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Suiting up! Pierson and G’pointers vow to sue city, developers over ‘inadequate’ waterfront tower studies

The Brooklyn Paper

It’s going to be a bumpy Landing.

Angry Greenpointers are planning to sue the city and developers over two planned waterfront luxury apartment complexes that they say are steam-rolling over environmental protections.

The ad hoc group announced the suit at a rally against the Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street developments on Wednesday night. Council candidate Stephen Pierson was on hand to tell the crowd of 75 protesters that he will spearhead the lawsuit with the goal of stopping the 12 towers from rising.

“This is not right, and [the developer] should not go unchallenged,” said Pierson.

The legal action would be based on the city’s decision that the developments — a 10 tower compound with as many as 5,500 apartments and a two tower neighbor with a total of 720 at the Newtown Creek end of Greenpoint — would have no negative environmental impact. The anti-high-rise group says the findings are based on a study that is eight years old, running afoul of a requirement that the city make decisions based on accurate information.

“[The developers] might claim that they have updated a few things,” said Pierson. “But if they had done anything significant, they would have published it.”

The energetic crowd toted signs bearing messages such as “The roof is too damn high” and “Greenpoint does not equal Midtown.” Protesters said they fear a repeat of the massive condo skyscrapers lining Williamsburg’s waterfront, which activists decried for increasing rents and failing on promises to expand parks, but failed to prevent from rising.

“We have a real fighting chance to stop this, and I believe in fighting,” said Rolf Carle, who lives on Milton Street, near Greenpoint’s proposed vertical village.

Pierson said that even if the Article 78 lawsuit does not hit its mark, it will buy neighbors time until a new mayor takes office, which could be a crucial factor in the battle against the project.

“Even if we lose, we can tie it up until we get a new mayoral administration that might be more sympathetic,” said Pierson “Bloomberg was setting the bar [for developers] very low.”

Both projects are slated to rise a stone’s throw from Newtown Creek, which was declared a Superfund site in 2010.

The community board will vote on both projects on Sept. 9, but those votes are only advisory and have little bearing on whether the projects will ultimately be built. The 77 Commercial Street complex does not have a projected completion date, according to the developer. The Democratic primary election is Sept. 10.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at

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Darren from Greenpoint says:
It great that someone is taking an initiative to block these developments. All these developments are designed to line the pockets of Bloomberg's rich friends. Why else would you build 11 fourty story towers in an area of 1-3 stories with an occasional 6. If if you think I am wrong why else are these developers all building with a poor doors (seperate entrance for affordable housing tenants.) Can't wait for Bloomberg to leave so we can fix this. Vote smart with Di Blasio
Sept. 5, 2013, 11:09 pm
Natalie from Greenpoint says:
I wish the city, council members and community board would start thinking out of the box a bit and would realize that there are more ways to bring affordable apartments to those who need them in the area aside from selling us out to get those units! So building higher and building more new buildings is the ONLY way we can get affordable housing?! Why are the two connected? Why can't we renovate existing buildings, build up in abandoned buildings strictly for lower to middle income and rent them via open house applications instead of the very random and competitive city-wide lottery system? But since this is all that's being touted to us, I guess they are telling us we have a choice...and that is towers with lots of affordable housing units or no towers and far fewer affordable housing units. In that case I say let's bring in fewer new neighbors since our infrastructure can't support that many people, lose some of the affordable housing in those particular buildings and look for other buildings to offer affordable housing in the area instead. I'd rather have 400 McGuinness be an affordable housing building instead of an intake center for mentally ill homeless men for example...
Sept. 5, 2013, 11:49 pm
bkmahatposeur from brokeland says:
@natalie you can build new buildings, but the real sticking point is what kind of new buildings are you going to develop.
High ceiling glass condos or affordable apartment buildings.
You have to get in teh face of the developers and the city that they don't take you for granted.
Sept. 6, 2013, 9:35 am
Jane from Brooklyn says:
It's about time one of our politicians stood up for its residents. Do everyone a favor and please vote for Pierson in the primary.

google "vito flip$ for domino" and you should be very scared of what our waterfront might look like with Levin on city council.
Sept. 6, 2013, 9:38 am
BKallday from PPS says:
@natalie The city is already preserving and creating affordable units in existing building in neighborhoods throughout the city, but the property owner has to agree to making it affordable.

If the property owner has no reason to go through a public review process and is not getting government subsidy then there isn't any compelling reason for them to provide units that are below market value, especially if the owner paid market rate to acquire the property.
Sept. 6, 2013, 9:51 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Darren, if you think DiBlasio will stop this, I won't vote for him. He did support increased as-of-right development near subway stops though. I think he's not as anti-development as you hope.

Natalie, you missed something when you wrote "So building higher and building more new buildings is the ONLY way we can get affordable housing?!" It's not the only way. There is one other way. We can make the neighborhood truly suck. We can promise that no crime committed there will ever be investigated. We can say that if you move there, you can't send your kids to public schools but you do have to pay double taxes. And let's dump all our garbage there and kill all the trees but leave them standing.

Because basically, there are only 2 ways to provide affordable housing. You can make the neighborhood suck so much that no one wants to live there. Or if you want to have a nice neighborhood, you build enough housing for people to live there. That is it.
Sept. 6, 2013, 10:19 am
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
When exactly did every loser decide to become a socialist?
Sept. 6, 2013, 12:57 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
Also, is anyone else sick of the utterly loaded concept of 'affordable housing'? The very concept of 'affordable' is inherently relative. All occupied housing is affordable to someone. "Affordable housing' is basically nothing more than commie sloganeering and crypto-speak.
Sept. 6, 2013, 1:06 pm
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Cry me a river Natalie.

Just because some people out there make less money doesn't entitle them to anything. I sincerely hope that this trend of development continues and whiny people like you demanding hand outs get priced out of the community. If it's too expensive to live here you can move and commute just like plenty of other people out there. There is more than enough affordable housing and housing projects around the city in prime residential location already.
Sept. 6, 2013, 2:01 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
Exactly Interloper. When did it become acceptable to divide society into separate groups; one adhering to the free market, and another that does not?

Any other property owners in the neighborhood want to form an ad hoc group to sue this other ad hoc group?
Sept. 6, 2013, 2:21 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Also, how are going to have "fewer people?" Is "fewer people" something you control with "policy?" Sure, in Chinese cities maybe. But in this country you can't prohibit people from moving to Brooklyn if they want to move to Brooklyn. And they are. And the only way to alleviate the housing shortage is by building more housing.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:08 pm
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
Ok interloper & Ned, that being said of your desire to put in only market housing, why not the community demand that a housing project along the river be built.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:20 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
How about we move forward with actual progress?

