Park Funding: Any Ideas?

The conventional wisdom, following the release and acceptance of the report of Bay Area Economics on alternative sources of funding for operating and maintenance expenses of Brooklyn Bridge Park, is that construction of luxury housing and a hotel on portions of the park’s land will be necessary to fund those expenses.

The Real Deal: Increasingly, it appears as though the city will build additional condominiums to fund maintenance of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, despite community opposition. The Daily News reported that city officials recently cut the park’s budget 20 percent to $44 million, from the initial $55 million pledge, and said the remaining money could be in jeopardy unless politicians can come to an agreement and sign off on the condo project. A recent report suggests the park would require a $16 million annual upkeep budget, but that the park could only raise up to $7 million per annum if it depends strictly on new fees and parking revenue.

But, wait! Is funding from PILOTS (Payments in Lieu Of Taxes) from residential and hotel properties a secure source of funding, in light of what was revealed at the meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation’s board of directors last week.

New York Daily News: There’s more money trouble for Brooklyn Bridge Park after one of the fancy condo buildings officials were counting on to pay for park upkeep got its city tax bill slashed.

Luxury condo owners at One Brooklyn Bridge Park got a $1 million chopped off the bill – by mounting a challenge to their city tax bill and successfully getting it lowered from $1.8 million to $800,000 a year.

That leaves a big hole in the park’s maintenance budget, which officials voted yesterday to fill by dipping into reserves.

This raises the question whether any projections of revenue to be realized from PILOTs on residential and hotel properties can be considered reliable, unless they are based on the most conservative conceivable tax valuation of those properties, as well as whether the real estate market in the foreseeable future will even support construction of these properties.

So, leaving aside the issue of the Watchtower properties (which may also depend on the vagaries of the real estate market, as well as the timing of the Watchtower’s move), what sources of funding can you suggest for park maintenance and operations?

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  • Publius

    Why leave aside the issue of the Watchtower properties? They are quite valuable. Much more valuable than the footprints for towers on Pier 6 and John Street. Those won’t get built by any rational developer anytime soon. Why would they when half of 1BBP is unsold after over 3 years on the market?

    Eminent Domain, or better yet, the threat of Eminent Domain will get the Witnesses to the table. Developers can be found to finance the Watchtower buildings near Pier 1, which is teeming with tourists and is much closer to transportation (subway, ferries to Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge) than Pier 6. Those Witness buildings could be multipurpose and used for schools, athletic facilities, housing, hotels. Those would fund the park, without having to give up precious parkland like which now occurs on Pier 6, where about 1/4 of the “parkland” is an extension of Furman Street and just paved roads.

    If Rather could (mis)use Eminent Domain and manage to finance Atlantic Yards, I’m sure the financial geniuses right next to Wall Street can figure out a way to finance the fair market value that would need to be paid to the Witnesses for their properties.

  • Claude Scales

    Publius: I only left aside the Watchtower properties question because it’s been pretty thoroughly hashed over. I’m not saying it isn’t a possible solution, but I’m looking for new alternatives from the collective genius of our readership.

  • Publius

    Frankly, very little has actually been done by the powers that be to seriously brainstorm how to use these properties to fund the park. I disagree that it’s been pretty thoroughly hashed over. In fact, just the opposite.

  • epc

    I’m not a lawyer but am fairly certain that use of eminent domain against properties owned by a religious institution would fail catastrophically.

    The city should legislate a TIF around the relevant Watchtower properties now, so that their zoning and tax status are known factors if/when they’re sold, but good luck getting any revenue from them while the Watchtower owns them.

    In the interim the City could take a share of tax revenue from Brooklyn Heights and dedicate it to the park, but that would reduce the revenue going to the City at a poor time to do so.

