Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Beer and Skyscrapers

Just got this email, and thought I'd pass the message along:

As you may or may not know, Brooklyn Brewery owner Steve Hindy is a supporter of developer Bruce Ratner's infamous 22-acre Atlantic Yards project (the NBA arena plus 16 skyscrapers). A few months ago, the Brooklyn institution known as Freddy's stopped serving all Brooklyn Brewery products as a small but defiant stand against those who support this blatant display of greed and ethical and moral bankruptcy. (Yes, you too, Mr. Markowitz.) So, why not join 'em in boycotting Hindy's beers? It's not going to drive them out of business, but dontcha think it could be a bit of a PR predicament if Brooklyn stopped drinking Brooklyn?

Actually, I stopped drinking Brooklyn awhile back, ever since I heard that they use unfiltered Brooklyn tapwater to make it. I could be wrong about this, but somehow it just didn't taste the same after that. Sierra Nevada, Red Hook ESB, Magic Hat, Sixpoint, Sam Adams, and Guinness are all better beers. So yeah, boycott Brooklyn.

The Ratner plan really chaps my hide. I moved to Brooklyn to get away from chain malls and identical glass cubicles. Sidewalks, old brownstones, and quirky local businesses are a priceless resource; you can find a Marshall's anywhere. Yes, Old Navy provides jobs for the locals--minimum wage, dead-end, cookie-cutter jobs that hold people in a stable state of bland ignorance. Work at Old Navy, spend your paycheck at Old Navy, go home, repeat till you die. What a life.


Painterdog gave me a link to an outstanding article by Jonathan Lethem, detailing some of the overwhelming objections to Frank Gehry's drawings for the Ratner project. The prose itself is a delight to read:

Any chance you want to take a harder look at your plans? When unveiling the latest, you explained the appearance of the spearhead tower, which you've named "Miss Brooklyn" (spurring the inevitable quip, We'll miss it, all right). You explained: "When we were studying Brooklyn, we happened upon a wedding, a real Brooklyn wedding. And we decided that 'Miss Brooklyn' was a bride. She's a bride with her flowing bridal veil—I really overdid it. If you had seen the bride, you would—I fell in love with her." Pardon me, but bleeechh. I don't know whether many great buildings have been founded on notions at once so metaphorically impoverished and so slickly patronizing. But somehow I doubt that any have.


painterdog said...
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painterdog said...

Brooklyn beer is pretty bad as beer goes. So no loss there. I like Czech and German beer myself. Sam Adams is ok.

As far as the developers go you should include Frank Gehry in the list for his design of out-of-scale flotilla of skyscrapers he proposes to build on a series of sites between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn.

The above is from a article in Slate:
Brooklyn's Trojan Horse
What's wrong with the buildings Frank Gehry wants to put in my neighborhood?
By Jonathan Lethem

Chris Rywalt said...

Brooklyn Beer may not be very good -- I'm a beer snob who only drinks lambics, as a general rule, so I'm not the one to ask -- but the fact that it uses unfiltered Brooklyn tap water is no reason to dismiss it. New York City tap water is some of the best water on the planet, bar none.

I grew up on it. In Staten Island, not Brooklyn, but it's all pretty much the same. I never ordered soft drinks in restaurants because I always drank the water which was free. I never understood buying bottled water, either.

Then I moved to Hoboken, which has some of the most godawful tap water in America, possibly in the world. I mean, it was so bad, if you made a pitcher of iced tea with sugar and left it out overnight, in the morning it'd be OPAQUE from all the organisms that had fed on the sugar overnight. Really. It was just the worst tasting, most foul water ever approved by the EPA.

Hello, bottled water. Hello, Coke in the diner.

Years later here in my little suburban New Jersey enclave the water is much better than Hoboken's but still basically undrinkable unless you're very thirsty. While on my occasional trips back into New York I avail myself of the tap water whenever possible.

So feel free to rag on New York developers and Brooklyn beer, but don't you dare pick on New York City H2O!

Chris Rywalt said...

P.S. For years the dentist I went to would walk into the examination room with me and say, "You have great teeth. Oh, that's right, you grew up in New York City." New Jersey water isn't fluoridated.

I have great, unstoppable teeth. I haven't had a cavity since junior high school when I stopped brushing my teeth out of extreme laziness. The last dentist I went to said, "How am I supposed to put my kids through college with patients like you?"

Fluoride in the water supply may be polluting our precious bodily fluids, but it's great for teeth.

serena said...

I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with you about the tap water. When I installed a Pür water filter on my kitchen tap, I was shocked at how fast it clogged up. Within five weeks every new filter is so saturated with gunk that the water flows to slower than a trickle--it drips one drop at a time. Buying new filters is a heavy tax on my income, but now I'm afraid to do without them.

The problem isn't with the crystalline reservoir upstate, which I have visited many a time--it is with the ancient Brooklyn pipes. I have heard tell of the time they opened a water pipe on my ex-boyfriend's block in W-burg--a water pipe, not a sewer pipe. The overpowering stench caused everyone in the vicinity to flee.

Another time, eight guys were working in a trench on the same water pipe. Suddenly they all started popping out of the trench like rabbits. A rat the size of a Golden Retriever was trundling down the pipeline on his regular route from Queens to Bay Ridge. I have spoken to actual eyewitnesses of this event.

Chris Rywalt said...

Maybe Brooklyn is the problem. I'm not there often enough to know the water very well. Staten Island wasn't bad. The water is, in fact, quite possibly the only good thing on Staten Island, and certainly the only thing I miss from living there. And my sampling of water from Manhattan water fountains and so forth has been satisfactory.

A friend of my father's works for the city water department people. One time he was down in a hole in Manhattan and sticking out of the ground he found an old wooden water pipe. It was basically a hollowed-out log, about the size of a telephone pole. He got a chainsaw and shaved off a two-inch cross-section from the end and gave it to my dad, who lacquered it and put it on a display stand.

I love New York.