City’s ‘stoop’-id Greenpoint plan is shelved

In Greenpoint, city is acting ‘stoop’-id
Photo by Noah Devereaux

Residents of a Greenpoint block will get to keep their fences and front stoops after city officials backed off a controversial sidewalk-widening project.

On Friday, Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney toured the block of Monitor Street between Nassau and Norman avenues to tell residents that the plan has been put off and that the front steps and fences — or “intrusions,” as the city calls them because they are technically on city land — would not be bulldozed.

“We need some time to apply common sense to the problem,” said Burney, calling the original conflict a “snafu.”

The “snafu” began three weeks ago, when the city sent letters to more than a dozen Monitor Street residents explaining that their fences and stoops were on city property — and would be removed.

The news enraged residents.

“It’s my gate and my brick work,” said Alice Stone, who lives at 231 Monitor St. “This is a total waste of money — our sidewalks are not bad and this is a nice block.”

This block’s redesign was part of a larger $15-million project on Nassau Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Apollo Street and Monitor Street between Norman and Greenpoint avenues. The project will install new utility pipes, although the contested block is not necessary to update the water mains.

Instead, the goal of the proposed construction on Monitor Street between Nassau and Norman avenues was to widen the sidewalk to the standard width of 15 feet.

Residents and Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) and Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) met the announcement with relief — and a bit of lingering suspicion because the city said it would revisit the issue in two years.

“I’m a bit ambivalent about it if it’s only a postponement,” said Rich Carias, who lives at 210 Monitor St.

Like many other residents, Carias suspects that the city’s ultimate plan is to widen Monitor Street to create enough space for two-way traffic — but both the Department of Transportation and Design Commissioner Burney denied it.

Still, Carias said that he and his neighbors have one more tool in their belt.

“I wouldn’t say a lawsuit is still on the table,” said Rich Carias. “But it’s our A-bomb.”