Open Thread Wednesday 8/27/14

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Photo: Mrs. Fink

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  • cat

    What’s with all the sidewalk signs on Montague Street? The latest being for the European Wax Center. Really? The Wax Center? How classy can you get. And, do we need the barber’s rates on a street sign with a mannequin at the top of the steps? (At least Gregory – at Key – is fun and is welcoming people back after summer getaways.) And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • miriamcb

    That mannequin at the barber freaked my daughter and I out the other morning when we came out of the bagel shop!

  • GHB

    And a douche.

  • Jorale-man

    As you say, the regulations are such that the buildings aren’t supposed to go any higher than the promenade fences. It reminds me of the recent revelations that the Verizon Building on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge was built much larger than zoning allowed at the time. But what’s done is done and that’s probably what they’re counting on here too.

  • Jorale-man

    Soon, every shop on Montague is going to have a creepy mannequin out front – Teresa’s, Le Pain Quotidian, Banana Republic….

  • miriamcb

    Here’s to hoping they do not put one out front of RiteAid…

  • miriamcb

    That Verizon building you reference is the worst. Aside from the height – the corporate logo is awful, in my opinion, marring the skyline. I always say if money were no object, I would pay enough to own that building and take the branding down.

  • NYcorgi

    The portion you see at the current height is the north building. The south building hasn’t been built yet (maybe like 1 floor so far). The building north of the Squibb pedestrian bridge consists of the hotel and the north condo building (attached to each other). The south building will be south of the pedestrian bridge and it will be about half of the height of the north condo/hotel building. See how much smaller the south building is (right side of photo)? That’s the part that is closest to the promenade.

  • NYcorgi
  • GHB

    I agree Miriam, but in addition, the building itself is hideous, marring an otherwise beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • cindy s

    On a positive note, the prayer vigil for the worsening
    Conditions in the middle east held at Our Lady of
    Lebanon was well attended. People came from New
    Jersey and other suburbs but the number of non
    Lebonese and non Catholics from this area who
    simply found out about the quickly organized event
    Was really remarkable. Many who attended clearly
    understood the real long term gravity of the events
    we are now witnessing.

  • Moni

    Had dinner at Armando’s the other night. What a mistake. Haven’t been there in 2 yrs and won’t be again. Ordered the “special” soft shell crabs. What was presented was literally unidentifiable and inedible, a mess of lumpy deep fried batter. I tried to separate the batter from the crab but they were welded together. Had to send it back. Next ordered scallops, which were done nicely but took so long to arrive that my companions had finished and I was left to eat alone while they chatted. Don’t know why it took a half hour to sear 4 scallops, as there were only 3 tables occupied including ours. Why can’t Armando’s hire a chef??? It should be the go-to restaurant in the Heights. A shame.

  • R.O.Shipman

    You do realize that before the building that was on the site of the current hotel was torn down there was a building providing a near identical obstruction from the promenade? How come people so easily forget this fact. They wouldn’t have destroyed those buildings but to build the development. We have lost only what we temporarily were given during construction of the hotel/condos.

    From this very site:

  • Kit

    Anyone paying attention at the outset of this development could tell that the project would obliterate the view. And if you think it’s oversize from this angle, just walk along the park edge next to the construction. Then you will really get a sense of how the neighborhood has been raped by political and corporate interests.

  • AEB

    I think one should make a shift of consciousness and realize that Montague as a whole is trayf for dining. Certainly, it’s not first choice–or even second.

    I am, however, looking forward to the possibility of more mannikins there. A dummy soft shell crab in front of Armando’s would have been just the thing.

  • Rick

    Yes, but isn’t the park supposed to be an improvement over what was? A worldview that believes things can’t get better isn’t very attractive.

    Besides which, the Pierhouse Condos are much taller than the previous marine warehouses (except apparently for the southern half), so they will block more of the view from the Promenade than what was there before.

    Of course, having any hotel or condos in a public park was a huge mistake.

    The overbuilding of the park, which was said to require hotel/condos to create additional funding, should have been avoided.

    But at this point, all we can do is watch to make sure that Toll Brothers doesn’t violate what was approved.

  • Rick

    OK, instead of being horrendous, they will merely be very bad.

    If indeed they are built in true proportions to the model.

  • R.O.Shipman

    Are you looking at the same two pictures I am? They look pretty similar in height and at the very least not “much taller.” I believe the height restrictions on the buildings were meant to mimic what they were replacing.

    Are you also going to claim the park isn’t an improvement over what was? We have a beautiful park entirely because an agreement was put into place to tear down buildings at the edge of the park and replace them with the hotel/condo project. There is literally no chance of the park ever getting built without the development. To pretend otherwise is just being willfully ignorant in order to support your worldview. This I know from your insistence of referring to the buildings as “in the park.”

