City: Boro Hall bluestone should be taken for granite

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The city is cobbling together a plan to replace the historic-but-crumbling bluestone plaza in front of Borough Hall with sturdier granite blocks.

The Parks Department hopes to roll out the new rocks in a makeover estimated to cost between $8.5 and $9.5 million after years of playing catch-up plugging gaping cracks and crevasses in the bluestone using tinted concrete.

“[We] are looking to use ‘blue mist’ granite, which holds up better than bluestone,” said Parks Department spokesman Philip Abramson.

The proposed move from bluestone — a type of sandstone commonly used in outdoor pavings — to granite — an igneous rock praised for its durability — is a seismic shift for the borough’s the front yard.

Parts of the current paving belong to the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, meaning the changes would require the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The department is still seeking funding for the project, which would give an overhaul to the crumbling pedestrian expanse riddled with so many potholes that it can feel like crossing a minefield.

Fixing those holes — which have caused trip-and-falls and lawsuits — is a top priority, according to Borough President Markowitz, whose previously rock-solid support for bluestone in the plaza has apparently started to erode.

“Whatever material is ultimately used — whether bluestone or an acceptable alternative that is both durable and preserves the historic ambience of Borough Hall — the renovation needs to be done as quickly as possible,” said Markowitz’s spokesman Mark Zustovich. “For far too long, conditions outside Borough Hall have deteriorated — posing a safety issue to pedestrians who use the Plaza and walkways surrounding the building.”

Zustovich did say, however, that bluestone remains the Beep’s preference.

Even neighborhood watchdog Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said she wouldn’t oppose the switch to granite, as long as it’s tasteful.

“I was unaware that the bluestone was going to be changed, but I do agree that the existing sidewalk and plaza is in poor condition,” she said. “I will look forward to hearing what the Landmarks Commission has to say about the proposed granite.”

Subbing out the bluestone for “blue mist” granite is a costly procedure, but repairing all of the cracked stones wouldn’t be cheap, according to one bluestone expert.

“The majority of the bluestone throughout the inspected location is in grave disrepair and in need of replacement,” said Lascell Edwards, a contractor with LaVeta Construction, who estimated plaza-wide repairs would cost about $2.85 million. “The current conditions are in violation of safety standards, which would prove hazardous to the public.”

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:09 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Concrete was good enough for the boardwalk it should be good enough here.
April 1, 2013, 7:59 am
ty from pps says:
Using a more durable/appropriate paving material is probably the most offensive proposal ever... just ask the NIMBYs in Vinegar Hill. This is just another example of a "glaring lack of respect for NY history." Right?

Oh wait, no. It's actually a good idea.
April 1, 2013, 8:50 am
baha from b.r. says:
$3 mill for sidewalk repair? Bah, buy the materials & tools and hire volunteers to do it. Rip off construction contractors...
April 1, 2013, 4:15 pm
Jay from Downtown says:
It is the trucks for the greenmarket and all thos other car for borough hall 'officials' who damge it. Without the traffic, a simple and inexpensive repair and maintenance program shoud suffice.
April 1, 2013, 5:44 pm
Mike Hunt from BH says:
This renovation should be paid for through deductions to the court staff and borough hall staff that used this area as their private parking lot. Having the green market here doesn't help.
April 1, 2013, 8:55 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm glad you guys identified the greenmarket as such a destructive force... before I thought it was a great thing for the city and an excellent/appropriate use of the huge public plaza. But now I know it's just another symptom of urban collapse.

/end sarcasm/

We have DOZENS of inappropriate vehicles driving and parking on the plaza 5 to 7 days per week, but y'all couldn't resist chucking the greenmarket vendors into the list?
April 1, 2013, 9:13 pm
Plastic Pope from Fulton Ferry says:
Spare me the tears for Greenmarket schmucks who pollute more just getting their crap to BK than any "environmental" "benefits" their "organic" whatever produces...

... And YES, their vehicles, in addition to the others, contribute to the too rapid damage of the bluestone.
April 1, 2013, 11:49 pm
Steve from Boerum Hill says:
If it is thick enough to hold truck weight with a good base and installed properly granite, cement, or bluestone will do the job.
April 2, 2013, 9:29 am
Pickov Andropov from Marty's Driveway says:
12 years of Marty's three chauffeurs driving over the sidewalk every day surely couldn't have caused this, right?
April 2, 2013, 10:57 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I am waiting for Tal to blame the cyclists.
April 3, 2013, 5:03 am
Thomas Lawrence from Brooklyn Heights says:
If I'm not mistaken, the correct terminology for the current stone is flagstone, not bluestone. Bluestone is what city curbs are made of. Flag stone is not strong enough to last. The city got ripped off when it got the flag stone job done a few years back.
April 3, 2013, 9:47 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
As long as they allow the cars of the elite and trucks of the paid off interests to drive over a strictly pedestrian area, this —— is going to keep happening.
April 6, 2013, 12:11 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: