The Brooklyn Heights Association RSS feed BHA Community News, Events, and In Focus Updates en-us Copyright (C) 2011 The Brooklyn Heights Associateion IN FOCUS - Have Pity on Your Street Tree: Participate in the BHA's Tree Pit Enlargement Project <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>Last year, BHA volunteers performed a census of the Heights' street trees.&nbsp; As part of TREES COUNT 2015, we found that many of our street trees suffer from overcrowded roots and tree pits that are too small to enable the trees to survive and grow.&nbsp; To provide our street trees with adequate nutrients and water, the BHA is launching a project during Summer 2016 to enlarge sub-standard tree pits by working with cooperating tree owners</p> <p>The BHA will devote its accumulated Tree Funds to this project.&nbsp; In return, we ask tree owners to contact the BHA and let us know your interest in participating in the project.&nbsp; The BHA's responsibilities and the owner's eligibility requirements are detailed below:</p> <p>The BHA will:</p> <p>&bull; Ensure that each location meets Parks Department guidelines<br /> &bull; Meet with the tree owner to review the project<br /> &bull; Contribute up to 50% of each project&rsquo;s estimated $500-$600 cost<br /> &bull; Find licensed tree contractors to perform the work<br /> &bull; Ensure proper insurance coverage and obtain all necessary permits<br /> &bull; Coordinate with the contractor and City agencies</p> <p>To participate in the project, tree owners must meet these eligibility requirements: <br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&bull; Be a BHA member prior to the start of the project (join the BHA <a href="">here</a>)<br /> &bull; Have a tree pit smaller than 25 square feet (approx. 5 x 5 ft)<br /> &bull; Have a sidewalk that is entirely concrete<br /> &bull; Provide owner&rsquo;s consent to the BHA</p> <p>The BHA reserves the right to select all qualifying locations. Preference will be given to blocks with multiple tree pit enlargement applications, so if you are an interested owner, encourage your neighbors to apply as well. We hope to complete this work by the spring of 2017.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>If you are concerned about keeping the Heights verdant and shaded, give your tree more room to grow. Call the BHA (718-858-9193) or write us&nbsp;today at <a href=""></a> for more information.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> FOCUS/ Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400 #GIVINGTUESDAY IS NOVEMBER 29th. It's the philanthropic kickoff to the holiday season and an opportunity for people to donate to their favorite nonprofit organizations. We hope you'll remember the BHA this year. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>#GivingTuesday is fast approaching. It&rsquo;s the philanthropic kick-off to the holiday season, and we hope you'll remember the Brooklyn Heights Association when you donate to your favorite non-profit organizations. We rely on your year-end contribution to continue and enhance our vital advocacy on behalf of the residents and businesses of Brooklyn Heights.</p> <p>#NewYorkGivesDay is New York State&rsquo;s approach to GivingTuesday. It is a 24-hour online challenge through which thousands of nonprofits across the Empire State work together to raise awareness, collect donations, and build a stronger sense of philanthropy throughout their local communities.</p> <p>#GivingTuesday is Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. Please celebrate the season of giving with a generous donation to the BHA and help us serve you our community for another year!</p> <p>You can easily donate online <a href="">here</a>.</p> </body> </html> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 NOV. 1 BQE REHABILITATION MEETING YIELDS IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Representatives from the NYC DOT’s Bridge Division presented the latest information on their planning for the rehabilitation of the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street at their Nov. 1st public meeting. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>Representatives from the NYC DOT&rsquo;s Bridge Division presented the latest information on their planning for the rehabilitation of the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street at a public meeting on November 1st.</p> <p>&nbsp;Over the summer, DOT inspected the structure, including making openings into the cantilever structure to observe portions that have not been seen since its completion 75 years ago. Tanvi Pandya, DOT&rsquo;s Project Engineer, stated that the &ldquo;structure is in better shape than we thought it would be.&rdquo; But she was clear that the triple cantilever is nearing the end of its service life and its rehabilitation or replacement must be planned now to avoid major disruptions to vehicular travel 10-12 years from now.</p> <p>The DOT has collected data on vehicular movements throughout Brooklyn, including within Brooklyn Heights, which will enable the agency to develop a traffic model that will be used during the preliminary design stage to simulate impacts from any changes to the BQE, such as lane closings, during construction.