  • Jorale-man

    Is there a model with Central Park and Prospect Park? Both have nonprofit groups – the Central Park Conservancy and the Prospect Park Alliance – that manage their upkeep. Both were founded in the 1980s where there was no funding going towards the parks and through a mix of business partners, private donors, and their own members they’ve managed to keep those parks on a steady rebound. I wonder if the (affluent) surrounding community of BBP would be supportive of a similar organization here?

  • ABC

    I would look to do what most of us do when we do don’t have the revenues to do everything we planned to do or want to do: cut back on plans.

  • Stillhere

    Jorale – Does anyone how much additional money that those organizations (CPC and PBA) raise to maintain their parks – which have legacy maintenance budgets. On what do they spend the money they raise? I thought it was on special projects and services.

    BBP was developed with public money but with the understanding that there would be no new budgetary funding for any maintenance, a common theme in the US it seems.


  • Jorale-man

    @Stillhere – yes, I think that’s partly the case. According to Wikipedia, Central Park “is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city government. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that contributes 85% of Central Park’s $25 million dollar annual budget, and employs 80% of the park’s maintenance staff.”

    The Prospect Park Alliance is much more on a per-project basis – doing restoration projects of the lakes, woods, etc. Again quoting Wikipedia: “The Alliance managed a $9.8 million USD budget in 2007, with financial support largely coming from foundations, sales, rentals and fees, corporate and individual donations. Over 80% of the Alliance’s expenditures were in support of park development projects.”

    Of course, the big question is who would embark on creating a similar nonprofit for BBP is the million-dollar question.

  • Jorale-man

    Sorry, that last sentence got jumbled. Ahem: “Of course, who would embark on a similar nonprofit for BBP is the million-dollar question.”

  • Stillhere

    Jorale –

    Friends of Hudson River Park’s latest agreement/proposal indicates that they shall be a broad fund raising organization(development, maintenance and programming) and they intend to raise 1 million per year but it shall cost them 1.5 million to raise that much. The million dollars is about what what was stated in the CAH recommendations as a possible alternative. Assuming that that ratio is correct, Can any organization here raise 2.5 Million per year?

  • Heightsman

    Fiscal responsibility. Cut back on the plans.

  • Buggs Bunny

    Cut back on the plans, is right.

  • Claude Scales

    Several people have said, “Cut back”. What, specifically, would you do? Cut out specific things, or just delay overall construction?

  • monty

    Bake sale?

  • Michelle

    I would love to have the park fully constructed, however, it makes no sense to move forward with constructing the park unless it can be properly maintained and the maintenance can be financed without relying on events (such as the sale of the Watchtower properties) that may never happen and appear to be totally outside the control of anyone involved in the development of the park. It appears to me that the only fiscally responsible thing to do is cut back (not delay) the construction of the park. For example, if developing the portions on the piers is too expensive to construct and (just as importantly) maintain, then I would propose cutting the portions of the park on the piers first. This is just an example folks, but I would think that the BBP would be able to provide alternatives for what can be developed within the construction and maintenance budgets currently available

  • Knight

    If Michelle ever runs for City Council (or Congress), she has my vote. They could use a lesson on building within their budget.

  • Jorale-man

    @Stillhere – Good points. I don’t know enough about the philanthropic climate right now to say whether or not it’s possible to raise upwards of $2 million a year to fund an organization like the Friends of Hudson River Park or Prospect Park Alliance. It doesn’t seem like that much. My only gut reaction is there are a lot of wealthy people living in the vicinity of the new park and it seems to their best interest to have a thriving park on their doorsteps.

    I will say, it’ll be really sad if the construction stalls and we’re stuck looking at those barren piers for many more years to come.

  • JM

    The “best” part of this “self financing” park scam of Bloomberg’s is that they’ll force the housing though, then when its built and undersold and the park revenue is not realized (witness the huge reduction of how much 1 BBP has to kick in now), but his developer cronies have made their money, the announcement will come that the city needs to kick in funding after all and once again this administration will have facilitated the funneling of our tax dollars to a few powerful and wealthy developers. Atlantic Yards all over again (but with more trees).

