By Dennis Holt
DUMBO — For far too long, there has been a chorus of “Where are all the jobs?” But another question is being asked in DUMBO: “Where are all the workers?”
Reports have been intensifying that DUMBO is becoming a major new tech center. The Wall Street Journal last week ran a major story with this lead:
“Tech startups and digital advertising companies have flocked to DUMBO throughout the past decade, drawn to the neighborhood’s industrial lofts that eschew Midtown’s buttoned-down culture. Now DUMBO’s tech scene is about to get bigger.”
But there is a damper on the good news — too many chairs remain empty. Jerry Hultin, president of New York University-Polytechnic Institute, has said, “If there is one common hurdle putting a damper on growth for many DUMBO startups, it is finding qualified programmers and engineers.”
By Dennis Holt
BROOKLYN — Brooklyn, and especially the greater downtown area, has dodged a bullet that should never have been fired in the first place.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, as reported yesterday, has found a new home in DUMBO at 29 Jay St. at the Plymouth Street corner. It is being forced to move because its current space, at Water and Dock streets, is being torn down for a mixed-use building that will include a public middle school. Groundbreaking for that building is expected next summer. An earlier plan, conceived by the city and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, would have converted the old Tobacco Warehouse within the park into an arts and culture center with an auditorium for use by St. Ann’s. The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) filed suit, claiming that the transfer of property rights from the state to the city was irregular and therefore illegal. This view has been supported by the courts.
The BHA decision to go to court caused a furor within the association, leading to several resignations by former officers and leaders.
Many people feared that St. Ann’s would not be able to find a new home in Brooklyn and would have to move to Manhattan.
By Dennis Holt
BROOKLYN — Although the distance isn’t quite correct, it could be called Muss Mile —- the part of Adams Street that stretches from the north side of the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge down to Willoughby Street.
Newcomers to Downtown Brooklyn may not be that familiar with Joshua Muss and his Muss Development LLC, but Muss and Bruce Ratner are the two developers who have made the most significant changes to Downtown Brooklyn.
Muss brought us the first new hotel in Brooklyn in 50 years, and it was a frustrating struggle to get it built. Patience and probity prevailed. Then Muss brought us the second hotel — an extension of the first — and before you knew it, the combined 667-room hotel became one of the largest in the city.
By Dennis Holt
If one were fanciful enough and had a sense of the melodramatic and had been down around Bargemusic on Thanksgiving, one could have heard a violin playing somewhere. It would have been a joyful tune, played surely by Olga Bloom on her way to the Great Music Hall in the sky.
Olga’s passing was no surprise to people who knew her — her illness was known by friends — but her physical departure was as mournful as her physical arrival was joyful a long time ago.
Most people giggled at the thought of a floating music hall, but over time the giggling turned to applause and respect. And if there were a Brooklyn Hall of Fame, she would be there along with her winsome smile.
By Dennis Holt
BROOKLYN — Unless one has to actually construct Brooklyn Bridge Park, like planner Regina Myer and her people, one can take the luxury of sitting back and contemplating what is left to build — not only the landscaped area of the park but also the parts that will produce revenues and amenities.
This luxury was prompted by Tuesday night’s meeting at Borough Hall, where Brooklyn Bridge Park’s managers revealed the seven responses they received on the Request For Proposal (RFP) for a hotel and some housing on Pier 1.
These presentations only involved the elements people can see from the outside. Costs and schedules were not revealed.
SUNSET AT JAMAICA STATION: This shot was made from the concourse above the Long Island Rail Road platforms last Thursday evening. The railroad’s problems and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s selection of two men without transportation experience to head the state agencies that run trains are commented on at left. Photo by Henrik Krogius.
By Henrik Krogius
Review and Comment
Twice within the past month – the only two times I was using it within that period to get to Long Island – the Long Island Rail Road failed to perform as scheduled. The first time was on Sept. 29, when a lightning strike disabled both the switching system and its backup at Jamaica Station. Having arrived at the Hunters Point Avenue station in Queens to take the Montauk train, I waited for half an hour until it became clear nothing would be moving that evening, and I went home to Brooklyn. The second time was last Thursday, when I learned that track work would require a transfer to buses at Speonk. I figured that would add half an hour to my trip. But then, on reaching Babylon, we were informed through a garbled communication that the train would have to sit there for half an hour.
It seemed the LIRR was short a train, the train meant to take passengers on a following train from Babylon to Speonk. So we waited to take on those passengers, and I arrived at my Bridgehampton destination an hour late.
As is well known by LIRR commuters, who use the railroad far more often than I do, such breakdowns and delays occur much more frequently than they should.