I somewhat wonder how long these 'affordable housing' people have lived in the neighborhood. What exactly do they miss about the old days? The vacant storefronts on Franklin Ave? The plethora of 99 cent stores? The pile of alkie bums passed out by the Greenpoint Ave. stop?

What exactly are these people trying to get back to?

It's the same old BS from the same sect of society that it always comes from. People whose egos far outweigh their talents or accomplishments. It's time for the rest of us to send them back to the bench where they belong.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:32 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Waterfront property is more desirable, and so it should be slated for market-rate housing, so the city can generate more tax revenue, to pay for subsidized housing in less desirable locations, and pay for more and better infrastructure for all the new housing. Why is this so hard to grok?

Whereof comes this idea that the taxpayer should foot subsidized housing with views of the waterfront and a close commute to Manhattan? We all benefit from luxury towers that provide a deep tax base. They take pressure off the old inland neighborhoods, and they generate money for the city.

The city has to have more housing. We can't cut and paste around this. The old industrial waterfronts are ideally suited for this use. They have large footprints, they can be accessed by ferry to alleviate some pressure on the subway system, and they are at a certain distance from older residential neighborhoods farther inland that already have high density.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:43 pm
T-Bone from DoBro says:
My condo that I bought is "affordable." We scrounged up $ for the down payment, negotiated a good deal with the sponsor when the market was slow, and scored a good interest rate through a combo of good credit and timing. Now we pay way less per month than the rent for a similar unit. Our hard work and foresight made it "affordable."

Oh, was I supposed to wait for the city to blackmail the developer to give me a handout? Silly me.
Sept. 6, 2013, 4:20 pm
Juniper from Greenpoint says:
I am sick to death of all you newbies who are willing to pay these outrageous rents and say that its affordable. As a native New Yorker I can say Greenpoint has always been a nice place to live with working class people. You come , stay for awhile and leave, and then in your wake we are left with mess. I have seen too many of my neighbors and friends forced out. The apt across from me has been a revolving door. I used to know all my neighbors. All the newbies have destroyed Greenpoint. We now have more crime , dirt, noise and too many bars. There isn't the infrastructure in place to accommodate such a mass influx of people. Not enough space in mass transit, not enough schools, these buildings are going up with no plans for how the neighborhood will cope. It's selfish and it's plain wrong. We had fought decades for the waterfront access not so only a few with money can enjoy at the expense of everyone else. It's a crime.
Sept. 7, 2013, 12:44 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Juniper. I came to Brooklyn, and stayed for 30 years. It's true, only the first eight were in Williamsburg. But it's been a little more than "a while." And the last time I checked, there's no rule that says you have be a born and raised fifth generation New Yorker to live in Greenpoint.

When you blame "you newbies" for "ruining" Greenpoint, you display exactly the kind of clueless parochialism that was arong with Greenpoint in the old days.

This "nice working class neighborhood," for exzmple, was the one that for decades blocked the re-opening of McCarren Park Pool because they didn't want certain "other" kinds of nice working class people, like, from the Southside, using the pool. As "newbies" we were aghast at the mean spiritedness of this attitude. The willingness to deprive everyone, even yourself, of a great public bath, on account of the peccadillos of a few local hacks and cronies.

Luckily, the newbies made north Brooklyn desirable, the local cronies lost power, or they finally woke up, and Greenpoint got a swimming pool. Duh.

Now then, the density and noise that you so readily blame on the inconvenient fact of other people, is not going away, and neither are the high rents. The only thing that has a hope of slleviating these effects is in fact to build vertically. You have to get used to the idea of a Brooklyn with residential towers everywhere. Better infrastructure will follow, it has to, but the lack of it now is no excuse not to build. You want to see your rent go up? Then don't build any new housing.
Sept. 7, 2013, 7:35 am
bkmanhatposeur from Brokelyn says:
Seriously. They developed middle classing housing units in Newark & the Bronx, why not in Greenpoint.
If the old locals want a say in what gets developed then they should force the city to zone & put in height limitations.
I still believe you can build but the locals have to have a say & be able to enforce their views on the developers.
Sept. 7, 2013, 9:56 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Br/Other/s, I applaud your willingness to always openly demonstrate your ignorance in mendacity's ser/vice. Like this gross oversimplification here: take geographic space, square footage, and divide by units/population. Voila! Thus, the price of rent these days. This highly theoretical premise, while seductive in its misalignment [one meant to entertain, not inform], is refuted by the history of rent increase/intervals since a) the gentrification of Williamsburg commencing 1979, and b) the much-heralded now much-maligned 2005-rezoning. Especially in the latter, Beast to Devil, the explosion in new construction AND conversion that inverted populations [with some fluctuation due to the "market's" dynamic inconsistency]. Sure, some apologists will argue that the housing stock was in some manner "peripheral" because it did not somehow impact the defying-all-odds still largely "inner works", but this is exactly Greenpoint Landing. So make no mistake, the misanthropists here have no interest whatsoever increasing your affordability. Search Brooklyn Paper's threads and you'll find each one of these miscreants scorning the very concept of "affordability" much more than its application. So how is It you should believe them suddenly turning tail and telling you what is good for you?

Advice: check out Brian Paul's writings on the matter.
See especially his writings on "induced demand" which medicates against this economic witch's brew of bromides prescribed of "supply and demand."
Sept. 7, 2013, 11:13 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I really wish to emphasize my applause and amazement over your abilities with copy-paste across so many threads across so many venues. All in the service of nonsense and worthlessness, as if One Day, against the popular view, indeed you wish your pseudonymity exposed. And then we will all laugh and marvel how you didn't yet suffer carpal tunnel syndrome with all your stereotypy, repeating the same petulant untruths, copy-pasting your time as a "guest" in the next world with all the lies and stupidities from this one.
Sept. 7, 2013, 11:30 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I guess Tertullian was right, credo quia absurdum.
Sept. 7, 2013, 11:31 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Brian Paul's "induced demand" is poppycock. Who in particular is "inducing" demand, and how, and if they stopped how would that stop gentrification? It would do no such thing. Development is responding need, not inducing it. And the waterfronts are ideal sites on which to fill the increasing demand for housing.
Sept. 7, 2013, 12:30 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Like I said: yours is an interesting theory. That is, "interesting" for you. Not supported by facts or history, just your rhetoric, and you don't spin it well enough.

Outside of rhetoric and real estate pandering, history finds no grounds for these simpleton postulations. Previous instances of accelerated construction [as mentioned] DID NOT lower rent. Indeed, THE EXACT OPPOSITE occurred. So much for theory. So much for waterfront development "meeting" demands. What's with all this mamby-pamby nonsense? "Meeting demands." Why should the community care? Let the developers care for themselves.

I know, I know, when you're enamored of yourself it's hard to face the facts. And when you think you nailed it with a specious "to raise the quality of life, reduce space, increase noise, increase pollution, increase infrastructure stress, crowd more." But do try to support your theories with some ground to stand on.
Sept. 7, 2013, 4:01 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Oh, and just to twist tail: here is an/Other refutation of one more of your perennial claims: "Much of what was happening was illegal – all of it was, in effect, since the property was never officially open to the public – but there was very little crime or menace."

Ouch. Incredible how the accuracy of your rhetoric remains at zero after all these years. That must be a record! And all these refutations keep accumulating! Damn that tricky history! It keeps getting in the way of real estate pander. Truthiness, please don't hurt 'em!
Sept. 7, 2013, 4:49 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
The current rate of development will NOT keep pace with demand, and prices will continue to rise. We know that:

But a moratorium on development would cause prices to rise even more sharply on existing housing and put even more pressure on existing residential neighborhoods. Which is why this think tank at Columbia is calling for more development.

Everyone knows there was very little crime in the EDT Northside waterfront. Williamsburg's famously "dangerous" crime was mostly associated with the drug market along Bedford and Kent avenues on the Southside.

With or without development, Brooklyn is never going back to the 80s. With or without condo towers, every available garage and warehouse is and will be converted to some kind of swank f*ck palace or "creative" hangout/studio. The only hope for any alleviation of the housing shortage is to increase supply. "Affordable", "Luxury", "Market." Those are semantics and they'll come out in the wash. But you can't cut and paste around the pressing need for more residential units in Brooklyn.

What you can do is follow Jules de Balincourt's idea of getting people together to pool their money and buy buildings. Tenants could pool their money and buy out their landlords. And this is area where housing activists like Los Sures, People's Firehouse, and Saint Nicks would so well to focus their attention, to help tenant coops organize, help them get political support and mortgages.
Sept. 7, 2013, 6:21 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Bravo, Ethan Pettit. That is one of your better written argument/s. This is the you I am enriched disagreeing with. You are of course presuming the housing advocacy you named does not already focus their attention as you describe, and that your point hinges on a Columbia University thinktank--an incredible example and advocate. And I mean as in never remotely objective to escape its compromise in gentrification:

and how It is not just motivated but entirely informed from the innate position of its compromise. In Other Word/s, I wouldn't stand out in the desert tempted by the City with the Devil telling me what is Best for the World.
Sept. 7, 2013, 6:55 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Thank you for the reference to de Balincourt, though. Again, to your point about Columbia University's "findings," I highly recommend the last chapter of Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class, "The Higher Learning As An Expression of Pecuniary Culture." I think but am not certain this may have been built into another work altogether. Of course, present circumstances are different than those examined by Veblen, but one thing remains in common between this time and then: the Uni/Versity was around and while its body is always dynamic many of its guiding principles remain intact. The offspring of those "guiding principles" is gentrification.
Sept. 7, 2013, 7:02 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Insofar as I have always argued that artists are a subculture of the bourgeoisie, and both are players in gentrification, yes, you could include "university culture" in that mix perhaps. And indeed, Columbia itself is in expansion mode, as is NYU. They too need space. Everyone needs space.

Point is. if you can think of a way to get "affordable" housing for whomever you think deserves it and can't afford it, and also absorb the 70,000 or so new arrivals to NYC every year who can, evidently, afford to move here ... and you can do all this WITHOUT new vertical development, then knock yourself out. Love to see the plans.
Sept. 7, 2013, 7:18 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
But why chiromancy? You already know my answer: a soviet of engineers inhabiting a civic engineering environmental science multi/versity that finds and develops the Green Valley hidden in North Brooklyn. Or maybe not chiromancy, maybe possession: since you wish to Dis/Place the Spirit t/here.
Sept. 7, 2013, 7:24 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Also, I agree with Daniel Campo's call for anarchic public spaces. I was part of the anarchic scene on the old waterfront, I have documented it to some extent on my fb page, and I provided Campo with some material.

He's right about the mundanity of public space these days. Here's a piece I wrote about the Highline a few years ago:

" ... has it occurred to any of these pedagogical designers of “urban space” that maybe I don’t want my sightlines or the trajectory of my stroll manipulated? Has it occurred to any of these designers that maybe what I would like most is for them to get out of my face?"
Sept. 7, 2013, 7:34 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
How could you support or agree in any degree with Campo when you support Greenpoint Landing? Anyone or thing of the Form/er loathes the latter. Are you searching for that Third Space, br/Other? Is it implausible to suggest you have a better Idea?
Sept. 7, 2013, 8:02 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
I'm saying you can't avoid Greenpoint Landing, or Domino, or Atlantic Yards, Flushing Brewery, 77 Commercial Street, Gowanus, Jay Street, and a hundred other projects all over Brooklyn. Campo is an urbanist, he know's what's for dinner. He's talking about outdoor recreational space and what we can learn from Brooklyn in the 90s. He's really talking about recreation as an immersive experience. Immersionism was a big part of the waterfront culture he writes about:
Sept. 7, 2013, 8:42 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Again, you can't say Greenpoint Landing is unavoidable while you spend your time here advocating on its behalf. Are you confused? Do you want it? No, as you seem to suggest? Then stop with this nonsense that it's the solution.
Sept. 7, 2013, 9 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Show me another solution. Show me how to absorb 100 new people per day in New York City, not even including the one's who are already here in shelters or tripling up in railroad flats. Show me how to grow the city by half a million people per decade without building towers. Show me a real solution, not just another complaint. Not some welfare theory about how "the man" is "inducing" yuppies upon us. Show me a real solution for meeting the demand for housing in the city.
Sept. 7, 2013, 9:33 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Now you are willfully blind. You don't wish to propose or agree with the proposals of your peers and previous neighbors. No.
You'd rather champion absentee entities whose plans you implicitly admit are lacking. All the while you are obscuring your own lack of courage and spite with straw man arguments of "welfare" that don't apply to anyone but the real estate developers you betray with, who won't accomplish their goals without significant incentives from government. Congratulations.
Sept. 7, 2013, 9:45 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
I am willfully and strenuously open to suggestions from my peers and neighbors, and to date the only good one I've heard is from the Bushwick artist Jules de Balincourt - get your collective asses together and buy some property. The only thing coming from everyone else are complaints about density and lack of affordable housing. That line of protest is not a solution. It amounts to a complaint about the fact that more people are crowding into Brooklyn. Duh, ya don't say. So your city council member is going to chase rhem away? But I do not say that condos are "the only" solution. The other solution is for the well-established housing non-profits in the area to get into the business of organizing collective purchases of property.
Sept. 7, 2013, 10:06 pm
Reality from Williamsburg says:
Why can poor people afford to own cars? Because there
Is no regulation on building cars so they are built for rich people
And middle class people but guess what . cars age and then
They are used cars. So then poor people can afford them.

This is how real estate used to work a long time ago in nyc.

This would work the same with housing but nyc has a million
Regulations. You can't touch housing projects rent stabilized
Apartments so the only place you can build in in former
Industrial areas such as Greenpoint waterfront. If you don't allow building here then where will you allow building? Without new buildings
Poor people will never afford to live anywhere.

You can't kick existing poor people out of the housing
they are in so where are the new poor people supposed to live?

Sept. 8, 2013, 7:49 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Excuse me, while I was asleep was the
Plan for Greenpoint Landing changed
from luxury condominium complex to
poverty megalopolis? Please.

So it's no
Reality but UnReality, even Deception to
insinuate in terrible poetry that Greenpoint
Landing needs to be built so poor people
can move t/here. It is quite clear to everyone
but the liars here poor people can drop off
their applications for luxury condominiums
in the trash cans by the waterfront. In the
words of the immortal Lt. Ripley, "Did IQ's drop while
I was away?"
Sept. 8, 2013, 9:05 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
In more prosaic terms, stop deceiving people that somehow poor people will be served if the status of rent stabilized/controlled units are built and luxury condominium complexes are accelerated. "Helping the poor get housing" is the exact opposite of "reality", the exact opposite of what will happen if we real estate developers ever corrupt poetry again. This isn't Eddie Murphy, caught with his dick inside someone saying "I didn't do it." The terms are clear: sure, building more luxury condominium complexes and removing rent stabilization/control will house some, and none of them will be poor.
Sept. 8, 2013, 9:09 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
...if the status of rent stabilized/controlled units are *removed and luxury...
Sept. 8, 2013, 9:10 am
Rent Stabilized from Manhattan says:
I am an old lady living alone on the upper east side. 50 years ago
I got a great deal in an apt and have paid little rent. I
Raised my kids their and had a country house.

Now I live alone and I don't have to give up
My 3 bedroom. My kids still use the country
House and my rent is a quarter of what the apartment
Would get on the free market.

My low rents means the city gets less taxes
And it's not my problem the big family
Down the hall lives in a one bedroom.

God bless NYC rent control
Sept. 8, 2013, 10:12 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
As to the idea that "housing projects can't be touched," as in, their status can never be changed from housing the poor to housing the useless rich, this is another damning lie easily dispelled with simple Google search:

Of course these plans have been modified to reflect critical responses. And of course these plans do not involve "space zero" that is actually inhabited by housing project residents, only their adjacent public spaces. That only demonstrates that nothing is set in stone. Nothing. Housing projects, once sentiment can be turned by the Ozian wizards of absentee development, are indeed "touchable." Therefore, to paint the situation around Greenpoint Landing as if developers are building there because they cannot build elsewhere is belied by the current reality of real estate development all across the city, which chants and follows mantra, "Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness--if even then."
Sept. 8, 2013, 10:18 am
Brian Paul from Williamsburg says:
Where to start...citing the "Center for Urban Real Estate" at Columbia as an objective source on development is like citing the American Petroleum Institute on fracking. Vishaan Chakrabarti is the "Marc Holliday Professor of Real Estate" -- Marc Holliday is the CEO of SL Green, the city's largest landlord, this is like being the David Koch Professor of Environmental Studies.

Vishaan Chakrabarti at Columbia is of course correct that demand for New York City is insatiable right now. But the 40 story towers on the Greenpoint waterfront won't make a dent in reducing demand, only the construction of millions of new units would and no one is undertaking the proper planning and infrastructure build out that would require.

Where in the City have prices gone down from new development? Nowhere. The addition of thousands of wealthy new residents into a neighborhood INDUCES DEMAND for a luxury environment. Greenpoint Landing's addition of 15,000 new affluent residents will greatly accelerate the gentrification of the inland neighborhoods, especially when it comes to the commercial/industrial spaces. Creative and light manufacturing businesses will be pushed out and the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, already under pressure by creeping bars hotels and clubs (which should not be allowed in manufacturing zoning to begin with), will be decimated.

The 2005 rezoning is a mistake that will echo for the next century unless corrected. Development at about half the proposed density with light industrial, arts spaces, business incubators, and affordable housing mixed in would be so much better for the neighborhood and for the city as a whole.

Changing the waterfront zoning to produce something like 2,000 residential units on the GPL site mixed with productive commercial, light industrial, and cultural spaces instead of a sterile monotony of 5,500 units residential units with a Duane Reade...who would lose? Only the developer's wallet. I could go on but I'll leave it there for now.
Sept. 8, 2013, 11:11 am
East NY from BROOKLYN says:
I love my neighborhood. There has been no
Development nothing in 65 years. We live in utter
Poverty the schools are a disaster crime is awful
There are no good jobs in our neighborhood
But there are no new condos no new stores no opportunity

Love it
Sept. 8, 2013, 11:52 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
An artisanal dude ranch with a poor door. Jane Jacobs on a trust fund. Nobody is answering the question. How are you going to stop the yuppies from colonizing the gold coast of Brooklyn from LIC to Sunset Park? Are you just going to mandate that this is not prime waterfront property with a huge tax payout for the people of New York and a bonanza for local retail? Smell the mocachino, folks. Even if you nimby this one away, gentrification will bite you in the ass even harder in other ways.
Sept. 8, 2013, 12:17 pm
Williamsburg from Dennis sinneD says:
Nonsense. Your "question" is answered, and then some. When you had your conference of parrots earlier on this thread, you had no such challenge to pose, though the timing was better. Yours is a capitulation and you want to cloak it as a "counsel." Brian Paul here cancels the sole source and reference supporting your current verbiage but you want to pretend he's not doing exactly what he is doing. Thus deprived of your solitary (false) citation your position is baseless. Just because you don't like the sound of the answer you're hearing doesn't mean "your question" (and it's not yours) isn't being answered.
Sept. 8, 2013, 12:48 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Brian Paul rightly points out that Columbia has a conflict of interest on the topic of development. Willy Nilly, he agrees, as do I, with the assessment of Columbia, that NYC needs a million units of housing, and that present development is a "drop in the bucket" no matter how you cut it. I don't think anyone disputes this basic outlook. The debate is over what to do about it.

I am for a supersized Brooklyn. In my view, a great city has an ethical and also an environmental duty to accommodate the largest population that it possibly can, and to attempt to meet that challenge. I do not think Brooklyn should be an Ivy League city of brownstoners and haut-bohemian trust funders, with a "scholarship" scheme for a subsidized working class - a kind of Jane Jacobs on steroids. That is what you will get if you obstruct vertical growth and pinch off yuppification. Yuppies are the backbone of the economy, the tax base, the market in goods and services.

