NYT on Dock Street DUMBO

The New York Times reports on the Dock Street DUMBO project today:

New York Times: Wondering if a New School…: Tom van den Bout, an architect and president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said his group also opposed the building, and not just because of its height. While most Dumbo buildings curve beneath the Brooklyn Bridge like a bowl, he said, the Two Trees building would jut out jarringly against the skyline.

“It could be a much more gentle presence within that vast urban space,” he said.

Opponents gathered by the bridge on a recent snowy day to protest the building, carrying signs declaring “Brooklyn Bridge Not for Sale.” At a community board meeting a few days later, 30 members voted in favor of the plan while 7 voted against it.

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  • Publius

    Finally a balanced article. Unlike the front page editorializing from the Brooklyn Paper. Take note Gersh!

  • davoyager

    That may have been one of the most biased articles I’ve ever seen in the NYT. The CB voted 30 to 7 in favor of this project. You would think they could have found more supporters to interview. Even the picture was clearly taken from 70 Washington. Shame in the New York Times for giving voice to only one side of the discussion.
    Once again the undeserved in our society are being ignored.

  • Nancy

    it really was a perfectly awful and badly written article.
    Not to mention a wee late.

  • fulton ferry res

    Davoyager: First of all, the photo was either taken from Sweeney or from the Clocktower. Second, the Times is usually pro-development, so the fact that they even ran the story says something. There were quotes from Jed and from the ubiquitous Carlo, so how can you say it was biased? I assume that you meant underserved (the children?), not undeserved, although ironically, it is Jed who is undeserving of the profits he will make on a too-high building adjacent to the Bridge.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    I was quite surprised when I read the article. The reporter called me 3 times and we spoke for a total of 20 minutes. You would think from what she wrote that the total basis for my support was the school.

    I don’t believe this will taint or tarnish the public views, bowls or experience of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m sorry if you’re losing your view – you should have read the prospectus. To call this a tower is laughable. I walked past the site a half hour ago – the tallest part of the proposal is a two and a half city blocks from the Brooklyn column of the Bridge.

    I’ll say it again – much needed construction jobs in the near future. Affordable housing and parking for the neighborhood. Green construction that will run the developer an additional 20% in construction costs. A first class middle school in a world class location funded essentially by the private sector.

    Why should I listen to the BHA and Yassky when it comes to public schools – their kids aren’t enrolled in public schools. Why would I listen to Andrew Stengel tell me the building is out of context – he lives in the J – where was he when that monstrosity was getting permitted? I’m sorry if you don’t want to share your sidewalk with kids. Too bad – they have as much a right to it as you do. And if you don’t like kids – I probably don’t like you.

    And since it’s permanent open season on the Walentases – how about you Publius? Where do you live? Do you have a real name? Are you losing a view? Do you have kids? Are they in public school?

    And how about you Beavis? How many jobs have you created? Have you supported the arts like the Walentases? What’s the last thing you developed? Ever tried? Do you respect the CB 2 vote? Or is the best argument you can make is that the 30 yes votes are on the take?

    Enough already.

    Carlo Trigiani

  • Publius

    Adjust your medication.

  • fulton ferry res

    Why is calling 18 stories a tower laughable, if the surrounding buildings are 4-5 stories? And why are you stuck on the column of the Bridge? The proposed 184′ plus 25′ of mechanicals will block views from the bridge walkway, which has nothing to do with where the column is. The bridge has to be examined in its entirety, not just the towers. With your logic, as long as you can see the torch and the Statue of Liberty face, who cares about the rest of the statue? As for jobs, where were you Carlo, when the inflatable rats were in front of Walentas’ Atlantic/Court Street building, and every other building Two Trees has done without union labor? Oh, now all of a sudden they’ll use union labor, just to throw another bone at the easily fooled crowd.

  • savethebrooklynbridge

    For those of you who are against the Dock St. DUMBO project, print out this poster and hang it up in the window fronts of the neighborhood:


    Let’s get the word out about how disruptive this building would be to DUMBO. People need to see the truth.

  • Josh

    Thanks Carlo you are right on – people just love to complain and the inertia to change is so strong in this neighborhood it is shocking

  • Carlo Trigiani

    18 stories is roughly the height of all the other tall buildings in DUMBO.

    The tallest part of the project is below the cables, far from the Brooklyn column. The width is 55′.

    What views are blocked? Are they your apartment views? Just answer the question.

