City Hall steps filled to capacity as activists call for park to be completed
More than 300 people attended a rally on the steps of City Hall to demand the completion of a 28-acre park that was first promised in 2005.
The army of local activists, so big that some were forced to protest outside the gates of the building, called for the city to honor its commitment of providing park space along the entire Williamsburg waterfront.
A huge number of new campaigners, including many children, came to show their support.
Agnieszka Gac-Chlebosz, a health-worker and mother of two young children, said that this was her first time rallying for a community issue.
“I’ve never really done this before, but this was so important. I didn’t want to see this park go up in flames. Our children, our families and our community need this.
“Study after study shows that this is so important for health benefits. I’m angry that I have to be here and my children don’t want to be here, they want to be in the park.”
The city promised the park during the 2005 re-zoning that led to North Brooklyn’s industrial space being converted into residential areas.
While real estate developers have continued to increase the amount of luxury properties in the area, the community is still waiting for their green space a decade later.
“In 2005, Bill de Blasio voted to make this a park when he was a member of the City Council,” said Adam Perlmutter, Chairman of the Open Space Alliance. “Now we’re saying live up to the vote that you made. This is a matter of character and this is a matter of integrity. This community is demanding that he lives up to his character and integrity.”
North Brooklyn ranks among the lowest NYC neighborhoods in per capita outdoor space, with the amount about to decrease further as more residents move into the new properties.
Elected officials, including Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Councilmembers Antonio Reynoso and Steve Levin, whose office led the organization of the rally, also joined protesters on the steps of City Hall.
“Williamsburg and Greenpoint have demonstrated unparalleled tenacity in advocating for their community and together we will fight until the City delivers a 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park,” Levin said. “The City must acquire the CitiStorage site and finally make good on its word.”
Sam Biederman, from the Department of Park and Recreation, said the de Blasio administration is still on track to complete the project.
Stating that additional land parcels (the Bayside Fuel Oil property) are to be purchased by June this year, Biederman stated that “this administration is committed to moving forward and seeing this project through.”
Not ready to let the matter rest, however, community activists are already planning another Bushwick Inlet Park event in coming months.