Residents blast school’s dead-end plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Bay Ridge private school says it wants to make the neighborhood — and the country — safer by taking over a portion of a troublesome dead end street near an entrance to its football field, but neighbors say there is nothing dangerous about the area and that the school is simply making a land grab that would take valuable parking spaces away from them.

Poly Prep Country Day School is asking the city to let it lease a 185-foot section of Battery Avenue between Fort Hill Place and the Fort Hamilton Army Base, claiming it is a den of drug dealing, prostitution, and drinking that cannot be contained by police. The school would close off the area with a chain-link fence and gate, moving up the dead-end and taking away about 10 parking spots.

“We’re doing this because we’re good neighbors,” said Malcolm Farley, director of communications for the school, who added that drug dealing so close to the fort is a threat to national security because dealers could be selling dope to soldiers. “We want to protect the safety and security of Fort Hamilton, our kids, and our neighbors.”

But neighbors say the area is safe, and a police source we spoke to could not confirm the number of complaints about the street, but denied that prostitution was taking place there.

“We definitely received complaints about the location, but there was nothing that was justified as ongoing prostituti­on,” the source said.

So neighbors think that blocking off the street is just a ploy to privatize a public road and take over sorely needed parking spots so buses carrying visiting football teams have a convenient place to park on game days.

“They’re going to block the streets so that visiting cars and buses can park,” said Elaine O’Rourke, who lives on the block.

School officials admitted that the block has been used by visiting football teams, but that’s not the reason Poly wants the land.

“They do park buses back there four or five times in the football season and yes, we would continue to look to do so,” said Rutuelo. “But we are not doing this for additional parking.”

Few cars were parked on the street when we stopped by last Wednesday, as every house on the block has off-street parking.

But neighbors said that every home had at least two cars, and finding parking at night was difficult.

“People on the block park here at night,” said Joan MacGregor, who lives one house away from the site of the would-be fence. “It’s hard to get a spot already.”

The 157-year-old school, which has about 800 students from grades five through 12, is located on the edge of the Dyker Heights Golf Course and abuts Fort Hamilton, features a bucolic campus with ponds and geese. Poly Prep has a lower school in Park Slope near Prospect Park.

School officials are meeting at a hearing on Wednesday at Community Board 10 — but some board members are skeptical of the plan.

“My impression is that they feel they’re entitled to take over a public street because they’re rich,” said CB10 member Bob Hudock.

The school first made its request to take over the land to state Sen. Marty Golden in May, 2010.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Driver from Bay Ridge says:
More parking! Screw those school kids. I need a place to store my car for free!
Nov. 8, 2011, 8:23 am
trans alt from bike city says:
Yay!! More free parking taken away!!! Keep it up until moronic drivers realize that NYC is no place to have a car!!
Nov. 8, 2011, 9:10 am
R from Bklyn says:
If you're parking your private vehicle on a public road, then you your self are privatizing it.

Drivers are unbelievably selfish!
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:19 am
Bob from Bay Ridge says:
How much money are we talking about here, and for how long a time? Have the neighbors gotten together to see about them getting compensation for lost parking? Did the school even reach out to them, or is this another Bay Ridge political end run?
What's Marty Golden getting out of this?
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:48 am
Josef from downtown brooklyn says:
1. if a private entity takes over public space, they should have to pay. this transaction should be structured as a lease rather than a transfer of ownership should it occur.

2. on the other hand, people parking their cars on the street are using public space for a private purpose, so they should have to pay too.

3. given that drinking in public should not be a crime and that drugs and prostitution should be legal, i do not see any problem with the current use of the space even if the school's (rather self-serving) accusations are true.

4. the assertion that "drug dealing so close to the fort is a threat to national security because dealers could be selling dope to soldiers," is laughable. literally. i read this and snorted with derision.
Nov. 8, 2011, 1:10 pm
Poly from Bay Ridge says:
Learn more about Poly Prep here:
Nov. 8, 2011, 1:17 pm
Rob from NY says:
Why not put the on-street parking to work for the city? Put a price tag on each space with a Muni Meter. Use the money to help make the block more attractive.
Nov. 8, 2011, 1:22 pm
S from PPW says:
Wait a second...

