Peak Brooklyn Heights: Civic group gives ‘good neighbor’ award to co-op that rejected developer’s high-rise deal

Cadman Plaza residents: Proposed tower would kill views, home values
Photo by Louise Wateridge

This is the height of neighborliness in Brooklyn Heights!

Powerful civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association on Wednesday honored a local co-op building for rejecting a developer’s lucrative offer to erect a 40-story tower in its backyard. The esteemed group bestowed its prestigious Good Neighbor award on residents of 75 Henry St. during its annual meeting, hailing them for recently turning down hundreds of thousands of dollars each after other locals complained the resulting high-rise would be a view-blocking, population-booming, property-value-reducing, shadow-casting behemoth.

“They listened to the true concerns of their neighbors,” said presenter Tom Stewart, a Heights resident and Channel 13 announcer. “This award is given in recognition of their true community spirit.”

The crowd rose to its feet in gratitude as two reps from the building accepted the plaque, with locals cheering the shareholders’ willpower in the face of a big payday — although 112 of the building’s 303 units actually voted to pursue the sale.

“I’m amazed that they were willing to pass up on the financial rewards,” said resident Lenore Brennan.

The historic neighborhood’s cherished views continued their moment in the spotlight when the 900-member association gave its top Martha Atwater Award to local activist Steve Guterman of Save the View Now, who has been fighting an endless series of uphill court battles to shrink a condo building in Brooklyn Bridge Park that stands between the Promenade and its spectacular vistas of the bridge.

And it wouldn’t have been Brooklyn Heights’ night of nights without mention of the neighborhood’s other divisive development issue of 2015 — the controversial sale of the ailing local library branch to a politically connected developer.

For a second year, library activists used the question and answer session to rail against the association’s endorsement of the deal, erupting into a shouting match when members jeered back, telling the rabble-rousers they’d had enough of the debate.

In less heated events, the association also named long-time Henry Street tavern Henry’s End — known for its obscure meats and homey charm — as its Business of the Year, and Toba Potosky of park advocacy group the Cadman Park Conservancy for Outstanding Community Service.

District Attorney Ken Thompson gave this year’s keynote address, speaking to the packed house about gun violence in the borough and his efforts to eradicate firearms trafficking.