THROWING SHADE?

Is Brooklyn’s building boom a threat to the iconic Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

Aired on August 29, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> BROOKLYN HAS SEEN RAPID GROWTH RECENTLY.

THE U.S. CENSUS ESTIMATES THE BOROUGH ADDED 145,000 RESIDENTS BETWEEN TEN AND 2017.

SOME OF THOSE NEWLY MINTED BROOKLYNITES ARE BEING HOUSED IN NEW COMPLEX.

HOW TALL IS TOO TALL?

WILL SOME RESIDENTS BE LEFT IN THE SHADOWS.

UNDERSTAND THEIR BOROUGH IS GROWING BUT HAVE CONCERNS THAT DEVELOPERS ARE PUTTING PROFIT OVER PEOPLE AS NEWCOMERS AND NEW RESIDENTIAL TOWERS THREATEN TO CAST A SHAT DOE ON THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE.

ALICIA BOYD TOOK ME ON A TOUR OF A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IN HER NEIGHBORHOOD ON FRANKLIN AVENUE.

THE PROPOSAL IS SO LARGE IT COULD QUITE LITERALLY CHANGE THE VIEW OF THE SKY.

WHAT YOU HAVE STARTING FROM HERE FROM THIS LOW SHED, ALL THE WAY DOWN, PAST THIS BUILDING RIGHT HERE, WHICH IS THE SPICE FACTORY LITERALLY TO THE CORNER WILL BE THE BOOTH ETNA DEVELOPMENT.

IT'S A MONSTER, 1,500 RESIDENTIAL UNITS ARE BEING PLANNED, PURELY RESIDENTIAL, WITH SOME SMALL COMMERCIAL ON THE BOTTOM, ON THE BOTTOM OF THE -- ON THE MAIN FLOOR.

BUT IT'S REALLY -- IT'S GOING TO BE -- OR THEY'RE PLANNING FOR IT TO BE A MONSTER.

THE PROPOSAL COULD BE AS TALL AS 444 FEET.

TO GET A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE, A COMPLEX THAT LARGE WOULD BE ABOUT 100 FEET TALLER THAN THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, A STRUCTURE THAT SIZE COULD HAVE SOME MAJOR IMPLICATIONS FOR ITS POSSIBLE NEIGHBOR, THE HISTORIC BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN IN THE BRONX.

THIS PLOT OF LUSH GREENERY IS MORE THAN 100 YEARS OLD AND SITS ON A PRISTINE 52 ACRES OF LAND IN THE HEART OF BROOKLYN, WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS EACH YEAR, IT'S ONE OF NEW YORK CITY'S LESSER KNOWN CROWN SKJEWELS.

THE CONTINUUM SITE IS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL TARGETED FOR DEVELOPMENT.

ANOTHER IS A SLIGHTLY SMALLER SCALE PROJECT PROPOSED BY CORNELL REALTY, AND RESIDENTS HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT THAT ONE AS WELL BECAUSE IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD THE AREA WOULD HAVE TO BE REZONED.

THIS IS THE CORNELL REALTY DEVELOPMENT, THESE TWO SMALLER ONES, AND THIS IS THE BOOTH ETNA DEVELOPMENT AT THE PROPOSED HEIGHTS, INCLUDING THEIR BULKHEADS.

AND THE BULKHEADS COULD BE ABOUT 40 FEET.

SO THIS ONE IS ABOUT 444 FEET AND THIS IS 235 FEET.

THIS BUILDING IS AN EXISTING BUILDING CALLED TIBEARLY TOWERS.

THIS AREA IS THE EXACT AREA DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING HAD PUT HEIGHT LIMITS IN 1991.

ALICIA BOYD'S GROUP THE MOVEMENT TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE CALLED ON ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS TO STUDY THE EFFECTS THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WOULD HAVE ON ITS NEIGHBORS AND PARTICULARLY THE SHADOWS IT WOULD CAST ON THE COMMUNITY.