"Private entities" are using this public space all the time and don't pay a dime! If you want to park your car on public space, maybe you should pay, too.

I agree...make them Muni Meter spaces.
Nov. 8, 2011, 2:03 pm
Maria from Park Slope says:
"National security"? Are you kidding me? Why can't they at least be honest and say, "Hey, we want this land for school buses to park on game days, and that might reduce the glut of traffic that is created on the street." No, of course not--that would be decent and reasonable. Instead they make up crap about prostitution and claim that they are protecting soldiers. You have got to be kidding me. This school is as sleazy as it gets.
Nov. 8, 2011, 2:47 pm
CDR from Dyker says:
You want parking? Move to Jersey!!
Nov. 8, 2011, 3:20 pm
Battery Ave Resident from Bay Ridge says:
Watch Channel 11 PIX - Greg Mocker tonight (November 8th) He is covering this story!!!

And come to the Community Board 10 meeting tomorrow 8119 5th Ave November 9th at 7PM.

The wealthy will walk all over the working class unless we stand up!!!!!!
Nov. 8, 2011, 3:42 pm
sam from bay ridge says:
wealthy? working class? oh pleeeeze! They're talking about LEASING NOT taking a 185 feet of a street...which is, by the way, a problem crime area...but the "source" won't provide those details - Conveniently...hmmmmm. Poly is doing you a favor but everyone needs a cause...Spare us the drama and go pitch a tent in zuccotti park!
Nov. 8, 2011, 3:55 pm
Fed up from brooklyn says:
as usual a CB10 board member makes up his mind before the meeting even takes place....sounds like someone has a chip on his shoulder
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:01 pm
Bay Ridge says:
Favor? Think for a minute and let me know if Poly moving the supposed "criminal element" up towards the residents would be much of a favor. Guess you don't know the area.
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:13 pm
sam from bay ridge says:
Actually it would move the "criminal element" totally off the block - they go there because it's secluded. they're not gonna move onto someone's front steps instead to conduct their illegal activities. Common sense.
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:28 pm
Bay Ridge says:
You have to live here to understand. We are getting off topic. This is a police matter not an opportunity for Poly to expand their grounds to take public space. Simple.
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:41 pm
sam from bay ridge says:
You're omitting an important and simple fact. Poly isn't TAKING anything. They want to LEASE the land in question. The residents are the ones taking. Also, the "police source" admitted they've gotten complaints about the area. Why not put the area to better use and the city makes some money to boot.
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:47 pm
Bay Ridge says:
Do you live on this block? That is an important factor. If we go along going with your supposition... should Poly's "good neighbor" intentions be true, they will offer keyed access to the area to Battery residents. Yes?
Nov. 8, 2011, 4:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think that the so-called prostitution is just a scare to allow for this. Even if there were no prosititutes, that school would still want to do it reguardless. By no surprise, the Streetsbloggers will probably back this 100 percent. Being that this is a private school, they should have no right to be allowed to use any eminent domain, because this only implies for public use only, not private use, especially when a there is a certain RAT who grabbed a lot of land in Prospect Heights for another of his mega complexes he could never afford on his income. Overall, private schools deserve no prioritories over public schools.
Nov. 8, 2011, 6:31 pm
Disgusted from Brooklyn says:
It is disgraceful that Poly Prep is claiming that US soldiers are using that area for obtaining drugs. The only loitering in that area is Poly Prep students. The residents of Battery Avenue don't only patrol that area but they also have security cameras. I have been living on that block for 6 years and never heard of any complaints that would raise a concern. This is a public street that a greedy land grabbing school wants to take over for their own use without regard for the community they are in. That is why the residents of Battery Avenue are outraged. Poly Prep has more power and privilege than you could imagine and they flex their muscle whenever they want. Bon Jovi, Meryl Streep, and Al Sharpton send their kids there. Their tuition is over $30,000/year. Poly Prep has 25 acres of property in Brooklyn yet they pay no property taxes. For all you people that think that the residents should be paying for parking on a residential block, do you think that should apply to all residential blocks in the city? We already pay for those spaces through our real estate and city taxes.
Nov. 9, 2011, 1:06 pm
normative from bay ridge says:
It is hard to take poly prep seriously when it lists national security as a concern. I know you want the spot, but please do not lie in attempt to arouse emotions.

