Greenpoint Fire

There’s a fire on West Street. I called Anna to ask her where, exactly, it was. She lives over that way. It might be the skate spot known as The Bowl. It’s called the Greenpoint Market Terminal and there are two buildings on fire. It’s also my most favorite section of Brooklyn. This is the way the area used to look. Very sad. Yikes! These were taken from our roof at 8:45 AM.

(Click each image to enlarge.)

On Saturday, Tobyjoe and I saw black smoking billowing up from what appeared to be midtown Manhattan. (Later we were told it was actually in Jersey.) We had just left the peace march and so we were concerned. Plus, you’re dealing with two people who are quick to become irrational when smoke pours out of Manhattan.

Then, on Sunday, I was walking over to buy a bottle of wine when I suddenly witnessed another plume of black smoke coming from downtown Brooklyn. That turned out to be from explosions that took place atop a police station.

Enough with the smoke and fire already.

I took this several years ago. This is all gone now. Bummer.

26 Comments

  1. That is scary. They should warn people, I mean, that would freak me out, much less you guys who were IN MANHATTAN. Jeez.

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  2. Given what landlords in GP/WB are up to right now, I think I’ll rush to judgement and say: ARSON

    My question is this though – why?

    a- Tenants in there that they needed to get rid of, so they can build a 50story luxury building
    b- The building is filled with asbestos and chemicals that would cost too much to safely remove, so they can build a 50story luxury building
    c- both of the above
    d- something more sinister

    Given the fact that smoke was sooo black, and wb now smells like the world trade center ruins ( with a hint of embassy bombings ) – I think there was some particularly toxic stuff in there and b is a definite factor.

    What do you think?

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  3. Man, I so loved that section of Brooklyn. Tobyjoe, what weird indie seamstress movie did we watch where the guy walked through it? (I know it’s been set to many films, but that one comes to mind.)

    heh, seamstress. hheheeheheh e

    seamstress. tobyjoe. seamstress.

    hahhahahhaha
    (more about that inside joke later.)

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  4. Oh, man. After that, I’m not telling you.

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  5. was the seamstress teal girl?

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  6. I can smell fire in Soho

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  7. still? weird. I’m uptown. I got nothing but stinky nuts and inflation.

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  8. on ny1 they were saying you can smell it all over manhattan

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  9. Stinky Nuts Over Manhattan

    Sounds like a new Tom Hanks + Meg Ryan flick.

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  10. Or a dish at Denny’s.

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  11. The fire is in what’s now known as the Greenpoint Terminal Market. It was built by the American Manufacturing Company, starting in 1890. It was in business until about 1974, making rope and jute bagging. According to Mary Habstritt of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, mills like this were built using “slow burn” construction. That means brick walls and huge, slow-burning timbers. Because they were full of flammable materials (bales and bales of hemp and jute), fires were inevitable. The construction methods were designed to give workers a chance to escape before the fires really got going. She suspects that this fire had “help” to get going. Even though the buildings are old, they still wouldn’t get so thoroughly engulfed in flame without some sparks. That might have come from construction crews working to clean up the site, which is set to be converted to 2.6 million sq ft of residential space.

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  12. From Catherine’s link, it appears that the owner of the GTM has a history of fires in his ‘transitional’ properties. Can’t wait to see where this one goes…

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  13. Richmond went on fire a year or so ago. Since Richmond isn’t that large, it was about 10 blocks away from where I lived at the time. I was a little freaked out, but luckily it never travelled that far. However, it was on the VCU campus and they were flipping out that the arts building was going to catch fire. Don’t mess with the VCU arts building. Its their treasure. The roof did catch a little bit, but they were able to put it out before it went up. In cities, the saddest part about fires like this are the old structures that are lost. You can restore them, but its not really the same.

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  14. When proven guilty of arson, I so hope that developer gets arrested and prison raped.

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  15. At one journal I read, Sherri has some great pictures of what Greenpoint used to look like.

    http://www.lasadh.com/

    It’s really a shame that unique buildings like this are slowly being replaced with new condos that all look the same. No character.

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  16. How and why would someone do this? My God every day I become more and more flabergasted by the levels of greed. What the hell is wrong with that guy?

    Something should be done. How dare he get away with things like this. I don’t get it. I really don’t. But it makes me want to freaking beat his ass.

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  17. Why beat his ass when you can pimp it out to a latin gang on Rikers? ( assuming he’s convicted, of course )

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  18. aimee, fire is really odd, isn’t it? I read that this fire started around 4 AM (how anyone might know that is beyond me.) When i first saw it around 8:15 AM it was just a huge cloud of dark smoke and some flames. About 15 minutes later, the flames were tall enough to see over many of the buildings in Greenpoint.

    Strange how fire can continue for a long time and then suddenly BOOM! It’s freaking massive and totally out of control.

    Scary, fire is. :]

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  19. ah ha!

    I found out why it burned—it was up for landmark preservation

    and well, the city can’t preserve something that doesn’t exist

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  20. You’re kidding!

    Oh, btw, the N 7 fire is apparently nothing to be alarmed about. Gerry reported!

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  21. yes, that’s why I could never watch Bambi.

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  22. Yep. i just spoke with some community organizers.

    GP was working on the landmarking proceedings

    also, to note:
    Greenpoint/Williamsburg has had 26 suspcious fires this year through March (i’m waiting to find out if thats through march or a typo for may)
    the fire today is so far the biggest in 10 years in NYC history

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  23. Is it still burning? Is anyone over there? Jon? Gerry? Anna? Reading this? Do tell. What’s the status.

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  24. Its at least smoldering, but i think its still burning.

    2:10pm The air is a mess, its kind of unbreathable around the bedford L. My eyes were slightly burning and my throat was sore. Most people looked the same way.

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  25. From curbed.com

    11 “So, is this just another incident of Jewish Lightning?”
    13 “OK, call me stupid. What’s Jewish Lightening and what’s EOM mean?”
    15 “it means do a google search of GUTTMAN and FIRE and you’ll get an idea of how burning down an old building you want to rezone makes the whole process easier.”

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