STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST NEWS AT BROOKLYNPAPER.COM
Since 1978 • (718) 260–2500 • Brooklyn, NY • ©2019 Serving Brownstone Brooklyn, Sunset Park, Williamsburg & Greenpoint
12 pages • Vol. 42, No. 40 • October 4–10, 2019
Storm sewers fl ushing dog poop into Gowanus Canal
By Colin Mixson and Kevin
Police are hunting the gunman who shot
a man in the butt at the MetroTech Center
in Downtown Brooklyn Thursday, according
Multiple witnesses reported hearing
a single gunshot from inside the public
plaza at the center of the Downtown office
complex at around noon on Sept. 26,
before two men sprinted south through the
promenade. One of the men was seen cradling
what appeared to be a pistol in the
pocket of his yellow sweatshirt.
“I’ve never seen anyone run so fast,”
said Jeanne Eisenhardt, a saleswoman at
Brooklyn Paper’s parent company Schneps
Media, who was dining outside Café
Metro at the time.
Police arrested one man following the
shooting, but cut him loose after determining
he was not the gunman, cops said.
Police intially believed no injuries resulted
from the shooting, but a 27-yearold
man reported he was shot in the rear
end the following day.
The incident resulted in further collateral
damage in nearby Clinton Hill, where a
police cruiser responding to the MetroTech
shooting smashed into an SUV at Dekalb
and Clinton avenues at 12:13 pm, injuring
the two cops in the squad car and a civilian
driver, according to police.
The cop car was heading west along
Dekalb Avenue when the officer behind
the wheel plunged through a red light at
Clinton Avenue and struck the civilian vehicle
as it traveled north along Clinton Avenue,
flipping the passenger car, according
“The other car had the light and went
through, and the cop rammed the car and
the car went over,” said Nick Gangone, a
student at nearby St. Joseph’s College.
Police officers setup a crime scene
at Duffield Street and Willoughby Avenue
near the shooting, where one of
the suspects stashed a firearm in a city
garbage can, according to an officer at
the scene, who noted the pistol may be
- Additional reporting by Chandler Kidd
and Aidan Graham.
By Kevin Duggan
A new drainage system meant to keep
sewage from flowing into the Gowanus
Canal is being circumvented — by dog
That’s right, crap may not be flushing
in the fetid waterway from pipes below,
but stormwater is causing turds planted
by man’s best friend to trickle down from
the streets above, according to a local
“Basically dogs are the problem —
and I’m not saying anything anti-dog,
but we have to be realistic,” said Eymund
Diegel, a member of the Gowanus Community
Advisory Group, which keeps an
eye on the $1.2 billion federal Superfund
cleanup of the filthy waterway.
The Department of Environmental
Protection installed new storm sewers
in April to prevent sewage from being
dumped into the canal during rainstorms,
but water samples taken from
the canal by the Carroll Street Bridge
showed high levels of microscopic poop
following three storms last spring, according
The probes contained more than
24,000 colonies of Enterococcus bacteria
— a pathogen found in human and
animal intestines — per 100 milliliters
in late May and mid-June, which compares
to other samples taken from Prospect
Park Lake where dogs abound, leading
Diegel to conclude that the nabe’s
pooches are behind the spike.
“It’s essentially being treated as a
toilet,” said Diegel. “It flushes away
A rep for the Environmental Protection
Agency was at a loss for words upon
hearing Diegel’s astonishing revelation at
a Gowanus Community Advisory Group
meeting on Sept. 24
“That is surprising,” said Christos
Tsiamis, the agency’s Gowanus Superfund
The Gowanusaur has taken weekly
probes of the area for about five years
and sends them to a lab in Manhattan,
where citizen testers log water qualities
across the Five Boroughs for New York
City Water Trail Association, a non-profit
This reporter joined the scientist during
a morning sample session on Sept.
26, gritting my teeth and plugging my
nose as I ventured down the canal aboard
The Gowanus Canal may have a bad
reputation, but paddling down the canal’s
placid, oily surface to the Carroll
Street Bridge was actually kind of nice.
Sadly, taking a sample required me to
plunge my hands into its skeevy depths
— known to harbor sewage, toxic waste,
and even trace amounts of the clap —
but, so far, no rash!
Fortunate for me, Brooklyn hadn’t seen
any rain in the last few days, making it
unlikely that any serious dog poop had
found its way into canal recently, and
the odor was only pretty bad.
The feds plan to carve out the dirt
from the First Street Basin, one block
south of the outflows, and turn the inlet
into wetlands as part of the cleanup,
and Diegel said the city should reroute
the poop water there, where plant life
would filter out the crap before it trickles
into the canal.
“We would have room to put it in the
constructed wetlands and filter basins,
which we’re doing anyway,” he said.
A spokesman for the feds said the
agency would push the city to remedy
the situation in order to make sure separated
sewers keep the canal clean, but
declined to comment on whether they
would divert the runoff to the First Street
“EPA intends to convey this information
to the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection and
ask them to review this matter to ensure
that the new infrastructure functions as
designed,” said Elias Rodriguez in an
The Department of Environmental
Protection’s press office did not respond.
to a request for comment.
By Kevin Duggan and Joe Hiti
Their motto is courtesy, professionalism,
respect — except when it comes
to bike lanes!
Police officers and city bureaucrats are
illegally parking their cars in a Downtown
Brooklyn bike lane at all hours
of the day, leaving one out-of-towner
to question why have a bike lane in the
“You can tell bike lanes are not really
respected,” said Canadian Dan Pavlich.
