A couple of weeks ago we reported a war was brewing at the former CitiStorage site, and while the flames have died down, the heat is on to reclaim our parkland. So Greenpointers got your skewers sharpened yet? If not, you better arm yourselves because it’s roasting time and you’re not going to want miss this.
Our good Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park have declared March 12th as the day we demand the city makes good on its promises to deliver our park according the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning. Some of you maybe thinking–why should we care if the City reneges? The answer doesn’t get more simple than this: If we don’t go to City Hall with our pitchforks and starting screaming like hell, we will be looking at another luxury tower in a only a few short years. Don’t want your promised park hijacked by another bloated developer with dollar signs in his eyes? Yeah, me either.
You see this battle isn’t just about a park or another tower, this is about a promise the City has NO intention of keeping. If there was ever a time to get really pissed, this is it.
You see, long before Mayor De Blasio was toasting his birthday and mayoral campaign with his good buddies the Toll Bros., real estate developers that brought 450 apartments to the fetid Superfund Gowanus Canal–Bloomberg already had his hooks in our north Brooklyn waterfront. In 2005 the mayor of New York made us promise: In exchange for a rezoning that would drastically alter the fabric of our neighborhood forever—allowing a virtual glass and steel fence of 40 story buildings to be constructed—the community would get 28 acres of open parkland. It only takes a stroll down the condo corridor of Kent Avenue to see which priorities were met.
In a press release issued by the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, the group says, “The CitiStorage fire seems to have blown the lid off an issue that has long been simmering.”
Currently, only a pathetic 5% of Greenpoint AND Williamsburg combined is devoted to open space. Shocking truth–open space in other neighborhoods hovers at 26%. Our area has the lowest person to park ratio in the entire city!!! Population numbers have exploded in Williamsburg, and up here in Greenpoint we haven’t even got our towers yet. Make no mistake, for the thousands expect to arrive on our waterfront, park land is a necessity.
At a recent Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park meetup at Dirck the Norseman, scores of residents showed up despite the freezing cold to organize a rally and speak out against the injustices.
“I don’t want my 1 and 3 year old growing up with no access to open space that isn’t crammed with people already,” complained Agnieszka Gac-Chlebosz.
Ward Dennis, a Greenpointer who has worked on many environmental campaigns in the area voiced a different complaint. “Maps were changed. Two designs were commissioned. The City made a commitment to this community that needs to be honored. If not, it brings into question promises made in future rezonings.”
As it stands now, CitiStorage has a M1 zoning, a commercial manufacturing designation. With the Parks Department wrapping up the purchase of two parcels on the Bayside Fuel lot for a whopping $68.5 million, anyone looking to buy CitiStorage (including the city) will be expected to see a similar asking price or higher despite an M1 zoning. Rumors put CitiStorage’s asking price around $100-$135 million.
Bottom line: Unless the City steps in and ponies up on its promise, the future of our promised park will be sold to the highest bidder. This is where we need to come in.
Organizers say the Rally on March 12th is just the kick-off of a continuing campaign. “Folks know this is just the beginning and they’re ready to dig in. We’re used to working hard for everything we get here,” said Ward.
So you heard them Greenpointers. We need to get our asses over to City Hall on March 12th and tell the Mayor we refuse to get screwed again. Don’t forget to bring the skewers and pitchforks; City Hall deserves a good poking, don’t you think?