  • Question

    To the people who are saying “cut back”: Let’s say you have two options: (1) A fully funded operation budget, funded by the current plan of a mixture of housing and other development, or (2) A significantly reduced park, cut back to a size of of only what could be maintained without the housing. Which would you choose then? I’m asking, because these “cut back” people don’t seem to recognize that the current plan is still projected to fund the whole park. There is only a need to “cut back” if you get rid of the housing sites as revenue sources….

  • Claude Scales

    Question: what if the proposed housing and hotel fail, by a large margin, to produce the projected revenues, as has One Brooklyn Bridge Park?

  • Publius

    It’s clear that this new experiment with the privatization of parks is failing. Why should this continue? Why do we pay (substantial) taxes, if not the shared public upkeep of our public parks? Whatever agreement was signed decades ago that stipulated BBP needs to be self supporting should be torn up or re-written.

  • bklyn20

    Here are more than a few ideas on how to fund the park by using extant resources (with wha is there), courtesy of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund:

    1. Lower the budget to a “city park times 10” budget. 72 acres (not the inflated water-acreage of 85 acres) multiplied by $150,000 per acre (which is 10 times what the city pays for park upkeep in regular parks) is $10.8 million, more than sufficient to run this park. We all must live within our means, so must BBP. We have many suggestions on how to get the $16.1 million annual budget down to something resembling a normal but “world class” park, but so will the park operators. (One glaring example: fleet of cars and trucks for the park- remember, Hudson River Park is 5 times the length of BBP and has 5 golf carts to navigate around the park, not the 20-25 some odd Toyota Priuses and dune buggies. Capital replacement for this one budget line is in excess of $200K per year). If they are unable to do this we have many other suggestions including eliminating the duplication of bureaucracies. We have a city parks department – why are we creating a separate entity with its own President and staff? Fold BBP into the city’s parks department and cut the redundancy. There is a private conservancy, too, that enjoys special financial privileges in the park – they kept half of all the funds the Tobacco Warehouse generated over the past 5 years, estimated at $1 million, and they were given all the revenue from the pop-up park’s concession in 2009. These duplicative bureaucracies are a strain on the park’s budget yet the public already has a bureaucracy to design, run and program our parks. The pier structures may very well be costly to maintain. The fault lies in the design, not in the piers. The uplands are the most valuable lands in the park – why are they sacrificed for the sake of the piers? If there is no money to maintain the piers and these piers can not be maintained without privatizing public land with housing, why choose the artificial and expensive piers over stable (and less flood-zone-likely) uplands?

    2. Build a for-pay recreation center and charge for use.The Mayor gave the real estate industry over $10 billion in tax subsidies over his first 8 years in office. What has that resulted in except a lot of subsidies for residential real estate that is underwater and over 600 buildings in New York lying vacant and unfinished? We need recreational facilities and these facilities can make money for the park. They do for other parks. Our children are obese, they suffer from asthma at a rate unequalled in the nation. It is time we invested in our children. Provide a tax incentive to draw a world-class recreational center operator to build the facilities for which the community advocated when it first imagined the park. This will make money. Look no further than the Dodge Y, four blocks east of the park. Within the first month of operation this Y was fully subscribed with a membership of 3000 families paying over $1000 per year. This number has grown to over 7000 families paying more than $1200 per year. That is $8..4 million per year for a 40,000 square foot facility. The Y offers reduced and free memberships to families unable to pay. They also contribute their surplus revenue to Y’s in less affluent neighborhoods. Their mission is not about money. Their mission is about building strong children and families. Maybe it’s time the park focuses on what’s important to Brooklynites – the money wwill follow just as it has for the Y. Assuming a vertical recreation center on Pier 6 and at John Street, each 3 stories or a total of 100,000 square feet, with half the Y fee- structure, these facilities could generate an additional $3,000,000 to park operations.

