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Death of a blogger — Robert Guskind, R.I.P.

The Brooklyn Paper
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Robert Guskind, the towering figure in the Brooklyn blogosphere who created the Gowanus Lounge Web site, died last week after an apparent drug overdose in his Park Slope home. He was 50.

His three-year-old site, which focused on — and frequently lampooned — real-estate development during the boom and bust in Brooklyn, was one of the borough’s most widely read Internet sites. It contained serious hard news scoops and opinionated rants as well as the lighthearted, such as frequent photos of discarded couches.

Guskind’s preservationist passions and tireless writing built up a vast readership and extended the Gowanus Lounge’s influence into City Hall and the executive suites of the city’s biggest developers, who, often found themselves as the blogger’s target in withering broadsides.

The prolific blogger and journalist, who once wrote for the National Journal, the Washington Post, a Newark community newspaper, and even The Brooklyn Paper, had endured a chaotic personal life in the months leading up to his death.

He and his wife were separated last year after Guskind had an extra-marital affair, he told The Brooklyn Paper shortly before his death.

And in January, Guskind lost his “day job” at the Web site Curbed, where he covered Brooklyn land use.

For years, he had wrote about his struggle with heroin addiction.

Friends of Guskind were concerned as early as last Monday, the same day that posts abruptly stopped appearing on gowanuslounge.com and Guskind’s regular Twitter blasts also stopped coming.

After another day of silence, Guskind’s body was found on Wednesday at 7:19 pm, the city medical examiner said. An autopsy was performed, but additional “tissue and toxicology” tests are being analyzed to determine the cause of death, said Ellen Borakov, a spokeswoman for the examiner.

On Wednesday, a week after his death, he was cremated at Green-Wood Cemetery in a small ceremony for friends and family.

In recent months, Guskind had entered a dark period — one that was apparent not just to his friends and family, but even to his readers.

His postings on Gowanus Lounge had become more erratic — both in tone and frequency — in recent months, but Guskind maintained a large audience and was even courted by elected officials, such as Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights), who took the online muckraker to lunch in December.

“I gradually became aware of his blog and realized that it was a part of the media landscape,” Yassky said. “I was a reader and I was very much aware that a lot of my constituents read his blog.”

Yassky’s district includes Williamsburg, a neighborhood of particular fascination to Guskind, because of its rapid gentrification of the last decade. One object of derision was the so-called “Finger building,” a tall, stalled project allegedly rising like a middle finger among low-rise homes and apartments.

At the other end of the borough in Coney Island, Guskind also verbally flayed Joe Sitt, a major landowner who Guskind wrote was destroying the honky-tonk charm of the People’s Playground by evicting carnie tenants.

In January, when the Astroland theme park was being dismantled after Sitt did not offer a lease extension — a tragedy Guskind said — he wrote, “We can not think of enough foul expletives to fully describe our rage and contempt for what he is doing to Coney Island.”

But because his blunt and pointed words were sincere, Guskind retained the respect of his self-professed rivals.

“Agree with him or not — and we disagreed about almost everything he wrote about Coney Island — there was never any doubt that Bob always believed what he wrote and genuinely cared about the borough of Brooklyn,” said Stefan Friedman, president of the PR firm Knickerbocker SKD, which represents Sitt’s company Thor Equities.

Guskind combined his outspoken opinions with old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting. He roved the borough, usually lugging a camera and video equipment to create a multi-media experience on the Gowanus Lounge with photo slideshows and interviews.

“He was a master of on-the-ground neighborhood reporting,” said Lockhart Steele, creator of Curbed.

To the readers, many of them Brooklyn newcomers, his dispatches helped them settle into hustle and bustle Kings County.

“I never got to meet Bob, but his blog helped me get to know Brooklyn and go from being homesick for the south to feeling at home here. I wish I had told him that,” wrote “Katie Black” on a Web site maintained by Guskind’s friend, Miss Heather.

Guskind is survived by his wife, Olivia Kissin; his mother Sally Guskind; and his sister Sharon Vitale. Please sign our online condolence book.

Updated 4:35 pm, May 15, 2009: Story was updated to include fuller tributes and context.
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Reader Feedback

Daniel Goldstein from Prospect Heights says:
I'm deeply saddened to hear this. Brooklyn and beyond has lost a great guy and a great journalist, a real humanist.

