Stephen Pierson says the environmental study litigation was lined up but activists dropped the ball

Development, baby! Defeated Greenpoint Council candidate says anti-tower lawsuit collapsed after birth of his kid

The Brooklyn Paper
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Anti-development activists in Greenpoint missed a crucial deadline to file a lawsuit that could have halted two big waterfront developments in their tracks after one prominent foe of the projects left the fray to tend to his new baby.

Stephen Pierson, the former Council candidate who announced this summer that he would lead the charge to sue to stop Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street, said the final date passed in mid-November because other activists dropped the ball when he ducked out to take care of his newborn daughter Meha.

“At this point, it is not happening,” said Pierson, the professional-poker-player-turned-literary-magazine-publisher who lost to incumbent Steve Levin in September’s Democratic primary race for the 33rd District Council seat. Pierson was already dad to one daughter when his second entered the world this fall.

The lawsuit would have sought to force the city to do a new environmental study for the waterfront area where the Newtown Creek meets the East River and where the two developments are slated to rise, bringing a total of 6,200 apartments in 12 towers. The study the developers relied on for their zoning variance bids is eight years old, but the point is probably moot because, in addition to the lawsuit window closing, the Council green-lighted both developments in December.

Pierson laments that he left his fellow activists with everything they needed to sue, introducing them to an attorney and outlining the steps, but no one followed through.

“I left the ball in their court,” he said.

The problem was not lack of interest, it was lack of funds, say Pierson’s comrades.

“It came down to money,” said activist Colin Miles, who is also a founder of the anti-Domino Sugar factory development group Save Domino. “It cost a lot of money to hire a lawyer and we did not have it.”

Pierson said the fact that he lost the Council race and that he lives in Brooklyn Heights, not Greenpoint, also played into the decision to make the handoff.

“It’s still an issue I care about,” said Pierson. “But it did not seem prudent for me to be the face of this.”

Miles said his anti-development cohort in Greenpoint will continue brainstorming ways to turn back the waterfront tower town.

“We have got to do something,” he said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jon from Greenpoint says:
Where the F--- was Levin on this? he's our council rep and he lives in Greenpoint.

Oh right, in the Hasidim because that's his voting bloc?!
Dec. 30, 2013, 8:35 am
The Chooch from the Bohemian Magic Show says:
Levin supports this project, as well he should, that's "where Levin was." No surprise that the ball was dropped. It's not welfare. It's not a handout. You want something, you have to do more than yell and jump up and down.
Dec. 30, 2013, 11:58 am
Sam from Greenpoint says:
There really was no feasible Court challenge here. Pierson doesn't understand that and that isn't surprising. There are other organizations in North Brooklyn that have challenged developments when there were legal avenues (Corp A for example). For candidates it's often easy to make promises about lawsuits and call elected officials names but Levin knows what he can and can't accomplish and in this case worked hard to get the best results.
Dec. 30, 2013, 12:14 pm
The Chooch from there you go says:
Ya, I think Pierson also sees the wisdom in distancing himself from an initiative that is tainted by resentment.
Dec. 30, 2013, 1:37 pm
Edgar from Greenpointless says:
Pierson turned out to be a Mommy first.
I'm glad this neer do well lost.
And "activist" Colin Miles is a real prophet.
"It cost a lot of money to hire a lawyer".
Words of wisdom I'll never forget.
Warm the milk bottle and tuck in the baby while 12 towers get built around me.
Dec. 30, 2013, 4:10 pm
bkmanhatposeur from neubrokeland says:
Well at least they force the developers to include affordable housing.
Dec. 30, 2013, 4:20 pm
Edgar from Greenpointless says:
Affordable housing.
Yeah right. I'm sure the developers will follow through on that. I'll call the cops when developer drops that ball.
The lesson is this. People who organize rallies and protests just make noise.
No follow up with a lawyer adds up to noise that will surround my apartment for next five years.
Dec. 30, 2013, 4:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, a developer can get their way thanks to having friends in high places.
Dec. 30, 2013, 7:26 pm
The candidate from williamsburg says:
Why don't they have the name of the property owner and the developer, if it is George Klien then lets check with the campaign finance board if he or other associates contributed to Levin's campaign.

I'm sure that they did, but if anyone has the names please post them, the Bloomberg administration is very close the Klien and something Park developers.

For the record; Levin opposed Rose Gardens cause they didn't support him.
Dec. 30, 2013, 8:07 pm
Edgar from Greenpointless says:
The developer didn't have to pay anybody off.
It was the opposition to developer that decided to organize playdates instead of contacting a lawyer.

It's real tough to find a lawyer in New York.

With Colin Miles leading the opposition the developers have a free ride.

BTW Colin. Did a hell'uva job on Domino project.
Dec. 30, 2013, 10:56 pm
Jason from Red Hook says:
What does Mr Miles do for a living when hes not rolling over for developers?
Dec. 31, 2013, 12:24 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Shazoom. Poof. Nothing like a little storefront magic show to spruce up the neighborhood.
Dec. 31, 2013, 8:41 am
BJ from Abandoned williamsburg says:
Shut up, Ethan. And please don't use the word tainted. Get it? Taint.
Dec. 31, 2013, 2:09 pm
The Chooch from There you go Again says:
I stand corrected.
Bottom line is your all a pack of wanna bee activists who think developers will run and hide because you wave a hand made sign.
The developers pray that you losers stick around.
You got steamrolled on two projects, but the punctuation on your picket signs was correct.
Dec. 31, 2013, 5:07 pm

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