Brooklyn Heights Blog » brooklyn bridge park http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:33:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84514/feed 1
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.

 

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84379/feed 27
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

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84329/feed 5
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.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84298/feed 3
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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84212/feed 7
“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

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84203/feed 2
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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84136/feed 9
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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84042/feed 2
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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83975/feed 0
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.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83909/feed 11
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.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83898/feed 0
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.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83610/feed 2
BHA Issues “Fake News Alert” About Pier Sixhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83568 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83568#comments Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:57:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83568

The Brooklyn Heights Association has issued a notice under the headline “Pier 6 Rumors Have No Factual Basis.” This is in reaction to rumors it has heard in response to Judge Lucy Billings’ order to the BHA and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation that they have “dialogue” in an effort to reach a compromise on the issue of housing on the Pier Six uplands. Because settlement negotiations are, by court order, held in confidence, there has been, the BHA said, speculation that it “is entering into a ‘secret deal’ that would somehow harm some of our neighbors.” The BHA responded:

We are writing to reassure everyone that those rumors have no basis in fact. The BHA has not and would not enter into any resolution of the Pier 6 issues without consulting with our community and we have consistently said just that to the Court and to the respondents, i.e., the other party.

The BHA added that, to assure community representation in the negotiations, it had persuaded the court that “we could expand the confidentiality tent to include the two community leaders with whom we have worked most closely from the beginning of this case.” In conclusion, it said, “no one should have any concern that we would enter into any resolution without input from our community.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83568/feed 9
BBP News: At One End, Squibb Bridge to Re-Open This Wednesday / On the Other, Judge Tells BHA and BBP to Work It Outhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83517 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83517#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:59:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83517

Love it or hate it, after three years of shut-down and unanswered questions, Squibb Bridge will be back in bouncy action this Wednesday, albeit with a lot less bounce. According to today’s New York Times report:

What was billed as a temporary closing dragged on for months, then years, as a successful fix eluded the bridge’s designer, a noted engineer named Ted Zoli, the recipient of a MacArthur grant. Compounding the problem was the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which operates the park, was strangely reticent about the exact nature of the trouble and what was being done to address it.

While BBPC commenced a lawsuit for breach of contract and professional misconduct against Zoli’s firm, BBPC footed the $2.5M bill to repair the bridge. “I didn’t want the litigation to impede our ability to move forward and get this bridge open as soon as possible,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor and chairperson for BBPC. “This is such a great amenity to the neighborhood. It was better to spend the money necessary to fix the bridge and then try to recover as much money as possible.”

And on the other end of the park, Brooklyn Paper reports that a hearing was held in the Brooklyn Heights Association’s lawsuit against the proposed towers at Pier 6. Presiding over the hearing was Judge Lucy Billings who admonished BHA’s lawyer that “[w]hat you would want to talk to [BBPC] about is what changes you’d want to make to the project to make it more palatable for the community. My first question when you come back [into court] is going to be how much dialogue you’ve had.”

Meanwhile, BBPC’s lawyer complained to the Judge that the BHA would not budge from its position unless affordable housing units in one of the buildings were eliminated and the project was changed “in a major way.” BHA, on the other hand, had previously suggested compromises, “such as moving the proposed affordable housing to the park’s headquarters on Furman Street in exchange for reducing the height of one of the towers.” The hearing ended with the parties being called into the Judge’s chambers for off-the-record discussions, which neither side would comment about.

 

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83517/feed 7
Floating Restaurant on Sailing Vessel Coming to Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83470 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83470#comments Sat, 08 Apr 2017 15:06:04 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83470

The Brooklyn Paper reports that restaurateur Alex Pincus plans to open an upscale, seafood oriented restaurant on an historic sailing vessel that will be moored to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, locared near the Park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance. The identity of the vessel hasn’t been revealed, but Pincus already has a restaurant, Grand Banks, operating on Manhattan’s shore aboard a Grand Banks style fishing schooner, the Sherman Zwicker (see photo).

