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Revere’s ride comes to a crashing halt

The Brooklyn Paper
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A historic factory on the Red Hook waterfront had its first appointment with the wrecking ball last week, the first step towards making way for a developer’s grand retail and residential vision.

Joe Sitt — whose Thor Equities is best known for its proposed $2-billion hotel, condo and amusement spruce-up for Coney Island — started demolishing the rusting steel cone of the long-dormant Revere Sugar refinery at the foot of Van Brunt Street.

As three-story cranes reached around the iconic dome of the refinery for most of this week, a handful of residents looked on mournfully from the outdoor café behind Fairway, which is on a parallel peninsula on the scrappy Red Hook waterfront.

Sitt has not revealed specifics of his plan — fueling suspicion among a small community of working artists and residents that the gates of gentrification will soon open and erase the gritty romance that drew them to the neighborhood in the first place.

“Tearing down the sugar plant is like tearing down our Mount Rushmore,” said Chris Curen, who moved to a former brothel a few blocks from the waterfront refinery last year.

“For the people who chose to live here and love Red Hook, it’s a beautiful piece of maritime architectu­re.”

The multi-building facility dates back to the 19th century. After a state survey found it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, preservationists had hoped that at least one structure could be saved to be later incorporated into the new development.

Sitt has not yet applied for a rezoning to build housing on an industrial waterfront that he would share with the water taxi home port and an Ikea megastore slated to open in 2008.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Phil Jackson from Minneapolis, Minnesota says:
The article broadens my understanding of the true history of Red Hook and its businesses and therefore its people in their way of life on Long Island, New York. The photos are an interisting complement that capture the way people really worked, played, socialized, traveled, in their lives there and then. I am interested in Brooklyn, New York and enjoy the expose that you bring to life. I am from the Midwest and enjoy these emensly. Have a nice day! Running Star.
March 10, 2009, 8:18 am

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