The Schermerhorn Street bike lane
between Nevins and Smith streets is
flanked by numerous municipal buildings,
where the offices of the Police Department’s
District 30 Transit Bureau,
the Human Resources Administration,
and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
can be found.
And while workers there enjoy their
own designated parking spots, unmarked
vehicles featuring police placards and
other law-enforcement paraphernalia on
the dashboard routinely park in the bike
lanes and sometimes in the middle of the
road, ensnaring traffic and creating a
hazard for cyclists and pedestrians, according
to one frustrated cyclist
“It’s chaos and gridlock and impossible
to bike through safely,” said Blythe Austin,
who volunteers with the safe streets
advocacy groups Transportation Alternatives
and Families for Safe Streets.
“It’s also very dangerous to cross as a
Two inspections by Brooklyn Paper’s
Bike Lane Action News Bureau on Sept.
25 and Sept. 30 discovered two dozen
vehicles blocking the bike lane, along
with a handful of double-parked cars
on the street.
About a third of those had police placards
in their windshields, while others
made do with Police Department-issued
vests, jackets, and one camouflagepatterned
notebook with an American
flag and an NYPD shoulder patch on
top of it.
One passing cyclist said “It’s terrible,”
while another said the painted
lanes have essentially lost their intended
“It’s not a bike lane, it’s a parking
lane,” said the rider, who declined to
give his name.
And it’s not just drivers blocking the
bike lane. A construction site had setup
Porta Potties on and placed traffic barriers
around the bike lane, despite Council
enacting a law last June allowing the
Department of Transportation to revoke
a builder’s permit to use part of the street
for construction if they don’t provide an
adequate detour for cyclists.
Austin noted that she saw a traffic
agent ticketing cars over the weekend,
but said she’s skeptical any of summonses
were issued to police or bureaucrats.
“City officials do not want to police
each other,” she said.
A transit cop leaving the Schermerhorn
Street station in plain clothes blamed
deliveries to nearby supermarkets and
other government agencies for the parking
“A lot of space is used up by food deliveries
at the supermarket and people
dropping off at the HRA office,” said the
cop, who didn’t provide his name.
One officer blamed the mess on the
construction, while another Boy in Blue
simply refused to comment.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said.
Requests for comment to the Department
of Transportation’s and the Police
Department’s press offices went unanswered.
By Aidan Graham
City education officials unveiled two
ambitious schemes to desegregate elementary
schools in Brownstone Brooklyn
by reshaping the area’s admissions process,
according to a local civic guru.
“We find ourselves at a turning point...
This is a moment where we can really
step forward,” said Camille Casaretti,
head of the Community Education Council
at School District 15. “Both of the
proposals that are on the table offer a
level of equity that doesn’t exist in many
schools throughout the city.”
The two proposals would alter the
enrollment criteria for seven elementary
schools in Carroll Gardens, Cobble
Hill, Boerum Hill, Gowanus, and
Red Hook — located within District 15,
which Mayor Bill de Blasio has singled
as a testing ground for new desegregation
The first plan would dramatically
change the zoning map for the schools
— shrinking zoning for sought-after
schools, and expanding the designated
area for schools with low-attendance.
PS 15 in Red Hook and PS 32 in Gowanus
would see the largest increases in
coverage area — mostly engulfing students
from Carroll Gardens, where zoning
for PS 58 would be shrunk more than
any other school.
The second proposal would throw
out the zoning map altogether, and enroll
students to the seven schools using
a randomized lottery system.
The raffle-based plan mirrors a similar
scheme that the Department of Education
has already implemented across all
middle schools in District 15 — which
also encompasses Park Slope, Windsor
Terrace, Borough Park, and Sunset Park
— where students list their school preferences
before being enrolled through
a lottery system.
“In District 15, we’ve already launched
a middle school diversity plan,” said department
rep Max Familian. “Seventyeight
percent of students receive an offer
to one of their top three schools.”
If the zoning maps are eliminated, the
Department of Education would requisition
additional buses to accommwodate students
who find themselves enrolled in far-flung
schools, according to Familian.
Under both schemes, 25 to 35 percent
of seats in each school would be reserved
for homeless students, non-native
speakers, or children eligible for free or
Currently, the challenge of serving
underprivileged or non-native students
is unequally shared between the
seven schools, only 11 percent of students
meeting that criteria at PS 29 in
Cobble Hill, while nearly 100 percent
of students do at PS 676 in Red Hook,
according to Familian.
“In this area, there’s a disparity across
the seven schools across the district,”
he said. “We’re looking to use rezoning
and admissions changes to address
these disparities between the schools.”
Students who are currently enrolled
in a school would not be forced to transfer
if their zoning changes, according to
Familian, who also noted that children
could be admitted to the same schools
as their older siblings — regardless of
possible future zoning changes — in an
effort to keep families together.
Department of Education reps had
previously hoped to finalize the rezoning
plan for the 2020 school year, but
multiple sources suggested that timeline
could be pushed back.
Cops seek gunman for
MetroTech butt shot
Police setup a crime scene around a garbage can in Downtown Brooklyn,
where a suspect in a shooting at MetroTech Center may have
stashed a pistol.
Photo by Aidan Graham
Photo by Trey Pentecost
Cops treat DT bike lane as free parking
DOE unveils proposals to desegregate Brownstone Brooklyn schools
Zoning for PS 58 in Carroll Gardens, which is one of the most soughtafter
schools in the area, would shrink considerably under a new Department
of Education proposal.
Cyclist Blythe Austin
Photo by Kevin Duggan
Reporter Kevin Duggan collects sampuls of the Gownaus Canal where Environmental Planner Eymund
Diegel discovered dog poop polluting the putrid waterway.