Pier 6: Willowtown’s Ruin?

There’s no doubt that Brooklyn Bridge Park is super-fantastic.  It’s a great place to spend the day or twilight  -as last night’s Whitman fest proved. However this missive arrived in the BHB Inbox this morning and it deserves to be discussed here:

Dude, Where’s My Neighborhood?
Why BBP has begun to destroy Brooklyn Heights.
No longer is BH a quiet area for residents seeking refuge from the bustle of the city and other densely populated parts of Brooklyn.
The streets are clogged with more people and cars at all hours of the day and night.
Weekends? A longtime resident’s nightmare.
The opening of Pier 6 has literally transformed Willowtown from being a sleepy nook tucked away in unknown corner of Brooklyn Heights.
Joralemon Street has become a major thoroughfare for people and cars to get to the new “crown jewel” of the City’s parks.
There’s more garbage on the streets. There’s more noise on the streets. There’s more crime on the streets.
Stories of downspouts being stolen in the middle of the night. Groups of bandana wearing youths patrolling the streets late at night. My girlfriend being followed by a mentally disturbed individual (from a playground) as she parked her car, only to return to a car with slashed tires.
All we see are more tickets and tickets. More parking tickets, more park police giving people tickets.
Where did my neighborhood go?
Where did the safety go?
Where did the peace and quiet go?
Judging by the sheer number of moving trucks loaded resident’s belongings and driving them away this month, it’s sad to see this neighborhood also packing it in and discarding its local residents, ambiance and allure.
It was nice knowing you Willowtown, you may be almost gone, but you will not be forgotten.

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  • nabeguy

    And, on top of the things, we’ll have to pay more taxes to support this project. Just a little salt in the wound, so to speak.

  • my2cents

    You forgot the metal domes.
    But seriously, I can sympathize with the writer. That really is such a quiet spot, and it must be frustrating to have your peace and quiet disrupted like that. On the bright side, when you sell your apartment, you can say “Steps to the new park!!”

  • Yeah

    Obligatory “move to Ohio” comment

  • BrandonH

    Willowtown will survive. I can’t help but think that some of this is an over-reaction. It’s still a lovely part of the Heights and will remain so.

  • BrandonH

    And, by the way, the completed Brooklyn Bridge Park adds to the value of living in Brooklyn Heights. It’s a superb park with stunning views. I think this puts Brooklyn Heights at the top of the list in terms of a place for families to live. The park is a huge plus.

  • tb

    So they are really blaming the crime on the playground? Really? The neighborhood is moving away because of the playground? Really?

  • Teddy


    If the shoe fits.

  • Kelly

    Brooklyn Heights may still be a lovely place, but as the writer’s girlfriend and owner of the car, I was less than thrilled to deal with slashed tires this morning when I was trying to get to work after being harassed by the mentally disturbed person yesterday. I would hardly call this an overreaction as I am now being forced to purchase new tires since the slashed ones cannot be repaired.

  • A


    So after 5 years of living in the same building, on the same street, a sudden increase in people traffic, car traffic and crime has no correlation to the new park’s proximity to Willowtown?

    And Pier 6 being essentially a playground automatically means that no criminals, degenerates and other miscreants could gravitate to the area since its a playground??

    Have you even been down to Willowtown after 11pm lately? Or even on a weekend afternoon? Have you seen the infusion of non-residents walking around the neighborhood making noise and otherwise disturbing the dynamic of the area??

    No one is saying the Park is bad in any way. It beautiful and a great place to enjoy, especially for the locals.

    However, there is no denying that it also brings with it a huge influx of people who would otherwise never come down here, and with that, the dregs of society seem to want a piece of that action as well.

  • Yeah

    @Kelly – Do you have proof? If not, you’re being discriminatory against the developmentally disabled.

  • Quinn Raymond

    By this logic should we also close the Promenade too? Prospect Park?

    I am somewhat stunned that there are people complaining about the opening of a large, beautiful green space in the neighborhood– especially when there is such a dearth of green space in our city.

    Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. I cannot imagine residents in other neighborhoods complaining about their nice new park.

    I’m sorry these bad things happened, but I don’t think it’s rational to take isolated anecdotes and synthesize them into a broader narrative. Occasionally bad things happened in the area before the park was opened too. It’s almost impossible to correlate these things without looking at Compstat.

