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Lousy weather allows judges’ auto occupation to continue • Brooklyn Paper

Lousy weather allows judges’ auto occupation to continue

Now judges at the State Supreme courthouse on the plaza in front of Borough Hall have fenced off the entire northern part of the plaza to park their cars...
The Brooklyn Paper / Kristen Joy Watts

The weather outside is frightful — which means the judges can keep their cars in a Columbus Park walkway a little while longer.

Wednesday’s downpour prevented workers from completing construction of a parking lot for judges and other Supreme Court workers in the southern part of Columbus Park next to Borough Hall — so the occupation of the northern pedestrian pathway continues.

Workers still need two days of dry, above–40-degree temperatures to finish paving and painting the new parking lot, said a Parks Department spokesman. During the two-month reconstruction, judges seized a walkway in the northern part of Columbus Park, angering many pedestrians.

“People would like to see the construction done, and we’re very close,” said Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris. “But if we don’t get those warmer days, then we’re stuck with the status quo, and I think everyone is ready to move beyond the status quo.”

Temperatures are expected to remain below 40 for the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.

Once the work is finished, judges will put their mostly foreign cars in their new lot inside the park at the corner of Joralemon and Adams streets instead of overflowing their lot and parking on another pedestrian path just east of Borough Hall.

Workers have installed a new direct entrance to the lot from Joralemon Street, so judges won’t use that bluestone-tiled pathway.

Reclaiming the space is a victory for the community, park advocates said. And even acting Administrative Judge Abe Gerges, who fought to maintain the driveway-like space, has called the compromise satisfactory.

“I think it all worked out in the best interest of the public as well as the judges — the public will have some more open space and the judges will have more parking,” Gerges told The Brooklyn Paper. “They’re working hard, and the only issue now is the weather and I don’t think any of us have control over that, not even judges.”

Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton said the imminent reopening was definitely “good news.”

“Given the frigid weather, I won’t expect dancing in the street, but springtime will bring people out to take advantage of the extra space,” Stanton said. “We’ll certainly enjoy the openness of a car-free pedestrian walkway.”

Acting Administrative Judge Abe Gerges has defended his workers' parking habits on the grounds that judicial employees need security in a post–9-11 world.
The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg

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