Condolences to his friends and loved ones.
March 5, 2009, 12:21 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
My condolences to his family and friends indeed. This is truly a shock.

So people know, I’m the Jack who has contributed some photos to his site over the past few months. And even when he had a small break a few months back I was the one who strongly came out and posted comments saying the details of his hiatus are nobody’s business but his own and he really doesn’t owe the blog community anything if he simply wants to stop. Do we know the details around this?

I was incredibly appreciative when he shared photos I posted near—and of—the sweatshop my mom worked in in Gowanus. I e-mailed him privately about them and thanking him. And he made sure I knew when any clowns would pop-up disputing my claims.

But past that I also know that recently he was incredibly upset that he re-blogged that Jewish Daily Forward piece making false claims about the non-existent Israeli product ban. I posted comments on the piece but I wrote to him directly to let him know I held no ill will towards him about that whole mess. Not his fault. But part of his response to me was “I feel like —— about that whole thing. I take no pleasure in drawing attention to a bull—— story. And it is my fault. If I hadn’t reblogged that story no one would have known about it.” I actually reassured him over and over, that it wasn’t something he should be stressed about.

I don’t want to draw larger conclusions about what happened or whether this death is natural or not but you know what? A lot of crappy local bloggers have really given Gowanus Lounge grief for no valid reason. ——ed in Park Slope, Angry New Yorker, the squatters in the Gowanus and such… The recent Jewish Daily Forward/PS Food Co-op stuff as well. I know because I e-mailed back and forth with him about this stuff.

I never met him, but I know he was a good man based on the work he did. These other folks who have trashed him and caused him stress recently? You should be beyond shamed of yourself.

And Brooklyn Papers, I think you and him were the only sources of local information online to ever care about getting the facts straight.
March 5, 2009, 12:31 pm
reader says:
"Formerly jovial journo"?

C'mon, don't be such a tabloid.

Bob was a complicated, troubled man. When the Gowanus Lounge site goes back up, and it should be soon, some of his friends hope a more substantial obit will be posted.
March 5, 2009, 12:53 pm
reader says:
"Lost several jobs"?

He was laid off, because of the recession, by his full-time employer. Ditto for a part-time job.

He lived in the north part of Park Slope.

He was a generous and talented guy.
March 5, 2009, 1:08 pm
Dope On The Slope from Park Slope says:
"Jovial Journo?"

Is "cute" an appropriate tone for an obituary?
March 5, 2009, 1:17 pm
Xris (Flatbush Gardener) from Flatbush says:
This is the snarkiest, most disrespectful obituary I've ever read. You are lowered to NY Post status by this article.

If you were not his friend, you have no right to speak of him this way.

If you were his friend, you would never think of doing so.
March 5, 2009, 1:21 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
It's not an obituary. It's a news piece reporting on the incident. So please folks, don't over-react. BP is one of the good guys.
March 5, 2009, 1:26 pm
Rachel from Cobble Hill says:
Shame on you for this article. This is disrespectful to him and his family.
March 5, 2009, 1:26 pm
reader says:
what a horrible obit. full of typos and speculation. shame shame.
March 5, 2009, 1:27 pm
gowanus from gowanus says:
What a rude obituary for a great and generous man.
March 5, 2009, 1:29 pm
tricia from coney island says:
This is TERRIBLE NEWS! I would like to express my condolences to his family. Is there going to be a memorial service where we can pay our respects? Is there somewhere we can send contributions in his memory? I'm sad and upset. Bob's brilliant and tireless "GL Analysis" will be missed more than I can say. He cared deeply about Coney Island and was the most astute observer of the craziness that's going on there. His death is a great loss to the community.

I hope the Gowanus Lounge archive will be available on the web. Or is it still there through Google cache?
March 5, 2009, 1:30 pm
Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) says:
This news article is not an obituary, but coverage of a breaking story that is being updated on the fly.

In due time, The Brooklyn Paper and its Web site will run a true tribute to a man I admired greatly.

I would ask our readers to appreciate that we are putting aside our own emotions about Bob as we report the essential news here. You would expect nothing less on other stories. Please give us that latitude now.