    You’re not fooling me. Come clean. Where do you live?

  • fulton ferry res

    Carlo, I am not hiding anything. i live in Fulton Ferry and my view of the Bridge will not be blocked. Why is it so hard for your side to believe that most of us are advocates for the greater good? We have met in person and we have debated. But your facts are flawed, and you consistently ignore the points I make, which makes it hard to have a dialogue. I repeat — stop obsessing over the Bridge tower. The views of the Bridge include the entire span, plus the air and sky surrounding the entire span. Just like the mistake in the NYT article, you cite the 55′ side of the tower. What about the 200′ side that also faces the Bridge? And, by the way, Sweeney is approx 50′ lower than Dock Street, and also 100′ further away from the Bridge. If you really want to be ridiculous and cite One Main, keep in mind that it is over 300′ further away than Sweeney.

  • No One Of Consequence

    It’s not just about the views of the bridge being blocked. It’s about the Dock St. building’s encroachment on the bridge, including views to and from.

    The other day I drove around the curve of York St. towards the site, and realized that although the bridge would still be visible from this vantage point, its majesty would be marred by the adjacent tower.

    If you haven’t looked at it from this perspective, I suggest that you do. This is a public thoroughfare, not a view from a condo.

    Then ponder, would it be acceptable to build in this manner next to Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, The Washington Monument?

    This project at best serves 300 middle schoolers.
    Unquestionably, this project would serve Jed Walentas very well.
    The borough, city, nation and world would forever lose a piece of the inspiration this span has provided for 125 years.

    “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.”

  • endeavor

    Carlo Trigiani for city council!!!!!!

    Your campaign slogan could be…”A million times better that Yassky!”

    Keep up the good work.

  • Voice of the People

    Thanks for your input Jed, but a city councilperson should have a level temperment, respect for the opposing view, and not insult the majority of the people in the surrounding area, who are frankly against the Dock St. project, by calling them racists, and stating that the other side is disingenous and has ulterior hidden motives.

    I don’t think he should even be city dog catcher.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Fulton Ferry Res,

    As I see it, the opposition’s argument is a singular – this project will block views and the “experience” of the Brooklyn Bridge. That is a subjective argument based on opinion, not facts.

    Supporters of the project argue the benefit of jobs, affordable housing, green construction, much needed parking for the forthcoming park, and of course, a middle school. These are benefits are real and quantifiable. And I argue, serve the greater good.

    When German and Japanese tourist travel here to experience the Bridge, they take photos of the tower. They don’t walk down to Front Street and stand in front of the Dock Street site, with the ramp of the Bridge in the background, and shoot a photo of Helga!

    You are entitled to your subjective argument but it doesn’t fly with me.

    No One of Consequence,

    We live in a city, not a national park. It’s unfortunate, but our forefathers did not quardron your bowl off and put park lands for all to enjoy. Look at the bright side, at least your building was constructed.

    This project creates jobs, increases the tax base provides affordable housing, green construction, provides parking – and it will be needed and yes, a middle school.

    Will the Walentases make money, I assume so. Not for nothing but you didn’t take the risk or pay real estate taxes on those properties for the last 25 years. TT has obviously spent a significant amount of money to develop their plan, revise and defend it. From a financial perspective, they have skin in the game. Good for you, if this development gets approved and built, you property value is sure to increase.

    Voice of the People,

    Sorry if I get a liitle rough. I can be so because I’m not running for anything. Fortunately, I can call it like I see it. The rally held before the Community Board vote was attended by 48 people. Six of whom support Dock Street. Another half dozed were sledding on the hill. You are the voice of a small group of people.

    I do respect the process. The community board voted 30-7 in favor of the project. The education committee voted 9-0 in favor of the project. The land use committee voted 7-6 against. Do you respect that process and those votes?

    And for the record, I don’t recall calling anyone a racist. If you took my posts as such – a sincere apology. I have written that I am concerned that there is an element of “isms” at play here. When people tell me I’m myopic and only want a school, and they fail to participate in the public system with their own children, what am I left to conclude? Sorry but an “ism” might be at play.


    Carlo Trigiani

  • just the fact’s ma’am

    1) green construction costs are not even close to 20% more than standard. Depending on the level of LEED certification they are attempting to achieve (if they even are) the costs will be maybe 2%-8% higher.
    2) There is no guarantee that the construction jobs will come from the surrounding community.
    3) There is no guarantee that anything TT says will happen will actually occur. They could not build green, they could adjust the affordable housing component, etc. In today’s environment it may turn out that the original plans will not meet profit requirements and adjustments will have to be made. I think the focus here should be on the zoning changes, because that is all there is. The city is not approving specific designs, etc., they are just proposing egregious zoning variances such as not counting above grade parking in the FAR.

