By Gwynne Hogan, The City

This article was originally published on Jun 13 2:35pm EDT by THE CITY. Sign up here to get the latest stories from THE CITY delivered to you each morning

One of many, many signs and posters | Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Robocalls, automated texts, signs, billboards, mail advertisements and a slick website are all exhorting Greenpoint residents to “Keep McGuinness Moving” and block a redesign of the treacherous Brooklyn boulevard.

Three pedestrians have been killed in the last decade and hundreds of pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and passengers have been injured on the designated truck route

A petition highlighted on that site, opposing the city Department of Transportation proposal to add protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands, while cutting its four motor vehicle traffic lanes down to two, has collected 3,500 signatures

The street reconstruction “will push jobs out of Greenpoint,” the site says, while claiming the plan is backed by companies like Uber and Amazon and local politicians repaying donors, “not by longtime residents and ordinary citizens of Greenpoint and Williamsburg,”


The Keep McGuinness Moving petition effort appears to have significant ties to the powerful and politically connected Argento family, which owns the film production company Broadway Stages and many other commercial properties around the neighborhood, reporting and a review of records by THE CITY shows.

Broadway Stages was founded by Anthony Argento, who goes by Tony, in 1983 and later grew to involve his sister, Gina. It claims more than 60 soundstages where dozens of popular television shows and movies shoot, from “Blue Bloods” and “Law and Order” to “Nora from Queens.” 

Yet Broadway Stages has kept a low profile in the Keep McGuinness Moving effort, with its name buried among more than 180 businesses who oppose the redesign. 

But of the 59 corporations on that list, 37 can be traced back to Broadway Stages and the Argentos, according to a review by THE CITY of property and business registration records. 

That includes 34 limited liability companies registered to the Broadway Stages headquarters at 203 Meserole Ave along with three others that share an address with the law office of John Ciafone, who is married to Gina Argento. THE CITY could not identify any property or business records for another 15 of the LLCs. 

Gina Argento | Screengrab/CUNY TV

Broadway Stages also provided one of its warehouses to host a town hall meeting opposing the redesign in mid-May, with another event planned for the same location on Thursday morning.

The Argentos are longtime supporters of Mayor Eric Adams, dating back to his successful borough president run in 2015. Gina, Anthony Sr. and Anthony have given a combined $15,100 to Adams over the years, including $6,100 for his 2025 reelection bid, campaign finance records show. 

Gina Argento was also a loyal financial supporter of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising efforts. Argento’s $60,000 donation became the subject of a federal inquiry into De Blasio’s fundraising practices through the defunct nonprofit Campaign for One New York. 

After the state ethics commission issued a subpoena seeking documents from Broadway Stages, the company sued seeking to quash the demand only for a judge and then an appeals court to both side against Argento.

‘A Pioneer’

Neighborhood residents and advocates of the street redesign are concerned the last minute campaign will derail months of grassroots organizing for a safer street. 

“It’s basically coming out in support of a culture which sacrifices our neighbors to death and injury by cars,” Bronwyn Breitner, 45, a mother of two kids at P.S. 110. She started organizing with the group “Make McGuinness Safe” after the 2021 hit-and-run killing of 58-year-old pedestrian Matthew Jensen, a teacher at her kids’ school. “They’re prioritizing their profits over the safety of our community.”

Breitner contested Keep McGuinness Moving’s claim that efforts to redesign the street were bankrolled by outside corporate interests, or anyone.

“I’m just a mom and my son’s teacher was killed and I give a shit,” she said.

Anthony Argento, Anthony Sr.’s son and who runs a Greenpoint film facility called Rollin Studios, confirmed to THE CITY that his family was behind the effort to stop the street redesign, which he said was also backed by several trucking companies.

“We’re a pioneer,” he said on Monday. “We’re not the only ones.” 

A promotion email for Keep McGuinness Moving | screengrab

On Tuesday, Broadway Stages sent a statement, confirming the Argentos’ involvement with the campaign and saying the company was working in a collaborative effort with other businesses and neighbors that would also be adversely impacted by the changes. 

They raised concerns about slowing down truck traffic, the impact on the local film industry, and traffic being pushed off of McGuinness onto residential side streets, the statement said. 

“For 40 years, we have actively supported initiatives that bring equity, inclusion, and well-being across the communities where we operate,” Anthony Argento said in that statement. “We welcome the opportunity to find the right road diet that meets our mutual goals — the safety and long-term economic prosperity of our community.”

Anthony Argento Jr., an Astoria resident, said in an interview with THE CITY, that he’d seen the changes the city brought to 21st Street in his Queens neighborhood to reduce the number of traffic lanes and add a bus lane, and didn’t like them. 

“Traffic in the morning and at the end of the day is 10 times longer,” he said. “I don’t think having bicycles on the main road makes sense, especially on a truck route.”

McGuinness Boulevard connects the North Brooklyn Industrial Business zone that straddles Greenpoint and East Williamsburg to the Long Island Expressway to its north over the Pulaski Bridge or the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, and to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to its south.

Asked about who is financing Keep McGuinness Moving, Argento demurred. 

“There’s a lot of people behind it that I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know all the people from the movement. I’m not as politically intact as my father.”

‘A Traffic Havoc’

Officials from the city’s Department of Transportation unveiled their vision for McGuinness Boulevard at a Community Board 1 meeting in early May. The plan calls for reducing the four-lane street down to two lanes and adding pedestrian islands and protected bike lanes, fortified by lanes of parked cars, to maintain street parking. It’s a similar redesign to those that have been deployed at other dangerous locations across the city. 

DOT Assistant Civil Engineer Zach Wyche spoke on behalf of the DOT at the meeting, saying the department would take community feedback before finalizing its design and beginning to implement short-term traffic calming measures this summer. 

