Minerva keeps her view

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Neighborhoods may keep them apart, but the frozen gaze between Lady Liberty and Minerva remains intact—for now.

Last week, officials at Green-Wood Cemetery were assured that the construction of 11 four-story townhouses will not obstruct the historic view.

The May 8 demonstration, organized by local civic groups, the cemetery, and the developer, Park Builders, found that a person of average height standing at Minerva’s base would still have an unobstructed view of the Statue of Liberty.

The test measured up to the developer’s agreement with the cemetery, which now hopes to ensure that future residents don’t place anything on their rooftops to obstruct the view.

The test involved a bucket truck lifting a worker more than 40 feet in the air at the site of the planned condo construction, 614 Seventh Avenue.

A wooden frame was lifted to a precise measurement simulating the height of one of the proposed buildings.

Minerva was erected in 1920 to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn, the first major battle of the Revolutionary War. She stands on Battle Hill, the highest point in the borough.

“I am very happy that Green-Wood is happy,” said local activist Aaron Brashear of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights and member of Community Board 7.

“The view is a recognition of the soldiers that fought and died here,” he continued.

Park Builders bought the property last year. The company has stated that its architects lowered their buildings’ height by seven feet to make sure the view is preserved.

At one time, a seven-story building was proposed on the site by developer Chaim Nussencweig who commissioned architect Robert Scarano for the job. The controversial plan was rejected by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals in 2006.

Green-Wood Cemetery last year began discussing preliminary plans seeking to establish a scenic view corridor from Minerva to the Statue of Liberty. If created, it would establish a visual space which building heights would be forbidden to breach.

The Department of City Planning would have to approve the change, if and when it is officially submitted.

Backers have said the view corridor is analogous to the Brooklyn Heights scenic corridor, established to preserve harbor views.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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