Brooklyn Heights Blog » brooklyn bridge park http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Thu, 26 Apr 2018 02:33:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Increased Security at Brooklyn Bridge Park this Summerhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86076 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86076#comments Tue, 24 Apr 2018 03:18:23 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86076

The Eagle’s Mary Frost quotes Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Eric Landau saying that increased police presence and newly installed security cameras should prevent the sort of incidents that have troubled the Park during previous periods of warm weather.

The Eagle story also notes that Joralemon Street and Willowtown residents think that more needs to be done to thin the crowds heading to and from the Park along Joralemon. Their preferred solution: a Park entrance/exit to and from Montague Street.

Photo: Teresa Genaro

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Design/Build for BQE Renovation Approvedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 02:20:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85921

The Brooklyn Heights Association has let us know that the state budget, passed by the legislature and approved by Governor Cuomo on Friday, includes approval for the use of a design/build procedure for the renovation of the crumbling Brooklyn Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights. As the BHA noted:

This victory is the culmination of months of community effort, led by the BHA, to urge the legislature to enact a measure whose passage failed during the past two years. Had it not passed now, DOT would have proceeded with a Design-Bid-Build approach, which would have cost $113 million more to complete the BQE project and led to trucks being diverted onto local Brooklyn streets in 2026 due to the extended project timeframe.

The BHA thanked State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (whose office also advised us of the approval) for their efforts to secure passage, along with Governor Cuomo for his support. It also expressed gratitude to the local residents who demonstrated their support.

In related news, the BHA has announced that it will not appeal the New York Supreme Court’s decision to allow construction of the two residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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NYC DOT Engineer Says Keeping Traffic Off Brooklyn Heights Streets High Priorityhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:02:37 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85785

The Eagle’s Mary Frost has an excellent report on last week’s Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting. Here are my takeaways from the meeting:

1. The featured speaker, DOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Collyer (photo) said at least twice that a primary DOT concern is keeping traffic off Brooklyn Heights streets during the BQE renovation.

2. Mr. Collyer said that DOT is considering creating alternate routes for traffic during the BQE project that wouldn’t affect the Heights or other residential areas.

3. One of the objectives of the BQE project, according to Collyer, is to “improve [vertical] clearances” on the highway. Some residents asked if this would necessitate raising the BQE roadways, thereby affecting the Promenade. Mr. Collyer said it would not, and that the preservation of the Promenade was of vital concern.

4. When asked about the proposal to create an entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park from Montague Street, the BHA took no position for or against. Mr. Collyer also remained neutral, but noted the long drop from Montague to the level of the Park and that any entrance/exit would have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

5. The BHA is considering options following the court decision allowing construction to proceed on the two high rise residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including a possible appeal.

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Court Gives Go-Ahead to Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 04:16:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85686

Curbed reports that New York Supreme Court Justice Carmen Victoria St. George on Friday issued a ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association in July of 2016 against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and two developers, seeeking to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the uplands of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, near Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street.

The BHA’s suit was based on language in the Park’s General Project Plan providing that no more private development would be allowed in the park than is necessary to provide the Park with funds, in the form of payments in lieu of taxes (“PILOTS”), needed to provide for the Park’s ongoing maintenance and operations. The BHA engaged financial experts who compared the Park’s maintenance and operational needs with what they considered the likely amount of PILOT revenue to be generated by already completed or soon to be so commercial and residential projects. These projects, the experts concluded, would produce more than enough revenue to cover all reasonably expected maintenance and operational costs. The BBPC’s and developers’ experts disagreed.

The Curbed story quotes the judge’s ruling as follows: “[while the BHA’s experts] provided rational alternatives to the analyses of respondents’ experts … [i]t simply means that respondents had more than one acceptable path to take in their review of this complex and multi-part project”. This implies that “build” and “don’t build” were both acceptable results within the terms of the General Project Plan, which seems odd. Perhaps it reflects the court’s sense of frustration following repeated attempts to get the parties to reach a compromise and settle the suit.

Curbed reports that the BHA has issued a statement of its “disappointment” with the court’s ruling, noting that it still strongly believes the Pier Six towers “far exceed the Park’s fiscal needs.” It also notes that the BHA “is considering its next steps in its long-term effort to ensure that the BBPC complies with its legal obligations.”

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Pier Six Towers Update: Developers Busy Building and Advertising Despite No Court Decisionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 03:48:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85618

The Brooklyn Paper reports that the developers of the two controversial high rise residential towers on the uplands of Pier Six, near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park and on park land, have already done extensive construction work on one of the two towers (see photo in story linked above) and are, as the story indicates, already advertising to (although not yet accepting any money from) prospective condo buyers. This is despite there is as yet no final ruling on a lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association and others to prevent construction of the towers, on the contention that revenue from them is not necessary to fund the park’s maintenance. As it stands, a judge has ordered that, while construction may proceed at the developers own risk, they should do nothing “that is irreversible or incapable of restoration to its original condition” until the court issues its final decision.

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Brooklyn Historical Society Opens “Waterfront” Exhibition, Presents Three Programs This Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85582 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85582#comments Sun, 21 Jan 2018 05:41:17 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85582

The Brooklyn Historical Society has opened a new exhibition, “Waterfront”, at its second location in the Empire Stores, Brooklyn Bridge Park (55 Water Street in DUMBO). The exhibition contains many fascinating photos, prints, preserved objects, videos and other materials concerning the Brooklyn waterfront over the years. Your correspondent took this photo of some youngsters enjoying the “Magnet Wall” on which “kids and adults can create their own whimsical waterfront on a ten-foot magnetized landscape.”

There will be three evening programs at BHS’s headquarters, 128 Pierrepont at Clinton Street, this coming week. On Monday evening, January 22, Daniel L. Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor during the Bloomberg Administration, will read from and discuss his book, Greater Than Ever: New York’s Big Comeback. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS members; buy tickets and more information here.

On Tuesday evening, January 23, BHS, in conjunction with Underwater New York, will present “Current / Bodies: Art and Action on the Waterfront,” in which “six New York artists and writers whose works address the history and future of our waterways…consider New York’s waterfront as a site of continuity and a threshold for political, social, and environmental change.” Admission is $5, or free for BHS members; buy or reserve tickets and more information here.

On Thursday evening, January 25, New York Times writer John Leland will discuss his book Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old with fellow journalist Julie Scelfo. Admission is $5, or free for BHS members; buy or reserve tickets and more information here.

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“Chip In” and Recycle Your Christmas Treehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85482 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85482#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:12:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85482

NYC Parks are recycling Christmas trees at locations all over the city. The mulch will be used to “used to nourish trees and plants on streets and gardens citywide.” Drop your tree during the week or you can bring your tree to Brooklyn Bridge Park or any number of  parks this coming weekend and take home a bag of mulch for your own garden. Here are all the details:

When the holiday season is over, don’t let your tree go to waste. Bring it to MulchFest at 99 Plymouth.

You can bring your tree to 99 Plymouth for chipping on January 6 & 7 from 10am to 2pm. Watch your tree get chipped in front of you, and get a free bag of mulch to take home.

Or you can bring your tree to 99 Plymouth for drop off from December 31 through January 7 from 10am-2pm. Leave your tree with us, and we’ll recycle it for you later!

Drop your tree off at the gate behind 99 Plymouth (corner of Plymouth and Adams Streets).

Please remember to remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, netting, etc. before bringing it to the drop off site. Trees with decorations will not be accepted.

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Park Entrance from Montague?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85232 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85232#comments Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:02:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85232

The Eagle reports that the Montague Street Business Improvement District wants a footbridge to connect the Promenade near the foot of Montague Street (photo) to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The BID says this is necessary to provide access to the Park during the time the needed repairs to the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway below the Promenade are being done, as this will affect access to the Park through other entrances. According to the Eagle story, the BID envisions the footbridge as resembling the “Penny Bridge” (see photo in the story linked above) that used to allow pedestrians to cross Montague Street, when it extended steeply downhill to the level of the then docks, before the construction of the BQE and the Promenade.

What puzzles your correspondent is how a footbridge, by itself, could allow pedestrians to get to or from the Park from the level of the Promenade, which I believe is about an eighty foot vertical distance. Nothing that looks at all like the little Penny Bridge could do this. The bridge would have to connect to a very long staircase (more steps than many people could easily manage), or escalator (prone to breakdowns), or — and this is the only way it could meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act — a tower with elevators. To meet the anticipated summer traffic volume, this would probably require two or even three elevators the size of those at the Clark Street subway station, and the tower could impinge on the protected view plane from the Promenade. The footbridge that does connect to the Park — the “Bouncy Bridge”– does so by starting from Squibb Park, which is below the level of the BQE, and executing a zig-zag. A footbridge from the level of the Promenade would have to go through several zig-zags between there and the Park to be easily walkable; it’s hard to see how this could be executed without creating a structure so massive that it would negatively affect views from the Promenade.

