Filed under: 11211, 11222, 11249, Bushwick, Bushwick Brooklyn, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Gentrification, Gowanus, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
This tome was brought to my attention by a fellow named Richard. Richard is a resident of Lawrence, Kansas. This Letter to the Powers That Be, not surprisingly, pertains to matters in Lawrence, Kansas. However, while reading this tome more than one community hereabouts— and the non/not-for-profit organizations (which purport to act as a “voice”/”advocate” for the aforementioned communities) came to mind. I do not think I need to list/name the previous here, gentle readers. We know them.*
Follows is an excerpt from this essay so as the pique your interest:
…I have been long in forming my opinion of the Cultural Arts District and the 9th Street Corridor. When the pros and cons of the issue are laid across a scale, I find myself on the side of favor. I am in support of the Cultural Arts District and 9th Street Corridor in East Lawrence. I am excited at the prospect of renewal and repair that the Cultural District designation dollars can bring. I want new sidewalks and safer lighting and renovated limestone curbs and bricks in my streets. I want the businesses in my neighborhood to thrive and prosper and have the funds to reinvest in my community. I want an economic base that can support an East Lawrence or Downtown grocery store. I want my daughters to grow up in a vibrant, thriving neighborhood that supports the arts and creativity. I am personally invested in positive outcomes for the Cultural Arts District.
There remains a sense of unease when I think about what will happen as the Cultural Arts District and 9th Street Corridor develop. I cannot shake the feeling of anxiety, of foreboding, of “ick” in my belly and bad smell wrinkle in my nose. And this time, it isn’t a downdraft from the wastewater treatment plant (Emphasis mine— Ed. Note) or the river. It’s the aftertaste of cultural co-option. But what does that mean, you say? I can’t explain it to you without the help of Alice Walker. Here’s where the story comes in…
*Hence why I found this excerpt of Adam “GWAPP Advisory Board” Perlmutter’s biography so fascinating:
…Adam is a currently lawyer for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn opposing the Atlantic Yards project …
Speaking as a resident of Greenpoint for fourteen years now who knows quite a few bloggers— bloggers who have taken a keen interest in Atlantic Yards, no less— I have not once heard his name mentioned. What’s more, someone closely connected with DDDB confirmed my suspicions:
He isn’t in the employ and never was. He volunteered with DDDB about 9 years ago and helped them find their great lawyer Matt Brinckerhoff - but he’s not done anything with them for about 7 years.
Note the “Treasurer”. It is none other than Steve “Brooklyn Beer/I loves me some Atlantic Yards” Hindy himself.
This splendid specimen (which I have learned has since been removed— too bad as it is perfect for enjoying this unseasonably mild weather) hails from Starr Street and Woodward Avenue and comes courtesy of Queens Crap. Very nice!
Filed under: 11101, 11206, 11222, 11237, 11378, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Newtown Creek
Last weekend, thanks to City of Water Day, I decide to take a (FREE!) boat tour of the creek hosted by the inimitable Mitch Waxman. As has been the case in times past (this makes my third sojourn up to the creek), it did not disappoint. Not only did I bear witness to a fellow catching a little shut-eye at our very own Nature Walk, but I learned an interesting fact shortly after the above photo (which hails from the Long Island City side of Newtown Creek) was taken. Our fair creek is not just host to Typhus, but also Cholera and Gonorrhea. If this isn’t a trifecta of fun, I honestly do not know what is. I feel compelled to note that this fact was rolled out after a fellow tour goer was observed balancing his child on the rail of the boat so as to take photos with his smart phone. You can’t make this shit up.
In any case, follows are some highlights of my trip to, from and up the creek.* I have even included a photo of a CSO (Concentrated Sewage Overflow) for your late afternoon/early evening entertainment. Enjoy!
*A task which involved going to Governor’s Island. This was rendered more complicated by the fact Greenpoint still remains without ferry service.
Filed under: 11211, 11378, BULLSHIT, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Gentrification, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
I know what you’re thinking:
What the FUCK is this and how does it pertain to St. Paddy’s Day?
Well, it has been yours truly’s observation that March 17th, not unlike Cinco De Mayo, is regrettably pressed into service so certain folks can go forth and act like drunken imbeciles. All they need is a location and an excuse (not unlike Santacon)— which brings me to where I found the above image: Queens Crap. Read on North Brooklynites, you’ll find this interesting.
Queens Crap reports that fire was in effect at yesterday’s “Flea Market” event at the Knockdown Center. Speaking as a north Brooklynite, I have seen my fair share of that shit. It is usually accompanied by drum circles.
The “blue bus”? Same thing. Reference my previous observation about drum circles.
Where it gets interesting for yours truly is here:
…It has also been brought to my attention that David Sklar is operating a niteclub/arts center at 15 Rewe Street in Brooklyn which is in a really sketchy area. It also was formerly home to a door factory owned by the Sklars, just like the Knockdown Center was…
I have a much different definition of what constitutes a “sketchy area” than my comrade in Queens. However, I can assure you 15 Rewe Street is owned by David Sklar. And hosting parties, however legally questionable they were, did come to pass at 15 Rewe Street. Let’s start by establishing who actually owns 15 Rewe Street:
15 Rewe Street LLC.* Okay, let’s check this out on the New York State Attorney General’s Corporation’s Database.
Perhaps we should check out the Department of Buildings BIS system?
