A reader's comment reminded me that I'd neglected to report on the deal struck by the Mayor's team and Two Trees Management to develop the hulking old Domino Sugar building into apartments. Sitting on the every-more-valuable-by-the-minute Williamsburg waterfront, the plan is ambitious; a "three-million-square-foot mixed-use development with more than 2,200 housing units, approximately 480,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of retail space, and 143,000 square feet of community facility space, including a school. A portion of that will house the incubator, tech and creative space. Publicly accessible open spaces totaling 4.8 acres would also be created along the waterfront and within the development," noted Ariel Property Advisor's industry publication Market Watch.
Two Trees, the company that masterminded upmarket DUMBO into existence, agreed to make 30% of the units affordable at the new site. Now, that's news.
Domino Sugar Factor: New Community About the Population of Nyack
In plain English, the long-dead Domino site will come to life. It will house the population equivalent of small town of five or six thousand residents, maybe the size of Nyack, New York. About one in three renters will meet city guidelines for "affordable" housing. The development will offer a lot to working families: not just the school and potential work sites, but also an esplanade overlooking the East River, and a park space, one that's a tad smaller than Cadman Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn. And, there will be interesting historical reminders of a time long gone: three structures called the Refinery (the Filter, Pan, and Finishing Houses) and designated a New York City Landmark in 2007, will remain intact.
From the perspective of the crisis in New York over a lack of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents, one of the most critical elements of the $1.5 billion project is that living spaces will include 700 affordable housing units that will remain so, permanently, instead of reverting to market rates after a brief honeymoon period. In exchange, the towers may rise to 55 stories--nearly as tall as the oft-maligned Atlantic Yards highrises planned for the Barclays Center area.
Ingredients for Success at Sugar
So here's the question: How will this kind of "instant-neighborhood-with-socioeconomic-diversity" form of social engineering work, blending low income two- and three-bedroom apartments at affordable rents, with market rate apartments? Historically, many of Brooklyn's famous neighborhoods had time to rise and settle, like a good yeast dough.
With a big project like this, you have to wonder: What makes a newbie Brooklyn neighborhood tick --especially in fast-morphing Williamsburg-- and how can those ingredients for success be integrated into the new Domino Sugar factory design so that it's a sweet place to live, where different kinds of people not only live in the same space, but create a vibrant micro-culture?
And who is going to pay for all the extra things, like sewage and traffic management, that the city usually gets stuck with? And, one also wonders, how well the transportation service locally will be able to handle the increased population along the waterfront.
For more info on mixed income housing policy, see NY City's HDC website which describes "a variety of innovative and creative programs with favorable financing terms generally unavailable in the commercial market." For details on what kinds of renters might qualify for the lower rate apartments, once built, at the Domino Sugar Factory, see Mixed Income Housing for details on maximum rents and income eligibility limits.
Daylight savings can confuse folks. What time is it in Brooklyn?
29 Things to Do This Weekend in Brooklyn: Calendar of Special Events, for Families and Kids, Just Plain Fun
Looking for something to do this weekend in Brooklyn? Here are 29 different ideas for things to do this weekend in Brooklyn.
Oh, there's a lot to do this weekend, in addition to strolling around in your bathing suit to celebrate the balmy weather...A blockbuster show on the Civil Rights Era, the Sixties and art just opened at the Brooklyn Museum. You can ice skate in warmish weather in Prospect Park. Don't miss the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's special all day gardening event Making Brooklyn Bloom, or check out the free Sunday silent film, The Goddess at the library, in honor of Women's History Month. Still not interested? Check out our weekend calendar.
- "Daylight savings" kicks at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 9.
- Set your clocks forward on Saturday night, March 8.
Just a few more weeks before you can sit on your Brooklyn stoop later in the evening, and enjoy the light, or garden in a local community garden, or take the kids out for an after-dinner run in the local playground in the (hopefully) nice evening weather.
I don't know about you, but I'm always a little worried that I've missed a clock somewhere, or a watch, or an alarm clock. There are clocks everywhere: on the thermostat, on the wall, on the microwave.
But if you're equipped with an electronic device, you don't even need to remember, really, that this year the time "leaps forward" on the 9th. Just follow the time on your Ipad or mobile phone. Your electronic devices know best.