According to the Brooklyn Paper story, the floating restaurant will be operating by this summer.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83470/feed 4
Welcome back to Squibb Park Bridgehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83468 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83468#comments Sat, 08 Apr 2017 01:01:02 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83468

Brooklyn Paper reported today that just in time for spring, the Squibb Park Bridge will re-open.

Repairs on the long-shuttered, trampoline-like walkway that connects the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the Brooklyn Bridge Park are finally finished, and park officials say they are just waiting on the paperwork so it can reopen, according to a rep for waterfront meadow.

The bridge has been closed since August 2014 after it was determined than a flawed design caused the bridge, which is a shortcut from Columbia Heights over the BQE into Brooklyn Bridge Park, to be unsafe. It was open for a year and half before the damage was discovered.

Fans of the bridge’s bounciness may be disappointed to learn that the repaired bridge will be “a lot less bouncy.”

And some readers and commenters of this blog, displeased by the foot traffic to the bridge, will also no doubt be dismayed at the imminent re-opening. According to Brooklyn Paper, Brendan Rees will not be among them.

 

“That bridge would change my life, “ said Rees. “It did when it was open.”

Read the full report at Brooklyn Paper.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83468/feed 12
Pier Six Towers Court Hearing Set for Wednesday, April 12http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83460#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 03:01:25 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83460

The already twice delayed hearing on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s lawsuit against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the Pier Six uplands, near the park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance, is now scheduled for this coming Wednesday afternoon, April 12, at 2:30, at the New York State Supreme Court, 71 Thomas Street, in Manhattan, before Justice Lucy Billings.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83460/feed 1
Eric Landau Nominated for Brooklyn Bridge Park Presidencyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:25:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83449

The Eagle reports that Mayor de Blasio has nominated Eric Landau, who presently serves as deputy commissioner of public affairs and communications at the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, to be the new president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. Before taking his post at DEP, Landau was vice president of government and external affairs and special assistant to the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. If confirmed, Landau will assume the presidency as Brooklyn Bridge Park is undergoing its last stages of construction (photo: Pier 3). He will also inherit the controversy over the need for two high rise residential buildings on the Pier 6 uplands to provide revenue for future park maintenance.

According to the Eagle story, Landau is “[a]n advocate of environmental issues, open space and community voices, [who] also has experience in government and urban park planning.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449/feed 1
Help to Make Brooklyn Bridge Park Ready for Springhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83397 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83397#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 02:29:22 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83397

Brooklyn Bridge Park has a very effective full time staff who take care of day-to-day park maintenance, but relies on volunteers to help with the intensive work needed when winter yields to spring. This Thursday, March 30, and on Monday, April 3, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, volunteers are needed for “Spring Spruce-Up and Cutback,” at which they may

enjoy the outdoors and getting their hands dirty as they help prepare the park for a new growing season. Volunteers, with various levels of experience, support BBP Gardeners by cutting back overwintered grasses and perennials, removing winter debris, and helping tidy up the planting beds.

If you would like to participate, please register here and you will be given directions to the meeting place.

Should you be interested in being a park volunteer for this and future opportunities, there will be a Volunteer Orientation at REI SoHo, Community Room, 303 Lafayette Street in Manhattan this Thursday evening, March 30, from 7:00 to 8:00. If you wish to attend, please fill out a Volunteer Application, then follow the directions here.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83397/feed 1
View of Brooklyn Bridge from Promenade Blighted Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:45:45 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83322

As if the Pierhouse’s blotting out of the full view of the arc of the Brooklyn Bridge, which had been visible (apart from two small interruptions caused by rooftop equipment) from the southern portion of the Promenade when the National Cold Storage Warehouse buildings were there (see here), wasn’t enough, a high rise building in Manhattan is now spoiling the view of the East (Brooklyn) Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. As shown in the photo (by your correspondent) the new building (just north of the Manhattan Bridge on the Manhattan side) is looming over the Brooklyn side tower, thus taking away the view of the tower against the sky, as we’ve always known it.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322/feed 19
Pier Six Lawsuit Hearing Postponed Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83317 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83317#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:16:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83317

We’ve just received word from the Brooklyn Heights Association that the hearing on the BHA’s lawsuit to enjoin construction of two high rise residential buildings on the uplands of Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been postponed for a second time. The hearing was originally scheduled for March 7, then postponed to tomorrow (Wednesday, March 22). It has now been postponed until an unspecified date in April because of a trial this week having been assigned to the judge, The Hon. Lucy Billings.

We will let you know when a specific date, as well as time and place, have been established.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83317/feed 3
Brooklyn Bridge Park Presents Artist Priscila De Carvahlo at 99 Plymouth Street Saturday Afternoonhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83304 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83304#comments Fri, 17 Mar 2017 03:35:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83304

This Saturday afternoon, March 18, from 1:00 to 2:00, the Brazilian born artist Priscila De Carvalho (photo; from Maria Brito) will give an artist talk in conjunction with her exhibition Before Now, at 99 Plymouth Street, in DUMBO. Admission is free, but spots are limited and available on a first-come, first served basis.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83304/feed 0
The Air Was Cold, But The Birds Were Outhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229#comments Sun, 12 Mar 2017 06:29:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83229

Your correspondent ventured out at 8:45 yesterday (Saturday) morning in sub-zero wind chill to walk from his home on Montague Street down to the Pier 1 entrance. There he met Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge and guide for a bird walk scheduled for what proved to be a very cold morning. The only other walkers present were a man named Brian with his two young sons. Heather said she had recently seen woodcocks in a wooded area near the pier entrance; we looked, but found none.

Heather then led us to a path the cuts through the woods on the landward side of Pier One; a prime spot for birding, she said. She was right. Before long we saw a pair of American Robins foraging on the path ahead of us. Then, off to our right, came a rapid “Tap! Tap! Tap!” It was a Downy Woodpecker (see photo above). As we continued along the path, the little woodpecker kept a parallel course, stopping here and there for more tapping. On the same path we saw a Fox Sparrow, but it was too quick for me to get a photo.

When we reached the south end of Pier One, Brian said his boys were uncomfortable in the cold, so they left. At the same time, we were joined by another walker, Clint.

IMG_7556

Coming down off the south side of Pier One we saw lots of waterfowl resting on the exposed pilings. Here are five Gadwall ducks, and, at top left, what appears to be a Mallard, getting some rest while the cold wind blows. There were two Buffleheads, a male and a female, paddling and diving, but they were too far away and too quick for photography. There were also Herring Gulls on the pilings and on the water.

IMG_7530

Coming to the landward side of Pier Two, we found two Mallards, male and female, also enjoying some shut-eye.

IMG_7553

Standing on the water’s edge at the beach near Pier Four was a Ring-billed Gull. Heather also pointed out some Great Black-backed Gulls, but they were too far away for good photography with my little camera.

IMG_7555

A squadron of Brants (small geese) glided across the water between Pier Four and the Marina.

IMG_7549

On the landward side of Pier Six we spotted this White-throated Sparrow. Out on Pier Six we saw a female Cardinal. but she was too quick for my lens.

IMG_7551

Also on Pier Six, which Heather noted has become a very good bird watching spot, we saw this Mourning Dove.

IMG_7548

Here’s intrepid Heather, aiming her long lens at the Mourning Dove shown above. She led us on a very productive walk for a very cold March morning: by my count at least fourteen species, not including the ubiquitous house sparrows and pigeons. I’m looking forward to her next bird walk, which I hope will be in more clement weather.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229/feed 2
Park Corporation, BHA Trade Punches Over Pier 6 Developmenthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83221 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83221#comments Sat, 11 Mar 2017 20:27:28 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83221

We previously noted that the Brooklyn Heights Association, citing new information from the City’s Department of Finance concerning valuation of existing properties on park land, was going forward with its lawsuit to prevent construction of two residential towers near Pier Six and the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Curbed now reports that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has responded with a post on the Park’s website and a February 28 letter to the court. The Curbed story says the BBPC’s interim President, David Lowin, maintains that “the numbers BHA drew from only represent one year of incomplete valuations, and don’t present enough data to project a conservative 50-year financial plan for the park.”

The BHA has since replied with a post to its “News” webpage that links to its March 7 letter to the court disputing, among other things, the BBPC’s claim that BHA has misinterpreted the City’s valuations and their significance. In addition, the BHA has circulated an e-mail in which it notes:

In addition, the BHA lawsuit contains many other challenges to the Pier 6 development, including the failure of the BBPC to consider the environmental impact of the proposed project in light of changed economic conditions and increased school overcrowding in the more than ten years since the last environmental review, as well as the procedural flaws in its decision making process. None of those claims are rebutted in the [BBPC’s] Update.

A hearing on the BHA’s motion to enjoin BBPC from proceeding with the Pier Six residential development is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22. We will give further details when available.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83221/feed 0
BHA Annual Meeting: P.S.8’s Phillips and Others Honored; Expert Panel Dubious about BQXhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82930 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82930#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:03:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82930

Court hearing on Pier 6 towers has been rescheduled–see below. At Monday evening’s annual meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association, BHA President Patrick Killackey (photo) began by asking, rhetorically, what a neighborhood association can do in a time of political turmoil. He answered by arguing that the nature of the times requires more action at the local level. We might not, he said, be able to bring about the disarmament of North Korea, but we can do, and have done, things that can improve our lives and perhaps inspire others to do more, both in our community and in others. As examples, among others, he cited the Promenade Gardeners and those who fought to reduce helicopter noise in the Heights and nearby.

Mr. Killackey noted some new developments. The BHA House Tour, which ended in 2015, will be replaced with a new Designer Showhouse event to take place in September of this year. More details are forthcoming. On Monday, March 6, there will be a hearing in court on the BHA’s lawsuit to prevent construction of two high rise residential buildings near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Update: The new hearing date before NYS Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings will be Friday, March 17th at 11:00 AM at 71 Thomas Street, Room 203, in Manhattan.

Mr. Killackey noted with regret the departure of DCI Centa as commander of the 84th Precinct, but expressed confidence in his replacement, Capt. Roberto Melendez. Mr. Killackey reviewed the progress that had been made under DCI Centa, including the installation of cameras on Joralemon Street and the appointment of two community affairs officers to Brooklyn Heights.

DSC_6379

Awards for community service were presented by Heights resident and Channel 13 personality Tom Stewart (photo above), who got a good laugh for announcing that the first award went to La La Land. The real first award for community service went to Irene Janner, who served on the P.S.8 PTA during the years of the school’s transition from struggling to desirable, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Brooklyn Bridge Park, and was treasurer and office manager for the BHA. The second was to Love Our Pool, a group of parents who fought to keep the Pop-Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park open for at least another summer, while the Park finds another way to provide a swimming venue. The third was to community activists Judi Francis and Ren Richmond, and to the law firm Jenner & Block, which has donated its services pro bono, for their fight to keep high rise towers from being built near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

DSC_6390

The BHA’s top award, the Martha Atwater Award, went to Seth Phillips (photo above), who became principal of P.S.8 when it was still a struggling, underperforming school to which local parents tried to avoid sending their children, to one so successful that it now has an overcrowding problem. He was also instrumental in expanding the school, and in establishing a new middle school, I.S.8, to relieve the shortage of nearby, attractive middle school options for local students.

The meeting concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by New York Times writer Jim Dwyer, and featuring experts on transit matters. The topic was the proposed “Brooklyn-Queens Connector,” a streetcar line that would connect Sunset Park in Brooklyn with Astoria, Queens. The panel members were. in general, skeptical of the project. The notion that the project could be financed by property tax increases on adjacent properties was questioned because the properties along the line were either fully developed or too small to produce the needed revenue. Engineering problems related to the route being mostly within a flood plain, and lacking a dedicated right of way, which would mean traffic delays. Concerns were also expressed about the ability of the proposed route to connect with other means of transit, such as subways and buses. Finally, it was argued that money would better be spent on improvements to transit on underserved areas like East New York and others on the City’s edge. One panelist said that underserved areas near the proposed BQX route, such as the Red Hook Houses and other NYCHA housing near the Queens waterfront, could be served more economically by providing better bus service connecting to subways.

The audience seemed mostly hostile to the BQX proposal, as each criticism of it from the panel attracted a vigorous round of applause.

All photos by Andrew Porter.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82930/feed 4
New Info Breathes Life into Effort to Block Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82914 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82914#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:24:39 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82914

New information from the City’s Department of Finance has revived efforts by the Brooklyn Heights Association and other local activists to block construction of two residential towers on Brooklyn Bridge Park land near Pier Six and the foot of Atlantic Avenue, as reported by Lauren Gill in the Brooklyn Paper. As we noted last June, the BHA was prepared to litigate the issue of whether the towers were necessary to meet the Park’s continuing financial needs. According to the Brooklyn Paper story, the Department of Finance has found that existing developments, such as the Pierhouse hotel and condo complex, stand to produce $300 million more in revenue for the Park than originally projected. The story quotes Judi Francis, a Cobble Hill resident and long time opponent of the Pier Six development, as saying, “We knew that we were right and big surprise, we were right.” The story then quotes David Lowin, interim president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, as saying, “We have repeatedly made clear the necessity and merits of this project, and look forward to responding to the BHA’s erroneous claims in court.”

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82914/feed 6
Change of Command at 84th Precincthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82868 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82868#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:30:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82868

DNA Info reports that Detective Inspector Sergio Centa, who has commanded the 84th Precinct, which covers Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and nearby areas, since September, 2014, left Thursday to take command of the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick. He there succeeded his predecessor as commander of the 84th, D.I. Maximo Tolentino. D.I. Centa’s successor as commander of the 84th is Captain Roberto Melendez, who comes to us from the 75th Precinct in East New York.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82868/feed 5
“Descension” by Anish Kapoor Coming to Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82863 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82863#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 01:53:29 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82863

Under the auspices of the Public Art Fund, Indian born, London resident artist Anish Kapoor is bringing one of his typically large creations to Brooklyn Bridge Park, as Artnet News reports. “Descension” (photo: anishkapoor.com) is twenty six feet in diameter and is described in the Artnet News piece as being “made by pairing an all-natural black dye with a continuously spiraling funnel of water to produce the illusion of an ever-churning black hole.” It will be on display from May 3 through September 10.

The Public Art Fund’s press release, published on the Brooklyn Bridge Park website, gives Descension’s location as “Pier 1″ but nothing more specific. My guess is that it will be at the north end of the Bridge View Lawn, near the foot of Old Fulton Street, the same location that sported Jeppe Hein’s “Appearing Rooms” (scroll to bottom of linked post) two years ago.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82863/feed 4
Register Now for Eileen Dugan Memorial 5K Run Saturday, April 8http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82835 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82835#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 03:49:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82835

Eileen C. Dugan (1945-1996) represented Brooklyn Heights and nearby neighborhoods in the State Assembly from 1981 until her death. She was instrumental in creating the legal groundwork for the establishment of Brooklyn Bridge Park. For the past eighteen years a five kilometer run, named in her honor, has started and ended in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

This year’s 19th Annual Eileen Dugan 5K Run will be held on Saturday, April 8, starting at 9:00 a.m. entry is limited to 400 runners. The entry fee is $40 in advance or $50 on race day, with an early bird fee of $35 for those registering on or before February 28. All runners get a T-shirt, along with pride and an endorphin high. You may register on line here.

Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82835/feed 0
Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 05:11:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82763

Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, will lead a Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park this Sunday, February 5. The walk begins at 9:00 a.m. at the entrance to Pier 1, near the foot of Old Fulton Street. According to Ms. Wolf:

Buffleheads [photo] are now being seen near Pier 4 beach and the Pier 1 pilings.
A pair of of Red-breasted Mergansers were courting the other day near Pier 5.

Join me as we look for beautiful winter ducks, geese, gulls, sparrows and more.

The walk is free, but please RSVP here or e-mail to hwbirds@gmail.com

Photo: Photogallery (U.S. National Park Service); public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

]]>
http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763/feed 0