State approves Greenpoint boathouse

The Brooklyn Paper
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Greenpoint is getting its boathouse after all.

State officials overruled their city counterparts this week, approving the $3-million boathouse and education center at the edge of Newtown Creek despite Bloomberg Administration concerns about the malodorous waterway.

City environmental officials had stymied the widely backed project at the end of Manhattan Avenue since June, arguing that boaters would be sickened by the bacteria and other pollution emanating from the 3.8-mile waterway, which was declared a federal Superfund site last October.

But after intense community lobbying, state and city environmental attorneys finalized a deal that would allow the boathouse if supporters develop a safety manual that reminds kayakers to avoid swimming in the fetid creek, eating fish and crabs in from the creek, or boating within three hours of a rainfall, when sewage spills into the canal.

It being a dry day, Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint) declared the accord “great news” for Greenpoint.

“This is now a living project that will go forward,” said Lentol.

Community Board 1 member Dewey Thompson first introduced the proposal to convert the ground floor of a Manhattan Avenue factory into a boat basin with storage for 40 kayaks and a nautical education center one year ago.

He applied for $3 million from the City Parks Foundation, which is overseeing a $7-million pool of money that was created by the state as a punishment on the city for years of pollution.

The boathouse proposal received considerable community support, and state officials made the plan a finalist for the pool of money among nearly 50 discussed.

The state favored the boathouse project earlier this year, but backed off once two city agencies signaled their objections to the project.

State environmental officials declined to explain why they now approved the boathouse, but Lentol believes it was because he and other community leaders convinced officials to “give the facts due considerat­ion” and develop the legal language to let the project proceed.

City officials did not care to comment, but Councilman Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint), who helped work out an agreement between the state and the city over many months, had plenty to say.

“This project has always had, and will continue to have, widespread community support,” said Levin. “The state did the right thing here and now all of Greenpoint will benefit.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018: Now includes quote from Steve Levin.
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Reasonable discourse

Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I must say that it is a sign of the kind of development that Williamsburg/Greenpoint can expect when the City is offering $100 million and free land to build an engineering and science university that will provide multitude jobs for technicians, academics, research and graduate students, compel further millions possibly billions of dollars from the participating Universities as well as compel further millions possibly billions of dollars from research grants, compel and influence urban design and infrastructure in the area as well as around the world, promote intellectual activity--and instead we seek to build a boathouse on the shores of a fetid creek that will, when the creek is eventually cleaned in the far-flung future, serve no one but a bunch of elites in the neighborhood--irrespective of all its 'public service' pretenses.
Oct. 29, 2011, 9:16 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
The eyes of development in this neighborhood can see only the excretory tissue and glands of the asses heads have plunged into.
Oct. 29, 2011, 9:18 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Not to mention that an environmental science and civic engineering University along the East River and Newtown Creek would clearly work against and negate the fetidness of the Creek so that kayakers can someday crab there. So backward the thinking!
Oct. 29, 2011, 9:26 am
Pat I from Ex-brooklyn says:
What do you expect? The city is occupied by hipster adult children and trustafarians who whine about not being able to find jobs in scoial media and Penny Farthing maintenance. Give them what they want. Save the technical development for the areas that deserve it.
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:37 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Well, Pat I, we deserve it! We do! Not everyone in CB1 falls under the categories you mention [I sure don't and I suspect you don't either]. And I suspect that sooner or later those infantile hipster adults and trustafarians will find the job pool increasingly shrinking at social media, and there are very few jobs crabbing Newtown Creek [I hear], and, really, do we expect every single one of the bodegas to be replaced by bars? I'm not sure if that's a world I want to live in. Do you?
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:41 am
Laura from Greenpoint says:
Believe it or not, folks have been fishing, crabbing, boating, and even swimming in that creek for years. It's documented in a film named Swim for the River. I can assure you that it's not the community's elite bringing crabs home from the Newtown Creek. Mostly low income immigrants are fishing the creek waters. Yes, the Creek is fetid. But that's exactly why the presence of kayakers on the creek has been so important. Because of their numbers, they had a big part in bringing attention to the fact that the creek is used. All along, DEC & DEP have not been forced to bring the waters up to a useable standard because they hushed the fact that people use it. Agencies couldn't ignore it any longer, because the constituency got too big. Boaters had a big part in getting the cleanup process started. The fact that the boathouse will complement GMDC fabulous environmental work on the creek, is a plus. And including an environmental center in the boathouse is icing on the cake. I think that's going to be extremely important in letting future Greenpointers know about this community's environmental history, which includes lives lost to environmental disease.
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:50 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I do believe it, Laura, since I have family who has spent time at what we called the "Kent Avenue Piece Factories." However, I do not believe the presence of kayakers will now, or at any time of the future bring the needed attention to the Creek that it needs, or the East River, or Williamsburg/Greenpoint CB1 for that matter, since "kayakers" and a boathouse, whether or not it is adjacent to GMDC and their "fabulous environmental work", are not in league with the conditions and people there [that you have graciously mentioned] that would and should have constituted an appropriate response long ago.