Brooklyn has a population of about 3.5 million. I believe this borough can become a marvel of engineering that can support 5 million people in a cleaner, healthier, and greener environment that we presently have. The great industrial waterfronts are perfectly suited to become a new Gold Coast for the affluent that will generate wealth, opportunity, and political clout for the whole borough.

I don't think the residents of Greenpoint should indulge a nimby class war over turf in this case. You simply do not have a "right" to land that you do not own. If you want to fight that premise and elect a communist city council member, then go for it. But that's a different kettle of fish, and the Greenpointers I know going back to the 80s had mostly just escaped from that kettle.
Sept. 8, 2013, 3:07 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
The dismissal of your claims by Brian Paul is in fact their validation, according to you. And clearly you're aware of these severe limitation as, outside the collection of bromides in this latest non-contribution along with your baseless propositioning (as Paul exposes), you now wish to smear Pierson a "communist." Please. Open your eyes. The people in Greenpoint you're referring to all inhabit the opposition. The kettle they're emerging from, tellingly you identify as and date "1980," is your own.
Sept. 8, 2013, 3:25 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
"Vishaan Chakrabarti at Columbia is of course correct that demand for New York City is insatiable right now. But the 40 story towers on the Greenpoint waterfront won't make a dent in reducing demand, only the construction of millions of new units would and no one is undertaking the proper planning and infrastructure build out that would require."

-- Brian Paul (above)

Totally agree. Demand is insatiable, and present development won't make a dent in it.

The problem with Paul's assessment here is that in essence he is saying you can't satisfy the demand, so don't even try. Rather, just throw up the barricades and try to lock down the neighborhood for the folks who are already here, and on their terms. You'll have a trust-fund dude ranch with tinkers, tailors, and candlestick makers.

I'm not telling Greenpointers what to think here. I'm saying in my opinion this line of thinking is impoverished. You are pandering to nimby desires and calling it city planning. But you are not actually planning for the demands that weigh upon on the city. If after the first decade of the 21st century you have not reconciled yourself to a Brooklyn bristling with residential towers, then I am truly curious to know what other solution you see for the housing crisis.
Sept. 8, 2013, 4:40 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Cherry picking Paul's specific passage to decontextualize his entire point and post does not adequately dismiss but in fact contradicts your previous acknowledgement that this particular study by Columbia U is entirely compromised by the university's position as a historical principal of gentrification outright and an amalgamation of real estate interests. Neither does it remove the fact that your argument now discredited is fortified by you with baseless assumptions about waterfront development as well as ad hominem even petulant red-baiting whenever that weakness is exposed.
Sept. 8, 2013, 4:51 pm
1847 from NYC says:

"New York, as you knew it, was a mere corner of the present huge city, and that corner is all changed, pulled to pieces, burnt down and rebuilt" – Washington Irving 1847

"It is never the same city for a dozen years altogether. A man born forty years ago finds nothing, absolutely nothing, of the New York he knew. If he chances to stumble upon a few old houses not yet leveled, he is fortunate. But the landmarks, the objects, which marked the city to him, as a city, are gone." - Harper's Monthly 1856
Sept. 8, 2013, 5:06 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Again, no one disputes the housing crisis, not Brian Paul, not Vishaan Chakrabarti, not Stephen Pierson, not I, and probably not anyone on this thread. And I do not dispute that Columbia has a conflict of interest on housing. But for that matter, so does Stephen Pierson have a conflict of interest here. He is trying to buy votes on local anger about the crowding in Brooklyn. He's content to do what he can to get elected, but he's not being honest about what it will actually take to cushion the blow here. But I excuse him, he's a politician, I don't expect honesty.
Sept. 8, 2013, 5:10 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
And I would say people who are angling for a subsidized apartment with a view of the river also have a conflict of interest where it concerns the greater good.
Sept. 8, 2013, 5:22 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
"Greater good." Give me a break, for Real. Funny how when it comes time to incentivize developers it's "greater good" and not mamby-pamby nonsense for everyone else. Using your words, of course.
Sept. 8, 2013, 6:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am so tired of hearing from developers that only their buildings can help a community when that has been proven false so many times. In reality, they are just looking to make a profit as always. If not for having friends in high places, they would never get their way. Seriously, if the waterfront was so inadequate for anything for the low income, then why allow something like this to be there? Also, it's most likely that if these buildings do get built, access to the waterfront will probably get cut off to everyone else but those living in them. On a side note, I do suggest reading these letters to the editor from the NY Times on the rezoning of Midtown, which can relate to this.
Sept. 8, 2013, 6:52 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Actually Tal, I had read that piece in the Times last week, and was particularly taken with this comment from a respondent:

"Kenneth T. Jackson is right that New York City’s future requires new skyscrapers: office buildings to compete with other global cities, residential towers to increase supply dramatically."

and then a paragraph later ...

"We can’t have preservation, neighborhood stability and diversity without building tall wherever it is feasible. And the city needs a more inclusive, collaborative planning process that would allow these competing values to be worked through comprehensively rather than fought out case by case."

This really captures the matter. The only way the city can grow and also preserve neighborhood history and stability, is by "building tall wherever it is feasible."

My point is that the big waterfront footprints in Brooklyn are precisely "where it is feasible" to expand vertically, and that there is no good argument not to do so on these sites.

Yes, the "greater good" is served by building tall on the waterfronts. These sites do not sit in the middle of old residential neighborhoods and they are not the implicit property of nearby neighborhoods. These sites are a discrete domain known as the waterfront, which were zoned industrial for practical reasons, and are and should now be zoned residential for practical reasons. The city has to grow in some direction, and the waterfronts are some of the best places to do this.
Sept. 8, 2013, 8:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ethan, it's not that anyone is against progress, they are just against being priced out. Keep in mind that these were the people who chose to live in the neighborhood long before anyone else did. Also, they helped build the area with their blood and sweat, and you want to thank them by raising the rents so that they can't live there anymore. Again, if the waterfront is so inadequate, then why allow for such development there such as luxury housing? Another thing is why should good areas only go for the rich but not for the hard working? Why don't they deserve to have access to the better parts of an area when the rich are always getting anytime they want it?
Sept. 9, 2013, 4:03 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Yes Tal, I was one of the people who helped build the area. In the 80s I gutted a storefront on Bedford Avenue and dumped the refuse right on the waterfront like everyone else. So I built the neighborhood and I also trashed it. Guilty as charged. Gentrifier by day, blighter by night. Ha. But I renovated the place and lived there for eight years.

Tal, since when do rich people not work hard. Are you kidding me? The people who buy these units will be working 100 hours a week in law firms and banks, and they will be a bonanza for the local economy. Jobs? The local technical colleges will not be able to turn out electricians fast enough - plumbers, building managers, security and alarm guys, hospitality and building managers.

