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Brooklyn Heights

Council Members Ponder Widening Brooklyn Bridge Walkways

August 8, 2012

Three City Council members representing both Brooklyn and Manhattan believe the Brooklyn Bridge needs to fatten up. Citing tight quarters along the pedestrian and bicycle paths, the members proposed Tuesday to widen the upper-level platform for tourists and commuters.

The New York Times reports that Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin suggested that “the engineering and ideas community” could be enlisted to widen the artery by as much as three times its current span, perhaps through a competition organized by local design groups.

Likewise, Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, believes that “just looking at how the path goes around the buttresses gives you a sense that a wider path is feasible. If it can widen out there, surely we can find a way to widen it out elsewhere.” Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the Manhattan side, also attended the event on Tuesday to lend support.

Lander’s office says the city Transportation Department has not yet been consulted about a possible plan, though Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, said the city shares their “interest in enhancing safety and accommodating the growing number of people crossing this iconic transportation hub and tourist destination.” Any proposed designs “would be part of a long-term look at improving bridge access and safety,” he said.

The width of the main portion of the 129-year-old Bridge’s pathway varies between 8 and 16 feet. A bike lane on the bridge can comfortably fit only one rider in many areas, though traffic is intended to flow in both directions. The council members cited a Transportation Department estimate that 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the bridge each day.

See the full NY Times story here. DNAInfo also reports here.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Landmark Preservation

Cobble Hill Landmarks Meeting: Thursday, July 26

July 24, 2012

The Landmarks/Land Use Committee of Cobble Hill’s Community Board 6 will review four applications for proposed work within the neighborhood’s Historic District, at a meeting Thursday, July 26 at 6 p.m., at the Cobble Hill Health Center, 380 Henry Street. The Cobble Hill Association urges, “If these properties are located near you or you have an interest, we strongly urge you to attend this public hearing.”

The four properties are:
* Presentation & review of a Certificate of Appropriateness application submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a rear yard addition at 285 Clinton Street, between Baltic/Kane streets.
* Presentation & Review of a Certificate application submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a new building at 437 Henry Street, between Degraw/Kane streets.
* P&R of a Certificate of Appropriateness application submitted for alterations to the first-floor primary façade and for corrections regarding LPC Notice of Violation for work done without a permit to the rooftop parapets & bulkhead at 177 Pacific Street, between Clinton/Court streets.
* P&R of a Certificate application submitted for removal and replacement of existing store front lighting, metal trim, signage and awning at 236 Court Street, between Warren Street/Baltic streets.

The Cobble Hill Health Center multipurpose room is located at 380 Henry Street, between Warren and Congress streets. (Photo: CHA)

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Events

BBP & Bossert To Be Addressed At Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable

July 24, 2012

The Brooklyn Historical Society will host a Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable Luncheon, on Tuesday, August 7, from noon to 2 p.m. Among those scheduled to speak are Clipper Equities principal David Bistricer, who will outline his vision for redevelopment of the Bossert Hotel into a boutique hospitality property; and Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park president, who will discuss the latest developments in and around the 85-acre destination.

Tickets for the luncheon, mind you, are not for those looking for inexpensive entertainment. A single is $300(!), while “corporate series” entry for up to four (which also includes the next meet on November 13) costs $2,100(!!) Let’s hope they’re serving champagne & caviar.

Also slated at the Roundtable are Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer to discuss the NYC Budget and Real Estate Taxes; and Alex Barrett, AIA of Barrett Design & Development, discussing his present and future residential projects.

The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at 128 Pierrepont Street, at the corner of Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights. For more information, call Taina Sanon at 347-381-3705.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights

Macy’s Finally Sees The Light? ‘Considers’ Fireworks Return To East River

July 23, 2012

Apparently, Macy’s has finally realized that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For much of the past year, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Heights state Sen. Daniel Squadron have been rallying for the annual 4th of July fireworks extravaganza to return to the East River, including public rallies, petitions and a non-stop tirade of phone calls.

Since 2009, Macy’s has hosted its annual holiday blowout from the Hudson River. The original move there four years ago was said to acknowledge the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s journey up the river. But the fireworks have remained there since, despite an onslaught of protests that aiming them toward New Jersey spites the spirit of the event, stealing views from residents of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan’s East Side, where they had been for 32 years previous.

