Since we are all staying home, sheltering in place, social distancing, quarantining or practicing PAUSE, I decided to start posting some thoughts on Deadline-Gowanus which has gone a bit fallow of late.
Here’s my thought for today.
I know the advice has been mixed on wearing masks and we are supposed to save n95 and surgical masks for health care workers but there are home-made options. (And yes I know my nose is not covered.) Took a walk in #gowanus today with my pink bandana mask and it wasn’t easy – felt very self-conscious in the epicenter of hip. But there are four good reasons to do this according to things I have read: 1)it does protect against some airborne particles 2) it signals to the world this is serious 3) it makes people distance from you because they think you might be infected or see you take it seriously (i can attest to this from my walk – people stepped aside!) 4) it stops you from touching your face while you are out running errands. So don’t be embarrassed. #showmeyourmask
Fiery triceratops skulls know winter is coming By bulky bureaucratic beige-tastic blandity
Rope-bridged between these I sway Asphalt planks Cables twined of mugwort Seaside goldenrod Parole officers pa troll below
Permanently bathed in red light I don’t need sign blare emphatic To tell me Through growl-whir chants Of each turnaround car Stalked by black and white orbs of the state This is the END
Here on 2nd Between 5th and 4th Though there is no 4th Only a Basin to guide me And it took just a second or three Amidst milkweed bothered bottles To figure out if this was all a ruse
This feral pocket where our CSOs Avalanche when gods weep uncontrollably Human waste heading for herons And hoping for the filtrations Of ribbed mussels
This rife patch where old Belgian block Collapses, Knieveling out over the brink Facing down a hangry Gowanus And slowly losing the encounter Bulkheads still blowing out As if the made land’s Belt could not handle All these meals of carcinogens With time for dessert
Here, rope-bridged, I sit Slung, musing Caught between creek-side tulip tree Mùxulhemënshi Giver of Lenape canoes And concrete blocks The Sleeper’s toys Where I first joined the Dredgers In exile, as Gary paddle-boarded by Red, toxic-bottomed canoes Locked by a box that advised CHILLAX
On a rope bridge anchored By a sinking, musket-sparing Marylander hand Disappearing into muck Redcoat shot pelting the calamus As Washington weeps on the hill And a billionaire mother trying to escape Through great hollow flooding garages Come down from the 35th floor Her children wailing In thrice-rezoned future As hurricane surge breaches The great mouth gate One final time
- Here I muse at the cast Sewer cover constellations And know at last What the sign means
I lay rope-bridged Looking for the few stars And LaGuardia-bound Meteors through Gas-drip willow leaves In a trick garden Native but not native Chemicals creeping up With full aroma Here between my Ankle-bracelet fitting And the incessant beeping Of my 1st or 3rd Midnight salt pickup Between the dredger Lifejacketed on his barge And the secretary Whose shawl remains In fluorescent rain Black through the windows High overhead Here between full-leafed Trees of heaven and Their dying branches Between chained S.S. Oops And sad coffee break benches Between sleeping buses Tourist red and Orthodox yellow And a glacial outwash plain Between tugboats bulling Between belabored barges And a kid on his bike With a camera And nothing better to do Egret-rouser Gosling-noticer Laugher-at-fences Hearer-of-ever-rushing-waters-somewhere-deep-below Absorber-of-cyan-glow-of-great-towering-future-tide-clock Between heavy June twilight And the hard all-sumac rise Of a February dawn
All these rope bridges I cross at once, at risk Intersect in me Radiate out from me Undulates of some strange, time-spanning Extremophile tide Rays working out slowly From some dark Gowanus sun
I hold these rusted green railings And walk across In all directions
I thought this exercise would be a break from obsessing about the Gowanus rezoning – it wasn’t. I find it hard to walk through Gowanus without checking the proposed rezoning plan maps and mentally saying good-by to so many buildings and streetscapes.
The here and now: Looking north on 3rd Avenue from Sackett to Degraw. (Hard to beat Google maps for panoramic views.) Not a particularly “pretty” street – there’s a big lot for car sales and an auto repair shop on the west side and a large construction business that takes up the whole block on the east side.
On the other hand, the south-facing view from Degraw hits you right away with “commercial.” I like the bright colors of both buildings and signs on the west side of this block.
The east side of the street is a whole different story. A monolithic building, in an almost colonial brick style, hogs the block and is home to A. William Construction, “Celebrating 30 Years of Service”. The architecture vaguely reminds me of a two story funeral home, but it looks solid and sturdy (probably good for business).
The block begins at Sackett with a garage type structure with “KEISAL” mysteriously embossed on the first garage-like building, but there’s no hint of what that refers to. There is a courtyard type space where some heavy equipment is stored and then the faux colonial building.
So, what makes this block interesting? — well, it’s all going to change – in fact, disappear as we know it – with the proposed Gowanus rezoning.
Trying to be lyrical about this block sticks in my throat. I know what’s up. Love the idea of more affordable housing, but affordable for who? Hate the idea of more crap (literally) in the Canal and watching this funky ugly duckling turning into a fit-for-Dubai swan. Visions of developers looking like Monopoly bankers swim in my brain.
City Planning has marked most of this block (highlighted) as a projected development site in their rezoning plan – which means that they see a likelihood of a someone buying the property and putting a new building on it within a 15-year period. On this block, that which isn’t “projected” is “potential,” or less likely to be developed, but still possible.
And what will this new block look like? According to the proposed zoning map, the block (highlighted) will be at M1-4 R7X (in zoning speak) which means they would have a maximum height of 145 feet, which translates into about 13 stories. Uses could be residential with ground floor commercial, community facility, or commercial/manufacturing. It will all be up to “THE MARKET.” (She sighs deeply and thinks of Monopoly bankers.)