THE FIRMS TOOK THE INFORMATION FROM THE PROPOSALS.

WE FOUND COPIES OF THOSE CONTINUUM'S PRE-APPLICATION, AND CORNELL'S APPLICATION.

WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT HERE IS YOU'RE LOOKING AT A THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODEL.

THIS IS PRETTY AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY EVERYWHERE.

THERE'S A LITTLE PLUG-IN THAT ALLOWS US TO SEE WHERE THE SHADOWS WOULD BE AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE DAY, OR AT DIFFERENT TIMES.

SO YOU'LL SEE THE SHADOWS ARE INCREASING HERE.

AND OVER IN THE SHADOWS, THEY'RE STARTING TO AFFECT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS AND OTHER AREAS.

IN THIS WORST-CASE SCENARIO THE STUDY SAYS 33% OF THE GARDEN WOULD BE IN SHADOW DURING PEAK TIME IN THE EARLY MORNING.

BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN IS KEEPING AN EYE ON THE HORIZON, BUT HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH THE GROUP TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE.

THEY RELEASED A STATEMENT, WE HAVE BEEN STRONGLY ADD VOKTSING TO MAINTAIN THE CITY'S CURRENT ZONING, WHICH WAS PUT IN PLACE IN PART TO PROTECT THE GUARANTEED'S CONSERVATORIES, GREENHOUSES AND PLANT NURSERIES FROM BUILDING SHADOWS.

WE HAVE BEEN KEEPING THE CITY OF NEW YORK APPRISED OF OUR CONCERNS AND WE ARE MONITORING BOTH DEVELOPMENTS CLOSELY FOR ANY POTENTIAL SHADOW IMPACT.

ALICIA SHOWED ME FIRSTHAND WHAT A 40 STORY COMPLEX COULD MEAN.

ALL OF THEM WILL BE IN SHADE, THIS ENTIRE AREA WILL BE IN SHADE.

AND THE VISUAL EFFECT.

I MEAN, IF YOU THINK ABOUT NOW YOU CAN SEE THE SKY, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEE THE SKY RIGHT NOW.

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN SEE THE SKY AND THE CLOUDS.

YOU PUT A 40 STORY BUILDING THERE, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEE ANYTHING BUT THE FOUR STORY BUILDING.

THIS WHOLE VIEW, IF YOU SEE THE TOWERS AND YOU SEE -- ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOOK THIS WAY, YOU'LL JUST SEE NOTHING BUT -- YOU'LL SEE NOTHING BUT, YOU KNOW, AN APARTMENT BUILDING.

ALICIA AND ANDREA JOHNSON WHO ALSO ASSISTED IN THE SHADOWS STUDY SAYS IT'S NOT JUST THE BOTANIC GARDEN IN JEOPARDY, THEY ALSO SAJAK KEY ROBINSON PARK IS SMALL GREEN SPACE COULD BE AFFECTED.

THEY ALSO NAMED ANOTHER PARK AND YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF THIS ONE.

IT WILL CAST A SMALL AMOUNT ON PROSPECT PARK.

WE DETERMINED THAT SHADOWS WILL BE CAST OVER THE JACKIE ROBINSON PARK ENTIRELY.

THIS ENTIRE OPEN SPACE WILL BE COMPLETELY IN SHADOWS ALL THROUGHOUT THE WINTER MONTHS WHERE THE CHILDREN ARE PLAYING, KIDS ARE PLAYING BASKETBALL, EVERYTHING WILL BE IN SHADOWS.

THESE PLANS ARE STILL IN THE EARLY STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT, AND WOULD NEED SEVERAL MORE STEPS BEFORE ANYTHING IS BUILT, ACCORDING TO PUBLISHED REPORTS, CORNELL REALTY CONDUCTED ITS OWN SHADOW STUDY THAT SAYS ITS PROPOSAL POSED NO RISK TO THE BUILDING.

NEITHER OF THE DEVELOPERS GOT BACK TO US.

WE'LL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS STORY FOR ANY UPDATES.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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