“Flatiron” Design Proposed For Library Site

The Daily News has published this rendering by Marvel Architects (those wonderful folks who brought us Pierhouse) of the latest envisioning of the building that will stand where the Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library now stands. Sadly, for your correspondent, it does not appear to include preservation of the lovely WPA-style friezes of “art,” “literature,” “science,” and “industry” that now adorn the doomed building.

Don’t forget the public hearing on Wednesday evening, June 17, on the transfer of ownership of the library.

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  • Willow Street Watch

    What’s silly or really mindless, is a lack of recognition of the dead accurate nature of the example. I’m sure certain people are made uncomfortable. Sure, every infestation hates it when the owner of a property happens to turn on a light in a basement….

  • Willow Street Watch

    Question: what did everyone think of last night’s CB 2’s meeting? I thought the tie vote and deferment to a later date was impressive
    given the former shoe-in status of the approval.

  • guest

    Claude – I think the time has come to exercise your judgement and ban this clown from commenting. He/she adds nothing to the dialogue, hijacks all threads, and now is making blatantly racist and hate-filled comments. If you really want to honor Homer’s memory and keep this blog alive, I think it’s the only choice.

  • DIBS

    The Mitchell Lama one is 31 and the privatized one facing Cadman Plaza is 34. Not talking about the obviously lower buildings.

  • MaryT

    Those buildings are farther away and incorporate wide open space. 10 Clinton and its neighbor buildings are much lower and abut. I’m not getting your point.

  • gatornyc

    No matter how eloquently you try to make this point it smacks of one thing . . . stereotyping and racism (okay, so two things).

  • ShinyNewHandle

    I went to the opera in the park, as I can never find my way around Metrotech. And then it rained.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    What the Willowtown clown says with rancor and ineptness actually DOES capture a portion of the NIMBY sentiment that has a less sewage-y smell but joins the “dissent” just as Clarence Thomas often joins 3 or 4 slightly less crazy guys.

    On the Federal level, people have come to accept that “infrastructure projects” put millions to work. Of course, because it’s government spending, most Republicans oppose it, but the dynamic – GROW OR DIE – is basically just as sound as climate change, even if their supporters’ profiles are as different as can be.

    The only thing I find terrible – going beyond lunacy about “staturary” that I personally find pitiful – is that there is nothing resembling “due process” here. The Library has been starved over the years, so they’re pretty desperate – and would probably take a low-ball offer without much hesitation.

    But – as an astute commentator pointed out – we’ve already seen the “nose under the tent” ploy at work, with “trial balloons” calling for this, that and the other thing – but they didn’t make the “final cut.” (Anybody with a year or so memory re LICH will recognize the playbook.)

    How does the City “make a deal” without anything resembling an arms length appraisal? In a better world, maybe, the City would share in the profits, but even in our current, very flawed one where Bill de B talking “liberal” while he sits down with REBNY and says, “What can we do for each other?” … it’s insane to agree on a price and then spec the darn thing out.

    What homeowner would commit to a renovation at a specified price without having a “concrete” design to reference?!

    Add to it that the folks working for the city (now) might very well wind up in the private sector in a year or 2. If they’re – sorry if there is even one guy or gal there who stays for reasons other than lack of ambition and desire for a decent pension – actually “lifers” at this or that agency, do they begin to have the savvy or smarts or clout of the folks across the table from them?

    And the local pols are more of the same. They’ll posture a little, because it might be hazardous if they looked too much like they’re in the pockets of Marvel and its cronies. But they’ll fold pretty quickly, telling everybody about the “great deal” they got for library users.

    Plenty of park land has been “traded” – probably on equally developer-favorable terms. Should churches get special tax treatment for centuries and then “cash out?” … Should the City consider things like libraries and parks as monopoly money or deeds printed on 2 inch squares of cardboard? I think not. The developers are 1 percenters who need to be dragged from the trough that our City has become. No, you cannot put $1MM down, borrow a ton, and increase your net work $10MM in a year or 2 and have an income stream forever.

    If the City’s employees and politicians started to represents the City’s residents and voters, we might actually get a win-win here, rather than the “1 for you, 20 for me” that’s both normal and seemingly pre-ordained!

  • Willow Street Watch

    Talk about rancor and ineptness…. And empty/obvious rhetoric.

  • Brixtony

    Your comments are bordering on the pathological. Your analogies are illogical and your anger is blatantly hysterical. I think you need to move to a gated community somewhere north of the Arctic circle.

  • Reggie

    You know, so they can make more units. No affordable housing was required by the RFP and building where land is less expensive has resulted in 114 “affordable” apartments.

