Residents Lose Battle Against Brooklyn’s First Whole Foods


The ongoing fight to keep a Whole Foods out of Gowanus, Brooklyn came to an end last night when a city panel approved construction for a facility five times larger than zoning rules allow. While this technically isn’t north Brooklyn news, the issues at hand are certainly relevant. Many local residents and businesses opposed the plan, fearing that it would change the character of the neighborhood and hurt local establishments. This will be the first Whole Foods location in Brooklyn.

According to NY Daily News, construction will begin in the spring and the store will open in the middle of next year. Since purchasing the site at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street in 2004, Whole Foods has had to clean it up (inspectors found the soil to be contaminated) and cut the proposed size of the facility by 25%.

While some local residents support the decision – one tweeted, “awesome, Whole Foods Brooklyn approved… I love this ‘hood, and now I may never move” – the opposition has been vocal. The Gowanus Institute, located in the Old American Can Factory across the street from the Whole Foods site, has voiced concerns about the supermarket taking away potential manufacturing spaces and jobs and in the area. “Gowanus Institute is disappointed by NYC Board of Standards and Appeals’ decision to grant Whole Foods Market the variance to build a large, suburban-style retail food market in an area that has been a haven for well-paying manufacturing jobs protected by New York City’s zoning law and economic policies,” the Institute wrote in a statement about the decision. “The retail development will indeed forever alter the essential manufacturing character of the Gowanus neighborhood.”

A petition also opposes the project on the grounds that Whole Foods will demolish the Coignet Stone Building, a registered landmark. The petition has 357 signatures.

Gowanus, located between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, is known for its industrial past. In 2009, the city declared the Gowanus Canal, which runs up against the Whole Foods plot, an environmental Superfund site.

Does Park Slope hate hip hop?

There is a club opening in Park Slope called Prime 6, that apparently some neighborhood residents are not fans of. They are saying that a hip hop club is not what is best for the Slope. What is best? Replacing hip hop with “indie local artists,” which put family first. Wait…is indie music really seen as a family-oriented genre?

Says one petitioner:

It’s not “racist” to equate hip-hop with an elevated crime rate vis a vi other types of musical genres – It’s just a statistical fact that crime is more likely to occur among urban audiences than among audiences of other demographics. R&B and rap happen to be my two favorite types of music, but no one (especially my African American friends and colleagues) would seriously deny that hip-hop’s violent history tragically precedes it.

Any sentence that begins with “I’m not racist, but…” does not necessarily end with something non-racist.

You can read the whole petition here. Thoughts?

Park Slope Twister

We’re hearing reports on the Twitters and elsewhere that there was a tornado in Park Slope. Did you see it? Lots of wind an hail here in Williamsburg!

UPDATE: Here’s some video from the slope. And a pic.

UPDATE: Yep, that looks like a tornado [via]:

UPDATE: Sign gets lodged in STONE wall by storm winds in Bushwick Brooklyn.