    Also, you may have stated this earlier, but I am wondering how you became the spokesperson for the proponents of the project? I say this not in an accusatory or incendiary way I am genuinely curious.


  • Jazz

    Thinks to Google, I’ve discovered that Carlo is in REAL ESTATE. Interesting.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Firstly, I work in commercial real estate. I’m an asset manager for a publicly traded REIT. None of our properties are in the city. No business dealing with TT. No conflicts.

    From my experience, green construction can run close to 20% in additional costs. It simply depends on the level of LEED acquired. The point is, LEED is additional costs and that shows a stronger commitment from the developer.

    True, the construction jobs won’t come from the immediate neighborhood. We unfortunately don’t have many plumbers and carpenters among us. But certainly some, if not most of those tradesmen will hail from Brooklyn and the boroughs.

    Consider the other jobs – teachers, janitors, doormen, building engineers, parking lot attendants and employees at the retail shops. Those folks have to eat, buy clothes, read books and get on the subway. This economic benefit needs to be considered.

    There is a process in place for development approvals. It is early in the process, too early for detailed designs. The variance being sought covers the proposed envelope of the building. Any change would need approval. Let me assure you – if promises aren’t kept, I’ll be the first to complain. Let the process run its course, let’s stay involved and make sure our elected officials safeguard our interests.

    I don’t purport to represent any group. Interestingly, the support for Dock Street comes from the business community, the arts, various churches, DOE and SCA, local residents, elected officials and some parents like me from PS 8. It is a varied contingent that supports the project for various reasons.

    To satisfy your curiosity, I am the parent of a 2nd grader at PS 8. I attended public schools and feel strongly that if kids of all races, religions, beliefs and socio-economic conditions matriculated together, the world would be a better place. I see it work every day in my son’s class. Sorry if I’m overly passionate but that’s why I feel the need to speak out.

    I don’t purport to represent all the parents of PS 8. I do know some agree with me on Dock Street, some don’t. Dock Street is a chance for us to continue the great work done at PS 8. Opportunities like this are rare and we should take advantage of it. I’m speaking out because I’m tired of hearing politicians and private citizens say, “We need to fix public education.” Dock Street is a start.


    Carlo Trigiani

  • just the fact’s ma’am

    I believe your assumption is incorrect. According to the USGBC and Capital E Analysis study, their sampled properties had an average additional cost of 1.84% higher than standard construction. I don’t think we should see building green as an incentive for any development it should be the standard. San Francisco has been very aggressive in their requirement that all new construction is green and NY State has said all government buildings must be green as well.

    I think it is amusing that you have become the official face of Dock. St. proponents, whether you intended to or not, that is what you are. And if your concern is solely for a school were you against or for this project in 2004 and were you involved in previous attempts by local parents to push for expansion of PS8 or turning the police precinct building into a middle school, etc.? Since you are the figurehead of the push to have this passed, I think it’s only fair I pose these questions.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    I’m glad you’re amused and don’t know what to think of my figurehead status.

    According to the SCA 72 Poplar (Police Preicinct) doesn’t work.

    I’m opposed to making PS 8 a K-8. No outdoor space, 1100 kids in an already crowded campus, Hicks Street traffic, perpetual construction zone.

    Sticks and stones.

  • No One Of Consequence

    While it is true that we live in a city and not a national park, there are few other ways to compare the importance of the Brooklyn Bridge.
    No one (or a very few) is crying foul for blocking views of the Manhattan Bridge, or other points up/down-river because they are not (necessarily) graced with the same unique symbolism.

    It’s not subjective to say that the building would be in the frame should Helga, Jurgen, Hans, Chang, Yamamoto, Polowski, Sanchez (or whatever stereotypical ethnic name you would like to use) venture down to the proposed site to take a photo of the bridge from a different vantage point. Although, if it were to be built, they likely wouldn’t want to take the marred shot. So, just because you don’t *think* that they do, you feel it’s ok to take the away the option?

    Regarding the financial risk assumed by the Walentas. Where is it written that every business venture will be a success? Surely they knew about the zoning restrictions when they purchased the property. This is a chance they took and the public does not owe them a guaranteed profit. Even if they candy-coat it.

