brooklyn waterfront

Legendary Urbanist Jane Jacobs’ Prophetic Warning to Greenpoint

Jane Jacobs in 1961 (Library of Congress.)

The name Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) is legendary in urban planning and in the last year of her life, Jacobs had a prescient warning about the future of our waterfront in Brooklyn. Her 2005 letter about plans to develop the local waterfront is so timely that it seems like it could have been written today.Jacobs was a revolutionary urbanist and activist whose groundbreaking writings championed a community-based approach to urban development and renewal. Although She had no formal training as a planner, her seminal 1961 work “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” is considered something of a bible amongst urbanists. In the book, Jacobs proposed novel ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail, that were groundbreaking then, but today seem obvious to generations of architects, urban planners, politicians and activists. Once a year in May, her contributions to cities are recalled on Jane’s Day when people around the world organize walks in cities.

In 2005, shortly before her own death, the legendary urbanist weighed in on the renewal of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront in a letter addressed to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She advocated for the adoption of a community-sponsored development plan that was ultimately not adopted. In her letter, she warned that developers outside the community would take advantage of the rezoning of the East River waterfront to serve their own interests by building high rises and by gentrifying the area so that working class people would be pushed out. Jacobs’ letter contrasted the local community’s plan for the area versus the developer-friendly rezoning that ultimately was adopted. 13 years later her warnings have proven valid. It is amazing how timely Jacobs’ letter still feels today. Continue reading

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Public Waterfront Revealed at Eliot Spitzer’s Dank 420 Kent Ave Development

Waterfront esplanade at 420 Kent Ave. (courtesy of ODA Architects)

A 400-foot long esplanade is taking shape at Eliot Spitzer’s new dank 420 Kent Ave. luxury development on the South Williamsburg waterfront, NY YIMBY reports. The new renderings show how the landscaped pedestrian walkway will look in front of Spitzer’s modern development, where a one-bedroom residence will set you back as much as $4,485 per month.

(ODA Architects)

Opening in 2019 and designed by ODA Architects, the three asymmetrical 22-floor towers will have 857 apartments averaging around 700 square feet per apartment, and over 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

20 percent of the apartments will be affordable housing for all of you lucky lottery winners.

The publicly accessible walkway at 420 Kent Ave. is part of the larger North Brooklyn plan to have a continuous waterfront pedestrian path from Greenpoint Landing to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The 420 Kent Ave. walkway is expected to open in early 2019.

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6th Annual Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon & 5k This Sunday

The 6th annual Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon & 5k will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 8:30 a.m.

The start and finish lines are located at the future Columbia Waterfront Park (168 Columbia St.), with the 5k route tracing the waterfront to Brooklyn Heights and the half marathon to Williamsburg and back.

BK Greenway Half and 5K 2018 via BGI

Continue reading

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De Blasio Gives BQX a Green Light

BQXRendering_Greenpointers_Cadkin

Yesterday, the Mayor put the long-stalled BQX waterfront streetcar project back on the table. The light rail trolley slated to run between Brooklyn and Queens was left out of the fiscal budget in April of this year, after missing its 4th feasibility study deadline. Now the project has returned with a shorter route, a higher budget, and the Mayor’s support.

When the project was first proposed in 2016, the advocacy group Friends of the BQX, headed by Jessica Schumer, daughter of Chuck Schumer, envisioned a 16-mile route from Astoria to Sunset Park. The current project stretches 11 miles, from Astoria to Red Hook, stopping in between at  Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn.  Continue reading

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5th Annual Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon and 5K is Sunday 10/15

On the Run in Brooklyn. Via the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
On the Run in Brooklyn. Via the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative

This fall, there are plenty of opportunities to help make Greenpoint greener and to run a (sorta) marathon, but what if you want to do both at the same time? Well, you’re in luck. The 5th Annual Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s Half Marathon and 5K will be hitting the Brooklyn Waterfront on Sunday, October 15th. The Half Marathon route follows the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway from Redhook to Greenpoint and back, and the 5K winds its way through Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The Route. Via Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.
The Route. Via Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

The race is produced by EliteFeates and hosted yearly by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, “a non profit organization committed to the development, establishment and long term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.” Six miles of the Greenway are currently open to the public, and when the project is complete, the “14-mile landscaped route for pedestrians, runners and cyclists will connect neighborhood parks and open spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge.”  Continue reading

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All Aboard: The Brooklyn Barge Opened Yesterday!

Image: Brooklyn Barge/Instagram
Image: Brooklyn Barge/Instagram

The Brooklyn Barge (3 West Street, at Milton) finally opened yesterday for its third season. This is Greenpoint’s only waterfront bar with unbeatable views of Manhattan. It’s the kind of place you can round up a dozen friends last minute or bring a date to watch the sunset and twinkling skyline after dark. You can enjoy ten beers on tap (half of which are local to NY), sample the shared bites menu or go with their signature Barge Tacos or Burger. There’s something for everyone including veggie and gluten-free options.

The launch of the NYC Ferry service (which had prices drop down to $2.75 one-way) will surely increase traffic from Manhattan to Greenpoint foreshadowing the imminent boom of housing along West Street. As a result, we should probably expect bigger crowds at the Barge this season. Continue reading

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