Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Brooklyn-Queens Street Car

At Thursday night's State of the City address, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a proposal to add a new street-level tram along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront. The BQX street car would run from Sunset Park up to Astoria, passing through several waterfront neighborhoods that do not have subway access, like Red Hook. Preliminary maps show the trolley traveling along Columbia Street, with a station at Pier 6. In addition to the expanded East River Ferry service, this is the second new transit route proposed for the Columbia waterfront.

The plan's $2.5 billion price tag has been criticized by some transit advocates, who suggest that the money could be put to better use increasing express bus service or expanding transit options in more poorly served areas. Questions about the future line's ridership and its integration with the MTA Metrocard are still unanswered. The project will begin gathering community input this year, and is expected to get construction permits no earlier than 2017.

Brooklyn train enthusiast Bob Diamond, who discovered the Cobble Hill Tunnel under Court and Atlantic in 1981, has long been an advocate for the return of the waterfront trolley that ran through Red Hook and DUMBO. He lauded Thursday's news, and hopes to work with the De Blasio administration to make the new proposal a reality.

Additional coverage:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Public Meeting with NYU Langone

This Wednesday, representatives from NYU Langone will present updates on their Cobble Hill healthcare operations to the Community Board Six Human Services Committee. The committee will discuss the current, and future, healthcare offerings in the neighborhood. Community Board committee meetings are open to the public. The meeting details are below, and available on the Community Board Six website.

6:30 pm Wednesday, January 27th 
Cobble Hill Health Center 
380 Henry Street 
(Congress & Warren Streets) 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Update on the Proposed Redevelopment of the LICH site

A few days before Christmas, the Cobble Hill Association and all the elected officials who have been involved on the community’s behalf were asked to attend a meeting at City Hall because Mayor de Blasio's administration was taking a direct interest in the redevelopment process and had a new ULURP proposal to present.

The CHA agreed to participate in the meeting so we could understand the new ULURP proposal as fully as possible.  We made it clear to the administration that we were not indicating any acceptance or agreement with City Hall or Fortis as part of the process of information gathering that the meeting represented.

CHA representatives had also attended a December meeting where NYU described their plans for the new medical center to be developed on the former LICH site, regardless of what type of residential development occurs.  After this meeting, CHA and the Brooklyn Heights Association, which also attended, sent a letter to NYU outlining a number of concerns about infrastructure issues relating to the medical center.

In the pre-Christmas City Hall meeting, two members of the de Blasio administration outlined a new ULURP plan that includes a reduction in market-rate residential and affordable housing square footage, but a larger school than previously proposed.  During the meeting, CHA representatives made it clear that the plan does not fully address the community's issues with the original ULURP proposal, and that our information from the NYU meeting and the proposal of a larger school raised many infrastructure- and traffic-related issues.  The City Hall representatives asked that the CHA to develop a list of information requirements and that we attend a second meeting early in the new year.

The list of information requirements requested after the first City Hall meeting included questions relating to basic infrastructure issues, such as traffic, parking, safety, access and entrances to the medical center and school, and other subjects relating to neighborhood open spaces and environmental issues.  At the post-New Year meeting at City Hall, some information was provided and additional information promised.

CHA is continuing to pursue information gathering on all the elements of the new ULURP plan and intends to communicate its best understanding of the plan to the community at the earliest possible time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Don't Trash Your Tree, Mulch It!

Happy New Year Cobble Hill! The NYC Parks Department will be running its annual Mulchfest, where the city collects christmas trees to be chipped into mulch. Rather than leaving your tree on the curb, "treecycle" it at Cobble Hill Park next weekend on January 9th and 10th. Bringing your tree to Mulchfest saves the DSNY time and money and supplies the Parks Department with mulch that it uses in its stewardship of the city's natural areas. Mulch will also be available at Cobble Hill Park for any home gardeners.

Mulchfest 2016 at Cobble Hill Park
January 9th and 10th, 10:00am - 2:00pm

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's Petition Delivery Time!

Let's deliver our message to Mayor de Blasio together. 

Date:  Wednesday morning, December 16th
Time:  9:15 am
Where: In front of the gates of City Hall Park, Broadway at Murray Street.
How:   4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, R to City Hall, A/C to Chambers, or 2/3 to Park Place

Bring ID.

Can you make it?  Your presence will have an impact.  If you can be there, an email confirmation would be appreciated. Send your RSVPs to

On Wednesday morning, City Councilman Brad Lander and State Senator Daniel Squadron will stand with Cobble Hill residents (and neighbors!) to deliver over 2017 signed petitions to City Hall.   (We actually have more than that but the number should have special significance for the Mayor.)  Our request is simple:  we want a better plan for the Long Island College Hospital site.
Bring one of the Save Cobble Hill posters or make your own, Just keep it family friendly!

THANK YOU for your efforts!  Every voice counts and is vital in our efforts to convince the de Blasio administration to listen and respond to our concerns.  We hope to see you Wednesday morning!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Walk the Windows of Atlantic Avenue this Saturday

Take advantage of this weekend's unseasonably beautiful weather to Walk the Windows on Atlantic Avenue. This Saturday stores and restaurants along Atlantic from Hicks Street to 4th Avenue will be hosting events and offering complimentary holiday treats and discounts. Hot chocolate from Sahadi's still sounds pretty good when it's 60 degrees out. The event is organized by the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation, described by them below:
Walk the Windows activities include live music; tribal rugs exhibit with talk; holiday terrarium workshop; cheese & wine pairing class; storytime; art lectures; book making craft; intro to meditation; Strafe signed CD and art raffle; drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic – including a whiskey knowledge tasting); ski and snowboard tips and tricks; holiday makeup tips; gift wrapping and goodies party; meet Santa, the Snow Queen (photo ops/bring your camera) and more! Holiday carolers, free tasty treats and refreshments, and fun events, will keep you in the holiday spirit.
Walk the Windows on Atlantic Ave
Saturday, December 12 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to 4th Avenue

Monday, December 7, 2015

Carroll Gardens 9th Annual Community Tree Lighting

Join our Carroll Gardens neighbors on Friday evening for the ninth annual Community Tree lighting. Festivities will be at the Human Compass Garden at Columbia and Sackett Streets from 6:00pm - 7:30pm, and Santa will be making an appearance. See the event posting from Carroll Gardens Assocation.

Community Tree Lighting
Friday, December 11th 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Human Compass Community Garden
Corner of Columbia and Sackett Streets

Friday, November 20, 2015

Say It Ain't So, Mayor de Blasio!

“We are not embarking on a mission to build towering skyscrapers where they don't belong. We have a duty to protect and preserve the culture and character of our neighborhoods.”

Guess who said that last February?! Mayor de Blasio!

But somehow the Mayor has lost his way and now he is supporting building high-rise towers right next to our historic low-rise brownstone community.

At Wednesday's community meeting, hundreds of our Cobble Hill neighbors and friends made their feelings loud and clear: No towers in Cobble Hill! Our representatives heard our message and they are behind us 100 percent in this truly momentous effort to stop Fortis Property Group from building their high-rises on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital.

Now we need to make sure Mayor de Blasio hears us, too! Toward that end, we are petitioning Mayor de Blasio to work with us— not against us— in our efforts to significantly downscale the current redevelopment plans. We've already collected hundreds of signatures, but we needs several times that to make an impact.

Please read our petition and-- if you agree— add your vitally needed voice to our campaign. There are two ways you can participate.

1. Please print out a copy of our petition, sign, and mail to: Cobble Hill Association, 123 Congress Street 11201 (or you can drop through the mail slot).

2. Access and sign our petition online. (Your email will be your signature.)

All the community's signed petitions will be delivered directly to the Mayor's office.

Please sign today! The sooner these petitions reach the Mayor the better!

And THANK YOU! for being a part of our community.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Cobble Hill Community and its Representatives Reject Fortis Redevelopment Plans for LICH site

City Councilman Brad Lander, New York Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, and New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez announced at the Cobble Hill Association's fall community meeting that they would not support the current proposed rezoning (ULURP) plans for the former Long Island College Hospital site. "The community does not support this ULURP proposal— and neither do I," Councilman Lander told his constituents, who filled the auditorium of P.S. 29 and also spoke passionately against the Fortis plans, which feature luxury high-rise towers of at least 35 stories.  Cobble Hill Association President Laurel Burr and First Vice President Buzz Doherty also reported that, after holding nearly 20 block meetings to discuss the Fortis proposals, there was a clear consensus within the community that the redevelopment plans were unacceptable and needed to be significantly downscaled to win neighborhood approval. The CHA would like to thank our representatives for their work on behalf of Cobble Hill and our President Laurel Burr for her tireless efforts to mobilize community action on this vital issue. Please follow us on Facebook for the latest developments. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fall General Meeting on Wednesday Night

Fall General Meeting
November 18th, Wednesday, 7:00 pm
P.S. 29 at 425 Henry Street
Between Baltic and Kane Streets


This will be a very important meeting of the Cobble Hill Association as the community provides feedback on the development proposals for the Long Island College Hospital site.

Incomplete and misleading information is being disseminated in our neighborhood by paid canvassers.

Some points of clarification:
  • The rezoning plan is substantially larger than the As of Right plan.
  • The NYU-Langone medical facility will be built by NYU regardless of which development path Fortis chooses. Continuous medical care on the site was a condition of the sale and is not a voluntary benefit offered by the developer.
  • The park space proposed in the rezoning is a park “mash-up” of the existing sitting park and an existing playground, plus only 4286 additional square feet. 
  • The proposed K-5 school has no schoolyard.
Check the Cobble Hill Association Facebook page for news and updates.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

CHA attends meeting with Councilman Brad Lander and other community organizations to discuss affordable housing

As reported on DNAinfo's website, on November 5 the Cobble Hill Association participated in a meeting organized by City Councilman Brad Lander on the subject of affordable housing as it relates to the needs of the community and the current proposals for the redevelopment of the Long Island College Hospital site. A representative of Assembly member Jo Anne Simon's office; representatives of the Carroll Gardens Association, which works to preserve and develop affordable housing; Heights & Hills, which provides support services to Brooklyn's senior citizens; the Brooklyn Heights Association; representatives of Fortis, the developer of the LICH site; and other stakeholders were also in attendance.

The meeting served to educate community groups and stakeholders in the LICH development about the many intricacies involved in building and maintaining affordable housing units within a luxury high-rise development, including income levels, senior services, apartment size, preferences for certain groups, etc. The developer is proposing affordable housing in two of the high-rise towers they are seeking to build (the tallest of which is 35 stories), one housing primarily seniors. However, the representative of Heights and Hills, which has served seniors for decades, asked a number of thoughtful questions about the senior housing component of Fortis's current proposal and it was clear that Fortis and its partner L&M Development have not made any final decisions about the exact nature of the senior housing or the other proposed affordable units.

CHA is not opposed to affordable housing in any development plan, as long as it is affordable and acceptable to the community. As Council Lander has stated: "The proposals are deeply disturbing to most neighbors, and for good reason: they are dramatically out-of-scale with the Cobble Hill community." A historic brownstone neighborhood with a 50-foot height limit will be overwhelmed by a multi-tower residential complex with heights of up to 400 feet.

On November 18, CHA will hold its fall community meeting. The time and location are TBA. In the meantime, please "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for latest developments.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

When Community Advocates Are Really Paid Political Public Relations Advisors

Cobble Hill Association can now confirm that Hilltop Public Solutions, a political public relations firm operated by former top-level campaign organizers for Mayor de Blasio, is aggressively operating a "messaging" campaign in our neighborhood in support of Fortis's proposed high-rise complexes for the LICH site. Hilltop's campaigners (who say they are working for "the LICH project") are collecting and asking residents' opinions on schooling and playgrounds to forward to New York City Councilmember Brad Lander. What is not stressed by these campaigners is that both redevelopment plans will place high-rise tower complexes over 35 stories high in our low-rise historic neighborhood.

We do not believe a consultancy firm paid for by the real-estate developer of the LICH site should presume to represent our community's opinions to our representatives. We are asking all residents of Cobble Hill and throughout South Brooklyn NOT TO RESPOND to Hilltop's solicitations. CHA is reaching out to Councilman Lander's office immediately to inform him of Hilltop's stealth campaign.

For more on Hilltop's lucrative relationship with the Mayor, read this New York Times article. And in case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal also recently ran an incisive report on Mayor de Blasio's abandonment of LICH and our community. We are updating our Facebook page regularly with news and information about the Fortis redevelopment plans and what we can do to protect our community from falling victim of gross overdevelopment. Please "like" CHA on Facebook and invite your neighbors to follow us on Facebook as well. We need your support!!