Friday, December 4, 2009


This coming Monday, Senator Squadron will be hosting a meeting to give the community an opportunity to hear a presentation from the City of New York about Brooklyn Bridge Park.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK TOWN HALL MEETING Hosted by State Senator Daniel Squadron WHEN: Monday, December 7, 7:00 pm WHERE: Long Island College Hospital, Conference Rooms C & D (Corner of Hicks and Atlantic Avenue, enter on Hicks Street)

Since the 1985 the Cobble Hill Association has worked to create a great park to honor the Brooklyn Bridge and to serve the growing population of young families with year round recreational facilities, welcoming entrances, access along its length, and a financial plan that does not privatize public parks with housing inside its borders.

Mayor Bloomberg now wants the State to give him control of the Park.
Please come to a meeting at which the Mayor's plan will be presented: This Monday, December 7th at 7 PM at Long Island College Hospital.

Please ask the Mayor:
1. Will he eliminate new housing that has been shown to be unnecessary and corrosive to this park?
2. Will he put back the recreational facilities taken out in favor of landscaping for condos?
3. Will he support Senator Squadron's plan for financing, or other plans we have put forth over the years to support this park's operations?

We apologize for the delay in notifying you about this meeting. It is the mayor's timing, not ours. But this is an important meeting and do hope you will be able to attend!


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I'm very confused by your second question - the one that talks of putting back in "recreational facilities taken out in favor of landscaping for condos." Is this just another way to say that the members of the Cobble Hill Association don't want new housing near the waterfront (similar to the first question on your list)?

Is it possible that the person who posted these questions is not familiar with some of the earlier plans for the park? It seems to me that a great deal of recreation was added into the park between the time that the first master plan came out and the plan that is on the table today. For instance, Pier 6 was added to the park, as well as a new playground upland from the pier. Is that what is being described as "landscaping around condos"?

I personally have a much bigger problem with the earlier plan to keep the Pier 5 shed accessible by car, allowing portions of it to be used for parking and having it run by private enterprise (Chelsea Piers comes to mind...). I don't even like the idea of a big building blocking views out to the harbor. Is this the kind of "recreation facilities" that you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

Please, let’s everybody climb out from behind your entrenched positions and start to have an unbiased discussion of what it would mean to have the city take over the park. Senator Squadron should be a leading a really open discussion of the issues, rather than simply creating a forum to rehash the anti-park talking points.

As a parent of young children, the one thing I don't like about our otherwise great neighborhood is the absence of a big park – something more than a little patch of play equipment. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Plan that was worked up around ten years ago (before my kids were born) did not even include a connection to Atlantic Avenue so I am very pleased that many things have changed over the years. Any way you look at it, the city has given the neighborhood many extra acres of park lands--- and the fact that when you enter form Atlantic Avenue the first thing you will see is a big playground seems like a wonderful entry into the park to me. If I am just going to the playground, I can stop here. If I have more time and want to go run around in the park I can do that too. For those who say that this is just something offered up to sweeten life for the condos, I’m figuring that you don’t have children. If this is all about the condos, which would be surprising to me since I can think of precious few developments that would build a playground of this size just to attract buyers, then it seems that the housing might be bringing good things to the neighborhood after all.

On the subject of recreation, from what I can learn from the plans, is that there will be a lot of fun things to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park – it just won’t look like a big flat place that has been divided into separate things to do. I’m sure that people would use a “recreation center” like the one in the earlier plans regardless of what it looks like but it would really disruptive to the park and dangerous for the rest of us to have cars driving in and out of Pier 5.

If Senator Squadron would like to at least give the appearance of rising above the mischief, maybe he would use this as an opportunity to look at the progression of plans for the waterfront and the park--since these are a mater of public record, and thoughtfully evaluate if the recreational usage has been reduced over time and, if so, what were the reasons behind it. There needs to be real discussion, however, not just a revisiting of the same tired talking points – in other words, a true Town Hall Meeting with the mayor’s office shouldn’t be undertaken with the assumption that the organizers already know what the important questions are. Say that I, for example want more recreation that involves unstructured activity, a place where my girls who don’t like soccer or basketball can play outdoors with their friends, maybe build fairy houses or whatnot, at the very least run up and down and all around without worrying about whether or not they are interrupting someone’s game, where my family can have picnics, play Frisbee, or bocce, or what have you. Am I to be ignored because you can’t put a label on the plan that says “place to have fun that isn’t predetermined by the designers, the parks department, or Senator Squadron?”

I also want to add that the housing is not a universally bad idea, as many would have you believe. Many people have become so attached to the idea of obstructing the condos that they forget how awful the BQE looks and sounds. Maybe, just maybe, tall buildings would be a better park edge than a highway (imagine an elevated highway going around Central Park, for instance – is that nicer?). Furthermore, if you look at the plan, you can see that these future apartments are separated from the park with a city road, how is that any more “corrosive” than Prospect Park West?

Park Person said...

Let's stick to the facts, Anonymous. You are quite uninformed. First, the original park plan completed in 2001- the very plan that led to the State and City funding to build it - had 2 pools, a year round/indoor recreation center, an indoor ice rink, many courts for all sorts of ball sports, a skating half pipe - ALL THESE RECREATIONAL ELEMENTS ARE GONE! Not one of these features is in today's plan and the one thing that is close to what we had in the community's plan - basketball courts - is now unfunded. Why? Well, when the park plan was given over to the ESDC to build, it became a housing plan. And housing likes landscaping not recreation. And the 5 people who live on or near the Promenade and who direct this project, don't want to look down on people recreating but they do want to look on to very expensive landscaping that now saps all the big dollars - without a stitch of recreation. Enter the Cobble Hill Association and the other neighboring Associations - they have pressed for 5 years to get something put back into the "park". And they have succeeded - there are now 2 playgrounds at the entrances to the park where there weren't any in 2004. Big deal - but it is something to be proud of, and, by the way, something to thank your associations for and those you call against the park (like the Park Defense Fund and Sierra Club) for getting.
To the incorrect assumption that housing is needed to pay for the park - not true by a long shot. The original park plan (remember, the one that got funded, the one that had the recreational plans that residents like yourself clammored for, for 20 years), had sufficient funds to pay for a great park - those funds came from concessions, a hotel, and even a for-pay recreation center (like Chelsea Piers...if you really have kids here in Brookyn, how many times a year do you drag your kids over to Chelsea to skate or play...don't we deserve a center here in Brooklyn). Senator Squadron is reflecting the desires of his constituents to have a real park and not just another housing complex that is enormously expensive to operate without any of the stuff people have asked for - for decades. And by the way, there are 5 kiddie parks within 1/4 of a mile of Pier 6's new playground. Obviously we all want more playgrounds, but what will your kids do after the age of 9 in Brooklyn Bridge Park? Think about that one. If you don't care and love driving to Chelsea Piers, good luck with that. But the rest of us know what this "park" is about...a give away to real estate developers and we continue to be very disappointed. We voted Squadron into office to help us get what we have been trying to get for decades! And he is having open discussions. He participated in the Pier 6 planning meetings and sponsored the meeting in December at Long Island Hospital. But he can't talk alone - he needs the City to engage him and the community in what they want, again, for our park. But the City knows better. They know that real estate interests are king. Hopefully you will join your neighbors in the quest for a real park and not spout off about things you don't seem to know anything about.

Cobbly Hillbilly said...

Read it and weep folks! Here they go again: