Reality Check on BBP

NY Sun: Hillary and the Park: "…The effect of the lawsuit is to delay construction of a park that would benefit the neighborhood. Given the laws of supply and demand, the addition of 1,210 new units of housing, of any sort, even luxury housing, will take some of the pressure off in the Brooklyn housing market. And Brooklyn's definition of "luxury housing" may not be the same as the definition in Chappaqua or Northwest Washington. As it is, the residents of the planned "luxury housing" in the Brooklyn Bridge Park will share their view of the new park with a view of the trucks rumbling past on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway so that residents often awaken to the noise of Jake brakes.

The brief of the Sierra Club warns that "Allowing private housing in a public park to finance its operation is irreconcilably incompatible with a park's purpose and function." It says that a park "is to provide amusement and relaxation amid natural amenities for all members of the community extending to the word-at-large, not for a fortunate few living in the park."

If the Sierra Club or Senator Clinton really believes this, there are plenty of targets out there other than a Brooklyn park that hasn't even been built yet. They could go after the $6,000-a-game luxury boxes at Yankee Stadium, which is on New York City public parkland. They could go after the Tavern on the Green in Central Park, where an entrée of "Roast Lobster Gratine" with crab-meat stuffing is on the menu at $47. They could go after the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, the onetime wandering ground of Sierra Club founder John Muir. Suites at the Ahwahnee Hotel cost $865 a night, plus a 10% Mariposa County room tax. Talk about your "fortunate few."

It's understandable to be skeptical of the Parks Department, which is winning enemies all over the city and eroding its credibility with stunts like the astroturfing of Cadman Plaza and the disapproval of a Central Park concert based on how a department official thought it would affect "Mike's re-election." Even so, sensible Americans and New Yorkers long ago reconciled themselves to the idea that some concessions and capitalism can help enhance the park experience and help pay for parks that would otherwise have to be funded from taxes.

In the Brooklyn project, 77 acres of park use will coexist with about 8.2 acres of retail, residential, parking, and other commercial uses. It's much more open space than, say, in Battery Park City, where a piece of land similar to the Brooklyn plot — 92 acres of landfill in Lower Manhattan along the Hudson — yielded a mere 32 acres of park, along with 9.3 million feet of commercial space and 7.2 million square feet of housing. Mrs. Clinton reportedly sent a follow-up letter clarifying that she does not support the lawsuit against the park. Some described it as a flip-flop, but it seems to be a sign that, after examining the issue, she sees the logic of the Bloomberg-Pataki park plan…"

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