Judy Stanton of BHA Named One of 50 “Most Influential”

Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association,  was recently named one of the fifty most influential people “who have shaped Brooklyn neighborhoods”  by Brownstoner,  which noted:

Judy Stanton, head of the Brooklyn Heights Association, has been particularly effective in her role guarding the tony neighborhood. As one insider put it, Stanton “does change things when she gets involved in a particular building (like reducing the height of the 20 Henry Street addition); a particular project … I don’t want her against anything I do.” Stanton lobbied the Department of Education hard to build an annex for P.S. 8, and her backing of Brooklyn Bridge Park in the face of opposition from another local neighborhood association is said to have helped shepherd the plan through the lawsuit years.

Congratulations, Judy, and keep up the good work.

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  • BklynLifer

    Unfortunately, Judy ignored PS 8 for decades and didn’t deign to get involved in its improvement until about four years ago. Brooklyn Heights parents who want a public school option for their children should ask her why she didn’t put her great clout and fabled talent into lobbying for an expansion of PS 8 and/or a middle school YEARS ago. Rumor has it that it wasn’t important to her because none of HER crowd would even THINK about putting THEIR kids in public school.

    Brooklyn Bridge Park could have been built already — with year round recreation like a swimming pool and an ice skating rink. Instead, Judy, Marty Connor and Joan Millman turned the park plan into a development project dependent on the luxury condo market for its survival. Smart move! You told us that only luxury housing could produce the revenue that this develo-park needed to be “self sustaining.” Damn it!The park could have been built already if it were funded by a reasonable revenue-generating plan. Instead the supposed saviors of the park came up with a cockamamie plan and blew through $100 million or so of public money, and they have nothing to show for it.

    Shame on you!

  • PS8Parent

    If Ms. Stanton is truly for public education, she’ll support the Dock Street Middle School proposal. The expansion of PS 8 is not due to Judy Stanton making it happen. It is happening because parents from the community are active participants in the system. WE believe that ALL children are deserving of a great education. WE work many hours and contribute many hard earned dollars to make sure ALL children have the resources to get a great education. And most importantly, WE teach our children by attending public school that ALL children deserve the best.

    Be wary of community leaders and politicians (read Mr. Yassky) who want to lead but are not willing to participate fully.

    Ms. Stanton and Brooklyn, just think about it.

  • my2cents

    Top 10 or top 50 lists are always lame, and usually a result of people having nothing to write about.

  • nancy

    Amen to that, BklynLifer. I wish Judy Stanton had cared when my kids were still age appropriate for PS 8. I remember years ago, she had told people that they should have their children attend PS 8 to build the school up. Funny, that she didn’t deem it neccessary for her own children to do that.

  • anon

    she represents just one group of people ..wall streeters, the grace chuch crowd and the casino crowd.. Oh yes she also represents trees.

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

    I can’t speak for the Casino or Wall Street, but as a Grace Church parishoner for many years, I can say that its congregants are a very diverse group of people, both ethnically and economically, who support many good works, both locally and elsewhere, including feeding and sheltering the homeless, tutoring students in a public high school in Bushwick to pass the Regents’ exams, sending teams to work on rebuilding houses in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities devastated by Katrina, and supporting a home and school for orphaned or abandoned kids in Honduras.

    As for trees, you have a problem with them?

  • my2cents

    Maybe we should just refer to her as the Lorax.

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

    I guess that makes Olafur Eliasson the Once-ler.

  • my2cents

    At least the Once-ler made something useful that everyone needs . :-) haha

  • http://deleted buddy

    Ms. Stanton defines the word ethnocentric. And a few other words, too. And who reads Brownstoner anyway? Bklyn Heights blog rocks!

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

    Judy Stanton was for PS8 way back in the 1990s. She held endless meetings at various locations in the neighborhood to promote the school among the parents of local preschool students. Yes I was there, obviously Brklynlifer wasn’t. As a member of Grace Church I was uncomfortable having to tell Judy back in 1999 that our child would be attending public school in Manhattan. In my view, Judy is and has been a tireless advocate for the quality of life for this neighborhood. Car alarms, street lights, parking, tourist busses, car towing, stop lights, curb cuts for strollers and wheel chairs, are among some of her recent concerns that have made life easier for Brooklyn Heights residents from toddlers to seniors in every income bracket.

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

    Note: the above comment was written by my wife. She tried to send it out under her name, but when she hit “submit” it defaulted back to my name. I agree with her comment completely.

  • PS8Parent

    Can someone please explain where Judy Stanton gets her authority? I know she’s not elected. Is she appointed? Is she paid by the BHA? Who funds them? Just curious.


  • In the Heights

    The BHA is a non profit funded by its membership and Judy is a paid employee.

