This is the first photograph taken by Robert Guskind published on Curbed. Within weeks of this photo's publication, he'd begin nearly three years of regular blogging for this site—a span that saw him write 4,662 posts—and launch his enormously popular Brooklyn-based blog, The Gowanus Lounge. According to authorities, Bob was found dead in his apartment yesterday evening. He will be missed.
It was April 2006 when his photos started popping up in the Curbed Photo Pool, each a bizarre Brooklyn tableau, captioned hilariously, and so stylistically in sync with Curbed that they could run all but unedited. Intrigued, I emailed the photographer and suggested we meet for coffee. When I came face to face with Bob Guskind for the first time the next week and offered him the chance to blog for Curbed, he immediately accepted, despite the fact he held down a job as a community newspaper editor in New Jersey (not a fun daily commute from his beloved Gowanus) and had plans to launch his own local blog—a site that would become the first incarnation of Gowanus Lounge.
In the next three years, he'd join Curbed full-time as our Brooklyn editor, a position he held until this past January. Looking through the email archives, the subject headers of his emails capture his fascinations perfectly: "Greenpoint getting Fingered too?"; "Ugliest building in Brooklyn?" "Scarano's latest!" In response to a reader email titled "Williamsburg Toilet," he dashed off the note, "Pulling this together as we speak." And of course, he was. The man was a writing machine—it wasn't unusual for him to file a dozen items for Curbed during the day, then write another 20 for the Lounge that night. How the hell he did it, none of us will ever know.
At this point, we don't know anything more about the circumstances of Bob's death than are out there in other public forums. To clarify the record on one point, though, when Bob stopped blogging full-time for Curbed in January, it was solely a budgetary decision on our part; working with Bob was a pleasure that it pained me to end. I last spoke to Bob last week, trying to cajole him into doing freelance work for Curbed. "I haven't even thought about starting to blog for money again," he emailed after our conversation. "I may collect unemployment and work on a book I never finished, but we can talk about that later." He sounded upbeat and amused about life, even as it was kicking him in the ass, which is how I'll remember him. RIP to a true Brooklyn original. —Lockhart
Bob loved ribbing me for being so unfamiliar with Brooklyn neighborhoods where wi-fi coffee houses and hipster-staffed bars dared not tread, and with 10 hours of IM time between us every day, there was plenty of opportunity for ribbing. When I made the mistake of telling him that my life was flashing before my eyes while I made my way down an industrial block to the Bell House rock club for the first time, good lord, he never let me live it down.
Last weekend I went to a birthday party in a loft apartment of hazy legality just over the Gowanus Canal near Second Avenue. The whole time I thought, if only Bob could see me now, seizing the Gowanus bull by the horns, he'd get a serious kick out of it. Actually, he'd probably laugh his ass off. So I meant to drop him a note, and ask him why his blog was down (one of those occasional server meltdowns that caused titanic fits of rage?), but I put it off for a bit, only to hear the news.
Bob was a great journalist, a great blogger, a great sounding board, a great big encyclopedia of all things Brooklyn and most of all, a great friend. I'll miss him. —Joey