Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cobble Hill Association speaks for the Trees

"Yes, I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please."   Dr. Seuss
The Lorax does not live in Cobble Hill, but fortunately many green minded residents do.  Every Tuesday morning from Spring through Fall you will find volunteers out in Cobble Hill Park out in force to complement the tremendous efforts of NYC Parks Department. The extra bit of TLC ensures the flowers always look their brightest, the leaves look their healthiest, and children's playground area is always swept. Unfortunately, there is some work that park volunteers cannot do like overhead tree pruning.

When done well and routinely, this work goes unnoticed. When too much time has lapsed.... dangerous conditions can result, such as last week when a large limb on a callery pear tree by the children's area snap. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the Parks Department took swift, necessary action removing it tree entirely.
The Cobble Hill Association thanks the Parks Department and its staff for stewarding the park with our residents. To ensure those efforts go even farther, the Association will soon launch a fundraising drive to provide an extra level of maintenance that will keep Cobble Hill park a safe oasis for many decades to come.

Stay tuned on details for that drive. In the meantime, when you see Parks employees or local volunteers weeding and pruning... say thanks!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In opposition to proposal, CHA prevails

At the intersection of Henry Street and Atlantic Avenue sits a simple gas station. Its use is atypical of the Atlantic Avenue retail corridor and its design is atypical of the Cobble Hill historic district. Fortunately, the 100' by 55' foot lot is being redeveloped to include ground floor businesses and residential units above. That is good news for the Cobble Hill Association. However, the proposal rendered in the image above stands as a bulky anomaly which would be out of context with the neighborhood.

This week, the Cobble Hill Association testified against the current design by BKSK architects in a hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Council. Joining our opposition were several residents of Cobble Hill as well as representatives from Society for the Architecture of the City and the Historic Districts Council. We made clear that many distinct features of the building were unbecoming to the character of the neighborhood including the proposed marquee entrance on Henry Street, the Shoji-style floor-to-ceiling fenestration, the transparent corner aesthetic, and most especially the excessively large mechanical bulkheads that would soar well above the 50 foot height limit and be visible from the interior of the historic district.

As noted in the press here and here, the LPC sided with the Cobble Hill Association. Though it did not outright deny the application as we requested, it did ask the developers to come back with amended plans that would fit the contextual 19th century architecture better than its current renderings which instead evoke a 20th century industrial design. Additionally, LPC eliminated elevator access to the roof thereby reducing the bulkheads by a full ten feet.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book some time to visit the local library

photo by Pardon Me For Asking
Please stop by the Carroll Gardens Library this Thursday night for an Open House from 6:30 to 7:30 pm to see what improvements the Carroll Gardens Friends Group has made in our local branch. They'll be thanking Councilman Brad Lander for supportive grants that have helped the branch install WiFi, and a participatory budgeting item that brought more computers to the main floor. They'll also be taking feedback so feel free to share your views on what you would like to see happen in the library.

Bridging the Gowanus - Community Planning Report

The Gowanus area sits just a few blocks away from Cobble Hill and so many residents have been closely following the community planning process this past year called "Bridging Gowanus." It sought to identify goals, discuss viewpoints, and build consensus around a framework for the infrastructure and land use regulations needed in the Gowanus Canal area.  Hundreds of local residents have been involved and all their collective input has informed the creation of a draft community planning framework, which will be presented on Monday November 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at PS 32 (Hoyt and Union Streets). 

Following the presentation, those in person can provide their feedback. The presentation will also be posted on the web, with comments being directed towards through the end of the year.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tribute to D.I. Cassidy

This just in from our local Community Board, regarding the passing of Deputy Inspector Joseph Cassidy who had helped keep Cobble Hill safe as head of our local precinct beginning in 2004. Read this link for an interview with him from when he first took command of the 76th.

We regret to inform you of the passing of Deputy Inspector Joseph T. Cassidy, former Commanding Officer of the 76th Precinct.

Deputy Inspector Cassidy is being waked on Friday, November 14th from 2-4pm and7-9pm at the Clavin Funeral Home, 7722 4th Avenue, Brooklyn.

A funeral mass will be held at 9:30am on Saturday, November 15th at St. Ephrem R.C. Church, 929 Bay Ridge Parkway, Brooklyn.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The benefit of benches

Whether you're waiting to meet a friend or need to take a break when walking with packages, street seating is an often overlooked element that helps make a neighborhood more livable. Many people already benefit from the benches by the Bergen Street subway station at Smith Street, but a recent walk through Cobble Hill found our own small neighborhood offers ample room to sit too.
Beyond the oasis that is Cobble Hill Park, we noticed the adjacent restaurants La Vara and Ted & Honey both offer a place to pause.

