An 18-foot-tall, corrugated wall obstructing the waterfront view in Red Hook Park must come down, a state court ruled, but some parents would rather see the barrier stand tall.
The park’s neighbor, John Quadrozzi Jr., the owner of the Gowanus Industrial Park, illegally built the 200-foot-long partition on his land to separate it from the shallow watery basin that abuts Red Hook Park because trespassing was a problem and the city’s four-foot-high fence was hardly a deterrent, he told The Brooklyn Paper.
“We would no sooner chase people over the fence, turn our backs and they would hop back over,” he said.
The city’s victory in State Supreme Court capped a two-year court quest to tear down the fence, near Clinton Street, and restore public access to — or at public sight of — the waterfront.
Moreover, Quadrozzi said he needed the fence to abide by city regulations to block granular material like the road salt he stockpiles on his property from blowing into the park.
“Not only were we permitted to put it up, but we were required to put it up,” Quadrozzi said.
But the Parks and Law departments charged that Quadrozzi didn’t have permission to erect the “unsightly” barrier and obstruct waterfront view.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Miller agreed, ruling that “the fence significantly and unreasonably restricts the common use of the waterfront and does not serve the public good.”
The city’s victory, which Quadrozzi vows to appeal, capped a two-year court quest to tear down the fence, near Clinton Street, and restore public access to — or at least public sight of — the waterfront. But not everyone wants the view of the Erie Basin.
In interviews, some parents said the beckoning, open seas are too much for their mischievous children to resist.
“That wall helps keep kids out of danger. Even with it up, they still try to climb over to the other side, but this makes it harder,” said Al Soto, a retired detective and daily park visitor. “It doesn’t make any sense to me why they’d take it down when it was helping out. … It’ll be a nice view, but is it worth it?”
Many park-goers, not to mention the Parks Department, answered emphatically yes, and cheered the court’s decision, which says Quadrozzi must remove the wall in 90 days.
“I was angry when they put the wall up,” said Steven Morell. “It was a nice view of the rocks, the water, fishes — even if there was a little trash. … It was a great part of the park environment. I’m really looking forward to it coming back.”
— with Michael Lipkin
©2008 Community News Group
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