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Permission to drop anchor: City in talks to take Hook lot for new maritime middle school

Land ho!: Department of Education officials want to build a middle school that will feed into Governors Island’s Brooklyn Harbor School high school on this plot in Red Hook, which is currently occupied by a manufacturer.
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This marine academy is ready to dock!

A long-awaited, specialized maritime middle school could be sailing into in Red Hook, according to a rep for a local pol who has pushed to anchor it in his district. Officials previously said they were eyeing several neighborhoods, including Sunset Park, as possible locations for the learning house that will feed into the New York Harbor School high school on Governor’s Island, but have zeroed in on a Hook parcel, the rep said.

“There is a high probability that the harbor school will locate there,” said David Estrada, a spokesman for Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook). “Councilman Menchaca is confident the school will come to Red Hook at that property.”

Estrada confirmed that Department of Education officials are negotiating a deal to buy a property on Delavan Street bounded by Richards and Verona streets, where they want to erect a 640-seat school, following Menchaca’s announcement that the president of the agency’s School Construction Authority — which oversees building new facilities — was in talks to acquire the lot.

The site, which is currently occupied by a manufacturer, makes an ideal home port because of its proximity to nearby Atlantic Basin, where kids would be able to take advantage of the aquatic facilities, the pol said.

But the property’s owner is playing hardball and doesn’t want to sell it, possibly requiring city officials to use eminent domain to seize the site, the School Construction Authority president said at a public meeting about the learning house.

One Red Hook resident offered to rent his lot on the Gowanus Canal to the city for the middle school, and said he knows several more neighborhood property-owners who would willingly offer their land to house it, making him question why the city would take such a drastic measure to secure the Delavan-Street parcel.

“It was upsetting for me to hear because I know there are available sites,” said John Quadrozzi Jr., who owns Gowanus Bay Terminal at the foot of Columbia Street. “Until it’s clear there aren’t any other locations, I don’t think eminent domain should be used.”

An education department spokesman claimed the agency has not settled on a location and is still exploring options, despite the construction-authority president’s announcement.

Students who attend the academy, wherever it opens, will undertake a maritime-heavy curriculum designed to prepare them for various marine-related industries.

And Menchaca said the coastal neighborhood’s nautical past, proximity to water, and dearth of schools make it the right spot to drop anchor.

“Red Hook’s rich maritime history, access to the harbor, and need for public schools make it an ideal location for the New York Harbor School,” he said.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Posted 9:11 am, October 13, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

dropping anchor? from Red Hook says:
Anchors are used in the water. Case and point.

Perhaps more important, this anchor if dropped where proposed will fall on someone's head. That's the problem.

Waterfront properties are better suited for a Harbor School and there are even government owned sites all along the waterfront right in Red Hook that could be used, many of them for decades storing non-maritime related trucks including garbage trucks.

Perhaps a look again without blinders.
Oct. 13, 2017, 7:34 am
Looking at the ploy from Red Hook says:
Sounds like the ALLOY developer's scheme for 80 Flatbush Ave. Alloy's budding romance with the DOE/School Construction Authority has concocted a phony moral imperative to build two Boerum Hill non-contextual towers in order to...wait for it...enhance the community and build two schools. Mother Teresa redux...!?!

Guaranteed...behind this proposed new school initiative on the waterfront is a developer whose access to it-via eminent domain- and pay-to-play connections will permit the city to avoid its responsibility to build schools on HPD property & allow for-profit predators to do whatever they wish.
Oct. 13, 2017, 1:05 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
So kick out a business that provides jobs in the area for a Department of Education project that could easily be built where it doesn't displace anything instead. ...yeah that sounds about right for NYC.
Oct. 13, 2017, 1:56 pm
Red Hooker from Red Hook says:
To address Jim's comment, the article is wrong: there is no business at this location. The lot where the school wants to go has been vacant for at least 20 years. A small building materials company was located in the adjacent building but it closed last year. The entire block was rezoned to residential in early 2000's. A school would be a great choice here. No one is being displaced.

There may be other waterfront lots available, but I can guarantee you that they are contaminated and would need expensive remediation before putting school kids at risk. The BoE doesn't generally rent lots to build schools on.

I think this lot would be a good location for a community based school.
Oct. 31, 2017, 10:59 am

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