BHA Names Peter L. Bray New Executive Director

The Eagle reports that the Brooklyn Heights Association has named Park Slope resident Peter L. Bray its new executive director effective September 1. He will replace Judy Stanton, the BHA’s first executive director, who is retiring August 31 after many years’ service.

Mr. Bray previously served as executive director of the New York City Financial Network Action Consortium, an organization he founded to expand financial services to disadvantaged communities. He is a trustee of the Park Slope Civic Council and has played an important role in its successful efforts to expand the Park Slope Historic District. According to the Eagle story, this involved his

undertaking an extraordinary effort of planning, coalition-building and relentless advocacy that he will bring to his BHA role.

He has also, as the Eagle reports,

currently spearheading efforts on behalf of a coalition [including the BHA] of Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods to modify a citywide rezoning proposal that threatens to undo years of efforts by civic organizations to preserve the livable and historic nature of communities in Brooklyn and throughout the city.

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  • Heights Observer

    I guess it is just pointing out the obvious, but qualified as he may be, why is a Park Slope resident being appointed as Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association. There’s NO one in the Heights who could fit the bill? Glad I am no longer a member of BHA.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    He sounds like a catch!

  • A Neighbor

    Ah, so you are one who enjoys the fruits of the BHA’s efforts — and the hard work of your many neighbors — but doesn’t step up yourself.

    Has it crossed your mind that after a thorough search, Mr. Bray, perhaps, was the most qualified? Best not to shoot from the hip.

  • Willow Street Watch

    A LOT of thoughtful, very valuable residents have left the BHA, precisely because the value of their work declined and the directions of the organization became increasingly questionable.

    Fruits of their action? Like the “new” view of the Brooklyn Bridge or the “improvements” in the library?

    How long have you’ve been here?

  • Willow Street Watch

    Well, you have to wonder indeed with the wealth of human material right here in the Heights, there was no candidate closer at hand.

    But a FAR more serious question is how can a person of this apparent background and mindset represent the interests of the Heights?

    Everything in his background is involved in representing disenfranchised groups, advocacy for the have nots..How is a person of that background
    and going to turn around and represent an elite community
    like the Heights which contains many of the nation’s most valuable and justly well compensate? Understand, I’ve never met the man, so everyone should reserve judgment. But cats don’t easily Chang stripes and given the eratic at times poor judgment of BHA in recent times and the unchecked decline in the Heights overall…you have to have BIG doubt’s….

  • Heights Observer

    I was a paying member for over 25 years and left because I do not like some of the fruits of the BHA efforts. How long have you been a member?

  • MonroeOrange

    You know there are plenty of people in the heights that are part of the ‘disenfranchised’ and ‘have nots’…as someone who has been here for many decades, some of the ‘elite’ i have met aren’t ‘well compensated’, some of the elite that i know are teachers, and fireman and have other jobs that don’t pay so well. Those are also some of the people that make the heights great…not just the ‘well compensated’…and if anything the ‘well compensated’ newbies are destroying the character of our neighborhood…Monroe place has 2 new McMasions being built…how is that a help to our community.

    There are so many of our elderly population that are being pushing out due to the new ‘elite’…Brooklyn heights wouldn’t be the neighborhood it is, without these people living here for the last 50 years!

  • A Neighbor

    Many years. More to the point, I have devoted, literally, hundreds of hours to efforts on behalf of our community. If you did that — instead of taking ignorant potshots — you would know that the chances of success in these efforts, where developers and pols are the adversaries, are invariably slim. Yet many people in the BH community, most often led by the BHA, continue to put their hearts and souls into these battles for our neighborhood.

  • Willow Street Watch

    I resist person encounters because it does not directly address critical issues. But if you actually read some of what I’ve said, I am very critical of certain new arrivals with FAR more funds than culture. Also, no one wants at this point of the Height’s decline, which is accellerating that we should be grateful for increasing orgazational malfunction.

    Also, the core of what gave the Heights the structure and culture it somewhat still retains was always two things; it was a little england and a ghetto for the gifted…..any “average” people in the area.may be honest, good, well meaning and doing people, but because they are not culture bearing elements, they contribute very little to the real culture or atmosphere of the Heights. This is just the nature of an elite neighborhood. I certainly agree the latest invasion of new types and the real estate tulip craze (google the term folks) is alarming and destructive. Many of the elderly ARE valuable culture bearing individuals despite their economic status. Thus, any assault on the elderly is a very serious concern.

