To Serve Man: The Eagle on the Watchtower’s Slow Move Out

The Brooklyn Eagle sheds some light on the realities of the Watchtower’s planned move out of Brooklyn Heights to upstate Warwick, N.Y. A spokesperson for the group says the move won’t happen “anytime soon” as they’re still waiting for approval to construct more buildings.

One interesting passage closes the piece by Linda Collins regarding the group’s involvement in their rural community:

Brooklyn Eagle: The organization is also known for helping its surrounding neighborhood, which included building a park in Brooklyn.

The Times Herald-Record reported that in the Ulster County town of Shawangunk, where the Witnesses have property in the hamlet of Wallkill, they helped the town demolish and rebuild its town hall.

The organization has its printing facilities in Wallkill as well as a farm.

“We do beef farming for the table and also fruits and vegetables that grow well up there,” Devine said.

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  • Mary Frost

    Thanks for the mention — but Linda Collins wrote that article, not Mary Frost (me).

  • Claude Scales

    Correction made. Thanks, Mary.

  • Homer Fink

    LOL – I just think Mary writes the whole paper sometimes!

  • Muskrat

    After years of many of us grumbling about the at times overwhelming presence of the Witnesses, I’d be interested in an analysis of the long term implications their departure will have on the neighborhood, for better or worse. Has that been studied at all?

  • Regina
  • Livingston

    Per the article, which park were they responsible for building?

  • Western Brooklyn

    Just say no to cults & cultists!

  • Robert Perris

    As part of the ULURP applications for 85 Jay Street, the Watchtower Society agreed to renovate Bridge Park 2

  • resident

    This is exactly why basing park funding on the Watchtower properties was an untenable solution. Who knows when they’ll move, let alone get the money they want for the properties and sell. It could be years and years before those properties are tax revenue generators.

    This is also why Squadron’s deal was a@% covering politics at its finest. What are the chances that enough properties sell by 2014 to actually put a dent in the pier 6 housing?

  • Gerry

    Y’all need to read what Resident just wrote it will be at least 10 years maybe 20 or 30 years before the Watchtower Properties have sold and the community feels any impact and who knows what Brooklyn Heights will be like in 20 years?

    And from what I hear the Wathctower is NOT planning a Fire Sale that these properties are priced at reach-levels and not moving fast and are not priced-to-sell.

    It will be a long time before this community sees any sales or changes.

  • Still here

    Rod Serling lives!

  • EHinBH

    I wish they would stay. Nice, clean properties and good neigbbors.

  • Western Brooklyn


    There’s a lot more to being good neighbors than acting superficially nice & clean!

  • Craig Stevens

    Watchtower employs a stunt called “norm of reciprocity.”

    “We did this for you; now, you do something for us.”

    They do acts of charity for the community simply to win favor within the community when their neighbors begin complaining because of the barrage of “witnessing” that occurs when the ones touring the facilities rip through those communities with flyers, books, and all sorts of propaganda. I did 15 years in it, 7 of which were in a Kingdom Hall one mile from Watchtower Farms in Wallkill,, NY (Ulster County). The territory I worked door-to-door that Watchtower Farms was included within had a record 800 do-not-calls; the most anywhere in the world. So how did Watchtower respond to that “hatred”? According to The Times Herald Record, The Brooklyn Eagle, and then quoted from the blogger, “they helped the town demolish and rebuild its town hall.”

    Rumor had it around the “Farm” (cult compound) that they also helped build a park in Pine Bush and put a roof on the Shawangunk firehouse.

    That would explain why the firehouse allows them to hold receptions and other type gatherings there.

    “I did something for you; now you do something for me.”

    Norm of Reciprocity.

  • Tim

    As Craig said here the Brooklyn Park that the JWs helped refurbish was actually to curry favorable zoning. All you have to do is google the original article.

  • epc

    So, pretty much what any large organization does, religious or otherwise.

  • Western Brooklyn


    So that makes it okay, right?

    We shouldn’t hold anyone accountable for anything, because others do bad things too, yes?

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn

    Is it bad for an organization to seek amenable zoning conditions in exchange for contributing to public works, so long as those conditions sought fall within acceptable legal and ethical boundaries? I’m not being sarcastic or anything- I’m just not sure what all the factors at play are…

  • epc

    That’s not at all what I wrote. There’s the way we want the world to work, and the reality of the way the world works. You can live in fantasy land and keep wishing it were different, or you can work within the ugly reality to effect change.

    Pretty much every development in Brooklyn is “held up” by one community organization or another and has to make accommodations to get ULURP and other approvals. I suspect that if Watchtower didn’t make such accommodations we’d hear even more complaints about how unneighborly they are.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Oh no… To Serve Man, it’s a cookbook!

  • Western Brooklyn

    @epc & M of M,

    So why keep using the euphemism “organization” for a cult?

  • Still here

    EddyE – glad someone else picked up on that.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- Because a cult is still an organization, isn’t it? And having a cult is legal, isn’t it? I wouldn’t use the term “cult” offhand because, you know, some folks might take umbrage to it.

    My own spirituality is quite opposed to the philosophies espoused by the Witnesses- but that does NOT give me the right to call them derisive names or to wish misfortune on them.

  • Western Brooklyn

    You must be joking! You & I have ever right to call destructive cults derisive names & wish misfortune on them!

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- That’s a fair point, actually. Not only is one free to do so but, even if we are to be conditional (as I would suggest), in the case of the Witnesses, a fair amount of criticism would not be misplaced.