Brooklyn Bridge Park critics outraged over condos with private yards

The Brooklyn Paper
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Fenced-off yards attached to planned condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park are a greenspace-hogging affront on precious public land, frustrated park-boosters say.

A proposal for a controversial housing complex on Pier 1 calls for landscaped private terraces linked to ground-floor residential units — a design that betrays the very definition of “park,” according to recreation advocates.

“The principal is ridiculous,” said yards-in-the-park opponents Roy Sloane, who sits on the park’s advisory council. “They’re taking up land that should belong to future generations of park-goers.”

Sloane and other critics say the architectural misstep turns the park into a literal and figurative backyard for wealthy developers and their future tenants.

He also fears the privates yards will set the stage for yard-style activities — such as laundry-drying and tiki-torch-burning — near the park’s stunning promenade, potentially tainting the valuable public commodity.

The new design revives a long-simmering battle over the use of the waterfront space and ultimately how to fund the park’s $16-million annual maintenance budget — a dilemma that stems from a 2002 agreement requiring the park to raise its own cash so it won’t drain public coffers.

Lawmakers eventually decided to build a 159-unit housing complex and hotel in the park near Furman Street, just south of the park’s Old Fulton Street entrance, to bring in revenue.

New housing design details — including news about the private yards — comes after members of the park’s advisory panel recommended that architects build a clear visual separation between public grassy areas and private terraces.

“The criticism was that yards of lower units sort of melted into the park,” said Joan McGroarty of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council.

A spokeswoman for Roger Marvel Architects, the firm that drafted the design, did not respond to requests for comment about the size of the private outdoor space and other details last week.

But a Brooklyn Bridge Park spokeswoman noted that the yards will not be visible from the park greenway and that residents must maintain them.

“The ground floor outdoor spaces are within the development footprint, are shielded from the public portion of the park by a berm, and we’ve worked closely with [designers] to ensure that they do not encroach on any of the public areas of the park,” said spokeswoman Teresa Gonzalez.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ben from Columbia Hts. says:
If this criticism were coming from any community other than Brooklyn Heights or Dumbo, I might find myself agreeing and equally upset. However, in light of their relentless criticism of anything less than making this parkland their own private enclave, serving their own personal visions, and their own self-serving desires, they simply become "white noise". i.e. easy to ignore and without any effect. Let's face the facts: (1) They want a park for their own private use that excludes tourists and people from outside their tight-assed little neighborhood (2) nothing - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - must interfere or obstruct their views (from their homes or their puffed up views of themselves) (3) They want easy access to the park, but it must be "one way" so that others do not use the same path to actually get into their neighborhood (4) recreational facilities must be design for them and them only and they will dictate what sports should or should not be played (5) they will decide what housing gets built, what amenities will be available, who will live in these buildings (they won't be non-white, they won't be middle- or working-class, they won't be immigrants, they won't be poor, they won't be people with cars, they won't be people who have large parties, they won't be people who get larger yards than they have), (6) they will decide what vendors and concessionaires will be permitted to operate in the park and it won't be any that attract anyone but mirror images of themselves. These complainers, whether or not they represent the opinions of all Brooklyn Heights residents, make that neighborhood look like a racist, hateful, self-serving bunch of angry white corporate whores that will trample out anyone in their way in pursuit of their own greedy needs and desires. At some point, the operative response is a big FU.
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:28 am
David from Greenpoint says:
“The ground floor outdoor spaces are within the development footprint, are shielded from the public portion of the park by a berm, and we’ve worked closely with [designers] to ensure that they do not encroach on any of the public areas of the park,”
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:52 am
Jim from Dumbo says:
Ben from Columbia Heights is a huge jackass.
Oct. 1, 2012, 9:49 am
Ian from 11211 says:
Does someone actually think a multi-million dollar condo will lead to people drying laundry outside? Get a grip on reality.
Oct. 1, 2012, 9:54 am
Yan from 11201 says:
@Ian only if their maids put it outside
Oct. 1, 2012, 11:11 am
judahspechl from bedstuy says:
Ben from Columbia Heights is poetic with the truth.
Oct. 1, 2012, 11:45 am
ChrisC from Park Slope says:
Precious public land? There isn't enough money to fill out all of those acres upon acres of empty 'precious public land' in Brooklyn Bridge Park with amenities without selling some of it to private residents. And without any additional public parking, only people within walking distance can truly enjoy the waterfront as a public resource.

Let's stop the fallacy that says the development in that park is in the public interest of anyone but Brooklyn Heights residents.
Oct. 1, 2012, 11:58 am
Smith from Butler St. says:
Downtown used to be an enjoyable area, but now its just pomp on top of excess with a topping of exclusivity and a side of "us vs. them"....and a second serving of "LOOK AT ME!!".
Williamsburg might actually be more tolerable at this point. F U
Oct. 1, 2012, 12:29 pm
Smith from Butler St says:
BTW, i tend to glaze over on discussions like this in these surrounding areas because it amazes me how generally NONE OF THESE, and similar proposed housing proposals, will ever be affordable to me and I make over 70K per yr!! (WTF!??) You have to be wealthy or poor to get into anything in lower BK. And the poor deserve a chance to live in the very neighborhood that has been taken over (they get in via low income housing lottery) So the question isnt "How large the backyard will be" its closer to "Where is the A F F O R D A B L E housing??".
Oct. 1, 2012, 12:54 pm
Peter from BRidge says:
bk heights residents are always complaining about something. if it's not that their street trash cans are too full then it's the contents put in the trash cans. it goes on and on with these entitled brats. enjoy watching the tiki torch parties. i'm going to buy 2 of those condo's and hang my laundry outside everyday.
Oct. 1, 2012, 1:47 pm
FRANK from FURTER says:
No matter what they do or say I am going to oppose it anyway...whatever it is, I against it- no matter who began or who commenced it, I am against it..

from the Marx bros and I don't mean Karl.

and how bad was the traffic this weekend at the Barclay?

No affordable housing in Brooklyn Heights and no tax exemptions either.

The alternative plan proposed by the people who wanted to save the park(without residential) would have imposed some user fees.
Oct. 1, 2012, 1:52 pm
BunnynSunny from The Hill says:
Smith from Wherever,

That's what all of Brooklyn is becoming.
Oct. 1, 2012, 7:52 pm
David from Greenpoint says:
Plenty of affordable housing in Brooklyn,just not on the river in prime RE areas. Check out South Brooklyn - its very affordble. Queens is affordable as well.
Oct. 2, 2012, 8:32 am
Ken from Montague st says:
Can we get some Condos into Central Park, the income potential would be great!

Of course not... it's a PARK!!!

Stop building in BB Park now please!
Oct. 2, 2012, 9:30 am
Brklynmind from Downtown says:
Since there is no difference between an upperfloor condo having a balcony (which you know virtually all of them will have) and a ground floor unit having a small enclosed 'yard' - I have to believe this is just fodder for the anti-condo contingent to use in their never ending campaign.
Oct. 2, 2012, 4:19 pm
frank from furter says:
while Central park doesn't have condos you should look up the Central Park conservancy. The city allows them to collect the fees from concerts etc to hire people who keep up that park. So its self sufficient too. It wouldn't get enough money for BBP. Bryant Park too. The model works differently in different places.Its too bad that only condos assure enough money in Brooklyn.
Oct. 2, 2012, 6:36 pm
Jim from Brooklyn Heights says:
A lot of the proposed condos act as a good buffer from the BQE...who want to be outside that close to the highway anyway?
Oct. 2, 2012, 9:10 pm

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