Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Toll's Gowanus

Community Board 6 (in Brooklyn's CoCaGoSlope section) recently approved the Toll Brothers' plan to turn Gowanus into a luxury waterside wonderland. I took a walk down there to see what will vanish when Toll puts in their 6 residential and retail buildings, a plan that covers nearly two complete blocks.

It's a quiet, desolate place. One- and two-story brick buildings, painted gray, take up most of the space. In the silence, a man appears out of nowhere, tossing bits of bread to the sky, attracting a flurry of wings. He coos to the birds, "Here they come, here they come."

Down a cobblestoned street, at a crumbling launch where graffitied rowboats wait to take the water, two mated pairs of mallards sun themselves before dipping into the chemical-green canal. Above the trees, across the way, graffiti on the infamous Bat Cave says "OPEN YOUR EYES." (On the other side it says, "No More Corporate Bullshit.")

Robert Guskind wonders if the Toll Brothers are using public art to try and win over public opinion.

As for public opinion, one member of the public has clearly expressed it in spray paint directly across the street.

There are businesses still running here. Will they be blighted and seized by eminent domain?

And this converted cement silo, seen below sticking up over a warehouse, intrigues, hidden as it is behind an artfully made iron gate off Carroll Street. I figured it was some eccentric's private home. A Curbed commenter says it used to be "a fuck-pad for a rich, swinging doctor" before it became the Issue Project Room and, now, The Yard, part of a "curatorial series to highlight the importance of DIY entertainment and alternative venues."

Like another graffitist out here says, "You can't stop it."

See all my photos of the Gowanus Project site


Anonymous said...

RE: the "Toll-sponsored" artwork: There used to be an amazing piece of street art at the EXACT SAME SPOT which they tore down to put up their "sponsored" art!

Anonymous said...

it doesn't matter that place is not going to be torn down for years. They've been talking about it for atleast three years that I know of which probably means they have been thinking about it for 10 years. Besides that place is a horrible place to put more condominiums it's over looking the qowanus canal which as anyone who's lived there knows is a shit covered lake.