Urban parks are becoming our newest endangered species. The 20-year effort to secure a park in an 85-acre strip along 1.5 miles of Brooklyn’s East River waterfront is a prime example of how the seemingly good intention of creating “parks that pay for themselves” is leading to the actual demise of public parks,
The prospect of increasing commercialization of NYC parks, as well as efforts to mobilize public support for a genuine Brooklyn Bridge Park, will be discussed by Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, and Roy Sloane, who has led public outreach efforts as a board member of the BB Park Local Development Corp.
Apart from $150 million committed by the city and state for construction, the Brooklyn Bridge Park will have to generate enough income to pay for ongoing operation and upkeep. The main source, under the approved plan, will be payments from owners of apartments in high-rise housing with 1,200 luxury units that private developers will be allowed to build within the park – a significant intrusion into its narrow swath of green space.