Eagle’s Holt on Brooklyn Bridge Park History

The Brooklyn Eagle’s Dennis Holt writes about the making of Brooklyn Bridge Park:

Brooklyn Eagle: There will be books written someday about the long history of this park, and hopefully someone will have access to all the archival information. There are two main time periods and they could be called Before Connor and After Connor.

The first period was when the idea for a waterfront park first surfaced which was born when the Port Authority, owner then of Piers 1 through 6 (and the rest of the piers down to Red Hook) wanted to fill up the piers with houses. After a great deal of effort, the Brooklyn Heights Association turned the threat away. But one of those participants knew that threat or others would reappear. Thus the idea of Brooklyn Bridge Park came about.

The Before Connor period was filled with lots of talk, studies, park concepts and the like, but nothing substantial happened. Then State Senator Martin Connor, supported fully by then Borough President Howard Golden, got sufficient state funding to create professional and citizen study groups to determine whether a broad park was really feasible, what kind of park it could be, and what kind of money was involved.

Do you think he’s on the mark here?

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  • Karl Junkersfeld

    I know he is on the mark as far as Howard Golden getting the money for the feasibility study. Obviously, that was a major step in the right direction. Thank you Howard.

  • bklyn20

    Dennis Holt has never, or next to never, met a development project he didn’t like. And because of Marty Connor’s “leadership,” in late 2004 Brooklyn Bridge Park was turned into a development project, Mr. Holt’s editorial disguised as an history is to be expected. That’s right, BBP is actually still a development project, I believe — and I KNOW it still is not deeded parkland, as it should have been all along. The nascent park was changed into into the condopark it may still become through legislation swept under the rug — and into law — with no public process. There were some meeting in people’s homes, and that was it. I was at one of them.

    Homer. please seriously consider asking for something from some of the other people who were actually involved in the beginning of the park — rather than highlighting the people sitting in a chair editorializing about it? How about Tony Manheim? How about Roy Sloane? How about Daniel Squadron, the State Senator elected after years of Connor’s non-leadership? How about Judi Franics, who rallied the troops and exposed the condo scheme?

    Please note that I have asked none of the above people for permission to cite their names, but really — Dennis Holt? Even if some parts of the recently built BBP are fun/beautiful/cool — there are still nearly a thousand units of housing that may be going into BBP. What so many people actually WORKED ON to make a really “World Class Park” — capitalization from the Starchitect who brought us the $84,000 baby grills — is not best described by an armchair editorialist.

  • DrewB

    He is certainly right that Marty Conner had a serious impact on the “park”, and with his appointment to the Board, he will continue to have a serious impact. Unfortunately his impact has been to turn it from a simple open green space that could be enjoyed by area residents, into a behemoth of project hat required mountains of cash to maintain. As a member of the board he will continue to stifle any talk of alternative funding streams and push the developments desired by by those who funded his political career for so long. So yes, he had a major impact. But a lot of us would argue that it was not a good one.

  • http://deleted Anon

    Has this blog gone over to the dark side? Publishing an “article” by Holt? Yikes! He is not a reporter he is an apologist for the Heights power elite. This was supposed to be a park with park features we all wanted for decades – a pool, ice rink, field house – stuff to DO in a park. Now, with Connor on the board (architect of housing in the park by sponsoring the PILOT legislation and putting the power elite on the board) and Bloomie’s buddies they will cook up every scheme to keep it as a condo haven with nothing to do there most months of the year. A gazing park.Connor is a loser – doesn’t anyone remember? He was kicked out of office BECAUSE OF HOUSING INSIDE OUR PARK. Thanks goodness for Daniel Squadron and his veto over housing. But Holt? Come on BHB!

  • Ben

    What happened to Barbara Brookhart? She was around 20 years ago and I recall that she had an office dedicated to Brooklyn Bridge Park in the building that has the Anchor in front of it near Teresa’s it is now Design Within Reach. This woman was all about the park and I wonder what happened to her?

  • http://bivforbrooklyn.com Doug Biviano

    Everyone wants a park and they want it before their kids go to college.

    The waterfront is an inherently beautiful space. We can apply the KISS principle to speed up it’s completion. We don’t need $100 Million berms running the length of Furman slowing progress and wasting open space.

    The problem is that when Marty Conner and his loyal follower Joan Millman ushered in the development model they slowed the completion of the park to a crawl — in phases — with their complicated schemes and hidden infrastructure requirements.

    With NYC taking over, we now have a great opportunity to revisit the GPP, simplify by lowering capital and maintenance costs, and GET THE PARK DONE IN A FEW YEARS instead of waiting for the real estate market to recover which is needed in Conner and Millman’s development model.

  • nabeguy

    Having paid my tax dollars into Connors waterfront “feasibility studies”, which amounted to being nothing more than a cattle-callsfor developers. I’m livid that he is once again associated with this project, and in a position that could potentially be more dangerous than his previous one. As Doug points out, with NYC taking over, the opportunities are great, but not if they’re subjected to cronyism.