“Bo” Rodgers Responds to BHA on Tobacco Warehouse

Brooklyn Heights Association member Robert “Bo” Rodgers has once again written a letter to the BHA, with a copy to the Eagle, expressing his and his wife’s opposition to the lawsuit, in which BHA is a plaintiff, that seeks to enjoin the transfer of the Tobacco Warehouse site to St. Ann’s Warehouse. In his letter, Mr. Rodgers accuses the BHA and its fellow plaintiffs of “unduly elevating process over substance”, and implies that the majority of Brooklyn Heights residents who are informed about the issue disagree with the BHA’s stance. He stresses that he and his wife remain “enthusiastic” BHA members. The letter is here.

Update: Eagle editor Henrik Krogius states his argument against the BHA’s position.

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  • jim

    I wonder how many members the BHA has and how that compares to the population of the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

    I have always wondered if organizations like this truly represent the majority of the neighborhoods that they purport they do.

  • Andrew Porter

    I’m a member, and I support the BHA’s position.

  • Andrew Porter

    Pursuit of liberty is no vice… No, that’s not it. You’ll have to pry this park from my cold, dead hands? Not it either. Oh, here it is:

    “The ends justify the means.” Yeah, that fits.

  • ABC

    I understand the issue, and I support the BHA here.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    I understand the issue and I don’t support the BHA.

    Who is next?

    This is such a divisive issue. It really saddens me. It isn’t only the BHA’s stand on the issue but the way they are framing it. “Good vs Evil”. Very characteristic of one of our recent presidents. “Rule of Law” also reminds me of certain political party.

    I’ve been passing by TWH on a daily basis for years on my way to get the best baguette in NYC at Almondine’s on Water Street (can’t eat dinner without one) and I can assure you that this space was grossly underutilized. No winter program and the summer programs were divided between public events (just a few) and private events (just a few) to pay for the public events. To add to the disutility, a tent would be set up for large portions of the summer only because it was terribly difficult to assemble and disassemble. Those are the facts.

    Individuals, like myself, would love to have a facility in this place that accommodates performances year round and maintains the historical integrity of this historical structure. If you have seen the renderings of the proposed site, there is no way possible you could object. it was very tasteful and even maintained a public space for outdoor activity. I could go on and on but I’ve already said way too much.

    Just my very humble opinion. A reminder, I still love those that disagree with me. It isn’t personal. And Martin, my good buddy, I’m not screaming. :.)

  • stuart little

    Mr Rogers makes the case that although rules and regulations are good generally, and should apply to ordinary people, they should not be taken too literally when it effects projects close to the hearts of the “nice” people of Brooklyn Heights.
    What a jerk.

  • stuart little

    I am not a member of the BHA and I don’t see anything about that organization that would entice me to join, but the issue here is that public officials lied, they made political accommodations, and they circumvented due process. What is the argument to support that? How can sensible people be of the opinion that government officials should cheat and lie when it’s for a good cause. I mean, hello?

  • Publius


    When you’re calling another person a jerk online, it’s more effective if you use correct grammar:


  • Eddy de Lectron

    What constitutes “grossly underutilized” why does the TW space need to be constantly occupied? If the space is public parkland why can’t it just be that, a unique open space for all to enjoy?
    Of course a performance space is nice too but would cater to much less of the public.

  • Big Dave

    In the summertime, when it is not officially in use, it is rarely used unofficially by the public at large. I will bet that that is because it is too darn hot in there. Let’s see, a concrete floor under the sun or, a grassy spot under a tree? Hmmm…

  • David on Middagh

    Big Dave is correct. The “ruin” of the Tobacco Warehouse is very interesting to peer through, but we should not expect spontaneous occupation. I like it as it is.

  • Chris

    It does seem to be a case of “the end justifies the means”…

  • Resident

    Big Dave, I was going to make the same point. I’ve never been inside the Tobacco Warehouse, and I don’t even think I’ve had the opportunity, it always seems to be in use for a private event or either in set-up or take-down stages.

    Now, I’ll grant that most of my time near there has been on summer weekends which no doubt skews my view, but I would have been more likely to believe that the Tobacco Warehouse was a private event space than a public park.

    I do love the building, and I think it’s beautiful. I also think St. Ann’s is a tremendous organization and keeping them in the neighborhood benefits all of us. So, I guess I’m indifferent to the end result, but I’m not particularly fond of the BHA’s response.

  • Tobacco Whorehouse

    @stuart little and others – I read his letter and you grossly mis-characterize what this guy is saying. He is not saying ” there was lying and cheating but I like the end result so it’s ok”. What he’s saying is that having read through all the material on this it appears to him that there is no evidence of intentional deception here. At most it seems like someone made an administrative error and it seems like a gray area as to whether that error can simply be fixed or it requires a whole public process. In his opinion this is not cut a dry but a case where reasonable people can disagree. Therefore, since everyone seems to be ok with the result, why bother pursuing a lawsuit that will only result in wasting everyone’s time and public money to defend?

    Sorry, but that’s not the same thing as “the ends justify the means” or “rules don’t apply to brooklyn heights”

  • ABC

    I think the end justifies the means also relates to the fact that they crafted a RFP tailored for St Anns. An RFP for that space and it got two proposals. It didn’t say, in order to be considered, you’re organization must include the words “st ann’s” but it might as well have.

    I too like and admire St Ann’s.

    >>If you have seen the renderings of the proposed site, there is no way possible you could object.<<

    I have seen the renderings, and I object.

  • Arch Stanton

    Tobacco Whorehouse = shill

  • stuart little

    The plaintiffs are claiming that officials lied and deliberately evaded the law in order to accommodate the private party who is benefiting from the gift of public parkland. The government officials are claiming that they did not lie or bend the rules but rather rectified a old error or typo that somehow identified the TW and the Empire Stores as being within public parkland.
    Now, I have lived in this area a long time. It has always been my belief that those structures were certainly part of the park. They are in fact the main identifying features of the park. It is an extraordinary fib on the part of the defendants to claim that these public buildings were never intended to be a part of the public park and that therefore cutting them out of the park was merely a way to correct an old error.

  • resident

    According to the commenting community on this blog, anyone that doesn’t toe the NIMBY line is a shill….

  • carol

    Those who assert that the TW was underutilized are partially correct. The state closed it to the public in 2008 except for a few events. But in the years before there was many public events and, yes, private events that supported the public free stuff. Was this perfect? Probably not but it was a roadmap as to how this place could be used by many people enjoying a variety of things. So the difference of opinion is whether a single entity (fine theater non profit with exciting works but no public programs) and a publically controlled space that provides events and programs for a variety of park users.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    ABC, you really don’t like the renderings?

    Too bad we disagree since I have such tremendous respect for your postings in general. You are a SUPER BLOGGER. We agree on one thing for sure, Rachel does a great job with Iris Cafe. I love that place in the morning.

    ABC, I put together a clip of video/pictures of the space/renderings and would love to know what you find objectionable. As I mentioned earlier, I have tremendous respect for your opinions and would find anything you have to say informative.


  • Tobacco Whorehouse

    @carol – Did you read the RFP when it was publicly available? I did and I can tell you that there was a big emphasis in the RFP that whoever won the RFP was going to have to provide a significant amount of public programming, either in the TW itself or elsewhere in the park. This was also highlighted when the Park folks presented the plans at Borough Hall a couple of months ago. If your primary concern is about the use of TW for public programming then you should be in favor of the St Ann’s plan:

    1)The have committed to providing public programming of their own (like the free Fela concert they put together last summer that unfortunately got rained out)

    2) They have committed to provide the smaller space in the newly built building to community groups and non-profits to use for public programming

    3) Unlike the public programming that used to take place in the TW, the stuff being contemplated here can happen year-round and will not be weather dependent so there’s a good chance there can be MORE of it than there used to be.

    @Arch Stanton = NIMBY

  • David on Middagh

    Karl’s vid makes me like the TW renderings, but wish the BHA had sued to stop the carousel building!

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Tobacco Whorehouse,

    Funny you mentioned the “Fela!” concert, I filmed a portion that is quite enjoyable.


  • Big Dave

    Karl, that is a really good video!
    St. Ann’s Warehouse owes you some free tickets.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    No way Big Dave, then I could be considered a shill for St. Ann’s.

    I’m just an independent filmmaker with an independent voice. ;.)

  • http://www.BrooklynPeriodontics.com Marty’s Girls: Alana

    Independent Filmmaker Karl please reach out to me. Happy to hear/see you out and about. I need a 90 second film made.

  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    You know-The BHB is the new Citizen’s Band Channel 10-the same personalities, the same social positions only twenty years late (sans much of the obscenities)

  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    Seriously, St Ann’s is some kind of an pure honored institution to be unquestioned in its motives and its actions?


    Hey guys youve NEVER had a family member’s home ANYWHERE
    near Pierrepont and Monroe and had to deal with St Ann’s kids
    and the behavior and drugs we went through. Did ONE of any of you ever had to deal with thier former headmaster….talk about British bearing….

    That’s some REAL history of the Heights…..


  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    All that aside, the question remains of the overall EFFECT of the
    space, as distinct from and in combination to the park.

    There are two seperate planes of consideration which must be analized seperately.

    But in BOTH the effect on and the financial and functional tax on the overall area must be carefully measured…

    And again, its the size type of event and the “demography” it draws which are the keys to what the effect will be.

    Whats the effect of Bargemusic on the area? Its small and ads
    a VERY dignified tone to the area. Because of the size and the
    quality of the human material it attracts.

    So what will be the material the space will attract and what will
    be that material’s effect on the resources ofthe area.

    Like the larger park issue, hom much of MY safety and security resources will be taken away or thined to cover you little “project”
    that you and wonderful St Ann’s wants to establish.

    Again, why dont you ask some of the older residents who have lived through YEARS of the actuial effects of having St Ann’s
    influence on the 2nd Appelate court area? what they “think”
    about St ann’s and the quality of thier management?