We live in the largest city in the country, but what makes us the best city is our neighborhoods and the concern we take to show we care about them–newcomers alongside lifelong residents. Today was one of those days that made me proud not just to be a New Yorker, but also a proud Brooklynite.
It’s been amazing to watch the community revitalization that has happened in recent years following the rezoning of Brooklyn’s East River waterfront. In return for allowing developers to build huge new towers of luxury apartments, communities were promised park and recreational space along the waterfront that would be open to everyone. The resulting park space around the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most incredible public spaces in the entire city, and it’s stunning to see how many children now get to grow up with this magnificent space as part of their environment. Other waterfront areas in Brooklyn are being transformed into amazing parks as well, but not all promises have been kept by the city.
Bushwick Inlet was promised as a 27-acre park area as remediation for all of the luxury towers going up between the Williamsburg Bridge and Newtown Creek. Some of the Williamsburg waterfront has been developed, but areas nearest to Greenpoint–my neighborhood, and one of the most neglected industrial neighborhoods in Brooklyn–have remained a filthy, unsightly mess. And now parcels are going up for sale to developers. Mayor de Blasio and the City Council seem poised to let the city’s promise to Greenpoint get broken. It’s up to us to call them out on it–so I showed up, along with dozens of my neighbors–to say something.
Big thanks to the organizers of today’s “Where’s Our Park?” rally along the overgrown mess that is the current state of Bushwick Inlet, which is roughly where Greenpoint ends and Williamsburg begins along the East River. Thanks also to NY State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol for coming out to tell us that if our city government won’t follow through on their promise, then he’ll do his best to get Governor Cuomo and the NY State Legislature to keep that promise to the residents of Greenpoint. Development isn’t a bad thing–but it must be balanced. As Assemblyman Lentol said–government officials must keep their promises to the public.
I was proud to stand out along Kent Avenue today–where I walk nearly every day–alongside my neighbors to show that our neighborhood matters to us, our quality of life matters to us, and the promises of our city government matter to us, too. The dozens of kayakers out in the water blew whistles and shouted, “Where’s Our Park?” We stood along the sidewalk, barely able to see them through the chain link, barbed wire, overgrown weeds, and trash strewn all the way to the water. We cheered them on, and made some noise–and we shared the vision of what a future Bushwick Inlet Park could look like if only the city would come through for its citizens here in North Brooklyn.
Want to help?
Sign the petition telling Mayor de Blasio not to break the city’s promise to us.
Follow the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park on Facebook and come out for future events.
Let Mayor de Blasio and our City Council members know that families and residents living in North Brooklyn matter, and that our quality of life matters–and we want the park we were promised. We pay taxes, and we matter at least as much as developers do.