    As a current and active PS 8 Parent, I started talking to Judy about the school is 2000 when my daughter was 1. I truly believe that her commitment to the school is part of the reason why it is so successful. Let’s not criticize her for what she did or didn’t do 15 years ago – that is pretty useless. In the early stages, she organized parents, hosted meeting, got the community involved and aware of what needed to be accomplished to make the school a success. Judy has come and volunteered her personal time to every event we have had for years, and made the school’s success a priority for the BHA. This honor is very well-deserved!

    In terms of the Dock Street project, I think it is hard to criticize either side. It is an incredibly complex project for many reasons. It is too simple to say that if Judy truly supported the school she would support the project. One thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other. I have a 4th grader now and would obviously benefit from Dock Street Middle School, but I am not sure it is the best thing for the neighborhood either.

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

    Judy is Executive Director of the BHA. It’s a full time, salaried position. She was hired by, and serves at the pleasure of, the Association’s Board of Governors. The Board is elected annually by the members of the Association. Membership is open to any interested person, and annual dues are quite modest: $25 for an individual, $40 for a household, $10 for seniors. The principal sources of the Association’s revenue are dues and the proceeds of the annual House Tour. It also receives contributions from other sources; for example, the J.M. Kaplan Foundation has granted funds that cover the cost of the Association’s newsletters.

    Much more information about BHA is available on its website.

  • BklynLifer

    Judy does many admirable things, I’m sure. But she works for the poo-bahs of Bklyn Heights, not the ordinary folks like Claude and me. That the BHA does NOT represent the people of Bklyn Hts can be seen in the recent state senate election, in which the BHA/Stanton/Connor crowd only managed to get 45% of the vote in Bklyn Hts, in spite of all their advantages of (great) wealth and incumbency (and only 23% of the vote south of Atlantic Avenue).

    Yes, Judy finally woke up to the need for a functioning PUBLIC school in Bklyn Heights, and we should all let by-gones be by-gones, blah blah, but her desire to please the poo-bahs as her first and second order of business, led her to adopt an elitist mindset that worked AGAINST PS 8’s improvement for many many years. Now she’s all for public education in Bklyn Hts. Hooray!! Better late than never, blah blah.

    Sorry, Claude — I WAS there in the late ’90s, and the early ’90s and the ’80s, and before. Judy didn’t bother getting involved until VERY recently. Before you came on the scene, Claude, Bklyn Hts parents were left to fend for themselves.

  • PS8Parent

    I concur with BklynLifer. I’m sure Ms. Stanton does some good things. But when it comes to public schools, I think she recieves undeserved credit and worse, puts her nose where it doesn’t belong.

    She and Yassky are now trying to force the middle school onto PS8. Rather than support Dock Street, the dynamic duo are advocating a second expansion to PS 8. This will practically eliminate the outdoor space and make an already crowded facility much worse.

    When asked, Yassky says he’s been working for 6 years on a middle school solution. And Ms. Stanton has been tirelessly advocating for public schools for decades. Effective leadership would have solved the problem by now. And now that there is a solution on the table (Dock Street), they say it’s not acceptable because it blocks views or the bridge. Who’s views? It blocks a view of a ramp of the bridge.

    Enough already! Two trees is giving $10 million for the shell of the proposed middle school and a 99-year lease for $1 per year. Where in the neighborhood are Judy and Dave going to find that deal?

    Perhaps at their next $2500 per head cocktail hour they can get we have-nots a solution.

    I won’t hold my breathe.

  • Another PS 8 parent

    I don’t agree with the BHA’s proposal to turn PS 8 into a middle school, but I don’t see why that means I should support Dock Street either. Dock Street is not a realistic proposal at this point – significant community opposition because of the view issue, the financing environment is in the toilet, the condo market is heading that way, etc. I won’t be holding my breath for that one to get built, either.

  • Jazz

    maybe homer should have a $2500 a head cocktail hour so BHB can be the new BHA.

  • PS8Parent

    All due respect but the view/significant community opposition is from the owners 70 Washington. Study the plan with an open mind. To assume that another development site in the neighborhood is going to come available in our lifetime is un-realistic.

    As for the economic environment – that is another strong reason to consider Dock Street. This is private money funding a much needed government project. It’s totally unrealistic to ask the government to finance the school, building and rent payments going forward, when a more than desirable offer is on the table.

    Think of the construction jobs added, the low and moderate rental units added (these are not condos), the fact that this will be a green building, the increase in the tax rolls for the improved property. The school will have a gym! The Brooklyn Bridge Park will be near by.

    Think about it. Call Two Trees with your questions. This is a real opportunity to get a much needed middle school in our neighborhood. Not just for our children, but generations to come.

  • In the Heights

    Considering the DOE doesn’t believe that District 13 needs more middle school seats, it is unlikely that PS8 will also become a middle school. In the DOE budget thru 2014, there is a plan for a new elementary school in Vinegar Hill. That combined with the addition 150 seats at PS 8 should help alleviate the over crowding. Next year, both K and 1st grade will be bumped up to 5 classes to deal with the over crowding (the art room and another room will become classrooms next year).

