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Pain in the grass: Another high-rise slated for Greenpoint waterfront

Suiting up! Pierson and G’pointers vow to sue city, developers over ‘inadequate’ waterfront tower studies
Not on my waterfront: Greenpointers are planning to sue to stop Greenpoint Landing from rising in their backyard.

It’s growing, growing, gone!

A developer plans to add yet another luxury high-rise to Greenpoint’s rapidly expanding waterfront skyscraper district, which neighbors say will leave them with no view and no room to move.

“It’s just going to be a solid curtain, a wall of buildings blocking out the view, the sunset, and everything else, and bringing a lot more people and density into the neighborhood,” said Katherine Thompson, who lives near the proposed building at 27 West St. and is the co-chair of parks activist group Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park.

Real estate company Halcyon Management wants to demolish a warehouse at the site between Cayler and Quay streets and stick a 19-story tower containing 234 apartments in its place, according to paperwork its architect filed with the city on Tuesday.

The planned building — which also includes ground-floor retail and a 120-space parking garage — joins numerous other towers slated for the neighborhood’s peninsula — including the Greenpoint Landing mega-development, which will add as many as 10 towers and 5,500 units between Box and Green streets — and the 77 Commercial Street complex, which will toss in two soaring towers and around 820 units near Manhattan Avenue.

City officials promised to bring more parks to the already green-space-starved area when the city controversially rezoned the waterfront in 2005 to allow developers to build housing in the formerly industrial zone, but residents say the skyscrapers are outpacing the slow trickle of new gardens — many of which are still a twinkle in their eyes 10 years later.

“Greenpoint already has one of the lowest per capita to open space ratios in the city,” said Dewey Thompson, Katherine’s husband and a board member of the Open Space Alliance, which raises cash for parks in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. “When the rezoning was done, even the most alarmist of community activists never had any idea that the area was going to blow up the way it did.”

On the waterfront: A developer plans to demolish this warehouse at 27 West St. to make way for yet another high-rise on the Greenpoint waterfront.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The city finally opened Transmitter Park at the end of Greenpoint Avenue in 2012 after many delays. But it won’t start adding actual greenery to the all-concrete Newtown Barge Playground at the corner of Dupont and Commercial streets until next year. And the proposed Box Street Park between Box and Clay streets — which was stalled for yearswill remain a Metropolitan Transportation Authority parking lot until at least 2017.

Meanwhile, locals are still fighting to force the city to purchase enough land to build 28-acres of green-space at Bushwick Inlet Park on the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The park is currently seven acres.

News of the West Street development should give the city a shot in the arm to snatch up the remaining waterfront acres and give the community the park they deserve, Katherine Thompson said.

“Now more than ever, we have to strike while the iron’s hot,” she said.

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park is demanding that the city halt all waterfront construction until it follows through with its promise — and the group may resort to drastic measures if its voice is not heard, Katherine Thompson said.

“If we don’t get some kind of sense of progress on this or sense of commitment from DeBlasio and city planning, we’re going to take action,” she said. “We will stand in front of the bulldozers and do the traditional Jane Jacobs — linking arms, halting construction — until we get their attention.”

Halcyon Management did not return requests for comment.

Concrete jungle: The current state of Newtown Barge Playground.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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