Bushwick Inlet Park: Activists continue to press for greenspace as developer auctions off land

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A promise is a promise, right? The New York Times reports that a group of Brooklynites—both politicos and community leaders alike—staged a camp-out two weekends ago along the East River, lobbying for the construction of a park the city agreed to build 11 years ago. The 28-acre greenspace, named Bushwick Inlet Park, was offered in exchange for community support for a development that would add luxury housing to a traditionally working-class area.

Unfortunately, only a small section of the park—the southern end—was ever developed; the city’s promise was complicated by different landowners’ refusals to sell their individual properties to piece together the park, as well as the necessary cleanup of decades of industrial pollution. According to the Times, the city has already spent $25.8 million on the development of the greenspace, and $198 million on the land. 

Though the city managed to collect most of the land for the project, Citi Storage owner Norm Brodsky still refuses to sell his property, an 11-acre piece in the middle of the location, to the city, according to Bedford + Bowery. (Brodsky has set up an auction for the land; offered $100 million in June, Brodsky remains resolute in his decision not to sell, reportedly hoping for an offer around $325 million.) Meanwhile, Brooklyn residents have set up a petition, imploring Brodsky to let the city buy his land. One commenter wrote "The Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront is already inundated with condo towers and new construction. It's time to give something to the families. Something of value for generations of residents to come." (For more information on the history of the site, check out the Bushwick Inlet Park homepage.)

It’s unclear whether the project will go through as planned, but if there’s one thing that New Yorkers love, it’s greenspace. It ups property value, makes neighborhoods more family-friendly, and provides a community gathering space and a place to exercise. As Katherine Conkling Thomas, a member of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park (a group advocating for the park’s development), put it to the Times, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a neighborhood desperate for greenspace.”