Open Thread Wednesday

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  • Andrew Porter

    Tower-in-the-trees! Love this photo, Claude.

    Here’s one of my old slides of the docks here:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0a13097531c93b1d917d8f51f9f76719b728b9ba9c31b559b1762e90446c8493.jpg

  • Andrew Porter

    Article in Brownstoner about BookCourt, and the destruction of the smaller building, built in the early 1840s:

    http://tinyurl.com/y7hfylxu

    The wanton destruction of this structure is a real tragedy, and makes me ever so much happier I live in a Landmarked area.

  • Jorale-man

    Truly shameful. Essentially the Book Court owners went from providing the neighborhood with a beloved shop to abetting the destruction of historic building so that a soulless modern one could take its place.

  • gc

    Looks like one of the many tranquil, beautiful places that will be destroyed by the innovative approach to repairing the BQE.
    If I’m correct about the location, we will instead have 6 lanes of truck traffic running 24/7 in that same spot.

  • StoptheChop

    The Promenade has to come down regardless, as part of the entire BQE project. That hasn’t been made very clear in all of the materials being passed around.

  • gc

    I’d prefer to hear that from an independent engineer. DOT’s engineers have their own ax to grind supporting their “innovative approach”. The Promenade’s surface maintenance has been sadly lacking in the past 5 to 10 years. Perhaps by design.

  • Jorale-man

    Exactly. If they’re just working one lane at a time below, as the non-“innovative” approach proposes, why should the Promenade be affected? And good point about the intentional (?) neglect of its surface. It can be used to strengthen their argument that it all must go now.

  • Still Here

    It was made clear several years ago during the last round of DOT presentations that after the initial penetration testing the Promenade had to be replaced while roadways themselves might be repaired in place.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton
  • gc

    Thanks for sharing DOT’s advertisement. Gullible doesn’t begin to describe it.

  • gc

    Is there somewhere in all this data where there is a clear statement that the Promenade needs to be replaced? If so, please share that quote with us.

  • Jorale-man

    There are clearly some folks in the neighborhood (commenting here) who want to see that 6-lane highway get built. Maybe they work for construction companies who stand to benefit, or maybe they’re just stirring the pot. But I do have some faith that there’s a growing opposition who can put a stop to it, or at least stall it indefinitely through legal means. The folks on Columbia Heights, among others, aren’t going to watch their homes plummet in value (and perhaps worse) without a fight.

  • MaggieO

    thanks for sharing those, Arch. from my reading of the first document it actually says that the promenade structure is in better condition than the ones below because it has a layer of waterproofing that has protected the structure at least from above. my guess is that there are a few things going on here – 1) from a structural engineer’s perspective building the whole thing new from the ground up gives you the most assurance of the whole structure’s capacity and control of its design. that said – structural engineers are notorious over-builders. 2) demolishing the promenade cantilever will make it easier to do all the work below because you’ll have more overhead room. 3) taking the promenade out of service for several years doesn’t impact traffic so it’s an easier sell to the DOT – the impact on local commerce and residents is another story, and one worth clarifying for DOT.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    If you can comprehend the report and have a grasp of basic physics, it’s pretty clear.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Are you implying the engineering firm hired by the DOT to assess the condition of the BQE, falsified the report? If so, please provide evidence otherwise, your remarks are just slander.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    If you are referring to me you are wrong. I don’t “want to see that 6-lane highway get built” However, I operate from a perspective of science, logic and deductive reason. So far, I have not seen any viable alternative proposal only uneducated, misinformed, fantasies…
    Bottom line, it’s either the Tunnel or we’re gonna have to endure a long rebuild of the cantilever structure. Innovative or Traditional, it will be hell.

  • gc

    Pretty strong words from someone who is clearly not an attorney.

  • gc

    So, no clear statement in the DOT report that the Promenade needs to be replaced?
    Pretty direct question.
    How about a direct answer?

  • Banet

    As much as I loved and supported BookCourt at every turn, that’s a pretty harsh assessment. They ran a wonderful store for decades. Eventually, despite working long hours, they were essentially making little profit. And they were getting older.

    Jorale-man, If you owned an asset worth $13,000,000 which would you personally choose? Working 60 hours a week to barely scrape by or selling it and conservatively investing your profits to provide a work-free income for life?

    I suppose there’s a middle-ground — they could have kept the buildings, continued to live upstairs, and been landlords to whatever business they chose to replace the bookstore. That would likely have provided a decent income and a free place to live without the architectural destruction that’s going on now. But the bookstore would still be gone and they’d still have all the hassles of being a landlord and the owner of an extremely aged building.

    Bottom line, I don’t like the result of their decision. And I miss the store. But I understand why they did what they did and I’m fairly sure I and most everyone I know would have made the same heartbreaking decision. :-/

  • Jorale-man

    I do appreciate the effort to supply hard facts on what the city’s proposing. Comments threads can easily veer towards misinformation, as you say. It’s just that their “innovative” approach is so completely insane if one really steps back and thinks of what that will entail, that it really doesn’t even merit serious discussion.

  • Jorale-man

    I see your points, and I don’t know the particulars of their financial circumstances or the options in selling. On the same token, there are a lot of 150-year-old buildings that change hands in this city and don’t end up being destroyed in the process. Sellers must have at least some say in who buys a building and what their intended plans are. At any rate, as Andrew Porter says, it makes me glad I live in a landmarked district.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    LOL, The report clearly says the entire cantilever structure is in decay, approaching the end of its serviceable life and must be replaced. Being the Promenade is part of that structure, the answer is pretty obvious.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Why, when that’s what you were implying.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    Indeed, from a Brooklyn Heights perspective the Innovative plan is Insane. The problem is, from an engineering, construction and cost perspective, the Innovative plan is not insane, it is in fact, the best solution proposed so far. People must understand this if it is going to be fought effectively. Arguing moot, unsubstantiated points will only waste time and weaken our our position.

  • Jorale-man

    Well, the thing is, engineers tend to be very data-driven but don’t always think about the impact on people’s lives. Yes, it might be cheaper or quicker but the human impact is too detrimental.

    What we haven’t seen from the city yet is an impact study on congestion pricing and/or bridge tolls – and how that would mitigate traffic on the BQE. Combine those measures with re-routing to Adams Street, Fourth Ave., and/or Furman, and there might be other ways to tackle this.

  • CH’er

    It also seems evident from reading all of the DOT (both state and NYC) reports that they intend to bring the height clearance to federal highway safety standards, which will necessitate rebuilding the Promenade at least four feet higher than the existing one. Not surprisingly, NYC DOT is not being upfront about this…

  • Banet

    Or will they lower the lower cantilever by 4’ and the middle cantilever by 2’? Or lower them each somewhat but make the cantilevers thinner in vertical profile? Lots of ways they can gain those 2’ per direction.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7nPOzGeyaw Arch Stanton

    That’s exactly what I mean by wasting time on frivolous ideas. Congestion pricing and East River bridge tolls will not make a significant difference to the overall traffic volume on the BQE. It would only affect Manhattan bound/originating traffic which is looks to be 20% at best. So assuming even an, unrealistically high, 25% decrease in that traffic, it would only decrease the overall by about 5%, You can even double that to 10% and its still not nearly enough to make a meaningful difference. Certainly not enough to make rerouting traffic on the streets feasible. And suggesting it be directed through other neighborhoods is the epitomey of elitist NYMBYism.

  • MaggieO

    that’s what I was thinking. i don’t think they could rebuild the promenade higher and the clearance on Furman street is pretty high now.