Cobble Hill Association president steps down after four years

Amy Breedlove City Hall
Amy Breedlove speaks at a press conference outside City Hall about the BQE.
John McCarten/New York City Council

Amy Breedlove will step down from leading the Cobble Hill Association after four years atop the brownstone Brooklyn civic group — where she had been an integral part of advocating for neighborhood priorities like opposing the demolition of the Long Island College Hospital campus, and helping plan the repairs of the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. 

“It has been a pleasure to serve this community,” Breedlove said in an email on July 16. “In these four years I have enjoyed getting to know so many of you so much more.”

Breedlove began her tenure in 2016 when the fate of the sprawling Cobble Hill hospital complex was hanging in the balance, before developer Fortis Property Group eventually tore it down in 2017 to make way for a massive residential complex, which included a smaller medical center — a project the company has since dubbed River Park.

The civic guru, who is barred by term limits from serving another consecutive term as head of the association, said that one of her proudest achievements was working to assemble a task force that kept tabs on the incoming developers and facilitated a discussion of various issues surrounding the project.

Throughout the course of those talks, Breedlove was able to bring together reps from city agencies, local elected officials, the community board, Fortis, and New York University Langone — the operators of the new medical facility.

“Being able to get Fortis and NYU to the table,” she said, “It showed my tenacity and perseverance.”

Another issue at the forefront of her reign were repairs to the BQE, where Breedlove pushed the city to look beyond the triple-cantilever stretch that wraps around Brooklyn Heights.

Instead, the association president and other advocates urged bureaucrats to work with state and federal authorities to transform the Robert Moses-era roadway — not just repair it — and consider the highway’s impact on other nabes, like Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, where it tears through in the form of a trench. 

Breedlove also led the association’s efforts to collect donations to fund protection equipment and meals for staff at the Cobble Hill Health Center on Henry Street, which in April recorded the most coronavirus-related deaths in the state among nursing homes, with 55 people lost to the virus.

An independent architecture and interior design consultant, Breedlove says she has a passion for infrastructure and development — but also civic service. In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Civic Engagement Commission appointed her as a commissioner to encourage public engagement in the city’s governance.

The civic group will aim to hold votes for board positions, including for president, this fall — and she will officially step down from the position after her successor’s election.

The head of local Community Board 6 said that whoever follows Breedlove will have big shoes to fill. 

“Amy has been a great and tireless advocate on behalf of her community and her successor will have big shoes to fill,” said district manager Michael Racioppo.

Breedlove said she wants to stay tuned in to the neighborhood, especially for longer-term projects like the BQE, and the borough jails plan in neighboring Boerum Hill.

“I have a passion for Cobble Hill and the areas around us,” she said.

The longtime community leader also gave some parting advice to her yet-to-be-named successor.

 “Be a good listener, I think that’s the most important thing,” she said. “And just keep talking to everyone. Gather as much information as you can and then work towards a collective solution.”