Coming Soon: Hotel And Housing Proposals for Brooklyn Bridge Park

While attention has been focused on the St. Ann’s Tobacco Warehouse saga, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation announced at a meeting yesterday that they will be issuing by the end of August a “Request For Proposal” for the hotel and residential housing buildings across from Pier 1. According to the Brooklyn Eagle:

Two buildings — the larger, northern one with hotel rooms, a restaurant, housing units and parking; the smaller, southern one with housing units and parking — will be built in a currently fallow area between the bike/walking path and Furman Street. The first, “Building A,” will be 100 feet high, and the second, “Building B,” will be 55 feet high.

The plan will contain 300 parking spaces, 170 to 225 hotel rooms, 150 to 180 housing units and 300 parking spaces. Among the criteria to be used in choosing designs are street trees, signage, sustainability and how the plan fits in with the surrounding area.

The BBPC cited the “economic recovery” as a reason to build — hotel occupancy increased from 81 percent in 2009 to 85 percent in 2010, and the average rate per room went up as well.

During the “Q&A” phase of the meeting, though, Judi Francis of the BBP Defense Fund expressed her opinion that the BBPC’s economic evaluation of the housing situation was unrealistic. “Fifty percent of the units at 360 Furman Street are still unsold”.

Also during the meeting, the BBPC board approved the licensing agreement with Jane’s Carousel. The Brooklyn Eagle described the approval as being “amid enthusiasm”, which leads me to put this question to you, our reading audience: Am I the only one who thinks Jane’s Carousel is gaudy and ugly as sin?

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  • Homer Fink

    At this risk of being accused of “editorializing”, I have never hated an inanimate object more than that friggin’ carousel. The horses are creepy. Like from a zombie movie creepy.

    There, I said it.

    Oh and thanks for ruining the view from the park.


  • ML

    What is the use of having a blog, if you can’t editorialize about a carousel with creepy-looking horses every now and then?

  • David on Middagh

    Oh, the carousel is hideous. One must conclude it was designed as a spectacle to compete with a dozen other fairground attractions, not as an accent to complement a serene lawn.

  • Arch Stanton

    It is hideous monstrosity destroying a once spectacular view. Oh BHA please sue to have that vile abomination removed.

  • Livingston

    I cannot believe you guys. Don’t you have any fond childhood memories riding merry-go-rounds? We had a beautiful one like this where I grew up (nowhere near NYC). I can still hear the calliope music. My sister and I used to compete to get the “swiftest” steed. Huge disappointment when all you could get was one the stationary tigers or ostriches.

    Jane’s Carousel is an excellent example of the genre and long-lost craftsmanship — and will be a lot of fun for new (younger) generations. The neighborhood is lucky to have someone who had the means to acquire and restore it. I can’t wait to welcome it to the park and perhaps catch a ride.

  • bklyn20

    As was the case with some other park features (ahem), the carousel was inserted into the park with no public process. It was presented at a CB2 parks committee meeting, and that was it — there was no announced public meeting in a large space, or anything of that kind.

    Yes, the Walentases gave several million dollars to the park for the purpose of raising the land level to make this part of the park less vulnerable to the river. This donation would also serve to protect the carousel from the water. The equation was no carousel = no donation. Besides the CB2 meeting, I have read that a rendering or model was shown at a Conservancy event last year — not exaclty a public forum there, either.

    The carousel will be self-sustaining. It will make enough money to support its care and maintenance. It will not make money to support Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Homer, I don’t think the carousel itself is particularly ugly. It just looks like most carousels: gaudily colored and glitzily ornamented in vermeil or platinum or someting else precious and expensive. If you don’t like carousels you won’t like this one, either.

    My problem (besides the lack of public input and the false bargain proffered by the Walenti) is the carousel’s is location. It’s very close to the bridge. Moreover, the carousel is to be housed in a Jean Nouvel-designed glass box app. 72 feet wide by 26 feet high. This glass box will be lit most of the evening. Jean Nouvel is an esteemed architect. The carousel is beautiful if you like carousels. If it is to be in BBP at all, this is not the right location. Other locations cannot be seen from Jane’s window, I guess.

    Do these two items in combination deserve to destroy a more tranquil part of the park, and the park that existed there before BBP? Should we degrade a national landmark so that a millionairess can see her pet project from her living room window? Are a glass box and an antique carousel equivalent to the Brooklyn Bridge?

  • lakes of schaumburg

    I think carousels are neither gaudy nor ugly. It’s just natural I guess to make it colorful or ornamented because it basically wants to depict a happiness and fun. I couln’t imagine a carousel with few color or a limited designs. I think it’s going to be boring.
    As regards to the location of the project (and the carousel)… I agree with bklyn20. It’s going to be a misplaced one and dangerous as well. .Another thing, i hope the plan will not disturb the beauty of the park.

  • here forever

    bklyn 20 expresses my thoughts exactly. Location, location, location has been the main objection for most of the park’s neighbors. The carousel is so oversized for that spot. It never should have been sited in the Cove, where it is out of place …. sharing space with nesting birds, which will probably leave now that the tranquility and ecology of the place has been violated. I miss the three Weeping Willow trees that were cut down to make way for it. And, yes, it is there so that its creator and donor will see it from her windows.

  • David Fuller

    Back to the hotels, I’d like someone to tell me how a 100′ tall structure works vis a vis the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade. Thanks.

  • Remsen

    Are there not restrictions on the height of buildings in front of the promenade so as to not block the view of the water? I guess the proposed hotel is not directly in front of the promenade, but the view of the Brooklyn side base of the bridge from the promenade would be blocked (again) by anything built in the “fallow” area at Pier 1.

  • Elmer Fudd

    These buildings are still taking “park land”. I don’t think that should be permitted.

    But, oh yes. I almost forgot. It isn’t a “park”. It is a community development project.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Livingston, I’m not sure what you mean by “Jane’s Carousel is an excellent example of the genre and long-lost craftsmanship” but if you somehow imply that current craftspeople aren’t capable of producing any part of that carrousel, you are wrong. In fact, the level of quality could easily be far superior to anything made in the past.

  • Anon

    Bad reporting. Francis’ point at meeting was: With all the reductions in financing isn’t it time to relook at the GPP? The first point was AFTER 5 YEARS on the market only half the units of the first park housing building have been sold, 2. the city removed over half of the funding from that building’s payments – took $1 million out of plan in October but no info given to public until last month, 3. a federal judge just removed Empire Stores from its share of maintenance funds reducing another $1 million or so. Was your reporter in the room? So, where is the park’s maintenance shortfall going to come from? No answer given. All this on top of the fact that BBP is spending 1 mill on renovating the offices of a redundant bureaucracy and the mayor removed 11 mill from the park’s capital budget last month. Where will the money come from to finish the park? The carousel is not the only ugly thing happening in the park…