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More Mayor Giuliani and Gardens...

  • Subject: [cg] More Mayor Giuliani and Gardens...
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 15:07:22 -0400

Friends,

This is a key story from From: nosc@treebranch.com

U r b a n   O u t d o o r s          
               
No. 73 - August 10, 2001 - 
Gardens, Greenways and 1% for Parks -
Visit www.treebranch.com

 MAYOR SCOLDED AGAIN IN STATE COURT
PETITIONS SUBMITTED FOR GARDEN REFERENDUM
Responding to criticism that the NYS Attorney General's (AG) office 
was holding up housing construction, lawyers for the State told Judge 
Richard Huttner that they had agreements with seven  threatened 
community gardens that would allow construction to begin on the 
gardens in exchange for substitute gardening sites. The Mayor's 
lawyers objected on the grounds that the AG is not authorized to 
negotiate on behalf of the City. Judge Huttner, frustrated by the 
City's unwillingness to work out an amicable settlement, had no 
choice but to allow the present stalemate to stand, protecting all 
gardens including those that were willing to trade space, until the 
next court date.

Adam's commentary:

This is a bummer because in the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan all
of the elected officials, the community board, neighborhood residents,
Encore Center (a senior low income housing group) and community gardeners
have all agreed to a garden merger. 

In this housing and gardens agreement,  Oasis I garden will be bulldozed and
absorbed into the senior center area,  Oasis II garden will be enlarged by
the demolition of one, possibly two derelict buildings next to it to create
more garden space. 

It gets better: an additional garden is to be created on another section of
the Clinton Urban Renwal Area about  a block away ( to create something know
in NYC as "air rights" for an adjacent apartment house, permitting it extra
stories beyond the existing zoning.) This is to be a permanent shade garden.

Creating this kind of neighborhood consensus, aligning all of the elements
is a team sport.I have been involved in this process as a community
gardener, community board member and campaign worker for one of the elected
officials involved in this deal. This is why I say:

"Community Gardening is 50% gardening and 100% political."

Mayor Giuliani is holding this deal up, the "stainless steel domino" as it
were, but his administration is over in January 2002.

To be fair, I have to give the mayor credit for a couple  of recent
pro-parks moves:

1) He freed 15 million dollars for the Chelsea Recreation Center ( a project
that was held up for close to 25 years) which will serve a midtown
population adjacent to a housing project.

2) At a groundbreaking ceremony for a 11/2-acre parking lot-to-parkland
construction project in the Brooklyn shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, Mayor
Giuliani made a surprise announcement. He stated his intention to enlarge
Brooklyn Bridge Park by tearing down the city-owned building that is
adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge tower. The greening of this area will open a
vista to the bridge and to a presently hard-to-find access point to Fulton
Ferry State Park.

However, Mayor Giuliani has not "gotten it" on community gardens. I truly
believe that it has been as much the fault of our NYC garden community to
get through to him (past the phalanx of the real estate industry) as it has
been the mayor's storied intransigence.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

      




-----Original Message-----
From: urbanoutdoors@treebranch.com [mailto:urbanoutdoors@treebranch.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 3:09 PM
To: urbanoutdoors@treebranch.com
Subject: Urban Outdoors: urban outdoors #73


From: nosc@treebranch.com

U r b a n   O u t d o o r s          
               
No. 73 - August 10, 2001 - 
Gardens, Greenways and 1% for Parks -
Visit www.treebranch.com

SURPRISE NEW ACQUISITION FOR B-BRIDGE PARK
At a groundbreaking ceremony for a 11/2-acre parking lot-to-parkland 
construction project in the Brooklyn shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, 
Mayor Giuliani made a surprise announcement. He stated his intention 
to enlarge Brooklyn Bridge Park by tearing down the city-owned 
building that is adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge tower. The greening 
of this area will open a vista to the bridge and to a presently 
hard-to-find access point to Fulton Ferry State Park. 

