The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oy. The Q Gets Still More Neighbors and A Tall Building

Rebecca Baird-Remba from NY Yimby shows just how much my block will change thx to the unfriendly zoning of R7-1. No more Pentecostal crooning, I guess. The folks who lived in one of these houses were among the sweetest on the street. Sigh. And no affordable units in the new building.

Brookland Capital is taking Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush by storm. Yesterday the Bed-Stuy-based developer filed plans for an eight-story building at 88 Clarkson Avenue, which will be its fifth new project in the area.
The 75-foot-tall building will rise only two and a half blocks from Prospect Park, between Flatbush and Bedford avenues. The Parkside Avenue Q stop is close by, and so is the Winthrop Street stop on the 2 and 5 trains.
The development will hold 46 apartments and 31,750 square feet of residential space. Apartments will average just 690 square feet, signaling lots of studios and one-bedrooms and possibly rentals.
The ground floor will be devoted to recreation space, parking, and a lobby. Each of the upper floors will host six to seven units. The parking garage on the first floor will include 14 spots – the minimum required to satisfy zoning.
The 8,500-square-foot development site is currently home to a squat single-story church and two wood frame houses clad in vinyl siding. Demolition permits have not yet been filed to knock down the old structures.

Scumbags Harassing Gardeners

Nice guys, these Makhani Brothers. So incensed are they that someone might challenge their allegedly faked deed to the land under the Maple Street Garden that they've taken to harassing the gardeners with all manner of legal mumbo jumbo. Story from Nathan Tempey at Gothamist. What was that Public Enemy song? Bring the Lawyers?

The Q's loving this pic! I like pretending they're watching an environmentally friendly mime promoting composting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sound and Fury, Signifying Not A Lot?

Depending on the size of the gash in the tire, the air leaks fast or slow, and last night, the squeak was audible as the fierce rhetoric of the past few months came down to a simple, maybe even simplistic, presentation. The Empire Study Group, which lists Alicia Boyd as one of its principals, presented its Plan for Empire Boulevard last night. The strip of commercially zoned properties from Flatbush to Bedford is hardly magisterial in its current incarnation, but it has taken on an outsized role in the battle for the future of the neighborhood.

Richard Bearak, the Borough President's head of Land Use, presented first, followed by an update on the exciting plans for the Bedford-Union Armory. Then Professor Tom Angotti, much in need of a lozenge, shared summation of his numerous encounters with the Empire Study Group by suggesting that the current C8-2 zoning already invites creative commercial uses, even if none of them have been hitherto attempted. Suggestions were plentiful and myriad. Museums, pharmacies, bistros, community centers, creative streetscapes, a roller rink (I know, I know) or re-purposing of bulky storage marts…the list goes on. Best part, says Angotti, you don't have to rezone and give up ANYthing. Just take residential development off the table. In fact, the vast majority of attendees and committee members at last night's ULURP committee meeting seem to favor taking Empire Blvd completely off the Planning Study request to the City. Without the presence of Alicia Boyd (did she too have a cold?) I must say the whole proceedings were anxious but civil. As I've noted many times before, the disagreements are really not so severe as to deserve Ms. Boyd's vitriol, vendetta and insistent character assassination. It's a discussion, a disagreement even, but it's not nor should it ever be all out war.

But here's the thing. City Planning officials have already told us, in public and private, that they are not going to invest oodles of resources for a net result of no new housing. Because in the heart of a housing crisis, for homes at ALL income levels, it simply doesn't make sense to create less opportunities for growth, and less opportunities for affordable housing. They maintain that our neighborhood has precious little space available for new apartments that DON'T involve teardowns.  Empire Blvd is perfect for new construction, and developers will be keen to build decently and pay for amenities and infrastructure and even 20 or 30 percent affordable set-asides because, well, people will WANT to live near the Park and Garden and plentiful transit. For that, they'd look at "soft spots" throughout the proposed area from NY Ave to the Park and E.P. to Clarkson, to help us fend off unnecessary and out-sized apartment buildings. 

