Monday, November 5, 2012

That was one huge zoning mistake...

From the NY Times:

...the scene speaks to something so obvious it is often overlooked: The waterfront in New York City has never been a suitable place to live. And yet in recent years affluent New Yorkers have been encouraged to colonize it with great fervor. The trend began in the late ’60s and ’70s, with the development of Battery Park City and its high rises, on landfill. Dumbo started to emerge in the ’90s and has since become one of the costliest neighborhoods in the city. The real momentum, though, did not take hold until the Bloomberg administration reimagined the city’s debilitated industrial waterfront as a winding ribbon of good living — a cornerstone of its legacy.

There are expensive condominiums now where factories once stood in Williamsburg, and residential and commercial real estate is coming to a decommissioned naval base in Staten Island. A condominium and hotel complex, with vast family-size apartments, is planned for the northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park which the storm’s force for a short time rendered indistinguishable from the river itself. The Bloomberg public-private model earmarks money for waterfront green space that in turn lures developers who provide a tax base to support operating costs. But the paradigm rests on an assumption that living on the water will remain an infinitely desirable thing. Our increasingly intimidating weather patterns would suggest that the idea is now vulnerable to challenge.

It is obvious that infrastructural changes need to be made for expansion to sustain itself — crucially, the rethinking of parks and wetland development as infrastructure, which would work to absorb the effects of rising sea levels. But new building ideologies need to prevail as well.

Historically, in many cities of course, elevation has held cachet.

It’s the needy who have been sequestered downward. Not long ago, Ms. Drake, a landscape architect, curious about the placement of New York City’s public housing, devised a map to find out how much of it was built on flood zones. The answer, she discovered, was, most of it. Public housing lines the waterfront in Coney Island, on the Lower East Side, in the Rockaways. This is not the result of progressive and munificent city planning aimed at enhancing the day-to-day aesthetic experience of the poor. Instead it was the result of low-lying waterfront land available at a cheap price.

All this has gotten me to thinking about what a great urban planner that Amanda Burden is!


View from LIC said...

In Queens the poster child for waterfront development has to be Jimmy Van Bramer who is sending a steady stream of emails in his district on his frenzied activities to support his community during this crisis - a mess that he had a major part in creating.

Not too long ago we used to see him jump at every opportunity to have his picture taken with Bloomie, as sort of a male Christine Quinn in waiting.

We saw him give generous support to that laughable effort by Noguchi and Socrates with the community 'envisioning' project that featured light projections of moths dancing in a screen and zip lines of commuters between cultural centers, manufacturing buildings and lofty residential towers - in other words a waste of our taxes that could have gone for improving services to our community, but instead was used to in a silly attempt to sugar coat development.

We saw him encouraging the acceleration of the wave of hipsters in LIC as senior centers for long time residents in our community was shuttered and homes were damaged and residents displaced - not strangers, but the very people that he grew up with.

So in Queens, if you want the poster child of this waterfront mess where children sit in classrooms bathed by Newtown Creek, and their parents sleep in buildings baptized by East River sewage, he is the man to think about.

Good work Jimmy.

We raised you well sonny.

Anonymous said...

Convince them to buy waterfront and landfill.
Real estate brokers get rich and so do the insurance companies.

Well off hipsters have more money than common sense.
These "savvy" condo buyers brought it upon themselves.

A suggested amendment to a real estate ad:

"Queens West offers luxury relocated slightly toward the middle of the East River...for a more breathtaking view of the NYC skyline".

Anonymous said...

Let a year pass and nobody will remember the vulnerability associated with waterfront development.

A sucker is born every minute.

You can always find a buyer for this overpriced crap!

Anonymous said...

Referring to untreated sewage in the waterways, the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene advises that direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water should be avoided until further notice.

Water being pumped from flooded buildings and tunnels is filthy, garbage-laden, with an oily sheen.

Some People Don't Get It #1 said...

Porous sidewalks - now that's the ticket! Read on it gets better....

Some People Don't Get It #2 said...

We must work out a new relationship with the water, not fight it; think Venice, where the water is embraced and famously made part of the city, not New Orleans, hiding behind larger and bigger levees.

Most of all we need political leaders to make the response to sea level rise their highest priority. Mayor Bloomberg's nationally recognized Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability has a questionable future at the conclusion of the Mayor's last term. We must keep this office functioning at the highest levels and complement it with well-staffed regional, state and national level equivalents, all of them -- us! -- working in concert to develop coordinated plans for a safe, clean, thriving, wisely rebuilt waterfront.

- Roland Lewis
President and CEO, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

MWA board is top heavy with people with ties to the ... well why don't you look them up?

Brooklyn has Balls said...

... can Queens grow a backbone?

Anonymous said...

Queens voters...
I invite you to look into your mirrors.

YOU are the reason why your elected officials are screwing you.

You voted for these bozos to begin with.
You are afraid to hold them responsible for their lousy performance.

Anonymous said...

Do you expect back bone and balls?

A one celled microscopic creature has more gumption than the average Queens resident.

Anonymous said...

Re Carol Gardens Action

Will Queens Civic Congress try something like that?

Of course not:

1. it is not NE Queens.
2. it is not polite.
3. it will hurt their true pruning funding.
4. it makes a politician look bad and that is not nice.

Anonymous said...

Then move to northeast Queens and stop bellyaching Mr. Ass-torian!

You are obvious JEALOUS of the quality of life out there.

If you have no trees left in LIC, then start planting some. Or is that too much work for you?

Anonymous said...

Put old maps from before the landfills on the internet so we know what is under our homes.

Anonymous said...

Abide Henry George!