Federal District Judge Eric Vitaliano issued a memorandum and order granting a preliminary injunction directing the National Park Service to protect the Tobacco Warehouse and the nearby Empire Stores, another Civil War era structure, from being transferred for private development. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, counsel for the plaintiffs–the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Preservation League of New York State, issued a press release characterizing the wording of the memorandum as “stinging”; noting that the Judge called the Park Service’s arguments a “house of cards” and holding that its action was in violation both of the governing federal statute and of the Service’s own regulations.
The release quotes BHA President Jane McGroarty:
We are gratified by Judge Vitaliano’s clear decision. The National Park Service and the State Parks Department acted illegally by removing the Tobacco Warehouse from the public domain. It belongs to the park, where it can be enjoyed by all.
Counsel for the City, a co-defendant with the Park Service, has said they now look forward to presenting their full case as the litigation progresses. We will keep you advised of developments.