Borough President Adams: Up-zone Broadway

On top of Broadway! Beep wants towers along J train tracks

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Adams wants to rezone nearly the entire length of Broadway so that developers can build taller, bigger buildings in exchange for providing so-called “affordable” housing.

Adams hopes to apply the zoning changes the city made to a small section of Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant a few years ago to the entire four-mile corridor, saying on the expected eve of Mayor DeBlasio unveiling his citywide housing plan that it would be a smart way to stack up cheap digs and uplift the neighborhoods along one of the borough’s main thoroughfares.

“The Broadway corridor is an untapped opportunity to expand Brooklyn’s affordable housing capacity and to unlock the potential of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Ocean Hill, and Williamsbu­rg,” Adams said. “Now is the time for us to reexamine our borough’s zoning and identify opportunities for responsible development.”

The stretch of Broadway between Myrtle and Saratoga avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant allows developers to build bigger in exchange for renting one fifth of the building’s apartments at a below-market rate. The scheme allows developers to erect structures with a fifth more floor space if they include low-rent units than if they do not.

Adams wants to apply that system all the way from the Williamsburg Bridge to Broadway Junction.

The city could opt to change zoning rules piecemeal according to community board districts or the Council and DeBlasio could team up to make the change in one shot.

Some housing activists are concerned that a zoning change could stir up gentrification despite the Beep’s stated good intentions.

“Encouraging market-rate- and above-market-rate development in low-income neighborhoods brings with it many negative impacts for long-standing resident communities,” said activist Brigette Blood. “This type of rezoning proposal must hold developers accountable to their true impact.”

Neither party discussing the plan mentioned what effect the dirty, loud, dark, and constantly shaking street environment that the elevated J, M, and Z trains create along the length of Broadway would have on the feasibility of such an initiative.

Mayor DeBlasio had said he would unveil his plan to create 200,000 below-market-rate apartments in the next decade on May 1, but postponed it, apparently to finalize a new, nine-year contract for public school teachers.

He released the plan on Monday. Among its many recommendations are calls for building upwards along Atlantic Avenue in East New York, which the plan says “offers the greatest opportunity for higher-density, mixed-use development with several large opportunity sites.”

The thoroughfare that stretches from the New York Harbor to Queens drew a less rosy review from Carroll Gardens poet and recent Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri who, in his 16-page “Personal Essay” describes it as “a wound.”

He writes:

“The fact they make people live here/on Atlantic Avenue, reveals as nothing else can/the criminality of the social order.”

Fulton Street and Pitkin Avenue in East New York also got hot-spot designation in the mayor’s plan, which does not demand a particular ratio of below-market-rate housing in all new developments, but instead calls for a case-by-case negotiation between the city and developers, which is what is done now.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Context added.
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Good for Eric Adams.

The dark, dirty, shaking, etc. J/M/Z trains will help keep the housing affordable. That's how you make affordable housing, after all. You build a lot of it and/or you make something about it undesirable. A noisy elevated train line is undesirable.

I can't for the life of me figure out why unelected "communities" should be "heard." The person I voted for, Eric Adams, should be heard.
May 5, 2014, 5:46 am
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn says:
Mike.. there is a lot of very expensive housing in dumbo. between the bridges (noise) and near the subway over the Manhattan Bridge.
This is a good idea..The area needs to be redeveloped
May 5, 2014, 6:13 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Maybe building tall is the solution to the problem of street level noise.
May 5, 2014, 8:17 am
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
How much of the money will go into Eric Adams pocket? People under federal and city corruption probes should not be trusted handling massive amounts the people of Brooklyn's money.

Unfortunately, all Brooklyn politics is run and rigged by a corrupt Democratic machine, with no opportunity for any reformers or independents without connections or massive money for campaigns to get an opportunity to do honest work. See links below about your borough president:
May 5, 2014, 11:58 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Unfortunately, no one cares about the crazy rants of loons.
May 5, 2014, 12:10 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Another negative and disturbing article about Eric Adams in this publication:

That's why Brooklyn needs to reconsider who it hands power and tax dollars to!
May 5, 2014, 1:25 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
And the quote from that article (below) in this very paper ("Embattled Eric Adams a no-show at Bay Ridge Democrats meeting"), kinda sums up the Brooklyn political scene. Brooklyn: Watch carefully who you let make housing decisions for you. And read between the lines.

