Full City Council May Vote on Library Deal Tomorrow; City Officials, Civic Group Voice Opposition

Update (!2/16): The full City Council voted 45-1 to approve the library deal today. DNA Info reports that the full City Council “is expected to vote” tomorrow (Wednesday, December 16) on the deal to replace the existing Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library with a new, slightly smaller library located on the same site but in the base of a high rise residential building. As we reported earlier, last week the City Council’s Land Use Committee approved the deal, based on Council Member Stephen Levin’s having negotiated an increase in the size of the new library, BPL’s commitment to build a new branch library to serve DUMBO and Vinegar Hill, and other concessions detailed here.

It’s considered almost certain that the full Council will approve the deal, given that it is supported by the Council Member (Levin) whose district includes the library, as well as by the Mayor. As the DNA Info story indicates, though, two high City officials, the Comptroller and the Public Advocate, have sent letters to the Council raising concerns about the project. Civic group Citizens Defending Libraries, headed by Brooklyn Heights resident Michael D.D. White, has also objected based on the lack of transparency of the negotiations among Levin, BPL, and the developer, and on the Mayor’s alleged conflict of interest based on campaign contributions he received from the developer and the architect of the proposed new building. DNA Info reports that the Mayor’s Office has denied these allegations, saying the Mayor supports the project on its merits.

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  • Henry

    When Bill de Blasio was running for mayor, he gave a powerful cautionary speech about the Brooklyn Heights Library, bait-and-switch schemes, financial transparency and greedy developers. [See segment starting at 00:38 of video below.]

    Will our mayor now stay true to his word or allow the Brooklyn Heights Library to be sold off in a dirty backroom deal — for a scandalous pittance — to line the pockets of Hudson Companies’ David Kramer, a longtime friend and campaign contributor?


    “It’s public land and public facilities and public value under threat…”

    “…once again we see, lurking right behind the curtain, real estate developers who are very anxious to get their hands on these valuable properties.”

    “… the standard is, does the public’s interest come first? If we can’t say we are guaranteeing the public’s interest … if we can’t even tell how much it well cost … if we have to wonder if it’s a bait-and-switch … then we should not proceed.”

    “If you believe in your plan, open up the books, let there be an independent review, and let the people decide.”


  • Ed Townes

    Talked a good game, did the now-all-too-obvious hack, Bill diB, when he ran for mayor.

    Now, he’s running for re-election, and by corralling a decent chunk of the real estate industry’s war chest, he gives himself all kinds of chances – esp. to avoid a challenged from someone competent in his own party.

    Bloomberg began by saying, “Judge me by whether I transform the schools into something basically fulfilling their mission.” Um, by the end, it was more, “We’ve become a city where people from every country in the world want to own a little piece of it.”

    (Accompanied by patent failure on “job #1.”)

    Bill – minor leaguer that he is – raced to the bottom in less than 2 years. Affordable Housing? How’s he gonna spin abject failure on that front? “If only the Council let me give away more City property and more taxpayer dollars by way of subsidies, we would have had tens of thousands of new apts.”

    Yes, maybe the City is better off not returning to the days when constructing thousands of units in red brick buildings was the order of the day, but until/unless a Mayor comes along who’s willing to stand up to the industry that’s now king of the hill, our quality of life will stay under constant attack.

    The northern portion of “Cadman Park” – across from the post office – is wasteland. Maybe Bill & Steve and other “public servants” will put IT up for bids. Stay tuned.

    Eric Adams showed he had a pair – and knew when something smelled bad even by Brooklyn standards. How come our “Public Advocate” isn’t advocating for the 99.9% over what clearly benefits 0.1% of our population?!

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    I agree with what you said, but if you look back at Eric Adam’s record when he was in the NYS Senate, he worked to close Long Island College Hospital.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    Look, we are NEVER going to win a round against the forces attacking the Heights unless we form GENUINE real Heights defense organizations peopled by honest, competent people who will take the measures necessary to stop the attacks on the heights.

    We are in the situation/conditions we are because of bad people who want to take or modify our living space with no regard for your rights..

    But we are ALSO in the situation we are because of false and incompetent leadership in organizations which say they want to “defend” or save the Heights.

    When you are I’ll, and under your present health provider, you are becoming increasingly I’ll, what do you do? Remain with your present health system or do you begin seeking somewhere where you will receive better care to safeguard your life and the wellbeing of your family’s interests?