Let me tell you Greenpointers, it’s no fun being the bearer of bad news. And yet here I am, again, to warn you about the latest doozy to hit Bushwick Inlet Park. If there was ever a time to bust out the Pepto Bismol its now, because what I’m about to tell you ain’t gonna be easy to digest.
North Brooklyners have put up a good fight so far. We’ve overflowed City Hall, rallied on Kent Street, and now we are urging Governor Cuomo to save the last precious bit of open space were we promised over 10 fricking years ago. And yet at every turn, nefarious forces have come out of the fold, hell-bent on building two more towers on the charred remains of the CitiStorage site.
The latest proponent for such a real estate deal comes from none other than our own former Public Advocate, and current Mayor, Mr. Bill DeBlasio and his side kick, Parks Commisioner, Mitch Sliver.
After months hearing nothing but crickets from City Hall about upholding their 10 year old, 28 acre waterfront park promise, Parks Commissioner Silver finally broke the silence. At a recent City Council meeting, he uttered the words we’ve all been dreading, “We’re committed to moving on the pieces we have right now… There are currently no acquisition dollars to acquire the CitiStorage site.”
Pop goes the weasel
According to a recent NYTimes article, “the city has spent some $225 million — and still has not acquired all the property. That figure already surpasses the High Line’s cost to taxpayers, and the whole park threatens to approach the amount paid for Hudson River Park, which covers 550 acres and is four miles long.”
Now you might ask: How is it possible for the city to spend so much on Bushwick Inlet Park when as of now is just a few measly acres? Well, if you ignore the rigged 2005 rezoning or rumors that the London Stock Exchange is hedging bets on Bushwick Inlet Park’s fate, then I urge you to stick closer to home and point your eyes to our latest profiteer leading the charge on the waterfront—none other than CitiStorage owner himself, Norman Brodsky.
The last time Greenpointers checked-in, Mr. Brodsky was twirling his precious pinky ring and exalting to the world his 11 acre industrial zoned lot was worth a mind-boggling $500 MILLION dollars. Insert a bellowing laugh and anyone can see the epic LOR-esque battle mounting on our waterfront.
Cut to: Team Saruman scorches Isengard with dollars signs in the eyes while North Brooklynites muster strength to fight for a 10 year old promised park in an area that rightfully deserves it and desperately needs it.
Given the infographic below, it’s pretty clear why North Brooklyn needs parkland so badly. This isn’t just a fight for a park, it’s a fight for public health.
Time for a reality check
While Mr. Brodsky’s half a billion dollar price tag is painfully steep for sure, rest assured we’re not the only ones whose eyes are bleeding due to the lack of oxygen. Like hungry sharks circling the tank, even big investment firms have cut his stratospheric valuation in half to $250 million–which is still over 3 times the actual value for an industrial zoned lot.
A latest report from Curbed informs us, “Investment firms Midtown Equities and East End Capital currently have a deal in place to buy the site, which sits in between other sites that the city has purchased as potential parkland, making it difficult for the city to complete the park.”
If eminent domain is left out of this discussion, then we can wave bye-bye to Bushwick Inlet Park forever and say hello to two new shiny apartment towers. If we’re lucky, our promised park will be a blade of grass or two.
Good news, the fight is not over yet
Lucky for us, North Brooklyn has got some serious muscle on our side. State and local officials have jumped on board and are taking a firm stance with the city to make good on its promise. They have busted out their light sabers and their pens to draft a Senate bill urging the State to move forward with an eminent domain takeover of the CitiStorage site. With the announcement of a $5 billion surplus in the State and City budgets, eminent domain can be feasible without breaking taxpayers backs.
So what can we do to help? Signing this petition is a start, but picking up the horn and urging Governor Cuomo to support Senate bill S5885-2015 authorizing the State to use eminent domain procedures against Norman Brodsky’s property will be even more effective.
Seriously it’ll take a minute of your time. Don’t piss it away. Call this number now (518)-474-8390 and say: Gov. Cuomo, please support Senate bill S5885-2015 which allows eminent domain to acquire land not yet acquired by the city to complete the full 28 acre Bushwick Inlet Park.
It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, folks. So let’s clog up Governor Cuomo’s phone lines and make him do the right thing. Our neighborhood deserves it, don’t you think?