The condo-hotel complex that is currently topped out in Brooklyn Bridge Park has done little but stir up controversy for weeks now. The battle between Brooklyn Heights residentswho formed a coalition called Save the View Now, upset that the 130-foot-tall building, called Pierhouse, is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge:has now escalated to the next level... on two fronts. First, the Times just laid out a blow-by-blow of the brouhaha, explaining the technicalities of a 2005 agreement that put a 100-foot cap on any buildings in the park, and how enforcement of that statute sort of went by the wayside, since it wasn't explicitly re-emphasized in subsequent public documents and meetings. Also, park leadership and community representation changed, so there was general murkiness about whose job it was to remind everyone about the cap. In short, Pierhouse is a rather incendiary topic at the moment. But is it "the worst building" in the city?
A Jan. 12 op-ed by a Brooklyn Heights resident whose subhead proclaims that "a luxury building blocks one of the borough's great panoramas" attracted more attention than usual when Lena Dunham tweeted it out.
Save the view now! http://t.co/q56lxbJ2jg— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) January 19, 2015
After all of this view-blocking hype, including how frequently discussion of the 30-foot-tall mechanical unit on top of the 100-foot-tall building cropped up, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation responded last week with an op-ed on Gothamist by president Regina Myer.
While it is understandable that many do not recall the visual impact of the old warehouses, the view from the Fruit Street Sitting Area was never protected. It was always known that development on our site would obstruct that viewmuch as the old warehouses did. ... Far from a sudden surprise, as some have recently depicted, the building under construction today is the same that was presented to the community in 2013. Through a series of public meetings dating back to 2011, Pierhouse underwent a transparent design review process. Pierhouse defenders have also taken the position that, depending on whose before-and-after images you look at (above from BBP, and below, from Save the View Now), the view isn't really blocked at all compared to the disused warehouses that stood there before, which were less tall but considerably wider. Yet Save the View Now's then-and-now comparison seems more drastic. As per the Times: "Each side has claimed the other has chosen a vantage point most beneficial to its argument."
This back-and-forth doesn't even include another ongoing (and also fiery) neighbors vs. park debate, which is over new buildings with some affordable housing that are slated for Pier 6, south of Pierhouse's site. Some wonder why the two camps of opponentsthose against the view being blocked and those against the Pier 6 housingdon't just join forces.
· By Blocking View of the Brooklyn Bridge, a Building Incites a Battle [NYT]
· Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Explains Why That Condo Is Blocking Your View [Gothamist]
· Should "Save Pier Six" and "Save the View Now" Merge Their Efforts? [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
· Trouble at both ends of Brooklyn Bridge Park [Eagle]
· Lena Dunham Tweets Support for Save the View Now, What Happens Next Probably Won't Surprise You [BHB]
· Give us back our Brooklyn Bridge view [NYDN]
· All Pierhouse coverage [Curbed]
· All Brooklyn Bridge Park coverage [Curbed]