Local Schools Want Pier 5 Bubble

As reported by Kate Briquelet in The Brooklyn Paper, several local private schools–St. Francis College, Brooklyn Friends School, and Packer Collegiate Institute, along with unidentified others–have expressed their desire to see a regulation sized soccer field with a year-round bubble enclosure and accompanying facilities, built on Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Ms. Briquelet quotes Doreen Gallo, president of the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, who has worked to get the schools to support the project, as saying the schools are willing to operate the facility, but that they will make it available to the community. The plans for Pier 5 included a field, though not a regulation sized one, enclosed by a bubble, but the plan was scrapped when the Park’s request for proposals got no takers. Park spokesperson Ellen Ryan is quoted in the Brooklyn Paper article as saying Pier 5 is too small to accommodate a regulation sized field.

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  • Livingston

    Time to call the lawyers. As per the posters on the Tobacco Warehouse article, heavens forbid that any neighborhood private entity derive benefit from public land. It’s a threat to democracy, infringement by the elites, yadda, yadda….

  • Heightsmom

    I’m in favor of it if it will get the private school kids out of Cadman Plaza park, where they take over a bulk of the space (and run down little children when they are doing organized track practice) most weekdays. It’s about time these private institutions which pay no taxes to the community (but use community resources) gave something back, so if they are will to administer and maintain such a sports facility and make it open to the public (I’m hoping they will be forced to offer a reasonable amount of hours each week), I’m all for it.

  • nidky215

    who cares waht the bbpdc says. we know they are liars. lets get the fields to be schared by community children and schools public and private

  • bklyn20

    Heightsmom, Cadman should be permitted by the Parks Dept. They won’t do it. Pier 5 should be run by the BBPDC but I think they have put in a “middleman” company to run it, thus taking more of our tax dollars for something they should do themselves.

    The fact that big money would be spent on non-regulation fields shows that the BBPC have further abrogated their responsibilities.

    Private schools should NOT run the pier — they will look out for their interests first and public school kids will lose out a la Randall’s Island and the Red Hook fields, where a private school gets the fields during the day and the neighborhood kids must play after dark — should they have to play only in the vampire hours?

    Even a public school should not run it, because self-interest will inevitably come into play. (PS 8 parents, who now believe that a public school education is possible for their children, will have a rude awakening if this plan goes through. The private schools will win out in the end if St Anns, Packer, et al, run Pier 5.) This negotiation may have begun with good intentions but it will end up an embarassment for our neighborhood and what should be OUR — all our — park.

    When will there be a public hearing on this, with adequate advance notice? Will the BBPPC pay any notice?

  • Gerry

    Make Pier 5 into an Aquatics Center. We need a large pool to swim in year round and NOT a soccer frield.

  • Livingston

    @ Heightsman:

    I really think people need to take a rest from the “them vs. us” nonnsense — esp. since living in BH is not exactly like living in the projects. In case you need to be reminded, the students who attend private schools are equal citizens of this city, and their parents pay taxes (a lot of taxes), taxes that go to support a public school system they are not using. I wouldn’t be too quick to begrudge them use of a little public green space — they’re part of the public.

  • Master Of Middagh

    I have a question- what’s underneath the pier? Is it safe to put a soccer field there; with the added weight from spectators and vehicles and such?

  • Still here

    Master –
    The pier platform is supported by clusters of concrete-encased wood pilings over water. Yes, there are limits to what can be built upon it, but I assume a soccer field, bubble and spectators are ok.

    BTW – the pilngs require peridoic maintenance (recently completed for P5).

  • nabeguy

    With all the hot air that this is sure to generate, there should be no problem in inflating that bubble.

  • Boba Fett

    Will they serve Bubble Tea?

  • Gerry

    @ Nabeguy – good one!

  • Villager

    This park is just too damn controversial.

    Let’s convert it back to warehouse space and forget about it.

