Should “Save Pier Six” and “Save the View Now” Merge Their Efforts?

Two controversies concerning present and future development projects at Brooklyn Bridge Park have roiled Brooklyn Heights lately. The first, being advanced under the banners of Save Pier 6 and People For Green Space, concerns plans, as not yet implemented, to build two high rise residential buildings near the entrance to Pier Six. The second, called Save The View Now, has arisen more recently as the height of the Pierhouse structure next to Pier One has increased, and focuses on trying to enforce an agreement made in 2005 that the height of any structure on that site would not exceed the height, excluding from that height any bulkheads or mechanicals structures, of the National Cold Storage Warehouse building that previously stood there.

At the initial public meeting of Save The View Now, organizer Steven Guterman cautioned against “going off on tangents” such as other Park related controversies like the Pier Six issue, which he said were also worthy concerns. It has, however, since been suggested that the two groups should present a united front for greater effectiveness. Others have argued that the two campaigns face different legal issues. The Pier Six campaign has been underway longer, and last July succeeded in getting a court to issue a temporary injunction against the Park’s proceeding with final approval of any development proposals for the Pier Six site. The basic legal thrust of the campaign now is to compel the Park to perform a new environmental assessment that would take into account the effect of the high rise residential structures on the local infrastructure, including among other things schools, transportation, traffic, and health care (now severely impacted by the closing of Long Island College Hospital, the site of which is slated to contain many more residential units, which will impose further stresses on infrastructure). In addition, the Pier Six campaign seeks to compel re-examination of the Park’s revenue and expense projections that support the need for the additional funds the high rise buildings would provide.

Save The View Now has been in existence for less time, but has succeeded in getting considerable media attention, including, most recently, this Daily News piece by Glynnis MacNicol. Its legal strategy must focus on stopping work on the Pierhouse and enforcing the 2005 agreement so as to reduce the present height of the structure. Nevertheless, arguments concerning the environmental impact of additional hotel and residential units, and regarding the Park’s need for the revenue from them, might prove useful.

What do you think?

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  • Fritz

    Pier 6 and Pierhouse are distinctly different issues. Pier 6 is encumbered by the sense it’s mostly opposition to affordable housing in the Nabe. Not entirely wrong either. Pierhouse is taking away amenities from everyone, and the breaking of a past agreement to gain more profit. Alliance between the two would undermine opposition to Pierhouse.

  • littlestbird

    Save Pier 6 is against unnecessary concrete and glass, mostly luxury (!!) condos in a park… that has millions in future revenues unacknowledged by the Park Corp that is blocking a transparent financial analysis. Building at Pier 6 will take away park space for everyone, in favor of housing for the few, along one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the entire city. Views of the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge, the harbor! The Statue of Liberty. We are looking to the future, being proactive! not reactive. Park space is precious. The park’s potential visitors has consistently been underestimated… Let’s celebrate BBP’s success as a park… Let’s all unite as a neighborhood and find places for affordable housing within our community, but let’s not build more luxury housing in our park, in everyone’s park! Save Pier 6 has been working really hard… progress on legal efforts… lots of analysis … and want to share what we have found and learn from our community. Please consider joining us at a town hall on Saturday 24 @ 3pm. I dream of a kids vegetable garden at Pier 6 ;) … and a safe, non traffic congested, park entrance that strengthens the Atlantic Ave corridor…

  • judifrancis

    Housing is not (nor ever was) needed to fund this park. There were many ways to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park but the Bloomberg administration decided to execute what Michael Van Valkenburg called (NYT 3/24/10) “an experiment”- diverting park residents’ taxes away from the city as a whole and only to this park, to fund it. The other funding options have long been documented but as local politicians continued the idea of PILOT’s for this park, the second issue became “no more housing than is necessary to fund the park”. The Save Pier 6 folks have found that the park, with its gold plated budget, is more than fully funded without the new Pier 6 housing! So, now we find out that the deal the Heights Association made with the Development Corporation was broken and a new group, Save the View, rises up. This Pier Houses are grotesque from many vantage points, not just the Promenade. Brooklynites have lost their view of the Great Bridge for almost all Brooklynites (except for those few who will live inside the park). The views from the park, for park goers, have been destroyed. So, both issues are critical and a new analysis of park funding, and the impacts (for schools, etc, too) must be studied and a new EIS will do that. Both groups have it in their best interest to advocate for a new EIS and new GPP, together. Then, maybe, after 10 years of advocacy, and 30 years in the making, we can “right” this park and secure what we have all wanted – a great park in honor of the Great Bridge for which is it named!

  • littestbird

    Fritz, this is Lori. As someone who has spent.. a lot of my own personal time on Save Pier 6, I appreciate your perspective, and would be grateful for a chance to chat with you. On a personal note, I believe I am the last person.. to be against affordable housing. Will you consider coffee or tea with me? message me at or on Facebook.

  • StoptheChop

    Once upon a time, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition advocated on behalf of both the park (ie, having one, instead of letting the Port Authority develop the piers– what irony!) and on behalf of the adjoining communities (so that we now have the Main St playground instead of a cantilevered boutique hotel that Walentas wanted to build there, eg). Now that the Coalition is the Conservancy — the BBP Corporation’s programming arm — with a toothless “Citizens’ Advisory Committee”, it’s great that true community advocates are rising again. In addition to fighting PierHouse and Pier 6, it’s only sad that It’s too late to stop the BBP’s high-end shopping mall plan for Empire Stores, which will soon dominate (an already tourist-overrun) DUMBO.