GERSH KUNTZMAN
Editor
March 5, 2009, 1:33 pm
Dumbo guy from Dumbo says:
"gowanus from gowanus says:
What a rude obituary for a great and generous man."

It's not an obit.

"reader says:
what a horrible obit. full of typos and speculation. shame shame."

Name one typo.

Idiots.
March 5, 2009, 1:34 pm
JD from Park Slope says:
This is shameless. Gersh has made no secret of his dislike of "new media," which Bob represents, and that dislike has been applied to this sneering eulogy. And, no, the Brooklyn Paper isn't one of the good guys - it is a standard-less piece of litter so untenable that blogs are a threat to it's existence. Bob wrote for you sometimes, too, Brooklyn Paper - did that slip your mind? Show some respect.
March 5, 2009, 1:38 pm
Kristin from Sunset Park says:
Even in an article, perhaps especially so, using "cutesy" words in a piece about someone's death is beneath anyone who calls himself a journalist.

I suppose having a story that is "updated on the fly" shows us one of the main problems with internet publishing. What seems remotely appropriate when it flies off your fingers and onto the screen sounds childish, unprofessional, and just obnoxious when it's read.
March 5, 2009, 1:53 pm
Rachel from Cobble Hill says:
We will put aside our emotions when you realize that speculation is not essential news.
March 5, 2009, 1:54 pm
jeff from brighton beach says:
He will be missed by me & the blogging community as a whole. RIP my friend.
March 5, 2009, 2:01 pm
Rocky from South Brooklyn says:
Even Col Allan and Sean Delonas wouldn't stoop as low as the Murdoch-trained Gersh.
Bad, bad. Even "Smartmom" has turned against you.
March 5, 2009, 2:01 pm
BKBroiler from Deathside says:
This squabbling about whether this is a report or an obit is moot. The man was well known around town is is now dead. People who did not immediately know him are going to ask why, and someone sooner or later will try to fill in those blanks - be it here, NY Magazine, or via comments on blogs.

The truth is most only knew this man from his time as a blogger and thus are surprised by this news. His blog was up and being updated just two/three days ago.

Robert was a complex person with many dark secrets. He lived, he made mistakes, has his ups and downs just as the rest of us. It is sad that his life ended on this down note.

We can all only hope that there is something much better waiting for us after our time here.

Rest in peace R.G.
March 5, 2009, 2:03 pm
BRIC Community Media from Brooklyn says:
Bob was a frequent contributor to Brooklyn Independent Television, appearing often on our show REPORTER ROUNDTABLE and the "A Walk Around The Blog" segment on BROOKLYN REVIEW.

His love and concern for Brooklyn was apparent on every appearance he made. Our borough has lost an important presence in the community.

In remembrance, we've posted a segment Bob did about Carroll Gardens on our blog. We extend our condolences to Guskind's family, friends and Gowanus followers.

http://briccommunitymedia.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/remembering-robert-guskind-founder-of-the-gowanus-lounge/
March 5, 2009, 2:12 pm
Michael from Crown Heights says:
I hate this paper for this article. Shame on you.
March 5, 2009, 2:22 pm
Bob from Park Slope says:
Will never read your rag again. My god. The man died. Have a little respect.
March 5, 2009, 2:25 pm
Dope On The Slope from Park Slope says:
Gersh said:
This news article is not an obituary, but coverage of a breaking story that is being updated on the fly.

OK, why is Bob's death news then?

What are your sources for the "facts?"

Would your story have the same cutesy tone if Marty Markowitz (God forbid) had been found dead in his condo?

Does your previous "reporting" of breaking stories about the death of locals share similar structure and tone?
March 5, 2009, 2:33 pm
Dope On The Slope from Park Slope says:
Gersh said:
This news article is not an obituary, but coverage of a breaking story that is being updated on the fly.

OK, why are the alleged circumstance surrounding Bob's death news then?

What are your sources for the "facts?"

Would your story have the same cutesy tone if Marty Markowitz (God forbid) had been found dead in his condo?

Does your previous "reporting" of breaking stories about the death of locals share similar structure and tone?
March 5, 2009, 2:34 pm
Matt from Fort Greene says:
There is nothing disrespectful about reporting the news. Take a deep breath. Presume that GK was acting in good faith when he wrote that he plans to do a tribute to the man he admired.

