Friday, March 13, 2009


For well over a year, perhaps two, and before America woke up to realize we were in the middle of a recession, a building at the corner of Smith and Douglass Streets in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn was razed. It's been so long, I can't remember what the hell was there a few years ago. But, as you can see in this Google Map "street view", the now empty lot is surrounded by plywood barriers. Nothing has risen from the vacant lot.

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I had hoped that some developer would build a supermarket with a gourmet twist, but nothing. Some had feared it would be another chain drug store. Others thought an apartment building would emerge, but nothing. Every once in a while, when the construction walls begin to crumble, some workman stops by to put in a few nails to hold it in place.

Rents along Smith Street soared in recent years. Mom and Pops who were paying under $2,000 a month found themselves forking over up to $10,000 or moving. Most moved.
Then, the recession hit. Perhaps, a glum economy knocked the wind out of the property owners and they just gave up. Maybe they're holding on to the lot for better times. Either way, that corner lot is a disgrace.

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