Now, the New York Daily News reports that Macy’s is “considering a return” to the East River: “Bending to outer-borough pressure, Macy’s execs and top people in its fireworks operations have agreed to meet with pols to discuss” bringing the show home. A source told the Daily News, “Macy’s has expressed willingness to move to the East River. Macy’s has been receptive to sitting down and discussing solutions. We’re optimistic that soon there will be good news.”

The sit-down will be local elected officials first face-to-face discussion about the fireworks with Macy’s execs. De Blasio stressed, “The fireworks belong in the East River. Outer-borough New Yorkers deserve to be part of the city’s Fourth of July celebration too.” Squadron added that their return to the East River “would allow millions of New Yorkers to join the celebration and provide communities and businesses with the economic spark they need.”

City Councilman Steve Levin, who represents Brooklyn Heights and has also been a persistent advocate for the fireworks’ return home, said, “They couldn’t come back soon enough, and we will welcome them with open arms. I’m from New Jersey. I’ve got nothing but love for New Jersey, but the fact of the matter is there is nothing quite as spectacular as Fourth of July fireworks over New York Harbor.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is also invited to the imminent sit-down, where pols will present a petition that now has 3,100 signatures urging that the show return to its original locale.

All the same, Macy’s has not determined where the 2013 4th of July setting will be. Spokesman Orlando Veras repeated what he’s been saying for the past three years: “Macy’s fireworks will take place in and around all accessible New York City waterways and will not be a permanent fixture at any one location.”

(Photo: New York Daily News)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights

As BBP Struggles For Funding, Self-Sustaining High Line Park Gets $5M Gift From City

July 20, 2012

While Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to scrounge together funding to continue buildout of the slow-as-molasses 85-acre waterfront project, Manhattan’s High Line Park has received a $5 million windfall from the city. This, despite the fact that the West Side tourist destination has raked in $85 million in private sector donations, in addition to a lucrative concessions deal and millions of dollars from adjoining building air rights. reports that city park advocates are questioning why High Line was bestowed such a generous gift, which the city targeted to help build the third portion of the park, at a total cost of $90 million. Critics, for one, point to Brooklyn Bridge Park, which the city’s 2013 capital expenditures budget has slated for just $5.5 million, to develop the Pier 4 Beach and Habitat Island and a pedestrian entrance on its north side.

“Unlike the High Line—which pulls in massive cash from fundraising and private donations—Brooklyn Bridge Park relies almost entirely on the city for capital costs,” DNAInfo says. “Its fundraising organization, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, puts most of its funds toward programming at the park.” The story points to only two BBP capital projects donations: Jane’s Carousel and the controversial $40 million from New York City Fieldhouse Chairman Joshua Rechnitz to build a rec facility near Pier 5.

BBP’s 85 acres compares to the High Line’s 6.73. New York’s total 2013 appropriation is $105 million for 142 park projects. A spokeswoman for the City Council declined to respond to DNAInfo’s requests for comment.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

NYC Increases Budget For Citywide Tree Maintenance

July 7, 2012

New York City may be offering its neighborhoods an olive branch—or at least snippers to prune it—with a substantial budget increase for care of street and park trees. Over the past decade, NYC’s declining bottom line has given responsibility for beautification and maintenance in the Heights to the Brooklyn Heights Association, which has overseen a cyclical block pruning program. Since 2001, it has dedicated more than $75,000 to pruning, planting and tree care from member donations. A major BHA effort took place in February and March.

For the fiscal year that begins this week, NY’s City Council added $2 million for tree pruning to the $1.45 million in Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget. The extra money is part of $30 million in restorations to the Parks Department’s budget, including money for public pools.

Of course, the move equates to more than a green thumb from the city. According to The New York Times, falling trees and limbs have led to a marked increase in injuries, deaths and lawsuits. “Tree pruning is something where you don’t see the impact of deferring until there’s a tragedy,” Park Slope-based Councilman Brad Lander told the Times. “Hopefully, getting pruning back on a better schedule will mean New Yorkers will be safer.”

