Foes decry Park ‘tax’ scheme, push for revenue from Witness buildings

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Brooklyn Bridge Park could raise one-quarter of its massive maintenance budget through a new tax on local businesses and residents — but that idea is dead in the water, say critics, who think there are better ways to raise the money.

A consultant hired last year to search for revenue to maintain the park without building residences within its waterfront footprint released a draft report on Tuesday that predicted that $1 million to $4 million towards the park’s $16-million maintenance budget could come from a new tax on residents and business owners within a quarter-mile of the park.

But the scheme — called a “Park Improvement District” — is so unpopular that before the ink dried on the study, the proposal was already being blasted as “insulting” and “a scare tactic.”

“The Park Improvement District they proposed is not going to happen,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights). “There are viable alternatives to the current plan” to include housing in the park.

The construction of housing and other revenue-generating uses stem from a 2002 agreement between the city and state that the $350-million park raise its own maintenance budget so it would not be a drain on city coffers.

But the proposed 20- to 30-floor luxury high-rises have long been the 1.3-mile waterfront development’s most controversial feature, so last year, park planners created a Committee on Alternatives to Housing.

On Tuesday, the committee’s consultant issued a draft report that found $2.5 million to $7 million in new revenues, including the controversial new park improvement district, which would extend from Furman Street to as far east as Henry Street and as far north as Bridge Street in DUMBO.

The consultant, however, did not consider a proposal being pushed by Squadron that would capture tax revenue created when several currently tax-exempt Jehovah’s Witness-owned buildings are sold and return to the rolls.

Squadron is pushing the consultant to consider such revenue before the end of the report’s 60-day “public comment period.”

“The most-important alternative revenue source has not yet been studied: tapping into the 2.8-million-square feet of nearby Watchtower properties,” he said.

Like Squadron, other opponents of housing inside the park dismissed the park improvement district tax.

“We already pay our taxes,” said Judi Francis, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, which has sued to keep housing out of Brooklyn Bridge Park and to maintain the open space in the same way that normal city parks are maintained: through the Parks Department budget. “Dedicate more of those dollars to parks and then we’ll talk.”

Despite the derision, the idea of creating a Business Improvement District for a park is not without precedent. The High Line and Hudson River Park, both in Manhattan, have considered BIDs to generate revenue, though neither did. Bryant Park is supported by a massive BID that manages more than $5 million a year to supplement city services.

In addition to the $4 million maximum revenue raised by the park improvement district, the consultant identified $3 million in revenues that could be raised by:

• Parking fees — $230,000 to $440,000.

• Creating more concessions beyond the soon-to-open wine bar at Pier 6 and cart food on Pier 1 — $40,000 to $365,000. It’ll likely be the lower number, the consultant admitted.

• Changing the proposed residential buildings to retail space — $250,000. Even that figure is unlikely because limited public transportation would make the park a poor location for retail.

• Charging sports enthusiasts more to use proposed recreation facilities inside the park — $600,000.

The report did not mention cuts to the ballooning maintenance budget, which is being discussed by city and state officials, sources said.

Despite such paltry numbers, Squadron was energized.

“Between what’s included and what’s been left out, this draft shows it’s possible to fund the park without … building new on-site luxury housing,” he said.

A public hearing on the report will be held at St. Francis College [180 Remsen St. between Clinton and Court streets in DUMBO, (718) 222-9216] on March 31 at 6 pm. For info, visit

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Brooklyn babe from Brooklyn says:
Watchtower group has morphed into a real estate developer posing as a religion. The Watchtower Jehovah's Witnesses has been developing properties in New York City with volunteers for years, and now they are selling all of it at great profit.

Feb. 23, 2011, 2:43 am
Vinny from USA says:
The WT Society and Jehovah's Witnesses are a MAN-originating, men-run, high controlling religious cult-like institution, rather than what they tell people they are (God's appointed Channel/Organization/People nonsense).

The facts prove without a doubt that God was never behind any of this:


We got False End of the World Predictions all over the place, medical disasterous policies - FORCED on JW's at risk of extreme shunning.

We got flip flops, blinking lights, wacky science, historical failures, arrogance, judging other religions and people of those religions and LOADS of WT Society embarrassments and humiliations throughout their entire 100 year history!

God had nothing to do with all that nonsense that was called, "Food from God" by all JW's even down to this day.

It was WRONG when it first came off the presses!

So why are some today opposed to Jehovah's Witness and their policies?




An arrogant, controlling Religious Institution is why.

They are WRONG ON BLOOD TODAY (for 68 years now).

