Wednesday, May 20, 2015

City closed firehouses and then overdeveloped LIC & Greenpoint

From LTV Squad:

Over the last 10 years, Long Island City (LIC), Williamsburg and Greenpoint transformed from neglected low-population industrial neighborhoods to tightly packed thriving residential areas. Dozens of factories and warehouses have been replaced with high rise apartment buildings. Basic NYC government services have not kept pace with the growing population, and one of the most overlooked and life threatening of those services is the NYC fire department.

In 2003, former Mayor Bloomberg closed 7 firehouses in NYC. Two of those were located in Williamsburg (engine 212) and LIC (engine 261). 2 years after closing these fire houses, Bloomberg rezoned much of North Brooklyn for high rise development (LIC was already rezoned in 2001). Less services + large population density. What could go possibly wrong?

In the case of Engine 261, response time to fires in the area immediately went up. Some area residents didn’t even know they were losing a firetruck: The community board covering Roosevelt Island was not properly notified.

The same increase in response time has affected Northwest Brooklyn, where response time increased up to a minute. A minute is a long time when a building is on fire. A minute is often the difference between life and death. Just check out the videos from the recent gas explosion on the Lower East Side, where an off-duty fireman helped rescue a woman from a fire escape and took a quick look for additional victims. By the time he got back to the ground, the building is fully engulfed. If there had been additional victims trapped upstairs, they would not have made it. All of this happened before the first truck due arrived!

Simply stated – there’s a higher density of firehouses in Manhattan compared to neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that have been rezoned for high rises buildings. These ‘outer boro’ neighborhoods will soon have the same population density as Manhattan without the services to match.

FDNY personnel is spread thin in these neighborhoods, and many of the new residents of these neighborhoods are new to the area (or new to the city), don’t know that their fire houses were taken away, or that they are being short changed on services. The only reason they don’t know is because there haven’t been any articles written on this subject at all, and no stories in the press or even on other blogs.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

What BS,I worked in Engine 261,everyone was told,their were protest,call the UFA and confirm that they did everything they could to stop the closing,Why do you think the city is lowering FDNY standards and cutting benefits to firefighters??
Because they Can't Close anymore fire houses,no one new My Ass,this article is pure PROPAGANDA.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until they have a fire in one of these buildings, they will wish they had a firehouse close to them then! Bloomberg screwed this city and dumblasio is just continuing the same garbage.

Anonymous said...

This is the same things with the schools, build more crap and don't have any plans for public service increases. No public schools being built in these areas, not enough firehouses, not enough police, not enough trash collection services, more crowded trains and buses, no parking spaces.....the quality of life will just start to tank even worst.

Anonymous said...

And Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer fiddled (with his...uh...) while LIC might burn. This mild mannered, but crooked, phony took thousand of dollars from developers then has the audacity to pose as being interested in the welfare of the common folk.

Anonymous said...

It matters little to the LIC hipsters and yuppies. In their fantasy world flood and fire does not exist.
What a great view of the NYC skyline.

JQ said...

This is quite a pickle that Mayor Fun Size left for his beloved frivolous spending former constituency in the luxury city he made. Those living in said towers in addition to converted warehouses and overpriced former rent stabilized apartments will see soon enough when some oblivious fellow hipshit dozes off with a burning roach or leaves a few candles burning for ambiance.

And of course the local news media has been willfully oblivious since they are part of the nexus of gentrification and development in West Brooklyn and now Queens, preferring to focus on ridiculous upscale dining and leisure (Hamburgers and Bowling for example), and acting as promoters for the neighborhood's hot quotient.


And why didn't our self-aggrandizing road-tripping mayor, since despite the rise in murders, muggings and just outright nihilistic lynch mob behavior (McDonalds), use the money saved by not hiring 1000 more cops, allocate those funds to reopen the firehouses, especially on the heels of more minority and female recruiting and hiring?

Ironically, these hot towns are going to get hotter.


Anonymous said...

No worries!

All of these new green materials are fire retardant.

Fire will be a thing of the past. No need for a firehouse.

Anonymous said...

In case no one has noticed, every fire truck has "FDNY" on it....not "LIC FD" or "Williamsburg FD." The present location of firehouses in NYC were first established by using the original VOLUNTEER firehouses. Needless to say, since 150 years have past since those days of trucks being pulled by men and, later on, by horses, the need to have a firehouse where they were then is long gone, as are the days of the "neighborhood firehouse." So, NYers, get over it. Besides, 261 Engine spent more time in the Bronx during the 1970s than they did in LIC on busy weekends. And those War Years days are long gone, too. Remember: no one has a Constitutional right to fire protection (nor police protection, for that matter), and getting a fire truck (or a cop car) to YOUR fire is not a mandate nor a right. It is what it is, and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Please, please. Just keep opening Thai restaurants.

Anonymous said...

"So, NYers, get over it. Besides, 261 Engine spent more time in the Bronx during the 1970s than they did in LIC on busy weekends."

So basically your argument is NYC, a city that everyone says will have a million new people living in it within 10-20, doesn't need any more firehouses?

Let's say 261 was reopened and spent half it's time in other parts of the city - how is that a bad thing?

The article is explicitly clear that FDNY should manage it's assets whenever needed.

Let me refute this too:
"What BS,I worked in Engine 261,everyone was told,their were protest,call the UFA and confirm that they did everything they could to stop the closing,Why do you think the city is lowering FDNY standards and cutting benefits to firefighters??
Because they Can't Close anymore fire houses,no one new My Ass,this article is pure PROPAGANDA."

There were protests, and everyone did know (except roosevelt island which was documented in court to be kept in the dark), but Bloomberg had all of NYC by the throat and no one could stop mayor money. That was over 10 years ago though. The needs of western queens and north Brooklyn are extremely different than they were in 2003. The population is much higher, and it's not going to get smaller anytime ever.

Please enlighten me as to how a well researched article by a concerned city that does not work for the city or in politics is 'propaganda' ? If it is propaganda, what is the hidden agenda? I just don't see it.

I didn't read anything in that article advocating for lower FDNY hiring standards or less benefits. What the city is doing with probie benefits is ridiculous and unfortunately most people don't know about it.

Anonymous said...

Let it burn, let it burn, let it burn.

The politicians don't care, they already got their political donations from the developers. And the lawyers among the pols got work for their law offices.

It's an outer borough problem. Manhattan is too worried about bike lanes and street fairs.

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way. Fire can save a developer demolition permit expenses. Then he also gets to collect the insurance money. Perfecto!

Anonymous said...

Written earlier..."Remember: no one has a Constitutional right to fire protection (nor police protection, for that matter), and getting a fire truck (or a cop car) to YOUR fire is not a mandate nor a right. It is what it is, and nothing more."

Ummmm, yes we do. When our taxes pay for city services like fire, police, trash collection, schools, etc., we are entitled to receiving those services and not in a half-assed fashion.