    We have gained a beautiful park with the only difference to the view from the promenade being overlooking a park rather than ugly metal warehouses. I’d say that’s a win.

  • ClaudeScales

    I once remarked of Armando’s that if it were in Ashtabula, Ohio it would probably be the best restaurant in town. Now I no longer think that’s true, unless every other restaurant in Ashtabula (including the Olive Garden, if they have one) were to close.

  • Rick

    Perhaps you were in great haste to reply, which could explain why you didn’t actually read what I wrote.

    I wrote “the Pierhouse Condos are much taller than the previous marine warehouses (except apparently for the southern half)”.

    I wasn’t comparing them to the height of the building you showed.

    And you are being either willfully ignorant or are working PR for somebody if you pretend the only way a park could have been built was with funds from a hotel and condos.

    As I also wrote above, I believe it was the overdevelopment of the park site that led to talk about the need for such large funds to sustain it.

    The view that the park is overdeveloped with attractions (and consequently overcrowded) is a common opinion on this blog, although some differ.

    There seem to be two viewpoints on what the park should have been. There is the Robert Moses viewpoint that more is better, and even better yet if it is made of concrete, and the Olmsted viewpoint of natural beauty being an important counterpoint to crowded urban living. I’m obviously in the Olmsted camp.

    The park has some wonderful features, and on balance, I’m happy it is there.
    But considering the excellence of the site on which it was built, that was a low bar to achieve. I think either politics or poor urban planning, or both contributed to a missed opportunity that will exist for generations. Or until it is underwater. Whichever comes first.

  • ClaudeScales

    I’ve eaten several times at Gallito’s Kitchen and found it quite good. The young couple who run it are in the same charm league as the delightful old couple who ran Old Hungary in, I think, the same location some years ago. Last week I had paella Valenciana at Taperia; it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but still very satisfying. And the burgers at Grand Canyon are superb. I wouldn’t write off all of Montague as trayf.

  • Rick

    Are you including the Applebee’s in Ashtabula?

  • Rick

    I’d agree, and add Hancos for their Bánh Mì, which is tasty, even if not authentic.

  • R.O.Shipman

    I did read your post, and I think it is obviously wrong. Look again at the building that was there before. There are other vies that show the size of the old buildings if you look. The National Cold Storage building was huge. It equally blocked the view from the promenade as the new development. I don’t know how this isn’t plainly obvious. You either didn’t live here before the old buildings were taken down or are choosing to live in ignorant bliss so you can bash new development.

    New development isn’t the only way to build parks in this country (though, find me the last large scale municipal park project that has been built with public money), but it was for THIS park. It just wasn’t going to happen without dedicated maintenance funding. Every argument to the contrary says it shouldn’t have been that way, not that it wasn’t a reality. And it wouldn’t matter if the park was as Olmsteady (Omstadian?) as it could possibly be, it would still be a park on piers and require a massive maintenance budget. The only reasonable plan they’ve come up with (even with a re-do) is the development along the edge of the park. So I’m comfortable saying that this park doesn’t happen without the condos being built. It’s been a worthwhile trade-off, in my opinion.

  • Maggie
  • Rick

    I’ve lived here since 1985, and during that time took many photos from the Promenade, which showed the view over what were mostly low warehouse buildings. But regardless, I’m reserving judgement until these Toll Brother buildings are topped off. The hotel however does clearly loom uncomfortably close over what was before a quiet somewhat natural area.

    As for the rest, it has been already argued ad nauseam here on this blog. I haven’t noticed you posting here before, so if you are new here, you could go back and see what I and many others have written.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Any discussion of mannequins begins and ends at Key Foods.

  • Thereminimum

    Thank you for posting this, Maggie. It gives me a few more names to pursue.

    The DOB has told me that dust from buildings is a DEP issue. The DEP emailed me on Thursday, confirming that there was asbestos abatement on the building, but not addressing my concerns about the unchecked airborne dust and grime that now covers all the adjacent properties. My windows and screens are caked with it so that even opening them after work hours results in the grit blowing into my apartment. While my proximity to the site may well mean that I’ve taken the biggest hit, this problem is by no means limited to me or my building.

    I’ve spoken to several people familiar with NYC building regulations who confirm that what is being done is illegal, but since it cannot be seen from the street, the contractor is making his own rules. I am posting here out of desperation to get the contractor to comply with regulations.

  • Ebenezer

    Picture of two kids running away from the foot of Remsen Street after pelting BQE cars with oranges on 9/1/2014

  • johnny cakes

    Everything goes in cycles, including Armando’s. They have been very good, and then very bad. Now they are very bad.