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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  • bklyn20

    Yes, I know that my neighborhood’s name is spelled WILLOWTOWN. Blogging in a hurry means my fingers won’t cooperate.

    Happy 4th, everyone!

  • ABC

    and your property value just went up 20%. just sayin’

  • mike

    easy solution: move.

    Why is it the park’s fault and not Iris Cafe, or River Deli’s fault for all of the new traffic down Joralemon? What are you going to do when the retail portions of 1 BBP get filled? What if they put a restaurant down there? Think about all of the miscreants that will walk down Joralemon then.

    Are you next going to complain about the increased traffic of “hats” (ill let you guess the ethnic / religious group that is a codeword for) that are walking down Fulton St to get to pier 6? The traffic and flow of “bandanas” is only going to increase, so if you really feel this way, get out now before it gets worse. Otherwise, embrace it and open a new business on Joralemon to capitalize on the foot traffic.

    Also, no matter where you are in NYC, if you get into an altercation with someone who has seen you park your car, MOVE your car. Is it really a surprise that you got into a self-titled “altercation” with someone who you characterize as mentally unstable and then got your tires slashed? While that is an awful thing to happen to you, you need to keep in mind that you live in New York City and need to be smart about your surroundings at all times.

  • nabeguy

    Did it ABC? It might when the park is fully realized, but I doubt that the existing parks have resulted in that much of a bounce, especially given the negative reactions that they’ve received so far.

  • ABC

    I think Willowtown has gone up, yes. In addition to the bad eggs, it seems especially full of families and 20-somethings. It’s kinda hip now.

    I am confused by the “A”‘s comment about having not seen that kind of stuff “in 7 months of being out”. Is it possible someone who has been living in Willowtown for 7 months is complaining about the newcomers? Ah yes, the good old days.

  • ABC

    this whole conversation reminds me of the summer of the Barge Lady and “those people” walking around in bikinis. the mind reels…

  • my2cents

    I can’t wait til parents going to the park complain that Joralemon street’s cobblestones are hard on the strollers.

  • ABC

    am quick to add, the complaints on blogs of “those people” walking around in bikinis!

    I’m all for people walking around in bikinis!

  • nabeguy

    While I understand and sympathize with the arguments on this thread that address the loss of quietude that have resulted from the park , I’ve got to say that A’s comments are a bit paradoxical. Perhaps the reason that he/she is witnessing cars being stripped and couples having sex in Willowtown is because the area is as quiet as it is. While the influx of non-residents might be annoying, nothing deters crime like eyes on the street. Unfortunately, the other paradox is that crowds attract criminals, so don’t be surprised to see an uptick in pick-pocketings and Ipod thefts and other opportunistic crimes of that nature. Willowtowncop, would you agree?

  • ABC

    it’s also summer. I’ve seen hanky panky this summer — like every other summer — on the promenade and at the foot of remsen.

  • A

    “A” has been living here for years.

    The dog is only 7 months old.

    Nicely done ABC

  • ABC

    I said I was confused. What did the dog have to do with it?

  • jora-lemon

    I’m sorry but it’s idiotic missives like this that give Brooklynites (and Brooklyn Heights residents in particular) the apparently much desreved reputation of being people who’s lives are so pampered that they have no perspective about what’s worthy of complaint. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a world class amenity that opened on your door step! Yes, it has no doubt led to an increase in people walking down both Joralemon and Atlantic to get to the Pier 6 playground, promenade and Ferry to Governor’s Island. It has probably also let to increased car traffic on Atlantic. I imagine that anyone who drives down the narrow and bumpy cobble stone street of Joralemon once, will in the future decide to drive down atlantic instead, since it’s paved and easier. So I wouldn’t worry too much about car traffic on Joralemon for much longer.

    While I have all the sympathy in the world for your girlfriend after her incident, You would have to be an idiot to say that there is a direct correlation between that event and the opening of a playground a couple of blocks away. Seriously, what’s next – are we going to blame Brooklyn Bridge Park for the sub prime mortgage crisis? The war in Afghanistan? The Gulf Oil Spill? Did you notice that before Pier 6 opened there were zero barrels of oil spilling into the gulf? How could that be a coincidence?

  • Ben

    Not so long ago Willowtown is were I was when I could not find a place to park my car it was far out of the way and quiet an uphill walk to Montague Street, the subways. Now it has all changed. This new park, ALL of these people who will visit the park will be squeezing through Willowtown, down Joralemon Street to enter? This idea was dumb 20 years ago and it snowballed to become even dumber. I am sorry for Willowtown.

  • Andy

    I agree with jora-lemon! This blog post was really stupid!

  • GHB

    Aren’t you the same people that bitched and moaned when we got the floating pool a couple of years ago?

  • CharlieS

    Shit, time to shutter the park…
    Ben lost his parking spot.

  • zburch

    heck no, bring back the floating pool!!!

  • WillowtownCop

    I think it’s time for neighborhood sticker parking.

    As for the unsavories hanging out, drinking and whatnot, don’t let it happen. Make it clear to them that this isn’t that kind of neighborhood and call the police if they’re littering, smoking drugs, drinking, being loud, etc. Call it in as a “disorderly group.”

