OK waterfront ‘park’…but
Seek to shrink
size of towers, apartments
Seek to shrink
size of towers, apartments
Local elected officials seemed this week to want to have their cake and
eat it, too, when it comes to plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park.
At a press conference at Borough Hall just hours before a public hearing
on a study of the park’s impacts, six of the area’s elected
officials joined to call for both approval of the plan’s draft environmental
statement, and for changes to the plan itself.
The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which was released in
July, pertains to a revised plan, announced in December, for a waterfront
development running from Jay Street to Atlantic Avenue. The plan calls
for a dependence on high-rise luxury housing to pay the annual maintenance
of the open space and recreational areas in the 1.3-mile development.
And despite their call for scaling back the high-rises, among other changes
to the plan, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmen Bill DeBlasio
and David Yassky, state Sen. Martin Connor, Assemblywoman Joan Millman
and Rep. Nydia Velazquez, all shared one distinctive message: Let there
None of their proposed changes, they said, would have any impact or render
invalid the DEIS.
“First, we need to move forward and build the park with all possible
speed, then we must listen to community members and fix the plan’s
defects,” said DeBlasio, whose district includes Carroll Gardens
and Park Slope.
Yassky, whose Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO district borders most of the
park, additionally spoke about the need to trim some of the park’s
anticipated annual expenses to lessen the reliance on income generation
for the park, which is charged with being self-
“We should maximize revenue from existing buildings onsite,”
he said after the Borough Hall press conference, and pointed to existing
buildings that surround the park as potentially contributing to the park’s
Among the approaches addressed in a joint press release were the following:
provide interim park improvements and access near the southern end of
the park; reduce the height of the residential buildings near Pier 6 to
20 stories or less (currently, a 30-story tower is proposed there); preserve
the Con Edison site, near the northern end of the park, as green space
(currently, a condo high-rise is proposed there); develop residential
projects elsewhere in DUMBO or glean funds from existing buildings; provide
more indoor and outdoor recreation; develop a middle school for Region
8; and consider using the Purchase Building (an art-deco industrial space
underneath the Brooklyn Bridge now slated for demolition) as part of the
Other suggestions by the officials included developing a ferry terminal
at a “more inviting park entrance” at Atlantic Avenue that would
feature ancillary commercial activity; improving access at the northern
end of the park in Vinegar Hill; and enhancing pedestrian access to Old
Fulton Street, where walkers battle two-way traffic entering and exiting
the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
While some of the elected officials were adamant about moving ahead with
the project, such as Connor — who said, “We can’t slow
down the process. We need to get the EIS approved and move forward”
— others seemed hesitant to offer such unconditional support.
Yassky, who later provided an alternative financing plan that includes
cutting the private security, relying instead on police, and expanding
the financial burden to existing buildings near the park, said he would
favor more exploration in financing, but realized time was precious.
“We have the market conditions for a housing deal now,” Yassky
told reporters. “We don’t want to miss the market.”
But Judi Francis, an opponent of the current park plans, who lives on
Willow Place, just a block from the proposed construction of new high-rises,
likened the move by the elected officials to lip service.
“At the 11th hour they come up with a paltry few crumbs to throw
at the community in order to get the earth-moving equipment onto the site,”
“They haven’t heard us. And it’s very disappointing.”
©2005 Community News Group