More than 300 Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents brought soccer balls, lawn chairs, and sidewalk chalk to a glass-strewn street on Saturday morning in an attempt to push the city to make good on its decade-old promise to turn the waterfront storage facility lot into parkland.
The residents at the rally near the burnt-out CitiStorage facility demanded the city stick to its word and add the greenspace to an area that desperately needs it.
“I have two small boys and they need to run around and they need fresh air, and it is really hard for them to enjoy the community right now,” said Michael Moshan of Williamsburg, whose sons played with racket balls, paddles, and a soccer ball on N. 12 Street on Saturday morning.
Back in 2005 during a controversial rezoning process, the city promised it would purchase the lot and others to build a 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park. The city has since turned a seven-acre lot into park and purchased the other two lots to make the future size of the park 21 acres, but it has not moved to purchase the CitiStorage lot, which owner Norman Brodsky has claimed he could sell for upwards of $500 million.
Residents say they are cramped in the existing parkland and claim they are the victims of the city’s lies.
“There are so many pebbles and so much glass here,” said Vaness Dilworth, who lives in Greenpoint with her two children. “We need more grass and less asphalt.”
Representatives from several levels of government have tried to set up a meeting with Mayor DeBlasio or someone from his administration, but they have received no response, said the politicians who were there on Saturday.
“It is as though this problem does not exist at all,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint). “This is not what a progressive administration should do. They should build the park. That would be progress.”