Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Banet

    Ok, so in the last week we saw a lot of hate for the new library. But I don’t think most (any?) of those people have actually been in the new building.

    I spent over an hour there last week and it is:

    – HUGE
    – Airy
    – Has tons of books
    – Is generally really well designed. For example, the noisy kids are very well insulated from the rest of the library.

    Yes, some of the adult shelves look half-empty, but that’s because there’s so many of them. As a regular user of the old library, I’d say this one has at least as many titles, if not far more. They’re just spread out. And honestly, with transfers it really doesn’t matter how many titles are in-house. And without the Business Collection (which has a gorgeous new space of its own at the Main branch, there’s SO much more room where people will be inclined to spread out.

    I also love that a few pieces of the old frieze are reused. I wish there were more of them but it’s really interesting to see them up close.

    I would have also extended a catwalk around the perimeter of that double-heights space in the “prow” of the building – with a few bump-outs it could have created a lot of fun reading nooks without impacting the light below very much.

    But really, I’m quibbling. I give the entire place an A+

  • nomcebo manzini

    GREAT analysis. And yes, I did a much less thorough walk-through and came to much the same conclusions.

    As architecture – NOT the most important thing – I love it and strongly suspect that (leaving aside changing fashions), it’s an ENORMOUS improvement over what it’s replaced.

    The tough part – where controversy arises – is what the role of a public library should be in 2022 – and in the years ahead, whether 5 or 50.

    I thought ebooks would be as revolutionary as Gutenberg. I was mistaken. But your point about “transfers” is compelling. As befits the big city that Brooklyn is, the breadth and depth of the BPL collection will surely satisfy 99% of the population at least 90% of the time.

  • nomcebo manzini

    Paul Krugman occasionally labels some of his columns as “wonky.” Neither he nor I think of that word as pejorative, but it’s also true that those columns are not for everybody.

    Same is true for this link:

    Since it looks like our attention will soon be directed BACK to the BQE and how best to spend (MAYBE!) $1Billion, I think it borders on a “must read” for those who can get past “I hate cars and wish they would mostly disappear” or “since public transp. in NYC is NOT GREAT and probably NOT GETTING BETTER, we’ve got to spend whatever it takes to keep the cars & trucks moving.”

    Yes, it trumpets “congestion pricing,” but I was shocked to see that what they call HOV 3+ is clearly their 2nd favorite. Plus, it has lots of “fun facts” like “Currently, the BQE serves around 31,800 vehicles in the 4–8 PM peak period; 90%+ are passenger cars.” Their target seems to be – permanently – 2 lanes in each direction (the entire length), and the “route” is – logically – policies that will reduce volume.

  • meschwar

    Yeah, it’s really nice. My only negative thought was that instead of the high ceiling, they could have just made a full second floor. But maybe there wasn’t a need for that. Maybe there isn’t enough books, etc to allocate to this branch to necessitate that. It looks great though.

    And let’s all agree that that stuff people said last week about burgers or other food is 100% false and was just an unfounded rumor.

  • Andrew Porter

    Another great photo, Claude! The closest many of us will come to seeing backyard chickens in the Heights.

    The other day, I noticed the DOT permits for the sidewalk sheds on Cadman Plaza West north and south of Clark Street name it as Fulton Street—not Cadman Plaza West. The name was changed a mere 50+ years ago. You’d think the city would have changed their records by now!

    And here’s the cover of a brochure for the Montague-Court office building (with a map in my reply):

  • Andrew Porter
  • Andrew Porter

    Already covered in this post, with a further link to Mary Frost’s article in The Eagle:

  • Andrew Porter

    Wish you’d spelled out that the link is to a 2019 article from the Regional Plan Association, “Reimagining the BQE.”

  • nomcebo manzini

    Um – what’s changed since then?

    OK, YES, they’ve already gone to 2 lanes each direction in the “miracle mile.”

    But boy, would I like to see whatever evidence exists that

    a) big trucks are no longer pounding it to smithereens; or
    b) if they are, they’re getting fined or impounded.

    But most of the LAST 3 YEARS – granted, much of that WAS Covid-impacted, and if ever there was a lame duck, Bill surely was – was (like the 10 or 20 before it) frittered away, leaving the RPA report almost entirely CURRENT!

  • Andrew Porter

    To find your early voting site and where you’ll be voting in NYC’s June 28th primary, go here:

  • Banet

    Digital books are great. But a lifelong love of learning starts in childhood and child take much more easily to physical books than digital ones. So who knows, maybe 30 years from now the entire building will be dedicated to children’s books? ;-)

    To be fair, while I thought it was clever to tuck the noisy kids out of the way (and I speak as a parent of two kids who were pretty noisy until fairly recently) I think they did kids a disservice by making the ceilings as low as they did down there. Another 2 feet would have gone a LONG way towards opening up the space.

    I also would have put in a perimeter of clear glass skylights around the basement room that huge the perimeter of the building footprint so the light from the big windows in that “prow” found its way downstairs. Where those skylights were the floor on the 1st floor they could have been behind a glass railing to 1) keep people from walking on them (though there’s certainly glass that could take the weight) and 2) so no one is looking up anyone’s skirts. ;-)

    I also would have found a way to include ALL those stone panels, not just two of them. Though I suppose everywhere there’s a stone panel there is NOT bookshelves. And it’s a library so shelves are kind of… critical.

    I also like how the librarians are so much closer to the front door than before. So much more welcoming than the old space!

  • Jorale-man

    Pandemic update for 11201 from June 6-12:
    7-day positivity rate: 9.87%
    New people reported positive: 141 (non-reported numbers much higher)
    Current alert level: High

  • Steve

    I agree, the place is great. People love to complain and point out negatives (which is ok) but this really is a great space for adults and kids – have been there a few times already.
    It will feel and look even better when the sidewalk sheds are removed.

  • Andrew Porter

    I was on the subway yesterday—i’ve started going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden again—and noticed how many were not wearing masks. Where’s a cop when you need one?

  • aeshtron

    In my experience NYPD and other LEO’s rarely wear masks.

  • Alex

    Why don’t you report that positivity rate for the state has been steadily going down from 10.80% to 7%? Does that not fit your obsessive Covid narrative?

  • Jorale-man

    Because the BHB is a neighborhood blog, I report on local statistics. If it were a NY State blog, I’d focus on the statewide numbers. Sorry if that doesn’t fit with your obsessive Covid denialism.

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Law enforcement has largely aligned itself with the Republican party and all that it entails. Hence, they don’t feel it’s their duty to uphold these particular laws or regulations.

  • KDHicks

    Anyone know what’s up with the Montague Apothecary? Is it just a pharmacy, are they selling herbs or something? Just wondering what’ll be on all of those display cases…

  • Andrew Porter

    Has anyone noticed the structure going up on the south side of the enclosed part of the Clark Diner, on the corner of Henry and Clark? I looked for permits from DOB or Landmarks, didn’t see any. I’ve asked the BHA about this structure, which looks very permanent.

  • KDHicks

    FYI – Lincoln Restler, Montague BID and BHA looking for weekend Open Streets volunteers from the community. Here’s the sign up form: