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Parks department’s Borough Hall plan gives Columbus Park bluestones the boot

Downtown’s wish is granite

Busted: These broken-up bluestones in the plaza around Borough Hall may soon be getting replaced by sturdier granite.
The Brooklyn Paper
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It could be the end of the bluestone era around Borough Hall.

The Parks Department wants to give Downtown’s Columbus Park an $11-million granite makeover to replace the broken bluestone tiles that have been tripping up Brooklynites for years. Officials are pleased as punch about the plan. That is one way of putting it, anyway.

“We’re tickled pink by this project,” said Kevin Jeffrey, the parks department’s Brooklyn commissioner, at a Community Board 2 committee meeting on Monday night. “It’s a long-awaited solution.”

The parks department is pitching the overhaul, with the mayor’s office expected to foot the bill. The plan has the plaza’s classic but crumbling two-inch-thick bluestone slabs being replaced with thicker, three-inch gray granite tiles, buttressed by a six-inch layer of reinforced concrete underneath. Most of the surface would be a textured, light-gray pattern called “jet mist,” with some edge work done in a slightly darker pattern called “charcoal black.”

People have long complained about the state of the park, which is bounded by Joralemon, Court, Johnson, and Adams streets and Cadman Plaza West.

“It’s dangerous. No ifs, ands, or buts about it,” said Anthony Walker from Coney Island, cautiously making his way through the plaza. “All you have to do is trip, and you’ll be crying for days.”

The broken stone slabs caused a 71-year-old woman to fall and break her hip back in 2010, but even then former Borough President Marty Markowitz and other officials could not scare up the cash to get it fixed.

“Renovation of the plaza has been an issue for at least five years,” said the community board’s district manager Robert Perris.

The current plan focuses on the Borough Hall side of the park and leaves the existing stones in place on the stretch approaching Johnson Street, past the Christopher Columbus Monument.

Parks officials expect the new sidewalks to hold up under the weight of trucks and other vehicles that drive in to set up the farmers market and other plaza events. They point to revamps in Manhattan’s City Hall and Washington Square parks that used similar materials as proof that the stuff is tough enough.

There is not yet a time table for the resurfacing.

The full community board is expected to vote to issue a letter of support for the project on Feb. 12, after press time.

After that, the job needs approval from the city.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Quote from Anthony Walker added.
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Reasonable discourse

T-Bone from DoBro says:
Are they going to keep the BP and his staff from using it as a parking lot?
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:43 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Agree with T-Bone.

This problem was entirely created by allowing cars to park where they should never have been.
Why aren't thicker blue-stone slabs a possibility? Is it because their mafia suppliers don't offer those?

I don't doubt for a moment that the choice of materials and supplier isn't directly related to some kind of organized crime, kick-back type deal.
Feb. 11, 2014, 8:36 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
Since Marty Markowitz and his entourage parked SUVs on the plaza, damaging the stone, part of the cost for the repairs should come out of his taxpayer-funded pension.
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:09 am
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn heights says:
It is important that parking be prohibited before we put more money into this or we will just keep investing money and having to repeat this.
Elected Officals, Police etc should all follow the same rules the public does
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:24 am
Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
Yes, Marty did park is fleet there, but the farmers market parks there too.
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:54 am
ty from pps says:
The plaza should be made durable enough for trucks and other vehicles that use it for the farmer's market and other special events. The concrete granite sounds like a good mix (bluestone is just not that durable -- sedimentary stone vs. igneous stone)

However, this plaza should be a plaza!! Not a parking lot. All of the electeds and officials that use this as a parking lot need to be stopped! It's supposed to be a plaza for people. It is NOT a parking area. Period.
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:10 am
Maria from Fort Greene says:
Please just fix it already! The place is a menace!
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:17 am
Sloper from Slope says:
Parking farmers market vehicles there is fine - they serve a public good. Service vehicles for markets and concerts are just part of the territory. But parking private cars there is not good - they serve no one other than the owner and subtract from the public space that should be enjoyed by all.

Eric Adams should end this policy.
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:27 am
T-Bone from DoBro says:
What say you, Eric Adams? Are you a man of the people?
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:52 am
Heights guest from brooklyn heights says:
I have been in the area for many years , all the people that work in boro hall abuse the plaza, there are about 6 cars all day long,workers freinds etc. I have sat in the park many times, this summer alone i have seen 6 people go down and really get hurt and bloodied because of the broken sidewalk , guess whos going to pay for that .......
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:57 pm
Chris Columbus from America says:
While they're at it can they make my statue bigger?
Feb. 12, 2014, 8:26 am
Janice Tedrow from Fort Greene says:
as if that fat slob Marty couldn't walk... unless he was drunk but I'm sure that was never the case?
Feb. 12, 2014, 9:32 pm

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