A Modest Proposal

May 28, 2009 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

flierthumbYesterday my buddy down at Brooklyn11211 wrote (in regards to this post):

Heather found these fliers posted on a telephone pole on Dupont Street. The flyer is right – these zoning changes should have happened three to four years ago. But since there are still a lot of horses in the barn, better than never closing the barn door now.

What my friend down south fails to mention is the reason for this “new” zoning: to redress the abuse and excesses of the now infamous 2005 re-zoning. Had the previous been better thought out, more appreciative of community input and “loop-hole” proof there would be no proverbial “barn door” left open to close. The previous having been written my opinion about the new “down-zone” is as follows:

Too little, too late.

Nonetheless I have little doubt it will be passed. The shoddy economy has done its part to slow— if not halt— the construction of super-sized luxuriana in Greenpoint for the time being. This measure is nothing more than a convenient rubber stamp that attests to what the market has already made all too clear: there are too many “developments” in north Brooklyn no one can (or cares to) afford. What’s more, nowadays the developers can’t afford them either.

  1. 110 Green (AKA: The Viridian) has declared bankruptcy and has been put on the market for— get this— $65,000,000!
  2. The Pencil Lofts recently halted work because the developer, one Baruch Singer of slumlord fame, defaulted on the loan.
  3. And now we have Warehouse 11. Built atop what my good friend Bob Guskind called the “Roebling Oil Field” this super-sized development defaulted on its mortgage and is now in the process of foreclosure.

Call me cynical, but given:

  1. The implications of the new zoning measure and
  2. the substantial number of vacant lots and half-built “nondos” in Greenpoint

I cannot help but ask the question:

What about 200 Franklin Street?


Will it become a nondo or be lanced by rezoning? Only time will tell. Either way it will probably look worse than its designer, Greenpoint’s good friend Karl Fischer, ever imagined. Taking into account that the original design looks something like a cross between an ionic air purifier and a butt plug that’s pretty damned ugly! All I ask— as a humble citizen— is this: if we have to live with an architectural behemoth sorely out of context with its surroundings could it at least be interesting?

Which brings me back community input— and my modest (and admittedly haphazardly Photoshopped) proposal for 200 Franklin Street: cap it and tap it.


To give credit where credit is due Mister Heather got the ball rolling on this one. He suggested a pagoda be placed atop the existing structure at 200 Franklin Street. I told him it was the best idea he ever had. While flattered, the Mister was slightly disturbed at the thought that I thought this was the best idea he ever had. But it is! Just use your imagination.

Instead of retail space and luxury condos— of which Greenpoint has too many already— why not have mixed use hepa filter/Buddhist Monastery? By exploiting the various and sundry petroleum products under our own feet we could fuel an air freshener like no other. Toss in a few monks chanting, some sandalwood burning and Greenpoint will smell good in no time! Not only will we clean our air, but we’ll also cleanse our karma. Fuck 421a, this is the ultimate added value!

Miss Heather


4 Comments on A Modest Proposal

  1. Rebecca11222 on Thu, 28th May 2009 8:46 am
  2. this is brilliant.

  3. d on Thu, 28th May 2009 10:57 am
  4. The pagoda pic made me burst out laughing. Thanks, Miss Heather (and Mister Heather!).

  5. brooklyn11211 on Fri, 29th May 2009 3:29 pm
  6. Brilliant idea – kudos to Mr. Heather (I always figured he was the brains of the operation).

    For the record, this rezoning does not address anything that was done in 2005. The two rezonings cover geographically distinct areas of the neighborhood. In fact, this rezoning extends the contextual zoning provisions that were implemented in 2005 to the rest of the neighborhood.

  7. missheather on Fri, 29th May 2009 3:58 pm
  8. 11211: I will pass along your regards to the Mister. A man who— I would like to mention— spent 1/2 hour of his time last night yelling at the host of “Good Eats” (via TIVO) because he was not barbecuing correctly.

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