Don't get me wrong, and I apologize if it appears I am ——ting or blocking this new development. By all means--go ahead! Go ahead like Bushwick Inlet Park! Go ahead with so many of the things that have brought CB1 to this point, all of which seem to be much more about self-indulgence than social benefit--but I should add that if you think that GMDC's work, along with a boathouse, is in any way contributing to the well-being and livelihood of those fishing crabbing boating folks--you are dead wrong, because you are clearly ignoring the history of gentrification in the area. At one time, the Kent Avenue Piece Factories in the Northside, in a corresponding situation, were seen as a creative venue and immediate quarters for many of those fishing crabbing boating swimming folk you're mentioning--look at it now in all its Toll House glory.
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:57 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Excuse me, what I meant with the first sentence is that I myself have memories of fishing the East River with my stepfather Miguel Valentin and my many uncles and cousins--we came from the beaches of Puerto Rico and crabbed to live. I don't think in any way shape or form is this boathouse serving their memory or the needs of the poor who continue to live by the abused Newtown Creek.
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:59 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Oh, and I meant "Toll Brothers" not "Toll House," but what difference does it make? It's all cookie-cutter gentrification.
Oct. 29, 2011, 11:01 am
mike from GP says:
I would have preferred the money go to a dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski (something that the City should just do anyway), but I'm looking forward to this boathouse and the clean up of our much abused waterways.
Oct. 29, 2011, 5:50 pm
resident from greenpoint says:
Poor Dennis, he seems so angry at what? I'm confused by his pointless bile, he must be a bitter man. Perhaps he should have participated during the public and open process of choosing the projects. If he had paid attention all along, he would know the money had to go to environmental and community projects - it was a penalty for years of environmental damage to Greenpoint from DEP, and could not be used to build a University - what a pipe dream, btw.
This is a great project and will be loved by Greenpoint. If you want to suffer decades of abuse by DEP, ask them to build a sewage treatment plant where you live in Williamsburg and then maybe 20 years from now you can get a small mitigation for that damage to your neighborhood. Until then, stay away from Greenpoint!
Oct. 31, 2011, 10:49 am
VoiceOfTruth from Bill S. Burg says:
Finish Bushwick Inlet Park before going on more follies on detours. Hold His Majesty Bloomberg to his promises.

Squadron and Bloomberg are never there for North Brooklyn, just a crumb here and there since there aren't enough crumb bum cronies to dump money on.
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:02 pm
jk from greenpoint says:
VOT - not with money for Greenpoint projects, you won't. Find your own money for Williamsburg parks!!! People who live over there weren't impacted by the treatment plant or Newtown Creek!
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:07 pm
VoiceOfTruth from Williamsburg says:
The portion of Bushwick Inlet that is not being purchased and completed is in the Greenpoint side of the border. It is a park for both neighborhoods, straddling the two.
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:13 pm
VoiceOfTruth from WB says:
In fairness, I'd much prefer the money come from that horrible waste of funds known as Governor's Island, a seasonal moneypit with no residents and no access for large portions of the year and which is little better than simply lighting tax money on fire for the amusement of a few downtown Manhattan residents. Bloomberg wants his legacy to be an island in the middle of the water, and could give two ——s about North Brooklyn.
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:23 pm
jk from greenpoint says:
True, sorry. But still it would defeat the purpose of the penalty to use the money on something that the city already has committed to (regardless of how slow they are). That would be like getting a speeding ticket but being able to say you wanted to use that $200 to pay off your car loan... PS, the city did try to apply for the funds!
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:07 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I am bitter--I am bitter that jackasses have got the Internet muscular nerve from behind anonymous computer screens to talk about "open processes"--give me a break! For real! The "open processes" you're talking about are advertised or reported on in the local papers? They are leafletted through Williamsburg, or Greenpoint for that matter? Those "open processes" are flyered on the poles? Are promotional material for those "open processes" put in any of the cafes, Rite Aide, or Just Men, or the pizzerias along Nassau Avenue, or the corner bar called Fireplace on Norman Avenue? Your "open processes" hire a "crier" to talk to people in the parks, or even flyer? Did those "open processes" ever set up tables or booths along Manhattan Avenue, Nassau Avenue, Norman Avenue or McGuinees Blvd?