    3. Capture all the money flowing from in-park concessions and parking. If this park must pay for everything to maintain and rebuild itself – again, something no other park is asked to do – then all revenue flowing from the park must be retained by the park. No new rules when it suits the Mayor to change them having already reneged on the park design the community developed and found funding for – in favor of landscaping for condos without any year round recreation. The 5 new concessions already inside the park must pay rent (some do not according to Regina Myer at the first CAC meeting). The wine bar in the pop-up park in 2009 made $500,000 for one short season.

    The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park has a revenue sharing program with the park and critics feel that the $3,000,000 it contributes to that park is still smaller than it should be because certain special events are exempt from the revenue-share model. Marty Maher from the Parks Department told the CB6 Parks Committee last spring that one hot dog vendor alone in Central Park contributes $1 million to that park. One hot dog vendor with one cart. Using these as recent examples, the River Café should contribute at least $2,000,000 to the park (they pay $28,000 per year for rent, and not one dime goes to the park for the 2 acres of park land they use, half of it for their private parking and a sitting park). It should be noted that the Development Corporation renegotiated the River Cafe lease just as the terms of the financing deal and the CAH was being negotiated last year. Along with the lack of transparency on the RFP for the Tobacco Warehouse, it really appears that these existing sites are being given away to favored vendors and organizations in an 11th hour attempt to thwart the work of the CAH. The other vendors, seasonal because there are no facilities to keep park goers at the site year round, should be paying normal rents – $35 per square foot per month for 5 months per year. That would add $2,100,000 per year. Total income from in-park restaurants and concessions:

    No free passes should be allowed for any business inside park borders including parking facilities. The original plan had an estimated 400 income-producing spaces. The ESDC has already left parking revenue off the table for the 360 Furman Street building – 500 parking spaces – a significant revenue loss for park operations budget because most parks that do contribute to their overhead use parking as a significant source of revenue. So, the balance of the spaces that are planned for the park – 180 – must go to park operations. We estimate that these spaces, for the seasonal park that BBP has become, with only 5 useable months, or 150 days per year, at an average of $25 per space per day, could generate $675,000 from on-site parking spaces not already taken off the table from the poorly negotiated 360 Furman/1 BBP deal. Again, the Mayor has done a masterful job of locking out the biggest, best non-privatizing revenue generators so that the CAH can be told, “sorry, that contract has already been let, for 20 years or more!” But even despite this fact, there are several parking structures just off the site that could be assessed a park fee – there is one on State Street at Willow Place, on Atlantic at Hicks, one about to be built on Congress at Hicks, and at least 5 in the DUMBO and Vinegar Hill neighborhoods that could be tapped formore revenue in excess of the $675,000 outlined from spaces the Development Corporation has indicated the plan will have.

    4. Capture all money from in-park activities including events, film shoots, and the unseemly favors given to the Development Corporation for private use of concessions at a “reduced rate”. The Brooklyn Bridge is the location for at least one major action film production each year. It is the site for numerous television productions and advertising shoots for both film and print. The Top Chefs cable program is already using 1 BBP and the park as its backdrop for its new season. Again, if the park must pay for itself, then all funds it generates must be kept for its upkeep. Film companies pay $5,000 per day to shoot in Cobble Hill Park, a tiny local park without any of the world class back drop of BBP. Other locations around the city, like the Borough Hall building, charge considerably more (up to $100K per day) for major film shoots. If BBP were to attract 30 shoot-days per year (a low estimate), charging an average of $20,000 per day, that would bring in an additional $600,000 to park funding. And remember, with BBP’s own armed police force and maintenance crew, these shoots are cost-free to the City. Think of the free advertising it brings to the park – an added benefit for tourism to the park, bringing in even more visitors!

