Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of Brooklyn journalist and blogger Bob Guskind. His influential Gowanus Lounge blog inspired and nurtured many fledgling bloggers, hence his honorary title “Brooklyn’s Blogfather” in a borough that has been called the bloggiest place on earth.
As a foreign student in Japan, we learned the Japanese custom of honoring and celebrating a loved one on the first anniversary of death. In lieu of placing items on a household altar, we offer our thoughts and a video produced by Steve Duke of Blue Barn Pictures
We were a devoted reader of Gowanus Lounge and a regular tipster since we work in Coney Island. Before March 4, 2009, ATZ wasn’t even a glimmer in our mind. Bob’s death left a void in coverage of Coney and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. As we wrote at the time….
Coney Island is in desperate straits. No one cares as much or could give it as much in depth coverage as Bob did. Yesterday I watched an old vid of Bob on Brian Lehrer in which he said “I started Gowanus Lounge a few years ago because mainstream media had pretty much abrogated its responsibility to Brooklyn.” That’s pretty much how I feel as a former journo and why I admired Bob and his work.
In regard to Coney, I’m sad and afraid that many of the large and small stories that Bob would have covered will go unreported this season. The fact that he was an experienced journalist with his own blog, doing 10 or more posts a day, plus another 10 or so in his paying gig for the real estate blog curbed, and the fact that he cared so much, all came together to make it possible.
The NY Times City Room blog regularly linked to his stories instead of covering what was happening in Coney Island and other Brooklyn nabes. Bob broke many Coney news stories—too numerous to list here!– that were consistently “picked up” (often without credit) by New York’s daily newspapers and TV news. Bob’s work made a huge difference in our lives and he will be missed more than I can say.
Bob’s passionate coverage of all things Coney and the void left by his death inspired the launch of ATZ in April 2009. We dedicated our first news-breaking post to Gowanus Lounge, saying if Bob were still here, he would undoubtedly be covering this story and we would be at the beach.
When a juicy rumor comes our way, we always think “Omigod, Bob would have loved this one!” We like to think he will be smiling down on Coney Island this summer when the former Astroland site, whose last days he chronicled on AstroMania Monday (Feb. 2, 2009), will be reborn as the new Luna Park.
Yet Joe Sitt’s desecration of his Coney Island properties continues unabated. What would Bob have to say about it? Yesterday’s ATZ post about Thor Equities’ Coney Island led off with a link to a Gowanus Lounge post from May 2007 decrying “the Sitt-created blight along Stillwell Avenue.” It’s shocking that one could take any graf from Bob Guskind’s May 25, 2007 blog post and use it today because Joe Sitt is still “sitting” on what’s left of his empty lots waiting for his next $100 million payday!
Rest in peace, Bob Guskind. Journalist, Blogger, Brooklyn’s Blogfather. Coney Island misses you and your work continues to be a source of inspiration.