And that leaves us at an impasse. Much of the neighborhood would desperately like new protections against teardowns and overdevelopment. But those near Empire are unwilling to cede their commercial frontier to new residents. We have what they might call a humdinger of a conundrum.
But then we always knew this. There were no surprises last night, and thankfully no bloodshed. Just a restatement of the problem. And while visions of a commercially enticing, walkable couple of blocks leading up to the Park might sound alluring, we do not own the land, nor does the City. Private hands will make private decisions based on how best to grow their investments. Richard seems to think a likely scenario would be some sort of mixed-use medical facility, as Obamacare makes the CityMDs more viable economically. Look for 10 to 12 story buildings of SOMEthing, he says, even hotels. But it remains highly unlikely that landowners will poor millions into amenities like the ones of the Empire Study Group plan. Another scenario? Economic downturn. And...nothing. No changes, no residential, no new commercial...but plenty of burgers!

For those just joining the conversation, the Q enjoys restating the obvious:

To recap…

1) Your Community Board #9, yours truly in cahoots, conducted a series of meetings and forums in 2013-14 to determine how best to respond to aggressive development in the area, particularly in response to the giant tower at 626 Flatbush.

2) The Board voted overwhelmingly in Spring 2014 to send City Planning a letter requesting that a Planning Study be jointly undertaken, to determine how best to plan for growth, affordability and infrastructure while protecting the context, economics and history of the neighborhood.

3) Alicia Boyd formed a resistance group to prevent such a Planning Study to commence, lest the City place ITS priorities over those of surrounding community residents, most notably, herself.

4) In Fall of 2014, Ms. Boyd managed to so disrupt Community Board meetings and change the dynamics to such a degree that the Board reversed itself, rescinded the letter and offer to work with Planning, and began to scheme a better use for Empire Blvd than residential. MTOPP claimed that huge towers were planned that would destroy the neighborhood and lead to unchecked gentrification; elected officials said no, 10-14 stories were more likely in a contextual rezoning, and only that tall if they included substantial set-asides for affordable apartments at (roughly) 60% of Area Media Income, or families of 4 making up to $50,000. (It should be noted that the housing market continued to froth, and gentrification continued unabated even as the standoff wore on.) The City's retorts were ridiculed as lies and MTOPP attacked anyone who dared contradict that conclusion. This led to the resignation of CB9's newly elected board chair, its secretary, and the filing of numerous lawsuits aimed to rid the CB of corruption. The Q took aim and fired at MTOPP frequently and without mercy, citing Ms. Boyd's seeming inability to listen, compromise and play nice. Ms. Boyd devised a counterattack that included not just the Q but all elected officials and district manager Pearl Miles, among many others. Mr. Imani Henry of "Equality for Flatbush" orchestrated a petition for Tim Thomas's ouster based on his supposed racist hatred of the entire black community, of which he, Alicia Boyd, Karen Fleming and Mathieu Eugene are apparently the sole members. 

5) Amidst Ms. Boyd's relentless attacks, DM Miles was canned in October of 2015. There was much rejoicing, but there was also a $20 million lawsuit and a lot of paper back up her claims, all of which she took with her on her way out the door. Ms. Miles has pledged to do everything in her power to see that her enemies meet justice, both financial and otherwise. Oh, and she wants her job back. What an odd scene that would be, should it come to pass. Welcome back to hell, Pearl! Especially since she'd probably retire soon after.


6) The Community Board continued to deliberate the arcane details of Zoning Regulations amidst a citywide effort to address, in its eyes, the obstacles preventing the production of better and more affordable housing.  CBs, often known for their reactionary NIMBYism, responded in character, overwhelmingly disapproving ANY increases in density at the hands of the City. Economists note that this is not the first city-wide construction boom, nor should we expect it to last indefinitely. Choices, both made and unmade, may bear consequences for decades to come. That is, it's not often that the City is in a position to dictate (mandate) affordable housing be built and manage to keep a seat at REBNY's bountiful table.

7) We wait. And wait. And wait. While the Board rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic. Like so much of what I've seen come before the Board, there is no consensus in the making. Only reiterations of the same tired positions.

Perhaps, as with the Congress of this great nation, this is how democracy is supposed to work. Sometimes it's designed to ensure that we do nothing at all, while we bitterly dig ourselves deeper into our own rigid positions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Comic Relief - Sat Night @ Bluebird

Whoa, Nelly! Time to step back into the light of love, joy and stand-up comedy. Right in the P.L. of G. Designed to coincide with everyone's least favorite holiday...even those in love stress out about it. Amiright?


Friday, February 5, 2016

Et tu, Imani? Imani Henry Is Behind the Racism Charge

The Q had always wondered where all the talk of my racist blog started. I combed old posts for things I might have written that could be misconstrued. I guess I figured my sense of humor was such that sarcasm could get me in trouble. I blame David Letterman. I was a pretty sincere kid, then I caught the irony bug. It's really hard to wash it out in the tub.