MAYOR SCOLDED AGAIN IN STATE COURT
PETITIONS SUBMITTED FOR GARDEN REFERENDUM
Responding to criticism that the NYS Attorney General's (AG) office 
was holding up housing construction, lawyers for the State told Judge 
Richard Huttner that they had agreements with seven  threatened 
community gardens that would allow construction to begin on the 
gardens in exchange for substitute gardening sites. The Mayor's 
lawyers objected on the grounds that the AG is not authorized to 
negotiate on behalf of the City. Judge Huttner, frustrated by the 
City's unwillingness to work out an amicable settlement, had no 
choice but to allow the present stalemate to stand, protecting all 
gardens including those that were willing to trade space, until the 
next court date.

While the twenty thousand signatures collected by the More Gardens 
Coalition fell short of enough to force a ballot initiative on 
community garden preservation, the continued activism may have 
stimulated renewed interest in the Carrion/ Fisher legislation that 
is sitting in Council committee. At a Brooklyn Borough President 
candidates forum, to the cheers of the assembled crowd, Councilman 
Fisher vowed to move the legislation before his term of office ends. 
All of the Democratic candidates at the forum expressed strong 
support for the community gardeners.         

GOVERNORS ISLAND INVASION PLANNED
Noting a hardening attitude by the new administration in Washington 
toward park development on Governors Island, a citizens group is 
planning a flotilla and flag planting on the island. "Our goal is to 
land a contingent on the Island to RECLAIM it for the State and the 
public." notes an e-mail sent to NOSC in late July.  The flotilla 
would include power, sail and hand boats in a demonstration 
reflecting determination to save Governors Island from sale to the 
highest bidder. Although the Island has been federally occupied since 
the 1800's the deed to the property was transferred from the state to 
the federal government for $1 in 1958. The event, scheduled for 
September 16th is being sponsored by a consortium of civic groups 
assembled under the name "Governors Island Flotilla." To enlist, help 
or for information, visit the Flotilla Website: 
www.waterwire.net/govislandflotilla. 

QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
While world affairs are important, and NYC is home to many people 
from many places, it must seem odd to outsiders that "foreign policy" 
plays so large a role in Mayoral and even Council politics. City 
government has little influence on the affairs of other nations or 
even on Washington's direction. Our national government's lack of 
concern about global warming will even make such practical projects 
as the Second Avenue Subway and harbor rail tunnels harder to 
achieve, but little has been said thus far in this election about how 
to move people or goods more efficiently without huge capital 
projects. Sometimes our elected officials seem to define quality of 
life as a summer in the Hamptons. To help get folks running for 
office off the dime, we offer the following questions for candidates:

PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACES
Do you use the City's parks and public spaces? If so which ones and 
how?
What is your opinion about how they are managed and maintained?
In your opinion, what are the most important problems facing NYC 
Parks and Recreation?  What solutions would you propose?
How has your current occupation or civic involvement prepared you to 
make decisions about our parks and public spaces?
Do you support the goals of the Parks2001 campaign?

NATURAL AREAS AND CITY GREENING
Do you visit NYC natural areas? Which ones and for what purposes?
Are you pleased by conditions that you see?
Do you have opinions about tree care and greening initiatives in the 
City?
Do you support community garden preservation? What would you do to 
help revive gardening in public spaces?

TRANSPORTATION
Are you an urban hiker or walker? Do you ride a bicycle? Have you 
been to any of NYC's urban greenways?
Would you work to see that pedestrian safety is as high a priority at 
the City's DOT as motorist safety? How would you move the busses 
through our over clogged streets faster? What specific changes in 
street infrastructure would you work for to improve public health and 
quality of life?
Are you aware that greenway trails are eligible for Federal 
Transportation Funds? Would you work with local transportation 
officials to capture additional funds for the City's planned 
bikeway/walkway expansion?