The department’s presentation followed two years of advocacy after Jensen became the third person killed by a vehicle on the block in a decade. Between 2016 and 2020, 54 pedestrians and cyclists and 176 drivers and passengers have been injured along the 15-block stretch, according to DOT. 

Kevin LaCherra, 32, a fourth-generation Greenpoint resident who spoke at the meeting, said his great-grandmother’s house was demolished to make way for McGuinness Boulevard, a Robert Moses-era shortcut betweenthe Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Long Island Expressway.

The redesign of the broad boulevard, he said, would help reconnect long-severed sections of residential Greenpoint. 

“My dad used to have nightmares that I was hit and killed on McGuinness Boulevard,” he told THE CITY. “Every Greenpointer has a story about McGuinness Boulevard and how it has made their lives worse. This is the time. This is long, long, long overdue.”

As for the opposition, “one group is deciding they can get a veto,” LaCherra said. “They can direct tens and thousands of dollars and their staffers. It’s just not right.”

Others spoke out at the meeting in May against the plan — including Anthony Argento.

“This dieting of McGuinness Boulevard, it’s just gonna create a traffic havoc,” he said. “I think this will create total chaos.”

In a June 8 letter to Keith Bray, DOT’s Brooklyn borough commissioner, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce CEO Randy Peers pledged his support to a potential lawsuit opposing the city’s plans.

“The businesses that rely on free-flowing access to McGuinness Boulevard are not minor contributors to NYC’s and Brooklyn’s economy,” the letter says. “Broadway Stages for example, is one of the largest soundstage and film production facilities on the East Coast.” 

Gina Argento sits on the Chamber’s board of directors.

‘It Just Went Away’

Several Greenpoint residents noted the Argentos’ earlier opposition to a bike lane in the neighborhood on Monitor Street, which seemed to conflict with the company’s long-standing plan to close off Monitor Street.

That plan, presented to the community board by attorneys working for Broadway Stages in 2020, was to allow Broadway Stages to link up several adjacent properties and create a closed campus, blocking off the two streets to traffic. 

Any excess traffic from those street closures could have been redirected to McGuinness Boulevard, a letter from a Broadway Stages attorney written to the community board and shared with THE CITY argued at the time.

It’s unclear what happened to that proposal but in May of 2022 the DOT brought a presentation to the local community board to add a protected bike lane to Monitor Street. 

Gina Argento, who also sits on the Community Board’s transportation committee, was furious about the DOT’s plan.

“There’s no way you can put a bike lane there and not have injuries and fatalities,” she said at a community board meeting. 

Community Board member Ryan Kuonen asked if Argento’s opposition was related to Broadway Stages’ efforts to create a campus there. 

“We’re still not sure about that,” Argento replied. “What we’re concerned about is safety.”

“Bike lanes keep people safe,” Kuonen shot back. “If safety is the issue, I don’t understand how bike lanes make it unsafe for people.”

Argento’s brother, Anthony Sr., also pushed back on the plan, complaining that “as a major taxpayer in the neighborhood, there’s no reach-out to us.”

The siblings then orchestrated a letter-writing campaign, according to Breitner, who sits on the board’s transportation committee, and the project died on the vine. More than a year later, there’s still no bike lane.

“The whole thing got tabled and as far as I know it’s been abandoned,” Breitner told THE CITY last week. “It just went away.” 

Monitor Street became the site of another fatal crash last month, when 73-year-old cyclist Teddy Orzechowski, was hit by an SUV. He died from his injuries three weeks later.

“Any accident that involves a fatality is tragic,” Gina Argento said in a statement about the Monitor Street bike lane,  

“Bike lanes have a place in our community” she continued, “but it needs to be part of a larger city-wide strategy that makes sense for everyone in the community – businesses, residents, and cyclists alike.”

A spokesperson for the DOT didn’t respond to a request for comment immediately on the Monitor Street bike lane. 

In the meantime, Greenpoint residents are still getting mailers sent to their doors, texts and robocalls on their phones, while signposts around the busy boulevard are covered with posters urging residents to “Keep McGuinness Moving.” 

They seem to reappear as quickly as local activists can tear them down.

THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

Join the Conversation


  1. All these rules do is punish people who followed the rules.
    None off these laws would’ve prevented the deaths caused by people ignoring laws, speeding and drinking.
    This is only cause 25 mph isn’t getting enough tickets for the city and it’s crooked, greedy, idiotic politicians.

  2. Money talks and everything else walks.

    Big corporations running the show on both sides of the issue with the elected pols. with their greasy hands in between.

  3. If this was about safety, crossing guards should have been put at each intersection years ago at a fraction of the cost of the redesign. Follow the money to the communist dictators running the city.

  4. The headline is misleading. This is terrible journalism. The opponents to the Make McGuinness Safe plan are FOR safety but want to see more options (with environmental studies backing them up) that will not cause more traffic, more pollution and disrupt this emergency and evacuation route. Why is removing two traffic lanes and adding bike lanes to McGuinness the #1 plan to make it safe? Doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t you publish an article about the radical anti car billionaire funding Uber, Lyft, Transportation Alternatives, numerous local politicians, etc whose sole goal is to make it so inconvenient to have a car that people will be forced to use Uber and Lyfts?

  5. Garbage article. It’s not just one business fighting to keep McGuiness moving. It’s A LOT of local businesses fighting to keep themselves open! And they’re not even saying not to add additional safety measures or make changes. Just not go with the 1 car lane in each direction plan. Stop demonizing Greenpoint residents… because that’s what a lot of ‘keep it moving’ people are. There needs to be a compromise. Stop being all righteous.

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