</p> <p>Although preliminary design will be starting in early 2017, and will include developing alternative approaches and evaluating their environmental impacts, DOT was definite about maintaining three lanes of traffic open in each direction throughout the construction period. This necessity will likely entail building a temporary 3-lane structure alongside the existing Queens-bound level in the air rights above Furman Street. The Promenade will also undergo rehabilitation, which will likely require its closings in stages. <br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>The actual start of construction will depend on the project management approach chosen, but in all cases, it will be no earlier than 2021. DOT also specifically noted that the repaving work completed on the BQE over the summer was greatly welcomed by nearby residents, who had been subject to noise and vibration from the deteriorated roadway, and that DOT is committed to maintaining the BQE throughout the project period.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>The next public information session will occur in early 2017 when DOT has more information to share on the traffic model and on the engineering firm that will perform the preliminary design. A selection has been made but their contract has yet to be completed. <br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Thu, 03 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0400 COME CELEBRATE NANCY PEARSALL'S INDUCTION AS A LANDMARKS LION ON NOVEMBER 9TH. The Historic Districts Council, a city-wide preservation agency, will honor Ms. Pearsall and architectural historian Francis Morrone with their highest honor. Tickets are available online. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The Historic Districts Council is honoring long-time Heights resident and preservationist, Nancy Pearsall, and architectural historian, writer, teacher and tour guide <em>par excellence</em>, Francis Morrone, with its&nbsp;prestigious 2016 Landmarks Lions Award.</p> <p>The event will take place at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, November 9th at the Battery Gardens Restaurant inside Battery Park. Tickets to the event are available and can be purchased <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Nancy Pearsall and her husband, Otis, spearheaded the community&rsquo;s campaign to save Brooklyn Heights from the slum clearance approach promoted by urban renewal in the 1950s. Their advocacy and documentation efforts were responsible for the Heights becoming a National Historic Landmark and the city&rsquo;s first historic district, both in 1965. Their campaign also contributed to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Law, which has been a catalyst for preservation efforts throughout the U.S.</p> <p>Francis Morrone has written 11 books on architecture and neighborhoods in New York City and Philadelphia and was named one of the world&rsquo;s 13 best tour guides by Travel &amp; Leisure magazine. His tours are an unforgettable experience.</p> <p>You can help show the community&rsquo;s gratitude for their extraordinary contribution to preserving Brooklyn&rsquo;s architectural and cultural heritage by your presence at HDC's event on November 9th.</p> </body> </html> Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 COME CELEBRATE ON OCTOBER 21st: The BHA and the Brooklyn Historical Society, in conjunction with Representative Nydia Velasquez, are sponsoring an event at 11 am on Friday, October 21 to celebrate the installation of a plaque commemorating Brooklyn Heights as a National Historic Landmark. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>On Friday, October 21,&nbsp;the Brooklyn Heights Association and the Brooklyn Historical Society, in conjunction with Representative Nydia Velasquez, will celebrate&nbsp;the unveiling on the Brooklyn Historical Society's building of a plaque from the National Register of Historic Places&nbsp;designating Brooklyn Heights as a National Historic Landmark.</p> <p>The event will take place&nbsp;at 11 am&nbsp;on the corner of Pierrepont and Clinton Streets, and immediately following its conclusion at&nbsp;11:30 am,&nbsp;noted architectural historian Francis Morrone will lead a brief tour of the area.</p> <p>The plaque being unveiled replaces an identical one&nbsp;that disappeared from the foot of Montague Street decades ago.&nbsp;&nbsp;The earlier plaque was similarly celebrated on April 30, 1965, when Brooklyn Heights was one of only four neighborhoods in the country to be designated a National Historic Landmark under the National Park Service's National Register program.</p> <p>The BHA and the BHS are honored to have Joshua Laird, the National Park Service's Commissioner&nbsp;of the National Parks of New York Harbor, as a speaker. He will be joined in his remarks by&nbsp;NYC Landmarks Preservation Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, Council Member Stephen Levin,&nbsp;Otis Pearsall, and the BHA's Executive Director, Peter Bray.</p> <p>This event&nbsp;falls within the 50th anniversary year of Brooklyn Heights being designated the city's first historic district and coincides with two other milestones: the 50th anniversary of the National Register of Historic Places,&nbsp;administered by the National Park Service, and the&nbsp;National Park Service's centennial.</p> <p>We&nbsp;welcome your presence at this event.</p> </body> </html> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 COMING ATTRACTIONS: Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse will open in Spring 2017. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>This coming Spring, the Brooklyn Heights Association will benefit from having&nbsp;more than a dozen premier decorators&nbsp;transform a townhouse in our landmarked neighborhood from top to bottom. The BHA will be&nbsp;replacing our traditional House &amp; Garden Tour with an event that celebrates the historic district we love, and showcases the design creativity of Brooklyn today.</p> <p>Designer Showhouses are mainstays in the design world. &ldquo;Kips Bay&rdquo;, the Manhattan taste-maker, has been held for 44 years in as many houses on the Upper East Side and The Southampton Showhouse has been gracing Long Island for the past fifteen.</p> <p>But there has not been a design showhouse in Brooklyn&nbsp;.... until now.</p> <p>Our Brooklyn Heights Showhouse will be &ndash; as they now say in Paris - <em>tr&egrave;s</em> Brooklyn.&nbsp;<strong>Unpredictable, eclectic, and fun.</strong> There is no single look to Brooklyn, but the BHA&rsquo;s Showhouse will capture that special Brooklyn spirit: a sense of adventure which also honors the past.</p> <p>Come visit the Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse in Spring 2017.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 STOP A DANGEROUS REZONING IN ITS TRACKS. The proposed rezoning of 141 Willoughby Street would set a precedent for the rezoning of much of Downtown Brooklyn and seriously exacerbate its already overburdened infrastructure. Make your voice count by October 4th. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>In January 2014, Savanna, a NYC-based real estate firm, bought the Institute of Design and Construction (IDC) building at 141 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn. With the City&rsquo;s active encouragement, <strong>Savanna is seeking a rezoning to build a building three times larger than the site&rsquo;s current zoning and 150% larger than what is now allowed in most of Downtown Brooklyn</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;Savanna is proposing a 49-story mixed use tower including retail, office and residential components. It would set a dangerous precedent by opening the door for other developers to seek a similar upzoning on their downtown properties. <strong>In effect, it would provide a back door approach to rezoning all of Downtown Brooklyn without the City performing any planning or analysis of the impact of the increased density on the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. Without question, it would greatly exacerbate the area&rsquo;s already overburdened infrastructure.</strong></p> <p>When the Downtown Brooklyn Plan was approved in 2004, it was expected to create the city&rsquo;s third major commercial center along with Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Instead, developers seized the opportunity to build 10,000 residential units, mostly luxury housing. Despite the recognized need for 3,000 new school seats for this population, the City has been unable to find a single appropriate school site in the area</p> <p>Community Board 2 voted overwhelmingly to recommend the disapproval of this rezoning application, but the City Planning Commission has voted to approve it. A coalition of Brooklyn Heights organizations oppose the rezoning: the BHA and the boards of four nearby coop developments: Cadman Towers (101 Clark Street and 10 Clinton Street), Whitman Owner Corp. (75 Henry Street), 140 Cadman Plaza West, and Concord Village.</p> <p>The City Council will make the final determination on the rezoning request for 141 Willoughby Street at the end of the week of October 3rd. By tradition, Council Members give deference to the local Council Member&rsquo;s vote.</p> <p>&nbsp;Since Council Member Stephen Levin&rsquo;s vote will be crucial for the outcome of this rezoning action, your voice can be influential. You can:</p> <p>1) <strong>Write CM Levin&rsquo;s office by October 4th and let him know you oppose the rezoning. Send your email to Julie&nbsp;Bero at&nbsp; and copy Jonathan Boucher at</strong><br /> 2. <strong>Testify at the City Council&rsquo;s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on October 5th</strong>. The hearing will be at 250 Broadway, 16th Floor. Plan to arrive no later than 9 am to get through security (bring ID) and sign up to speak. Remarks are limited to two minutes. Bring 10 copies of your remarks to distribute to subcommittee members.</p> <p>You can find a Fact&nbsp;Sheet on the proposed rezoning action&nbsp;<a href=" Sheet 141 Willoughby0001.pdf">HERE</a>&nbsp;and the BHA's testimony to the City Planning Commission <a href=" Statement to CPC 141 Willoughby0001.pdf">HERE</a>.&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 HELP COUNCIL MEMBER LEVIN SPEND $1.5 MILLION. The Participatory Budgeting process has begun for 2017. You can get involved to determine how those funds are spent through your planning, ideas and voting. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>For the past six years, residents in many City Council districts throughout New York City have been&nbsp;able to&nbsp;decide how capital budget dollars get spent within their communities by taking part in&nbsp;Participatory Budgeting.&nbsp;&nbsp;PB is a&nbsp;democratic process that allows residents to propose and vote on projects funded by discretionary funds set aside by their council member.</p> <p>Council Member Stephen Levin has set aside $1.5 Million for the 6th PB cycle, whose proposed projects will be voted upon in March/April 2017.