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Dumb-no! New towers will ruin nabe’s view of Empire State Building framed by Manhattan Bridge, locals say

Blockade: The four towers likely to rise along the East River in Manhattan.
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It’s a view about to be killed!

A quartet of towers poised to rise across the river from Dumbo in Manhattan will block Washington Street’s iconic view of the Empire State Building framed by the Manhattan Bridge, locals fear.

“This would be a travesty,” said Kevin McAuley, who lives in the neighborhood. “It’ll go up and then it’s irreversible — people don’t think through the consequenc­es.”

A foursome of builders wants to erect the 80-, 69-, 63-, and 62-story high-rises in the outer borough on the bank of the East River in a massive development project that needs approval from the City Planning Commission, but isn’t required to formally go before the community or Council as part of the lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Manhattanites have protested the project for months, charging the towers would kick out long-term residents, speed up gentrification, and wreak havoc in the neighborhood.

But locals argue the development’s biggest casualty will be felt in Dumbo, where its 69- and 62-story towers that together recall a U-shape structure will likely block the view of the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper from the corner of Washington and Water streets, according to a bigwig from cultural-advocacy group the Municipal Art Society, who referenced internal renderings the group created that superimposes the proposed high-rises over the current skyline, showing how they may block the view.

“The sort of U-shaped development would be seen from the spot squarely behind the bridge,” said Tara Kelly. “Based on that model, it would be pretty much in that line with the Empire State Building.”

The historic, Belgian block street is known for attracting newlyweds and other visitors from around the city and world who want to photograph special moments with the backdrop of the Empire State Building through the Manhattan Bridge’s arched supports — and it would be a shame for the city to destroy that view, according to a 50-year Washington Street resident.

“It’s become a tourist attraction like the Colosseum, people come from all over the world and stand there and take pictures,” said Richard Mauro. “It’s embedded in my DNA.”

How future developments affect such picturesque streets or so-called “view sheds” is an issue that does not get enough attention from officials as projects snake their way through various approval processes, but vistas are as important to protect as physical buildings or neighborhoods, according to the head honcho of private preservationist group the Historic Districts Council.

And the city should think twice before green-lighting the massive Manhattan development — especially because the only other protected view of the Manhattan skyline in Kings County, from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, may also change forever if officials move forward with plans to destroy and rebuild the walkway as part of their looming repairs to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway’s triple cantilever, the preservationist said.

“The one place in New York City where the views are protected is from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which they are now trying to destroy. We don’t have protected views,” said Simeon Bankoff. “Take a picture, it lasts longer.”

There are many traits that make Dumbo special — including its beloved Belgian blocks, which the city is controversially restoring and replacing in order to make neighborhood streets more accessible — but few provide as singular a sense of place as the Washington Street view, Bankoff said.

“The framing of the views of the waterfront, underneath the Manhattan Bridge particularly, and down the street, really do add to the district,” he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 8:45 am, November 13, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
No! Nooooooooo! Also that would make the F train even more impossible to take than it is now.
Nov. 13, 9:07 am
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
This is all conjecture, so the premise this is hung from is dubious at best. . In NYC, there is no guarantee your view will still be there in future years.
Nov. 13, 9:36 am
steve from clinton hill says:
Real estate developers with their bribes to De Blasio are ruining the neigborhood.
Nov. 13, 10:30 am
verajay from Cobble hill says:
Omg!! Enough already!!! I was upset when they built metrotech and blocked my view of the navy yard,Williamsburg bridge,then built towers blocking my view of Chrysler building,and the HOWARD sign,. I was really sad about the Chrysler bldg,because at night I loved the golden lights I loved to watch!😔. Although I live in the projects on Hoyt st,from my view on my floor,I use to see beautiful views! Now it's sad!!!
Nov. 13, 10:30 am
verajay from Cobble hill says:
Steve from Cobble Hill,I agree! The mayor messed up LICH. I was furious like the Carroll Gardens residents. And Cuomo too don't get a pass! Now the promenade gonna get messed up!😡 there are other boroughs besides Brooklyn,leave us ALONE!!!
Nov. 13, 10:38 am
Tyler from pps says:
And the building of the Chrysler Building and the Manhattan bridge ruined the views of lots of people (and leveled their homes for construction). In other words... Boo hoo.
Nov. 13, 10:50 am
Sorry from NYC says:
But that's the way it is. Welcome to NYC!
Nov. 13, 11:50 am
Khalid from Crown Heights says:
So all the elites now living in DUMBO won't get the view they want from their $3 million terrace. Now they know tragedy.
Nov. 13, 2:25 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
The locals are kinda right if they're saying the biggest loss will be the view. The anti-housing activists on the Manhattan side have completely made up reasons.
Nov. 13, 3:32 pm
Haley from Dumbo says:
Just take a picture - it will last longer !!
Nov. 13, 10:02 pm
Sorry from NYC says:
No pity here. Just think about all the new towers you'll be able to see. And if you like the old one, the new ones will be old one day too. : )
Nov. 14, 3:27 pm
Mathemetician from Brooklyn says:
Dear Mike, what is your goal population for the city? 10 million,15 million,20 million? How many people crammed in will be enough for you?
Nov. 16, 10:29 am
AC from Upper West Side says:
I was adamant about being against 1 Manhattan Square, but I support these structures for the reason that all four have something that 1 Manhattan Square doesn't: Affordable housing. And all three buildings have 25% affordable housing. I keep saying this: It's about what goes in, not what goes up. Affordable housing access far outweighs the loss of view. And to say that a view of the Empire State Building trumps 694 affordable homes is a little worrying and upsetting. "Sorry! We like being able to see the Empire State Building all the time, and that is more important than housing for you." Say that to yourself, and you will hear how wrong that sounds. And someone said that the F train would be crippled. Not their concern. I know, the F train is terrible, but that is the concern of the MTA, not the developers. If this were more buildings to the likes of 1MS, then we could have an argument, but they are closer to the liking of 80 Flatbush with the large amounts of affordable housing. I agree, Deblasio and Cuomo are terrible, but not with this. Going through with these projects would be the right move. And quite frankly, I would absolutely love to see these buildings go up in my neighborhood.
Nov. 16, 8:08 pm
AC from Upper West Side says:
It's a little disconcerting that people on this thread cherish views over housing. Clearly, these buildings do a public service by supplying almost 700 affordable apartments, and if those 700 affordable apartments aren't worth more than a view, then I'm scared. Honestly. The Upper-Middle Class residents in that area will have to make sacrifices. If one thinks that everything is going to stay as is just because they deem it so, without looking at the larger picture, then they are misinformed and narcissistic at best, malignant at worst. For those upper-middle-class Brooklynites that seem to be anti-development at every turn, and opposed structures like these and 80 Flatbush, and 570 Fulton, there's a crippling housing crisis going on, and there's not enough affordable housing to go around, and the best method to serve as a solution is also the same method you're trying to stifle. So stop. For the good of your neighborhoods, boroughs, and the city as a whole. You are being really narcissistic, and it's more than annoying at this point. It's intrusive and dangerous.
Nov. 21, 8:12 pm

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