Everyone is presuming the worst.

As any reader of BK paper knows, the readable, somewhat snarky and light tone of Gersh's articles is the voice of the paper. This is BROOKLYN. The Uptight East Side it is not.

Instead of attacking what you perceive to be an unfair portrayal of Bob, why not set the record straight and post some fond memories.

And, jeepers, don't kill the messenger.
March 5, 2009, 2:44 pm
Z. Madison from Carroll Gardens says:
This saddens me. I found Gowanus Lounge a few years ago and loved how open minded, funny and cause minded a local blog could be. I was also honored any time Rob would link to me.

He will be missed.
March 5, 2009, 2:52 pm
jake` from brooklyn heights says:
I sent this to Gersh privately, but he asked me to post it online so he could respond:

You're an ——, Gersh. Bob was a private citizen, not some celebrity. He deserves more privacy than what you gave him. Not only that, your story sucks-- all that —— about his personal life was unattributed. If you have a source who is willing to defame the dead, he should stand up and be named. Otherwise you shouldn't use it.

And you probably shouldn't use it anyway, as it's all speculation and rumor. I saw Bob three weeks ago, and let me tell you, he seemed a lot saner than you on an average day.

--Jake Dobkin
Gothamist.com
March 5, 2009, 2:54 pm
Ringrunner from Park Slope says:
A man's death should not be an opportunity for your to critique his life. Not like that
March 5, 2009, 3:03 pm
bk from Prospect Park says:
There are many things about Bob that most people, even his most loyal readers and admiring colleagues in the field, did not know about him. His style of writing was very deceptive of his dark, personal life. While this Brooklyn Paper article didn't go into too many details, the direction it points to is true. When Heath Ledger died, people didn't pretend his drug addition didn't exist. Guskind had many, many, many problems, often inflicted on other people, that were not revealed in the daily writings on his blog. He had two separate personalities. What happened is tragic, but don't fault the Brooklyn Paper for trying to paint a more nuanced picture of the man that probably (until we find out exactly why) gets closer to the truth of how he died than anything else that's been posted.
March 5, 2009, 3:11 pm
gowanus from gowanus says:
Amen, Jake Dobkin.

The private ups and downs of a mans life should not be aired publicly by a pithy rag like this. Have some decency and remove this story from the internet. Take down this whole page, put up a page where people can discuss the man they knew and respected.

Bob Guskind was a kind and generous person and his death is a very sad shock. Lets celebrate the man and all his hard work on projects like the Gowanus Lounge, instead of arguing about the lack of decency behind an inferior publication like this.
March 5, 2009, 3:12 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
Jake @ Gothamist (Thursday, Mar 5, 2009 at 11:54 am):
This is Jack Szwergold. We've had conflicts in the past. So have dozens of other bloggers. Hilariously I e-mailed Gersh before you even posted warning of you and your staff rearing it's head.

Won't rehash the past here, but as someone who has had issues with the way Gothamist reports/verifies anything let along take responsibility for mistakes, Jake you are 1000% the last person on earth to lecture anyone, anywhere about how they should report something.

"If you have a source who is willing to defame the dead..."
This piece is reporting on someone many bloggers knew and who shared his life and experiences with many of them. I know for one he was a great guy who had many issues as well. Bob was not shy about sharing this information with folks.

Jake, if this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, you and your Gothamist staff are clearly the bigger pot. And have much, much, much bigger issues. Gothamist is well known for smearing people for no valid reason and spreading—and re-blogging—content without doing even basic fact checking. Your screeds against Jason Calacanis that personally attacked his family come to mind. And note those were not in the context of news, but you just ripping someone to shreds because your brain decided to.

Also Jake, nobody has ever said Bob was lacking "sanity". He had a lot of stress in his life and I was even thinking of addressing the subject in a message last week when he seemed to be endlessly posting Joy Division videos on the blog... And even when he reposted (with my permission) aspects of my mom's history I was tad worried since it seemed a bit down... I appreciated him recognizing my stuff, but was still worried because the tone was darker than one would expect.

