Antonio Reynoso is looking at how to freeze vertical development at ground zero for gentrification

Bushwick councilman to developers: Keep it down!

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Bushwick will not reach the heights developers hope it will, if one freshman councilman gets his way.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg) said shortly after taking office that he would make fighting gentrification top priority — and it appears he meant it. The new politician on the block is working on a proposal to rezone parts of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood to make it harder to build massive towers.

“I intend on implementing the rezoning as a means to preserve the character of the neighborho­od,” said Reynoso.

The councilman said he believes special, low-zoned areas could help keep the neighborhood from suffering from the same kind of dramatic gentrification that has gripped Williamsburg in recent years.

His district contains the sixth- and 25th-fastest gentrifying zip codes in the nation, according to census data (two others in the top 25 are in neighboring Bedford-Stuyvesant). The average Bushwick two-bedroom now rents for $2,161, up nearly $500 from last year, the highest increase of any Brooklyn neighborhood, according to real estate industry data.

For now, Reynoso is only floating ideas about the so-called “down-zoning.” He intends to meet with public officials, as well as engineers and local organizations to craft a proposal to bring before the Council, he said.

Other neighborhoods, such as Boerum Hill, Bay Ridge, and Dyker Heights, have resorted to upward-building freezes in the past decade to keep out large developments.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Maybe he should draft a proposal to upzone Williamsburg or the East Village if he's serious about stopping gentrification in Bushwick. Downzoning Bushwick is just going to guarantee that 2 people with jobs living as roommates can outbid a mom and her kid for a 2 BR apartment.
Feb. 10, 2014, 6:59 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
That's a good one. Stop gentrification by stopping new housing. Can't be done. Bushwick is toast no matter how you cut it. The beat you can do is make more toast.
Feb. 10, 2014, 7:40 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Make that gluten-free toast, from a sprouted locally sourced artisanal bakery. With a $12 egg. Alakazaam!
Feb. 10, 2014, 7:50 am
bkmanhatman from nubrooklyn says:
Yes you can't stop developement, but the couniclman, if he plays his cards right, can steer the direction or have an influence on what gets built.
There could be more additional housing units built at oppose to some glass tower fitting for only Bloomberg's croonies.
Feb. 10, 2014, 8:41 am
Barb from Bklyn Heights says:
How can one do that if neighborhhod is not landmarked?
Feb. 10, 2014, 10:12 am
diehipster from Still-normal South Brooklyn says:
LOVE IT! Love when home-grown Brooklynites turn politician and rise up against the hipster machine to protect their neighborhoods. L O V E IT!!!!!

Looks like a lot of beards will be turning grey, trust funds will be drying up and meaningless artwork will be collecting lots and lots and lots of dust before they can chase out the "icky and scary" people of color.

Feb. 10, 2014, 10:34 am
T-Bone from DoBro says:
ha hahahahah
Feb. 10, 2014, 10:41 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Hipster, nothing Reynoso is proposing does even a LITTLE bit to stop single people with jobs in their 20s from choosing to live together as roommates and outbidding the previous renters for apartments.

Probably the strongest indictment yet of Reynoso's plan is its support from this fool.
Feb. 10, 2014, 10:43 am
T-Bone from DoBro says:
This kind of down zoning has worked well to keep prices low in places like the West Village.

I used to be worried about all of these anti-development panderers. But, then I remembered that I own my place.

Thanks, Antonio!
Feb. 10, 2014, 10:44 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
T-Bone, down-zoning has worked to keep prices low in the West Village? Are you kidding? You talking about the West Village on this planet?

Get it from the Chooch for free. There is nothing you can do to stop gentrification in Bushwick. You can stop condominium towers, and that will drive prices up on existing housing stock.

Or you can build towers and thereby alleviate some of the pressure on the existing stock, as well as drive a new service economy in the neighborhood that will provide local jobs.

Shazaam baby. Hipsters are remaking Brooklyn. It's a done deal, you can't fight it. But you can work with it.
Feb. 10, 2014, 12:34 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
I think T-Bone was being sarcastic.

Look what down zoning has done for San Fransisco!!

All these dopes are wasting their time. Money always wins.

