Gowanus

Planning for the future of Gowanus

When we launched the “Bridging Gowanus” community planning process a year ago, we knew we were taking on a big challenge. 

We’ve seen (and smelled) the fetid water after a rainfall.  I was there when it flooded its banks during Hurricane Sandy.  And we knew these toxic waters might seem still compared to asking Brooklynites to debate too-often-polarizing questions about development, density, infrastructure, industry, and housing. 

But deciding not to engage seemed worse.  Should we just wait and let developers make plans of their own (or pretend that they won’t)?  Should we allow hotels, big-box stores, and self-storage facilities (all currently allowed “as-of-right” throughout the Gowanus) overrun the whole area?  Should we miss the opportunity to frame the community’s priorities for the new mayoral administration? Read more »

Kentile Floors sign will get a new home

I'm pleased to report that we've reached an agreement with the owner of the Kentile Floors sign to save the letters and give them a new home. You can read coverage about it in the New York Times and I wanted to give you all the details. The sign's owner, Ely Cohen, has agreed to preserve the letters of the sign during removal, and donate them to the Gowanus Alliance (a neighborhood not-for-profit organization) for preservation.  Read more »

Update on Construction Noise at the Lightstone Site

Thank you to all the constituents who have reach out to my office regarding the pile driving at the Lightstone site. Residents in the area have been pushing hard for some relief from the noise, and I have been in repeated touch with the developer urging them to address this problem. 

Read more »

Bridging Gowanus Second Meeting Thursday

On Thursday, we are holding the second community planning meeting about the future of Gowanus. The meeting is Thursday, March 20 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in the Wyckoff Gardens Community Center.

Last fall, I joined together with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Council Member Stephen Levin to announce Bridging Gowanus, an inclusive community-driven planning process to develop a long-term vision for a safe, vibrant, and sustainable Gowanus.

Bridging Gowanus is an effort to bring together a wide range of community members to identify broadly-shared goals, discuss different viewpoints, and build consensus around a neighborhood framework for the infrastructure and land use regulations needed in the Gowanus Canal area. Read more »

Locals and Officials to Brainstorm Improvements for Gritty Fourth Avenue

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01/14/2014

Fourth Avenue is an "unwelcoming" thoroughfare with a lifeless streetscape, and new luxury highrises aren't doing much to improve it.

Those are a few of the gripes local residents shared in a recent survey about Fourth Avenue, the gritty, industrial stretch on the western edge of tree-lined Park Slope where several residential towers have sprung up in recent years.

The Park Slope Civic Council will present the survey results at a Tuesday meeting where locals and elected officials will brainstorm an action plan for improving Fourth Avenue.

City Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin are scheduled to present their visions for the avenue's future, and residents, business owners and community groups will share their top priorities for the busy street. Read more »

What to know before it snows

If weather predictions are correct, we are in for a lot of snow this evening and tomorrow. I wanted to share what I know about city services to help you prepare.

My staff has been in communication with the Sanitation garages in our district. They have begun salting our streets and are preparing to plow once the snow starts. When many of us will be at home and warm, Sanitation and many other City workers will be on the streets keeping us safe. Thank you to each of them. Read more »

What We're Thankful For

It’s easy to be cynical about Thanksgiving – to get lost in excesses of turkey and pumpkin pie and “black Friday” consumerism.  The holiday’s history is complicated (as my daughter, who is studying Westward Expansion, keeps reminding me), rooted in a moment when our young country was disenfranchising Native Americans who were already here. Read more »

A Flood of Compassion … But Not Much Justice

By Lisa Cowan (Red Hook Initiative) and Brad Lander (New York City Council)

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy darkened the skyline and changed the lives of so many of our neighbors.  This week’s anniversary calls to mind the crowds who waited for food and supplies in Red Hook, the cars full of baked ziti and batteries dispatched to Coney Island, Staten Island, and the Rockaways, the gas station lines, and the rows upon rows of cots for hundreds of evacuees at the Park Slope Armory (and so many other places). Read more »

Final cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal

It’s a big moment for Gowanus. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its final Superfund cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal

I long believed that Superfund designation was the right move for the Gowanus – to ensure that it got the time and focus it needed. And with this plan, we have taken a major step forward toward a safe, vibrant, and sustainable Gowanus Canal. Read more »

We want your ideas

Two years ago, we tried something new. New Yorkers were given the power to decide how to spend tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood.

That idea, Participatory Budgeting, has been a huge success. Thousands of neighbors have given ideas, joined committees to develop proposals, and come out to vote. Based on your votes, we’ve funded 15 projects. And, even more importantly, we’ve seen a new excitement for local democracy. The New York Times called it “revolutionary civics in action.” And now participatory budgeting has spread to nine City Council districts across the city. Read more »