So What Do You Think About the New York Times Op-Ed on Brooklyn Bridge Pier 6 Housing?

The New York Times weighs in today on the controversy about the housing planned for Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6.
What do you think of their take?

Comment away!

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The NY Times Sheds Light on the Opposition to Affordable Housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park

NYT: Thankfully, many of their neighbors in Brooklyn see through those arguments. They recognize that raising a ruckus about “crowding,” property values, traffic and school capacity is just a less obvious way to try to keep poor, or poorer, people off your block, and out of your park. The following statements are true, and not incompatible: Private development is essential to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s success. But a lack of affordable housing is a citywide emergency. Brooklyn Bridge Park can sustain itself through its public-private model and still have some affordable units built on its edges. The Brooklyn waterfront can and should stay green without becoming a luxury enclave, because this city gem is nobody’s private backyard.

From the Brooklyn Bugle: The New York Times P***es Me Off Endlessly

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  • stuart

    I’m serious, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn are not going to get any less crowded or busy. On the contrary, the place is booming. That means many new tall buildings, more people, more diversity. If these things bother you and if you are deathly afraid of tall buildings, you really are nuts staying in NYC.

  • Simon

    BTW how does Brownstoner pretend to get away with being objective about the park or anything involving developers, the city etc when they are clearly directly in business with those same people with this Schmuckusbourg thing. Just askin’.

  • guest

    People who are against the Pier 6 buildings are frustrated as being labelled as “anti-affordable housing.” And that’s understandable since I guess it’s true that many of those folks don’t think they are fighting affordable housing. But there are two very good reasons why people keep on bringing up affordable housing. First of all, the lawsuit that was brought (by you Lori) EXPLICITLY makes an argument against affordable housing. The document is public and anyone can look at it. There is no denying it. If you support this lawsuit, then you are supporting an argument against affordable housing. Period.

    Second, the choice at hand is a smaller building with no affordable housing or a bigger building with affordable housing. The question here is, is it worth it to take on the challenges that come with additional density in order to address the affordability crisis. If you are fighting for smaller buildings than you are saying that it’s not worth it. Those of us pushing for these projects think that it’s worth it. We think that we can address any of the issues it raises some other way. SO it may feel to you like you are fighting against congestion, but you could just as easily be fighting for more school capacity to address this issue instead. You are choosing instead to fight against these buildings.

  • Jorale-man

    That’s good to hear. I really like Smorgasburg in principal but it’s made Joralemon Street unwalkable on Sundays.

  • marshasrimler

    yes.. yes…

  • Solovely

    for what it’s worth — that Lori isn’t me ;)

  • MrGrace

    I work as a freelancer for the NYT, I’m also a resident of Brooklyn Heights as of this year. I’m not a millionaire, I live in a diverse co-op building that was more affordable than anything in Williamsburg or LIC. I look around and I see not the elite, but people with longstanding roots in the neighborhood. I fell in love with the peace and quiet and intimacy of the neighborhood, and thought that it would stay like that for a long time to come. We were considering an apartment on Clinton Street until we found out that the library across the street would probably become a construction site for a 40-story building. On the weekends I walk down Joralemon and feel awful for the people on the block that leads to the park, it was dead quiet when I moved here, and in a couple short months has become a congested and loud throng on the weekends. This editorial is condescending and shows absolutely no understanding of the culture and community that unrestrained private development will harm. The critics of the Times are always warning against things like the expansion of MoMA and the Frick, and the luxury towers going up in the 50’s that will cast shadows across Central Park. It is completely disingenuous to frame this as rich people being afraid of poor people. “Thankfully, many of their neighbors in Brooklyn see through those arguments” – I think they mean hypocritical elitists, real estate developers, and short sighted one-term mayors.

  • guest

    Actually you’re advocating for 2 things – explicitly in your lawsuit. One is a new EIS. The other is against affordable housing.

  • nathan

    Stuart, think you don’t understand the point. It’s not about diversity (huh?). It’s great the area is booming, which is MORE of a reason to conserve precious park space. Do you think a New York City park is the best place for new tall buildings? Do you think more development is a good idea, without corresponding infrastructure development? All New Yorkers understand noise, buses, and crowds are part of our lives, we also think those things are more appropriate on 14th St in Manhattan than a city park.

  • Solovely

    are you against the new EIS? ;)

    The GPP calls for “minimizing the development footprint” because it’s supposed to be a park for everyone, as the first priority, before it is housing for any small, limited, number of people. One can always go back to Albany, change the GPP, and ask for whatever one wants.

    And, as is well established, I don’t believe in the housing-to-pay-for-a-park model. I think the model is a shell game and this is a land ethics problem. Housing paying for a park is not “magic money”.

  • Solovely

    just a thought… its 85 acres.. and I think that includes 10 acres of “calm waters” added later on? and then you’ve got roads.. and the development sites.. and then, rough estimates are, we’re looking at more like 60 acres? and then you takeaway in addition, perhaps, that super steep berm in front of the promenade?

  • johnny cakes

    DeBlasio is a traitor to the people who elected him. He smells rotten.

  • Willowtown Resident

    Whatever – I mourn the entire brooklyn waterfront and so should you. We could have been “a contender and now we’re just a bum”. It could have been like paris … and instead we get east germany. The NIMBY argument is a cheap shot and fundamentally flawed. Affordable housing is an important priority but it does not trump bad design and neighborhood character. This is Robert Moses part II.

  • Kay Corkett

    so true and well said.

  • Kay Corkett

    again, so true and well said.