But what's with this community's elected leaders? They are this petty and short sighted? This is the extent of their vision?
Feb. 10, 2014, 12:39 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
It's the old Chinese finger puzzle, the harder you try to get out of gentrification, the tighter it grips you. Keep the neighborhood trashy, you'll get trashy gentrification. Keep it industrial, you'll get industrial gentrification. At least with new residential housing you'll get what you actually need, which is more residential housing.
Feb. 10, 2014, 1:03 pm
Poodlecannon from East Williamsburg Industrial Park says:
How about only allowing affordable housing units to be built. Sponsoring the formation of nonprofit development corporations to build affordable housing in the area, and sell or rent apartments at cost. It has been done here before. Check out the low-rise houses all over Bushwick. The occupants applied to, and received (by lottery I imagine) affordable housing. For all the negatives around Vito Lopez, he spearheaded many affordable developments, and quite a bit of senior housing as well.
Feb. 10, 2014, 1:06 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Hipsters arent the problem, its the greedy developers and foreign hedgefund managers looking for REITS.
I hate to say this, but build a few public housing for every glass tower thats built. You'll get your econmic diversity.
Feb. 10, 2014, 1:08 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
The truth is, there is no problem.

99% of public servants in this country would take Councilman Reynoso's 'problem' in a NY minute.

There is a fundamental change going on in this country in terms of how people want to live. And it has nothing to do with Bloomberg, hipsters, zoning or anything else. It's the same story in San Fransisco, DC etc. It's not something you can legislate around. People want to live in cities again. Demand has risen. Prices are going to go up. It's inevitable.
Feb. 10, 2014, 1:22 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
For all his foibles, Vito established a formidable housing empire in NYC. This is true. And one of his legacies is the Loft Law, which Reyna and Velasquez oppose and would like to dismantle.

But okay, Poodlecannon, let's just pretend for a minute that we could create housing and sell it "at cost." To whom, and by what criteria? To Puerto Ricans only? No beardos need apply?

The problem here is that the Latino caucus is getting territorial about Bushwick, as if there were a special Latino right to the neighborhood. This is delusional, it doesn't exist. You can't stop people from coming to Bushwick and upping the game.

When Reynoso talks about defending "the character if the neighborhood" he's using code for Latino Bushwick. And it's nonsensical. Artists, yuppies, hipsters, white people, and the high rent that comes with them, are also part of the character of the neighborhood.
Feb. 10, 2014, 1:48 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
Ha, yeah, this was my favorite part:

“I intend on implementing the rezoning as a means to preserve the character of the neighborhood,”

You have to be kidding. If anything, he should be striving to go 180° from the neighborhood's culture of the last 40 years or so.

Shame on these politicians. They're selling lowered expectations and misplaced hope to stupid people.
Feb. 10, 2014, 2:16 pm
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
“I intend on implementing the rezoning as a means to preserve the character of the neighborhood,”


"I intend to do whatever I can to stop young upper middle class working professionals from gentrifying this neighborhood by any means I can."

What a joke. However, this is exactly the sort of behavior that one would expect from some loudmouth who used to be a "Community Organizer for ACORN". I guess pandering to the anti-gentrification efforts is a sure-fire way to get elected. One can only hope that anti-progress / anti-business politicians like this only last one term.
Feb. 10, 2014, 5:31 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
"I intend to do whatever I can to stop young upper middle class working professionals from gentrifying this neighborhood by any means I can."


"I'm going to do absolutely nothing other than placate stupid people by paying lip service to what they want to hear."

Stay the course Councilman Reynoso. Maybe you can bring your people another 40 years of blight.
Feb. 10, 2014, 6:39 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Indeed, the character of the neighborhood is one of hipsters, artists, and yuppies. That IS the character of Bushwick, and that's the character you want to preserve.
Feb. 10, 2014, 6:49 pm
flipoutNyc from ridgewood says:
Reynoso is still young and naive. who would want to downzone the getting hotter neighborhood. if people want to move in the neighborhood, there is nothing can stop the price from going up. It's all about supply and demand.
Feb. 10, 2014, 10:58 pm
frank from south willy says:
What a joke !! another politician talking —— !! lets keep the area Latino and ghetto ....we cant stand this white people coming in and actually making this area a desirable place to live , raise a family and start a business and hire people and provide jobs !!
Lets go back to 1980 willy and bushwick ...drugs , murder , poverty , hookers .........great paln from some jackass 28 year old politition
Feb. 10, 2014, 11:46 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
This councilman's goals stink of racism, and are at the very least an artificial attempt to arbitrarily exclude people from a neighborhood simply because he doesn't like them. Neighborhoods are not time capsules, they change all the time. Intentionally trying to keep people from moving to a particular place is prejudiced, and exclusionary.
Change is difficult, but Brooklyn is a burough that changes all the time. I furthermore only see this as a gift to present landlords, who will benefit the most from owning property in a zone where development is randomly banned. Being that Bushwick is already a hipster neighborhood, and has been for years, what does he think will be the practical result of this? I am also suprized that he has not recieved more blow-back for racial undertones of his statements.
Feb. 11, 2014, 3:11 am
das from Bushwick says:
I cannot believe the pro-hipster, anti-Latino paranoia and ignorance in so many of these comments. It's unbelievable.