    One fashion designer and one religious group has rented Pier 2 over the past few years for big, one-day, private events. What they paid for these privileges inside BBP is not known. What is known is that other big events that take place in Central Park, in Bryant Park and in other parks throughout the city, pay significant money to rent public lands. We suggest that BBP can become such a venue and generate at least $500K/yr., a modest amount compared to that paid by vendors for a single Manhattan event such as Fashion Week.

    The supersized marina with 180 yachts, the kayak boathouse and the new venue at the Tobacco Warehouse are all given a free pass and do not pay into the park. If the park must pay for itself, all vendors inside the park should pay in. If they are not for profit then they should be able to find donors to gift into a philanthropy fund (see below) for the park. There should be no free rides in a park that must pay for itself.

    Even the recent RFP for Pier 6 contains language that allows the Development Corporation to “host a limited number of annual events (there), at a reduced rates”. While a small amount of revenue from such events would be lost to the park, it is an issue of equity- a park that must pay for itself can not afford to overlook any potential revenue source. No special passes for favored organizations, especially for those who are entrusted with coming up with park funds in the first place. It is unseemly.

    5. Capture funds from local businesses that profit from this world-class park.

    There is a line, sometimes around the block, at Patsy’s every day and night of the week, even on the bitterest, coldest nights. Pete’s Tavern has gone from one of the lowest-rated restaurants to one of the hottest since Pier 1 opened. Same is true for many other establishments on Old Fulton. Like Bryant Park, with a BID dedicated to funding the park, the businesses along the BBP’s corridors should contribute to park funding because, after all, there would be little to no business for these venues if it were not for the park and the public funds that went into the park’s creation in the first place. This formula for funding is simple, similar to Bryant Park’s. If only a fraction of what Bryant Park businesses generate could be asked of the businesses along Old Fulton it would generate another $1,000,000 per year. Again, the park is attracting business – these businesses should contribute to maintaining the goose that has laid their golden eggs.

    6. Philanthropy without strings attached. The businesses around the HighLine contribute to that park without strings. Google gave $1,000, 000 to the park, free of any obligation to house their art collection, or any obligation regarding private uses. Google felt that this park was a special amenity for their employees who work so close to it, and use it before, during and after work. The businesses near the park, in particular the bigger employers in DUMBO, should not be permitted to dictate how their donations are used (e.g., the Walentas’ Carousel “donation” that does not contribute to park funding but is self-sustaining for their art collection, on public lands, in a location that they dictated). Philanthropy is a traditional park revenue source and so it should be used for BBP. The original plan had estimated $2,000, 000 for philanthropy 10 years ago. Even if that number is cut to one quarter today, it is still a paltry amount considering the wealth in DUMBO alone. $500,000 for a world class park’s philanthropy outreach would hardly be a burden, don’t you think?

  • ABC

    Question, in option 1 in your post, can you guarantee that zoned kids will be able to go to school at PS8? With 1,000 new housing units proposed for the park, PS8 could quickly grow to over 200% capacity. And since we’re in a not-great school zone, local kids would be sent to a pretty crappy school.

    It may be more complicated than you realize too.

    Claude, I’d be interested in talking about where to cut back if someone posts a detailed budget that we can all work off of. These discussions have in the past ended up with people arguing what’s in or not in the budget so if could look at the same one, it would be helpful.

    In general, I don’t think the BBPC has made great choices or struck decent deals. One example is the 1BBP deal. Another is concessions: in the built -out plan, they have 525k in revenue from all concessions, including the proposed nice restaurants. Bryant Park takes in over $2.2mm from concession fees, including the Bryant Park Grill.

  • Question

    Comparing the revenue to be earned from concessions at a location in Manhattan, on top of a subway station, halfway between times square and grand central, where literally millions of the wealthiest people in the world walk by every day with a location at the end of atlantic ave is insanity. Look I love brooklyln and I love the park – but it does not, nor it will it ever have the pedestrian traffic of arguably one of the busiest places on the planet, and therefore will never earn even a percentage of the revenue. Let’s try to keep this discussion in the realm of reality, bklyn20’s delusions of sanity notwithstanding.