So basically Jake Dobkin, I suggest whoever reigned you in to stop posting junk on Gothamist intervene here. Because you are the absolute last person on earth who should claim anyone else anywhere is defaming anyone else.
March 5, 2009, 3:14 pm
Bucky Turco from Bushwick says:
A nation of whiners!
March 5, 2009, 3:22 pm
Carroll Gardens from Carroll Gardens says:
Gersh shows his true colors once again.
March 5, 2009, 3:24 pm
Xris (Flatbush Gardener) from Flatbush says:
I appreciate the editorial changes that have already been made over earlier revisions of this article.
March 5, 2009, 3:41 pm
Joyce Hanson from Kensington says:
Good reporting that touches a nerve. A lot of heated comments from members of the community. This is what new media is all about. Thanks.
March 5, 2009, 3:54 pm
Derek Tutschulte from Park Slope, Brooklyn says:
Bob also appear a couple times on our show. Brian Lehrer and his crew always enjoyed his gentle and thoughtful presence.

http://blblog.org/content/brooklyn-blogfest
March 5, 2009, 4:05 pm
The Kings County Bop from Downtown Brooklyn says:
As a fan of the GL, I am truly moved by reading the responses to a somewhat unfocused story-so-far. I loved reading his distinctive musings and my heart goes out to his friends and family.
March 5, 2009, 4:12 pm
SomeGuy from Somewhere says:
Does anyone know of any funeral arrangements?
March 5, 2009, 4:32 pm
jeez from bed stuy says:
ALL OF YOU PEOPLE ARE WACK
March 5, 2009, 4:42 pm
GL reader says:
there will be a memorial service. It hasn't been scheduled. When Gowanus Lounge goes back up--after technical difficulties unrelated to RG's passing--the service will be announced at some point.
March 5, 2009, 4:53 pm
JD from Park Slope says:
Thank you for the many revisions to this story. I maintain that the original post was mean-spirited, but I appreciate the alterations.
March 5, 2009, 4:56 pm
anon from Cobble Hill says:
Given his interest in all things Coney Island, I sent Bob an old but undated Coney Island photo that was taken from the air. This was his response:

Wow. That is an astounding photo. I've never seen that view. I'd like to run it as a special Coney Back in the Day tomorrow, and probably allow the reader to blow up to full size, if that's okay with you. I am in total agreement with you that what is being demolished is crap. I think it's an issue of leaving (and introducing) viable things until a workable plan for a renewed amusement is developed and there is money to build it and an interested operator. Right now, I'm thinking that's going to be a while. If the city wants to reconstitute a version of Astroland, fine. The point is not to leave the land vacant. My heart breaks when I see Horace Bullard's parcel of empty land and all that land used for school bus parking. It's why I'm so fascinated by these old photos. I always imagine someone standing on that boardwalk in 1950 and then all of a sudden fast forwarding in time to 2000 and whatever, seeing that everything has vanished.

Thanks for the photo. It is a true gem.

Gersh, this is how I'll remember Gowanus Lounge and Bob's contribution. I'll remember to leave out your original piece for Fridday's Dept of Sanitation pickup.
March 5, 2009, 5:09 pm
Bob from Third Avenue says:
There but for the grace of G-d go I. No, Jack, BP is NOT one of the good guys, and this report is further evidence. Yes, please, kill the messenger. I'll believe in the renaissance of Brooklyn when the borough gets a real newspaper.
March 5, 2009, 5:17 pm
Jay from Brooklyn says:
"No, Jack, BP is NOT one of the good guys, and this report is further evidence. Yes, please, kill the messenger."

If each of us "kills" any press we don't like, there won't be any press left.
March 5, 2009, 5:26 pm
Reader from Boerum Hill says:
"Yes, please, kill the messenger. I'll believe in the renaissance of Brooklyn when the borough gets a real newspaper."

So get off your fat ass and start one.

Until then, you'll remain what you are now - an anonymous ranting loser. Have some respect for those who are actually out there making a difference.
March 5, 2009, 5:45 pm
Matt Monroe from Fort Greene says:
It says a lot that Gersh and Mike responded to their readers by revising their story. You won't see that in The Post.

I loved GL as a reader, though I never met Bob.

Really, it's hard to do a dead man justice. As a community, we can honor his memory by sharing memories.

