Times Talks Brooklyn Bridge Park

Today's NY Times covers the continuing drama of Brooklyn Bridge Park or something we like to call – Condos or Don'ts. We pick up the story at the part where the BBPDF will fight the "good fight": 

New York Times: New Brooklyn Vistas…: Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, who filed the lawsuit, said the plans to build housing at either end of the park sent a not so subtle message about who is expected to enjoy those lawns and water views. She faulted the plans for not providing enough access to the waterfront from other points like the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which overlooks the park.

“Private uses have driven out public uses,” Ms. Francis said in an e-mail message. “That is the real shame of Brooklyn Bridge Park. We have been denied water access for generations because of our industrial past. We will continue this alienation with a wall of luxury housing lining our shores in the future.”

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  • Publius

    For some innane reason, it was decided by the Powers that Be that BBP should be “self-sustaining”.

    Then why the hell do we bother to pay state and local taxes? Let’s privatize everything!!!!

    Is Central Park, Prospect, Cadman, Flushing Meadows, or any other park in NYC “self-sustaining”? No. So why BBP?

    Sorry if this takes us back years to the beginning. But for me, the entire cause of this issue is the idiotic decision someone (the aforementioned Powers that Be) made In The Beginning to essentially privatize a public park.

    IT MAKES NO SENSE. Let’s go back to this fundamental decision and undo it before it’s too late. The era of privatization of the public domain need to end. Enough gimmes to developers.

  • anon

    The landscape designer of this non-park actually said that housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park was a worthy “experiment”. What is that all about? Why do our elected officials treat their constituents as second class citizens? Why are they not insisting on something better for Brooklyn? Why have they allowed Brooklyn to be the place of bad planning, from this debacle of a park to Atlantic Yards? Where are elected leaders on this park mess? Why does our park have to pay for itself? The real stinkers are Connor, Yassky, Millman and deBlasio. Remember this when you go to vote next year!

  • Publius

    No one is saying that a future BBP shouldn’t have a conservancy.

    However, why must BBP be “self-sutaining”? This fundamentally flawed concept is the Original Sin of this project and must be reversed.

    I’m all for a BBP conservancy and would be a private financial supporter, as I would suspect many in the community would be. We’ve got to show those Central and Prospect Park swells that the Heights/DUMBO swells support their own park.

  • http://adsformyself.blogspot.com Tim N.

    Calvert’s points are well taken, but I still disagree. To extend the analogy, it would be like putting the San Remo and the Dakota in charge of Central Park (of course it’s ridiculous, I’m speaking figuratively).

    I think it would have been one thing if the city cut deals with developers who wanted to work on existing buildings, used that money to build the park and form a conservancy, and then administered the money (which would include a tax component, as it does with all parks) in consultation with the conservancy, instead of just giving away the shop to developers in the hope that they would act in the public interest.

    I’ve been living in this city for 45 years, I have never seen a developer act in the public interest when to do so would have cost them a dime or more that they wouldn’t get back.

  • anon

    The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy already exists. Would you like to ask them how they would feel about having to raise all the additional money that the PILOT payments would automatically generate for the park? Raising money is hard. some posters have no idea how hard. putting it all on the shoulders of non-profits who are struggling already is a terrible idea. The PILOT idea is brilliant. It is an efficient, directed use of tax dollars that bypasses the sticky fingers of the politicians. What in heaven’s name could be superior to that? The Conservancy will continue to raise money for extra things but what a relief to know that the basics will be covered.

  • anon

    I want to use it, not own it. thank you very much.

  • Publius

    The basics should be covered by our tax dollars. That’s why we pay taxes, for parks, police, schools, defense, and other items that promote the general welfare.

    If you’re for abolishing taxes, I’d be all for gimmes to developers so they can make the park “self-sustaining.”

  • Publius


    Do you always try to name call those who diagree with you? You have a cowardly way of losing an argument. Perhaps that’s why you call yourself anon.

    Or perhaps your one of the lackeys who work for the fat cat developers who would be benefitting so handsomely from the public gimme to the developers at BBP. Nes pas?

    Anytime you’d like to meet to learn manners that your mother should have taught you, I’d be happy to oblige.

    My point remains the same as originally stated. Why must this park be different from all other parks?

  • clarknt67

    And actually, Central Park is actually largely self-sustaining. Most of the expenses associated with that park are covered by the Central Park Conservatory, which does private fundraising to to support the park.

    From Wikipedia (cited from Central Park Conservatory website):
    As of 2007, the Conservancy had invested approximately $450 million in the restoration and management of the Park; the organization presently contributes approximately 85% of Central Park’s annual operating budget of over $25 million.

    But debating this is all a little moot. You’re late to the party on this. Years and years ago, the Port Authority agreed to donate the piers with the contingency that the Park not rely on state or city tax dollars for maintenance. That was the deal that was made to acquire 85 acres of prime space.

    It’s not like the state and city aren’t ALREADY forking over $150 to 300 million of your tax dollars–to say nothing of the market value the piers that the Port Authority could have realized.

    If you really want to get hot and bothered I’d suggest there’s an ENORMOUS drain on our tax dollars that is draining our budget for infrastructure: http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

    I don’t know why people can’t be more reasonable on this issue.

  • anon

    I don’t know why people cannot be more reasonbale in this issue either. I think there are very savvy people heading the anti-park group who are brilliant at composing misinformation and there are others, perhaps under-educated or over-emotional, such as Publius, who swallow the lies and actually believe that the city’s general fund maintains all existing parks. and that buildings adjacent to parks are actualy in the park. Ridiculous. Just irrantional and ridiculous. you cannot argue with the brain-wahed, it is a waste of time.