  • bklyn20

    II. How to Pay for the Park with Transformative Ideas (that change the direction of the design, for the benefit of the borough and not just those who come to visit for the view once in a lifetime.

    A. The Berm Amphitheater: The current berm does not do what it is intended to do – significantly reduce noise in the part from the BQE. The highway’s noise factor is still at deafening levels, yet millions would be spent for this structure that only serves as a barrier to park utilization (its angle prevents recreational use), save a walkway mid-way up the hill. Why not carve out the interior of the berm that faces the river so that residents of Columbia Heights, (who may prefer a green vista to a working park), get their view while at the same time creating an amphitheater whose interior could be used for musical events and an outdoor theatrical venue, such as what the Heights Association advocated during their Tobacco Warehouse testimony? This could be an experiential venue similar to what Boston did in 1976 for their bicentennial – a “happening “ slide show but circa 2011, digitized, and about the Great Bridge. David McCullough has supported our quest for a real park without housing and might very well be interested in helping with such a positive and park-like project. Using tax incentives to help a builder design and build it, the city and this park could reap millions in on-going revenue.

    B. Tall ships and music at Pier 5: Instead of a yachting marina, transforming this space into a maritime museum on the water with 1885-era ships and make that into a federally registered destination for warships, too. Maritime use was Mayor Bloomberg’s idea for this park; creating a true cultural amenity for the park that is in keeping with its history is appropriate. It might also serve as the summer home to the NY Philharmonic – to be played aboard a flotilla of ships.

    III. How to Pay for the Park ( with Community Building initiatives):

    1. Jehovah Witness Properties off site. This seems to me to be one of the most promising ideas, and . has many permutations, which must (and CAN) be worked through. At this point I would only add that if a deal is not struck now, before the Pier1 buildings go up, the value of the Witnesses’ Columbia Heights properties will be greatly diminished. As with many of the ideas to pay for the park, if time is lost, if contracts are let without a provision to secure funding, then the only thing left will be the sale of public lands for condos.

    2. A Park Increment Recapture Plan not only finds new tax dollars but encourages community building for both the surrounding communities as well as the park – a win-win solution that is both incremental and practical because it addresses the fundamental financial truth about this park: the park itself improves the communities that surround it.

    3. Itemized and even voluntary Park Improvement Fund.Polk County Florida is full of lakes and tea partyers. They have beautiful waterfronts and a real aversion to taxes. These lakes are very hard to keep up and keep safe – alligators living in and along almost 15 miles of shore lines. Here residents have a line item on their tax bill: for one tax payer paying $1300 per year, his bill includes $25 fee for parks. If we can no longer afford to pay for our parks then why don’t we create a park improvement fund? With a minimal $25 per household per year we can generate sufficient funds to pay for our parks – ALL our parks. And when you itemize it people get it. They understand the value they receive from this minor amount of money. And if it is such a hard leap for the Mayor to accept that the residents of Brooklyn want a park and not the housing complex he proposes, why not test this idea? And you can give residents a choice on their taxes, too, with a voluntary check off box – they don’t have to pay it but they can – similar to the way campaign financing was done on Federal Tax returns.

    4. Real Estate Transaction/land conservation fee: In East Hampton Long Island every home sale has a special transfer tax associated with it that helps the town preserve open space. With these funds the town pays for land they then place in a land conservancy for public use, forever protected as open space. The idea of a transfer tax fund for this park (and other parks in the NYC system) is to create a world class park fund from real estate transactions in either Brooklyn as a whole or in the areas surrounding the park. It assures a constant stream of dedicated funding outside the reach of mayors or council people who come and go (but public land should be forever).