A couple years ago I came across a guy named Imani Henry. His group "Equality for Flatbush" sounded great on the surface. The anti-gentrification thing seemed a tough sell, but he'd been priced out of various neighborhoods (who hasn't?) and felt that black Brooklyn was being colonized. Basically, I agreed, and we spoke on the phone about his efforts to film cops doing bad stuff. Cop Watch. I think it's become a lot tougher for police to go all Rodney King knowing they'll be filmed, but clearly it hasn't stopped the insanity. I never imagined what would happen next. He went crazy on me at a CB9 meeting after I called out Alicia Boyd as a jerk. This was, in his mind, paramount of treason.

When Imani hooked up with Alicia and MTOPP they saw that they were birds of a feather. They were willing to go to any length to achieve their objectives...actually, I still don't fully understand what their objectives are. Clearly there's a power thing there, the ability to say you're leading a movement, that you have substance, that your thoughts and values have worth in society. (Wait...why does that sound so familiar?)

Last year a petition was put out asking for my removal from CB9. I wasn't surprised to hear that MTOPP was pushing it. The racism cry was painful but I kinda got it. Nobody likes a big white guy yelling at you. Nobody. Except maybe at a football game. My bad.

So who was behind the petition? Who was pushing it and making it such a big deal? I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to learn it was Imani Henry. "Equality" for Flatbush indeed. What a sad excuse for an activist, sinking to lying about people and skulking behind the scenes. Oh, he'd deny it of course. But this time Mr. Henry, you've been caught red-handed. The Q has unearthed the following email, and clearly Mr. Henry did NOT want to go one the record as having written and promoted the petition. As a local blogger I guess this as close as I'm going to get to the Pentagon Papers.

CB9 Chair Removes the Q For...Being the Q

It is with both surprise and relief that the Q is here to tell you just how disappointed and oddly elated he is. I am. I've been removed as Chair of Transportation, after enduring an evening of blatant lies about my character. I was particular struck by LMA President Ben Edwards' harsh words. He barely every speaks at all, and apparently he holds me in extremely low regard. Perhaps his miserable work as ULURP Committee Chair last year plays into it? To date, I've not knocked any members of the Board personally, and I'll continue to try as best I can to take the high road. Ben blew me off when I looked for LMA to weigh in on the Empire Reconstruction Project. As in he didn't say "no." He just never responded.

I'm not feeling anything yet. BUT, I did send the below to anyone and everyone. I joined the Board in part to shed some light onto its inner workings. Why stop now? 

Chair Demetrius Lawrence:

Okay. This is very disappointing. I believe that the members last night have internalized all the nasty things that Alicia Boyd and Karen Fleming and their group have been saying about me. They are false, and personal. No one who knows me, or has read extensively of my writings, could conceivably call me a racist. I take great offense, and will continue to call out people who take quotes out of context to skewer me.

The content of last night's meeting was clear. The Board is unable to contain a virus that has spread through the membership. It is poisonous, and it is vicious. Rather than stand up to it, and support your fellow Board member, you decided to capitulate.

I do not agree at all that members of the Community Board cannot be activist members of society in general. The Board's assertion that we must somehow remain silent and passive while people in the community hijack our meetings is offensive to the hundreds of people who have signed petitions to the contrary. Look around you - on other Community Boards you will find countless members and officers and chairs who could easily be called activists and outspoken critics of politics. This is not a fault - it's a plus! If anything I fault board members for NOT taking stronger positions against housing injustice, City planning, greedy landlords and developers, and broken City agencies.

Today you did a great disservice to the community. By once again caving to the outrageous behavior of MTOPP, you have shown that you do not have the resolve to stand up to Ms. Boyd.

Mr. Chairman, I think you are trying to be all things to all people. That is NOT leadership. You have alienated a giant segment of our neighborhood in order to appease a few.

And I will not be silent as CB9 continues to mock the very idea of community by removing hard working, caring and passionate members of that community. To remove someone for breaking a rule or law - that's one thing. Today, you cut me loose because a few members of the community don't agree with me and set out to "destroy me," in the worlds of Alicia Boyd.

With respect to you personally, but not to your actions today,

Tim

P.S. I will not remain on the ULURP committee. Chair Liburd has done a tremendous job trying to run the meetings in the face of MTOPP's behavior. But the meetings themselves have become a farce. After twice voting for a Planning Study, the Board continues to drag its feet. 



