Archive for March, 2008

Where Did All the Truckers Go?
March 16, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES — March 16, 2008

“They’re going to call Gowanus ‘West Park Slope’ or ‘East Carroll Gardens,’ ” a local potter said.

“They’re going to call Gowanus ‘West Park Slope’ or ‘East Carroll Gardens,’ ” a local potter said.

TEN years ago, when a Bay Ridge businessman named Emmanuel Maropakis bought a former metal fabrication factory on a desolate strip of Third Avenue at Sixth Street in Gowanus, he thought he could make a few dollars renting the place out for storage.

The immediate surroundings were not promising: Local commerce included the South Brooklyn Casket Company, a pasta factory and a fairly active drug trade.

“It was all empty, empty, empty, except for the prostitutes,” Mr. Maropakis recalled one day recently as he stood in his building and wiped his hands on his paint-spattered pants.

But when he heard last year that a luxury condominium and a boutique hotel were planned for this stretch of Third Avenue, he got a better idea.

Just before Christmas, he started transforming the old factory into a sprawling pizza and barbecue restaurant, with nearly 300 seats. Mr. Maropakis’s most recent addition is a brick oven he built, which can cook 1,000 pounds of meat at a time. (more…)