Goings-on in and around Sunset Park.
As a long time resident, I have always been afraid that Sunset Park would go the way of Park Slope and Bay Ridge. I have always maintained that someday, the city would try to develop SP in a way that would complete the "Yuppie" connection of Park Slope and Bay Ridge. We are witnessing the beginning steps of this and it is very sad indeed. I no longer see incentives to staying and fixing communities that need the kind of attention long time SP residents gave (I have lived in SP since 1982). In the end, the city and the wealthy gobble it all up and the middle class find themselves doing all over again.
It's true, and your sadness is palpable. The alternative means change as well, however. The development currently taking place isn't exactly consistent with the neighborhood either.Once the express for 36th and 59th was established, the neighborhood became much more attractive to Manhattan commuters. The downturn in the economy also made it much more attractive to folks who were priced out of Park Slope.The extraordinary efforts (now overlooked) of long-time residents to rid the neighborhood of criminal elements in the late 70's and 80's also made it more attractive, as you mentioned. It's no consolation, but it happens everywhere. None of my siblings can afford to live in the suburban town in which my parents have lived for 40 years. Nor can most of the local renters I know (myself included) afford to buy here in Sunset. That makes for a transience that breeds apathy. When people own and plan to lay down roots, they get more invested in the area. But I'm sure that's not news to you.
Just to correct the record about who said what at yesterday's ULURP City Council's Z&F hearing. Friends of Sunset Park(friendsofsunsetpark-brooklyn.blogspot.com) has been the one insisting- from the very beginning of this process & at the hearing- on capping all of 4th Avenue at 60 ft, including bulkheads; 40 ft (incl.blkhds) on 5th between 36th & 50th & 60 ft. for the remainder; institute a no demolition order of structurally-sound buildings. Heck, CB7 recommended 6 stories, Brad Lander prefers 6 stories- yet City Planning thinks they are not beholden to a community's wishes, therir reps or the experts. This begs the question: who is the Palnning Dept. beholden to???Also, Friends of SP has been very clear & vocal about not zoning for R6A anywhere from 39th-41st, 4th-6th avenues. What urban planner in their right mind recommends (aka facilitates) a potential 8-story bldg. on a narrow side street like 40th or 41st St. that would also block the view from the park? Only possible explanation: A behind-the-scenes property owner(s) with plans to build such a monstrosity & the connections to manipulate the planning process. If there's another explanation, we want to hear it & you can post it here. Could Jess Wosloski do one of her investigative pieces on property owners in the R6A-proposed area? It might answer a lot of questions. Can she also provide us with visuals, as per her expertise on this and the waht the proposed heights would do to the view from SP.? She'd be doing a great service to her newly-adopted neighborhood.Re Council Jackson- I don't think he has made up his mind. Instead, he was hoping someone would provide concrete answers to the allegations that the Sunset Park ULURP process has not been as transparent, democratic and representative as it "appears on paper." The committee is still open to concrete answers (Stats, photos) via email & fax (Info on City Council's website.The process is almost over, but not completely over. Call, fax, email the members of the Land Use Committee TODAY with your demands.
Dear Anon:Here's what I did, an so can you.Go to the Business Library on Court Street in the Heights. Get out the "Insurance Maps" volume for Sunset Park, volume 6a, as I remember. Look at each intersection on whatever avenue and street you want. You will notice a number in a circle there. That is the elevation above mean-water-line at that spot. For example, at 44th Street and 6th Avenue it is 167 feet above the water. This is the highest point in Sunset Park south of the Green-Wood Cemetery. The ground drops off in every direction from there. These numbers are important in setting home insurance rates.To resolve your need for information you might gather the pertinent numbers, add 40, 60 or 80 to it to find your capping level. This will not account for bulkhead heights but that is an unknown until actual plans are drawn.You might gaze at the already existing 8-story Mariam Heim residence at 46th Street & 4th Avenue, or the 12-story warehouse at 30th Street & 3rd Avenue. Dear BVIB:The CPD plan is a compromise. In a compromise parties must focus on what they need, what 'they can live with', not only what they want. And they must understand what their adversaries need. Down-zoning on the side streets, and capping the height of any new construction in the face of an already burgeoning population's need for precious housing is indefensible without adequate opportunities to accommodate the people's need into the future.Also, the plan reduces the commercial overlay in the area by 18%! This protects existing residences on the side streets!Once these protections are enacted we can then advocate for greater protections. It's not over yet.--Tom Murphy
Thank you, Tom Murphy, for the information and the encouragement. Totally agree about compromise, but my suspicion is always that money has ulterior motives and underlying plans ready to pounce. Paranoid, perhaps. But I live close to several buildings that quintuple the number of residents from the original structures. The wear on infrastructure really scares me.
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