  • Joe

    wrong. affordable housing was one of the main points of consideration when considering proposals.

    you can see what all the developers proposed. ALL on-site


  • Nomcebo Manzini

    In the past, the architects/developers/etc. involved in this project were criticized for “mock-ups” that were mis-leading – making the proposed building seem smaller than it was.

    Somebody tipped them off to the advantage of “context” – something their building all too clearly lacks – over out-and-out fakery.

    The photo they provided emphasizes how much “open air” there will be by picking some vantage point – top of one of the Bklyn Bridge towers?? – that’s good and far away and shows the “green belt” to maximum advantage. (NY looks much less overbuilt as one enters and leaves a metropolitan airport and is looking at it from a mile above it.)

    I wish I knew enough about “virtualization” to see what the view from Clark & Cadman would look like – pre- and post- (if it comes to that) construction. Plenty of Heights residents border on aghast at what Pier House is doing to views – yes, they were a luxury, but they WERE a shared community asset. Yes, this colossal building will throw a colossal shadow. From sunrise to noon, much of the Heights would have noticeably less sunlight. (Think of it as it is – a daily “eclipse.”)

    And again, is NYC oblivious to subway over-crowding? Be prepared to take a number if you get to the 3 (?) Clark Street elevators anywhere near 8 AM. Used to be that builders had to “give something back” in terms of “amenities” like subway entrances. Now all they have to do is promise a whale of a contribution to this or that pol’s re-election fund.

  • Willow Street Watch

    ALL of what you have just said was mentioned either in testimony or in private contacts last night at the CB 2 meeting. Were you there?

    So besides what you said, what effective methodology do you have
    To halt or limit this approaching menace? Do you have something to
    offer to actually HELP with the situation?

    Because that’s what’s needed now…we all know why this is bad, what
    we need is for something to really help safeguard the Heights.

    I get the impression that somehow you’re not exactly from the Heights.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    So what’s your point? The proposed building will be taller.
    Also “stories” is not an accurate way to measure the height of a building, For example One Pierrepont Plaza (Formerly known as The Morgan Stanly Building) is 19 stories yet about as high as 101 Clark at 31 stories. Reason is, OPP was built to accommodate raised “computer floors” that were necessary to conceal all the bulky wiring required for 80’s era computer and phone networks.

  • Jorale-man

    Notice the large shadow this monstrosity projects over the Heights, even in the glossy rendering. Wonder what it will do to the nearby trees.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Yeppers, the shadow will be long, no doubt.

  • mlcraryville

    I could not attend. But one thing is dead certain: This building will cast dark, morning shadows reaching deep into the Heights all year round. There should be a call for shadow studies accessible on line for all to see which project where and when the shadows will fall. We need to know what we are in for.

  • skunky

    There are two wide open spaces right across the street?

  • Willow Street Watch

    Well, the fireworks began when the board manager seeming to “explained to those opposed that the pro development presentations would go on then the board would vote on the matter.

    This caused Jeffrey Smith to begin to shout that the process had all the openness of a soviet show trial. Others triggered by Smith shouted that he entire process was stacked. The manager quickly rose now saying that opposed comments would follow the presentation. Meanwhile members of the board, used to their insularity, began to shout at those questioning the process to be quiet and ” just listen”…The pro development presentations turned out to be TWO HOURS. The wondonderfully transparent and integral Brooklyn public library board took the position that a 33 floor building was a great ifea because it will allow large funds to, they say, flow to a wide number of other neighborhood projects and libraries all over the borough. Then we had the Hudson company and ” Marvel” architects with their very reasonable (sounding) glowing accounts of the site selection, the funding which will flow to the BPL and why a significantly dowdownsized facility, now half sunken in the ground is a perfectly reasonable idea.

  • MaryT

    Brooklyn Eagle runs a story today on the contentious CB2 meeting Wednesday. The outcome is what the paper calls a “stalemate”. For now… The link: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/6/18/brooklyn-heights-library-cb2-hearing-ends-stalemate-after-hours-testimony-0

  • Nomcebo Manzini


    because what was said at the hearing – the article seems very fine reporting – summarizes the “state of play.” … But I come away thinking that too many folks (like the BHA) have “rolled over.” Do the residents (co-operators, I think) of 40 Clinton have the ghost of a chance of litigation, given that their apartments will go from well-lit to the opposite?

    The absence of infrastructure improvements is very troubling to me. Yes, they’ll have a decent amount (it appears) of underground parking, but given how very heavily trafficked both Clinton St. and CPW are, it would be very tough to provide adequately for cars getting in and out – on either side. Of course, the developers would prefer that the exit be on CPW, because they mention a “townhouse feel” to the proposed Clinton St. main entrance. That would/will have the effect of making the library portion less attractive and less safe.

    Then there’s developer b.s. about “volumetric studies” re sunlight – they are clearly building as high AND as wide as the law permits – when the lying starts before construction, it bodes ill.

    What really would be nice would be tying the building to the BPL delivering on its promise to maintain service for a few years in the Heights. Does anybody believe that they can and will?

    Last, for all that there are thoroughly bigoted comments below – is this blog not “moderated” at all? – one would hope that Heights residents were among those who thought a “poor door” last year was a step too far!!

    So, welcome to 2015, where the affordable housing units that earn the developers the right to go that much higher … put those units a mile or 2 away. I won’t get all high and mighty, but there are a lot more supporters of “narrowing the gap between rich and poor” than there are folks who raise questions about the City VERY CONSCIOUSLY increasing income and race segregation. There’s mention that Eric Adams might get to say something about all this, and it surely would be great if he showed genuine courage here.

    When one thinks how bodies like the one holding this hearing are usually rubber stamps, the fact that they wound up with a tie vote – yes-or-no – speaks volumes as to how malodorous a deal this is.

    Last, here’s what looks like a pretty “fair” – well, probably at “high noon” when nary a shadow can be found – photo that went online earlier this week:


    If Bloomberg were still mayor, it probably would have gone to 50 stories with the proviso that the condo send some money toward the maintenance of the parks that will make each apt. 20-30% more pricey.

    Welcome to Brooklyn’s very own “Second Avenue in the East 80’s!”

  • Willow Street Watch

    Then those opposed were give an opportunity to speak. But the manager said that gt hey would be interspersed with those in support. Several people detailed the many shifts in BPL governors figures on the needs of the system and, at base, there was no transparency in any of the BPL
    Financial process. Many others pointed to the very deliberate allowing the library to deteriorate then asking for funds greatly in excess of what their own engineering departments said was needed. This through the use of consulting firms. Finally two speakers pointed out that prior to the
    “Decline” of the branch, the BPL organization had a long standing reall estate plan to sell off their properties!!!

    Then one long term Heights resident pointed to what had happened with the ratner (all seeing eye) buuilding on the corner of Pierrepont and Cadman. When that building was developed she said, the deal was based on two floors being given to the BPL for expansion. Then ratner reneged
    and the BPL quietly refused to take any enforcement action whatsoever!

  • Willow Street Watch

    Then Joan Millman rose to speak in resounding terms she denounced the sale of public property to private interests as an irreversible loss. Her testimony was met with lour applause! Others followed noting that this was the first such sale in the history of the city and the board was crossing a line, a legagy they would have to live with.

    Others again pointed the the BPL governors’s convoluted and less than clear financial statements. Interestingly, neither Mr White or hus sup-poters brought up the pattern of HOW the BPL board was appointed something that was an item of strong prior investigation by the friends
    of the library organization…the effect of having testimony after a long presentation was that a large number of those wishing to speak who
    Had signed up, had to leave prior to being given a chance to speak.
    After 10 PM one speaker, Doug Bivono detailed the intertwining of the network of mostly well hidden from public view longest organizationsforming the basic corridor between the mayor’s office and the RE development community. As almost the last speaker, neighbor-
    hood activist Jeff Smith rose saying lack of transparency has another two names fraud and scam. He pointed to the increase in population with “not one new police, not one new fire and not one new ems..

  • ws gilbert

    Why are you always so “knee-jerk” pro developer. This building is so large you might see it all the way from Bucks County?

    It is simply too large for the site and overwhelms its neighbors. It doesn’t fit. Many don’t like the Cadman Towers very much. What they replaced were much nicer so why would we want to make the same mistake?

  • Reggie

    You are right, Joe, that affordable housing was part of the RFP. However, to Ben’s accusation, Hudson never said it would construct its affordable units on-site.

  • Reggie

    I am counting the syllables … nope, I thought for a moment SNH had written a haiku.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Re: guest, brixtony, gatornyc: Once upon a time there was a very “interesting” institution named the Frankfurt school. Out of their
    Twisted minds came the freedom crushing doctrine of political correctness. About 1968, campus radicals and soon college administrations began to try to enforce PC. Sonn anything a certain political/cultural sector didn’t want discussed or they had no answer
    To, they sought to ban on campus.

    The American way, siirs, is to refute an argument not to try to ban
    Discussions or a topic. If you have an effective honest reply let’s
    hear it. Otherwise, allow others their honest view on critical matters.

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    Well on the bright side, you’ll no longer need sunglasses in the North Heights.

  • Bornhere

    True — I never thought Brooklyn Heights could become a pitiful Valley of the Shadow of … Shadows.