On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Demetrius Lawrence <demetrius.lawrence@gmail.com> wrote:
Tim,

Good morning. 

I want to first Thank you for attending last night’s special executive committee meeting. 

We appreciate and Thank you for your service as Chair of the Transportation committee, however at this time as Chairman of this Community Board 9 and in accordance with our by laws; Article VII sec. 8.2 (The committee chairpersons shall be appointed members, shall be appointed annually by the Chairperson of the Board and shall serve at the pleasure of the Chairperson of the Board), I will remove you as Chair of the Transportation committee effective immediately.

Myself or another executive committee member will be chairing next weeks transportation committee meeting. Please share with Terri and myself any additional information for the February 10th Transportation committee meeting.

Tim as you offer a wealth of knowledge and information to this board, we would like for you to remain as a member of our ULURP committee.


Sincerely,

Demetrius Lawrence
Chairman - CB9 

Blogger's Band Plays Rare Show - Tomorrow Saturday

Perhaps you've heard the racket coming out of a basement on Lefferts. Babe the blue OX, once a fixture of Lower East Side dens of iniquity, plays a show at the Dad-Rock friendly hour of 3:30 pm sharp (3pm doors) on Saturday Feb 6 at the Owl Music Parlor right here in Lefferts at 497 Rogers. Some of you Daddy and Mommy rockers may know Elizabeth Mitchell, who's child-friendly records for Smithsonian Folkways make excellent entries into the American folk canon. She'll be playing with her sweet singing band IDA. With appearances by Karla and Matt Schickele (of "K" and Beekeeper fame - Karla also runs the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.), and Chris Rael & Tom Kotik. Should be a great time. The sets are short, the whole shebang will be over by 6, in time for some late afternoon pie at Pels or sammiches at Gratitude Cafe.

$10 at the door, all proceeds benefit the kids of beloved lost brother Jan Kotik, a gem of a musician and artist who will be missed til the day we die. He moved to Prague a dozen years ago, married, had two adorable boys, and died at a tender age.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Prosecution...and Defense (update)

Meeting happened. Lots of words of advice on how to behave in meetings. Will try to conduct myself with less passion in the future. Not sure about the Trans Chair position, but less inclined to care one way or another. Apparently it is considered unseemly to blog while sitting on a Community Board. Couldn't disagree more, but not the first time I've held a contrary opinion.

Holy cow. Why would the Q deprive readers of the verbal pyrotechnics in advance of my trial tonight to be removed as Transportation Chair of CB9? One of the reasons I joined the Board in the first place was to share a (big) bird's eye view on the mechanism of local government. So here's Alicia's latest "poem," sent to hundreds of her minions and plenty of swiped emails, and then my response. Happy reading!

Reminder Today!


Dear Neighbors
CB9’s Executive Board will be considering Tim Thomas removal off of the Transportation Committee
on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 7 pm
at 890 Nostrand Ave.
This man should not only be removed from the Transportation Committee
but from the Board.
And it should not just be because of a fabricated vote,
but his whole mannerism and lack of professionalism,
his aggression and lack of respect.  His racist blog.
He has called the black community, Nutjobs, afraid, assoholics etc...
He called his members of his committee, “Fucking Clowns
He referred to FOIL requests as “Bullshit
He has an harassment charged filed against him
Petitions have been presented against him and given to CB9
and to Eric Adams,
He has disrespected his fellow board members by talking about
them in his blog post.
He has stood up time and time again yelling at the public
making personal attacks against members of the community.
So please come out and let CB9 Executive Board know
It is time for him to go!
Also please come and see if the Chairs of CB9 now consider
themselves apart of the Executive Board with voting power.
In violation of our Bylaws!
Alicia,
www.mtopp.org
(718) 703-3086


Wow! Ms. Boyd, even for you, this is over-the-top. Since you've stated many lies and allegations to the world, I believe I should respond. The folks you sent this email to include dozens of community members, many of whom I consider friends. You have also sent it to elected officials and members of the media. Shame on you.

First: I love my neighborhood. I love the black community, and I prize the black culture of my home borough. Many of the readers of my blog are black, and continue to appreciate my frank essays on race. Some disagree - white, black, other. But I am always respectful, clear, and pointed in my criticism of ongoing racism and injustice. I look at issues in the face. Sometimes I don't like what I see coming from white folks and I call them out on their bull. Sometimes the hypocrites are people of color. I am proud of every statement I've made and stand by it. I don't think you have read much of what I've written, or you would never call me out for racism. I will never know what it is to be a person of color in this society, and I don't pretend to. I speak from the heart. BUT none of that has anything to do with my work on the Community Board - I merely express myself as you do, under the full protection of the First Amendment. I will continue to exercise that right.