&nbsp; The projects must involve the city&rsquo;s physical infrastructure, rather than programs, and have a lifespan of 5 or more years. The projects can range from $35,000 to $1 million, but virtually all approved projects are under $500,000.</p> <p>&nbsp;You can get involved in PB in several ways by:</p> <p>&nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;Volunteering during the planning process that&nbsp;will extend through the PB cycle. Those roles are outlined <a href=" Budgeting Volunteer Roles0001.pdf">here</a> and the planning timeframe <a href=" Budgeting Timeline0001.pdf">here</a>. <br /> &bull; You can submit ideas online <a href="">here</a> through the end of September; the District Committee&nbsp;will explore and develop those ideas and the approved ideas will be placed on the ballot. <br /> &bull; You can vote on your preferred projects and the top five vote getters will receive funding. A list of last year&rsquo;s winning projects can be found <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Brooklyn Heights has not been an active participant in PB. Perhaps this year will be different. For more information and questions about PB, go online <a href="">here</a>.</p> </body> </html> Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 BHA SUPPORTS RETAINING THE PARK'S POP UP POOL. The August 18 press conference sponsored by Senator Squadron highlighted the importance of the pool for the Brooklyn community and advocated for its retention until a permanent solution is found. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>Fifty years&nbsp;ago this month, in August 1966, the Lovin&rsquo; Spoonful&rsquo;s &ldquo;Summer in the City&rdquo; reached #1 on the pop charts with lyrics that could have been written about this month&rsquo;s string of hot and muggy days:&nbsp;</p> <p>Hot town, summer in the city<br /> Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty<br /> Been down, isn't it a pity<br /> Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city&nbsp;</p> <p>Brooklyn Bridge Park&rsquo;s pop-up pool has offered one of the very few ways to beat the heat this summer, but&nbsp;without a change in policy by the Park, the pool will be gone at the end of the summer.</p> <p>To rally support to keep the pop-up pool until a permanent pool can be built,&nbsp;Senator Daniel Squadron, who helped secure the pool in 2011, released his report, &ldquo;Making a Splash: The Pop-Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park,&rdquo; at a press conference alongside the pool&nbsp; on August 18th. A survey of park users found strong support for keeping a pool in the park. Council Member Stephen Levin, Borough President Eric Adams, the organizers of Love Our Pool: Families United for a Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and several young swimmers also spoke.</p> <p>The press release (<a href="">here</a>) and report (<a href="">here</a>) issued by Senator Squadron&nbsp;included the following statement from the BHA: &ldquo;This long hot summer has amply demonstrated the importance of the welcome relief it provides, particularly given the dearth of public pools available to the Brooklyn community. A pool has been an integral part of Brooklyn Bridge Park&rsquo;s design since its 2001 Master Plan, and for that reason, we call upon the Park Corporation to operate the pop-up pool until a permanent solution can be found. The BHA is grateful to State Senator Squadron for bringing attention to this important issue and will work with him and other community advocates to retain the pop-up pool until a permanent replacement is available.&rdquo;</p> <p>The BHA also&nbsp;commented that Brooklyn&rsquo;s 2.6 million residents have access to only 15 public pools, a ratio of 176,000 persons per pool. With the loss of the pop-up pool and the proposed closing of the nearby Gowanus pool and the rapidly growing population of Brooklyn, that ratio will considerably worsen. The dearth of public pools mean that Brooklyn residents will find keeping cool during the &ldquo;summer in the city&rdquo; increasingly challenging.&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 LONG AWAITED PRESERVATION PROJECTS ADVANCE. 100 Clark Street wins LPC approval of plans that will return it to its former glory. The LPC will also calendar 181 and 185 Montague Streets for designation as individual landmarks . <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>After decades of abuse and neglect by prior owners, followed by 10 years of bureaucratic red tape, there is a brighter future in store for 100 Clark Street aka 1 Monroe Place. On August 2nd, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved an application&nbsp;by Newcastle Realty Services, which acquired the property in 2010,&nbsp;to reconstruct the former 1852 Greek Revival house that stood on the site.&nbsp; The original house was&nbsp;partly demolished in 2008 by the Department of Buildings, which deemed it structurally unsound.&nbsp;When 100 Clark Street is returned to its former glory, neighbors will no longer have to live alongside what has been a forlorn wreck and eyesore for far too long.</p> <p>Stephen Culhane, who resides next door at 3 Monroe Place expressed his delight with the LPC&rsquo;s decision: &ldquo;Everyone is pleased that the site has at last completed the long journey through the many clearances associated with this project, and to see a sensitive design to an important landmarked location in this great neighborhood. Kudos to all involved, including the BHA which has been closely following the status of the building for so many years.