They are WRONG ON SHUNNING those that simply walk away from the JW religion today. (nowhere in bible)

They are WRONG 607 BCE and 1914.

They were WRONG ABOUT FORBIDDING Vaccinations, Organ Transplants, Alternative Service and much more.

They were wrong on ALL OF THEIR End of World Predictions in writing. Wrong on marital infidelity rules, rape rules, beards, 1935, Beth Sarim and too many things to bother listing here.

Did ((( GOD ))) make all of these terrible decisions to force on all the JW's as "food at the proper time", and then change his mind later on?

Or was is just a bunch of MEN, that make up the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses (sitting up in some Brooklyn office somewhere) making these poor decisions, FORCING them on all JW's and then afterwards conveniently change their mind?

Does God serve Bad Food like this?

Perhaps He is not a very good cook?

Shunning people for disagreements is NOT scriptural!

Shunning people for walking away from the JW faith is NOT scriptural!

This is a CONTROL mechanism. And it often works. It is a gross misapplication of scripture to keep the average JW towing the line.


Jw's are not allowed to even THINK differently.

I WAS a JW, and an elder as well, until recently in 2006 when I walked away. I am very familiar with how they are actually WORSE than most other faiths today. I am shunned for walking away. People today and for the last 80 years have died, without reason, due to the WT medical policies forced on all JW's.

Each week is filled with a list of JW obligations that basically OWN YOU. You are told what you can read, what movies are acceptable, what association is acceptable, what facial hair is okay. What you can celebrate and cannot. What words you are allowed to use.

What is allowed in your own bedroom with your wife. And too many other things to list here again. Before knowing all the facts and believing they were God's True Channel, one can go a very long way to justify all of these things. Take away that one true faith belief and so falls the rest.

I have been there and done all that.

JW's are told they cannot take blood transfusions in situations where they might need one (such as through accidents or complications with surgery, pregnancy or child birth).

So, naturally, more JW's will die.

Just like this mother died unnecessarily!

And now her husband has no wife and her two new twins have no mother.

And all for what?

Or this teenager that also DIED:

This is very simple. JW's NEEDLESSLY die for this sorry blood policy today.

From the same organization that has an entire 100 year history of similar bad and embarrasing policies.

This is why I suggest to anybody thinking of becoming a JW ... to READ READ AND READ UP ON THIS RELIGION FIRST!

The proof will clearly stand out that the JW faith is not what they try to tell people they are!

The facts are Irrefutable.

Feb. 23, 2011, 9:27 am
emeth from the netherlands says:
Vinny & Danny..... Jealous?
Feb. 23, 2011, 1:31 pm
retired from USA says:

The Watchtower needs to take the new windfall fortune in profits and repay all the followers they coerced into *donating* their retirement savings for the promise of paradise after Armageddon.

Steve Klemetti is apostate
Feb. 23, 2011, 1:40 pm
DripDripDrip from USA says:
Yep - the Watchtower is really a real estate holding company - welcome to the Truman show of a religion
Feb. 23, 2011, 9:58 pm
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
How about taking some of our hundreds of millions back from Bruce Ratner and the Yankees, or cutting MSG's tax exemption, or reducing the wsteful, misguided NYC Economic Development Corporation's budget by the amount it would take to fund park maintenance?
Feb. 24, 2011, 10:19 am
Mary from Milan says:
Vinny,,, which congregation were you kicked out of???
Feb. 24, 2011, 4:36 pm
Eve from Chelsa says:
Hey! The Watchtower promised a 'garden of Eden' "Park" like paradise post armageddon to the million Jehovah Witness follower investors that they $windled.

SO---Lets get the Watchtower to now pay for a real park paradise in their former spot.

They got estimated $200 billion in world wide assets to pay for it,what great PR for them.
Feb. 25, 2011, 5:25 am
Bob from Brooklyn Heights says:
Vinny, not only what congregation were you kicked out of but what secret sin did you hide, for how long, and how were you caught?????
Feb. 28, 2011, 5:08 pm
JW sister from Patterson says:
STEVE KLEMETTI APOSTATE CYBERSTALKER stop counting your field service time trolling and reviling.

Did you know that Steven Klemetti went bankrupt?

YES he spends 10-16 hours a day trolling the Internet thinking he is on a mission to harass EXJW victims.

He will not work and support himself and his own elders are after him.Steve Klemetti a real piece of work every Jehovah's Witness should be proud of him.

Why isn't he disfellowshipped yet?

March 1, 2011, 2:43 am

Enter your comment below

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

You agree that you, and not 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 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.