Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Keeping the Gowanus Expressway!

It seems there is a lot of buzz about the $12.8 billion proposal by the American Institute of Architects to tear down our beloved Gowanus Expressway and replace it with a greenway. There is an abundance of comment on Curbed.com, Brownstoner, The Gothamist and the Gowanus Lounge.

A few comments from someone who lives here where they want to pull this off. I am willing to bet that not one of the architects that dreamed this whole thing up lives in the neighborhood. Are they going to move into the neighborhood to supervise construction for the ten or fifteen years it will take to build? How long will it take to build? This in a city that gets fleeced by corrupt contractors who milk a job for all it's worth and take ten years to fix a pothole. Will it really cost 12.8 billion or will it go severely over budget as all things do when the taxpayer is footing the bill? Where will the money come from? Do you think taxpayers in flyover country are going to like financing a bottomless pit in Sunset Park? And what about us residents who will be displaced from here to make this dream come true? And what about the factories and warehouses that provide New Yorkers with Jobs? Will they all leave for places like New Jersey or South Carolina? Why don't they let decisions like this in the hands of the people who live here instead? Why do we have to be the victims of pipedreams and greedy contractors who see manna from heaven in government contracts and the blank checks of taxpayers.

And when we tear it down, where will all the scrap steel go? Will it be sold to the Chinese so they can build aircraft carriers to bomb us with? Heck, why not? The Japanese built their aircraft carriers with surplus US steel too.

I say give the Gowanus a paint job, fix the potholes and leave it and us the heck alone.

[where: 11232]
[where: 11220]

Will Starbucks ever arrive in Sunset Park?

With Starbucks planning a major expansion in the borough of Brooklyn we ask ourselves the question if at least one location will land in Sunset Park. While both Bay Ridge and Park Slope, our northern and southern neighbors boast several Starbucks Sunset Park has none. I am not so much concerned with their coffee as I am with the fact that most T-Mobile Hot Spots tend to be located at Starbucks. As a T-Mobile subscriber to their Hot Spot service I find it inconvenient to not have any Hot Spots for their Wi-Fi service in our neighborhood.

The only Wi-Fi access in the neighborhood is currently at the Brooklyn Public Library located on 51st street and 4th Avenue. It would be better if there were more spread out locations in the neighborhood that provided such access if you happen to have your laptop with you.

8th Avenue is already saturated with combination coffee shop/bakeries which are frequented by the local Chinese and I am not sure that Starbucks would be frequented by them should one open up on 8th Avenue. Thus I would be surprised to see one open up there. 5th Avenue would also prove somewhat problematic below 39th street since the Hispanic population there is lower scale and may not go for the overpriced, over-roasted fare the Starbucks provides. We will have to see. Barring that alternative perhaps it would be nice if enough T-Mobile subscribers in the neighborhood raised hell with T-mobile and got them to locate Hot Spots in the many alternate locations that abound in our neighborhood.

If a Starbucks does open in Sunset Park expect the first location to be somewhere north of 25th street in the northern part of the nabe that is being gentrified as we speak. In any case, I am sure that most of us could do with the Hot Spots without the coffee since the Mexican Coffee houses on 5th Avenue and the Chinese ones on 8th offer better fare at better prices. Maybe someone at T-Mobile is reading this blog and will get a hint?

Related Link: 2014

Store of the Day: The Mug Cafe, it's not Starbucks, it's better..

[where: 11232]
[where: 11220]