CLEAN AIR AND WATER, QUALITY OF LIFE:
How would you work to further clean NYC's air?
How would you work for cleaner waterways? 
Where do you see additional opportunities for public access to the 
waterfront and waterways?
How would you work for a quieter city?
What would you do to control illegal and obtrusive outdoor 
advertising?  

MORE WATERFRONT GREENWAYS
The Hudson River Greenway is changing our lives. We are celebrating 
the completion of the continuous bike/pedestrian trail on the Hudson 
River by reporting on greenway progress around the city. This 
magnificent trail is the most important pedestrian improvement in our 
city since WW2. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, (perhaps 
millions) have voted with their feet to extend the system around the 
city to relieve some of its crowding. The good news is that 
additional greenway work is being done and with continuing support 
from friends in government a 350-mile system of trails will be part 
of our contribution to city living for generations to come. 

WILL SUCCESS SPOIL THE HUDSON GREENWAY
Nationally, affluent residential areas have often been resistant to 
the ideas of interconnectedness and multi-use, and the success of the 
Hudson River Greenway is bringing about new challenges.
In Battery Park City, residents have been calling for the banning of 
bicycles on "their" section of the trail. While the paths through the 
new development are admittedly over-crowded, and not all cyclists, 
skaters, or pedestrians interact safely, enforced segregation of user 
groups will make the spaces less vital. In Battery Park City, help is 
on the way in the form of a new inland trail that will dissipate the 
crowds and to some degree self-segregate the users. Additional 
decentralization will occur when trails to Red Hook in Brooklyn and 
on Staten Island are built, directing people to new adventures. In 
the meantime, making some safe users into outlaws in the name of 
making trails safe is less fair than selective enforcement against 
transgressors. 
    
THE TRAIL IS IN PLACE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PARK
Pier 94 is at 54th Street, adjacent to a part of Hudson River Park 
identified as Clinton Cove Park (The pier was kept out of the Park at 
the City's insistence; but had originally been in it). As of now, the 
Clinton Cove Park is only 4 acres.  If the head house on Pier 94 were 
cut back, it would enlarge the Park to up to 10 acres and insulate it 
more from the commercial operations at the Pier.  The pier is used as 
an exhibition center, and generates a large amount of truck traffic, 
which negatively impacts the small park. Friends of Hudson River Park 
(FHRP) has tried to get the head house cut back and get other public 
space at the end of the pier, but the city has stonewalled and is now 
planning to expand the private space within the pier. "Clinton Cove 
could be a great park. An exhibit center is completely counter to 
that idea and we intend to fight it" Al Butzel of FHRP told us in a 
phone conversation.  In the continuing fight between park use and 
commercial development on the Hudson River, it is sometimes not easy 
being green. To help:212-831-9146

CONNECTING THE DOTS ON STATEN ISLAND
In the shadow of the boardwalk on Staten Island's (SI) east shore 
separate parks with separate path systems have now been connected to 
provide an approximately 3-mile long trail from Gateway National 
Recreation Area's Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field. Fast cyclists are 
separated off this trail with the provision of a striped bikeway on 
Capadano Boulevard. Planning continues on a second trail though a 
once-planned highway corridor that will bring cyclists and walkers to 
the beaches of the Great Kills unit of Gateway. A simple sidewalk 
along a road in Great Kills is crowded with exercise walkers, 
pointing to the need to pay attention to pedestrian infrastructure 
elsewhere on the island and the need to create a more pleasant 
walking environment within the park.     

STATEN ISLAND NORTH SHORE GREENWAY STILL STALLED
An angry editorial in the SI Advance concludes that "health nuts on 
bicycles" have taken over the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). 
The newspaper was complaining about a new bicycle path on Richmond 
Terrace, one of just a few non-hilly through routes on the Island. 
Apparently, two bars and an equipment rental shop complained that the 
new bike path was taking away parking, although two of the three 
establishments have their own parking lots. The stripes were quickly 
erased on those blocks by DOT, which thankfully left the rest of the 
trail alone.

