Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The City of New York seems to be meddling in places where it doesn't belong again.

The following is from a May 2007 archpaper article and discusses the future of the industrial port area called Bush Terminal in Brooklyn. I've recently moved to New York for the summer and this particular story perked my interest because of its close proximity to my new apartment (I'm about a block or so from the main entrance to the complex).


Again, another plumply neighborhood ripening towards natural gentrification is now left to rot like last week's produce in some kind of oozing heap. -Not to mention the many hard working individuals whose now fading dreams have been expertly crushed under the precision force of their friendly neighborhood NYC zoning officials shiny hobnail boot.

This is a classic case of unfair government competition stifling growth, snuffing out private investment and robbing its own citizens of their rightfully earned futures.

I can testify from personal observation that the neighborhood is one of the more crappier sections along Brooklyn's west side -especially in comparison with swanky/ hipster Park Slope and Carroll Gardens to the north and the beautiful districts of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge to the south.

{As a side note, I'd like to say that it seems this is a neighborhood without a name (and now possibly without a future -but we'll get to that).

In my estimation the Green-Wood/Gowanus/Bush Terminal district was never really nice. My impression is that it was built as a lower middle-class working neighborhood in the 1910's when the subway came in and it has pretty much stayed that way. One would gather that the district was, and has mostly been populated by longshoremen or those in other port related occupations and their families.

Geographically the area has a lot of great features. Basically wedged between Green-Wood Cemetery and the Gowanus Inlet, the district is virtually two blocks wide from 3rd Avenue on the West to 5th Avenue on the East and about 30 blocks long from Prospect Avenue down to about 45th Street.}

Amazingly the center of the neighborhood is only about 4 miles by car from the tip of Manhattan via the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and about 3 miles from downtown Brooklyn. The entire district lies on a the sunny west facing slope of the main Brooklyn north-south ridge from Green-Wood on the east to the New York Harbor to the west.

The Cemetery and Prospect park offer huge tracts of shady green oasis and the proximity right on the water offers views toward the city, harbor, and the Statue of Liberty. The area is additionally and aptly serviced by the subway's N,R,D,&M lines, by MTA buses, and by private local car services. During the work-week one is never more than 35-40 minutes from mid-town by transit.

Indeed, the ports are a huge force of the current urban fabric and the real estate economy of this district. Virtually all land west of 3rd Avenue & BQE/Gowanus Viaduct is port related. Most of the buildings here are undoubtedly warehouses, loading docks, and industrial/chemical storage. Most of these buildings are apparently unused.

In my analysis the district is highly unique (even for New York City). It has a low crime, a great geographic location, but interestingly has very few of the solid masonry brick and stone buildings one sees throughout neighboring Park Slope or Bay Ridge with virtually zero new construction since the 1940's. -This is why it is on the cusp of economic explosion -well, was.

Unlawful acts like the one in the article will have a very negative impact for the potential future growth of this poised and pollinated district. By zoning the area for "future port use only" it ensures that the area will only allow one kind of use regardless of the natural economic needs of the area. Districts similar to this in the past have often become protected pockets of deadly disease which drain the life and profitability of the surrounding neighborhood from reaching its highest potential.

Let's develop the Green-Wood/Gowanus area into New York's first all-new showcase neighborhood for the 21st Century -I Say Lift the Zoning Burden!

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