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January 28, 2021
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News + Views

Brooklyn Bridge Park Debate

By Lisa M. Collins
Thursday meeting to address condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Photo by Joshua Kristal

Public Meeting Thursday, March 31, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.: A battle has been underway for years over the city’s plan to pay for Brooklyn Bridge Park. The lovely playground at the end of Atlantic Avenue, at Pier 6, and the equally lovely adult hangout at Pier 1 (with grassy area overlooking Manhattan, movies in summer, walking and bike paths and marshy/water landscaping), those things are only the start. Many plans are in the works. An additional picnic area, and some sand volleyball courts, are slated to open this summer, as well as a carousel down in DUMBO.

The city has long said that tax revenue from a luxury condo development at the waterfront park, including several new buildings, will pay for pier repairs and maintenance of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Community activists are battling the proposal, saying that so much new housing on the waterfront will in effect “privatize” the park, obstruct access to it, reduce public recreation there, and is just not good policy. State Sen. Daniel Squadron formed a committee to come up with “alternatives to housing” proposals. The city said it would consider such proposals, as long as they don’t take away money from the city.

A presentation by the San Francisco-based consultant last month came up with several alternatives, which can be viewed here:

Thursday evening, the public can comment. If you are against or for new housing at the park, now is the time to speak. If nothing else, the meeting should be interesting.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Committee on Alternatives to Housing

Draft Report Public Hearing
Thursday, March 31, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

St. Francis College, Founders Auditorium
180 Remsen Street (between Court and Clinton Streets)

For more on the park proposals and plans, visit:

More background, this from Brooklyn Bridge Park:

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors.

Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the destinations are Governors Island, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.

Since 2002, through a Memorandum of Understanding between Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki, there has been agreement that Brooklyn Bridge Park’s maintenance costs must be self-sustaining.

On March 8, 2010, in anticipation of the transfer of control of Brooklyn Bridge Park to a City controlled entity, the City of New York, State Senator Daniel Squadron and State Assemblymember Joan Millman executed a Memorandum of Understanding that called for the creation of a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing (now called the Committee on Alternatives to Housing) that would oversee an analysis of potential revenue sources that may replace all or a portion of the revenues currently projected from the Pier 6 and John Street residential sites for the funding of the Park’s maintenance and operations budget.

The Memorandum of Understanding specified that no alternative revenue source will be analyzed unless it meets the following two threshold parameters:

1. The alternative source does not, in any way, displace revenue to which the City is otherwise entitled, and

2. The timing of, and level of risk associated with, the revenue projected to be generated by such source is consistent with the projected timing of, and risk associated with, the revenue projected to be generated by the residential development at the John Street and Pier 6 sites.

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