On Court Street, several businesses have done the same including Rag & BoneCafe PedlarThe Cobble Creperie, and the whimsically designed spot in front of Darna Falafel. Next time you're passing by and need catch your breath, make a call, or take a glance at the area be sure to use one of these benches and thank the owners for adding a small, but significant, element to Cobble Hill's charm.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Message from the 76th precinct

Last night the 76th precinct held one of its monthly Community Council meetings open to the public. Attending these is the best way to stay informed on community events and issues and relay any concerns of yours to Captain Lenz and his officers. If you cannot attend in person, be sure to sign up for the community affairs electronic newsletters at this hyperlink.

Today, that NYPD email blast gave out important information regarding Mayor De Blasio's Vision Zero program and the new 25 mph speed limit that is going into effect citywide starting this Friday.

Beginning November 7, 2014the default Speed Limit in New York City will be changed from 30 MPH, to 25 MPH.  This means that anywhere within the confines of New York City where the speed limit is not posted, the default speed limit will be 25 MPH.  Otherwise, if there is a Speed Limit sign posted, obey the speed that is designated on that sign.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Parade this Friday @ 4pm

Though we no longer have our regular artist tradition of Halloween impaling on Kane Street, the neighborhood still is home to one of the city's largest kids parades for this costumed celebration. Come join the crowds in Cobble Hill Park as the Jah Pan Steel Drum Band leads the way through the neighborhood for all out little ghouls and ghosts.

Also know, the success of the parade is always based on volunteer help. If you're available to help decorate at noon or clean up at 8:30pm, please email

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 Fall General Meeting Recap

Jonathan Matz of Move NY present a plan to improve NYC infrastructue
Many thanks to the local residents who came out last night to share their questions and concerns at our 2014 Fall General Meeting. We were joined by Jonathan Matz of the Move NY campaign who provided detailed information about Gridlock Sam's new tolling/ road and transit investment plan. In addition, we provided updates on the latest developments regarding the LICH closure and the plan for housing towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

We provided quick recaps of recent events - like this weekend's e-waste event with PS29 which diverted over 5,000 pounds of electronics from contaminating our waste stream - as well as mentioned upcoming items like this Friday's Children's Halloween Parade.  State Senator Daniel Squadron joined us, as did Democratic nominee for the 52nd district Jo Anne Simon and Councilman Brad Lander's director of constituent services Hannah Holland who spoke about the ongoing session of Participatory Budgeting.

Finally, we had an open Q and A with the community about other issues to tackle including landmarks matters, never-ending construction in our neighborhood whose activity must be checked against valid permits for current projects, necessary improvements to intersections such as Congress and Columbia, and more. Stay tuned to the CHA for updates on our progress in each of these areas.

Court-Smith BID info meeting 11/2 @ 2pm

Court Street is not just the border of Cobble Hill, it is also one of our central commercial districts. Over the past few months, merchants along that stretch have partnered with retailers one block over on Smith Street to discuss the possibility of creating a combined Court-Smith Business Improvement District. This potential BID would raise funds for additional street cleaning services, beautification elements, and more. If you'd like to get involved, ask questions, or simply learn more... check out one of their upcoming info sessions nearby.

Sunday, November 2nd @ 2PM



Wednesday, November 5th @ 7PM



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Electronic Waste Recycling - Sunday, 10.26 @ PS29

Got a new smart phone? Upgraded your TV? Don't throw away the outdated models of your electronics... recycle them! This Sunday, the Lower East Side Ecology Center is again teaming up with our local elementary school PS29 for an e-waste collection day. Can't make the drop off, but have e-waste to discard? Fortunately, the LESEC also has their warehouse just a few blocks away in the Gowanus area at the intersection of President & Nevins. Check this website for drop off hours.

What: Electronics recycling
When: Sunday, October 26th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Schoolyard at P.S. 29, 425 Henry Street, entrance on Baltic between Henry and Clinton

All of the following will be accepted in either working or non-working condition:
-Computers and monitors
-Printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers
-Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
-Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.)
-PC components (hard drives, cd-roms, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
-Television sets, VHS and DVD players
-Radios and stereos
-Phones of all sorts, answering machines, pagers
-PDAs and games