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77TH YEAR, NO. 3,958THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017TWO SECTIONSJudge to Pier 6 Developers: ‘Build if You Dare’Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development…
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77TH YEAR, NO. 3,958THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017TWO SECTIONSJudge to Pier 6 Developers: ‘Build if You Dare’Rendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver's Realty GroupLimited Injunction Against BBP ProjectSEE PAGES 2-3www.24middagh.com www.24middagh.com50 CENTSJudge to Pier 6 Developers: ‘Build if You Dare’ Limited Injunction Against Brooklyn Bridge Park Project By Mary FrostBrooklyn Heights PressRendering courtesy of ODA-RAL Development Services-Oliver's Realty GroupBuild all you want — but you better be ready to undo it all if you lose your case, was the message Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 developers heard at Civil Supreme Court in Manhattan last Friday.New York State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings issued a “very limited” injunction enjoining the park and developers from “undertaking any construction that may not be undone” at Pier 6, where two controversial residential towers are planned. The Brooklyn Heights Association, however, was aiming forA judge issued a “very limited” injunction on Friday enjoining Brooklyn Bridge Park and developers from “undertaking any construction that may not be undone” at Pier 6, where two controversial residential towers are planned.a complete halt to construction, which will begin with roughly six weeks of pile driving during the height of the summer season. A spokesperson for the park said the limited injunction would have no effect on ongoing construction at Pier 6. “We’re pleased with the judge’s decision today, which denies the plaintiffs the injunction they were seeking for a second time. Today’s outcome does not affect our progress and construction will proceed as planned. We look forward to providing essential long-term park funding, much-needed affordable housing and union construction jobs through the Pier 6 project,” the spokesperson said. Richard Ziegler, lead attorney for the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA), which filed the lawsuit, accentuated the positive, called the ruling “a very significant step” by the court. “The preliminary injunction means the park and developers are now enjoined from taking any steps in the construction process that they won’t be willing to undo in the event the court ultimately concludes that the BHA is correct and the project should not have proceeded,” he told the Brooklyn Heights Press. Ziegler said he took the judge’s ruling as a sign that she believed in the strength of the BHA’s case. “There are two elements to get a preliminary injunction. A key element is a showing by a petitioner that it’s likely going to prevail in the end. Another is that there is irreparable harm from the conduct the petitioner is challenging. The court made it quite clear that while she agreed that we have made a showing of irreparable harm, it was a modest showing because it was just … noise and inconvenience. But the granting of the preliminary injunction strongly suggests that the court found that we were right in our argument that we will ultimately likely prevail,” he said. Billings’ written decision, however, contradicted Ziegler’s assessment. In denying the remainder of the preliminary injunction sought by BHA, she wrote, “This denial is also based on the lack of a convincing showing that petitioner is likely to prevail on the merits of its claim and its own concession that, even if petitioner prevails, the likely result will allow at least part of the construction currently planned, even if delayed or on a lesser scale.” The judge left the door open, however, to the argument that traffic congestion during construction might cause irreparable harm, even if the noisy pile driving doesn’t. Continued on page 3B’klyn Preservationist Ann Gaffney Dies at 79; Home Was a Center for Art and Conversation By Francesca N. Tate Brooklyn Heights PressBrooklyn Heights mourns Ann Walker Gaffney, an artist and historic preservationist who was instrumental in turning this neighborhood into a vibrant community over the past half-century. Gaffney died peacefully on Wednesday, Aug. 2, following an illness. She was 79. Born in Washington, D.C., she adopted Brooklyn and always considered herself a New Yorker. She surrounded herself with art and artists. She attended Vassar but then left for art school at the Parsons School of Design. After moving to Brooklyn in the mid-1960s, she did layout and graphics for the Brooklyn Phoenix newspaper during the 1970s. Her Brooklyn Bridge logos and her annual calendars were beloved and eagerly anticipated each year. She was on the board of and a consignor for the Women’s Exchange of Brooklyn, where her calendars were in high demand. At the time of her death, her most recently designed calendar was being proofed. Her family said it will be distributed at her memorial service in September. Gaffney was also active in the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club, served on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s board of governors, and, in her work as a preservationist, was a trustee of Green-Wood Cemetery. Gaffney’s Hicks Street home was the epicenter of joy and celebration of family and of the arts. Daughter Elizabeth recalled, “Mom taught me a love of New York City — and all things visual. We would go on rubbing exhibitions in Brooklyn when we were children: sewer covers, logo signs, gravestones and whatever we could find.” Moreover, Gaffney hosted chamber concerts in her living room. Danish mezzo-soprano Johanne Thisted Højlund repeatedly visited and gave several recitals at the Gaffney home, often staying for weeks at a time. In June, Højlund sang a Danish folk song to Gaffney. “Mom perfectly combined being a proper lady and an extremely irreverent bohemian,” said Elizabeth. “Ann loved to talk about art, and to make the neighborhood and community come alive,” recalled Sam Sifton, a longtime family friend and food editor for The New York Times. Gaffney was part of “an early generation of Heights pioneers. 