Heights Preservationist and Former LPC Write Stern Op-Ed About Pierhouse Blocking Brooklyn Bridge Vista

Heights Preservationist Martin L. Schneider has written an op-ed for the NY Daily News along with former LPC commissioner Beverly Moss Spatt expressing their strong opposition and outrage over the height of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pierhouse condo.

RELATED: Height of BBP’s Pierhouse Hotel: What Exactly IS the Deal? | BHA Seeks Smaller Tower at Pier 6; Slams Pierhouse Addition

NYDN: That choice location was sold off to private developers as part of a long-term financing scheme for the park. But its sale came with a very important limitation any building built there had to respect the view of the bridge.

This height limitation, spelled out in the final environmental impact statement issued by the Empire State Development Corporation in December 2005, has now been ignored by the winning bidder.

In September, the new building’s superstructure was topped out. For us onlookers, the view was drastically compromised. The new additions to the top of the building block out the lower portion of the east tower, parts of the sweeping cable structure and roadway, and scenic views of Upper Manhattan including the Chrysler Building. We were shocked.

The truth is that many of us are disappointed that this time the view of the great bridge has failed to generate much of an outcry. With the topping-out flag flying on the obstructing building it might be too late. But, the fact is the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation could, if it chose to, take action to enforce the original understanding. After some delay, the Brooklyn Heights Association has quietly taken up the battle against those who seem to have no interest in the public’s right to heart-stirring, historically significant views which every day attract visitors from across the world.

Read the full Op-Ed here.

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  • Solovely

    Surely a “world-class park” begins with preserving “an inspiring, world-class vista.” This is shameful hubris of our leadership and our generation if we do not fight it.

  • johnny cakes

    Tear the building down. Don’t let the cheaters win.

  • nicky

    the BHA has failed again

  • ToddC

    As with the case of the Pier 6 development, the BBPC is simply going back on its word and stated goals of the park. From the literal text of the BBPC Final Environmental Impact Statement, you can find the following comment from Community Board 2 and the BBPC reply:

    From Community Board 2:
    The plans should not include any new buildings that decrease any existing views, such as of the Brooklyn Bridge or notable Manhattan Buildings from the Promenade or the park.

    From BBPC:
    Comment noted. As described on page 8-15 of the EIS, any new construction within the area protected by the Brooklyn Heights Scenic View District would be required to comply with its regulations. The proposed project would not result in significant adverse impacts to views, including from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

    I guess it all boils down to what you consider significant.

    You can read this for yourself:
    http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/pages/Final-Environmental-Impact-Statement-FEIS Chapter 24, Page 81, Comment 207

  • WOW

    What a great video.

  • Solovely

    I haven’t walked past recently.. are they still actively completing this building? or have they stopped?

  • Secord

    And then there’s this from section 8-15 that they themselves quote:

    The northern of the two proposed buildings that would be constructed on the National Cold Storage buildings site also would be outside of the area protected by the scenic view district. The new buildings in this area would **not eliminate any views from the Promenade to the skyline of Lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island, Brooklyn Bridge**, Statue of Liberty, or New York Harbor, or to the adjacent buildings of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

  • miriamcb

    I have been past most days in the last few weeks. Every time, the building appears to be still in the construction process, height-wise. It gets taller every week – whether they are actually finished topping out the building, I don’t know. I thought 2 weeks ago they were, but I was definitely wrong!

  • StoptheChop

    And dontcha love the tour buses that are parking in the “NO STOPPING” area? While BBPC claims that it can’t do anything about it–

  • David on Middagh

    They were working on it today. The southern end (close to the bouncy bridge) is being raised up, up, up to seemingly match the objectionable height of the northern end (with the top-out flag).

    /fantasies of molotov cocktails

  • stuart

    This is proof that the BHA and the Brooklyn Heights community has lost all its clout and political might. Today we are much diminished from our heyday. Power has shifted away from the Heights and now we seem unable even to demand that the written terms of a public contract be enforced. Sad.

  • Martin Hale

    We are dealing with a gutless BHA and a board of BBP that appears potentially exposed on a number of fronts to claims of acting in bad faith and misconduct. The BBP board’s budget shenanigans are yet another example – hiding $500m+ in 50 year surpluses to justify towers that, by their own words in court, would be as small as possible to fund the park. This story deserves more attention. At what point must an EDC be held accountable?

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Just like what SUNY did to close LICH. But good luck getting any newspapers other than the Brooklyn Eagle and the Red Hook Star Revue to cover real estate encroachment. See how the NY Times and the rest of the real estate-owned newspapers handled SUNY’s siege of LICH.

    Brooklyn Heights and vicinity is under siege.

