The ‘Drastic Miscalculation’ That Stalled the Greening of Greenpoint-Williamsburg

You might have missed it, but last week was the 7th anniversary of the City’s 2005 rezoning:

In 2005, the mayor pushed through a rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, allowing for significantly higher development along the waterfront, and promising a series of parks and open spaces strung like beads along two miles of the neighborhoods’ shorefront…

Certainly, much has changed for the better in Williamsburg, from a waterfront access standpoint. The esplanade in front of the Edge and Northside Piers is well-trafficked and much-loved. Transmitter Park at the end of Kent Avenue, though not yet finished, is in use by Greenpoint residents.

Unfortunately, progress on the development of the waterfront access and open space is not very promising – in fact, recent developments at 65 Commercial Street are a huge step backwards.

The best the City can do at this point is to point to the huge sums of money they have spent to date (“the largest in any Community Board district”) as justification for not actually building much in the way of parks. The problem is, most of the money has been spent acquiring industrial property at residential valuations (that would be the “drastic miscalculation”), leaving very little left over for remediation, let alone construction of actual parks.

Much has changed for the better – McCarren pool is opening soon, as is the waterfront portion of the Bushwick Inlet soccer field site and Transmitter Park (the latter, a promise from the Giuliani era, finally fulfilled by this administration). But despite this progress, we are years away from realizing three-quarters of the promised incremental open space.