Three cheers for Brooklyn Bridge Park activists!
The controversial waterfront greenspace was the focus of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s annual meeting on Monday, where the venerable civic group honored locals who have fought to create the green space, save its beloved public pool, and to keep more private development out.
First, the group cheered the team fighting the construction of two new towers at Pier 6 by offering up their gratis legal and financial expertise.
“The BHA is extremely fortunate to have these resources available to defend the principle that the park was created for recreational purposes, not a front yard for excessive development,” said emcee Tom Stewart, a Heights resident and Channel 13 host who cheekily started the award ceremony by announcing the honor had actually gone to “La La Land.”
The association presented a plaque to activists Ren Richmond of People for Green Space, Judi Francis of the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Fund, and law firm Jenner and Block, which is providing $800,000 worth of services for zilch.
The team’s local legal eagle said he wasn’t expecting an award for his efforts — but he’ll take it!
“It’s a delightful honor, it’s wholly unnecessary because I have such a pleasure in this opportunity to help the community in which I’ve lived for 40 years … the honor is just icing on the cake,” said attorney Richard Ziegler.
The group also bestowed two other community service awards on longtime community activist Irene Janner, who helped lead the fight to create Brooklyn Bridge Park in the ’80s, and Love Our Pool, a group of parents who successfully banded together to save its beloved pop-up pool last year.
And the highest honor of the evening — the Martha Atwater Award — went to PS 8’s retiring principal Seth Phillips for his work turning what was a struggling elementary school into a high-achieving educational institution that is so popular it is turning students away.
“Seth turned PS 8 around by rebuilding it from the ground up,” said Stewart.