  • Kelly

    @Yeah – At worst I’m being discriminatory against the person who followed me from me car, accosted me and threatened both myself and my property. Kind of a coincidence that my tires were slashed on the heels of that, don’t you think? And we never said developmentally disabled, we said mentally disturbed a/k/a crackhead.

  • DrewB

    As a resident of Willowtown as well, I have not noticed anything as dramatic. Mostly sidewalks packed with strollers and kids headed to the playground. I don’t really mind the increased foot traffic. After living in sleepy Brooklyn Heights for 10 years, a little more people, more restaurants and things to do are welcome. However, for years during park planning we were told by the EDC and the BBPC that there would be no auto access to the park from Joralemon. It was supposed to be only a pedestrian entrance. We all see how that turned out! All the traffic is being pushed to the edges of the Heights. The BHA fought against access from the Promenade or central Heights, so those on the edges are paying the price.

  • Original Ranter


    Totally fair enough. Definitely not advocating that in any way.

    Just lamenting over the transformation of a particular neighborhood as a direct result of this park’s opening.

    You really don’t need Compstat to tell you that with an large increase of people to any particular area, its not entirely unreasonable to see some negative elements come with it.

    This wasn’t meant as an indictment on the park itself.

    Again, the park’s creation and eventual opening in early May has had a clear impact on the area in great and (to me) some negative ways. Clearly I’m in the minority on this one, but its undeniable and becoming somewhat frustrating.

  • Yeah

    @Kelly –
    I assume that if you were theatened, you reported the incident to your local precinct – correct?

  • zburch

    Ooops, DrewB should have been by zburch. Sharing a computer….sorry DrewB! That being said, there has been random criminal activity in the nabe for ever. I think it would be difficult to pin that incident, no matter how unfortunate, solely on the new Park. I tend to think more people on the streets makes it a safer. When I first moved here from Manhattan I was kind of freaked out by the quiet dark streets at night. I just knew there was something lurking in the eery shadows cast by those gas lamps! eeeek!

  • JJ

    I am a newcomer to Willowtown, about 6 weeks ago. The park is great for families and people, creating green space in the city is always a plus. With that will come more restaurants, bars, convinence stores,etc… I have to say, I did notice some seedy characters hanging out behind 1BBP, in the parking lot. They were just hanging out, but who’s to say it doesn’t become a place where people start drinking 40s and leaving glass bottles around – that would suck.

  • resident

    I’m sorry, but this whole rant is weak. How can you blame the park for one admittadly horrible incident? In NYC, you have a chance at being harassed by a mentally unstable person just about anytime and just about anywhere. There is no way to reasonably tie that story to the creation of the new park.

    The other “stories” of crime are just that, stories. I haven’t noticed any uptick in crime in Willowtown in recent police reports. Any uptick in crime in the overall neighborhood is probably much more closely related to the economy, i.e., less police, more unemployed, etc than the creation of BBP. To connect more nighttime street crime to the creation of a huge playground is pretty ridiculous.

    As for the additional traffic and problems that come with it, well, sorry, that’s the breaks some times. Hopefully the other two “dangerous” entrances will be fixed soon so there will be less people. On the bright side, maybe the additional traffic will help solve the other long term complaint around here, namely, the poor condition of the restaurant, bar and retail scenes.

  • David G.

    I particularly enjoy how none of this is due to the dramatic cuts in government services provided to our city. Or even the failings of our government, but rather…
    It must be the crown jewel park!!!

    If you want to improve the lives in a dynamic city, like Brooklyn, we are going to have to find solutions to crime and mental health issues like this one.

  • harumph

    Honestly, I always felt a bit nervous walking around those streets late at night…but with River Deli and Iris Cafe, I actually feel that the neighborhood is in full bloom. Sure, with the parks comes some noise, we live on Pierrepont near the promenade and so do understand the differences – but, and this is a big BUT, living that close to waterviews, access to that kind of thing, year round is glorious! Come winter, your streets won’t be so busy, but you’ll still be able to warm yourself with a lovely cup of joe from Iris!

  • CharlieS

    Please direct these complaints to the authorities instead of the blogs.

    One can solve the problem, the other just sounds like whining.

  • Teddie Boy Eddie

    @A – can you describe these “non-residents” and “dregs of society,” please?

