Gowanus Luxury Developers Attempt To Woo Community With Art And Food Trucks, Actual Artists Somehow Still Not Pleased

Photo by Elizabeth Graham via Brooklyn Paper

Artists are so annoying, you guys—always crashing the parties you throw celebrating the construction of 700-unit luxury rental developments that will almost certainly contribute to their eventual displacement, regardless of the fact that you gave them free food from trucks (artists like food trucks, right?!) and even had the decency made your extremely loud construction site slightly prettier!! Artists: Just the worst.

Last week, more than a dozen Gowanus artists crashed a party for the Lightstone Group’s pretty much universally despised development project while handing out flyers and wearing surgical masks with the words “toxic plan” written on them, on the grounds that the 12-story, 700-unit residential building “will crowd neighborhood schools and subways, cause traffic jams, stress already over-taxed sewers, and price out creative types,” reports the Brooklyn Paper.

The site, located at Bond St between 1st and 2nd Sts, was approved by the city in March of 2013 and has been under construction for roughly six months. Recently, the Lightstone Group attempted to soften the blow to the neighborhood (see: sewers) by incorporating an installation by the organization ArtBridge to beautify its previously very ugly construction fencing, which includes work by nine local artists centered around the theme of “urban interaction and exchange,” according to Curbed.

Those artists, by the way? Yeah, they don’t want anything to do with the Lightstone Group, either: “This project has nothing to do with Lightstone or whether or not that development happens,” ArtBridge founder Stephen Pierson told BP, adding: “It’s not comfortable for me to be on this side of it. I’m sort of used to being on the progressive side of things.”

However, the Lightstone Group’s plan to woo the community with food from stationary vehicles worked on some less-whiny non-artists: Of the several hundred people who showed up, most were less interested in the art on display but instead, according to Lisanne McTernan, a 20-year resident of Gowanus: “Most people just came for free food. What a joke.”

Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa.


  1. For coverage of the real issues behind this protest including the toxic chemical smells that have been overwhelming Gowanus and the black toxic goo coming out of people’s sinks there, see “Even Art Can Not Heal Broken Gowanus” at
    There’s some excellent socially engaged art there too! These artists are protesting far more than development. The Gowanus Canal is a Superfund site and the Lightstone Development has been digging up petroleum soaked soil along the Gowanus Brownfield and trying to make the smell go away with aanother chemical called BioSolve. In the meantime people all the way from the canal up the hill to Smith Street have had stinging and tearing up eyes and sore throats from the chemicals. And now the kids are back and going to a Public School just yards from the Lightstone Development Site.

  2. The Art Bridge installation has everything to do with Lightstone since the are is primarily to serve as a billboard for the development.

    If lightstone was actually interested in promoting emerging artists, they could have promoted artists through many other avenues like the Gowanus open studio events or the Red Hook art shows.

    What we see on Bond Street is just advertising.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here