What's wrong with a politically-involved citizen showing sensitivity to the architectural character of a neighborhood before it becomes prey to high-tower developers that care NOTHING about the neighborhood's landscape and before it becomes a Williamsburg-like monstrosity?

Why must people immediately assume Reynoso's desire to "preserve the character of a neighborhood" is racist code for only preserving the demographic character of the neighborhood?

One of the things that makes Bushwick so special is that you can walk down a Bushwick street and actually see the sky, man, even the sunset! The sky is not blocked by the humongous, ugly towers that greedy developers put up overnight so they can stuff in as many new renters as quickly as possible. Developers care NOTHING about the long-term homogeneity of the buildings they plant within a neighborhood. Have you seen the horrible, discordant-looking glass towers in Williamsburg?

And if you think Bushwick has no character except that of blight, then you are not noticing the Bushwick that's been around long before that - - the Bushwick that has survived those scars. Walk on Bushwick Avenue, around Maria Hernandez Park, up near the cemetery, around St. Barbara's Church! Bushwick has architectural character worth preserving and it can easily be overwhelmed by massive towers - and THAT is what Reynoso is talking about.
Feb. 11, 2014, 6:03 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Which is poppycock. Reynoso is not even opening the door to a discussion about architecture, preservation, open space, development. He's looking for a kibbosh on "gentrification." It's all political, loaded with cultural innuendo, packed with generalizations and full of rank nostalgia. You'd think Bushwick were a friggin' rain forest the way he's going on here. It is a very reactionary stance by the new city councilman, and the Chooch thinks we need to recognize this.
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:01 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I don't think Reynoso is particularly racially motivated by this. I think he sincerely wants to try to protect the poor and vulnerable people of his district and he sincerely believes that downzoning would work.

It's not like other people don't hold that same very bad idea.

If he were actually anti-white, anti-hipster, anti-change, whatever, he wouldn't be such a strong supporter of bike lanes. (I know bike lanes benefit people of all races and especially benefit people with lower incomes who don't have cars.. but if he were motivated by a cultural animosity, he'd have policies more in line with BrooklynPaper's own DieHipster than the policies he does.)
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:08 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Ha! Reynoso has just been endorsed by diehipster. Got mud on his face. Reynoso's campaign promise was to make "fighting gentrification top priority." It is an absurd pander for votes. But okay, so now let's "fight gentrification." Let's preserve Bushwick more or less as it is. Funky, ex-industrial, a stronghold for the poor and the working class. And that, you are telling the Chooch, is going to keep the Eurotrash out of Bushwick?
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:50 am
Eric from East Village says:
What a complete idiot. Gentrification cannot be stopped in Bushwick. As soon as Jose and Maria's lease is up in any house that contains less than five unit, Jose and Maria are out, the rent doubles, and Steve, Bill and Michael move in.

High-rises on main roads near subway lines should be encouraged, just like 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. And in exchange for the upzoning, the buildings have to be 80/20.
Feb. 11, 2014, 8:04 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I choose to believe him when he says he wants to fight gentrification.

Here is a short list of things that do not fight gentrification in a desirable place to live:
1. Restricting density.

Here is a longer list of things that do work:
1. Salt mines
2. Nuclear waste
3. pee
4. close the schools
5. a police promise to not investigate crimes
6. shutter the parks
7. don't plow roads
8. hookers, probably
9. build enough housing
Feb. 11, 2014, 8:05 am
bkmanhatposeur from nubruklyn says:
This is paranoia. At the rate this going the hipster and artist and perhaps barely the Yuppie white & asians could be priced out of Bushwick.
I dont think the counselman is pro thuggery and crime.
At the end of the day he just wants the latinos who lvie there currently to be able to stay there. Sure some will and some will be forced to move.
But no one wants a warzone ghetto.
Feb. 11, 2014, 8:35 am
FlipoutNYC from Ridgewood says:
Here should be the Reynoso's list on fighting gentrification.

1. Tell people to stop standing around at the corners waiting to get stopped and frisked
2. Tell people to stop robbing others.
3. Tell people to stay in school and get a real job instead of dealing drugs
4. Tell people to be educated so they can get a better life instead of staying on welfare forever.
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:25 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's so interesting how some feel that saving a neighborhood is about race when it's really not. I think it has more to do with those on lower incomes, which can be of any race, who are on the fear of being priced out. The comment made by das is spot on and absolutely right. BTW, those living there now represent generations of those who were willing to live there when nobody else wanted to at that time. Let's not forget that crime always comes and goes, and there are survivors to that. Unfortunately, these days, any neighborhoods that still have residents or business owners paying below market rate, is considered blight even if there isn't any actual evidence of that. In other words, today's blight is just an area that doesn't utilize full zoning requirements even though they aren't mandatory.
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:38 pm
Knickerbocker from Bushwick says:
DAS, you are so wrong.