  • BrandonH

    This is NYC and the addition of the park may make some sleepy parts of Brooklyn Heights more active, but, really, the park is such a huge benefit. I would gladly move to Willowtown if I found a great place to live. In fact, Willowtown is perfectly placed for easy access to the park. I can easily imagine living there and after a hard day a work, coming home, having dinner and then afterward taking a quick walk in the park to unwind. Living closer to Monatgue makes the walk down to the park a little further, but not really far. However, if it’s really close, then I would use it more. In any case, it unfortunate about the incident about the slashed tires. That is a terrilble thing.

  • Obama?

    Blame your government & elected officials if mental patients & miscreants are running amok in the streets. Do you pay taxes–have more police assigned to the area if necessary. Don’t blame parks that people, especially the poor & other non-yuppies who don’t have houses on Fire Island or in the Hamptons, use for much needed recreation!

  • my2cents

    I hope that all the remaining empty storefronts in willowtown will come alive with vibrant small businesses as a result of the increase in foot traffic.

  • A

    @TBE – These are what I have witnessed in the month of June personally.

    – The red jeep grand Cherokee with North Carolina plates (that were suddenly gone after a few weeks) that was abandoned on Joralemon Street (between Willow & Columbia) in late May, that was summarily harvested for nearly 5 weeks. With it’s doors eventually sitting wide open and insides completely gutted. I was pretty surprised to hear that I was the first one to call 311 about this vehicle considering how long it had been sitting on a block I don’t even live on.

    – Last Tuesday night (12amish) – a parked Mercedes with NJ plates on the corner of Joralemon and Hicks with couple inside having sex.

    – Two weeks ago, witnessing and listening to 2 police officers advise a pregnant woman (who also told police she is not from the area) how to get a restraining order against the man another 2 police officers were questioning inside the actual Palmetto playground.

    I can’t say for sure these people are not local residents. (Why would people who live here need to have sex in their car? Parking really isn’t that bad here)

    Nor can I say that their presence in the area has anything to do with the new park.

    However the timing of it concerns me. I’m out on the streets a lot walking my dog. I’ve never personally seen these kinds of occurrences at all in 7 months of being out during these time frames.

    It could be the warmer weather too.

    Damn Sun.

  • tb

    @my2cents.. agreed.

  • Mike S.

    It’s always frustrating when there is a sudden increase in noise pollution or traffic on your street. But let’s leave it at that, shall we? The claims that the park is destroying the entire neighborhood, and that the new playground is a breeding ground for tire-slashing maniacs are a little ridiculous. More parking tickets? Had you been getting away with parking wherever you wanted before the park came along? Also, I wish you hadn’t reminded me about the stolen downspouts. My nightmares about those had finally stopped!

  • bklyn20

    I live in Willowtown and am actually quite happy to have more people on the streets, since it generally is very quiet at night here. I DO very much want to have the bottom of Joralemon St closed with rectractable bollards in order to mininize car traffic. As an earlier poster already noted, this is a long-time promise to the Wilowtown community. I don’t enjoy raucous noises at night — but that can include the Heights Players on Willow Place, especially on opening nights. The audience comes out of performances late and energized, and the cast comes out closer to midnight, louder, younger and more energized. Please, before you object — amateur theater is a great thing — but so is a littlle courtesy to the community. The same principle obtains for park-goers. Wiloowtown is a very quiet neighborhood, so contrast noise is very contrast-y.

    That said, after Pier 6’s opening night, I have never seen a security guard there after dark. I use the BBP dog park many evenings a week, and except for the police presence on the night of the fireworks, security presence on Pier 6 = zilch.

    Also — if the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Pier 6 gets safer, fewer people might walk through Willowtown for access to the park. Different or brighter streetlights would help Willowtown street safety, since our beautiful trees can block the light from the bulbs.

    I actually have a number of serious problems with Brooklyn Bridge Park, but I am glad that some of it has come to fruition. The “crown jewel” is full of flaws, but that is not the topic here. And if there are dangerous situations, they should be reported the 84th Precinct.

  • Bartmann

    Overall I love the idea of the parks. People in Brooklyn Heights will certainly benefit the most from them. However there certainly will be way more foot and car traffic on Joralemon. My concern is that the once quiet part of Joralemon (west of Clinton) will become as seedy as the eastern part (between Clinton and Court). Because we live in a beautiful neighborhood, and the park is making it even more beautiful, we will always have people from the crappy parts of Brooklyn coming here to celebrate, party, engage in precopulatory activity, and subsequently trash our streets. I don’t think we can change the reality that with people, comes noise, trash, and crime.