Will Greenpoint Become the Next Williamsburg? BKLYNR Investigates

Construction has begun on Commercial Street for 2 high-rise residential towers, Photo © Courtney Dudley/BKLYNR

We recently came across a great piece from BKLYNR that traces the emergence of Greenpoint Landing from its Bloombergian roots to the looming tension today, investigating how the proposed paradise of open waterfront parkland has, nearly a decade later, become a source of frustration and dread for the many residents that want the neighborhood to remain a unique blend of bohemian and old world culture, rather than another sea of Williamsburg condos.

The piece begins in 2005, when the City Council approved the rezoning proposal for nearly 200 blocks of Greenpoint and Wiliamsburg, calling for 50 acres of new parkland along the waterfront, affordable housing, and recreational space, all publicly accessible. Writer, Vanessa Ogle, follows progression of the proposal to physical reality (construction has already begun in part), asking what it all means for the neighborhood.

Ogle also covers the potential environmental effects of beginning construction on a toxic oil plume, a fear we area all too familiar with, describing the possibility that toxins in the soil and groundwater may be exhumed by construction, exposing residents to harmful chemicals like perchloroethylene and tricholoroethylene, “compounds typically used in dry cleaning businesses and for removing grease from metal.”

And here is her descriptive observation of the neighborhood atmosphere:

The streets are quiet; the graffiti is loud. Cardboard boxes, unfolded and orderly stacked, lie waiting for pick up. Taxidermied animals are scattered nonchalantly in the wide windows of a tattoo parlor. Locked bikes, their seats covered by crinkly white plastic bags, face each other outside of a bar, where a comedian, a politician and an actor all mingle a few feet away from a skee-ball machine. A dog barks — just one — and it’s quiet enough to hear him on the other end of the sidewalk.

Apparently Stephen Levin declined to talk to the writer, after multiple requests for comment. Maybe because of some pretty serious backlash he received from Greenpointers?

Do you think Greenpoint is doomed to be the next condo-ridden Williamsburg waterfront? Did you find the article enlightening? Comment below.