Friday, January 25, 2008

Longshoremen Association Building set to be razed by Nonunion Labor



Anthony (Tough Tony) Anastasio must be turning in his grave.

A developer behind several Brooklyn condo projects is razing a former International Longshoremen's Association building that bears the late mobbed-up union leader's name - and, in a twist, the work is being done by nonunion laborers.

The Clarett Group plans to tear down the Court St. building and erect 10 townhouses and a seven-story, 30-unit condo building smack where a medical clinic for longshoremen once thrived.

"There's no question he'd be rolling in his grave," said lifelong Carroll Gardens resident Buddy Scotto, who grew up with longshoremen and recalled when the building was erected as a medical clinic in the late 1950s.

"I remember how excited everyone was when it was built," Scotto said. "That was a nice thing, rather than hearing stories about his brother [Murder Inc. and Gambino crime boss Albert Anastasia]. It's truly a shame it's going."

The project has roiled neighbors in Carroll Gardens, including one elderly couple whose 168-year-old townhouse was damaged after workers began test-boring in November.

A nonunion asbestos removal group that has been working at the site since December also has drawn outrage from union leaders, who rolled out a giant rat to protest the project.

"Obviously we're appalled," said 20-year resident Alan Lantz, whose Union St. home suffered a hairline crack.

"We've been comfortable, and this thing is an intrusion of the worst sort - and it's going to change all of our lives."

The project, which is expected to be completed by 2010, includes four townhouses on Sackett St., six on Union St. and the seven-story condo tower on Court St.

Clarett Group spokesman Jimmy Lappas declined to comment on damage to nearby homes, but insisted the asbestos abatement complies with city, state and federal regulations.

"The Clarett Group has shared its development plans with local officials and community leaders and has had a positive reception to the project for its contextual design and sensitivity to the neighborhood," Lappas said.

For Union St. resident Vincent Joseph, the project threatens more than just neighboring buildings or even the legacy of Tough Tony Anastasio and his longshoremen.

"This is probably the largest building project in Carroll Gardens in the last 30 years," said Joseph, a member of the Union-Sackett Block Association. "There's nothing like that here. This is a bastardization of brownstone architecture."


  1. Sorry to see any project go non Union and the symbolism of this particular project is quite evident.
    I would like to comment on the photo. Looking at the Rat I want to ask the same question that I heard John Q Public make once when I was on a picket with the Rat. The question was "Where is Barney" It is a shame that we have to be the brunt of jokes and our cause cannot be taken seriously because we have blow up dolls on our pickets. Why is it that the public, both Union and Non Union, see the rat as a symbol of stupidity and childish behavior but our Union Officials embrace it. How intelligent is it to insult and belittle your fellow working men and women and Non Union companies into joining the Union. Its like saying "Look at my blow up Rat.I have the IQ of a child and I want you and your company to be a part of this."
    Or."Your a rat Bastard but I want you to join the Union" Does anyone else think its kind of sad to have the symbol of Unionism to be a blow up rubber rat.

    Let me ask this question to our Union Officers as well. If we where on a picket of a Non Union company and the entire non Union crew walked off the job and said" Here we are. We want to join. Would you give them a book and put them on a job with a paycheck the next day. Would you at least guarantee them the same or better than what they are working for on the spot.What would the reality be?? Would you tell them that they would be going at the end of a referral list. That is of course after you try to get them to come in as apprentices so you can provide cheap experienced and skilled labor to the Union companies. Would you tell them they are going to have assessments taken from their wage to pay for week long trips to Golf destinations in Florida for the Council Officers. Are you going to tell them that your are going to hold $250 of their vacation money as ransom until they perform their MANDATORY Participation. Are you gong to tell them that one day against their will you decided to keep 30cents an hour of their wages to buy blow up rats and provide $150,000 and more salaries to organizers. Are you going to tell them that each year their health and pension will get worse and worse while the costs to them will go up and up. Are you going to tell them that the Union Officers will get raises each year,double pensions,paid holidays,outrageous pension contributions and that their raise with no vote will be taken each year to cover expenses. Will you tell them that every time you turn around another UBC Official is indicted or thrown out of office for some type of Criminal activity and that activity usually involves actions against the rank and file members of the Union. They do not steal form the rich. They steal from the rank and file. Will you tell them these reality's of Union membership.

    I am Union all the way. I do not however hate a working man or women because they are not Union. They to are our brothers and sisters and are trying to put food on their table just like you and me. I certainly do not think they are rats.If you want them to join then provide them with incentive to make the switch. We need to clean up our own house first before we call anyone else rats. Perhaps we have the wrong blow up dolls on the line. Perhaps we can get some rats with a few well deserved UBC faces on them.I wont need to pick them out for you. Just go to the feds maybe they will give you their mug shots to work with

  2. Amen, I totally agree, could not have said it better

  3. Does anyone know the history of the glass murals in the building?

    Please email me at:


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