  • bklyn20

    First,sincewhen was housing still a sure thing? Second, if the BBP bldgs aren’t IN the park (as in 1 BBP) then where exactly is the entrance to the Park? One would think that the “Grand Entrance” at Atlantic Ave is where the park begins — so the new (as yet unbuilt) towers should be IN THE PARK. All this is like a game of “step on the crack, break your mother’s back.”

  • clarknt67

    The whole times article was filled with Francis & Kent spouting ridiculous unsubstaniated rhetoric.

    I mean the complaint about there being no access? There are LARGE access points at Atlantic Ave & Fulton Ferry Landing, they are less than a mile apart & in between there is a smaller access at Joralemon st.

    I know the Conservatory has studied the feasibility of Promenade access. Oh, I’m sure politics comes into it, those brownstoners don’t want the riff-raff trudging by. But it’s also very expensive to build an elevator. Additionally, the Promenade is landmarked which means additions or changes are very difficult.

    They’ve also talked about tunneling from the Clark St. station, but again, that’s very expensive. Additionally I’m rather sure the MTA would not want to take responsibilty for what would likely become a “rape & mugging Tunnel.”

    As for Fred Kent, he sounds like a bit of a nutty crank to me. One glance at the BBP’s website tells you they have all kinds of activities already going on there, performances, outdoor movies, last summer’s pool, last weekend there was an easter egg hunt.

    I know there was a plan for Pier 1 to host a Farmer’s Market. And the Tobacco Warehouse & Empire stores are slated for retail, gallery and other spaces. I’ve always wondered if there was enough demand in the area to fill that space up. They are huge. And I’d say I am probably right because the developer that won the bid to use them has had the contract for a long while & made NO progress at all toward renovating them in anticipation of opening retail or other uses.

    As for museums? There are literally HUNDREDS of them in NYC. I really don’t see a demand for them nor an overwhelming need for them to be THERE in that space.

    Plus a what is Kent talking about there being no demand for grassy spaces and them being empty? I drop by Christopher st Pier with some frequency and on ANY given hot sunny day, you can scarely find a spot to park your towel the place is so crowded. People love & demand that. Empire Fulton Ferry Park is filled with sunbathers on any given summer afternoon.

  • tomas

    Let’s correct the misinformation. First, I don’t think ANYONE is against the park. Who you call the anti park people actually want people to come and use the park. That is very obvious from their advocacy of the original park plan as well as their many attempts to get real activities to happen down in the park. The planning meeting for Pier 6 held 2 weeks ago attests to that. The people called “for the park” want the fewest people to come because there is nothing to do in this park. Second, Judy Francis lives no where near Joralemon Street and lives in a multi racial family so could hardly be called a racist. Perhaps you “Anon” should search your soul about such matters. Third, every park I know of has multiple entrances along its perimeter – all public parks but not this one. Fourth, take a look at the plans – there is a sidewalk leading onto pier 6, not a grand entrance. There isn’t even a turn around to drop people off. Before one makes grand statements, know your facts. And realize that the current BBP Conservancy has raised money for one and one-only purpose. Know what that is? Their very own salaries. At least the people who are fighting for a real park are dedicating all their time, pro-bono. That says volumes about what their true interests are. I guess , Anon, you have never met such honest people…unless you, too, are on the Conservancy’s payroll! hah! Found you out, haven’t we!

  • Publius

    Anon = BBP Conservancy bigwig protecting their salaries.

  • http://www.parkdefense.org Truth Shall Set You Free
  • clarknt67

    I have for years done volunteer work (as have many, many other folks) with the BBPC and I know from first hand experience the crew there are very sincerely devoted to creating a public space that people of all types from all over Brooklyn can come and enjoy.

    They may not make the choices some agree with. And I’d say there are many pragmatic, financial economic choices that some people just don’t seem to have any realistic handle on.
    But, this characterization of them as toadies of big developers and out to score big salaries is so far off base it’s a shame to me to seem them maligned so unfairly in this way. It’s the politics of personal attacks over politics of issues.

    The state and city are NOT going to pay to maintain this park, they’ve always been clear on that from the get go. The complainers haven’t offered a single viable alternative than to further sack deficit city & state treasuries.

  • Dirty Tricks Dep’t



    June 9, 2006 — The battle for Brooklyn Bridge Park shifted onto the Internet yesterday as foes of the 85-acre Brooklyn Heights project vowed to sue over what they see as a sneaky online scheme.

    The foes, who operate parkdefense.org, are irate that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy recently bought the domain name “parkdefense.com” to link to its Web page.

    The move has confused surfers seeking parkdefense.org, which is suing to halt construction of the park unless plans for 1,200 luxury apartments are dropped.

    The conservancy also bought the rights to “parkdefense.net.”

    Reprinted from the New York Post

  • Financial analyst

    Not so Clarknt67. The original park plan had $10 million to support a real park – with pools and ice rink and indoor rec center and events venue for concerts. And no housing. How? With restaurants, and parking, and concerts, as well as the hotel and the empire stores. Not one restaurant (not even Buzzy’s) will pay into this park. Nor is there an event venue any longer. Learn more about it by looking at the 2001 Master Plan – the budget is all there in black and white. And then read the testimony from last january on the 360 Furman Street lease on the ESDC’s site. The developer got away with murder – the park’s murder that is. That one building could have paid for almost 1/2 the park and the rest paid for by the Empire Stores and hotel. And why isn’t the River Cafe paying anything? Tavern on the Green puts more than a million into Central Park.