Increasing density, even building glass towers above current zoning restrictions, would be far more beneficial to the Bushwick community than restricting density in the name of maintaining character (or "preventing" gentrification).

Your exaggeration about not seeing the sky is a silly one, purely rhetorical. I for one welcome dense transit oriented development. And I say this as an educated, PUERTO RICAN, Bushwick native.

Personally, I welcome increased diversity to the community. Rather than restricting supply, the community board should offer incentives (like increased height) to developers that include "affordable" housing within their developments.
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:43 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Here here Knickerbocker. What I'd like to know is, Where are the educated, rational Bushwick Latinos in public office?

Let's look at a neighborhood wirh enforced low-density and severe restrictions on development - the historical district of Park Slope. No gentrification there at all!
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:34 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I would just like to call attention to the fact that, unlike what Tal asserts, Bushwick has not been a rough neighborhood for generations. in fact, speaking of the gentrification of Bushwick as a radical change is incredibly short-sighted.
Up until the 1960's, Bushwick was a fairly affluent neighborhood. It was also (according to wikipedia) 90% white. Changes in the 1970's turned a lovely neighborhood into a crime-ridden ghetto. luckily, it seems like Bushwick's bad years are just a blip in history. Bushwick was a neighborhood of gentry. The question of whether development should be allowed or not is a seperate one. Actively opposing so-called "Gentrification" is prejudiced, exclusionary, impossible to achieve, and out of line with the history of the neighborhood. If this was presented as simply an opposition to development, with the intent of creating a park slope/west village like historic zone, that's one thing. Using development as a way to control what people you will allow into your neighborhood is unfair/illegal/wrong. I can only assume he's trying to bait votes from people who are unaccepting of others, and feel that only those like themselves should have the privillage of renting an apartment.
Feb. 12, 2014, 5:40 am
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Ditto Michael. The rubric against "transplants" and "gentrifiers" is that of a reactionary fringe that ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow. Reynoso with his "fight gentrification" sound bite risks pandering to the fringe and alienating himself from the mainstream. The answer to the housing shortage is new residential development of all classes, and lots of it. Steve Levin gets this, and he's not afraid to blow off the vociferous looney fringe in his own district to achieve this. Antonio should take a page from Steve's book.
Feb. 12, 2014, 3:24 pm
TOM from MesoBrooklyn says:
Population is rising in NYC and in Brooklyn. They will need housing that doesn't exist now. CPC will only allow 'low-zones' with a trade-off of up-zones. It's a no-brainer. Just look at all the Bloomberg zoning.
Of course, Reynoso might be made an offer he don't refuse. With BdB weak-kneed about the UES marine transfer station because ACORN veterans are moving against it, maybe it will pop up in Newtown Creek along the truck traffic and with the low-zoning. Of course no one will want to buy into Bushwick then.
Feb. 12, 2014, 9:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
One day this could be one of your neighborhood that will end up with gentrification. I'm sure most of you wouldn't like to hear online comments sounding apathetic towards you as you towards others, so don't do this to them. As for the residents living in Bushwick now, some of them were survivors of the 1977 blackout, and now some of you act as thanks but no thanks to them as if they are expendable. BTW, not everyone who is living there was part of a gang, just some of them were, but I can't understand why they are lumped together as if they are all in the same.
Feb. 13, 2014, 6:24 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
There are a lot of things you don't understand, Tal. We ARE "lumped together" in groups, and a few bad apples can spoil the prospects of an entire group. The community whose good outweighs its bad is the community that survives. The community that gets dragged down by its bad apples is the community that gets displaced. That's tough on the good, hardworking people in a failed community. In fact it's a tragedy. But there you go. There are other groups that survive, and they are the ones that gentrify neighborhoods, reap the rewards, and claim Brooklyn as their own. Guten Shabbas, dude. And Shazzam!
Feb. 13, 2014, 9:11 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
This debate is so utterly simple.

Supply and demand:

Higher demand slowing supply = rising rents. You have it all wrong Reynoso.
Feb. 15, 2014, 7:23 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
This is America. If you're worried about your rising rents, make more money. Look for your handouts elsewhere...socialist.
Feb. 18, 2014, 7:28 pm

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