And this is my real name.
March 5, 2009, 6:50 pm
Stacey from Colorado says:
I'm reading this from afar in Colorado and have been very confused by the posts criticizing the news story. What in the story was disrespectful to the deceased? Presumably, the fact that he had emotional and situational problems was viewed as negative reporting. Isn't it human, though, to have emotional and situational problems? How is that an embarrassment? Until we stop viewing matters of the mind as stigmatizing and embarrassing, people will continue to not ask for help when needed.
March 5, 2009, 7:02 pm
another reader from boerum hill says:
Love the BP and respect each iteration of the news article you wrote and published, especially the first. Freedom of the press rules.
March 5, 2009, 7:40 pm
Dope On The Slope from Brooklyn says:
Freedom of the press rules

Freedom to criticize the press also rules.
March 5, 2009, 7:48 pm
Nick from Brooklyn Heights says:
It's true the the Brooklyn Paper focuses on the facts. This was unbiased reporting of the news and I respect that. If you want an an opinion piece try the BHB.
March 5, 2009, 11:09 pm
gowanus from gowanus says:
This story has been changed substantially from the first version published this morning. It is, however, still offensive to journalistic standards and to friends of Bob Guskind. It is an opinionated, unsubstantiated piece full of rumors. It does not offer factual support to its various slanderous claims against a man who can no longer defend himself. Its implications are offensive and any publication that would allow such an article to be released into the public sphere is a disgrace.
March 5, 2009, 11:45 pm
Marina from CG says:
This article is really shameful. It provides far too much personal hear-say about a guy who did so much good for Brooklyn. What's next? The size of his sneakers?

I am not surprised however. It shows the obvious jealousy BP feels towards the blogging world. Grow up guys!
March 6, 2009, 12:45 am
Benjamin from Park Slope says:
@Jack Szwergold

This is Benjamin of fips:

How DARE you profane this topic with your blame and accusations of fault and cries for shame.

I DEMAND that you email me offline to discuss your disgusting slander.

benjaminfips -at- gmail.com

Bob himself - with whom I exchanged very deep and meaningful personal moments - would be DISGUSTED by your completely unfounded accusations and misrepresentation of facts.

Go and ask his real best friends if you don't believe me - ask Heather for example - and then TAKE BACK what you've said.
March 6, 2009, 7:58 am
Susan Fox from Park Slope says:

I had lunch last week with Bob and found him to be charming, knowledgeable and charismatic. Over the course of the three hours we shared stories of Coney Island, Park Slope and Dollar Stores.

The neighborhood has lost a wonderful and complex character.
March 6, 2009, 8:17 am
Park Slope Reader from Park Slope says:
Jake Dobkin is right.

Jack Szwergold's rant is unfounded. This was a rude and speculative account of which many people in the Brooklyn community are outraged. Jack Szwergold should issue a public apology. The Brooklyn Paper appears to be of a tabloid nature akin to the National Enquirer. I would rather follow the more reputable blogs then this news source. Most readers I know feel the same way.

Regardless of anything you have written, this man was an amazing figure in the reporting and connecting of brooklyn news.
March 6, 2009, 8:32 am
Gowanus Lounge friend says:
Robert Guskind's site, www.gowanuslounge.com, has been restored to service. Readers are welcome to post memories and comments, which will be moderated.
March 6, 2009, 9:52 am
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
To Benjamin & "Park Slope Reader":
Benjamin, I have e-mailed you privately.

"Park Slope Reader", I am not affiliated with the BP other than the fact I contributed to GL and am adding my 2 cents. There is no reason to apologize here because what you are claiming as rude and speculative is based on my contact with Bob and e-mails from Bob.

To pretend other anonymous bloggers and stalking commenters in GL didn't cause him stress is delusional because Bob admitted it and anyone who knows him knows it.

As far as my comment about the Joy Division videos, look... I went through a family crisis of my own in the mid-1990s. I know what depression is like. And when someone who is devoted to NYC real estate and news starts to randomly, erratically and always with a down tone posts those videos, I'm sorry but he did not seem happy at all. And all of this happened after he came back from his hiatus.

And did you miss the point where I said I appreciated his pieces on my mom's sweatshop life? But I'll be the first to say his commentary on it seemed down and dour... Much more so than even my original comments on FLICKR which drew him to the pictures.

