As BBP Struggles For Funding, Self-Sustaining High Line Park Gets $5M Gift From City

While Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to scrounge together funding to continue buildout of the slow-as-molasses 85-acre waterfront project, Manhattan’s High Line Park has received a $5 million windfall from the city. This, despite the fact that the West Side tourist destination has raked in $85 million in private sector donations, in addition to a lucrative concessions deal and millions of dollars from adjoining building air rights. reports that city park advocates are questioning why High Line was bestowed such a generous gift, which the city targeted to help build the third portion of the park, at a total cost of $90 million. Critics, for one, point to Brooklyn Bridge Park, which the city’s 2013 capital expenditures budget has slated for just $5.5 million, to develop the Pier 4 Beach and Habitat Island and a pedestrian entrance on its north side.

“Unlike the High Line—which pulls in massive cash from fundraising and private donations—Brooklyn Bridge Park relies almost entirely on the city for capital costs,” DNAInfo says. “Its fundraising organization, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, puts most of its funds toward programming at the park.” The story points to only two BBP capital projects donations: Jane’s Carousel and the controversial $40 million from New York City Fieldhouse Chairman Joshua Rechnitz to build a rec facility near Pier 5.

BBP’s 85 acres compares to the High Line’s 6.73. New York’s total 2013 appropriation is $105 million for 142 park projects. A spokeswoman for the City Council declined to respond to DNAInfo’s requests for comment.

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  • AmyinBH

    All you have to do is take a look at the conditions of the Brooklyn Subway Stations, the public areas and the amount of police on walking the beat, etc. and then the equivalent in Manhattan to know what the City Officials think about the people in Brooklyn. We are second class city residents (as are those living in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island).

    I prefer the behavior the people using our underfunded Brooklyn Bridge Park to the shenanigans going on at the HighLine and the buildings that surround.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    The Wall Street station is a disgrace too as are other stations in the city.

  • Jorale-man

    @AmyinBH – I think you’re exactly right. It’s not hard to see the difference, say, between the conditions of Central Park and Prospect Park. Or the fact that when there’s a heat wave, Brooklyn and Queens usually get the blackouts and brownouts, not Manhattan.

    And yes, the Highline has a far greater share of tourists than BBP, which has a balance of residents and tourists. They certainly are farther along in construction than BBP is.

  • my2cents

    The High Line is a huge tourist draw to the West Side. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  • yoohoo

    No surprise when you have supporters like Diane von Fuerstenburg, Barry Diller et al., who are raising millions for the High Line while residents of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill fight the BBP leadership at every turn and others bemoan the number of tourists at Pier 1.

  • bagel boy

    I wish they would find a way to keep the hordes out of the heights that come from that park. These people add nothing to the neighborhood. They don’t buy anything. They get bottles of water from the cooler guys not the delis. I saw them by the hundreds on Saturday afternoon. Not one stopped into and store to support the local merchants.

  • Mollie

    Don’t forget that the High Line park was initiated by neighborhood people and was over a decade in the making.

  • yoohoo

    I just read the High Line’s spring brochure and would like to amend my earlier post by the following: The High Line is now proceeding with the development of the last section from 30th west to Twelfth Ave. and north to 34th St. The Friends of the High Line’s Campaign for the High Line to support construction of this Rail Yards section and of its headquarter building and to bolster its endowment has raised more than $38 million toward a $100 million goal. Last year, the Tiffany Foundation made a $5 million challenge grant; Donald Pels and Wendy Keys joined with a $5 million challenge grant; the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation pledged $20 millions; NYC’s $5 millions go toward construction costs. If Jamestown Properties, the owner of the Chelsea Market building, gets its way to build enormous additions on top of the building, it will donate $20 millions to the Friends.

    Mollie, you obviously don’t know that the concept for Brooklyn Bridge Park was also developed by “neighborhood people” – in 1986 – and that these “neighborhood people” had to fight for recognition and acceptance of this concept by some of our then-elected officials.

  • fast_walker

    Bagel boy, where do you think the cooler guy lives? Central Park West? Better local merchants adapt to the change in demand. Look at the uncle luigi and blue marble ice cream stands – these are small businesses and they have stores in the neighborhood. The concept is terrific. For one, I take east river ferry to work and I don’t think I remember them ever running such frequent service. Great way to bypass that Wall Street subway station!

  • Quinn Raymond

    The current and former Councilmembers representing the High Line neighborhood are/were Council Speaker (Gifford Miller, Chris Quinn) and control huge sums of discretionary funds.

    To the victor goes the spoils.

  • BH’er

    BBP is a gift – I don’t know where the funds come from and assume this is the only blog that so strenuously opposes it

    If everyone was lined up behind it and focused on drumming up support and donations in support of it, we might have more progress – but the voices here oppose any change at all

    Case in point: the pop-up pool has been great with none of the monumental catastrophes that were forecast here

    I would take BBP over the High Line any day – and the future potential with enormous amounts of space yet to be developed are incredible

    Having a pool, velodrome, marina, sport fields, hotels – this will be great. The one thing I’d like to see is a direct connect to a subway station… you’ve got the 4/5, R, 2/3 running directly under it with the A/C close by – there has to be some wonder of engineering that can provide a tunnel or staircase to the stations without having to walk around and up

  • Jorale-man

    Well, on the bright side, it does appear that Pier 5 is finally making some progress. It looks like they’re starting to put down some topsoil or something on the pier and the peninsula is taking shape with the rocks along the shore. There’s a gallery of their recent work here:

  • Still here

    Agree with BHer.

    Note that the BBP will recieve 5.5 M from the City Council and an additional 15M from Michael Bloomberg this year. Not checken feed. This insures that Piers 5 and 6 and the John St lot shall be completed sooner rather than later.

    The BBP is in much better shape in terms of capital money and ongoing maintenance revenues (from housing and hotel) than the Hudson River Park which continues to suffer.