The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Inititiave is one of the most inspiring and visionary development projects going in New York City right now. The project is very grassroots. Over ten years ago, three Brooklyn residents, Brian McCormick, Milton Puryear and Meg Fellerath got it in their heads that Brooklyn’s waterfront should have a bike path and linear park just as good as the popular Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan (see the rendering of Columbia Street at right).
When I first met these guys in the Spring of 2002 they were going out on weekends planting tulips and picking up rubbish alongside a BQE off-ramp. The Sunday morning that I ran into them, that was all that they could do to make the Greenway a reality — just get together as a group of volunteers, clean up some trash, and plant flowers. That was it. That was the Greenway. There was no office or federal funding. The Economic Development Corporation wasn’t knocking on their door.
Today, the Greenway Initiative looks from the outside like a healthily-funded and well-oiled machine. Yet, as Brian, Milton and Meg have shown for well over ten years now, the vision will not become reality without strong community advocacy. Here is your chance to participate and make a difference:
The New York City Economic Development Corporation is rezoning piers 7-12, including Columbia Street, which is part of the proposed Greenway route. There is a public meeting this Thursday, October 12th at 6pm at Long Island College Hospital, corner of Hicks St & Atlantic Ave (use the Hicks St entrance & ask security guard to direct you). Greenway supporters need to be there.
It is very important that Greenway supporters tell EDC that the rezoning must be expanded to include the areas recommended by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, and that the open space plan for the west side of Columbia Street should be included as part of the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
More information and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s statement are available here.
EDC’s proposal is available here.
If you can’t make the meeting you can send written comments to:
Ms. Meenakshi Varandani
Assistant Vice President, Planning
New York City Economic Development Corporation
110 William Street, New York, NY 10038