I've been to Greenpoint many times, and I will go to Greenpoint right now, enjoy myself without fear of silly anonymous cowards. And I'm going to go look for "open processes" out in the open, not phone calls between landlords and Community Board 1 and the Northside Merchants Association, that confuse "phone calls" with "open-process" because they may be done with public phones.
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:35 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And to reiterate, it is country-club nonsense to suggest that years of abuse by DEP will be remedied by a boathouse. But hey--that's precisely why CB1 is known as the fount of moronic land development.
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:37 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And the impotent irony--calling me 'angry' while putting up a pretend barricade around Greenpoint. ha! ["resident": "Until then, stay away from Greenpoint." Indeed, I'm going to take some photos of Greenpoint today in this beautiful day and post it to my facebook profile, to show you what I think of my "bitterness" and your warnings.
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:41 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Oh, and just so you know--there is lots of laurel-resting by lots of "open process" phonies in North BRooklyn, but no matter how much achievement you think you've made, no way no how does that ever preempt anyone else from their participation [or lack thereof]. So please, see a therapist for your superiority, and save the energy for your "open process."
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:48 pm
Joe from Crown heights says:
Can we just say that more recreational facilities and improved access to the waterfront is better for city residents, and leave it at that?
Oct. 31, 2011, 3:43 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
This is better for city residents, and the fact that it was overlooked by the many "open processes" in the neighborhood should tell you something:

From the article, "The proposals contain plans for new facilities ranging from 400,000 square feet to more than 2 million and for private expenditures ranging from $800 million to more than $2.5 billion.

Based on an early reading of the proposals over the weekend, Mr. Bloomberg said the city had underestimated the potential economic impact of the project.
“The proposals we received on Friday suggest our estimate might be conservative,” the mayor said. Based on earlier expressions of interest in the project, the city had estimated the project would generate $6 billion in overall economic activity across the five boroughs over 35 years, plus more than 30,000 permanent and construction jobs.

The high quality of the proposals has put pressure on the mayor to try to figure out how to choose more than one winner. But the city has set aside just $100 million for infrastructure upgrades and that could pose challenges to a multiple-winner scenario."

You see, I've been to a couple of those "open processes" that "Resident" from "Greenpoint" is trying to lord other people over with. Notice that both "resident" and "laura" pack their arguments in with elitist and superior notions--they haven't been to all the "open processes" in the world, that's for sure, but if you haven't been to the one they're in, you surely have no right to speak on the many ridiculous absurdities in the neighborhood. Because, anyone who has been to one of these unadvertised, unpromoted "open processes" knows that it is a process of weeding out intelligent proposal for pet project--and the persons who do the best at alienating everyone else win. The proposal to bring University to CB1 has been proffered at "open meetings" before, but because such a proposal at the time didn't gratify the small egoes and imaginations at play, it never captured interest--except for persons like myself who have to hijack threads here on Brooklyn Paper until reporting gets fairer.

And believe me, this is only the beginning. There is so much that Brooklyn Paper will not report on that should get its proper expose--maybe on these threads?
Oct. 31, 2011, 4:12 pm
jk from gpt says:
Governors Island DEIS is open to comment, should anyone want to do so in the appropriate forum!
Nov. 2, 2011, 3:04 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
2jk: That sounds great--for Governor's Island residents. Hopefully everyone impacted will participate--but I'm interested in a University to North Brooklyn, not Governor's Island.
Nov. 3, 2011, 5:50 am

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