sewer to be installed on behalf of ExxonMobil on Monitor St between Greenpoint Ave and Calyer St in Greenpoint. Construction is tentatively planned between 9/16/13 and 12/20/13 Monday- Friday between 7am-6pm.

The sewer has been approved by DEP and its construction may allow for future installation of a stormwater management system located near ExxonMobil Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project.

If you have any questions contact:

Ken Thompson
Community Liason ExxonMobil

Steve P. Trifiletti

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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.

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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No More Puddle Jumping In McCarren’s “Hipster Lake” … for now

© DNAinfo

According to DNAinfo, the $930,000 project to fix what is called “Hipster Lake” in McCarren Park will be completed by the summer. The plan is to “rebuild paths and add drains throughout the center of the park, including the area of the flood zone.”

Nature might have different plans, since the area was part of Bushwick Creek until the city filled the land, and some speculate that water may still run beneath the park, making the fix a bandaid on top of a bigger problem.

Why not restore part of it into a pond for birds and other wildlife to enjoy?

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Kickstarter HQ – What’s On Deck

Progress on Kickstarter’s forthcoming Greenpoint HQ at the old Pencil Factory on Kent Street has been ongoing, but perceptible improvements have been hard to report for the last few months.

Well that and my lack of snooping around…

Architect Ole Sondresen has released a portfolio for the Kickstarter project. Visit the link to see an illustrated rendering of what their vision for the roof deck/courtyard seen above will morph into.

This isn’t the only urban design project Kickstarter is getting behind. Check out these 6 recent Kickstarter projects for cities from This Big City.

Follow (intermittent) progress reports on Kickstarter’s new Greenpoint based HQ at buildingkickstart.

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Huge Greenpoint Development Underway?

Image Via Handel Architects

A tipster sent along word that the Boardwalk Empire set at Franklin & Commercial Streets is currently being dismantled and that they will be out by the end of the month. The tipster also says Bay Crane is moving out of their large parcel at Eagle & West Streets. Both lots are held by Park Tower Group, a New York based developer, who has long held the development rights to this huge 22 acre swath of land at the tip of Greenpoint. Their proposed development, dubbed Greenpoint Landing, will ultimately result in 10 residential towers between 30 and 40 stories high totaling 4,000 units of housing – 20% of which will be affordable. Handel Architects designed the project and, according to their website, the development will feature a new marina, seasonal putting green, ice rink and even possibly a footbridge to Long Island City.

This proposed development neighbors the long-promised, but never-delivered park at 65 Commercial Street, which is currently a parking lot for MTA vehicles. In an effort to finally get the parking lot turned into a park, the City is offering the parking lot’s development rights for sale to neighboring properties. According to Rami Metal of Councilman Stephen Levin’s office, there are two interested bidders for the development rights – Park Tower Group, who is heading up Greenpoint Landing, and the Chetrit Group, a New York developer who acquired 77 Commercial earlier this year and has plans for a residential development on the site. When reached at his office, Robert Knakal of Massey Knakal Realty said the development rights could be worth as much as 14 million dollars. Given the small size of the 77 Commercial lot relative to the Park Tower parcel, The Chetrit Group would likely be the more interested party, though they did not respond to my request for comment.

It is also altogether unclear whether 14 million dollars would be enough to fund the new park or if the MTA vehicles will finally be moved to a new home, which has always been the primary impediment to progress on the site. When asked about that issue, Rami Metal of Councilman Levin’s office said that he “has assurances the vehicles will be moved”. One thing is clear – this sleepy tip of Greenpoint looks to be starting a dramatic transformation and the massive influx of new residents will have to rely on limited public transportation and a scarcity of parks. Can the area handle all of these new residents? May we have a couple extra cars on the G Train, please?

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