In 2005, after months of negotiations and overriding the vote against it by Brooklyn Community Board #1, the City rezoned almost the entire Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront, paving the way for the development of residential towers where there had once been low-profile industrial buildings and radically increasing the potential population (and consequent impact on local infrastructure) in the neighborhood. In the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning Agreement the City explicitly provides the community with some remediation for this impact in the form of affordable housing units and park space. Ten years later, with massive development underway and tens of thousands of new residents, neither promise has been delivered.
Our neighborhoods have long suffered on many health fronts. A 2006 paper stated that, “The two neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint have the highest concentration of garbage transfer stations in the city but little public access to their waterfronts. In all, Greenpoint and Williamsburg house two small power facilities, 23 waste transfer stations, a sewage treatment plant and Radiac, the city’s only radioactive waste storage facility. Greenpoint also suffers from the city’s highest asthma rates. Moreover, Brooklyn Borough has an Open Space Ratio of 1.47, lowest among the five Boroughs; while the Brooklyn Community District 1, where Williamsburg and Greenpoint reside, has an Open Space ratio of 0.63 that is much lower than the City’s (3.62) and the Borough’s average (1.47).”
And yet, we find ourselves here, over 11 years later, with the City having “no schedule for” finishing the park.
The recent CitiStorage fire has eliminated our ability to wait. This 11 acre property between N.10th and N.12th Streets, west of Kent is the essential core of the promised 28 acre Bushwick Inlet Park. The property can be sold for private development as of right (M31 commercial zoning) tomorrow. If it is sold and redeveloped, we lose the last possible open space on the Williamsburg waterfront. There will be an almost unbroken wall of towers from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Newtown Creek.
Without this park space, the per capita open space for our fast filling community will be amongst the lowest in the entire city. That is not just a number, that is a palpable sense of claustrophobia, a health hazard and an irreversible decline in our quality of life for us and, even more tangibly, for our kids (and dogs!)
The fact that the City has failed to deliver on the promises made in the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning is a slap in the face to the earnest good faith community negotiation with the City, and a threat to the health of our children. (For more complete histories on this issue click HERE and HERE.)
WE MUST TELL THE CITY, LOUD AND CLEAR, THAT THIS ESSENTIAL PROMISE TO THE COMMUNITY WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN AND THAT DE BLASIO MUST ACT NOW TO SECURE THIS PARKLAND AGAINST THE ONSLAUGHT OF DEVELOPMENT. We have no choice but to rally for our health, our quality of life, and the future of north Brooklyn.
On November 21, 2016 this all changed! The City of New York finalized a deal with the owner of the CitiStorage site, for acquiring the final piece of the full promised park. The future is now for Bushwick Inlet Park and the community of North Brooklyn! #HeresOurPark! A resounding thanks to Mayor de Blasio and to a passionate resilient coalition of Our Community, Supporting Organizations, and Our Elected Officials! Read the story.