"Federal prosecutors have put their crosshairs on Albany in recent months, announcing a number of bribery charges against state officials including state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D–Queens) and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson (D–Bronx). In addition, Councilman Dan Halloran (R–Queens) was charged with accepting bribes. State Sen. John Sampson (D–Flatlands) has turned himself in to the FBI to face charges of embezzelment and obstruction of justice."
May 5, 2014, 1:30 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
If I wanted to discuss Eric Adam's fundraising, I'd read the articles about it and comment there.

The reason you are so easy to ignore, Epiphany, is because you are too dumb to make your comments germane to the article you're posting them too.
May 5, 2014, 1:41 pm
CommonCents from Crown Heights says:
People wanting to be 'hip' and move to Brooklyn tend to gravitate to areas close to the train and those areas are going away fast. The whole 'affordable' housing thing is bull. Has anyone ever seen the requirements? This housing will be for those willing to pay 2K for a studio or those that make less than 10K a year. Housing needs to be built for those whose backs the city breaks... The middle class!
May 5, 2014, 7:43 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
The biggest concentration of jobs in this region is in Manhattan. The best way to get to Manhattan is the train. That is why everyone, not just those who want to be 'hip,' tries to live near a train, the more convenient the better.
May 5, 2014, 9:11 pm
CommonCents from Crown Heights says:
You're 100% correct Mike. What I should have said was those wanting to be 'hip' move to Brooklyn. I still stand by my main point, 'affordable' housing is bull. One day people will wake up and get rid of these democrats, republicans and the ones hiding as independents and vote in 3rd party grass roots candidates that will champion for the shrinking middle class.
May 6, 2014, 7:45 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Other than building enough housing so that people who want to live in New York can live in New York, what would championing the middle class look like?
May 6, 2014, 8:10 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
It sounds good on paper, Mike, but I sure haven't seen that same tactic Adams is advocating have any effect on the housing prices in Park Slope. They upzoned all along 4th Avenue about a decade ago and at least a dozen highrise residential towers have sprung up (and this is not counting the residential towers planned for Atlantic Yards), all with supposed "affordable housing" requirements, but the prices in the neighborhood have done nothing except continue to spike. I don't have anything against highrises at all, but let's drop the nonsense about them providing meaningful relief for the demand for affordable housing. They are another chapter in the age-old game Brooklyn pols and developers play with permits-for-kickbacks. The pols will shake down the developers for contributions to their "charities," the developers will throw them a few coins, and five years from now an FBI investigation will see the pols to jail and the voters and media will claim they're shocked, shocked! Wash, rinse, repeat.
May 6, 2014, 10:11 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Scott, Park Slope, other than 4th Ave was downzoned. I think you've absolutely witnessed the effects of that policy.
May 6, 2014, 10:48 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just because this is near a subway line doesn't mean that it must be the zoning laws must be lifted to build higher. Much of this area can hardly meet the infrastructure that is there now, so allowing for this will make it worse. As for affordable housing, I wouldn't count on developers, because so many of them have a history of lying about that. Let's not forget that building all this new development can cause rents and property taxes to increase at even higher rates leading to massive gentrification that can push out those that were living there for decades due to not being able to afford living there.
May 6, 2014, 3:33 pm
CommonCents from Crown Heights says:
Mike, it wouLd include such things such as having the MTA go through a proper audit, eliminating these back door taxes that politicians pass off as fines and fees, hold the government accountable, eliminate wasteful, redundant positions like Borough Presidents and the public advocate. And hold DAs responsible for allowing the garbage the runs the streets to plea down charges for violent crimes.
May 6, 2014, 5:29 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
So a bunch of blather. Yawn.
May 7, 2014, 8:49 am

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