Yes, this is quite interesting. Let’s go in for a better look!
Oh my, it would appear 15 Rewe Street (which is located in an Industrial Business Zone)— at the instigation of David Sklar— was planning a party.
A really BIG party.
For those of you who cannot read it (I for one could not), follows are the amenities this event/space had to offer:
70,000 square feet of indoor space
40,000 square feet out door
Located on a private street
MEGA production with L’Acoustics Sound, Lighting, Lasers, Special Effects, Video, and extra Video Wall, Large Concert style stage tons of extras
Live performance art
Multi Level VIP Risers
Chill out seating area for all with Sofa’s & Carpeting
Plenty of Bathrooms
Large Coat Check
Gourmet Food Trucks
Food on site
Conveniently located steps away from L train (Grand Street)
ATM’s on Site
All Major Credit Cards accepted
Liquor will be served
Bottle Service Available.
Smoking section outside on the water\
Dada Life Merchandise for purchase at the event
Private Bathroom trailers
Private VIP Smoking area
Separate Entrance for VIPs
Private VIP Bar
Separate VIP Sections with best views of the stage
What’s more, even Timeout New York was “on” to this whole “compound” thing.
Hmm. I wonder how this got past Community Board 1 Brooklyn or the State Liquor Authority? In any case and to wrap this up, the image gracing the beginning of this post is (by all appearances) from “Dada Life’s” New Year’s Party at 15 Rewe Street.
Which we have established is owned by David Sklar. Who had this to say about why the Knockdown Center should be granted a liquor license at Community Board 5:
*This is an alternate address for the Knockdown Center.
It would appear Community Board 5, Queens has recommended, unanimously no less, against the Knockdown Center getting a liquor license to serve 600 people. What’s even more fascinating is:
- no mention of the Business Integrity Commission’s report was made.
- This item did not find its way onto the agenda for the evening’s proceedings until the day of.
(Or: Somebody gets it!)
Straight up: do I relish someone stating that she does not want her community to become another Greenpoint? Not, not really. Although the truth can and does hurt, this lady is correct on all counts. It was pretty obvious to me the evening prior these fellows do not care. No matter how they care to spin it, the fact of the matter is they plan to import a client base and that client base will largely not care about what impact their behavior will have on the community. I have seen just this thing here many, many times before.
In closing I want to applaud:
- Mr. Giordano for his tactful manner of outlining the various, um, “behaviors” which have been documented at this establishment.
- Community Board 5 Queens for unanimously voting this endeavor down.
Video Credits: Nutrichris.
(Or: Heather Goes To Glendale)
I’ll be brutally honest: I have been burned out of Community Board 1 (Brooklyn) of late. So much so that I felt a staycation was in order. Having a budget of $29.00 limits one’s options.
No worries. Thanks to Queens Crap, I found a way to while away the evening. CASE IN POINT: item number one. To reiterate:
A discussion of concerns about the Knockdown Center at 52-19 Flushing Avenue, potentially having events with 600+ people and selling alcoholic beverages at this former factory site.
To preface— and speaking as a Community Board 1 resident, we have had many meetings regarding the “concerns” of residents who have beheld the aftermath of events entailing large amounts of people and alcohol. It isn’t pretty.
What you have just watched, gentle readers (hopefully of Community Board 5 Queens), was the aftermath of an Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn concert at East River State Park. The band in question was Widespread Panic. And their patrons, with the help of a vendor dispensing nitrous oxide via balloons, made it just that: wide spread panic. The FDNY was called in to the confiscate the gas.
It is the ostensible mission of the Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn to advocate and fund-raise so as to make improvements to our parks. Nonetheless, this melee did get its hearing— and they simply relocated their concerts further north. Same shit, different location. Keep this in mind when you watch the following footage. I wish I could be apologetic about the snarky comments— but I am not. I hail from a Community Board where even
ping pong table tennis parlors want to serve spirits. And of course there’s the recent shit show regarding Urban Outfitters. Enjoy!
Part I: Introduction
- The SLA (State Liquor Authorty) allows four events a year.
- “We have not been denied but we have have exceeded what their guidance is” Mr. Myers says. (In other words: we have to do this)
- He goes on to continues (regarding temporary SLA permits) “It is four but I do not think it is hard four”. (It is — Ed. Note.)
- Concerns about this facility being a nightclub are raised by the chair.
- “We will not be a club”, Tyler Myers says. Then he sees fit to enlighten his audience as to what an “arts center” is. As defined by Wikipedia:
“art centre or arts center is distinct from an art gallery or art museum. An arts centre is a functional community centre with a specific remit to encourage arts practice and to provide facilities such as theatre space, gallery space, venues for musical performance, workshop areas, educational facilities, technical equipment, etc.
In the United States, “art centers” are generally either establishments geared toward exposing, generating, and making accessible art making to arts-interested individuals, or buildings that rent primarily to artists, galleries, or companies involved in art making.
- I want to thank Mr. Myers for informing me, an artist, third generation, as to what an artists’ center is. I clearly have missed out on many a dance party.
- Per Mr. Myers a liquor license is normal for an “arts center” then he cites MOMA, The “Met”, Lincoln Center, etc., as examples. Um, the last I checked all of these are in Manhattan.
- Now we’re back to sustaining and maintaining this beautiful building. E.g.; if you do not let us have this, we’ll throw our toys out of the pram and tear it down.
- Parking lots are discussed. Rather good to know since this is not located anywhere near mass transit.
Part II: David Sklar Speaks
- “Tearing it down was the only thing we could come down to…”
- (when questioned about the property being used as an industrial space) Mr. Sklar states that is was mostly used as a place to warehouse material made elsewhere and this would involve them having “containers on the property and he felt it could be “better utilized”.
- He gives a history of his business, albeit he gets the whole Manhattan Avenue/Queens Midtown Tunnel thing wrong.
- Mr. Sklar is asked to identify the property he owns on a map. After some assistance he does. For what it is worth, Mr. Sklar, I’d be equally challenged. But then again, I am simply a “visitor” and not part of the “Maspeth community”.
Part III: Q & A
- The cost of overhauling this space is kicked up from $10,000 to six figures.
- How is the Knockdown Center having events? Via Robertas which is apparently “just down the road”.
- Interesting coincidence: apparently Robertas will be handling the Brooklyn Night Bazaar’s needs at it’s proposed located on Norman Avenue.
Part V: Q & A, Continued
- How the Knockdown Center procures/provides beer and wine is discussed further.
- Has a Cab License been applied for? (Answer: no)
- Questions about this facility’s proximity to a residential area are raised.
- A question about their target market is raised. My observation/personal experience: if you find yourself asking if an event is a carry-over of the McCarren Pool concerts, it probably is.
Part VI: Q & A Continued (Or: The Blonde Lady Nails It!)
Regrettably I did not film her speech. Human error on my “smart phone”. But I can summarize it!
- When industrial spaces are used for other purposes…
- The rents go up and other industrial businesses are forced out.
- Hence there is more demand for industrial space than supply.
- But of course, more money can be made by David Sklar and his buddies by having an “art center” and MINIGOLF FOR THE MASSES!
New York Shitty Analysis:
Same song, different verse. I know the tune all too well.
Perhaps the Argentos, investors in this endeavor— and my community— would be so kind to explain about how the following will (further) uplift the Maspeth community?
Can’t honestly say I have ever seen this at MOMA…
or this at Lincoln Center, for that matter. Perhaps I am going at the wrong time?
It’s rather convenient that the Knockdown Center has incorporated— albeit under a different address for same-said property. Five days earlier.
WAKE UP Community 5 Queens. If do you do not establish policy now, you’ll reap what my community leaders have sewn. Why else do you think these bozos want to have this in your community? Mine got fed up with this shit a long time ago.
P.S.: Um, didn’t they say something about no raves? Hmm…
Holy MARCH operations, Batman! It would appear Maspeth has a problem on its hands— and that problem is the Knockdown Center which, as Queens Crap notes:
- A cabaret license for this type of venue is required. None is on file.
- The current certificate of occupancy is for a factory, therefore having any event open to the public is illegal.
- Does anyone really believe that in a building with the capacity to hold 5,000, only 600 people will be served alcohol? And at what type of events? There have been drug busts at “raves” in other area factories that have been converted into clubs. It seems that “up to 600″ has been chosen to avoid having to obtain a cabaret liquor permit from the State Liquor Authority (which is different from the city’s required cabaret license).
- How would 5,000 people even get to Maspeth? Public transportation is lacking. Where will the parking be when the yard is in use (which is often)? And should people be driving around after they have been drinking at a club all night?
- This venue would no doubt become a trouble spot for the NYPD. The 104th precinct is already stretched way too thin.
- There are row houses on the same block as the venue and a residential community sits right across the street. When the club-goers start leaving during the wee hours of the morning, they will cause problems for the residents of the area. Complaints have already been received about noise and crowds at this location.
In closing I feel compelled to point out what the Knockdown Center proposes is more than a little similar to Studio B— and we all know how well the ensuing shenanigans (as seen at left and right) went over with the neighbors…
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: It would appear the matter of the Knockdown Center has been noticed by the New York Daily News. You can read their coverage by clicking here. Choice excerpt/teaser:
…City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), whose district includes other portions of Maspeth, has been the business’s lone champion, saying it will bring much-needed jobs to the community.
“It seems like a good way to revitalize the factory,” said Crowley, who added one of the investors — Gina Argento — also owns Broadway Stages, which employs more than 1,500 people at its Brooklyn site.
“Those are good union jobs,” Crowley said about Broadway Stages. “I have known the owners for a long time. They also do good philanthropic work.”
So why not make this another film facility instead? This would certainly be better than the thirty jobs the Knockdown Center claims it will create if given a liquor license. But there I go using “logic” again…
Filed under: 11101, 11206, 11222, 11385, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Newtown Creek