Placing a path on Richmond Terrace was not DOT's idea, nor did it 
have broad support within the community. In fact, the Community Board 
asked that a parallel abandoned rail corridor serve cyclists as a 
greenway, but the Borough President nixed the idea and proposed the 
stripe-on-street instead. The greenway, still unbuilt, would be 
designated a rail-with-trail and could serve as a link in the 
national East Coast Greenway. Richmond Terrace is not the only new 
stripe-on-street on the Island. Behind the new professional ballpark, 
adjacent to the SI ferry dock is a half-mile long parking lot 
driveway up to the Terrace, with narrow "greened" walkways between it 
and the harbor. That road too has been striped, and the lightly 
trafficked facility has been marked with greenway signs even though 
it shares the space with autos. 

Perhaps, with the support of a new Borough President and Council 
Member this roadway in the former rail corridor can serve as a down 
payment on the rail-trail to the Goethals Bridge that would link 
Island attractions with Manhattan's Hudson and East River Greenways 
and please most Staten Islanders as well.       

BRONX SOUNDVIEW GREENWAY
Soundview Park is a former landfill on the north side of the mouth of 
the Bronx River, Aside from ball fields, it has seen few development 
dollars in spite of an award winning park design. Here, as elsewhere 
in the city, federal transportation dollars have changed that and 
have helped put a trail system in place where only desire lines (worn 
trails in the overgrowth) were present. Today the new trail has 
opened sections of the park that were lightly used before. The trail, 
with waterfront views, is used for the usual mix of cycling, skating, 
jogging and walking. On a recent visit with members of the Bronx 
River Working Group, a member of the group pointed to the steep cliff 
(made of covered garbage) between the trail and the river. "Our next 
step has to be figuring out how to get people down to the water. 
Another mental connection has been made between waterfront greenways 
and waterway access.

CORRECTION:
In our May Issue, Urban Outdoors reported that landfills in Jamaica 
Bay will be stabilized with decontaminated dredge. In fact, the 
dredge materials will be contaminated, but deconcentrated with other 
waste. The mixture will be encased in plastic so that it is immobile, 
and covered with soil to a depth that would accommodate 
re-forestation. 

TAKE A WALK, NEW YORK: SUMMER ADVENTURES 
(www.walkny.org or 212-379-8339)
Walks in NYC public spaces, promoting sightseeing as a healthful 
physical activity.
 
Sunday, August 12, 8 AM. Two Bridges: Manhattan and Williamsburg. The 
best skyline views are from the Manhattan Bridge, because the skyline 
is framed by the Brooklyn Bridge. After years of being closed to 
pedestrians, the Manhattan Bridge is finally reopened. To avoid the 
heat of the day, join Roberta Weisbrod for an early Sunday morning 
walk across the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The 
hardier among us will walk back to Brooklyn over the Williamsburg 
Bridge to the historic and "newly in" neighborhood of Williamsburg. 
Meet outside of the York St. station of the F line. Brooklynites may 
wish to take the #B69 bus to last stop (Jay and Sands St.) and walk 
1-2 blocks to York and Jay St.

Saturday, August 18, 9:30 AM. Brooklyn Waterfront Communities: Coney 
Island, Brighton and Manhattan Beaches, Sheepshead Bay. Joe Svehlak 
will lead us on a walk by the sea; lots of New York style variety in 
these communities. Meet outside of the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue 
station of the B, Q (formerly D), F, or N lines. Bring or buy lunch; 
lots of good eats along the way (this is a health walk, so we can't 
say eat at Nathan's). Also bring your bathing suit if you want to 
hang out at the beach after the walk.

Saturday, September 8. Newtown Creek and Greenpoint. Time and other 
details to be determined.

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URBAN OUTDOORS is the monthly newsletter of Neighborhood Open Space 
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