Taking Back Gowanus meeting counters Bridging Gowanus

TONIGHT: Gowanus residents sound off on ’hood’s future

The Brooklyn Paper
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Gowanus activists hope to show a local pol what democracy looks like tonight by holding their own meeting to counter a series of community-planning sessions that they say ignored the community.

The activists’ town hall, dubbed “Take Back Gowanus,” is a reaction to the just-wrapped Bridging Gowanus meetings, the last of which rabble rousers disrupted two weeks ago, claiming host Councilman Brad Lander (D–Gowanus) glossed over their opposition to luxury residential projects, among other issues.

“We have a mission to discuss the topics in the neighborhood that were never discussed at Bridging Gowanus,” said organizer Joseph Alexiou. “We hope to put out some sort of petition and make certain demands of the city.”

The counter-meeting is being put on by a coalition of neighborhood groups, including Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, the Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development, and Save Kentile, an organization dedicated to preserving the Kentile Floors sign, among others. Chief among Alexiou’s concerns is speeding the pace of the ongoing Gowanus Canal cleanup and addressing pollution throughout the area, but he said everyone at the meeting will have time to discuss what they think is important.

Lander touted Bridging Gowanus as a way to plan for responsible development in Gowanus now that it is an enticing prospect for developers short on vacant lots and raw industrial buildings to snap up. But many of the Take Back Gowanus camp say the pol is in the pocket of big builders like the Lightstone Group, whose in-progress project on Bond Street they oppose.

“Most people agree that it doesn’t feel like the character of Gowanus is being protected,” said Steven Savage, who led the charge in June to save the Kentile Floors sign from being dismantled. “I worry that it could be easily changed into the new Williamsbu­rg.”

Lander did not respond to a request for comment.

“Take Back Gowanus” at The Green Building (452 Union St. at Bond Street in Gowanus). Tonight, 7 pm.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Gahwhaniis says:
I thought Brad Lander was a real "comrade", a real "man of the people", what with his skinny ties and all. What gives?
July 9, 2014, 5:12 am
jeri says:
Call the police...The fashion police. What is that silly hipster wearing?
Guess what guys? You don't get to stop the over development that started with YOU.
Everything hipsters touch will turn to gold plated crap. Stay above the line and save what's left of Brooklyn.
July 9, 2014, 6:13 am
jessica from carroll gardens says:
So the solution is to preserve the "character" of Gowanus--a "character" that's been consistently giving long-time residents the highest cancer rates of any neighborhood in NYC (except for maybe north Greenpoint)?? Let's just "preserve" every NYC neighborhood in formaldehyde like it's 1940 forever. It's a pathetic myopia that these nimbys suffer from.
July 9, 2014, 11:53 am
T-Bone from DoBro says:
Jeri = short for "Jerome"
July 9, 2014, 12:19 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
Democrat politicians are the best at selling out their constituents, as we trust them implicitly. Such a sad state of affairs. (My opinion). I'm not saying this is the case here, but we might want to take a closer look in general.
July 9, 2014, 12:32 pm
marsha rimler from Brad Lander says:
Despite his "progressive" branding Brad Lander is a sneaky pol in a hurry. He sold out Brooklyn Heights and he will sell out Gowanus while he licks developers boots. He needs to be retired as soon as possible. He thinks he will be mayor. Lets get someone good and genuine to take him down
July 9, 2014, 2:20 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
"Take Back Gowanus" is the perfect name for a group of Brooklyn's reactionary Tea Party branch, hoping to stop change and preserve privilege. Great branding, guys!
July 9, 2014, 2:40 pm
Gowanus Gus from Gowanus says:
It is dirty and smelly and you don't want to touch the water but its not cancer causing. There are no airborne pathogens here. This comment is not based on facts. "giving long-time residents the highest cancer rates of any neighborhood in NYC (except for maybe north Greenpoint)??" - see cancer mapping statistics here:
July 9, 2014, 3:23 pm
Larry from Lavender Lake Estates says:
The EPA applauds itself and rightly so for moving the Gowanus Superfund process forward at a record pace for such a complex water body site. The upland MGP sites that leach into the canal are also being remediated according to an accelerated timeframe. Unfortunately, the balance of the upland cleanup will only happen quickly if there is sufficient incentive for the owners to excavate at their sites. I have no idea what Joseph Alexiou means when he says that he wants to accelerate the cleanup and I can't be at the meeting tonight to find out. Look forward finding out in your next issue.
July 9, 2014, 5:01 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
The new parole building is going up on 2nd Ave. So its a very good chance that much of Gowanus may actually be "hood" again as the article implies. *Smiles*
July 9, 2014, 6:46 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
NYC is gonna eventually degentrify so brace yourself, its bound to happen. All of these developments going on around in BK & elsewhere are gonna start losing value, just you watch.
July 9, 2014, 6:49 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
If property values go down, I hope it's because the city/state stops protecting property values by shielding them from competition, not because the city gets objectively worse.
July 10, 2014, 7:32 am
jjm from c. hill says:
I for 1 cant wail until it does go down. The real estate market is hyping up BK property very excessively. People are being ripped off for overrrated & overpriced land in the borough for pretty much no reason ay all. And these idiot hipsters moving here are being bank-raped by landlords charging crazy amounts for rent to live in the very same buildings that myself & other long-timers used to live in years ago. Its gottta hit the fan at some point.
July 10, 2014, 10:01 am

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