I live in bay ridge, not too far from here, and I do not think there is anything of police concern on the block. I cannot be positive, but I really doubt it. If anything, it is just teenagers smoking pot, which I have seen at Dyker park, which is standard in NYC and hardly a police issue.

Polyprep is an extremely privileged institution, which can probably get whatever it wants unfortunately, but I also worry about the people complaining of parking. You should really pay a meter or a permit for parking on public streets, especially if you own two cars. Anyone who parks on public streets, residential or commercial districts, is leasing public land for a private object. You should be charged for this privilege, since you externalize the cost to the rest of us.
Nov. 9, 2011, 1:29 pm
are you kidding me! from Brooklyn says:
Battery Avenue's dead end block backs up to The Fort Hamilton Army Base. It is one of the safest blocks in Bay Ridge. If Poly Prep really cared about the safety/quality of life of Battery Avenue residence, they would have addressed the following concerns:

1. The beautiful huge Brooklyn Pond on their grounds has infested our neighborhood with mosquitos. We bought and get taxed for backyards that we are unable to enjoy. You would think that if they cared about our well being that they would spray for the west nile virus.

2. This one is even better, they have recently posted signs that say no feeding the ducks, chickens, rabbits, and whatever other livestock they have on the property. Really, the feeding of these ducks has been a long Brooklyn tradition. The only reason they posted these signs is that they do NOT want middle- lower class tax payers loitering in front of their elite paying prep school.

3. Raccoons have also taken up residence at Poly Prep. During the day,
these raccoons sleep in the forests of Poly Prep and at night they roam around
Battery Avenue. If they cared about Battery Avenue residence and the threat of rabies associated with the raccoons, they would have called the city to set up traps.

Battery Avenue residence pay real estate taxes to live in Brooklyn. Poly Prep is a non-profit organization whose students pay more in tuition than the salary of a first year police officer. Money and power can buy a lot in NYC. However, Battery Avenue residence are not going to be fooled when it comes to the facts and intentions of Poly Prep. In closing, I would like to say that it is every parents dream to be able to afford to send their children to Poly Prep Country Day School. May the best man win.....LOL!
Nov. 9, 2011, 1:45 pm
Confused from Bay Ridge says:
Public streets, especially residential streets, are already paid for by those who pay taxes. Being charged twice or deprived the use is moronic and immoral.
Nov. 9, 2011, 2:19 pm
George from Bay Ridge says:
Why would a soldier buy drugs on Battery Avenue in view of MPs and surveillance camera's? The Poly Prep con is on. Poly Prep is a disgrace to the fine men and women of are armed forces who are the one's making our country safer.
Nov. 9, 2011, 2:34 pm
Cam from Bay Ridge says:
It is disgusting that they would suggest that soldiers are buying drugs back there. Let me get this straight--so the soldiers are not only illegal drug users but they're also stupid enough to buy right near their base?

And we all need Poly Prep to protect our nation's security? Outrageous!

