CB2 Member Comes Out Swinging Against Dock Street DUMBO

CB2 Land Use Committee member/DUMBO resident Andrew Stengel has written an open letter regarding Dock Street DUMBO.  It’s posted on DumboNYC.com:

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies wrote that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Unfortunately, much of the process around Dock Street Dumbo has proceeded mostly when the only light is that of the moon.

Read the full letter here.

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  • Publius

    Oh Dear, Stengel’s well written letter laying out the objective facts sure throws a wrench into Two Trees’ propaganda machine–just when they are so close to hoodwinking their way through the ULURP process through obfuscation, non-binding promises, and demonization of those who wish to protect our National Monument.

    Red Alert at Jeb’s Ministry of Propaganda! Might have to dole out even more money to Katz and Quinn to jam this one through.

  • davoyager

    Man, I got the meatballs made from grass fed beef at the shop on Clark street and the kids were giving me many many thumbs up. Those of you who have kids know how great it is to make something the young ones thoroughly embrace. I don’t eat meat but my kids do and for those of you who do also I would recommend you try this great shop.
    I’ll cook it but I won’t eat it. What’s up with that?

  • Ken Fisher

    As Two Trees’ land use counsel, one of the consultants to whom Andrew Stengel refers in his open letter, I’m surprised he didn’t share any of these concerns when he came over to say hello to me at the City Council hearing on the Dock Street plan. It’s not that I don’t understand the opponents’ frustration with the approval process. What I don’t appreciate is the attitude that their failure at every step leading up to the City Council means that the process is flawed – the fact is that their argument is unpersuasive because other people who review the actual, accurate, proposal consistently don’t see things their way.

    Here’s what led up to the Council hearing: The Community Board approved the project 30-7, the first time they have ever supported a Two Trees zoning application in 25 years. The Borough President approved the proposed zoning although he recommended a different building form which would have been even taller than the Walentas proposal. The City Planning Commission approved the plan with a small reduction in height by a vote of 9-2; even the two ‘no’ votes supported a building twice the height of what Andrew had proposed at the community board.

    The reason for this was captured by the Observer’s Eliot Brown in his report on the public hearing: “At the City Council on May 21, members had to interrupt the Walentas family’s architect midway through a presentation to find just which building on a 3-D model was being proposed” because the building is entirely contextual and reflects the right relationship between the Brooklyn Bridge and the massive Gair-Sweeney buildings which surround it. http://www.politickerny.com/3714/dock-street-turns-council-inside-out

    Having had their inaccurate renderings and arguments debunked by the Brooklyn Paper and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, opponents are like Chico Marx in Duck Soup, crying out, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

    So, desperate opponents have now taken to throwing mud at Two Trees, the School Construction Authority and the City Council. But they can’t obscure that fact that their opposition campaign is funded and led by many (not all) who care mostly about losing their private views or that the school space being donated by Two Trees would otherwise cost the City millions of dollars to acquire and build. Whatever the flaws in the process, they aren’t enough to justify depriving the neighborhood of additional housing (including some for low income families), a middle school for 300 students, jobs, more retail activity, and parking for residents and visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Dock Street DUMBO should be judged on its merits – and the fact that project opponents have gone so ruthlessly negative tells me only that they know the merits favor approval.

  • No2Walentas2Trees

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over” – Joseph Goebbels

  • No2Walentas2Trees

    We keep hearing the ‘losing views argument” over and over Mr. Fisher, sorry, I have no view to lose, and I don’t agree with the project. Here is why…

    The space is too close to the Bridge. It is so incredibly close that you can hardly notice it from the walkway, to put a tall building there would feel like a wall on the side of the walkway.
    While you claim the opposition has been wrong, honestly so is the 3d scale model.

    The fact that you are trying to paint the opposition as many (not all) would love their views is extremely dishonest as the majority of those opposed (as shown by petition) could not mathematically fit into the areas that would lose the view.

    I understand you work for Two Trees, and you are bound to defend this project at all costs as this is your livelihood. You cannot take an objective view, because you of all people would lose considerable financial backing if you did.

  • Publius

    In the above missive Super-lobbyist can barely contain his contempt for the vast majority of New Yorkers who oppose Dock St Dumbo as currently designed to diminish the Brooklyn Bridge. Another pathetic attempt to paint the overwhelming popular opposition to this project as 70 Washington owners. We can expect more of these prior to the June 10th vote.

    Straight from Jeb’s play book. Oh wait, likely Super Lobbyist wrote the play book for Jeb! But everyone knows that. When you’re paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to jam through a painful screwing to the people of New York, you have to add value by being both strategic and tactical.

    Super Lobbyist and Jeb pray that a few distracted or “malleable” City Councilmembers will fall for their ploy. They’ll be working the phones and propaganda machine overtime and Jeb’s gotta get out the checkbook again.

  • nabeguy

    Mr. Fisher, I’m sure that there are 70 W residents who are opposed to this project for the very reasons you lay out, but exactly how deep do you surmise their pockets to be to have put together such a ground-swell of opposition to this project? Nobody’s paying me for my stand against this project, in direct opposition to the fattened campaign chests of Quinn and the likes, courtesy of Two Trees. I don’t expect that you’ll ever understand the oppositions stand on this project, any more than I can fathom why Jed is pursuing it in the face of such widespread public uproar when, by his own admission, it’s not a money-maker.

