Activists: Halt racist construction at Broadway Triangle

Activists: Halt racist construction at Broadway Triangle
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Housing activists are demanding Mayor DeBlasio put an end to private construction on the Broadway Triangle on the border of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, claiming apartment buildings going up there cater too much to ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents, and not the rest of the surrounding neighborhood.

The groups say that Latino and black locals in the three neighborhoods don’t stand a chance of getting apartments in the triangle because the builders, who are ultra-Orthodox themselves, are constructing three-and-four bedroom apartments to serve large Hasidic families.

“They are not creating places for non-white families,” said Shekar Krishnan of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, one of the organizations fighting the construction.

More than 40 community groups under the umbrella of the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition are asking DeBlasio to reinterpret an injunction issued by a judge in 2012 that halts all construction on the area that is bordered by Broadway, Union and Flushing avenues. Right now, that injunction halts projects on city-owned properties within the triangle, but allows developers to build on private land.

As it stands now, the housing that developers are building there is catering almost exclusively to the Hasidic Jewish community, because, along with the size of the apartments, the below-market rate apartments come with a “community preference” for families in Williamsburg, meaning smaller families from Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which have a far higher percentage of Latinos and blacks, miss out.

“What is being built now is creating a more segregated and less inclusive Williamsburg,” said Juan Ramos, who lives on S. Third Street and is the chair of the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition. “Latinos and blacks who could desperately use housing cannot find it because of building projects like these.”

The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition filed suit against the city in 2009, alleging that it awarded the Vito Lopez-run Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Jewish Organizations two city-owned sites for development without putting it out a request for proposal, thus shutting out any other bidders.

That suit is still working its way through the courts.

The city did not return repeated calls and e-mails for comment.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurf‌aro@c‌ngloc‌al.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitt‌er.com/‌Danie‌lleFu‌rfaro.
Activists say they want the mayor to ensure new apartments built within the Broadway Triangle are available to everyone — and not just Orthodox Jews.