  • bklyn20

    Private schools should get time on Pier 5 schools; so should public schools and perhaps other sports leagues. The point is that NO SCHOOL should administrate/permit the spce. It should be handled by a neutral orgnization to m\avoid conflicts of interest. Please have a look at this piece from the NY Times regarding Randall’s Island:

    In the latest in the series of events regarding Randall’s Island, the NY Times blog reported:

    For the second time in two years, a justice in State Supreme Court has ruled that the Bloomberg administration had improperly struck a deal with 20 private schools to provide them with priority in using athletic fields on Randall’s Island in exchange for $45 million.
    A coalition of public school parents and students, community groups and park advocates have argued that the deal between the city and the 20 schools, including Dalton, Buckley and Chapin, essentially turned public parkland into a private domain.
    In the decision Tuesday, Justice Marilyn Shafer of State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected the city’s revised deal with the private schools, saying it, too, was improper because it did not go through a public review. Justice Schafer excoriated the Bloomberg administration, saying its arguments were “audacious,” demonstrating “more daring than logic” She ordered the city to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees and costs.
    “It’s a major win,” said Norman Siegel, a lawyer for opponents of the city’s plan. “The city shouldn’t give a priority to people merely because they can pay for the use of public land. That discriminates against those who can’t pay to use the public land. We’re not saying the private schools can’t use the fields, just that everyone should be treated equally when it comes to public land.”

    Will there even be public hearing on this? When will all park users get to speak their piece? Call you elected officials, neighbors, if you want recreation space for your family. Otherwise we can just put a pretty iron fence around Pier 5, distribute keys to the lucky few, and rename it Shamercy Park

  • BH’er

    I’ll second the Aquatics Center, if it’s feasible. That would be great!

    Like a lot of public spaces, they should be kept out of the hands of private companies and institutions. We shouldn’t be building parks and facilities for private schools and businesses to profit from.

    If they want the facilities built, let them invest in them. They’ll buy a brownstone for the headmaster, but can’t build an athletic field?

  • Elmer Fudd

    Villager is right. Convert it back to warehouse space. Working people would have local jobs, and could pay taxes. The schools wouldn’t be as overcrowded, and the teachers could get paid by people paying taxes. And the sidewalks wouldn’t be as clogged with double-wide baby carriages full of spoiled brats, and pushed by rude nannies on cell phones. Now, if we could only do something about the helicopters.

  • davoyager

    I can’t wait till Pier 5 is open. And if some private enterprises wants to sponsor the creation and upkeep of public space so their customers can enjoy the benefits and bragging rights, it’s all good. As long as it’s public space and they have as much access as anyone else; no more, no less. The kind of public/private partnership that benefits the whole community.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Thanks, Still here! Although, from what I’ve heard, there may still be some problems if we experience flooding from severe storms- though there would thankfully be nobody enjoying a soccer game under such conditions, even with the bubble, I’d imagine.

  • bklyn20

    Public/partnerships of this kind do not work — especially since the “private” half are also users and direct benificiaries of the park space.

    In addition, while I am glad this topic was put on the blog, I think the title should have been “Local Private Schools and College Seek to Run Pier 5 Bubble.”. That is a more accurate depiction of the issue at hand.

  • spoiled_brats_mom

    This site has some great comments and discussions. However, I think that comments like Elmer Fudd’s should be removed. They are insulting to numerous young families who live and have always lived in this neighborhood. These families purchase townhouses, renovate historic facades, spend money in local businesses and otherwise enhance and support this family oriented community. They also pay taxes and hire nannies who actually are also “working people” and are also Brooklyn residents, working quite hard – often times 10-12 hour days 5 days a week doing work which requires an incredible amount of patience. In that respect, these nannies have a lot to teach Elmer.

  • http://loscalzo.posterous.com Homer Fink

    @SBM – Mr. Fudd was being, as usual, ironically sarcastic in his witty and abrasive style.

    Happy New Year!!

  • spoiled_brats_mom

    That’s what South Park is for. Let’s leave this forum for objective comments.

  • Knight

    Leave this forum for objective comments? I don’t think that’s anyone’s decision other than Homer’s … who happens to do an excellent job of maintaining the integrity of this site.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Um, yeah. Can I make a request that spoiled_brats_mom should have her posts removed and have her IP address banned from this site for having the nerve to suggest removing somebody else’s post because she doesn’t happen to like their unobjective opinion (even though, for some reason, HER unobjective opinions are just fine)? No? Oh, right. That would be silly…

    And yeah, double wide strollers should totally be banned.

    Happy New Year!