Update on Park Deal

More information is now available on the deal on Brooklyn Bridge Park funding announced yesterday. Under the agreement, the city will proceed with funding park construction and development of recreational facilities which, according to a press release from State Senator Daniel Squadron, will include “a temporary pool for at least the next five summers, a Pier 5 recreational ‘bubble’ that will make the park usable in the winter, an ice skating rink, two tennis courts, and 2,200 feet of community space.” Also, we note that because no request for proposals may be issued for housing at Pier 6 before January 1, 2014, no such request can be issued by the Bloomberg administration, as he will be out of office by that date. Whoever succeeds him as Mayor may not have the same commitment to the idea of funding park operations and maintenance with housing.

Along with Senator Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman and City Council Members Stephen Levin and Brad Lander have agreed to the deal.

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  • Jorale-man

    That raises several questions: Is the Pier 5 plan a redesign from the original plan? According to the plan on their web site (http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/go/the-park/the-park-plan) Pier 5 was to have been a big grassy lawn. Pier 2 was to have an enclosed area for winter sports (the structures of which exist). Also, will the temporary pool live on the pier or in the water next to it?

    I also wonder if they’re planning to finish Pier 6 before starting on Pier 5 or if they’ll leave that incomplete for the time being.

  • resident

    I believe that “big grassy lawn” was actually three soccer fields. Makes me wonder if this new plan is for the uplands? two tennis courts, an ice rink and 2200 square feet is much smaller than even one soccer field.

  • resident

    Also…. Ah, Squadron, a politician like any other. Rode a tide of angry nimbyism to election on a no-housing platform, pretends to take up the fight for a couple years, then relents at the appropriate time after gaining minor concessions. I imagine his ultimate thought process went something like “hmm… I can keep fighting for those that got me elected, but of course those nimbys will turn on me the next time I don’t kowtow to their demands to protect their neighborhood from evil change, or I can reach a compromise that hopefully assures completion of the park and I don’t become known to everyone else as the man that killed the park.” Meanwhile he gets to point to the bubble, pool and ice rink as something he “won” for the park (by the way, I imagine this only marginally improves park usage over the winter).

    I do think the compromise is a reasonable one. I’ve long been one unopposed to housing “in” the park and was most concerned with simply having a completed park. The only funding alternative that was going to work was the witness buildings, but the problem was always that any funding would potentially come too late. So, in the end, we have housing in dumbo where towering buildings on the water is contextual, low rise development to replace the buildings that were torn down near pier 1, and two and a half years to see movement by the witnesses and the elimination of the least contextual and arguably most obtrusive buildings near pier 6.

  • ABC

    Sounds great to me.

    I wonder how the Park people and certain posters here who have always said Witness buildings off the table will reply

    I’m tired of people I used to support totally capitulate in negotiations. Happy squadron didn’t take an initial no for an answer.

  • DrewB

    This deal keeps getting better. No RFPs on Pier 6 until after Bloomberg leaves office. A POOOL! Ice Skating. Year round recreation. Now we are talking!

  • DrewB

    Also, I don’t understand what Resident is saying in AT ALL. I supported Squadron, I have talked with him extensively about this issue, and I think this is an excellent deal. Most of us fighting the housing have been in favor of a park ALL ALONG. We just didn’t want housing in the Park.

    Postponing any RFP’s until after Bloomberg is out of office is HUGE. He has been a big proponent of over development in Brooklyn, and I doubt the next mayor is going to be as forceful in that matter. This allows us to make over development an issue in the next Electoral election, and hopefully get someone in office that understands that private housing does not belong in public parks.

    Resident, what makes you think Squadron’s supporters won’t like this deal or feel somehow abandoned? Feels like a victory to me.

  • David on Middagh


    You write: “… So, in the end, we have housing in dumbo where towering buildings on the water is contextual, low rise development to replace the buildings that were torn down near pier 1, …”

    I thought the Pier 1 hotel was going to be ten stories high? Am I wrong, or that considered “low rise” these days?

  • sandy

    what about the retail complex that has slipped in on Pier One

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    DoM: where did you get the ten story story? My understanding, which comes from statements made in public meetings, is that it won’t be any taller than the warehouse buildings that were there before.

  • bklynlifer

    Feels like a BIG victory to ME!

    Almost ALL housing “within” the park will be eliminated, and capital funds to construct the recreation facilities we desperately need are committed and will be built in the near future.

    We will have a pool next summer! For those of us not interested in kayaking and sand volleyball, there will soon also be year-round sports fields, tennis courts and an ice skating rink.

    Yes, Squadron or Millman could have “vetoed” the John St building, but then we would have lost the capital funding, and we woud have had to wait — oh maybe, decades? — for the city to be willing to commit those kinds of funds to recreation facilities.

    Squadron and Millman did not create or encourage the overdevelopment of our neighborhood. That lovely process has been the result of Bloomberg’s conscious policy of making Downtown Brooklyn the hi-rise home for the financial elite over on Wall St. NO ONE can stop Bloomberg and his Big Real Estate buddies from crowding out people who work for a living.

