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Wasting Away On Waterfront

From: Adam Honigman


Doing a Press Press Conference: When the e-mail went out from the Manhattan Borough President's office about a rare Sunday press conference on NY City Hall steps, I made sure that I attended. Why? After all, I could have been composting...but with two Borough Presidents, Three NYC Councilpersons, and dozens of waterfront and parks advocates there, I needed to let them know that community gardeners were in the house. As it was on short notice, I wasn't sure if there would be many more gardeners showing, but five gardeners showed  on this sub-freezing morning sh, read the press release, networked with the Waterfront Advocates and said, "I just wanted to tell you that the [fill in the garden] community gardeners are with you," cheered and applauded at the right places during speeches. 

To stay on message, I only identified myself to this journalist as a Member of Manhattan Community Board - it was the waterfront advocates party, after all.

There is one community garden now on Pier 84. Like the lotto, you have to be in it to win it. Maybe we'll get a few more places to make green as well. 

Ever best,
Adam Honigman   


Wasting Away On Waterfront 

City missing out on profit potential of land, pols say

By Christiana Sciaudone

February 10, 2003

The city is wasting prime property by storing road salt and towed cars on the waterfront when it could be building parks or commercial developments, several elected officials said yesterday.

"New York City's waterfront is too precious to waste on impound yards and salt piles," said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the council's waterfronts committee. "The city could better use this land for park space or even turn a [greater] profit by leasing it for commercial use. Either way, New Yorkers would benefit."

Yassky and several other city officials urged the Bloomberg administration to close waterfront impound yards and send towed cars to private lots and garages instead. The city would pay nothing for privatization, he said, and could generate more revenue by leasing the waterfront property.

The tow yards are operated by the city at a cost of $13 million and bring in $19 million in towing revenue, he said.

The cost to car owners would not vary much, he said. Drivers now pay $185 to retrieve their vehicles and $20 a day for storage. Yassky said private garages would charge about the same. He noted that Los Angeles tows cars to private lots, generating $6 million to $7 million a year for that city.

Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields said the open land could be used for parks.

"Here in Manhattan at pier 76 in the Clinton neighborhood, a tow pound facility occupies 6.5 acres of waterfront land," she said.

Yassky also proposed that salt piles be relocated to empty inland lots or put in silos.

Of 34 salt storage locations citywide, 19 are outdoors and uncontained. The run-off from salt piles can raise concentrations of salt in the waters surrounding the city, creating a hostile environment for aquatic life, officials said.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said opening the waterfront was important because, "There are many children in Brooklyn who have no idea that Brooklyn is surrounded by water."

While a Bloomberg spokesman had no comment, the efforts of Yassky and the other officials were welcomed by several local activists. Adam Honigman, a member of Community Board 4, said residents have been waiting nearly 30 years for a park.

"We've been trying to put a park in there called Clinton Cove, and there's this large pile of salt," he said. "There's no place to play football ... Six acres of space would be an amazing thing." 

Copyright (c) 2003, Newsday, Inc. 


This article originally appeared at:

Visit Newsday online at http://www.newsday.com

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