As Brooklyn Bridge Park Eases Forward, Parks In Greenpoint & Bushwick Stall

As progress on Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to ease forward—however controversial—other areas of Brooklyn are apparently not as fortunate. City officials admit that two stalled North Brooklyn parks will likely see little to no progress before Mayor Bloomberg’s term runs out in November 2012, because funding was allocated to other projects.

A long-promised waterfront recreation area in Williamsburg’s Greenpoint and a planned open space at Bushwick Inlet Park are both at risk of simply never materializing. The Brooklyn Paper reports that two top Bloomberg aides deflected a barrage of questions from Brooklyn council members over the projects, refusing to estimate when or if they might be completed, citing budget constraints. Parks Assistant Commissioner Joshua Laird: “We don’t have a bottomless pit of money. It’s just not possible to acquire property. The city has an obligation to its taxpayers.”

Open space advocates counter that the city also has an obligation to North Brooklyn after approving a controversial rezoning of 200 industrial blocks in Williamsburg and Greenpoint seven years ago in exchange for a commitment to build hundreds of affordable housing units, a mile-long esplanade abutting the East River and several new parks. Instead, a number of luxury residential towers have risen along the river’s edge.

For Bushwick Inlet Park, the city has only acquired half of the required lots to begins its buildout, while city budget planners reallocated $13 million of the $14 million intended for that park’s development for other projects. Bloomberg aides claim the city could raise funds by selling air rights to developers around adjacent commercial properties to fund the park.

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  • Mr. Crusty

    I think this highlights the potential problems of relying solely on city funds for BBP. I am glad that route was soundly rejected.

  • SimonTheodore

    What a shockingly embarrassing moment for the City Hall Bureaucrats who purport to know a thing about real estate development but couldn’t put it together that IF YOU REZONE A PIECE OF PROPERTY IT IS GOING TO INCREASE IN PRICE.

    Further, Mr. laird’s argument is worthless – NOW the city protects its taxpayers, after approving a slate of towers filled with people with a dearth of park space? Were they protecting the taxpayers then?

  • Lou

    Bloomberg is pushing to ruin the park before he’s out of here. There is no way those buildings won’t ruin the view. And yes, I have forgotten what it was like with the cold storage buildings there.

  • Mr. Crusty

    The link you provide doesn’t seem to support your contention that the view would be “ruined”. Bloomberg can’t ruin a park that doesn’t exist. The park is only made possible by the private development that will be paying for it. Unless of course you will be donating $20M a year for the park’s upkeep.

  • liam

    I’m guessing no information could be provided on which parks got the money instead? Count me as shocked if those parks aren’t in wealthier neighborhoods –

  • Voice of Reason

    This is a Brooklyn Heights Blog. Let’s not get our noses into the business of other neighborhoods’ parks. Let Greenpoint residents fight for their park. We have our hands full as it is looking after Brooklyn Bridge Park. Let’s not spread ourselves too thin and get hung up on doing battle with Bloomberg and the city. Focus on working with the city and other stakeholders, e.g., the Velodome donor, to get as much done, as soon as possible, right here in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • BH’er

    to the credit of those who attend the meetings and fight for our parks (and esp. the BHA, in this regard) – many thanks and kudos for achieving the successes we have seen

    this is what happens when you don’t have active, dedicated and determined neighbors fighting for what will make us great

    thank you to Judy and all at the BHA – fine job, please keep up the hard work!

  • yoohoo

    When one reads about the overwhelming odds facing the Hudson River Park Trust to fund the maintenance of its still unfinished five-mile park, the BBP model looks ever more appealing, even if some don’t like it. Because of existing legislation, Pier 40 can’t be developed to its potential while the Trust needs 118 mill for “basic repairs” of just this pier’s pilings, and its meager reserves are projected to be gone in three years.

  • yoohoo

    Re height of the hotel/residential complex on Pier 1, the fan-shaped Special Scenic View District splits the two development sites lie into two sectors. Inside the SSVD, the maximum building height is 55 feet at Furman Street. For the triangular portion that lies outside the SSVD, the BBP Corporation imposed a maximum height of 100 feet. The Corporation’s David Lowin stated that the design comes in somewhat below that maximum. Note that rooftop HVAC installations are excluded from height limitations.

  • sue

    Why keep calling it a park. It is not designated parkland. The ESDC defended this thing by calling it a park project. It is a disney like 21st century playground for those that need minute to minute amusement. There is very little nature in it. As the vultures develop and rape it more there will less and less.. This is what the BHA has brought us

  • Neighbor Hood

    @sue- well said. I’ve been going back & forth on this blog with my concerns about the hotel/condo scheme and took a step back & said “why do we keep calling it a park?”. One pro hotel/condo commenter keeps bringing up how buildings around Central Park don’t hurt the park & I thought wait, this is not really a park, it’s a narrow strip of shoreline with all these elaborate Chelsea Pier-like “attractions”up & more coming. And the tax payer paid for it so that it would be an excuse for the real estate development to “maintain” it, that the majority of residents have always opposed. So much for representative govt.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Nature? At the Brooklyn waterfront? You make it like their building on wetlands or something. There hasn’t been any “nature” there since the local residents wore deerskins.

    Sue can you show me your source for saying the “majority of residents have always opposed”? Maybe that’s true but I haven’t seen any poll data to warrant that statement.

  • Hicks on Hicks

    Sue/Neighbor – How can anyone prefer commercial piers with pre-fab sheds behind a 12′ fence on Furman to the park? Prior to BBP, we had no access to the waterfront.

    This funding model ensures that the Park will be well-maintained without a risky reliance on city tax revenue or supplemental property tax assessments as proposed for properties adjacent to the High Line Park.

    BBP is a valuable neighborhood amenity which likely has already helped place a floor under our property values and attracts out-of-towners who patronize our merchants.

    Not sure what you’re looking for in a park, but this has green open spaces, paths for walking, awesome views, ball fields, playgrounds, a merry-go-round and a boat ramp.

    As to the lack of nature at the park, I think that the city has made considerable efforts (perhaps not as effective as they would have liked) to re-introduce nature with the salt marsh, etc.

  • Nin

    Well said hicks on hicks.

  • Mr. Crusty

    @BH’r question, how do happen to have a bear’s head as an avatar when everyone else has some generic graphic?

  • epc

    You can set up an avatar at

  • Mr. Crusty

    Thanks epc

  • Mitt Romney

    @Crusty@epc – thanks! funny thing is, I periodically change my name, i.e. Mitt Romney (just for fun), but my logo stays the same…

    just want to add that I took a walk down through the park this morning and love it – it is really unbelievably well done but one thing bothers me: the chain link fences and work zones…

    I am really looking forward to seeing this park complete and am enjoying the opportunity to see the progress (it is a bit impressive/surprising that work has continued in spite of the economy (albeit slowly))

    It’s really going to be even more amazing as additional sections are completed, more people are there enjoying it and development builds up around it – this is really becoming (and is going to be) The place to be