Brooklyn Bridge Park States Its Case in Pierhouse View Dispute

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has provided us with a link to part of the visual presentation that accompanied Park Corporation VP for Real Estate David Lowin’s talk at last Wednesday’s Community Advisory Council meeting.

The presentation shows comparative views (scroll to the bottom) in photos taken in 2008, before the National Cold Storage Warehouse buildings were demolished, and recently, with the “Parcel A” portion of the Pierhouse (at least the northern part of it) topped off. The comparison photos from the Promenade between Montague and Remsen streets show that, in 2008. the warehouse buildings barely obscured the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge from that vantage point, but if the bulkheads on the tallest part were taken away (which the 2005 Agreement sought to exclude from the height limit for any structure built on the site) it would not. The recent photo from the same viewpoint shows the Pierhouse obscuring more of the Bridge vertically than did the warehouse, but opening up some view of the East River and Manhattan to the left, allowing a view of the western anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge. Whether this improvement will be limited once the build out of Parcel B is complete–it is not within the designated SV-1 view plane–remains to be seen. The spire of the Chrysler Building is still visible (Hooray!), as is (alas) the new 432 Park Avenue.

The comparative views from a vantage point on the Promenade at the foot of Pineapple Street show a dramatic difference in the vertical view obstruction (this is what prompted an audience member at the CAC meeting to shout to Mr. Lowin, “Are you embarrassed?”) although again the horizontal view is improved, with the Empire State Building and the old New York Post (now Manhattan Mini Storage) building visible. Again, the build out of Parcel B may affect this. The views from Orange Street (northern end of the Promenade) show little difference in vertical obstruction (considerable in both instances) but a definite improvement in views of the western part of the Bridge. This improvement does not seem likely to be impaired by the completed structure on Parcel B, provided that the 55 foot height limit is observed.

The views from Squibb Park show an unambiguous improvement. With the warehouse, there was no view at all other than a sheer wall. Pierhouse will allow some view through the gap between the buildings on Parcels A and B, where the footbridge runs. What’s unanswered is why that gap, and view, isn’t wider. Save The View Now, in their visual presentation to the CAC, quoted the design guidelines for Parcel A as follows:

Respondents are strongly encouraged to transition in height down to no more than 34’ within 80 feet of the southern courtyard, limiting the height of the southern section of Parcel A, across Furman Street from Squibb Park, in order to protect the views of the East River from Squibb Park.

Evidently strong encouragement didn’t work, as the Parcel A structure maintains, apart from a small setback at the four story level, its full height to its southern end. As STVN points out, this also affects views of the Bridge from the Promenade.

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  • Heights Correspondent 1

    What did anything expect? The execs and staff of
    The BBP came to the meeting, thumbed their noses
    at the community and left.

    Sure, they have nothing to fear from the once powerful
    Brooklyn heights. Because like all perps they know
    You’re unarmed..they know you’re NOT doing the
    Key things that will stop their rampage…so they
    all walked out untroubled, very content….

  • Conan the Grammarian

    Oh, Heights Correspondent 1, please don’t change. Keep on capitalizing the first letter of each line of your comments, grammar be damned!

  • johnny cakes

    HC1sounds like Crusty the Clown, aka, Joe A. Same point of view, and attitude. Bad cop. Don’t accept a morality ticket from him. It is invalid.

  • Heights Correspondent 1

    Brilliant’ now try to address the subject…

  • Heights Correspondent 1

    It politely or social activism every pro knows that
    there is a kind hostile type which has the role of
    confusing the issues or causing general disruption
    so no one can focus on the critical questions
    At hand…the last few voices you heard are….

  • Heights Correspondent 1

    And the fact remains that everything I said is
    True..the Heights is fast declining directly due to the
    total lack of any responsible action by any of the figures
    Who pose as our “leaders” the actions which are needed
    Have clearly been indicated in recent days…read a little
    And gain some wisdom. Instead of rain puddle deep
    Remarks..and thinking.

    You know, for this once powerful place, we really need
    A Heights Renaissance movement or Party.

  • ujh

    Claude, please note that Parcel B lies inside the SV-1 view shed and for this reason is limited in height, approximately half as high as the Parcel A Pierhouse. Because of this restriction, BBPC requested a review of construction plans by the Department of Buildings to ensure that this restriction is being adhered to, although the developer may be authorized to add a few feet mandated by the flood plain regulations.
    Anyone who has had geometry in school knows that perspective changes and angles increase the closer one moves toward a given object and decrease with increasing distance from the object. That explains the importance of making comparisons using literally the same “standpoint.”

  • ClaudeScales

    I know that Parcel B is, at least in large part, inside the SV-1 view shed. The photos show comparisons from different standpoints. I’m not sure that, when fully built, Parcel B will not block some views that are outside SV-1 that are not blocked by the structures on Parcel A. I noted in my post that this almost certainly won’t be true with respect to views from the Orange Street perspective.

  • ujh

    Claude, furthermore, it is the close proximity to the Squibb Park bridge of the 100+ foot high hotel on Parcel A and the 50+ foot high residential building on Parcel B which creates a “tunnel” view of the park and downtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, not until one reaches the bridge’s “elbow” farther down does the view open up.

  • ClaudeScales

    Yes, that is correct. I simply contrasted the “tunnel” view from Squibb with no view at all, which was the situation with the warehouse. I noted that the view would be better if the developer had adhered to the original plan to have an 80 foot setback at the 34 foot level instead of a modest (I’d estimate 30 foot) setback at the four story level.