  • bklyn20

    A and family, I have lived in Willowtown for quite a while now. Because of the early hours of my newish job, I don’t do really late-night walks any more. I am also more risk-averse since the guy walking the pit bull was mugged at gunpoint at Joralemon & Clinton earlier this year, to be truthful. Nonetheless, when I did the midnight walks in the neighborhood I heard/saw people doing, err, what you described several times. The likeliest place was at the bottom of State Street by Palmetto Park. I used to see ambulance drivers nodding off there, too! We also had a car chase down Joralemon with a gun thrown out the window either last summer or the summer before. There is an increase in pedestrian traffic because of the Pier 6 opening, but much of the Heights is dark and quiet. Cars making suspicious movements while parked is really not that new, in Willowtown or elsewhere. Voyeur alert, anyone?

    Does anyone know if the mugger and cohorts at Joralemon & Clinton ever caught?

  • Y

    Can someone post a note when they see someone having sex? I wouldn’t mind watching. Need to spice up my life.

  • Jorale-man (no relation to Jora-lemon)

    I find posts like this problematic in that one person with a strong, skewed opinion can stand as some kind of case study for neighborhood sentiment. It’s probably true that the park will bring in some non-residents who’ll be less than respectful of the neighborhood. But the good outweighs the negative.

    For me, the biggest issue is littering. I’ve notice a considerable uptick in trash on sidewalks and streets in the Heights lately. Not just on the promenade (which is frequently a mess) but on many side streets too. It’s something I think the BHB could examine and bring to the public’s attention.

  • nabeguy

    Y, are things that slow for you in Willowtown? This whole thread basically pits the “I like the quiet Heights” against the “When is the Heights going to wake up” contingents. I’ve only been here 54 years, but the park is definitely a game-changer for the former and a potential winner for the latter. Personally, I’m more concerned with the planned reconstruction of the BQE, which, in time, may make all of the arguments about the benefits or detriments of the park a moot point. Of course, those plans won’t be in place until 2018, so we have at least 8 years to determine whether the increased market values that the park may bring to our properties won’t be offset by the disruption caused by years of rebuilding the highway that girds it. BTW, one of the plans in play would actually expand the Promenade by a good 10 to 15 feet, but it would also close it down for the duration of the project. Progress can be a bitch.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I think Nabeguy summed up the two POV’s well. And while I disagree with the premise of the original e-mail, it is an interesting catalyst for weighing the pros and cons of such a big change in an otherwise quiet/traditional part of the neighborhood.

    For what it’s worth, I do hope they find the person who accosted this woman– that is very upsetting.

  • north heights res

    I’ve lived here for 13 years, and in that time, my car’s been broken into twice, long, long before the park opened. I’ve seen people having sex on the Promenade–in the afternoon. I have come across more mentally disturbed and scary people that I can count. And yeah, I’ve seen lots of folks in “bandannas” in our neighborhood in those 13 years, too.

    Maybe Willowtown has been immune to the vagaries of everyday city living, but what you are describing seems pretty ordinary to me.

  • Bob Scott

    The park is a valuable addition to Brooklyn, and will increase property values through Brooklyn Heights. THERE IS NOT QUESTION, HOWEVER, THAT IT WILL CHANGE THE CHARACTER OF LIFE IN THE SOUTH HEIGHTS, INCLUDING WILLOWTOWN.

    The proper fix is have primary park access through our COMMERCIAL STREETS — Atlantic Ave, Montague St, and Old Fulton Street.

    Park planners REFUSE to allow the restoration of pier access through Montague Street (probably because a number of prominent BHA board members live in the central Heights) and also refuse to close Joralemon to auto traffic.

    If you think Joralemon’s gotten busy with Pier 6 — wait until the central piers are developed. Then both foot and auto traffic along Joralemon will skyrocket.

  • nabeguy

    Property values…and taxes. Bob, the Montague Street access point was indeed a central idea of the initial planning. Why it’s been taken off the tables is anybody’s guess ( too expensive? BHA pressure?) but I’m sure that the business’ on the Q are sorely disappointed by the loss of potential increased revenue. Perhaps someone felt that the increased traffic would attract the wrong kind of trade along the strip. Although, looking at Montague in its present incarnation, what could possibly make the situation more depressing?

  • Obama?

    Yes, nabeguy & others, a Montague Street access point does seem to be sorely missing! Why wasn’t it done? The Penny Bridge led down from Montague for a very long time!


  • Obama?

    Sorry for 2 posts in a row, but the more I’m thinking, it seems PREPOSTEROUS to have throngs cutting through quite, cobble-stoned Joralemon Street as apposed to commercial Montague street!!! What’s going on about this??? Can anything be done at this point???

  • bklyn20

    I have the same ideas as those mentioned by Bob Scott for quite some time — I have had them for quite some time, as a matter of fact. I was too busy this weekedn to actually type them up, but he is correct.

    Imagine the benefits for Montague if it were a major entrance with a subway connection! Maybe there would be more than 5 people on the street after 9pm! Yes, the view from the Promenade is protected, but why can’t this be done without breaking up the view?