New York City's a mess. Parked cars sit covered in a sort of camo of ugly salt marks. Along the rows and rows of brownstones in Brooklyn neighborhoods, the stoops are streaked with mean looking patches of dirt and salt. Walking to the trains you pass little piles of snow with straws, cigarette buts, scraps of paper, garbage all sticking up frozen. New York looks like it's rained salt, a Biblical city of salt. 21st century version. Enough already. Spring, where art thou?
Summer may feel far away, but really it's not. Which camp to send your child to? It's confusing. But don't despair! There are a ton of local day camps, and some still offer early bird rates and, though more limited, scholarships.
Here's a thumbnail sketch of 20 Brooklyn summer day camps, mostly geared to the elementary and pre-school set-- though a few also have programs for up to 15 years old.
The range of choice is pretty rich: There's one with a high tech focus, two that transport BK kids every day to very green spaces or a Long Island waterfront, while others really utilize what Brooklyn has to offer, from the Botanic Garden to the Brooklyn Children's Museum to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
So, for starters, check these out. And, if you have a favorite camp, let us know....
Affordable Summer Day Camps in Brooklyn, For Kids 2-14 Years Old (under $400 a week, with some scholarships possible)
Summer Day Camps in Brooklyn: Mid Price Range (varying prices, some depending on length of enrollment)
Summer Camps for Brooklyn Kids 13 & Under: On the Pricier End (over $500 a week, with some scholarships possible).
We've roughly divided them into three price tiers: affordable ($100 to $400 a week), pricier (over $500 a week) and mid-range (in between those two). But you can defray costs with scholarships, early bird registration, and perhaps if you have more than one child enrolling, family rates (but you'll have to ask about that, it's not advertised).
For lack of space, we've omitted the quite wonderful but pricey summer programs run by the borough's private schools, such as the Poly Prep Summer Experience in Bay Ridge, the Berkeley Carroll Creative Arts Program including its well established drama camp, and some wonderfully quirky shorter summer programs like the Rock Music Camp in Gowanus, and other neighborhood and niche programs.
Does your child have a "passion" or even a passing fancy? If you look hard, you can find all kinds of programs: cooking for kids, yoga for kids, special languages for kids, birdwatching and more for kids.
Gee, summer camp's a festival: it would be fun to be a kid again!
Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn's largest African American cultural institution, has announced the appointment of a new executive director, Tia Powell Harris, who brings more than 20 years of experience creating, directing and promoting arts education and cultural programming.
We look forward to Weeksville's new 19,000 square foot Certified LEED Gold Sustainable Education and Cultural Arts Building including a resource center, classrooms and media lab, workshops, oral history studio, collection spaces, 700 sq. ft. gallery and 200-seat performance space. The 1.5 acre outdoor landscaped space will include a micro farm and heritage-based botanic collection. The goal of Weeksville is to create in Brooklyn "the first African American historic site to operate a contemporary arts center for the "Study of Freedom and Self Determination" and the first center dedicated to generating knowledge about freedom and 19th and 20th century African American, Caribbean and African history. It's all inspired by the legacy of the free African Americans who founded the community 175 years ago.
Dominic Recchia, seeking the US House seat that straddles Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn, is seen as hot candidate in 2014 midterm term fight over who's going to run Congress: South Brooklyn Democratic pol Recchia was tapped yesterday by leading national Democrats as they gear up for the 2014 Congressional midterm elections. Recchia's running for US House of Representatives against incumbent Michael Grimm, a Republican. This week Recchio's race was among 35 districts to have won the coveted DCCC designation of "Red to Blue" -- which means he'll get a wagon-load of support. (He's also in a minority of sorts in this year's class of Red to Blue races; the DCCC is boasting that this year, the "Democratic caucus is made up of a majority of women, people of color and LGBT Americans.")
This race will be fun for politically pent-up Brooklynites, who in past years have had to board buses to go express their political leanings in such swing states as Pennsylvania and Ohio. In 2014, apparently, the national election is coming right here, to Brooklyn.
More Taxes: About those Instant 24 Hour Refunds, Finding Free Tax Prep Help in Brooklyn, & 15 Other Tips to Save Time, Money and Hassle
With the Ukraine-Russia crisis sprawled all over the news, it's particularly relevant that the author of a brave and chilling biography about Putin, and a new book about the Pussy Riot protesters, will be speaking at a local Brooklyn bookstore tonight. You don't have to know exactly where Crimea is to care about human rights:
Masha Gessen, author of Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot
163 Court Street (between Pacific & Dean streets)v (718) 875-3677
(Note: The listed topic is the book, not the current political crisis, about which Gessen has already written, here.)