    But my point stands, how is a lifelong advocate for society’s basement a fit helper in one of its highest creations?

    We’ll see….

  • stuart

    sounds like a good choice. that zoning change could have terrible impacts on brownstone Brooklyn. Judy will be a hard act to follow but I’m certain the new director will be up to the task. It was unusual that Judy was both the director of the BHA and a neighborhood resident. That is the exception rather than the rule for similar organizations citywide.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Brooklyn Heights is the quintessential exceptional community and at this level, comparisons with average communities do not and should not apply.
    We need a director of operations who is first and foremost LOYAL to this community. We need this. The stakes are just too high here.

    There are a universe of competant managers. But we need someone who is an integral part of the core which makes (or made) the Heights function as the unique and highly valuable system it is (or was).

    But as above, we’ll see…

  • stuart

    you are sucking all the oxygen out of this blog. shut up.

  • Willow Street Watch

    My comments are reasoned and appropriate to examine the very serious matters which confront one of this country’s most important historic sites…and my home, sir.

  • Andrew Porter

    I’ve been a member since the 1980s. I’m STILL a member. The BHA does many valuable things in the Heights, which you benefit from, even if you’re not a member.

  • Andrew Porter

    I for one welcome our new Park Slope-housed overlord. Seriously, I welcome his appointment. There are many serious problems in the Heights, one of which is increasing neighborhood membership. I look forward to working with Peter Bray in the future.

  • judifrancis

    Peter Brey is a lovely man – smart, knowledgable, affable and a major landmark battler in Brooklyn who commands respect. You guys are extremely lucky to get him.

  • Willow Street Watch

    The question here is, Judy, his loyality to the Heights, not some underlying ideology he may arrive with. Anyone who has lived here a while and is not basically a yup type understands the decline and questional directions the BHA has undergone in the last ten plus years. This is why people have misgivings. But we’ll see……

  • memeadjuster

    He does seem capable, but It would have been nice if the new Director actually lived, or previously lived, in Brooklyn Heights.

    I’m not sure if some “Park Slope Association” would be thrilled if their new Director actually lived in Brooklyn Heights.

  • Bornhere

    I agree that someone heading a group committed to a specific neighborhood might have a greater awareness of the needs/problems/strengths/concerns of that area if he or she actually lived there; but I am also not sure what final influence something like the BHA even has anymore, regardless of the home base of the director. Judy Stanton lives on Garden Place, just feet from the outrageous circus that is now Joralemon Street. Although I think she has been committed to her neighborhood, under her watch, we still lost the hospital, have seen ourselves being walled in by preposterous building (with more to come), have made an awful agreement about a library, cannot find seats in neighborhood public schools for neighborhood children, and have witnessed what I consider to be a sad devolution of a once-unique and almost oasis-like community. Real estate and other agenda-/money-driven interests can evidently roll over a neighborhood, and where a director of a neighborhood association lives is probably as irrelevant as such an association may now be. What a different place the Heights is….

  • Fritz

    Willow Street – WOW!

  • Fritz

    Maybe he can’t afford the rents?

  • gc

    Sadly, I couldn’t have said it better.

  • BHMommy

    Curious to know what his record is on school overcrowding. They’ve had similar problems in Park Slope, so I assume that he is familiar with the issues that PS 8 is facing. Does anyone know his background w/r/t schools?

  • memeadjuster

    Yes, and it’s outrageous how residential, sleepy little Joralemon St. is being made to serve as a main gateway for Brooklyn Bridge Park!

    The obvious passageway into the park from the Heights should have been made from Montague St., the highly commercialized, extra-wide street in the nabe, that also leads directly to loads of mass transit.

    Montague businesses would have benefited….Montague is much easier to establish more police presence on (its had lots of police presence for decades already)….The Promenade would have had access to the park and vice versa, etc.

  • Willow Street Watch

    But all of that was fully PREDICTED! a dozen years ago by many thoughtful residents who, at high volume, questioned or denounced the park plan. As noted elsewhere, they were ignored, then dismissed then the holy cry of racism went up to quiet opposition to what was going forward. (The key component of which was the post mid 90’s roll over by the BHA and the casino crowd.)

  • Andrew Porter

    Bray called me on the phone a few days ago, and we had a long, interesting conversation. His tenure should prove interesting; the problems he faces are challenging, but not insurmountable. Among topics we touched on were PS 8 and the schools, Pier 6, housing in general, possible percs for BHA members, and the major challenge of growing the membership.