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Curbed Cuts: Eat from the Gowanus Canal, billionaire’s yacht blocks Lady Liberty, and more

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Three things you need to know today

Pollutants surface on the Gowanus Canal where, the state says it is okay to source crabs from.
Max Touhey

Gowanus Canal crabs—it’s what’s for dinner (or not, please)

When it comes to the Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted waterways in the United States, it should be accepted that eating stuff out of it is probably a bad idea. But surprise! A health assessment of the canal by the New York State Department of Health and cited by local blog Pardon Me For Asking suggests that it is, in fact, okay to ingest one particular thing that lives in the canal’s putrid waters: crabs, and not the itchy kind.

In January the agency released a report saying that women over 50 and men over 15 can eat the canal’s blue crabs up to four meals a month, six crabs per meal, so long as diners fork around the tomalley—the organs responsible for filtering out the surely obscene amount of toxins ingested by the crab.

Blue crabs dwell in the sediment at the bottom of the canal compellingly known as black mayonnaise, a gummy layer of pollutants too various to list that has grown to ten feet high. Reminder: A water sample of the Gowanus once turned back trace amounts of gonorrhea, so just because you can eat the crabs certainly doesn’t mean you should—unless you’re compelled to eat it with a side of black mayonnaise. (Hard discourage on all of this.)

A not so lil yachty in New York Harbor

iSpy a not so Lil Yachty

A post shared by JEREMY MORTON (@jeremymorton) on

It might be the irony of all ironies for this day and age: A Russian super-yacht is parked in front of the Statue of Liberty, obscuring views towards America’s greatest symbol of freedom. “That boat is right there obstructing the parade of excursion boats that go out there to visit the statue,” president of the nonprofit Waterfront Alliance Roland Lewis told the New York Post. “It’s the people’s statue versus a person’s private boat.”

The yacht belongs to Russian-American oil businessman Eugene Shvidler and is called Le Grand Bleu (because, lest you forget, boats have silly names.) The 370-foot yacht is one of the longest private yachts in the world, and was gifted to Shvidler by prominent Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. If there’s any question about whether Abramovich thinks bigger is better, just remember that he’s currently at work combining three Upper East Side townhouses into a kind of ridiculous 18,000-square-foot private home.

The yacht arrived in New York Harbor on April 17 and spent two weeks there before heading over to Gravesend Bay. It returned to the harbor in June. Where its anchored is legal, but boats don’t traditionally overstay their welcome. Brooklyn Daily reports that the boat, which is the length of a football field, comes with a 65-person crew, a helicopter, an aquarium, and a speedboat.

Brooklyn slumlords deliver payouts to tenants

Two of the city’s most atrocious slumlords, Joel and Amron Israel, paid out $250,000 this week to ten tenants terrorized by the landlords’ henchmen in incidents dating back to 2013. In November 2016, the Israels plead guilty to tenant harassment in a scheme to force out rent-stabilized tenants in order to upgrade the apartments in their portfolio to market rate.

The Israels coped to sending a worker to several of their North Brooklyn buildings to tear out the kitchens and baths and smash thermostat and electric systems. For this, the brothers miraculously skirted prison time and were instead sentenced to five years of probation and 500 hours of community service, as well as the payout to affected tenants.

Brooklyn mother Zaida Paris is one of the affected tenants on the receiving end of the this week’s payout. “I've never seen that much money before," Paris said to DNAInfo of her $68,000 settlement. "Things like this don't happen.” The chaos wrought on Paris after her home of 19 years at 15 Humboldt Street was destroyed at the behest of the Israels caused her marriage to deteriorate and led Paris to live in a homeless shelter. Her two daughters now live in separate homes. Paris received the largest payout out of the ten tenants.

The Israels are paying an additional $100,000 to the Governor’s Tenant Protection Unit, which set up a compensation fund for targeted tenants. Members of the Tenant Protection Unit will help Paris secure a two-bedroom apartment. “Because of what they did to us our lives will never be the same. There's no amount of money that can ever repay what they've done,” Paris said.