    5. Middle School : This idea was recommended several years ago when it was apparent that with all the new residential building in Brooklyn, including the massive Atlantic Yards project, would require more school facilities for area residents. This was also an idea put forward by the writer Philip Lopate whose book on walking New York’s Waterfronts is a useful primer on how New Yorkers relate to their open space. He posits the idea that New Yorkers have an uneasy time with parks and open space. To help them relate, he recommends putting public services into these spaces – to offer public services inside our parks (to go school or to mail a box or to get their license) and get a park experience for free.

    ALL of these ideas are PUBLIC-accessible activities, are compatible with a public park – even the private events only temporarily use public lands (unlike the permanent event of private housing inside a public park) – and we can conservatively bring of $10, 375,000 per year. Adding the PILOTs from 360 Furman/1BBP, hotel, retail at Empire Stores, and the hotel brings it to $16 million. (Of course, that number is now changed a bit as of June 2011, when we learned about the tax break that ! BBP has gotten.) Then, along with the transformative ideas there is enough money (in excess of $20,000,000) to actually do more in the park with free programming to address the recreational and cultural needs of area residents. Finally, adding community building initiatives, the funding for all city parks including this one is guaranteed.

    There is no one magic bullet for park funding. Private luxury housing is a cop-out that says the city has no will to provide the people of Brooklyn with the park they have so long advocated.

    The answer – the fiscally prudent answer – lies in the will to create a true amenity for the community that the community can actually use. That was the original vision for BBP. It lies in a multiple funding scheme that can weather the ups and downs of any economy and does not rely 90% on luxury housing: that bubble has burst.

    Some last (for the moment) thoughts:

    How did it become the world’s park versus Brooklyn’s much needed park? As the priorities began to change to make this park appealing to the world and less to residents, so should the funding prerogatives. Without usable recreation throughout the year, who does this park really serve? If it is now to serve the world we suggest that in consideration for all the earlier promises made to the community that were broken with this plan, that the funding “promise” be broken, too.

    My thanks to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund for these many and varied ideas. I hope they can help us all have a useful discussion on alternative ways to fund our park.

  • ABC

    I don’t think it’s insanity to compare them. And the Study of Alternatives to Housing compared them so I guess they didn’t think it was insanity either. Why do people refuse to look at successful parks and learn from them?

    I’m sure the Bryant Park Grill makes more money than the River Cafe, for example, but 5 times the amount? I doubt that. And we have room for twice the concessions as Bryant Park. Why not pull another restaurant barge up to one of these areas and start participating in the revenue. That’s the lesson I learned from comparing things. That’s not insanity.

    But you’re right — the locations are so different. And yet, we have the skyline and views and space and they have .. the revenue. Bryant Park gets $4mm a year in usage fees. Every year. That’s more than what we hope to get from housing on Pier 1.

    Brooklyn Bridge Park plans on getting 288k in special event 2017! They had 17 film shoots last year and charged them 3k a pop. They had 4 “marketing/promotional” events last year and charged them 15k a pop. Who makes these deals?

    I think Bklyn20 and the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Fund makes excellent points.

  • Common Sense

    Can some of the endless NYS/NYC taxes we pay like income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, etc., be appropriated for this?

    Seems the agenda of the powers-that-be is for housing in the park.

  • gc

    Housing in the park does seem to be the not so hidden agenda.
    If that’s the only way to fund this park, I would rather see the plans cut way back. If that means keeping four of the piers vacant I’m fine with that as well.

  • Publius

    The $100k spent (wasted?) on the BAE Report should have been spent on the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Fund’s study of alternatives to housing. Likely it would have saved $75k that would have remained in the park budget instead of paying BAE’s office rent in San Francisco.

  • http://deleted Anon

    Congratulations to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund for their excellent analysis of alternative funding sources. Each idea has merit and some of their ideas alone could pay for this park (and perhaps all of Brooklyn’s parks as well). Only a cynic would suggest more housing is needed inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. But yes, Virginia, the Mayor wants private housing inside our park, didn’t you know this?