Sections

Con-don’t!

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

There must be no housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park — and the entirety of the 85-acre open space and condo development should be protected by being formally zoned as parkland, a coalition of community leaders said on Tuesday.

The group, led by state Senate candidate Daniel Squadron, renewed a longstanding demand that state officials create a “real” Brooklyn Bridge Park — one that would not be a luxury condo development with an open space component.

Squadron, a well-financed newcomer, embraced the community demand in his campaign against 30-year state Sen. Marty Connor (D–Brooklyn Heights), who has supported the current condos-in-the-park proposal.

That Connor-backed scheme displayed fresh shakiness just last week, when Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation officials admitted that the loudly touted first permanent piece of the park — a public piazza and skating rink under the Brooklyn Bridge — would be delayed at least five years.

Squadron saw that delay as evidence that the project needed to be reimagined as a real park, not a state-run development project.

“We are talking about the possibility of creating a great, real, world-class park here on the waterfront,” Squadron said in a campaign stop at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, which is slated to be the southern entrance to the development.

“We have enormous activity and potential on our waterfront in New York today [and] we have the chance to build a great 21st-century public work,” he added.

Longtime Carroll Gardens resident Lisa Pines was one of about a dozen people who joined Squadron’s call for a real park — one that would be more than a backyard for luxury buildings, and one that would actually be built before her son, now 10, is too old to enjoy it.

“This needs to not be a playground for rich people, but a full park for the neighborho­od,” Pines said, with her son, Graham, at her side.

In the decades since community activists and local officials started planning Brooklyn Bridge Park, the proposal has changed from a sprawling public greenspace that would be part of the city’s regular park system to a state-built and -operated development whose open-space component would be maintained through fees charged to residents of luxury condos within the park’s footprint.

That financing scheme became part of the plan when state development officials required in 2004 that the project be self-financing. But not all community leaders endorsed this idea; some believe that homeowners whose fees maintain the park will likely seek to exercize control over the open space.

Currently, up to 1,400 units of luxury housing are slated to be built inside the park.

Despite his opposition to housing in the park site, Squadron said he supports another part of the project’s revenue-raising scheme — a planned hotel.

“Housing must not be on the table,” he said. “Hotels draw people in. Housing requires a private, quiet neighborho­od.”

And because hotel guests are transients, they would have little influence over the operation of the park.

Incumbent Connor told The Brooklyn Paper that he does not favor housing in the park, but said state officials have “made it very plain” that the housing is essential to supporting the park.

“I’m not in favor of housing in the park, but I’m not willing to risk the park not being built by opposing the housing,” Connor said on Tuesday. “The housing does, in fact, take up a much smaller footprint than anything anyone else was trying to think of.”

But critics have long pointed out that unless the entire 85 acres are rezoned as parkland — something that is not in the current plan — housing and commercial development could bite into more of the open space if revenues from the initial condos fall off and the park maintenance budget rises.

Supporters of the current development plan questioned the latest call to eliminate housing.

“The whole way to get the city and state to pay for the park was by agreeing it would be a self-sustaining park,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy President Marianna Koval.

“I would like to have Mr. Squadron tell us now, before the election, how he would intend to make up the revenue.”

But City Council candidate Ken Diamondstone — himself a former Connor opponent — said he “wholeheart­edly supports” the latest effort to create a real Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“I would repeat my call to the [Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation] to release the economic data so that we can, as a community, work together to make decisions about the park,” Diamondstone said.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Danyak from Cobble Hill says:
Squadron is a puppet and a bs artist. Depending on the listening audience, he alters his "positions". The easiest thing to do is complain about the proposal. Mr Connor led the birth of this project and should be commended, not demonized. While not perfect, its benefits will surely outweigh the limited compromises the local residents must make. NIMBY is alive and well, but those with narrow minds won't succeed.
Aug. 24, 2008, 3:52 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
You just lost my vote, Mr. Squadron. And I was seriously considering pulling that lever for you this fall.

I’m not going to defend BBPDC's track record of late, but all of this “give us a real park” nonsense has got to stop.

Saying that BBP will be little more than a "backyard for luxury condos" adds nothing to the conversation because it's an absolutely ridiculous statement.

The footprint of those buildings is miniscule compared to the amount of new park you'll be getting. This is rich people arguing with each other over power, with the entire charade draped in populist, environmentalist hokum.

Even candidate Obama realizes that compromises are necessary to move forward. In Brooklyn Heights, apparently, it's more satisfying to posture and parade than to actually accomplish anything.
Aug. 25, 2008, 5:03 pm
Sam from Brooklyn Heights says:
Dave, you are sincerely misinformed. We can get a great park with a pool, ice rink, year round recreation and pay for it without housing. Recreational features were dumped when they opted for housing in the park. The Connor plan now has landscaping and a "perched wetlands" on top of a man made pier (just think of how expensive that is). Do you know why they dumped the recreational features the communities wanted and worked for decades to get? Because people who buy multi million dollar condos inside parks do not want noise, or crowds or lights on at night. That is perfectly understandable - I sure wouldn't want a crowd on my lawn every night. But the difficult thing is that this was supposed to be an active recreational park. Not a condo complex. Squadron is really about change - I have met the guy and he is a breadth of fresh air. And he shows up! Something Connor doesn't. I think he deserves your reconsideration, that's all.
Aug. 27, 2008, 3:37 pm
marwa from metrotech center says:
okay so where it should be? if it is not on the park for the park's sake that is great but give us solution.
Oct. 22, 2008, 1:39 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.