Saturday, March 22, 2008

Knit PH at Freddys: March 16, '08

I was going to join The New York Fashion Design Meetup Group, but when I looked at the group bios I realized that they are all real working industry people. And judging from their photos I probably outweigh most of them by at least 20 pounds. Meanwhile at Knit PH at Freddy's...


Does this look like a blighted neighborhood to you?

It was a packed Sunday evening in the back room. Freddy's bar owner Frank Yost pointed at the back room doors and said "They're here." The knitters took over the back room and the German Language Studies Club eventually settled at the bar in the front, possibly planning to overtake the French Language Studies Club at Soda. Meg is near the end of her apple green baby blanket. She has a little Linus Van Pelt anxiety, we measured it a few times to be sure it was square, checked right and wrong sides... and eventually she'll bind off.

"How how much longer does Freddy's have?" Meg Asked.
People often ask that question. It's a tough one to answer. We knit in Forest City Ratner's alleged Nets Arena footprint under the threat of eminant-domain. Can knitting get any darker? According to the Gehry architectural model, Freddy's is where the back escalator will reside. Freddy's has four more years left on it's fifteen-year lease, and the current landlord is in fact real estate mogul FCR. I doubt they'll renew the lease. But recently in an ironic twist, the Atlantic Yard's project has sunken into a much deeper mess, not due to our boys in Albany doing the right by the people, but due to the slumping US economy. Financial news reporter Maria Bartiromo used the "R" word as the Canadian dollar became equivalent to the US dollar. Shockwaves are still hitting Wall Street as Bear-Sterns suddenly collapsed last week. Their stock fell from a lofty $175 per share to a lowly $2 dollars. And real estate prospectors... uh... I hope you believe in prayer.

A Done-Deal? Or a Dumb Deal?
Tough economic times are taking a large bite out of FCR's Atlantic Yards project as state funds are now being cut. It has recently become more evident that FCR never had any real plans to build "afforable" housing units. The skeletal remains show us that the AY plan would use public funds to pay for a private arena. A greedy developer has enacted "blight" and "eminant domain" for his own personal gain. I'm sure a lot of the money went towards paying lobbyists and a legal team to re-write the definition of "blighted" and "affordable." Early on, if you opposed this declatation of blight/eminant domain, housing advocates such as ACORN and BUILD would say you were against "progress" and future "affordable housing." Now that affordable housing is being excluded from the AY's future, why aren't these advocates speaking out? It's like watching someone get mugged and doing nothing about it. Public advocate groups Develop Don't Destroy Brtooklyn and No Land Grab call AY a "Bait and Switch." According to NY Times, the latest price tag for AY is now estimated at $950 million. (2005 estimate: $435 million). In short this project was never financially feesable. AY has been held up for nearly two years by lawsuits brought on by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

Ratner by-passed the usual city assessment of urban developement by relying on political favors from billionaire-buddies, like former Govs. Elliot Sptizter and George Pataki. But now that Governor Spitzer has resigned under scandal and shame, the political climate is changing. The New York Times only hinted at FCR's dire finance problems. But the Brooklyn Paper shot it down bullet by bullet point: "Ratner kills Miss Brooklyn, most of Atlantic Yards" (March 21, 2008). But where is this business plan? No cohesive plan has ever been produced by FCR.

Anyhow, you can't call a neighborhood blighted when it has knitting circles.



I've been playing with some black silk/cotton that I got from School Products. It's actually wound on a titanic 2 lb. cone. It was much cheaper than the smaller hanks but you just can't take that thing with you. So I was the only guy in group this week. Where are you Randy? I brought my hanks down to wind. We had a bunch of new people — some from Ravelry.com and some from the hood. Tomo met up with her friend Yona and a few folks she enlisted for her project "The Knitted Room." I think she was knitting a wall or a rug — it was large, soft, and ecrue. Her project is due soon (March 31, '08), I can't wait to see it.

Elle is from Norway (not German she pointed out), she learned to knit as a child and is getting back into the craft with her first sock. I helped her get reacquainted with knitting in the round and rudimentary cables. Her grandmother used to make fine sweaters and other garments. This is right group for socks though, Vermillion is making a pair of sasquatch-sized socks for her fiance. How big is this guy? She found Knit PH on Ravelry, as did ShogunSquirrel. She and Marci are the happy hookers in the bunch. New Meetup.com member Bitsy brought her hoodie in progress (from Rebecca or Interweave, not sure), now all she needed was to finish the hood. It's a very handsome Irish cable sweater made with a natural colored wool. The hood picks up from the cable pattern at the neck. She excluded the bobbles from the pattern. Rightfully so — bobbles are creepy.



Lisa and I spent most of the evening winding up our stash for storage. I have a feeling I'm not going to get to a few projects before spring. I find that if I don't ball it up, it can sit in a bag for years. I finally got to some hanks that I bought from a spinner who I met in winter of 2001. It made it's way up in the bin rotation last year (winter 2007). I made my beer sweater — everytime I've worn it into Freddy's someone knocks a beer on me. Before the evening was up 13 knitters split a freshly baked Red Velvet cake made by Ms. Swiss. It was rich, chocolaty, smooth, and moist. Although it was difficult, we left some for the Germans.
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