The Gowanus Canal gets so much attention, the Gowanus neighborhood sometimes gets forgotten.
And while there are many groups with plans for the of the Superfund site andof the Gowanus area, there's a new organization in the neighborhood that's decided to address the current needs of the businesses and residents.
The Gowanus Alliance was founded by Paul Basile and three friends, all second and third generation businessmen in the area. The Alliance was formed to address the fact that other organizations neglected the existing community and didn't work on the quality-of-life issues that actually affect those who currently live and work in the area.
On Wednesday afternoon the Alliance hosted their first event, a cleanup of Ennis Playground on 11th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. Members and neighbors brainstormed ideas on how to improve the park.
“We’ve had a nice turnout,” said Basile. “A group of nannies came by earlier with their kids and made a couple of suggestions, a few families. We’re fortunate we had a beautiful day.”
The clean-up was planned for this past Sunday, but was rained out.
“We were expecting a greater turnout on Sunday,” said Paul’s daughter Jiselle Basile. “It was hard to get the word out that we had rescheduled, but we’ve had a steady stream of people come by.”
Wearing matching t-shirts with the Gowanus Alliance painted across the front, Jiselle and a few friends manned tented tables filled with goods donated by local businesses including Peeled Snacks, Made in Heaven Cakes and .
"We’re very grateful," said Paul Basile.
On a posterboard displayed at the entrance of the park, the question “What do you want to see?” was surrounded by Post-It notes with ideas for improvements: they included a dog run, tree-stump removal and soccer fields.
“The thing that I learned today,” said one attendee John Scala, “was that most people didn’t even know this park existed. It’s not even on the Parks Department website. People think the closest green space is on 4th Avenue.”
"I'm considering hosting a food festival to raise awareness of the location," Basile added.
Organizers are planning another event for mid-November that will focus on retail development for the 3rd Avenue corridor as well as commercial / industrial job retention and creation.