Category Archives: Underhill Ave.


goodbye usagain-tn.jpgThis is the last known photograph (click to enlarge) of the USAgain clothes collection box that underwent a long, painful removal from the corner of Underhill Ave. and Prospect Place. It looks like well-meaning neighbors of yours were still trying to stuff old clothes in the blood-red behemoth, despite the fact that the the box was clearly out of commission (and despite the fact that USAgain is not a charity, but a private company that makes money from your donations).

Now that at least 2 of the USAgain boxes in this city have been NIMBYed into obscurity, is USAgain making a swift retreat from the territory? On the contrary–in fact, they are hiring. USAgain is offering $35-$45k per year–plus commission–for someone to “canvass the territory and identify suitable locations for drop-off boxes” in New York City and Long Island. Must have own car.

Bonus! Charles Star had the foresight to take a picture of the box that used to sit next to Espinal Grocery, the bodega at Underhill and Sterling, back when the box was still in relatively pristine condition… He included it in his write-up “Eyesore of the Month” in Stay Free Magazine. According to Charles, “the owner … asked the company to remove the box in front of his store after someone started a fire inside it. Meanwhile, the box at the corner of Washington and Lincoln now bears the graffito, ‘For-profit corporation. Donate to charity instead.'” Is that box gone, too?

What's the Deal With: 67/69 Underhill Ave

69underhillEXCLUSIVE! Quig investigates: "At first glance, 69 Underhill looks like a example of cardboard, spit & hope urban renewal. where glass should be. Where once this building and its sister (67) were the typical example of the post-Robert Moses, present-crack urban blight, they are now standing out for their as-yet unrealized potential." 

"According to ACRIS, these buildings are owned by the same person, Hubert S. Drew. If you Google that name, a person (maybe not him) comes up as a board member of Community Board 9."

"In any other market, excuses could be made about how money can not be found to renovate or sell this property. Seeing that Drew bought these properties in in 1983 (probably for the price of a Delorean) he could pony up at least a can of paint to cover up the graffiti."

"My guess is that he’s waiting for the right developer to come along at the right time with the right truckload of money. In the meantime, we are treated to these buildings as a canvas for the local graffiti artists."

Brooklyn Arena for Nets? “No”

Patti Hagan and Jezra Kaye of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition
wrote in the Daily News: “…This project would sit on two kinds of land: a $500
million parcel now used as a … (railroad) storage yard and 10 acres of
private property, now home to 864 people and 437 jobs in 71 buildings.”

“Laws allow New York State to take private property ‘for
public use.’ But this project will not be public – Ratner and his partners will
own the arena, the team, the skyscrapers and the profits they make … Ratner has asked that $28 million of sales and income
taxes from the development be redirected back to him each year for years to
come … Another concern is how the neighborhood could accommodate
the residents of 4,500 new apartments. Public School 9 on Underhill Ave. is
already too crowded."

Laundromat Catches Fire, Sparks Fly

Img_4574Hope you picked up your drop-off (15 lbs @ 60 cents/lb) this afternoon. PICTURED: Around 6:45 PM ET today, BATT CHIEF TRAVERS shines a flashlight down the basement access staircase. Minutes earlier, an FDNY cut open the padlocked grate with a chainsaw, sparks a-flyin’ (watch the video here!). These dramatic measures led gawkers to speculate that somebody was trapped downstairs. In fact, there was nobody to rescue. I think they were just trying to access the breakers so they could shut the power off. We talked to a fireman who said he wasn’t sure whether or not it was a dryer that caught on fire, but whatever it was, it got into the wall and spread to the second floor. Check out all the exciting details in this Flickr photoset.

UPDATE: Underhill Playground upgrades "Real Soon Now"

Underhill_playground_sign_1Joan says she spoke to Marty Maher, who is in charge of capital projects for Brooklyn parks: "He told me that it has been bid out a 3rd time – the first, bids came in way too high; the second time they were out of order; and now it’s been bid out again. They have to wait 60 days for bids to come in, and then approximately another 30 days to award it.  Based on that timeline, construction will start late spring or early summer. It won’t be postponed anymore, given how long it’s taken this project to get off the ground."
COMING SOON (hopefully): a design schematic for the proposed upgrades.

BREAKING (BROKEN) NEWS: 'USAgain' clothes collection box CURBED

Usagain_curbedAlert readers quig and staceyjoy report that the bright red clothes dumpster and graffiti magnet, which we complained about yesterday, has been shown the curb.

Many people donating to USAgain think they’re giving to the poor, but TIME magazine reported that the firm actually sold 8 million pounds of clothing in 2002. An excerpt we found, which appears to be from the same TIME article, says that the company "partners with dozens of schools and churches, that are paid $20 to $40
per ton of clothing collected, which USAgain sells for a few hundred

Further: "…business owners who agree to host the boxes are often just as clueless.
"Never, never did they mention they were making money off of it," says
Kathleen Murtz, who accepted a request from the company to place a bin
outside her home-decor boutique in Lake Zurich, Ill. "If I had known
they were going to sell the clothing for profit, I wouldn’t have gotten

In this letter, "Matthias" presents a rebuttal to critics who think USAgain is a greedy, deceptive corporation.