Saturday, June 30, 2007

East River State Park To Break Curfew, Stay Out Late For July 4th Fireworks


Come Wednesday evening, Northside Williamsburg will become the 50-yard-line luxury box for July 4th fireworks viewing in New York City. That, according to East River State Parks staff, who revealed this weekend (to anyone who asked) that the park will be open from 10 am Wednesday morning until just after the Macy's fireworks display ends.

With the Independence Day incendiaries being launched from three barges in the East River between 23rd and 34th Street, the new park is situated perfectly to give Brooklynites an unobstructed view, with the pyrotechnics reflected in the river and the Midtown Manhattan skyline as a picture-postcard backdrop.

In recent years, locals crowded Kent Avenue and the dead-ends of North 6th and North 7th Streets, often crashing gates and crawling under fences to access vacant lots. This year for the first time in memory, a massive lawn and concrete seating area will greet revelers.

Expect the park to be well-staffed with park rangers enforcing no-dogs and no-booze regulations; however the 'grilling is OK on concrete areas' rule means folks staking their territory in the afternoon can barbecue to their hearts' content.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Breaking: Brooklyn Park Goes Full-Time July 3rd

river's edge

New York City's newest park - East River State Park - on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border will emerge from its weekends-only beta test next Tuesday, July 3rd, according to a June 26th State Parks press release.

The memo describes the opening as marking "a first phase of park development," noting that "in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, [State Parks] has reclaimed the former Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal site for interim park use by celebrating natural succession of native meadow plantings among the historic Terminal remnants on site."

The upgrade of the park to seven-day access is a major milestone for the rapidly-evolving neighborhood, for which a landmark rezoning in 2005 has brought massive upheaval including large-scale demolitions to make way for thousands of new units of luxury housing, and a virtual wall of high-rise condominium towers now rising on the riverfront blocks immediately south of the new park. East River State Park represents the first major 'giveback' to many longtime residents whose prospects of owning property (even within the dubious allocation of 'affordable' units being built as a concession by developers seeking to maximize their sellable floor area).

Next up for the Williamsburg waterfront? Long-term proposals call for the City to acquire up to 10 additional blocks north of the park, annexing them as Bushwick Inlet Park. Also within the grand vision championed by the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) and the Trust is a waterfront promenade, connecting all of Brooklyn's waterfront from the Navy Yard to Newtown Creek (and ultimately linking all of Brooklyn's waterfront with walking and biking trails via the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative).

But for now, all Brooklynites - and especially those in Williamsburg and Greenpoint - can celebrate the first new waterfront access in decades. No word on whether extended hours will be in effect on July 4th - the park's panoramic view of East River fireworks is sure to cause a minor stampede...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Now Playing at The Edge: Extreme Jenga!

extreme jenga

According to Hasbro: "The highest JENGA tower on record stood 40 complete tiers with two blocks into the 41st."

We think the crew down on Kent Avenue is chasing the record.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Growing Sense of Dredge


Even as Brooklyn's industrial heritage is receiving unprecedented attention by preservationists, a bit more of its visible history is being scooped away. Thursday morning, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its annual "America's 11 Most Endangered Places" list, and Brooklyn's Industrial Waterfront received the dubious honor of first place.

At the same moment, at the foot of North 5th Street in Williamsburg, an ancient dredger was busily tearing out the remnants of wooden piers that once supported the engines and rail cars of the massive Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal. In preparation for a future pedestrian and water taxi pier, a contractor for Toll Brothers' Northside Piers residential complex began dredging the rotting but oh-so-scenic piers this week (ironically, Toll Brothers' own renders show the old piers peacefully-coexisting alongside the future concrete wharf).

The upside? The dredging marks a significant milestone on the route to getting water taxi service on the Northside.

The rub? Photo ops like the one below are officially a thing of the past...


More pics of the old piers here and here.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Climbover Girl: Banksy or Not?

banksy climbover girl 1

So we returned from a long working weekend in LA to discover what appears to be a brand-spanking new Banksy - on the same North 6th Street wall made famous by Banksy's previous Electric Kids, and their subsequent destruction by the Splasher.

But we're no street art expert. Climbover Girl certainly looks like a Banksy. She's located like a Banksy. But is she a Banksy?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Tree Goes In Brooklyn





The future route of the Brooklyn Greenway grew a little less green this week, as crews preparing the foundation of the future Williamsburg Edge development removed one of the few street trees that remain along Kent Avenue on the Northside.

What's in a single tree you say? A lot, when its one of the five trees growing along the ten block stretch of Kent Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to North 12th Street (and we're including two of the twigs that East River State Park planted streetside).

To be fair, the late tree was growing just inside the lot line, so the developer was probably well within their rights when they whacked removed it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Summer's Splasher: Advertisers


Have advertisers begun to co-opt the Splasher's tactic of defacing popular street art? If Thursday morning's paste-over of the recently-redone "Faile Wall" on North 6th Street in Williamsburg is any indication, the answer is yes.

Several "wild postings" consisting of a collage promoting Popular Printing - a Garment District print shop whose mildly-threatening slogan "PRINT WITH US OR ELSE" is accompanied by the image of a hooded gunman, alternating with ads for an upcoming DJ show in Brooklyn, were slapped up on the same week New York Magazine ran an epic "search for the Splasher" article.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the universe, the real Splasher rolls over in his paint-splashed hideaway, pens a new manifesto, and remembers the good old days...

The Vandalism Vandal [New York Magazine]