Downtown getting more parks, pedestrian-friendly measures, and privatization

Heights iTour

Mayor DeBlasio is setting his sights on Downtown.

The former Sloper in chief touted a package of new and in-progress initiatives on Wednesday that include plans to connect and revamp area parks and to consider renting out space in a Department of Education building to stores. The package push will continue Downtown’s ascent, he said.

“The investments we are making will help Downtown Brooklyn continue its rise, generate good jobs, and make this a more dynamic neighborhood to live and work,” DeBlasio said in a statement.

One component is an already-under-consideration “Brooklyn Strand” that proposes connecting Borough Hall with Brooklyn Bridge Park through an as-yet-unspecified series of parks, plazas, and landscaped thoroughfares. The announcement included no details on how such a linear park would surmount the great wall created by the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but it is music to the ears of Beep and Borough Hall habitue Eric Adams.

“I am excited to see Downtown Brooklyn’s full potential unlocked under this exciting plan, including its unique open space, which will soon connect Brooklyn Borough Hall to our one-of-a-kind waterfront,” Adams said.

Forward: Mayor DeBlasio is touting a bunch of initiatives Downtown, some of which were underway when he took office.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Also on tap is a look at renting out part of the education department building at 65 Court St. to retailers and a move to overhaul the long-shuttered BAM Park in Fort Greene, the ground under which is dangerously unstable, but which the city says is “about to” reopen.

Concurrently with the government moves, 60 groups are getting together to form a business improvement district, according to the announcement.

DeBlasio’s horn-tooting comes on the heels of a brochure issued earlier this week by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership recapping the area’s growth over the decade since its rezoning to allow sky-high development. The document touts the creation of 5,000 new apartments, 1,100 new hotel rooms, and 10,000 tech–sector jobs. The pro-business group’s president said the city projects will help the area keep expanding.

“Today’s announcement reflects Mayor DeBlasio’s commitment to ensuring that this growth is not a flash in the pan, but a continued and sustained trend that jobs and housing for New Yorkers will continue to grow in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Tucker Reed in a statement.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Cut off: The city push includes a still-hazy plan to connect Brooklyn Bridge Park with Cadman Plaza and Columbus Park.