Second: You are indeed a menace to civil discourse and I will continue to call you out, and certain members of your group, for your hateful, disruptive and menacing behavior. I've seen you go off on me and other members of the Board. Were I the Chair, frankly I would have you barred from meetings for at least a year. There is precedence, and I will continue to advocate for your prompt removal from meetings you disrupt. That is my right, though clearly not all the Board is inclined to agree with me. Unlike you, I respect the majority opinion.

Third: What I said about the addition of Karen Fleming to my committee was not meant for anyone's ears but the person with whom I was speaking. And I apologized to the person who felt she was lumped in with her, and you. Karen Fleming had already logged numerous complaints about me before the Board, and it's my belief she should never have been added to a committee that I chair. She can join other committees as the Chair sees fit, but her addition actually broke the Chair's commitment to not add more Community members than Board members to a committee. I'll ask that she and others be removed. Again, it's the Chair's call.

Four: You should try running a meeting with openly hostile participants. It ain't easy! I've been fair, but I've been firm. I will listen, but I won't be bullied.

Five: I have never called the Black Community "nutjobs or ass-a-holics." I have called you and two other members of your scrum that. In honor of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., I have judged you on the content of your character. One of your pals likes to point a finger in my face and call me "KKK." Nice. You have a nasty habit of calling people who don't agree with you "Uncle Toms." Again, nice. You have no moral authority to call me out on anything.

Six: I did call your FOIL request "bullshit." Why? Because you need only have asked us the question. Your constant threats of legal action only underscore just how unable you are to play nicely, as a team. 

Seven: I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I repeat, I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I have already been through this with the Board. The minutes from the meeting in question will be voted on at the next Transportation Committee meeting. There were occasional mistakes made, but never, I repeat NEVER have a lied about anything in public. EVER.

You speak a lot about "community" Alicia Boyd. It's high time you exercise the idea in your own life and in your activism. We are not your enemy - we are your neighbors.

Tim

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Scrapping

Okay, question. Who of you knows what this is? No reading!


When I was growing up most people had 'em. That's right, the Disposall. I always wondered why dad pronounced it so funny, but now I get it. The spelling suggests it. I never knew it looked like the above pic, though, just under the sink, usually covered by a cupboard. I just assumed there was some metal troll down there chewing up the orange and banana peels, and occasionally, a spoon. You had to run some water, and I guess people thought that was wasteful. These days the things don't take much water at all.

Some of you young-'uns might not know it, but there was a HUGE environmental movement in the 1970's. During the OPEC oil crisis everyone started looking to save on fossil fuels. "Don't heat up the whole outdoors!" was a favorite line when you left the front door open. "Kill-a-Watt" was an ad campaign. A guy named Eul Gibbons ate a whole tree when he wasn't hawking Grape Nuts cereal. (I think he might have died from too much bark; I can't remember the true story). My grandpa was way into organic foods and jarring. Granted he'd been a farmer his whole life, but he understood there was a big difference between what you grow to eat and what you grow to sell at market - usually food meant for cattle and pigs anyway. Everyone talked about how we were destroying the planet. There were books, and movies (remember Soylent Green?) about how overpopulation was going to make us all follow the vision of that Neil Young song.

Now everyone likes to talk compost. I compost (some). Do you compost? It's become a bit of a politically correct conversation. Smug, even, like saying "that's so easy" during a Trivial Pursuit question. So I goes over to neighbor Kendall Christensen's house (in le Manor) for coffee and a healthy fruit breakfast, and he entertains me with the story of Maple Street School's move to its Lincoln Road location about 10 years ago (he was instrumental in that difficult endeavor) and his current stewardship of the Linden Avenue extended care facility - the NY Congregational Nursing Home - you know, the site where the old building at 123 Linden is going to be taken down in exchange for 20+ story apartment building. Both those stories deserve their own posts! But then Kendall blurts forward and blows my mind with his beliefs, well-researched and documented by his core business, which is garbage, literally. Here's what he says:

We shouldn't be focusing on composting to solve our food waste needs. It's about turning the waste into watery goo and sending it to through the sewers. The time for the Disposall's return, ladies and gentlemen, is NOW. Here's his treatise:


