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November 23, 2009 / Media / Brooklyn news / Podcast / Gowanus / Gowanus Canal Zone / Frank Hoier’s Rhythm & News

Here’s Frank’s take on the Gowanus Canal

The Brooklyn Paper

This week, our jammin’ columnist, Frank Hoier, was inspired by our ongoing coverage of the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal for this week’s “Rhythm and News” feature.

He even provided the lyrics this week.

Down on the Gowanus

Words and music by Frank Hoier

Down on the Gowanus
You shouldn’t fear the slime
Nor is the odor the worst thing you will find
Just as artists start to movin’ in
You know what comes next
Real-estate investors are sure to stinkin’ up the place

They come to your hood
And see it’s starting to get nice
They lure the upper classes with baits of “paradise”
Now that they talkin’ ’bout finally cleaning the canal
You can bet the neighborhood
Is gonna change, and how

They come to your hood
And see there’s money to be made
Don’t give a cent about the people livin’ there today
They come in for the boom
But you know they ain’t goin’ to stay
Put up condos and a Whole Foods
Then they’ll be on their way

They come to your hood
Promising to clean it up
Sweepin’ out the dust and dirt and dredgin’ out the muck
But the last time promises were
Made, of makin’ the Gowanus heaven
William Jay Gaynor the was mayor,
The year was nineteen and eleven.

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Reader Feedback

d from ps says:
I am shocked that people are living in the Gowanus Canal area -- a proposed Superfund site. No children, nor anyone should be permitted to live there given the contaminant dangers. The city and state will be sued for billions when all the people living there now will die of cancer. The city must vacate the area immediately and condemn all the contaminated housing there. State legislation is necessary to that end. I will write to our legislators.
Nov. 24, 2009, 1:10 pm
Joe from Gowanus says:
For over 50 years, 4,380 residents have been living in the public housing of the Gowanus neighborhood and there has been NO EVIDENCE of any environmental impact from living close to the Gowanus Canal.

This Superfund is NOT about protecting our health! It is an anti-development measure to prevent change, and to finance the EPA's broke superfund with New York City tax revenue.
Nov. 24, 2009, 2:34 pm
sid from ch says:
The Gowanus Public Housing sits back from the canal just as Carroll Garden's housing does. These houses only get the sewage overflow that can't get out into the Gowanus Canal fast enough to prevent backups during rain storms.

Presently the land around the Gowanus is zoned for manufacturing purposes and that is the current primary use along the banks of the canal.

What the city is proposing to do is change the zoning to allow development of 15,000 new homes on the banks of the polluted Gowanus. Without a Superfund cleanup, these new residents will sit atop polluted land and be exposed to the toxic polluted water way.

The issue: should we allow EPA to first cleanup the canal and land that continues to pollute the waterway, or should we first allow developers to put up all that housing along the canal in it's present state?

Following the second route of building housing first is exactly what lead to the making of Love Canal (the site that kicked off the Superfund program in the first place).

Do we really have such an intense need to build housing along the Gowanus Canal that we need to repeat past mistakes?
Nov. 24, 2009, 2:50 pm
Joe from Gowanus says:
Sid,

Living and breathing air one block from the waterway (ex: Douglas St. or Blatic St.) is no different than living at the shoreline and we have been living here for years without any problems. I apreciate your concern for my health but please don't believe the hype!

Under current zoning, industrial development is allowed to demolish and build WITHOUT any environmental oversight. Recently, demolition at Huntington St. has released harmul toxins to our environment and that practice will continue until the zoning is changed.

Rezoning for residential triggers the environmental oversight needed and the cleanup you seem to want. The EPA is not interested in cleaning - just lawsuits.
Nov. 24, 2009, 3:23 pm
s from ch says:
stupid people live in the Gowanus canal area today
dying every day
their children are getting cancer
the area should be condemned
all people living there must be moved away
Dec. 1, 2009, 11 am
s from ch says:
stupid people live in the Gowanus canal area today
dying every day
they and their children are getting cancer
the area should be condemned
all people living there must be moved away
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:02 am
Stringbean from NYNY says:
Real estate developers always follow on the foot-heels of artists.©
Dec. 18, 2009, 1:11 pm

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