Sunday, January 4, 2015

What we allow these days is a crime

From Gawker:

In Brooklyn, there is a nice park under the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Nice fun place. If you stand on the promenade, a public walkway in Brooklyn Heights, you look out over the park. You see the nice park. You see Manhattan. You see the Brooklyn Bridge. It's nice. A nice, free, democratic public view for everyone to enjoy.

Except: there is a now a condo being built in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Technically, it is "adjacent" to the park, due to the fact that there cannot be a park where a condo stands.) The city approved this condo, called Pierhouse, with the idea that the taxes on it would help fund the park. Pierhouse (which will also feature a hotel) has proven to be so popular that, in its first ten weeks on the market last year, the developer, Toll Brothers, raised prices six times. Pierhouse is selling for $1,800 per square foot, the highest price in all of Brooklyn. This project, built on what used to be public land, has been great for private interests: "The developer, which is investing nearly $39 million in the project, is projecting revenues of at least $250 million from the development." It's easy to see why the ultrawealthy rushed in to snap up the multimillion-dollar condos. It's not just the 18-foot ceilings and wood floors from 600-year-old heartwood pine and Ruscello Fosso Picollo marble tile bathroom floors and locally sourced 18-bottle undercounter wine storage; it's the view. The view is spectacular. As you would expect, since the building is located in a waterfront park.

If you walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park now, you will see the hulking concrete shell of Pierhouse rising up. If you stand at the end of the promenade now, in order to gaze out at the beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge, you will see that that view is now partially blocked by the Pierhouse condo. No longer does the promenade offer a view of a park, an iconic skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge; it now offers a view of a park, an iconic skyline, and part of a bridge obscured by an enormous glass fortress full of people far richer than those forced to stand outside in order to enjoy the view. In a very real way, the public's park, the public's air, and the public's view have been packaged and sold off to millionaires. The public can no longer even stroll through a public park without being confronted by a gleaming glass Gorgon of multimillion-dollar apartments.

Many people, including those with a direct interest in this project, will tell you that the Pierhouse project provides a public benefit by generating tax revenues that will pay for the rest of the park. Can't argue with that. Those who espouse this view should look forward to the day when the city of New York sells off half of Central Park to developers. To fund the other half. After all, there is no sin greater than leaving money on the table.


Anonymous said...

Blomberg cut a lot of underhanded deals with developers. The whole waterfront will be filled before anyone knows it. Happening in Queens too.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of Queens!

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo hoo. What developed want to put 'affordable housing' in a site that will sell out at $1800 per square foot?

Affordable housing equals diversity. Diversity equals higher crime.

Enough of this nonsense. Sell the park, fill the condos at full price. Let the tax base make some money. The government needs someone to pay the taxes that they spend so recklessly.

And Central Park?

Want some green area? Move out of the big city you bumpkin.

Anonymous said...

Oh well. At least they'll be first in line when the high tide rushes in during the next hurricane. Then we'll get to provide them with disaster relief funding.

Anonymous said...

I'm as anti developer as it gets, but i cant see the big crime here.

The developers basically said "hey, we will build everyone a nice park if we can build our apartments, and we will even build the park first"

Public: "Sweet, new park, go right ahead!"

fast forward a few years

Developers "Ok, here is your park. We're gonna build our apartments now as agreed"

Public "Oh, no you dont! Give us more park and no apartments for you!"

Anonymous said...

No it has more to do with the fact that the plans were changed and that using luxury condos to fund a park is bad policy.

Anonymous said...

Come on Super Storm Sandy 2. We're ready for you....we hope.

Anonymous said...

No it has more to do with the fact that the plans were changed and that using luxury condos to fund a park is bad policy.

But the choices were:

(A) Apartments and a park
(B) No apartments or no park.

So would it have been better for there to have been nothing at all done at the site? Lets face it. The City/State/etc will not be building any additional parkland on its own dime in this city. They simply cannot afford to.

Anonymous said...

The big-bucks crowd will not allow Central Park to be sold off. They're paying into Friends of CP to preserve their views, after all.