And whoever said the waterfront is "inadequate" for luxury housing! I've been saying over and over that the waterfront is more than adequate for luxury market rate housing, indeed highly appropriate for exactly that kind of housing.

Look, I'm not thumping for condos just to piss people off. I've thought hard about this issue and seen it unfold for 30 years. And for 30 years we've had a haut-bohemian and brownstoner gentrification, which has been great for people like me who bought their homes early and cheap. But I still do all my own home repairs as I did in Williamsburg back in the day, and I hardly ever eat out.

The gentrification we've had to date has gone far enough to drive rents and property values up, but not far enough to lift the local working class and the poor much as it should and could. This is the fix we're in. And to fix it, we need a much bigger working yuppie class in Brooklyn. We need the tax base and the cash economy they'll bring. We should be enticing and accommodating as many white collar professionals as we can possibly get!

Yes, a supersized, yuppified, duaned and readed Brooklyn is actually the healthy goal for the borough in the long run. Otherwise we'll never get beyond this boho colonialism with its chronic housing shortages and class warfare. We need to break that stalemate. We have to ramp up, and we have to start somewhere. We need to start taking an opportunistic rather than a defensive position when wealthy people come our way.
Sept. 9, 2013, 8:21 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
The crisis in North Brooklyn is gentrification. It's preposterous to suggest that the solution to a problem lies in its intensification. Even vaccine is weakened virus, but you promote drinking poison to cure fever. Yours is not the innovation awaiting future realization that can lift the local working class and poor. Yours is the representation, an exemplum, of the unique but artificial divisions between humans and classes of human beings in North Brooklyn that began in the past.

This crisis of gentrification manifests both displacement AND nativism. The Form/er is innate and the latter is provoked. Often you portray gentrification in Williamsburg as part of a conveniently coherent contiguous cycling, while you simultaneously characterize "sui generis" the "cycle" you participated in. They cannot coexist but in faithful rendition.

Indeed, the second type of your characterization is more accurate. Gentrification's conditions in North Brooklyn are unique in history insofar they involved specific individuals, even if the conditions ape colonialism or even the earliest yawning of homo sapience. One unique condition/cause in the gentrification of North Brooklyn distinguishing from previous cycles of displacement and emplacement [the most well-known of these being the most immediately previous, "white flight"] is the shift from racial/ethnic tensions in the area to SPECIFICALLY classist tensions. This isn't to suggest "race" is absent in the gentrification of Williamsburg, or that class tensions were previously absent. Only that gentrification has brought income inequality within its borders to the forefront of social consciousness in North Brooklyn. Your frequent targeting of the Hispanic community en Los Sures Williamsburg provides abundant evidence of the racist dimensions inaugurating North Brooklyn's gentrification. As poor are the testimony of your peers and colleagues. Furthermore, the racist-ethnic tensions between North Brooklyn's multiple quarters previous to gentrification in turn informed the racial inauguration of North Brooklyn's gentrification. AND it informed the area's third-tier media agents, who refused or avoided the term outright or reformulated in positive cast its definition. Indeed, that persists, as you provide and evidence with your argument that maximizing the conditions of displacement somehow alleviate those conditions. There is something of a linguistic-cognitive issue to be raised here, about absurdum in your rhetorical devices, in stating that conditions result in their exact opposite. I'm certain there is much reference one can make in the use of propaganda across human history, especially in totalitarian regimes where absurdum is tool.

