Troubled bridges over ‘park’ water

The Brooklyn Paper
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A vital design element of the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park is in jeopardy because it could harm underwater life.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has raised objections about the impact of walkways that would connect at least three of the six piers in the residential, comercial and open space development because such boardwalks cast shadows that might disrupt fish habitats.

These connections between the piers in the 85-acre development along the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO waterfront have been touted as a refreshing new use of city waterfront, which for decades has been idle after the decline of the shipping industry. Perhaps more important, the paths make it easier for people to navigate across the park, rather than creating dead-end jetties, such as at the Chelsea Piers complex in Manhattan

But the DEC might not approve the walkways, a scenario that was first reported by the New York Observer.

“Constructing in or over coastal waters impairs our limited near-shore aquatic habitat, which provides an important ‘nursery’ for young fish and supports a variety of aquatic life,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, a DEC spokesman, in an e-mail to The Brooklyn Paper.

The smallest of God’s creatures have impeded other massive public works, most notably Westway — a plan to build an underground highway beneath landfills on Manhattan’s west side in the 1970s that was killed because it was believed to have imperiled the habitat of the snail darter, an endangered fish.

Elected officials hope the DEC will have to soften its hard-line stance this time around.

“The DEC is taking an overly rigid and narrow focused view of what’s good for the environment,” said Councilmember David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights), who said the pathways are good because they allow “people to get down there and enjoy the waterfront.”

The cost to build the open space portion of the development is now about $300 million, twice as much as was projected in 2004. Money for operating the open space comes from fees assessed to condos and businesses that operate inside the footprint.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. President Regina Myer did not discuss the ongoing negotiations with DEC (but she did comment on a lot more in an exclusive interview with The Brooklyn Paper below).

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Reader Feedback

Lydia from Columbia St says:
Field of Condos

Brooklyn the birth place of our national pastime is building a state of the art park for the people of Brooklyn but they don't plan to install a baseball field. President Myer is the park for people to play or is it for the rich to live in? When did soccer become the popular sport of Americans?
April 17, 2008, 8:30 pm
Cobbler from Cobble Hill says:
Myer calls this a park for beginner boaters. Think about that - how many new kyackers will there be each year ? 5,000 would triple the number of people who kayak in the east river each year. So, we are spending 300 million to build a park with floating devices to protect these boaters and another 15 million to maintain them each year. Can you figure out how ridiculous this all is? Why don't we just give those boaters $1million each to boat where it is really is safe without ruining the environment and perpetuating the lie that this is a park.
April 23, 2008, 4:08 pm
Tomas from DUMBO says:
I don't get it. The piers stick out into the river very far. Why do we need these floating devices in order to walk on the water? Isn't that what you do when you walk out on the piers?
April 23, 2008, 4:10 pm

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