This honestly needs to be a story in itself--I'm going to send this link to as many military advocacy organizations as I can.
Nov. 9, 2011, 3:21 pm
lawsuit: SLANDER from bay ridge says:
Let me get this straight..... Poly Prep has reported The Brooklyn Paper that Battery Avenue has drugs and prostitution.....???? Really, I have been living on the block for over 5 years and have never seen or heard of this.
I hope Poly Prep has evidence to back up such strong accusations which they do not have. Poly Prep comments about our block to benefit their own interests has and will effect our real estate values !!!! Poly Prep owes us a public apology! If I accused someone falsely and it was published of being involved with drug use and prostitution, I would be sued for slander. Oh and for the record, if we did have drug problems and prostitution problems on our block, we would not be asking or counting on Poly for help- We would be calling 911 and notifying The Fort Hamilton Army Base.
Nov. 9, 2011, 5 pm
henry ford from bay ridge says:
I've lived in this neighborhood for 30 years, and this block has always been one of the most peaceful places in all of NYC. It's also slanderous that Poly Prep would insinuate that soldiers are buying drugs through the fence, in full view of MP's and civilians alike. This is nothing but a land grab, using bold faced lies to achieve their goal.
Nov. 9, 2011, 7:18 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Can Poly Prep please give evidence that there is actual prostitution going on there, otherwise they are just giving an excuse to do this.
Nov. 9, 2011, 8:03 pm
Rob from Battery Ave says:
Just back from CB 10 meeting with Poly Prep. Poly Prep is withdrawing their application for lease of this street. Battery Ave residence came out in full force, 68th Pct stated this is not a high crime area nor have they received extraordinary calls for the dead end. The people have spoken!
Nov. 9, 2011, 8:52 pm
Not Joepa from Brooklyn says:
Poly should use its considerable resources to police itself. Go to the link posted yesterday at 1:17. Very similar to scandal at Penn State, but at least there some school officials have paid a price.
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:48 pm
1:17 yesterday ? from bay ridge says:
just read the link

i am shocked!

i would highly recommend to poly prep to police itself before it preaches to others about on-going drug and sexual activity.
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:28 pm
Concerned from Brooklyn says:
I echo the calls to visit NOT ONE OFFICIAL at Poly has paid for hiding 25 years of sexual abuse of Poly boys by a coach that is long dead. One of the current big-wigs at Poly--Steven Anderson, who is one of the guys in the photo above--not only is chief among those people who are guilty of concealing this abuse for years, but he actually was an assistant coach to the abusive coach in question (Foglietta) and would help intimidate boys who rebuffed Foglietta's advances. I urge you to read the victims' stories on the web site. At least at Penn State SOMEONE paid or will pay for hiding child rape. Anderson has not been punished at all.
Nov. 10, 2011, 10:49 am
Semper Fi from Brooklyn says:
More than an apology is needed from Poly Prep for slandering the good soldiers in this city. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:38 pm
Bay Ridge says:
UPDATE: Theere was a Community Board 10 meeting last night where Steven Anderson of Poly Prep stated that they will NOT be putting up a gate, would withdraw their request and further, that Poly would not be seeking this type of request in the future.

This was an embarrassing moment for a well respected school. The Director of Communications needs to make a public apology for the slanderous comment about our troops, and the School should also make a similar public apology to the Homeowners of Battery for baseless, defamatory comments made about our block.

Sincerely apologize when you are wrong. That's in line with the schools reputation for character training - Print it right here.
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:56 pm
Parent from Bay Ridge says:
I can tell you one thing--their communications director should be canned. Usually you dont really see a comm director acting as a spokesperson--that's the school head's job--but this guy makes these claims to the press about Poly needing to protect national security by keeping soldiers from buying drugs?????? bonehead move
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:57 pm
NYPD from Bay Ridge says:
Poly has done quite a job of slandering the military, but I havent seen anyone mention how they're slandering the NYPD yet. This mystery prostitution and drug dealing that theyre claiming "can't be contained by police." Why haven't we heard anything from the neighbors? I'm curious too from another article that mentions sex on top of a car in the area--why are we to assume that's evidence of prostitution? Ask any neighbor in teh area, and they all have tales about Poly student shenanigans in the area--nothing else.
Nov. 10, 2011, 2:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am glad that this was defeated. However, those on Streetsblog and TA will probably be going stark raving mad that they lost on this one. I wouldn't be surprised that if there was any prostitution, they probably dressed as them just to claim that. What better way to make the claim by acting it. That community board meeting really humilated them. Once again, the people have won over the few. Power to the people and not to the few!
Nov. 10, 2011, 6:43 pm

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