    Similarly, if your kid (and someday mine) need to travel out of the immediate area to go to public school, then we should have considered that when we chose to live here. (quite honestly, I didn’t think of that because I didn’t have kids when I moved here, but now I do, and I’m still against this project).
    There are other options, Dock St. is just the one actively in play right now. Other options just might not coincide with our personal timetables.

    Let’s also recognize that while LEED is a step in the right direction, don’t be lulled into thinking the result is carbon-neutrality. It’s like a Prius. It’s *better*, but it still uses gas.
    LEED at a minimum should be required of all new construction, and hopefully someday will be.
    Just putting that out there.

    It’s pretty obvious that those who post here on either side shan’t be swayed. I stand pat that the in spite of all assurances, the risk outweighs the potential reward.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    The point is this building will not block a view or marr pictures millions travel to the Bridge to take.

    Sorry if I’ve ruffled your delicate stereotypical ethnic feathers. With a name like mine, that wasn’t my intention. I guess that jab is easy for you to make because we don’t know your name.

    Certainly TT knew the risk and they have put money on the line. I assume you also knew the risk when you purchased your apartment with the view. Oh sorry, strike that, you won’t tell us where you live either.

    As for school location, I reserve my right to actively participate in my community and work to improve the schools in my neighborhood. I will make the best decision for my children when that time comes. In the meantime, I will work my best to better the schools – Dock Street is a step in that direction.

    Agreed on LEED.

    Agreed that we will never agree. That’s okay. 37 community board members have weighed the arguments, considered the views and the public benefits of the proposed project. 30 of 37 or 81% voted to approve.


  • nabeguy

    Growing up on Middagh Street in the early 60’s, one of the things that I always appreciated was the view from our rear garden of the tower of the Bridge rising above what was then the Squibb building. Even as a young boy, it imbued a love of architecture and all things historic in me…until the JW’s decided to add three stories to the existing height, thereby obstructing the vista to one corner and the flag pole, a loss that I feel every time I now stand in the same spot with my daughter, who no longer can benefit from what had been a rather magestic view. Carlo, if your myopia is so strong as to blind you to the fact that someone’s/anyone’s views are going to be blocked, and that the loss represents a valid argument for opposition, then you’re right, we will never agree. As the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
    BTW, I would hardly classify Dumbo, with it’s badly cobbled streets, broken sidewalks, noise pollution, and overall sense of dereliction, a “world class location” That’s pure real-estate-ese for “we bought it cheap, let’s see how many suckers we can get to bite”

  • Carlo Trigiani


    Sorry you lost your view. The JWs built a wall in the courtyard adjoining my 2nd story apartment. My sunlight will never be the same. Unfortunately for you and me, we aren’t the only folks with rights.

    I visit my doctor regularly and he tells me I don’t suffer from myopia. I have considered the opposition’s position and conclude it is based on the single argument that this building will ruin the views of the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t agree with the argument. I find it overblown and sensational.

    But back to myopia – have you considered all the benefits the project has to offer? Have you considered that some folks need affordable housing? Have you considered the parking that will be needed when the BB Park gets constructed? Have you considered the jobs that will be created? Or are you blind to reason?

    DUMBO is a world class location obviously, or we wouldn’t be arguing over it. DUMBO is part of the Brooklyn Bridge experience as your comrades would put it. Let’s fix the sidewalks and cobblestone streets. I’m a little confused – why are you fighting so hard to preserve the “dereliction”. One need not work in real estate to see the potential DUMBO has to offer.

    I too consider myself a lover of architecture. Here’s a new angle for you. Do you consider the existing structure – an 18 foot cinderblock building – a marvel of architecture? Can’t you agree that the proposed building would be an improvement over the existing structure? I personnally find the existing building bland and un-inspiring.

    Keep the barbs coming. I kind of enjoy it.

  • davoyager

    Personally I think we should tear down the old Squibb buildings. That way we could actually see the whole bridge from up here in the Heights. I also think One Brooklyn Bridge Park should be torn down because it blocks the view from my roof of the wonderful iconic NY Harbor, one of the greatest natural harbors in the world and the great NY skyline that rises from the rivers. My house would be ever so much more valuable if we had that view restored.
    If you don’t want to do these things than do Emily the honor of building this school for the children of Brooklyn; because it’s the right thing to do.