I also wonder what significant impediment to Park access will be caused by the BQE repair work. Neither the Squibb Park, or Old Fulton/Furman Street entrances could be affected by it, and it seems unlikely to me to affect the Atlantic Avenue entrance, as it is south of where the cantilevered portion of the BQE begins. The Joralemon Street entrance could be affected, at least for a period of time less than required to complete the entire project. This is likely also to bar auto traffic on Joralemon from going to or from Furman Street during that time.

DISCLOSURE: I live on Montague. The concerns I’ve expressed above relate only to the technical difficulties I perceive with the proposal; not from fear of excessive pedestrian traffic on Montague (my windows face Pierrepont Place, so we already get the mostly cheerful noise from the playground, and the tour guide who stops his group in front of 3 Pierrepont Place to enlighten them about Seth Low, and at whom my historian wife occasionally yells at out the window, “No, Robert Moses did NOT build that playground!”).

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Another Court Hearing on Pier Six Towers Tomorrow Afternoonhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85199 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85199#comments Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:14:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85199

Cobble Hill community activist Judi Francis has alerted us to another, and probably final, court hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14, on the action brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association to prevent further construction (some work has already begun; at a previous hearing the judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order, but issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the developers from doing anything that can’t easily be undone should the court’s final decision go against them) of the proposed high rise residential towers on two parcels of land near Pier Six and the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since then, a new judge has taken over the case, and at the immediately previous hearing she appeared to be receptive to the case being made by the BHA, urging the parties to seek compromise.

From Ms. Francis:

While always difficult to win an Article 78 [the type of proceeding the BHA has had to institute], we have a strong case, and after 13 years of near complete disregard for the needs of the community (i.e, school overcrowding, no new parklands despite the huge increase in residential population never studied in the park’s original EIS, violations of the Promenade’s view plane by gross overbuilding of the Pierhouses, and admitting they do not need the funds from this housing for the park’s maintenance), the city remains immovable and unwilling to consider alternatives to their housing plan. The city seems to have forgotten that the purpose of this project was to build a park for the recreational needs of residents that are here today, not a housing complex.

The hearing will begin at 2:45 PM at the New York Supreme Courthouse, 80 Centre Street in Manhattan, in the courtroom of Justice Carmen St. George. As Justice St. George has shown interest in the community involvement in this case, Ms. Francis is urging anyone who can to attend.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Tops Time-Out Listhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85153 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85153#comments Tue, 07 Nov 2017 02:06:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85153

Some city parks were built to replicate rustic fields and preserve serene woodland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, was not—and that’s precisely why it has become so popular.

In a round-up of the best parks in New York City, Time Out put Brooklyn Bridge Park at the top of the list, citing the views, Jane’s Carousel, and the myriad activities offered as among the park’s attractions.

Other parks on the list include Central Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Prospect Park, and The Hills at Governor’s Island.

While the Park has occasioned no small amount of controversy locally over the last few years, it continues to be a vibrant community space for the borough and the city, with teams, schools, and community groups flocking to it daily, along with the local residents and visitors.

Photo: Claude Scales

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Hearing on Pier Six Towers Thursday Morninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85080 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85080#comments Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:07:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85080

The next step in the litigation brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association to prevent construction of two high rise residential towers near Pier Six and the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park will take place this coming Thursday morning, November 2, at 9:30, at the New York Supreme Court, New York County, 80 Centre Street, Room 308, in Manhattan. The hearing will be before Justice Carmen St. George, who has replaced Justice Lucy Billings on the case because Justice Billings was assigned other duties.

Opponents of the proposed towers are encouraging all members of the public who can to attend the hearing.

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Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturdayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85029 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85029#comments Wed, 25 Oct 2017 20:25:05 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85029

This Saturday, October 28 Brooklyn Bridge Park will present its eighth annual Harvest Festival on Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Activities will include a parade, a haunted marsh, a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, face painting, music, and games. It’s all free. There’s more information here.

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Mayor de Blasio Announces Makeover of Cadman Plaza Park, End of Saturday Work at Former Library Sitehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84989 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84989#comments Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:04:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84989

At Mayor de Blasio’s Town Hall at St. Francis College this (Wednesday) evening, he announced that $6 million has been appropriated to renovate the northern end of Cadman Plaza Park, which he said he was surprised to learn had not been touched, apart from routine maintenance, since the late 1950s. Among the improvements will be water fountains.

A local resident complained of the noise on Saturdays from permitted work on the former site of the Brooklyn Heights branch library, now to become a high rise residential and commercial tower with a new library in its ground floor and basement. The Mayor called on a representative of the City’s Buildings Department, who announced that the permit for Saturday work is ending immediately.

Asked by local resident Toba Potosky about the prospects for the BQX or “Brooklyn-Queens Connector,” the proposed streetcar line connecting Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens, mostly along or near the waterfront but with a likely detour around Brooklyn Heights and through Downtown Brooklyn, the Mayor said he is enthusiastic about the project, but said it was not likely to begin to be built before 2020.

In response to another question from a local resident about “materials” for the new library, the Mayor noted that much material was now available on line, and that libraries are improving their facilities to allow access by the public to these on line resources. City Council Member Stephen Levin, who acted as moderator for the event, added that the new Brooklyn Heights branch library will have more shelf space for books than the old library, and that “we are not giving up on the book.”

While there was enthusiastic response to the Mayor’s confirmation that the “Pop-Up Pool” in Brooklyn Bridge Park will remain open for one more summer next year, an audience member asked about the possibility of replacing it with a “floating pool,” perhaps along the lines of the barge-borne Floating Pool Lady that was docked to Pier 5 in 2007. Te Mayor said this is under consideration, but called on a city official who said that “legal issues” need to be resolved.

The Mayor spoke about other borough and city-wide issues, including “3-K,” which will provide free, day long pre-school for all kids age three through kindergarten, improved police training and community involvement, and, in response to a question from a St. Francis student, New York City’s efforts, along with those of some 300 other U.S. cities, to exceed the requirements of the Paris climate accord.

Photo: Claude Scales for BHB.

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Greenpeace Ship Visiting Pier Six, Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84962 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84962#comments Sat, 14 Oct 2017 22:18:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84962

Update: Arctic Sunrise departed this (Tuesday) morning on a voyage to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico.

On an afternoon walk through Brooklyn Bridge park, your correspondent was surprised to find Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise docked at Pier Six, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue. I joined the line for a free tour, and with a group of about ten others, was led aboard for an interesting and educational experience. As we looked out over the bow, Catherine, a deckhand, told us about the ship’s ice-breaking capabilities and about her vulnerability to severe pitching and rolling in heavy seas because of her lack of a keel. Moving up to the bridge, we saw her up-to-date navigational and steering equipment. Paloma, who sometimes steers the ship, described how it all works. Moving down to the hold, where we found the crew’s bicycles hanging above, we were shown a very short film on Greenpeace’s mission. Proceeding to the rear deck, we were told about the ship’s present mission, which is to collect evidence of the pollution of the seas and adjacent waters by discarded “single use” plastic, and its effects on marine and bird life. Two crew members were panning water from the East River, finding many small bits of plastic debris. The tour took about twenty minutes.

Arctic Sunrise will be at Pier Six through tomorrow (Sunday, October 15) and will be open for free public tours from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

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Brooklyn Nets At Pier 2http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84848 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84848#comments Fri, 29 Sep 2017 22:07:50 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84848

On Saturday, October 14, the Brooklyn Nets will hold an open practice and block party at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. While tickets for the practice sold out within hours, tickets aren’t necessary for the block party. More tickets for the practice may be made available on the day of the event.

The event will begin at 11 am and include youth basketball games, fan activities, and food trucks.

 

The entire Brooklyn Nets team is expected to attend. The Nets will open their sixth season in Brooklyn on Friday, October 20 against the Orlando Magic.

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Pop-Up Pool Will Be Back For One More Summer, But What Will Replace It?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84796 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84796#comments Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:33:19 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84796

The Eagle reports that the powers-that-be at Brooklyn Bridge Park have allowed the much loved Pop-Up Pool (photo) to survive through the summer of 2018. However, the Eagle story notes:

Next summer will be absolutely the last year for the pool, however, as it is located in the site of the planned Pier 2 uplands where construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2018.

What’s left unsaid is, what will replace it? We know that the site of the Pop-Up Pool is destined to become the “Pier 2 uplands,” which, it is said, will include a “water attraction.” Odds are, though, this will not be a pool into which kids can go and learn how to swim. So where will such a pool be? We have no assurances.

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Americana Music Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park This Weekendhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84782 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84782#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:21:14 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84782

There will be a free Americana Music Festival this weekend — 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24 — featuring “original and traditional country, folk, roots, blues, old time and bluegrass artists.” It will take place on the Pier Six lawn (near the foot of Atlantic Avenue) in Brooklyn Bridge Park. There’s more information and performance schedules here.

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Photoville is Backhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84756 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84756#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 03:24:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84756

Photoville Has returned to Brooklyn Bridge Park this week, in its location under the Brooklyn Bridge. The photo (C. Scales for BHB) shows “The Fence,” which previews some of the photos to be shown during the event. Photoville will be open from noon to 10:00 p.m. Thursday, September 21 through Saturday, September 23, and from noon to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, September 24. There is more information here and a listing of events here.

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Update On Pier Six Towers: New Justice Takes Overhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84514 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84514#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 04:19:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84514

Our last report on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s lawsuit against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the developers to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the uplands of Pier Six noted that Justice Lucy Billings had orally declined to issue a temporary restraining order requested by the BHA to prevent any construction work until the court issues its decision in the case. Nevertheless, Justice Billings warned that any construction done prior to the court’s decision was at the developers’ peril, as the court could decide not to allow it to proceed. The BHA has advised us that Justice Billings has now issued a written version of her earlier oral order, noting that the developers and their contractors should not undertake anything “that is irreversible or incapable of restoration to its original condition” until the court issues its decision.

The Justice also noted in her written order that she had declined to issue the TRO requested by the BHA for several reasons. One of these, noted in our earlier post, is that she did not consider the noise from pile driving to be “irreparable harm” required to justify a TRO. While perhaps not “irreparable,” the noise has aroused some strong complaints from parents whose kids use nearby playgrounds, as The Brooklyn Paper reports. The Justice’s written order further notes that it was based on “the lack of a convincing showing that petitioner [the BHA] is likely to prevail on the merits of its claims.”

Justice Billings also advised the litigants that she has been assigned new duties, and as a consequence, the case will now be given over to Justice Carmen St. George. She said that Justice St. George’s decision would not be affected by whatever construction is done between now and when the decision is issued.

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Rep. Velázquez: Build A Park Entrance From Montague St.http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84379 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84379#comments Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:49:17 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84379

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez is advocating another entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, this one over the BQE from Montague Street or Remsen Street, to be constructed as part of the planning of the rehabilitation of the highway.

A plan to build a vertical walkway between the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park has received a strong push from U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (West and Central Brooklyn, LES).

 

“A Montague Street entrance would both relieve pressure on other, more residential park entrances such as the Joralemon Street entrance and would bring potential customers to the shops along commercial Montague Street. But the idea has, in the past, raised concerns about blocking the landmarked view from the Promenade.”

Velázquez recently wrote to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in support of the idea.

“For native New Yorkers and visitors alike, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a space for recreation, events and relaxation,” Velázquez said. “In order to meet such high demand, I’m urging NYCDOT to consider the creation of additional entrances. I strongly believe that by making access to the park easier, we can fully maximize our public spaces.”

Get the full story at the Eagle, including the text of Velázquez’ letter.

 

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Judge Nixes BHA Request; Pier 6 Developers May Proceed At Own Risk Until Final Rulinghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84329 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84329#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:37:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84329

The Eagle reports that today New York Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings denied the Brooklyn Heights Association’s motion for a temporary restraining order to keep the developers of the two proposed high rise residetial towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park from beginning construction before the August 4 hearing, at which Judge Billings will consider the merits of the BHA’s suit to permanently enjoin their construction. That suit is based on the theory that the revenue from the two proposed towers is not needed to fund the Park’s maintenance needs.

The BHA’s request for a TRO noted that the earliest phase of construction would involve driving of long steel piles into the ground (see photo of pile driver poised for action at Pier Six site), which would generate noise that would make nearby playgrounds unusable and seriously affect residents of nearby buildings. Judge Billings’ response was, “It’s noise”; meaning it doesn’t meet the standard of “immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damages” required under New York law to issue a TRO. Nevertheless, she warned the developers that any work undertaken before she rules on the merits of the BHA’s case is done at their risk, as she may yet decide that they may not proceed with the construction of the two towers.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB

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Down to the Wire on Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84298 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84298#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 02:04:17 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84298

As we noted in an earlier post, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the developer announced their intention to begin construction of the two proposed residential towers on the Pier Six uplands, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue, on July 19, which is tomorrow. This was one day after a scheduled court hearing on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s proceeding to enjoin construction of the towers because the projected income from them is not needed to fund park maintenance. When the BBPC and developer made their announcement, the BHA moved for a temporary restraining order to prevent any start to construction until after the court renders its decision on the merits of the BHA’s petition. That motion was to be considered today, along with the merits of the proceeding, but the court postponed the hearing until August 4.

The BHA responded by asking the judge to prohibit the start of construction until after August 4. The judge agreed to have a hearing on that motion at noon on this Thursday, July 20. The BBPC and developers would not agree to refrain from construction activities during the period before the Thursday hearing, but said no pile driving will be done during that time. The BHA has noted that the first stage of construction for both towers will involve the driving of more than 400 steel piles ninety feet into the ground; a process that will take ten weeks. The BHA fears that “the intense noise of the pile driving activity will make the Pier 6 children’s play areas virtually unusable this summer, and will also be intrusive for other Park visitors and nearby residents.”

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BHA Asks Court To Stop Construction Of Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84212 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84212#comments Thu, 06 Jul 2017 02:20:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84212

The Brooklyn Heights Association, which has sued the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the developers to prevent construction of two high rise residential towers on the uplands of Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park, reports that they received notice that construction would begin on July 19. This is one day after the next scheduled court date for the lawsuit. The BHA has made a motion to the court seeking a temporary or preliminary injunction prohibiting any construction activity until the court has ruled on the merits of the case.

The site of the smaller of the two proposed towers, facing Furman Street, has been surrounded by a plywood fence bearing a “Work in Progress: Residential” sign (see photo above).

IMG_8410Inside the enclosure is a stack of what may be foundation material, but no evidence of any work underway now.

IMG_8411The site of the larger proposed tower, closer to Pier Six, is also enclosed, with a “Work in Progress” sign.

IMG_8412Here there is a pile driver and a very large forklift, but again no evidence of activity. The Eagle reports that there have already been four test piles driven at each of the two sites.

Photos: C. Scales for BHB.

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“Movies With A View” Starts Thursday At Pier 1 With Office Spacehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84203 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84203#comments Tue, 04 Jul 2017 03:22:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84203

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual outdoor film festival, “Movies With A View,” begins this Thursday, July 6, on the Harbor View Lawn of Pier 1, with Office Space (1999), directed by Mike Judge and starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, and David Herman.

This year, the Park has partnered with DeKalb Market Hall to bring food, beer, wine, and soft drinks for sale. You are welcome to bring your own food and soft drinks (no glass bottles allowed), but may not bring alcohol. To enforce this, there will be bag checks at the entrance. Food and pre-show music begins at 6:00 PM, and film screening begins at sundown. Each feature film is preceded by a short. Arrive early to clear the bag check and find a good spot to put down your blanket. Admission is free.

The other movies on the list for this summer (all are on Thursday evenings): July 13, Pariah; July 20, Casablanca; July 27, The Lego Movie; August 3, Nine to Five; August 10, 42; August 17, Mad Max: Fury Road; August 24, chosen by public vote from Footloose, Dear White People, or Network.

There’s more info and a list of the shorts here

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Will Fourth of July Fireworks be Visible from Brooklyn Heights?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84136 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84136#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:04:49 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84136

Update: Here’s reaction from local business owners. The Eagle reports that this year’s Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks will be launched from barges on the East River beteween 24th and 41st streets in Manhattan. Unlike the past two years, there will be no fireworks launched from barges anchored below Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. The Eagle story quotes Macy’s as saying Brooklyn Bridge Park “is not a suggested location to watch the display due to its obstructed views.” It’s possible that a somewhat less obstructed view could be had from the Promenade because of its elevation above the level of the park. Those lucky enough to have access to rooftops on tall buildings might have a better, but still not perfect, view.

The answer to the question in the headline, though, is “Yes.” As the Eagle story concludes:

But fear not, Brooklynites. The Fourth Annual Jersey City Freedom and Fireworks Festival at Liberty State Park in N.J. will be visible from the Promenade and BBP.

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BHA States Case on Pier Six Towers in Court Hearinghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84042 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84042#comments Sun, 11 Jun 2017 03:25:59 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84042

The Brookyn Paper reports that, at a hearing in Judge Lucy Billings’ Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday, counsel for the Brooklyn Heights Association stated their case against the proposed two high rise residential buildings in Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the landward side of Pier Six, near the park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance. Counsel argued that construction of the buildings would violate the park’s commitment not to build any more housing on park land than is necessary to fund park maintenance. Judge Billings expressed some doubt about whether the wording of the park’s 2006 General Project Plan was tight enough to commit the park not to allow any more residential construction than is absolutely necessary. She also showed interest in the findings of the BHA’s financial expert, who argues that the park’s projections of income from existing development are more than adequate to meet the park’s financial needs. Finally, the park’s and developers’ counsel conceded that the park violated its own rules in selecting the developers for the proposed high rises before the developers filed required paperwork with the city.

The park and developers will state their case at a hearing before Judge Billings in July.

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World Science Festival Returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83975 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83975#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 03:11:19 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83975

The World Science Festival will return to Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, this Saturday evening, June 3 from 7:00 to 11:00. There will be telescopes for viewing celestial objects (the weather forecast is for clear skies), Bill Nye the Science Guy will be there for Q&A and book signing, and you can meet astronauts Yvonne Cagle and Leland Melvin. You may also participate in the Umbrella Project, arranged by the dance theater Pilobolus. Bring your future Neil deGrasse Tysons and Sally Rides; it should be great for the whole family, and it’s free. More information and directions here.

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Heights Resident Puts Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 on New Yorker Coverhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83909 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83909#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 03:32:00 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83909

The cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine is a sketch of a lively basketball game being played on the Pier Two courts in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with the lower Manhattan skyline in the background. As Françoise Mouly reports, it was made by Brooklyn Heights resident Jorge Colombo, using his iPad. Colombo is quoted as calling the park “one of my favorite places to hang out.”

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Coming at Brooklyn Historical Societyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83898 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83898#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 02:16:05 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83898

It’s a busy week at the Brooklyn Historical Society, with three evening events. All begin at 6:30, and admission for each is $10, or $5 for BHS members. Links to buy tickets are below.

For all the talk of a “paperless society” — this blog’s beloved founder had as a slogan “On the web because paper is expensive” — we still use lots of the stuff. Mark Kurlansky, who has written histories of Cod, Salt, and Oysters, will be at BHS on Tuesday evening, May 23, along with Atlas Obscura editor Ella Morton, to discuss his Paper: Paging Through History. More information and buy tickets here

On Wednesday evening, May 24, Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law and history at Vanderbilt University, will be joined by New York Times editorial writer and author Brent Staples, to discuss Sharfstein’s book Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War. The book deals with an historic irony: how Howard, an abolitionist and Union Army Civil War hero, persecuted “a brutal military campaign against the Nez Perce tribe and their leader, Chief Joseph, an outspoken opponent of forced relocation.” More information and buy tickets here.

Are we on the cusp of tyranny? On Thursday evening, May 25, Masha Gessen, author of The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Retook Russia and Timothy Snyder, Yale history professor and author of On Tyranny: Twenty Leesons from the Twentieth Century, discuss “A Republic, if You Can Keep It,” concerning “the global rise of nationalism and America’s political future.” More information and buy tickets here

When you get a chance, go down to Empire Stores in DUMBO and visit BHS’s new exhibition site. On display there now are many striking photographs of the Brooklyn waterfront. One that particularly caught my eye was of the Harbor View Lawn on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, before a summer “Movies With a View” screening, taken from an open helicopter door directly above and showing the lawn almost covered with blankets arranged in a neat array and people sitting on them or walking around.

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Pier Six Settlement Talks Fail; BHA’s Lawsuit Continueshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83610 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83610#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:38:35 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83610

The Eagle reports that settlement talks between the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the Brooklyn Heights Association, along with other community representatives, have failed. This comes as no surprise, as both sides have been adamant in their demands: the BHA and its allies for more green space on the Pier Six uplands and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation for two residential high rise buildings on that space in order to generate revenue the BBPC claims is needed to fund park maintenance in the future.

The Eagle story quotes a BHA statement as saying the “next step will be an argument … on the merits of the lawsuit on June 7th or 9th.”

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