  • Andrew Porter

    I have been a member of the BHA for the last 20 years, and it does many useful things, chief among them representing a group of residents of this neighborhood in dealings with city officials and administrators. They are a NGO. However, note that the BHA represents the interests of those in the Heights — which you can define as north of Atlantic, west of Cadman Plaza and Court Street, south of Old Fulton Street — and thus confines most of its efforts to this area. Those of you who disagree with the BHA’s purposes and activities, you’re all welcome to join the BHA, and express your opinions through e-mail or questioning the officers at the Annual Meeting. But sounding off here nets you nothing at all.

  • Publius

    PS8 Parent:

    Your assertion that the “the view/significant community opposition is from the owners 70 Washington” is simply incorrect.

    Over 8,000 people have signed the online petition to stop the Dock Street project here: http://savethebrooklynbridge.org/signthepetition.asp

    Thousands of additional people have signed the identical petition in paper format.

    I’d encourage anyone who wishes to learn more to visit: http://savethebrooklynbridge.org

  • nabeguy

    Views aside, the location of the building makes it more of a Dumbo school than a Heights one. Just in terms of safety issues, I’m not thrilled about the prospect of my chlid having to cross Old Fulton Street at the height of the morning rush hour, especially the corner at the end of Hicks St where jerks coming off the bridge try to race the lights to make a left turn onto the BQE. Will Two Trees also be willing to make the investment in a pedestrian overpass? I realize that, right now, Dumbo parents have to face the same traffic issue, so it’s a two-way street, so to speak.
    By the way, I have not seen anyone make mention of the proposal for the new PS 8 annex, which was presented at a very meagerly attended PTA meeting on Tuesday. The new building will net the school an additional 7 classrooms, but the downside is there’s no plans for a gymnasium to replace the lost playground area. When it was suggested that the foundation be built deeper to accomodate a higher ceiling in the basement level, the response was that foundations below a certain depth are considered cellars, and children are barred from cellars by DOE rules. How’s that for semantic jousting?

  • PS8Parent

    Dear Publius,

    How many of the 8,000 on liners live in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO? Or District 13 for that matter? Or have kids in public school? Likewise, of the thousands of paper signatures, how many are taxpayers from the neighborhood who send their kids to public school? How many are named Gunther and live in Germany and signed your petition on their way to Grimaldi’s?

    And Dear nabeguy,

    Perhaps the BHA and its sister organization in DUMBO can match the $10 million that Two Trees is offering for the Footbridge you’d like. Now that I’m thinking it through, I’m sure there will be crossing guards posted. Perhaps the $10 million BHA/DUMBO match can be used to fit out the new middle school.

    Thanks for spawning that great idea!

  • nabeguy

    Jeez, PS8Parent , are you married to Jed or something? If you’re not a Two Trees plant, then why be so flippant in regards to a serious safety issue? Given the high-volume traffic in that area in the morning, I can think of at least 6 corners where crossing guards would be required. Remember we’re talking about a major 4 lane thoroughfare here, not a single lane cross-walk like Hicks and Middagh, that can be handled by a single guard.

  • PS8Parent

    Trust me nabeguy, any parent with young children in the neighborhood is sensitive to traffic and the inherent danger. It goes with the territory that is city living and believe me, I take it very seriously.

    As for the lame comment concerning Jed Walentas, you obviously have no other points to argue. No I’m not a plant. I’m not on anybody’s payroll. Yes, I walk over the Brooklyn Bridge frequently, have paid city taxes for over twenty years and believe you have every right to your opinion. I’m advocating a school be built. Not a topless bar or a sausage factory or a race track – a FREAKIN SCHOOL pal.

    Give me a break.

  • Another PS 8 parent

    Give it a rest. Just on this thread alone, there are a bunch of other PS 8 parents who have a different opinion than you of the Dock Street idea. Not just Gunther or whiners whose condo views are going to be blocked.

  • BklynLifer

    To Andrew Porter — Sorry. The BHA only THINKS it speaks for the people of the Heights. The BHA went full-out for Marty Connor, an INCUMBENT, and came up with only 45% of the vote. Marty and the BHA (and you?) thumbed their noses at anyone living outside the boundaries of the historic district, and you all got what you deserved. Do you really think any dues-paying member can show up at a BHA annual meeting and have an equal voice with the Witty’s and Watts’s et al? Well, my friend, enough people are disgusted with the BHA MISrepresenting “the people” of Bklyn Heights that they DID speak up! And you, my friend, are (like the BHA) in the minority. You lost. The BHA has been exposed as the UNrepresentative organization it is.


  • http://www.brooklynbackstretch.blogspot.com Brooklyn Backstretch

    What’s with casting aspersions on race tracks? It’s been way too long since Brooklyn’s had one, and we used to have a couple!