  • Mary

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that there’s bad planning afoot in Brooklyn! There is nothing world-class in the BBP – just the usual bad taste and big money. This is not a park as envisioned by preservationists, landscape architects and arborists. It’s a noisy, commercial waterfront mall and a tacky one at that. Johnny cakes has the right idea. BTW: Thanks for the great video!

  • concerned citizen

    Who do you recommend we contact to register a complaint about this?

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Evidently, not our local representatives and certainly not our Mayor — and, forget Cuomo. Your guess is as good as mine.

  • RS

    It’s amazing to me that this conversation is just beginning now that it is already built and rising further. Anyone walking on the Promenade early this summer could see that the rising building was blocking the protected view that we were all told would be preserved. It is another example of political and business interests working against our communities and a lack of outrage. Look at what was allowed to be built on Dock Street, and now Pier 1 and soon on Pier 6. I take every letter from BBP and throw it into the garbage and would never again give them one cent. And we should hold responsible every politician that we have foolishly elected during this entire period for failing to take a strong stand, as well as the press. I feel sorry about our view that is lost forever, and the overcrowding at PS 8 which gets worse with every new building.The rich are protected with their new multi-million residential and hotel views and access to private schools.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    And the loss of our hospital. Similar circumstances and similar villains with the addition of Cuomo.

  • Carlotta

    A town hall meeting? A protest march? Levin? DeBlasio? Simmons? Squadron? Shumer? The view is WORLD CLASS. The park is not. We need “serious community action”. Will the BHA address this with the community? Or, do we need to do it without them?

  • miriamcb

    Yea, I walked past this morning and made a note from the Promenade. When exiting at Montague, you still cannot see the traffic on the bridge due to the building going up (or any of the manhattan bridge behind it). The whole view for most of the Promenade is compromised, that’s for sure.

  • A Neighbor

    Everyone, send emails to Alexandra Bowie, BHA president, and tell her you want a town hall meeting — preferably with the BBPC, landmarks people, lawyers present. It needs to be done fast. Only community pressure for a town hall meeting is going to make it happen.

  • Martin hale

    A few ideas:
    1. Show up tonight at the community advisory committee meeting at 334 Furman Street at 630
    2. Donate to savepier6.org
    3. Help people for green space with time and connections if any
    4. Write the Mayor.


  • sue

    our electeds are worthless.. they need to be replaced especially Levin

  • nicky

    The BHA is over. The only person to step in is Mayor DeBlasio as Alicia Glen the BBPDC chair is his deputy mayor and she is acting for him. He can call a moratorium until we figure our the PS 8 overcrowding issue. I say march over the bridge in early December to stop the destruction of our beloved neighborhood. Stop the Library Condos and use the site for a refurbished library and a school.. Halt the Pier 6 overbuild until the BBPDC can truly show if its needed.. Ask Bill to give us a school as he used us and LICH to get elected and then walked away.

  • petercow

    I encourage anybody, like myself, that became a charter member of the park, to not renew their membership if this isn’t addressed.

    If you tweet to them, you might want to use the hashtag #BBBetrayal

  • StoptheChop

    BHA has been in contact with Regina Myer, who wrote back the most condescending, CYA letter possible– that also claimed with a straight face that the BBPC has really relied on community input for the Park (including a “robust and transparent design process”). It’s very hard for anyone in our community to act when our elected officials are routinely shouted down at BBPC meetings, and when deBlasio supports everything they do (because “destination park”) and because he’s shown how indifferent he is to actual communities vs tourism and real estate development. I wish the City Council, as a whole, would get involved and support us, since City Hall considers us to be so dispensable, and since the BBPC is so determined to show us they’re boss!

  • StoptheChop

    Mayor deBlasio doesn’t WANT to call a moratorium! The more tourists and real estate development, regardless of neighborhood impact, the better as far as he’s concerned — Candidate deBlasio was long, long ago. Any community that pushes back against anything he’s doing is definitionally wrong to oppose him; he’s made that quite clear. After all, he’s the “Most Progressive Mayor Evah”. Other elected officials are still rolling over for him, because he’s proven himself also to be a vindictive bully, but that seems to be slowly changing. So, maybe Speaker Mark-Viverito and Comptroller Stringer would be the way to go?

  • Solovely

    Construction should STOP.

  • John Jay

    Conservancy very different from the BBP Corp. Conservancy raises money for the terrific free programming that goes on in the park. Conservancy does not work on any of the real estate issues in the park.

  • Solovely

    Conservancy issues letters supporting the Park Corp’s building in the park / real estate development. BUT has not issued a letter against this height violation. There is a dichotomy here.