  • No One Of Consequence

    Save your breath, Ken. As if we’re interested in listening to anyone on the payroll. Seriously, how can we consider anything you put forth as objective?

    Sure, defend a flawed system that works to your advantage, manipulate a system that works against you.


  • Publius

    There are many thousands of Dock Street Dumbo supporters behind the project.

    They are all named Ben Franklin.

  • No2Walentas2Trees

    Sad but true, his image on those many pieces of paper going into ‘re-election’ coffers.

    Poor Benjamin Franklin.

    Sadly, he gave us a warning which seems fitting -“A republic if you can keep it”….he must be rolling in his grave.

  • anon

    Andrew Stengel responds to Ken Fisher’s letter. Let’s have a public debate: http://dumbonyc.com/2009/05/27/counsel-response/#comment-43021

  • Publius

    No way Super lobbyist will have the cojones to meeting Andrew’s conditions for a debate. Too much smokey back room shenanigans will come to light and make the few potentially wavering City Councilpeople back away from their “incentives”.

  • davoyager

    I guess nobody wanted to talk about meatballs.
    I thought we weren’t allowed to post links but I see them
    http://dumbonyc.com/2009/05/27/counsel-response/#comment-43026, my response to Andrew’s response to Fisher’s response to…and so on.

  • davoyager

    Since everybody else is posting “open letters” to the small group of people who will now decide this issue here’s mine:

    I want you to note the indictment of Councilman Yassky for his failure and opposition with regard this issue.

    A statement in support of the Dock St. project: a modest development with elements included for the public good

    Dear City Council Members,

    I write to you today to ask that you give due consideration to the hope we now have for a neighborhood middle school for Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo.

    I’m a local. I grew up in the neighborhood, my mother went to Girl’s High here in Brooklyn in the 1940’s, my aunt grew up on the Grand Concourse during the real Great depression, and we have many more NY stories in our family. But I speak today for young families just starting their lives in our beautiful neighborhood.

    We have been waiting for and asking for a neighborhood middle school for decades, and we have been promised action on this by a parade of local politicians down thru the years with no results.

    We have watched oversized development after oversized development come into being, watched the neighborhood grow and become more family oriented in recent years, and still this glaring gap in essential services has not been addressed.

    Young Families who settle here and find themselves without the means or will to attend private school have fled the neighborhood year after year when they come to realize this sorry omission by local government. There is this great scramble to plot a child’s course if you are unlucky enough to want or need public school. And there is something wrong when the lack of school choice causes you to have to give up your home in one of the best neighborhoods in New York City.

    In addition: our local elementary school suffers from this unnecessary attrition and was almost killed a few years back largely because parents have few choices for their children grades 6 thru 8 and often abandon the school and the neighborhood.

    Temporarily the school has been saved by a Magnet Grant and a talented principal; not to mention robust parental involvement. It is now on track to become one of the premier elementary schools in the city, But now that the Grant is finished I ask you to help us break free of this handicap allowing us to retain these great kids whose parents must deal with the middle school gap.

    The fact is kids 11-13 are too young to be spending hours of their day on public transportation when other kids their age can spend those hours pursuing the arts, sciences or gym activities the City schools no longer provide adequately due to decades of budget cutbacks.

    Generally the kids in our great city do live where the schools are until around High School, and for good reason. In addition to other benefits the idea of small local schools is to give back the most valuable teaching asset of all: time. The cost of time is a true handicap. I ask you to please, at long last, fix this hole in our local public education net thru which we leak talent, families, and continuity for our children and our community.

  • Publius

    I wonder if Super Lobbyist’s open letter was billable, or if he’s on fixed rate?

  • davoyager

    Have I overdone it with the meatball references?

  • No One Of Consequence

    Not once have I noted anyone from Two Trees, SCA or Community Boards deny the allegations of impropriety, rather than one little remark about things being taken out of context.

    “Innocent until proven guilty” only applies in a court of law.

    What they have failed to grasp is that the presumption of innocence is not a statute of the Court of Public Opinion.

    Therefore it is up to them to provide the burden of proof and that they are not guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    So far they have done nothing but attempt to discredit those who stand against them.

    Don’t believe me?
    OJ Simpson. Acquitted in criminal court. Court of Public Opinion?
    How about Drew Peterson? I bet you made your mind up on that months ago. No? Perhaps you’d make a good sixth wife.

    Now, I suppose they’ll claim that to respond would be to give credence to the allegations. That I could understand if what was being brought forth was outlandish, but the FOIL documents suggest that there might be something going on here. Oh, “Out of Context.” Then please enlighten us. Didn’t they think they would be questioned on this? Where is the supporting documentation that clearly illustrates the context? Should we just take their word for it?
    Andrew has asked for them, where are they?

    There’s two ways out of this now. They can play it hard-line ala Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and have their careers forever under suspicion. Or they can come clean like A-Rod (love him or hate him) and maybe we’ll forgive you cause, hey, we knew it all along, so thanks for just being honest with us.

    Until then, we’ll just reach our own verdicts.