Gowanus

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 »

Eagle Clothes Sign Could Be Restored, U-Haul Says

DNAinfo
08/05/2013

The eagle could soar again.

The vintage Eagle Clothes sign removed last week from a Gowanus rooftop could once again grace the Brooklyn skyline, if the building owner can win permission from the Department of Buildings.

"We know that sign is important to the community, and we want it to continue to be part of the community in one way or another," said Stuart Shoen, executive vice president of U-Haul International, which owns the building on which the Eagle Clothes sign was placed in 1951.

He added, "U-Haul loves that sign and it's something we've been proud of since we’ve owned the building. If we didn't like it, we would have put up a U-Haul sign."

News of the Eagle Clothes sign's demise struck a nerve in Brooklyn, where many saw its disappearance as yet another symbol of the borough's march toward gentrification.

City Councilman Brad Lander wrote to U-Haul asking that the company restore the marquee to Third Avenue and Sixth Street. Lander offered to help U-Haul acquire the proper city permits to do so.

Lander said he was "saddened" by the sign's disappearance, calling it "a significant contributor to the unique character of the Gowanus neighborhood and one of the defining features of the Brooklyn skyline." Read more »

Lander sends letter to U-Haul urging preservation of Eagle Clothes sign

On July 30th, Councilmember Lander sent a letter to U-Haul imploring the company to restore the iconic Eagle Clothes sign. The sign is located on top of the U-Haul building at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street and has been partially removed. Residents have petitioned to have U-Haul restore this cherished symbol from our past.

See the letter below.

  Read more »

Eyes on the Street: Bike Contraflow Over the Gowanus

StreetsBlog
07/26/2013

Reader Keith Williams, who blogs at The Weekly Nabe, recently got a few shots of the brand new contraflow bike lane in progress on Union Street. This project will add a sorely needed westbound bike connection across the Gowanus Canal — part of a route that jogs from Degraw, down to Union, then back up to Sackett.

The contraflow lane on Union is notable for a few reasons.

One, it came out of Council Member Brad Lander’s 2012 participatory budgeting process. In the end it wasn’t paid for with Lander’s discretionary funds (other projects got more votes), but because Lander put out the call for ideas, it got NYC DOT’s attention. So, chalk one up for community-based planning. Read more »

Great steps forward for the G train

If you’re like me, you’ve often had to make the “G train shuffle,” sometimes with your kids or packages in tow. Because G trains are shorter than the platform, and stop in different locations, somehow I’m never in the right place when the train arrives.

Thanks to smart advocacy and hard work by advocates and elected officials, the “G train shuffle” will soon come to an end. And we’ll see other much-needed improvements to the G (aka the “Brooklyn Local”) as well. Read more »

Our City's budget, and our values

Last week was a busy one at City Hall. We passed two important police reform bills (more on those here), overrode the mayor’s veto of legislation that will guarantee paid sick days for a million more New York workers, and we passed the City’s FY2014 budget, for the fiscal year that begins today (for good measure, we also passed a bill to “save brunch,” which had apparently become threatened due to an outdated law).

In budget negotiations, we were able restore the essential public services proposed for cuts by Mayor Bloomberg. Libraries will keep their full hours. Low-income families will keep their childcare. Our neighborhood firehouses, parks, and pools will remain open. You can access all the details of the City’s FY2014 budget here, and on those areas where the Council focused on restorations and additions here. Read more »

The power of our students’ imagination

With the end of each school year, I am moved by what extraordinary places our public schools are.  To me, there is no better celebration of democracy than a fifth grade graduation: rooted in the idea that every single student has the potential to achieve their goals and has the right to get a real opportunity to try, that equality and diversity matter, and that we get there by organizing ourselves together, in shared, common, public schools. Read more »

Rowing together toward a sustainable future for the Gowanus Canal

Cleaning up the Gowanus Canal has been a top community priority for many years. With the US EPA’s Superfund plan nearly finalized, we are moving closer to a cleaner canal. I’m glad to be working together with so many in the community — and joining some of you in a canoe race on the Canal this Saturday to call attention to our continued efforts. Read more »