FWIW, if you folks are worried about "rude and speculative" then you should watch out for Gothamist and Jake Dobkin's "executive decisions" to slam others in his petit blog empire. He has a long history of doing that and worse to other bloggers in NYC.
March 6, 2009, 1:07 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
Benjamin, for a second I thought you were from Flatbush Gardener... You're from F--ked in Park Slope; "fips" is not lingua franca...

That said, he posted about tearing down a local blog that he felt was filled with jerks and ——s. People speculated it was F--ked in Park Slope. A quick search on GL shows posts that initially promoted ——ed in Park Slope were torn down.

2 2 = 4
March 6, 2009, 1:23 pm
Dope On The Slope from Park Slope says:
The current report reads more like a developing story about the mysterious death of a locally known personality.

The tone isn't flippant or crass.

I think it works just fine, and, as a friend of the deceased, I totally understand that reactions to the original piece may seem disproportionate to the offense -- shock and grief have a way of doing that.

The Brooklyn Paper's appeal or lack thereof is based on a snarky tone that is not unlike the tone found on many blogs. However, there are some news events where that tone should be suspended. Additionally, one must be very careful with hearsay surrounding a death or similarly serious event .

Make no mistake, I think the original posted story was inappropriate in tone and had some questionable content.

However, the current version seems to strike the right tone for what is a serious subject.

Bob was obviously a well-liked, but complicated human being with his own share of troubles like most of us. To the extent that those troubles shed light on the circumstances of his death, they are fair game for any journalist.

But death should never be trivialized, and a cavalier tone would strike most people as trivializing even if the basic facts were correct.
March 6, 2009, 1:45 pm
Nick from Brooklyn Heights says:
The one thing I do respect most about Bob over many local bloggers is that he didn't hide who he was. No phony names, he was real. He will be missed.
March 6, 2009, 3:22 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
Okay. Benjamin got back to me and it turns out that Bob and "F**ked in Park Slope" (aka: FIPS) ironed things out recently and whatever issues they had in the past were in the past.

Deepest respect for mixing up past issues with current status. My apologies.
March 6, 2009, 3:47 pm
Tony from San Francisco says:
Bob will be missed. He wrote for Cherry Bleeds for many years and told me he had to finally quit b/c of problems writing about his days as a junkie while trying to keep other parts of his life in order.

His words for Cherry Bleeds had a huge following and he was a resident writer for five years.

I know it's a rough time for everyone involved with Bob one way or another....a couple of months ago we were online chatting about his situation and i got to tell him about my similar situation and how there's hope.

I have always hoped his war and drug writing would take center stage because those confessionals were mind blowing.

Long live the memory of a man I admired and who upped my writing game for many years.
March 6, 2009, 4:39 pm
GL reader says:
A memorial obituary is now posted on Gowanus Lounge
March 11, 2009, 1:19 pm
Whatever says:
Who cares.
March 11, 2009, 9:13 pm
Jack from Boerum Hill says:
So has an official cause of death been given anywhere?

If it wasn't drug abuse, then someone please clear that up once and for all.

If it was, I honestly don't think he was shy about sharing his battles. And his life—and sadly, his death—can be a strong message to those who battle those personal demons to get help before things spiral out of control.
March 12, 2009, 9:44 pm
brooklyn from bklyn says:
Dear Bklyn Paper -

This story has been changed so many times from the original version published on this "newspapers" website that it doesn't even resemble the first draft. What kind of journalism is that? At least you could have printed your original story, and stuck by what you had published, even though it was obviously offensive to many people.

The New York times and other papers often do that: print a story with facts at hand, and then print new stories down the road when new facts came out. Changing a story repeatedly at your whim over the course of several weeks is not proper print journalism. Especially when it seems to be done in order to cover up some initially sloppy reporting.

For all that the publisher of this paper - Gersh Kuntzman - has said against blogs and against websites like the Gowanus Lounge, it sure seems like he is a sloppy and amateur journalist himself. His journalistic practices wouldn't cut it at a blog, and wouldn't cut it at the Gowanus Lounge, which was Brooklyn's real daily newspaper.
March 20, 2009, 2:46 pm

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