This week brought yet another reminder that promises aren’t worth the budgetary paper they’re printed on when Brooklyn Bridge Park is concerned.
As Mike McLaughlin and Ben Muessig reported this week, Mayor Bloomberg has cut $8 million from the city’s contribution towards constructing the waterfront condo and open space development — a cut that will eliminate a footbridge betweeen Squibb Park on Columbia Heights and the northern end of the proposed park.
Of course, we’ve long argued that the financing scheme and user-unfriendly layout of the Brooklyn Bridge Park development ensures that the open space component will be enjoyed mostly by the residents of the 1,200 units inside the “park” footprint.
But this week’s budget cut hammers one more nail in the coffin of public access, while shedding light on how the mayor would handle the development project should Gov. Paterson cede control to the city.
Indeed, Mayor Bloomberg’s move confirms several things:
• Promises of a glorious, “world class” greenspace along the Brooklyn Heights waterfront mean nothing when the budget for the park, now $350 million to build only a protion of it, keeps ballooning.
• There is no guarantee that the “park” will actually be linked to its closest neighbors: residents of Brooklyn Heights.
• Politics, not people, is driving this waterfront boondoggle. The mayor said earlier this year that he wants the state to reliquish control of the development project to the city — and in that context, his move this week is nothing short of a declaration that he doesn’t favor a real park, but one that serves as a mere backyard for its tenants.
It may seem strange that the neighborhood’s councilman, David Yassky, countenanced the mayor’s budget cut to a park project in his district, but Yassky is merely parroting the paper tigers at the Brooklyn Heights Association, which has long fought any link between the park and the Heights, lest thousands of park-goers (unwashed masses all!) be free to roam through stately Brooklyn Heights.
The association, for example, objects to what should be a no-brainer: a link from the famed Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the waterfront at Montague Street.
It has long been clear that the political establishment wants a secluded waterfront paradise for luxury tenants, built by hand-picked development cronies of the governor, (or soon, the mayor), and not what this newspaper has long called for: a real park.