But I digress. The point is that while gentrification's racist inauguration was underway in the late 1970s/early 1980s there was little interest in critical reflection on gentrification in the area. While much is made of broad diffusion in the physical spaces of the agents of gentrification, their ongoing congregation, specifically in taverns leaving legacy t/here/of, was much more concentrated. Much more. Relationships with "locals" were and continue to be exaggerated but complex webs and networks grew until Greenpoint now informs "North Brooklyn's gentrification" where "gentrification in Williamsburg" dominated previous dialogue. Dominance of media by agents of gentrification and local simpatico in the area increased but attenuated awareness of the term so that quite recently terminology is now almost specifically classist. The previous racial connotations exist here and few other places, coming out of yours and et al's mouth.
Sept. 9, 2013, 9:37 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Now, inter- and intra-ethnic tensions cannot be rightly called "nativist," mostly because much of the antagonism was between black/Hispanic populations positioned against, inter alia, the Italians, Satmarim, and Irish. The black/Hispanic populations, insofar we mean the periods when Puerto Ricans represented the plenum, were American. Ironically, their opponents were immigrants. Furthermore, none of these demographics rightly claim precedence over the other. This doesn't mean tension was lacking between the immigrants, but previous popular characterizations and media representations simplified into such a binary. This binary presents no conditions accurately described as "nativist" or "nativism." It has shifted in those previous popular characterizations and media representations, so that previous discordance now harmonizes against the agents of gentrification where conditions gave rise to a sense of privilege that is "local," and they are not artificial. For example, you: moving to Williamsburg in 1980 and leaving a few years thereafter [though the number of years have changed in your accounts]. Those are real historical facts. If we compare them to other historical facts we find that conditions arise, no matter how irksome, for a nativist argument against you. Because many who lived here before you are still here, and they claim retribution against gentrification without understanding their claim is written by gentrification itself. This is precisely why we ask for a Third Way:
Sept. 9, 2013, 9:48 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Excuse me, 1983. You'll have to forgive my error. Your account shifts so often, and I have to remember your variables of the variables.
Sept. 9, 2013, 9:53 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
The agents of gentrification merely oppose the agents of the welfare state. Neither has a claim over and above the other, they merely make their claims. In the end, it is those who do not squander opportunity who prevail. To complain is to squander. To deem is to prevail.
Sept. 9, 2013, 10:27 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Here you clearly repeat your true op/position. Simultaneously you expose your pretended utilitarianism on this thread as ostensible if not deceptive. If you oppose "the agents of the welfare state," irony, since welfare will be expended on developers, then why be baffled their recruitment to your cause against them is thwarted by them. Now we see that all your prescription is venom. You can never be a doctor.
Sept. 9, 2013, 10:37 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And complaint is squander? Here your projection again undoes you. Who complains most on these threads if not you?
Sept. 9, 2013, 10:38 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
I have not a complaint in the world about these waterfront towers. All of my comments are aimed at persuasion of their merits and expansion of their idea.
Sept. 9, 2013, 10:54 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
And I have no conflict of interest. My own property value stands to increase all the more acutely without the proliferation of condos, which I nonetheless deem to be correct future for Brooklyn.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:01 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
More absurdum. Here, the proliferation of luxury space doesn't increase your property value? Bogus. And suddenly your interests are confined to "property value." Your interest is in commanding thought and exercising influence, which you can only now salvage with this latest attempt, irrespective the track record of your analysis overall. And you don't complain? Bogus again. You most certainly Chooch it up. Your meritocracy of luxury space is an apophasos of complaint. Remember that "welfare of the agent state" you JUST spouted? Complaint masquerading as merit.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:12 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
What will the proliferation of luxury space to your property value? Decrease it? Enough with nonsense.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:15 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
The tax abatements that you call "welfare" are an investment by the taxpayer in future housing which will generate tax revenue. The agents of the welfare state would have us shovel our seed money immediately into welfare housing that will return nothing to the taxpayer, nay, even only tax him more.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:18 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Only an absurdist would claim that exempting taxes raises tax revenue. And the piggyback to absurdity here is "increasing the tax base," which is not offset but overwhelmed by increase tax burdens posed by infrastructure. Please. You have no basis. You lost that long ago on this thread when you admitted Brian Paul cleft clean through your Columbia think-tank reference. All name-dropping is bogus but yours was so phony even you admitted it.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:24 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
increased* tax burdens posed by infrastructure *stress
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:24 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
The time spent on this law suit and this complaining would be better spent on a collective purchase of a building. But that would require silent and diligent work, which would not serve Pierson's agenda, which is to make noise and ride anger to a seat on the council.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:29 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And if you think the agents of gentrification are opposed only by your imaginary "agents of the welfare state," then open your eyes. Opposition to gentrification is rising in EVERY quarter.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:31 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Ha! So this latest "salvo," haha oh please, demonstrates how you're not an analyst or correspondent but a provocateur. Or, as the kids say now, a troll.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:32 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
What is it you have been doing on this thread before I came along? Making quiet? No. You were provoking anger and here you are horrified by your Golem and thrusting your blame on Pierson of all people.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:35 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
You are muddled. The statement by Vishaan Chakrabarti is true, Brian Paul stands on it and so do I. New York needs housing. And the fact that Columbia has a conflict of interest means what, that New York does NOT need housing? Muddled.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:37 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Yawn. Your type of absurdum is unique in that it grows boring with extended use. I mean, they seem exciting first thing on the Internet, but you were shredded entirely by Paul while you pretend he agrees with you.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:39 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
The facts of the Columbia study are true, and they conveniently serve the interests of Columbia, but they are still true. Not an urban think tank on the country denies them.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:40 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I sleep. And you? Insomnia. Over your failures to convince even one person outside of your physical and metaphysical sock puppets. Good night. Say hello to Eva for me.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:40 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
They are not true because you say they are. Paul demonstrated that, and then some. You got your ass waxed by him, son. Don't try to kiss his ass now that he's kicked yours.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:42 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Urban policy is boring. I take it you would rather entertain? Raise the rabble? Redeem your shattered ego?
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:44 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Opposition to gentrification is rising in EVERY quarter.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:46 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:46 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Brian Paul and I have agreed on this thread that Vishaan Chakrabarti is right when he says New York needs housing, and also that he has a conflict of interest. That is all that counts here. The rest is your own sound and fury.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:47 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Support of gentrification is also rising in every quarter. Means nothing. The question is how best to meet the housing crisis.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:50 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Aw, are you needing a friend? Hoping Paul will take you to Roberta's? You decontextualize one cherry-picked point by Paul and this constitutes an "agreement" between you two? More absurdum. Hold on, let me remind you of his utter decimation if your absurdity with a copy-paste.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:51 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Here, some sound and fury: Brian Paul from Williamsburg says:
Where to start...citing the "Center for Urban Real Estate" at Columbia as an objective source on development is like citing the American Petroleum Institute on fracking. Vishaan Chakrabarti is the "Marc Holliday Professor of Real Estate" -- Marc Holliday is the CEO of SL Green, the city's largest landlord, this is like being the David Koch Professor of Environmental Studies.

Vishaan Chakrabarti at Columbia is of course correct that demand for New York City is insatiable right now. But the 40 story towers on the Greenpoint waterfront won't make a dent in reducing demand, only the construction of millions of new units would and no one is undertaking the proper planning and infrastructure build out that would require.

Where in the City have prices gone down from new development? Nowhere. The addition of thousands of wealthy new residents into a neighborhood INDUCES DEMAND for a luxury environment. Greenpoint Landing's addition of 15,000 new affluent residents will greatly accelerate the gentrification of the inland neighborhoods, especially when it comes to the commercial/industrial spaces. Creative and light manufacturing businesses will be pushed out and the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, already under pressure by creeping bars hotels and clubs (which should not be allowed in manufacturing zoning to begin with), will be decimated.

The 2005 rezoning is a mistake that will echo for the next century unless corrected. Development at about half the proposed density with light industrial, arts spaces, business incubators, and affordable housing mixed in would be so much better for the neighborhood and for the city as a whole.

Changing the waterfront zoning to produce something like 2,000 residential units on the GPL site mixed with productive commercial, light industrial, and cultural spaces instead of a sterile monotony of 5,500 units residential units with a Duane Reade...who would lose? Only the developer's wallet. I could go on but I'll leave it there for now.
Report abuseYesterday, 11:11 am
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:52 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And support for gentrification is rising in every quarter? Wait, how does this work exactly? There is opposition rising AND support rising for gentrification? Have you been mixing intoxicants again? Haha. Now only is this more absurdum but your addition is WRONG. Support for gentrification rises nowhere which is why Pierson and why Levin shifting leftward and why opposition to Greenpoint Landing as well as Save Domino. Nowhere do we find basis or merit in your claim. Remember, "deeming" doesn't make "so." You'll need harder liquor for that.
Sept. 9, 2013, 11:56 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And my guess also why de Blasio.
Sept. 10, 2013, 12:01 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Meh. The only people with a right to Brookkyn are the people who own property here. Those are the new rules. The rest is all talk. You're better off figuring that one out than protesting. Lot's of people are kicking themselves that they didn't grab that vacant lot for 20 grand before we gentrified the place. I get that, yes. Gentrification has been a windfall for anyone who got in, a disaster for anyone who didn't. The borough has clearly become a more desirable place to live than anyone could have anticipated a quarter century ago. One of the great advantages of supersizing the borough with condo towers, is that it will open a whole new frontier of possibilities for home ownership in the borough.
Sept. 10, 2013, 12:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I never did say that the rich aren't hard working, but those on the low end of the ladder should be thought about as well. Before Rudy Giuliani became mayor, most of those in the middle and working class were able to live close to where they worked. However since his gentrification movement, many were priced out after getting rid of so many rent regulations forcing them to live further and make rat races as well as having to get up much earlier in the morning than they had to originally. These days, it's the rich that can live close to everything and afford to do so while everyone else just gets priced out. Under Bloomberg, he just intensified it by going outside of Manhattan.
Sept. 10, 2013, 6:58 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Right, Tal. And in the old days it was the rich who lived far out in the suburbs and had to get up early and drive two hours to work. And they got tired of that and started moving back into the cities, which drove up rents. So what's your point. Is there some special reason why the rich should not live in cities? And Giuliani didn't send them here. They followed us, they followed the artists and bohos.
Sept. 10, 2013, 7:18 pm
Brian Paul from Williamsburg says:
My point was yes there is insatiable demand, but no you can never dent it by new development unless you were to demolish entire neighborhoods and replace them with towers. The city is still scarred from where Robert Moses did this in the 50's and 60's, it does not work.

