Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Public Park Or Private Enclave? Last Night's Public Hearing On Alternatives To Housing In Brooklyn Bridge Park

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From left, Seth Pinsky President of New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC),
2nd from left: Paul Nelson For Assemblymember Joan Millman,
3rd from left: a woman sitting in for Robert Steel  
4th from left: Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp.
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second from right: John Ruskin of State Senator Squadron's office
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Councilman Steve Levin

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Councilman Brad Lander


Last night at Long Island College Hospital, the first of two public hearings on alternatives to housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park took place. In front of Regina Myer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, representatives of NY State Assemblywoman Joan Millman and State Senator Squadron, and the Mayor's office, residents shared their ideas on how to generate revenue for the park to fund its operation and maintenance. Most also took the opportunity to voice their frustration with the City's hijacking of a public park for development.
In 2002, New York State and City signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which requires that the Brooklyn Bridge Park "be financially self sufficient with annual operation and maintenance expenses funded by revenue generated from within the project."  In order to accomplish this, five sites within the park were identified for development.  This idea met with immediate resistance from many in the community.
In March 2010, State Senator Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman were able to convince the City to sign another Memorandum Of Understanding which prompted the formation of a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing (SHA.)  It also called for two public hearings.
Though some speakers last night supported the idea, many in the audience had worked tirelessly for the last twenty-five years to secure the park along the waterfront and were strongly opposed to residential luxury condos of 15 to 31 stories in the park.  The overwhelming sentiment expressed by the community was that Brooklyn Bridge Park should be a public park and not a "private enclave with tastefully arranged landscaping around it."
Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin spoke out against the housing as well.


Written testimony will be accepted till Monday, December 13th at 5 PM.  Submit to Bay Area Economics Consulting at bbptestimony@bae1.com


Below are some of the testimonies (and alternatives) given last night.








11 comments:

Anonymous said...

As always, thank you Katia for keeping us informed and up to date on the issues that affect the quality of our life in Brooklyn. The fact that the biggest supporters of housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park are either people who derive their income from it (Nancy Wester of the Conservancy) or the real estate people who spoke that night including Chris Havens who sells for Walentas and who sold the park's architect his office space, and Moishe Indig who was listed as the city's top slum lord in this week's Village Voice is enough for me to say, this is a phoney process and a real shame for the people of Brooklyn. Let's just get back to a park and forget about private housing inside of it. If the mayor wants a park he will find a way to pay for it without housing, just like every other park in the system. Why is Brooklyn always treated like a second class citizen?

Anonymous said...

Another "Thank You" to Katia from those of us who were not able to be at the meeting but care about the issues and outcome.

Anonymous said...

Can you identify who the people are in the photos at the tables? I can't place names with faces of people I've never met.

Anonymous said...

Are you able to post the names of those who were sitting at the table in the first few photos? If these are various community leaders, I've read of them but never placed with a face, and have seen them in the neighborhood but have no idea who they are.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for another comment, but the larger point is also who actually attends the meeting to listen as part of the official government process? I think I see Myer, but the others are likely stand-ins or designees for the officially named Board members. And who are they? The focus is always on the official names, but who are these other folks and are they also representative of the local community and interests.

Katia said...

Hi Anon, I have added some of the names and will add the rest as soon as I verify.

Anonymous said...

We desperately need affordable housing on these sites, not more housing and hotels for the filthy rich who have created the depression we are now in! Buildings (and some apartments) in the neighborhoods near the Park- from DUMBO and now through Red Hook are trading in the millions and this trend will spiral upward once the Park is fully built. The very people opposing housing are the beneficiaries of the real estate gold rush the Park has created.Turn the sites over to an affordable housing developer and make them 80% affordable for artists and middle class folks who are being priced out of Brooklyn and then we will have a true Park and community that welcomes all.

Anonymous said...

To the last writer, no one disagrees that the city needs more affordable housing. We also need parks. We do not have to put housing inside our parks. Those who oppose housing want a park. A real park. Who is cleaning up because of the park? The businesses along Fulton Street and the River Cafe - and not one of these businesses puts one penny into the park's funding! Did you know that not one of the concessions inside the park contributes to funding the park? Did you know that the Park Conservancy raises money for their salaries and also puts not one penny into the park's funding? We don't need luxury or any other housing inside our parks to pay for them. And yes, the people who live in Brooklyn Heights who look down on this park from their brownstones on the promenade, who Martin Connor put on the park's board to design this park, and who didn't want an active park so they took all the recreational facilities out of the park in favor of landscaping - their property values have gone way up. So why not tax them for the privledge of looking down on a new green lawn from Columbia Heights? They certainly did a great job making sure there was no bridge into the park from Brooklyn Heights didn't they? But they have not opposed luxury housing! Far from it - the guys who have made off like bandits from this park's design are also the people who WANT HOUSING because they figure a bunch of rich folks living inside the park will prevent the rest of us from using it...and it is working. Thank Judy Stanton and the Heights Association for their efforts to get housing inside the park. Luxury housing!

Anonymous said...

Katia,
Thanks for the partial names. I'm looking forward to the rest of the names of those who attended and sat at the tables, if you can find them.

Amazing that the big names create these events and committees but then don't show up.

Anonymous said...

any further luck on the ID of the people? Perhaps tonight's meeting will brin more names and the lack of the electeds to actually appear.

Katia said...

Indeed, I took the names at last evening's meeting, plus more video. I will post later on today.