Brooklyn addresses featured in ‘Natural Home’ magazine

By Stephen Witt

The neighborhood of Park Slope and a Boerum Hill house under construction are both featured in the national Natural Home magazine now hitting newsstands. Park Slope was honored as the fourth best Eco-Neighborhood in the nation behind Ashville, North Carolina, Austin, Texas and Bozeman, Montana. “We were really impressed by the neighborhood urban renewal and some of the efforts to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood,” said Natural Home Senior Editor Laurel Kallenbach. “There also seems to be a lot of environmental ac-tivism, especially some of the projects spearheaded by the Park Slope Food Co-op, and we’re always impressed by recycling programs and hazardous waste programs some of the groups are working on,” she added. The article also makes mention of the charming brownstones, stimulating cultural scenes and family-friendly ambiance. Under the “curb appeal” heading, the article notes there are five local subway stops in Park Slope and lists such activist community projects as restoring bluestone sidewalks and hosting the first citywide household hazardous-waste collection day. The article also lists local cultural and recreational amenities such as the 526-acre Prospect Park including the zoo, Bandshell and Picnic House, along with the nearby Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden. The Park Slope Food Co-op, 782 Union Street, has 12,000 members making it the largest such organization in the country. “We have the Safe Food campaign where we’ve been working several years on the labeling of genetically modified food and now we have another committee working on issues of fair trade,” said Park Slope Food Co-op member Ellen Weinstat. The food co-op also has a plastic recycling program and strives to sell products produced in environmental ways, but also remain fair to workers that are not exploitive, she said. The neighborhood also has several community gardens such as the Garden of Union on Union Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, in which the food co-op has compost for its no longer edible fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the food co-op has many in-store events open to members and non-members alike such as a film night and writers’ night, along with food classes and other food-related workshops. The magazine also features an article on a 1920s building now under renovation at the corner of Nevins and Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, which keeps the building’s historic façade while implementing the latest in green design. The building has been abandoned since a New Year’s fire in 1980 destroyed much of the inside. At the time it housed a laundromat and deli on the ground floor with residences above it, according to developers Rolf Grimsted and Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn. “We bought it a year and a half ago and are renovating it into two townhouses using the same frame and the latest in green designs,” Grimsted. These designs include solar panels on the roof, IceStone counters made from recycled glass, salvaged wood and the latest low VOC (Volatile Organic Com-pounds) making for very good indoor air quality. The building upon completion will be the state’s first American Lung Association Health House meeting rigid standards addressing moisture and humidity control as well as energy efficiency, air filtration and ventilation and materials emissions. “The materials used also have aesthetic and practical values as they are all beautiful to the eye and touch, and will save the owners money because they won’t cost an arm and leg to heat and cool,” said Fisher. “The townhouses will also help the community at large because they will rely less on fossil fuels and pollute less,” she added. Additionally, Fisher noted the project is very Brooklyn-based in utilizing Fort Greene architect Tony Daniels formerly of Brooklyn Heights-based firm of Kiss-Cathcart and now the director of sustainable design at Studio A-Wasa. “Our firm is in Boerum Hill and we live in Boerum Hill,” said Fisher. “All of our projects thus far have been Brooklyn based and we want to be involved and proud when we walk past them.” Fisher said completion is scheduled for June 2007 and they hope to begin to marketing them in the next two months. To learn more about the project, log onto www.rebklyn.com or call 718-858-7500. For more information on the Park Slope Food Co-op, log onto www.food-coop.com.

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