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>The approved plans, shown <a href=" Clark St Drawings.pdf">here</a>, are nearly identical to what the LPC approved in 2006, but whose permits had expired. The completed project will again feature beautiful cast iron railings, a slate mansard roof, oriel windows, and a wide stoop on the Monroe Place. The rebuilt structure will house rental apartments.<br /> In its testimony, <a href=" Statement on 100 Clark aka1 Monroe Place0001(1).pdf">here</a>, before the LPC, the BHA lauded the design and the opportunity before the LPC to enable a distinguished work of architecture to again occupy this prominent corner and to have its special sense of place restored.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Another long-awaited piece of good news was yesterday&rsquo;s announcement by the LPC that it will calendar 181 and 185 Montague Street for individual landmark status. These two buildings were included in the BHA&rsquo;s proposal for the Borough Hall Skyscraper District, but the LPC eliminated the north side of Montague Street between Clinton and Court Streets when that district was designated in 2011. A separate Request for Evaluation was submitted in 2014. Citibank&rsquo;s &lsquo;Roman Temple&rsquo; at 185 Montague was completed in 1903 to a design by Mowbray and Uffinger, which designed the Dime Savings Bank building on DeKalb and Flatbush. The Art Deco Corbett building at 181 Montague, the work of Corbett, Harrison &amp; MacMurrey, foreshadowed their contribution to the design of Rockefeller Center.</p> <p>&nbsp;We are pleased that the LPC is committed to completing the half century effort to preserve Brooklyn Heights&rsquo; architecture. Its designation of these two buildings will protect one of the very finest assemblages of 19th century commercial architecture anywhere in the city.&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400 BHA FILES LAWSUIT TO STOP TOWERS ON PIER 6. The lawsuit asks the NYS Supreme Court to annual the BBPC's June 7th decision to build two huge towers on Pier 6 near Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA filed a lawsuit on July 7th against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC), Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and its subsidiary, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and named the two real estate developers selected to build on Pier 6 - RAL Development Services and Oliver&rsquo;s Real Estate Group - as interested party-respondents. Our lawsuit asks the NYS Supreme Court to annul the BBPC&rsquo;s June 7th decision to build two huge towers on Pier 6 &ndash; more than 400,000 square feet - near Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street.</p> <p>The BHA, other community groups, and local elected officials have strongly advocated that this land instead be used as parkland and that the long-promised Atlantic Avenue entrance to the Park be created.</p> <p>According to BHA President Patrick Killackey, &ldquo;the BBPC is violating the fundamental commitment on which the BHA and the community supported the Park&rsquo;s creation: that real estate development at the park would be limited to only the amount necessary to fund the Park&rsquo;s financial needs.&rdquo; He added that &ldquo;we need open space at the Park, not needless new condo towers.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In its lawsuit, the BHA claims that the BBPC&rsquo;s action violates the law that governs development at the Park as well as its own procedures. Additionally, the BHA asks that ESD require an updated environmental review due to the considerable changes throughout the area since an earlier review in 2005.&nbsp;</p> <p>The lawsuit asserts that in an attempt to demonstrate that revenue from Pier 6 development is necessary, the BBPC has seriously undervalued the revenue that will be generated from its new projects in the Park &ndash; Pierhouse, the Pier 1 Hotel, John Street, and Empire Stores &ndash; which will all be assessed by the Department of Finance in early 2017. For example, the BHA points out that the current average Department of Finance (DOF) value for relevant properties in Brooklyn Heights is 55% higher than BBPC&rsquo;s prediction of DOF&rsquo;s future value for Pierhouse, one of the two most expensive condos in Brooklyn.&nbsp;</p> <p>The BHA&lsquo;s lawsuit also highlights that the BBPC tried to eliminate the financial need requirement over the last year by seeking ESD&rsquo;s approval to modify the General Project Plan, and that when ESD declined to approve that modification in May 2016, the BBPC instead announced that the modification was no longer needed. The BBPC now claims that it can proceed with Pier 6 development regardless of whether this development is necessary to provide financial resources to maintain and operate the park.</p> <p>The BHA&rsquo;s press release&nbsp;<a href=" Pier 6 Lawsuit Press Release 7-7-160001.pdf">here</a>, and the petition and&nbsp;brief filed with the court <a href=" Verified Petition Re Pier 6 July 7 2016(1).pdf">here</a> and <a href=" Brief in Support of Pier 6 Petition July 7 2016(1).pdf">here</a>, respectively, provide a more detailed description of the BHA&rsquo;s grounds for the lawsuit. The BHA is represented by Jenner &amp; Block, a law firm that is well known for its litigation expertise and commitment to pro bono matters.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400