Author Archives: richard

Urban renewal blog #4

After watching the documentary trying to determine whether or not Robert Moses has done to New York City did he help or destroy. To determine that we have to see what exactly Robert Moses did and how it affected people and whether or not his projects helped.

Robert Moses saw money and profit by proposing the idea of modernization and building new complexes. Essentially taking the failed model in Paris. By building many of these project buildings that were shown was a complete fail even if it was successful in the beginning the issue was that many of these buildings and areas had nothing around them and were poorly maintained. Another issue was that Robert Moses didn’t understand was the complexity of the city like Jean Jacobs who understood that the chaos within the city is perfectly in harmony despite how it looked from the outside. I felt that Robert Moses lacked this understanding and for him he just wanted to remove that. But in reality by doing exactly that he was destroying the city.

Building the cross Bronx expressway was physically separating the community as we saw that the community there had a massive ditch built and buildings torn down to build the expressway. This was because Robert’s belief that cars are more important for the city because it was up and coming technological change. He thought it would make the city more prosperous but as Jean Jacobs said it is the people on the street the life the street that make the city. The ecosystem and mutual bonds that create life in the city and make it possible. Not highways or roads tailored specifically for cars as those destroy and divided the city.

My Brooklyn | Blog 3

“My Brooklyn” by Kelly Anderson was able to connect to meĀ  because these changes happened right before my eyes. The film was able to display the changes and gentrification of Brooklyn. Most people don’t realize that Brooklyn is a highly diverse mix of people and cultures. And the film highlighted the changes in the Fulton street area and how different people coexisted there whether it was people who lives around the area or people who came to the businesses there. How the people of these community lives are changed by the shift in opinions of the community.

The new shift of community gentrification moving out people there purely for monetization and personal profit. The idea that adding new high rise buildings and businesses into the community would be beneficial. However the people who have done business there or lived there for most of their lives think otherwise. I believe the issue becomes that the city does have good intentions of bringing wealth and investment into the city however once it is said and done. Any good terms and agreements of affordability and compensation is never given. Driving out businesses who cannotĀ  pay the rent not to mention many of those high rise buildings would be way too expensive for many to live in. The city has completely neglected to ensure that these developers would involve the community with their decisions. Instead allowing them to completely drive out the community. As many didn’t have a chance to voice their opinions or thoughts. Issue isn’t the developers it is the people who sought such high rise buildings if there is no demand there would be no need to supply. Maybe if people who knew what these buildings did to other people maybe they wouldn’t move into these new developments. Until then more communities are at risk like Anderson stated even her new neighborhood is not safe from gentrification.

Blog Post 2

After reading a part of Joseph Alexiou book about the whale and actually having him come in was a great opportunity as he informed us a lot of the past of the Gowanus and how hundreds of years of development has lead up to the Gowanus we know now. What I found most interesting was some of the sources of the pollution and how has this pollution still deeply embedded within the Gowanus. And will effect the future of the Gowanus in terms of development and cleanup.

During the peak of the industrial era the Gowanus had many plans to be this amazing place of opportunity and to bring in development of housing and all types of businesses. As many large industrial and plants moved into the area for easy access of movement of material thanks to the canal. We found that although the plants gave the area activity it was heavily polluting the area. Of course at the time many regulations of waste dumping or disposal of toxic material were not properly handled by the city.

As a result raw sewage was essentially pumped and dumped into the canal without being rerouted to some treatment plant which is why today we still see drains that bring sewage still directly into the canal and this was pretty much due to the fact that it would cost significantly more for them to have made separate pipes for rainwater and sewage so it was merged. Also many of the industrial buildings just dumped the waste into the ground or into the canal. For example factories that produced gas they had a process of coal carbonization where the coal was heated and the gas was collected what was left was a tar substance in which they merely dumped into the surrounding area or into the canal because of lack of regulation at the time and not to mention it would cost way more for them to properly ship the matter out of the area.

The issue now is the tar is in the ground with toxic oils most people would say well it wouldn’t matter because it’s far underground however the issue is that these material are still very toxic and as people develop some of these toxic waste may be brought to the surface and inhaled many of these pollution contain harmful chemicals and are carcinogens which can cause many ailments such as cancer. Also it is highly possible due that these toxic material may also seep into the drains which go straight into the canal. The plans to remove this toxic layer of material is pretty difficult the plan to create a composite layer which cannot be defeated by the toxic layer is very difficulty and includes various material absorb and block the toxic layer from seeping through.

I found that the pollution despite being hundreds of years old and the plans that created the infrastructure of the Gowanus still affect us today and will continue to affect us in the future. However the plans to remove the polluted layers in the canal is very promising and I can see that it will bring success in bringing the Gowanus one step closer to being pollution free in the future.


Kensington, Brooklyn

Hello, My name is Richard and I reside in Kensington, Brooklyn near church ave. To me Kensington is right in the center of Brooklyn. To get to anywhere in Brooklyn I am a short trip away. And for me it is more than just a place that my home is in but my community where I have a sense of belonging. I’ve lived in this community for pretty much all my life and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

I live in a 11 story apartment building the tallest around across the street is 2 more buildings and any further are houses. My building is cold war and walking in it you can tell from the old basement and the emergency shelter signs still up in the stairwells. I live on the eighth floor so I can see around me for the most part prospect park right in the distance and across the street is another building. The view isn’t half bad I can even see Manhattan from my window although it is quite far.

Right downstairs around the corner is a restaurant and rite aid with some smaller shops. The few blocks blocks on church avenue is packed with stores. And considering the surrounding area this place is filled with people because if you were to go down a few streets you wouldn’t see that many people. The area is jam packed with traffic in the day bus stops scatters every two or three blocks. And in the heart of it a massive intersection with bus stops, bank, stores, train station, doctors office everything you could think of. There are about 5 schools in Kensington and more blocks away. Education, transportation, food and housing the neighborhood has just about everything seconds away from home. And if you took a few minutes to walk you would hit Prospect Park which in itself is a whole other world to explore, barely a step away. If you drive ocean parkway and prospect expressway is few blocks away to get to and from Manhattan and Queen and anywhere in Brooklyn as quickly as possible.

What I find interesting is the history of Kensington I remember as a kid walking to school on Church Avenue there was this train rail that was still exposed out of the asphalt and concrete. As a kid I had no idea what ran through this community in the past but I later found out it was some kind of electric trolley and there was also a Theater also. I wouldn’t have known also a bank that looks like it has been there for ages and a post office and you can tell they were built a long time ago in the front of the bank is this plated triangle with text in the ground I never knew why it was there. Maybe I’ll find out one day. I believe my building has some kind of bunker below the basement maybe i’ll explore that also one day.

With the mix of cultures of different people from all over the world different shops and foods. I love living in Kensington I’ve grown accustomed to the community. And watching the neighborhood change and improve over the years I love living here nothing that would want me to leave.