It’s a parking lot with the best view of the Manhattan skyline — and Community Board 1 wants to turn it into a park.
There’s just one problem. The 700-foot-long Department of Transportation lot, located off Kent Avenue between S. Sixth Street and Broadway, currently houses a two-story storage facility that the city has no intention of giving up.
But that didn’t stop the full board from its overwhelming vote last Tuesday, calling on the city to turn over the land to the Park Department — an effort linked to the waterfront’s massive growth since a 2005 rezoning encouraged skyscraper development, but has yielded less open space than its supporters said it would.
“It’s idea whose time has come,” said Land Use Committee Chairman Ward Dennis, arguing that it would be easy — and cheap — to convert the property into a portion of a public esplanade because the city-owned land has already been paved over.
“[Former Councilman] David Yassky pinpointed 10 egregious wastes of waterfront space and [this lot] was number four,” said Parks Committee member Dewey Thompson. “Yet the Department of Transportation has a carpentry shop there. There’s no reason why it has to be on such pristine land.”
Ironically, the site was a park decades ago. And interest in open space along the waterfront has been rekindled thanks to the proposed conversion of the Domino Sugar plant next door into a 2,200-unit complex that would reduce per capita open space in the neighborhood.
“The spotlight is being shown right next to it,” said Thompson. “The neighborhood needs more open space, especially in South Williamsburg.”
©2010 Community News Group
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