    Au contraire — by substituting revenues from EXISTING Watchtower buildings for expected revenues from two NEW high rise towers on the corner of Altantic and Hicks, Squadron and Millman have PREVENTED both of the new 300-foot buildings from being built. They have SAVED the park from perhaps 80% of the housing Bloomberg had planned for us.

    As a bonus, the western end of Atlantic Avenue will be revitalized by the steady flow of recreation users going to and from nearby Pier 5 to play soccer, swim or skate!

    The ONLY downside, which is admittedly a big downside, is that we will get stuck with yet another redisential tower on the edge of DUMBO. At least it will be the same size as its neighbors, but that here’s no denying that it is indeed a downside.

    Please put the blame where it belongs — on Bloomberg, for having the audacity to take the land promised to us as a park and turn it into a development project for the rich and famous.

    Put the praise where it is due — on Millman, Squadron, Lander and Levin, for having the courage and creativity to come up with a plan that gives us back our park and eliminates almost all the private housing.

    Given Bloomberg’s track record of getting/buying what he wants, I think we did pretty well.

  • T.K. Small

    This morning on the Brian Lehrer Show there was a short discussion on the Brooklyn Bridge Park deal. Below is a link to the WNYC blog. From there one can probably listen to the audio.


  • Dudeface

    Some forward momentum, but seems to me like a reshuffling of things that would have happened anyway to arrive at some political victory. Such is politicals though. Not sure how Bloomberg leaving office would change the housing aspect to the park though. Perhaps I remember wrongly, but wasn’t there some clause in the changeover in ownership from the state to the city that requires development and maintenance to come outside of tax dollars? Wouldn’t this require (by law) some external funding source such as housing? Also curious why the Witness option keeps popping up as alternative. Not to be a negative Nancy, but you can’t just take property from a private organization and sell it to fund a public project. Are those buildings in a blighted area so that eminent domain can be used? They can hold onto that property as long as they want.

  • DrewB


    The Witnesses have said that they plan to move most of their operations upstate by 2014. Most people think this means they will sell their buildings near Pier 1 once they move, as they did when they vacated 360 Furman (now 1 Brooklyn Bridge). Basically the idea is to treat those other buildings the same as 360 Furman, using “Payments in Leiu of Taxes” (PILTs) on any development there to directly fund park expenses.

    No one is forcing them to sell. No one is taking their property. But it would make sense they would sell after they vacate (as they did with 360 Furman), and in that case these PILTs would be applied to new development. This is the same way that they would have gained revenue form new construction, but these buildings are already there and don’t require us to surrender additional park land for private use. It is not a sure thing, but at the least this agreement gives us another 2 years to find something other than NEW housing to fund the park, without delaying park construction.

    As for Bloomberg, he is a HUGE proponent of New Development, and has been very reluctant to look anywhere else for funding. The hope is that new Mayor might not have such close ties to developers and would be more willing to look elsewhere for funding. By pushing the issue during the election, we can let candidates know this is important to us, and possibly secure commitments to look for alternate funding sources.

  • David on Middagh

    Claude, I’ve been trying to respond, but something is eating my comments.

  • David on Middagh

    OK, here’s the reference to the hundred-foot high hotel at Pier 1:


  • Gerry

    Do any of the Watchtower properties have an indoor swimming pool? I had heard that they do have an indoor pool and like St. Francis College they dont let the community in.

    Still nowhere in this new park and nowhere in downtown Brooklyn do we have an aquatics center?


    We need a large indoor pool like Asphalt Green on the east side of Manhattan all of the development in downtown Brooklyn and still NO pool.

  • epc

    There’s pools at the Eastern Athletics in Metrotech Center and the St. George complex on Clark.

  • harumph

    @Gerry, St. Francis opens their pools to neighboring schools (like Packer) and to programs, such as Imagine Swim. Their pool is in constant use. And there is always the Y on Atlantic…

  • Sad Neighbor

    BEWARE: A friend of mine had taken her dog to Cadman Plaza Park (entrance at Cadman Plaza West and Clinton Street off of Tillary). There was an opened bag of Rat Poison. She did the remedy for her dog and hopefully and most likely the dog will be fine. However she did call the city and also went back and removed the bag.
    Please be advised that there may be sprinkles of the rat poison on the lawn there… without any signs stating that rat poison has been put down.
    Very careless act…so please CURB your dogs!!!

  • Gerry

    Epc, and Harump,

    The EAC and YMCA pools are NOT olympic size pools where one can work out – early every morning I swim at the Hofstra University Swim Center that is a 50 meter 10 foot deep pool I use fins and swim FAST.

    Downtown Brooklyn has no aquatics center the YMCA pool is nice the EAC pools are poorly run so is the EAC I swam there for years the place is a dump I watched this go way down-hill.

    The BBP needs a huge swimming facility a real aquatics center like Asphalt Green

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    @Gerry, I am not really a swimmer. Do you get a more intense workout with fins, or are they mainly for speed?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    @ Fake Arch Stanton, I’m honored you want to be just like me.

  • harumph

    @Gerry – someone just JUST told me that they have an adult swim at St. Francis every weekday early morning (open to the nabe) – don’t know who you would contact – but that might be your best ticket

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