Money added for tree care would put street trees on a more timely pruning cycle. Because of budget cuts, the pruning rotation had been elongated to every 15 years from once every 7 years in 2008. During that time, the budget for street-tree pruning contracts fell to $1.4 million from $4.7 million.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn

Bossert Not The Only New Hotel Around Town, As LodgeWorks Builds Downtown

June 21, 2012

As the Bossert endures community and governmental scrutiny to potentially convert the Montague Street property back to a “first-class” hotel, a national chain intends to build a 117-room inn on a now-vacant lot in Downtown Brooklyn. This spring, Kansas-based hotel developer LodgeWorks acquired 0.11 acres/4,700 square feet at 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension, just west of the Manhattan Bridge entrance. The Real Deal reported in March that it paid $7.75 million for the site.

Brian Dunne, director of marketing for Benchmark Hospitality International, which operates a Hotel 718 that is scheduled to open Downtown this summer, told The New York Times that with so much residential development, Downtown is becoming an evening destination, rather than a neighborhood that empties when workers go home: “Brooklyn isn’t being viewed as the less expensive option to Manhattan. It’s a place people are starting to want to come to first rather than second.”

LodgeWorks’ hotel plan follows a previous attempt to build a similar property there, which fell through in late 2010. The company manages properties for Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. CEO Greg Epp says the new hotel will be “a well-known national brand.” LodgeWorks has not determined when they will break ground.

Downtown Brooklyn has seen a boom of new lodging of late. The 176-room Aloft hotel opened last year and the 128-room Hotel 718 will soon open, which includes a spa, rooftop deck and restaurant. The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on Adams Street, meanwhile, has been deemed the official hotel of the Barclays Center, according to the New York Times article.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Hearing Scheduled Wednesday For Bossert Flip Back To Hotel

June 20, 2012

Reminder: A notice has been sent to all residents within 400 square feet of the Bossert Hotel, alerting them to the application filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to allow reconversion to its “original transient hotel use.” The Bossert at 98 Montague Street is currently zoned outside of such a commercial zone. As reported on BHB May 14, following its recent purchase for $90M+, developer David Bistricer intends to turn the former Watchtower-owned Bossert into a 302-unit hotel.

The presentation and Q&A takes place at the Land Use Commity of Community Board 2, today, Wednesday June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Polyechnic Institute, Dibner Library, Room LC 400 at 5 Metrotech Center.

At the meeting, the Land Use committee will review the application and is expected to vote on a formal recommendation to the BSA. Pre-register for the hearing at 718-596-5410, if interested in speaking.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web


BBP Pool To Open Soon; Benepe Leaving Parks Department

June 19, 2012

The “temporary” swimming pool (we understand it will be around for five years) located just inland of Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (see photo, taken from Promenade) is, according to Brownstoner, likely to open even sooner than a projected June 28 date. Stay tuned.

In other parks related news, the Wall Street Journal reports that City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, seen here riding the lead horse on the first official spin of Jane’s Carousel, and here with Brooklyn Heights Association President Jane McGroarty at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s “Sunset Bhangra” party, is resigning to become head of the San Francisco based Trust for Public Land. Mr. Benepe served as Commissioner for ten years. Mayor Bloomberg has announced that Veronica M. White, now head of the City’s Center for Economic Opportunity, will be his successor.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Landmark Preservation

CB2 to Hold Hearing on Bossert Plans Wednesday, June 20

June 11, 2012

Community Board 2′s Land Use Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, June 20 to “consider a variance application to be filed at the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to reconvert the Bossert Hotel back to its original, transient hotel use.” The hearing, along with another to “review proposed changes to the text of the New York City Zoning Resolution, to modify the parking requirements in portions of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District”, will take place immediately before at the beginning of the Committee’s regular meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. in Room LC400 of NYU Poly’s Dibner Building located off of the MetroTech Commons at 5 MetroTech Center (follow link for map).

While the buyer of the Bossert, David Bistricer, has said that he doesn’t plan to alter the building’s facade, he has been coy about his plans for the interior, saying that they “have not been finalized” other than that electrical and plumbing will be improved. This leaves open what will become of the Bossert’s magnificent lobby (see photo). Of particular concern is his choice of architect: Eugene Kaufman, whose plans for the historic Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan have incited controversy.

Photo by Josh.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web