High-rises and traffic the new norm in Brooklyn • Brooklyn Paper

High-rises and traffic the new norm in Brooklyn

To the Editor,

In answer to Rowena Lachant’s letter in the Bay News (“Kings Highway, once spry, is now dry,” Sound off to the Editor, March 22–28), I too am very upset about the frightening changes going on in and around Midwood, Kings Highway, Sheepshead Bay, and Brooklyn in general. And let’s not forget Brighton Beach! Nothing has been the same in Brooklyn since wealthy developers started tearing down our beloved mom-and-pop stores, restaurants, and beautiful old homes and started to build huge monstrosities in their place, high-rise apartment and office buildings, and department stores.

I can remember, as a small child, going to visit my late, beloved aunt and uncle who lived in a small apartment building on E.13th Street right off Kings Highway. I enjoyed walking around Kings Highway almost as much as I enjoyed visiting Aunt Rifka and Uncle Ben. It was quiet and peaceful with small homes and apartment buildings, fascinating mom-and-pop gift shops, and trees and flowers grew and bloomed all around the streets. I did not have to be afraid of getting hit by a car or a bicycle. Now, like Ms. Lachant, all I see are banks, drugstores, department stores, an occasional scraggly tree, and traffic, endless traffic!

I belong to Council Center, a large senior center located on Coney Island Avenue and Quentin Road, right off Kings Highway. Getting there by bus requires crossing two very dangerous streets and then dodging bicycles on the sidewalk. Our classes often start late, because our instructors, and our members who drive, cannot find parking.

Many members of the Center used to go to the movie theater on Kings Highway after classes. Now the theater is a Walgreen’s drugstore. Many of the restaurants we used to enjoy are now gone, too.

I live in Gravesend, right near Ocean Parkway, which also used to be a peaceful, beautiful street when I was a child. Now I feel like I am taking my life in my hands every time I try to cross the Parkway, and I dread going near it. I hope and pray they will never build high-rises in my area. Enough people have been killed and injured already crossing Ocean Parkway to fill a cemetery!

I used to enjoy watching the swans and sea gulls basking in the water and flying above the bay whenever I visited Sheepshead Bay. The bay is still there, but now it is surrounded by high-rise apartment and office buildings. I think the only place left in the entire area, or maybe in all of Brooklyn, where we can go to relax and get back to nature is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and I hear that wealthy developers are planning to erect high-rise apartment buildings near the Garden that will block out half its sunlight and kill the plants. When is all of this going to stop? Elaine Kirsch


Another tear down

To the Editor:

While walking down Fourth Avenue about two weeks ago, I noticed that the former Grace Nursery Center, which had been housed in a majestic Victorian, had workers digging in front, and my heart sank. So, I took a breath and considered the possibilities: Was there yet more utility repairs taking place, perhaps the massive empty lot next door (a tear down) was finally going to be filled, or indeed, was this well-loved Victorian headed for the wrecking ball?

I immediately called Community Board 10 to get the low down. The Board had not been aware of any demolition planned for the site, but would investigate. About a day later, I found out from CB 10 that it was the worse-case scenario, a demolition, with the intention to build condos by Tan Development LLC.

I can’t understand why a perfectly fine building would be torn down, while the entire mid-block lots, which are next door, have been fallow since the demolition of the former Waldeck’s Funeral Home by controversial developer Mousa Khalil. FYI — the funeral home had been comprised of Victorian-style homes. Why not build on those empty lots? They are huge and are an eyesore. They have impacted their neighbors on both adjoining blocks, as the hole created abuts their backyards. Why not build on this messy monstrosity, which is already construction ready?

Across the street is the former Knights of Columbus Club, it was successfully adapted to make a medical building. The former Grace Nursery Center was also adapted from its original use as the local Masonic Club. It already has code compliance for a school — why not continue to use it as such, and not tear down yet another one of Bay Ridge’s historic buildings? Or perhaps, a family could occupy the space. Why not a community cultural center? That’s something that many Bay Ridge arts and cultural individuals and organizations have been seeking.

My other concern is that NYC allows for demolition permits without any certified plans for what will replace the tear down. And there is no limit as to how long the site can remain empty, which causes a lot of havoc, drops local homeowners’ property values, and significantly diminishes folks’ quality of life. What will guarantee that the lot will not remain barren, as the one next door has for almost 10 years?

The Tan Development LLC company is not local. They have no connection to our community and no concern for it. LLCs are notorious for bringing unwanted construction to communities or doing tear downs and leaving the lots empty. Perhaps this LLC can be persuaded to do something that will serve Bay Ridge, as well as its pocketbook. Victoria Hofmo

Bay Ridge

Congested tolling

To the Editor,

Looks as though our socialist govern-mayor has gotten his way, once again, and has leveled yet another heavy tax on New Yorkers. The much-touted congestion pricing for all vehicles traveling in Manhattan is soon to place more burdens on drivers from everywhere who are traversing the city. One thing that is getting the goats of many staunch supporters is that all the money collected from this scheme was to be funneled into the crumbling city transit system. Add this to the grossly increased tolls on bridges and tunnels, and we get to see our wallets whither away.

It has now been revealed that no, this full subway-funding boondoggle is not the case, and a nice chunk of tax dollars collected will be taken away from the subway, and given to LIRR and Metro North. Here too, the city transportation system, along with taxpayers and riders, are getting snookered. Just watch… in a few short years, they will be crying poverty once again and looking for another source of funding for their wasteful spending addiction. Hopefully I’ll be long gone, giving CPR to my wallet. Robert W. Lobenstein

Sheepshead Bay

. . .

To the Editor,

In response to your story on congestion tolls (“Congestion tolls are the price of progress,” Editorial, March 29–April 4) in this paper, how much would it cost for trucks to enter the city? One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why people avoid public transportation: Over-crowded trains, higher fares that keep going up, and delays. Now, higher fees for all commercial trucks will be passed on to the stores and will cost more for your pocketbook.

Stop & Shop sold cat food when on sale, 20 for 10 cents, or 9, or 8. At times with a rain check, 24 for 10 cents. About two weeks ago I went to check out the cat food now the price has jumped to 60 cents a can. I can’t begin to think how much higher it will cost due to charges passed down to the consumers.Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

Investment advice

To the Editor,

Orchids are blooming at the New York Botanical Garden, some small as a thumbnail, others big as a hand, with astonishing colors and fragrances. Their 25,000 species comprise the largest family of flowers in the world.

Geneticists think the key to orchids’ durability is diversity: diverse pollination mechanisms. Financial advisors might say the key to a portfolio’s durability is also diversity: diversified investments.

Volatility in the stock market — 2018’s swings, December’s sharp downturn, 2019’s upward climb — has left many investors shaky. Don’t act on fear. The best shield against volatility is a diversified portfolio positioned so that if one asset wilts, another blooms.

Growth stocks remain worthy of consideration. International investments in strong companies poised for growth (particularly in countries with vibrant economies) may be attractive to younger investors with extended investment timelines. Include liquid assets to fund potential opportunities. Solid dividend stocks provide income. As interest rates may trend higher, make sure fixed income instruments can weather the increases.

When diversifying, beware the popular bandwagon. Opt instead for a portfolio balancing stocks and bonds, domestic and foreign equities, and other possible investments.

Scott J. Franklin is a Senior Vice President and Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley.

More from Around New York