Via the Brooklyn Paper:

Workers who are building a controversial apartment complex on the banks of the Gowanus Canal are parking on sidewalks, say neighbors, and they haven’t stopped despite multiple warnings and tickets from police.

“They just park on the sidewalks every day,” said Michael King, who lives on Second Street, across from developer Lightstone Group’s still-rising building on Bond Street between First and Second streets.

King has made a dozen 311 complaints about illegal parking over the past two months, which have resulted in cops issuing two fines.

Officers initially met with workers to give them an opportunity to move their trucks off the pavement and away from fire hydrants before laying down the law, but when the problem persisted, authorities began issuing summonses, according to a source at the local police precinct.

Read the full story here.


Gowanus resident Michael King is fed up with workers at the Lightstone development in Gowanus parking on sidewalks in the neighborhood. Photo: Steve Schnibbe, Brooklyn Paper.

Join the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group tonight at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens for our first monthly general meeting of 2016.

Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Introductions 

6:45 – 7:30 PM:  Project Updates

End of Formal CAG Meeting

7:30 – 8:45:  CAG Annual Retreat Discussion

  • The CAG will review accomplishments and challenges from 2015, including progress on decisions from the strategic planning activities last spring, and reflect on the CAG’s adherence to procedures and groundrules.

8:45 PM:  Adjourn (please note we will need to be out of the school by 9 p.m.)

This Tuesday, January 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will hold its annual public meeting on the citywide Long-Term Control Plans, green infrastructure & municipal separate storm-sewer systems. The meeting will take place at:

LaGuardia Community College
Building E – Poolside Café (use Van Dam Street Entrance)
31-10 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

DEP will provide a brief presentation at 6:30pm.

From DEP’s meeting announcement:

When there are heavy rains and the sewer system is at full capacity, a diluted mixture of rain water and sewage, also known as combined sewage, may overflow into local waterways as a combined sewer overflow (CSO). The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is developing a CSO Long Term Control Plans (LTCP) that will identify and evaluate alternatives to improve the water quality around the New York City. DEP will provide a status of the LTCP Program along with updates on the Green Infrastructure and Municipal Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Programs.

Join us as we seek your input in developing this plan.

To RSVP for the meeting, email or call (718) 595-4148.

Via DNAinfo…

More than 56,000 people are vying for a chance to live next to one of America’s most polluted waterways.

Some 56,058 applicants entered an online lottery for 86 affordable apartments at 365 Bond St., a new high-rise overlooking the contaminated Gowanus Canal, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development said.

HPD also received paper applications that were still being counted as of Friday. The application period for the affordable units ran from early November until Jan. 4.

Read the full story here.

365 Bond Street

Photo: Pardon Me for Asking

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group holds its final general meeting of 2015 this evening at 6:30 p.m., at Mary Star of the Sea, 41 1st Street, in Carroll Gardens.

The agenda will include an update from the EPA, a discussion with Alloy Development and New York City’s Departments of Environmental Protection and Parks and Recreation about Alloy’s proposal to provide land for CSO retention tanks on a site that it’s redeveloping near the head of the canal, and updates from the CAG’s standing committees.

As always, our meetings are open to the public – please join us!

We are terribly saddened to learn of the passing of our Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group colleague, and long-time local activist, Bette Stoltz, who died Thursday, November 19 after a brief illness. Our most sincere condolences go out to Bette’s family and many friends.

The CAG’s Katia Kelly posted a touching tribute to Bette on her blog, Pardon Me For Asking, which you can read here. And City Council Member Brad Lander published a moving remembrance of Bette’s civic advocacy on his blog,

Bette Stoltz.

In light of the second Gowanus Canal swim this year by clean-water activist Christopher Swain, we thought we’d reiterate that the first resolution passed by the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, way back in March 2012, was a call to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) that the quality of the water in the Canal be improved enough in the future to reclassify it from its current standard, SD, the lowest possible classification for marine waters.

The Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Group hereby resolves that the water of the Gowanus Canal be reclassified from its current industrial standard, which is designated Class-SD. Class-SD only mandates a minimal level of dissolved oxygen be maintained in the waters, but places no limit to levels of pathogens present in the waterway.

The CAG requests that the Gowanus Canal be given a water classification that is protective of its current recreational uses which includes contact recreation for families and children. 
A reclassification that imposes limits on pathogen levels, both coliform and enterococci bacteria, is necessary to insure that children and others are not exposed to unacceptable health risks, including dangerous diseases, due to a simple act of coming into contact with the w!ater while recreating in, on, or at the canal.

The CAG believes that any Long-Term Control Plan put into place for New York City must raise the water quality of the Gowanus Canal to a standard compatible with recreational goals, a position we reiterated to NYC DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd in a June, 2015 letter.

You can learn more about New York State water-quality standards and classifications here.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is beginning remediation of the Gowanus Canal Northside site (also known as the Bayside Fuel Oil Depot) under New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Work will include dismantling and removing oil storage tanks, piping and associated shallow contaminated soil for disposal off-site, in preparation of a full Remedial Investigation. Based on the results of the Remedial Investigation, NYS DEC will develop a Remedial Action Work Plan that will be subject to public comment, leading to a final design and cleanup action.

You can download NYSDEC’s Gowanus Canal Northside site factsheet here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 1.16.43 PM

Author, historian and Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group member Joseph Alexiou has just published a new book – about the murky past of the Gowanus Canal. Story via the Brooklyn Paper:

“The Gowanus Canal is a lens through which you can look at the development of Brooklyn as a city,” said historian Joseph Alexiou. “You could stand at the water’s edge from 1630 to 2015, and you can tell exactly what period you’re in by how the canal’s being used. In the pre-colonial era you’re seeing natives fishing for oysters. Post-colonial you’re seeing Dutch settlers and grist mills. During the revolutionary period you’re seeing rebels getting shot, and during the industrial period you start seeing pollution.”

Joseph Alexiou (Photo: Jason Speakman/Brooklyn Paper
Joseph Alexiou (Photo: Jason Speakman/Brooklyn Paper)

John Lipscomb (Photo: Leslie Albrecht/DNAinfo)


Via DNAinfo and Park Slope/Windsor Terrace/Gowanus reporter Leslie Albrecht:

John Lipscomb loves boats, open water and the scent of fresh ocean air, but on a recent humid evening at low tide, he couldn’t wait to steer a bathtub-size aluminum vessel onto one of America’s most polluted waterways.

“Shall we?” Lipscomb asked with a hint of glee as he fired up the motor and set a course for the Gowanus Canal, home of water so dirty that humans are warned not to touch it.

Lipscomb is the in-house boat captain for the clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper.

He pilots Riverkeeper’s patrol boat and monitors water quality on the Hudson River and its tributaries. Lipscomb visits the canal once a month to take water samples and hunt for signs of illegal dumping by polluters who sometimes end up getting sued by Riverkeeper and fined by state agencies.

Click here to read the full article.