  • skunky

    Wow, you can tell people’s income levels by just looking at them? Impressive!

  • skunky

    You mourn the decrepit wasteland that used to be where the park is now?

  • Strauss

    The NYT Editorial page is always entirely predictable, and rarely provides any nuance or complicates my thinking about anything. So the editorial was no surprise. It’s also clear that they don’t spend much time in the park, whose visitors wonderfully reflect the diversity (economic and racial) of our borough. As an owner in OBBP, and a 1%er, I’m insulted by “keep poor, or poorer, people off your block, and out of your park.” Insulted, but not surprised.

  • john good

    No, I can tell by talking with them while their kids play with my kid.

    It’s pathetic how the strongest argument the NYT and people of your ilk can come up with is to paint people with the classist brush. Seriously, you should spend some time in BBP.

    People have legitimate concerns.

  • cmpizz

    I agree that it really isn’t about low income housing (affordable housing) but instead that a huge development is directly abutting the park. It does reduce my enjoyment of the park. On another note, Smorgasburg isn’t coming back next year? I had no idea.

  • Cathryn

    I agree! Part of the beauty of that area is the low skyline. Let’s keep out the high buildings. And sure, let’s include some affordable housing!

  • skunky

    Legitimate concerns about the presence of affordable housing? Because I didn’t see any lawsuits about the Pier House or 20 Henry St. People of my “ilk” find it hilarious that thinly veiled NIMBYism and classism is dressed up as “legitimate concerns” by people who just moved to the neighborhood.

  • Just saying

    I completely agree with you Cathleen – the area does not have the ability for this many people as it is – has anyone been down there in the last week or so – it’s insanely crowded – there’s no security and people are already leaving trash all over the place! Add in the amount of housing being proposed and the park will become the backyard for the residents of those buildings leaving little to no room for anyone else to enjoy it. I am not against affordable housing, I’m only against the fact that I already feel the park is over crowded and the proposed plans will make that many many times worse for all of us. There must be some other solution for the funding of the park. My husband and I were down there this weekend with our newborn and we couldn’t find a single seat on a bench or anywhere else to feed her a bottle – how will that be better when all of these new buildings being proposed are filled?

  • Banet

    Lori, indeed the exact acreage is a little confusing. A few details:

    — Yes, the acreage number the park bandies about includes some of the water. I think that’s a bit of a cheat myself.

    — Whatever the acreage, all of Pier 6 was *added* to the park after the original “give up some land to pay for the park” deal was made. So there’s a lot more park than originally expected.

    — The original deal allowed for up to 20% of the parkland to be developed to pay for the park. In the end, only about 10% will be developed so I think they’ve done a pretty good job in that regard.

    — Those berms, for all the sapce they take up, in my opinion add a tremendous amount of usable acreage to the park. Before they were there all of the space next to them (and now under them) was dominated by the roar of traffic. It was bordering on useless space. Now, when you walk behind the berms the traffic just… disappears. It’s amazing. Take a walk and hear for yourself. As you approach from the south all you hear by the Montague street vent shaft is traffic. Take a few more paces and voila! You can hear the waves lapping on the Pier 4 beach. Amazing. I can’t wait for them to build more berm. I just wish they built some seating into them so people could sit and reflect and relax.

  • Robert S 11201

    Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill residents pay among the highest local income and property taxes in New York City and in return we live in an area limited to essentially six story residential buildings. Our income and property taxes sustain beautiful parks throughout the city with no need to building sky scrapers to support them, e.g. in Central Park, Prospect Park, Van Courtlandt Park. The objection isn’t to building height, it’s to any buildings. By the time the mayor, borough president and council members finish selling out to developers, you won’t be able to find the park unless you live there. If anyone has any doubts about that, try and find a way into the public park behind Battery Park City. The point isn’t buildings, it’s a park. Let tax rolls support it. The developers are guaranteed to end up being subsidized and the park will be sustained by tax rolls anyway.

  • gatornyc

    Smorgasburg will be displaced by the construction of the Pier 5 uplands, which is now funded. It will be passive space, mostly lawns and plantings.

  • bethman14

    Could have been like Paris? You mean an exceptionally well preserved historic core populated by the super, hyper wealthy and tourists with the poor forced to the grimmest, nastiest industrial suburbs you can imagine?
    Yup, that pretty much sums up the Brooklyn Heights vision of the world.

  • bethman14

    I don’t get it. The park is succesful, so it shouldn’t be funded? Or are you outraged that the unwashed masses now have a reason to walk through your previously exclusive enclave?

  • Martin L Schneider

    The Mayor’s plea for more affordable is a snare and a delusion regardless of where it is located. Why? Because his version of AH is guided and shaped by the policy makers of the real estate industry. The industry profits by the subsidies the City gives them in exchange for a very limited number of units. The City profits because it becomes a hidden cost to the taxpayer and is buried in the budget figures. It’s a delusion because the numbers of units being made available are trivial compared to the vast need. Not to mention the built in disparity and inevitable conflict between the richer tenants and the poorer ones.
    What is the answer? Simple: follow the lead pioneered decades ago in NYC with non-profit, cooperative housing. Take the big bucks out of big-time development; get future beneficiaries involved and responsible; create true neighborhoods and communities and an altogether healthier City.

  • bethman14

    Right, right, totally undestanbe. You totally support development and affordable housing, you absolutly understand that you live in a city that is practically defined by dynamic growth, high density development and tall buildings. You just want it on 14th Street. You’re good with all of this as long as its not in your backyard. Ohhh shoot wait that makes you a NIMBY.