I'm not against new development, and I am not in favor of establishing North Brooklyn as a protected reserve for the bohemian. I am in favor of intelligent development that benefits a broader base of people and economic activity than 40 story luxury condos/rentals.

High density luxury residential is winning because it provides the greatest dollar per square foot return to the property owner, not because it provides the greatest dollar per square foot return to the city's economy. Only intelligent city planning can correct the inherent dysfunctions of capitalism when it comes to urban property development.

The closest thing to a proper comprehensive planning study that has ever been undertaken in North Brooklyn are the 197a community plans completed in 2002, which called for contextual mixed-use development on the waterfront.

As I said before, "changing the waterfront zoning to produce something like 2,000 residential units on the GPL site mixed with productive commercial, light industrial, and cultural spaces instead of a sterile monotony of 5,500 units residential units with a Duane Reade...who would lose? Only the developer's wallet."
Sept. 11, 2013, 11:21 am
Ethan from Park Slope says:
Oh come on, Brian. You're saying nothing short of a Robert Moses demolition of Brooklyn will "dent" the demand for housing? So don't even try? That is totally defeatist!

We've got the Gowanus delta, a huge brownfield; massive industrial buildings on the Sunset Park waterfront that can be renovated. Hundreds of factory buildings and vacant lots all over Brooklyn that have a 20 percent occupancy, or are tied up in violations, zombie zoning restrictions, or speculative foot-dragging of one kind or another.

On the Greenpoint landing we have easily enough space for these towers. And if we don't build them, we WILL force a high-priced artificial bohemian bantustan upon the neighborhood.

Supply and demand! Supply and demand! You can't cut and paste around this! "Intelligent city planning" and "contextual mixed-use development" are BROMIDES, Brian. Feel-good phrases. CB1 rejected the 197a plan because the board had the wisdom to see that it was a feel-good document that did not address the real needs of the 21st century city.

What are you saying! We take an 80,000 square-foot piece of prime waterfront property, and build a two-storey carpentry shop there? So we can be "contextual?" Give me a break.

And what is with this Nietzschean level of resentment againt developers and yuppies that paralyzes any rational discussion of this topic? This project has "no economic benefit" for the city but "only" for the "property owner." ... Wha?

Brian, the property owner is the yuppie who buys a unit. He pays real estate taxes, and he buys a whole crapload of goods and services from the community.

Our waterfronts were built to take heavy industry. They can handle heavy residential use. Our times call for residential waterfronts. Unfortunately, our political culture hues to the memory of an industrial waterfront that no longer exists, or what is sentimentally referred to as the "character of the neighborhood." This outlook is not realistic, and it not bold!

But is there room in Brooklyn for industry and local well-paid jobs? Of course, it's called Metrotech, and it is soon to expand from Jay Street right up into the Watchtoer complex on the Promenade. New tech and fabricating companies ARE moving into Brooklyn. And there is more than enough under-utilized inland industrial zoning in this borough to accommodate tech and artisanal expansion. INLAND, Brian. Welding shops don't need Hollywood views of the East River that are a potential windfall in tax revenue for the people of New York City.

You guys are chasing a motif, not a solution. We need to triple the housing stock in Brooklyn. We need to do it with new, energy-efficient towers WHEREVER we feasible can. 80 percent of NYCs carbon footprint comes from heating and cooling antiquated buildings.

And finally, a major supersizing of Brooklyn's residential capacity will create a whole new frontier of opportunities for home-ownership in the borough. The lack of this opportunity has been THE most acute stresspoint of gentrification. We need to address it, and we need to be bold!
Sept. 11, 2013, 2:23 pm
Ethan from Park Slope says:
I'm sorry, I mean to say our political culture "hews" to the memory of the industrial waterfront. But "hues" works too in a way. It is the rusty hue of the old waterfront that we pine for. The palette of the bohemian imaginary. Don't think I don't know it!
Sept. 11, 2013, 3:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ethan, please don't bring up Metro Tech Center. That place was more of a failure to downtown Brooklyn than a success. Not only was it a huge white elephant, but the neighborhood lost a lot of historical architecture for this. Also, there was a supposed to be a promise or a retail base on those buildings that never came. BTW, there were hardly any tenants except for JP Morgan Chase, which only occupied a small part. The rest was taken by government agencies of both the city and state just to help Ratner when the buildings were just sitting there empty. Seriously, what other private buildings have the government located in them. Let's not forget that the ESDC is located in his Atlantic Center Mall, which is also private as well. Even more recently, it was found when some businesses moved there, it wasn't because it was prestigious, it was because they would get subsidized. Overall, this is the truth about Metro Tech Center, and the AY Complex won't be any different from that.
Sept. 11, 2013, 6:19 pm
Ethan from Park Slope says:
A valid point, Tal. Metrotech was the tech nirvana that never happened. That's because it was mandated from above to be a tech valley, and things rarely work that way. "Nice idea, but will they come" is the question. Similarly, Diana Reyna spent her two terms on the City Council waiting for manufacturing jobs to come back to Bushwick from China. Didn't happen. And when a hipster opened a cafe or a hotel or a bar instead, so that the landlord could like, pay taxes or something, this was considered a violation of the sacred cow of industrial zoning that had no industry. It's a case of politics resisting organic development and actual need. The same is true of Greenpoint Landing.

As for Metrotech, it so happens that NYU finally came to the rescue, scooped up Polytech, and I guess they're going to build for the university around there. And then, the Jehovah's Witnesses finally decided Brooklyn had become too atheistic and paganist for them, and so they sold their gold mine next to Dumbo. And that complex seems slated for offices and incubators to jazz up the Metrotech idea. So there is at least a glimmer of hope for Jay Street after all. And there are still some nice old buildings nestled in there by the way.

You're right, Metrotech sucks, and so does Madison Square Garden. And those are holes the city will have to dig itself out of. But if you put the kibosh on Greenpoint Landing, and any number of other sites, and you do not maximize residential development WHERE IT IS FEASIBLE ... then you'll be digging the city into a permanent hole of a dearth of housing. The only way to preserve historical integrity in old neighborhoods and also meet demand for new housing, is by building large where it is feasible to do so. The waterfronts are where it is feasible to do so.
Sept. 11, 2013, 7 pm

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