Following the Philadelphia food scrap model

Philadelphia leaders recently amended the city's building code to require all new residences to include in-sink food waste disposers. In the wake of that action, a consultant with long-time ties to the country's largest producer of sink disposal systems offers his viewpoint on the state of residential food scrap diversion.
January 26, 2016
By Kendall Christiansen, principal of Gaia Strategies
Kendall Christiansen
The lowly garbage disposal is turning the corner to new-found respectability as an essential element in urban toolkits for managing household food scraps.
The latest evidence: In December, Philadelphia adopted a building code requirement for in-sink disposers in all new residential construction, beginning now. The City Council’s action, followed by then-Mayor Michael Nutter’s endorsement, emerged from three years of discussion and research, including a 175-home demonstration project conducted in partnership with InSinkErator.
Over the course of a year, moderate-income homeowners received a disposer and learned how to use it effectively; waste audits, surveys and focus groups confirmed high levels of satisfaction and use, which was not surprising, given that 60 million disposers are installed across the U.S.
Most importantly, the project found that food waste – approximately 10 percent of Philadelphia's residential waste – was reduced by 35 percent. Similar projects in five other cities (Boston; Calgary, Alberta; Chicago; Milwaukee; and Tacoma, Wash.) confirmed or improved on those results.
What's more, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) – recognized nationally for its innovative leadership – joined the project as it was being planned. PWD operates two state-of-the-art water resource recovery facilities that turn slurried food waste into clean water, biogas and Class A biosolids. It also confirmed findings from a dozen studies that additional water from disposer-using households is minimal.

Multiple methods a must

Prior to consideration of the in-sink disposer project, Philly had already resisted truck-based collection of household organics. For a host of reasons – including pest and odor management – it also has encouraged use of commercial disposers for more than 25 years.
Ultimately, the city's decision acknowledges the need for multiple tools to tackle the challenges – and harness opportunities – associated with managing food scraps as a resource, especially in dense urban areas with high percentages of apartment dwellers. Philadelphia also supports community-based composting and is reviewing other options as part of its current solid waste management plan process.
In addition, using food waste disposers in this manner addresses three key goals of Philadelphia's GreenWorks sustainability plan: less trash, more renewable energy, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Other cities – both those that participated in a demonstration project and those that did not – are considering in-sink disposers with a fresh perspective.
The method is no longer hidden under the sink. Philadelphia's decision to embrace and embed disposers into residential buildings and infrastructure systems will help advance similar initiatives elsewhere.
Kendall Christiansen is principal of Gaia Strategies, based in Brooklyn, NY. He formerly was senior consultant to InSinkErator, leading its public and environmental affairs work across the U.S.; he continues to support its engagement in the organics resource discussion across Canada.

Then, in response to my question about why Disposall's were banned from many new and old apartment buildings, he had this to say:

 "This week the City Council is doing an oversight hearing on the pilot program to separately collect organic waste (food scraps and yard waste) in certain neighborhoods. One of our neighbors is intensely engaged in this issue - sharing the goal of getting food scraps out of our trash and landfills - but from the perspective of managing it as a liquid resource (which means underground pipes) rather than a solid (which means trucks). He played a small role in the city's legalization of in-sink food waste disposers (aka garbage disposals) in 1997, and has been working with cities across the U.S. and Canada for the past decade to promote their use. His home has kept virtually 100% of their food waste out of household trash for nearly 20 years.

Yes, there remains something of what i call the "old building pipes syndrome" - which is mostly a myth, but has been sufficient to keep some buildings from installing them; esp true of rentals, where disposers can be abused and present more of a maintenance issue (or at least the perception of, for NYers generally unfamiliar with them). After city-wide legalization in 1997, Battery Park City required them in its last six apartment buildings, and NYCHA began installing them - initially as a pilot and then as a standard appliance when renovating kitchens. I've had numerous discussions w/sanitary engineers who try to advise building clients to not be concerned; common sense would suggest that pulverizing food scraps makes it LESS likely for pipes to be obstructed - when compared with NOT having a disposer and people flushing leftovers down their toilets (yes; i've heard pretty amazing stories, even from folks that should know better). A pipes video here. on a going forward basis, IF apartment buildings are given a choice between managing a food scraps collection system, or installing/using disposers, it's pretty clear to me which option most will choose.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Neighbor Takes Some De(Con)struction Pics

Thx to Diane Greene Lent for taking some pictures of the carnage. Nicely collaged to boot!