  • polka

    I still find it hard to believe that anyone would actually live there or stay there as a hotel option. In the winter its a barren, mostly desolate and cold/windy part of town. In the summer, its completely overrun with tourists. The soot and pollution from the BQE is nasty year round.
    Its a total eyesore. No more building at all should ever be allowed in the park.

  • bethman14

    You can’t understand why a tourist would want to stay at a hotel in an area with lots of tourists?

  • bethman14

    Uhm, no, not really. A small handful of extraordinarily wealthy people who live in Fruit St. houses with views of the promenade have lost some of their view. Other parts of the promenade have lost a tine sliver of view of one portion of the bridge. “All Brooklynites” can see the Brooklyn bridge from countless different vantage points.

  • bethman14

    Why don’t we bulldoze every single building built after May 24th 1883 within a 5 mile radius of the Brooklyn Bridge? That way we’d preserve EXACTLY what it looked like when it was built, and none of the wealthy NIMBYs who live in old Brooklyn Heights mansions would be impacted! In fact they’d benefit by no longer having to deal with people not as rich as they are, the poor, helicopters, other people, etc. Its the perfect solution for all of Brooklyn Heights’ problems. Only problem is getting access for their domestics and nannies.

  • Bornhere

    Why do you see the choice as being between 19th-century farmland and the current over-building, over-crowding, and diminishing quality of life? Is it really NIMBY-ism to want to maintain the gift of living in a unique area, in which there is a true sense of neighborhood and history, and less glass, concrete, commercialism, and compromise of space and view? Must everything be bigger and “more”? Is it so hard to understand that it is not elitist to love what was? And, if anyone is hurt by the relentless building, it is likely those who have lived here for generations and are probably more “poor” than those who have come to the Heights since 1990. And, oh, yeah — I actually like the helicopters.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    You are so FOS, it’s coming out of your ears.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    The Fruit Street Sitting Area was a wonderful spot to watch fireworks from. For everyone.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Bethman, you also advocated on this site for that high-rise that will cast shadows on Cadman Plaza Park. Even if you don’t admit it, I believe you have a direct or indirect financial interest in these giants being built, and should probably be banned for nondisclosure.

  • Andrew Porter

    Why don’t you go back to your den under the Brooklyn Bridge? Your trollish remarks are offensive.

  • Polka

    The bldg in the park is an eyesore from all angles.

  • ml77

    When I saw photos recently, Pierhouse did not appear to be significantly higher than the old warehouse. This outrage combined with the opposition to Pier 6 makes it appear that some locals simply don’t want any development in the park, despite that being the centerpiece of the agreement to build the park in the first place.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    You need to go to Columbia Heights at Middagh St., and see for yourself.

  • Jazz

    It’s clear why you don’t care about the view. You live under the bridge.

  • Bongo

    And it still will be. Fireworks tend to explode high in the air, not at eye-level.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Not these fireworks! Please do your research before commenting, Bongo. Standards are higher here than over at Gothamist.

  • Bongo

    Handheld sparklers being waved from Pier 2 do not count.

  • Bongo

    oh. I see what you did there.

  • judifrancis

    I agree that many folks who seem fine with destroying the views of the Bridge from the park, from the promenade and from other critical vantage points in Brooklyn do seem to be special advocates of these high-rises, and maybe have financial interests in them as well. Someone named “Adrian Benepe” gives many positive reviews to the pro-park housing commenters,,,,Could it be “the” Adrian Benepe who led the Parks Dept under Bloomberg, and who is one of the authors of private housing inside our park?! Not being skilled at this blogging thing myself, it is curious, is it not? Shouldn’t this be a place where identities are fully known? Silly me for asking.

  • bethman14

    You’re right! I don’t really care about the view of a sliver of the bridge from a sliver of the promenade that’s located in a sliver of Brooklyn.

  • bethman14

    Ah anyone who disagrees with the Party line must be a corrupt counter-revolutionary. Gotcha.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    I looked at the comment history of “Adrian Benepe” (when the name pops up, click on it to access the several dozen comments on various blogs). He seems like the actual Bloomberg Parks Dept. Adrian Benepe to me!

  • judifrancis

    Yup, one and the same Adrian Benepe, defender of privatization of public parks. Now promoting the same across the entire US from his perch at the Trust for Public Lands – guess it ain’t going so good in other parts if he has so much time on his hands to watch this little blog and “like” its housing. Yikes, pathetic!!

  • scalefactor

    No they shouldn’t merge. They are two different issues. I don’t care that BBP is building Pierhouse at pier one and two other buildings at pier six, that was part of the deal for the park. I don’t care who uses the buildings. What I care about is that there was an agreement to limit the height of the Pierhouse building and that agreement is being ignored by BBP. That height limit was clearly recognized in the competition brief, the building renderings, the EIS. Saying that the additional height is now needed for mechanical equipment is BS. No building that size needs 3 stories of mechanical equipment.