2 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, August 10, 2017Bronson Binger and Ann Gaffney enjoyed their companionship in more recent years, until his death in 2013. They are pictured aboard the John J. Harvey fireboat during a 2005 outing with the Historic Districts Council. Photo: Elizabeth Gaffney Ann and Richard were absolutely in the thick of that. She certainly helped in her way to build an incredibly vital neighborhood — very different from the one she moved into when she arrived,” said Sifton. “I grew up on Willow Street, just behind the Gaffney house,” Sifton added. “A goodly portion of my youth and indeed my early adulthood was spent in her presence. “Another Brooklyn Heights guy named Manny Howard and I rented the top floor post-graduation. It’s pretty cool to be able to return to your hometown, and live in the home of a family friend, and learn how to pay rent and be a grownup and also have a place where you can get a family dinner on the sly. Ann was very good at providing that opportunity for us. I spent a lot of time around Ann’s dinner table.” Gaffney was a community activist whose approach was to advocate for improvement. When she once got hit by a livery truck whose driver had failed to look before turning, Gaffney chose not to litigate, instead assuring the driver that she would be fine. And then she lobbied successfully for a traffic signal tobe installed at the intersection of Pierrepont and Hicks street, which is a major pedestrian route. In the years after her husband Richard’s death, Gaffney’s love of architecture and historic preservation nurtured a romance with fellow Grace Church parishioner Bronson Binger. An architect by profession, Binger was highly-respected for his restoration of Union Square and Central Park, the latter during the late 1970smid 1980s. They were companions until Binger’s death in December, 2013. The Historic Districts Council in 2011 honored Gaffney and Binger with its Mickey Murphy Award, named for a community activist. “Mom especially loved it when New York Water Taxi decided to name one of their vessels after Mickey, who was a big fan of the New York waterfront as well as all things old New York,” said Elizabeth Gaffney. Gaffney is predeceased by her husband Richard Waring Gaffney and her partner of seven years Bronson Binger. Family members surviving her include daughter Elizabeth Gaffney, son Walker Gaffney, grandchildren Rynier, Oona, Oliver, Lucy and Willa, sister Elizabeth Edgeworth and brother Mallory Walker. Her memorial service will take place at Grace ChurchBrooklyn Heights (254 Hicks St.) on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.Sen. Squadron Announces Resignation In a surprise announcement, state Sen. Daniel Squadron (Brooklyn waterfront-lower Manhattan) said on Wednesday that he will be resigning from the state Senate this Friday. Squadron said he is leaving his Senate seat in order to work at a national level to change the direction of the country. “Like many across the country, since November, I’ve thought a lot about how best to change the direction of our country, and stand up for core values that are under threat.After much reflection, I have decided to lend my hand to make a difference in states across the country, pushing policies and candidates that will create a fairer and more democratic future,” Squadron said in a letter to constituents. He added, “It’s not possible to take on this challenge and continue to be a full-time legislator, which is what I always promised I would be.” Read the full story online at brooklyneagle.com.Judge to Pier 6 Developers: ‘Build if You Dare’Continued from page 2 In her decision, she wrote that the denial of the broader preliminary injunction is “without prejudice” to a future showing by BHA that the traffic congestion caused by the construction in fact poses a danger to public safety, “as the traffic congestion, unlike the noise, is not expected to decrease with the next phases of excavation and pouring concrete.”New Judge Assigned to the Case This is the park and BHA’s final appearance before Billings, who has been reassigned to be in charge administratively of every asbestos case in New York County. The case has been reassigned to Justice Carmen St. George, who was sworn in as a state Court of Claims judge in June. The state Court of Claims is the forum for civil litigation seeking damages against the state of New York. Zeigler said that St. George, as a practical matter, would “look at what Justice Billings ruled. This is the only ruling she’s issued in this case, and the ruling is one that clearly takes petitioners’ claims extremely seriously. It doesn’t prejudge the outcome, but it does strongly suggest that Justice Billings believes that BHA is likely to prevail in the end.” After Billings issued her decision, an attorneys for developers RAL Development Services and Oliver’s Realty Group commented that there would be “significant financial damage in stopping now.” Billings, however, reiterated that the work was not necessarily stopping. “You’re just not doing anything that can’t be undone.”Pile Driving to Commence The developers are getting ready to pile drive more than 400 100-foot steel beams 90 feet into the ground to reach bedrock at two parcels in the park. Developers have built a 10-foot-tall noise-abating fence, asrequired by law. Ziegler expressed doubt that the fence would be effective, given the six-story height of the hammer at the top of the pile-driving device. Billings said that there would be “irreparable harm,” but it was not severe.BHA to Post $8,000 Bond Billings said that Friday’s ruling was not significantly different than one she issued on July 20, when she warned the developers that they were assuming the risk of beginning construction before the outcome of the case was clear. Work starts “at their peril,” she said. BHA told the judge the organization was able to post a $5,000 bond to back up the injunction, an amount attorneys for the park and developers scoffed at. Billings, however, said she didn’t see significant downside cost to the park and other respondents. “Given the lack of economic impact, the [$5,000] is not far off the mark,” she said. Billings ultimately set the bond at $8,000, an amount BHA said it could raise by the middle of the following week. Zeigler again used his time before Billings to make BHA’s case about the legality of the document governing construction in the park — the General Project Plan, or GPP. Brooklyn Bridge Park allows development only because the park is supposed to be self-sustaining, and the GPP limits development to only what is financially necessary to support the park. Ziegler brought up the distinction between Parcel A, where luxury housing is planned, and Parcel B, where affordable housing would go. Since the GPP allows only development that is financially necessary, that would eliminate Parcel B, which would not produce income, he said. As Billings’ replacement, St. George will review the hearing record and documents. It is not yet know if she will schedule a hearing before ruling on the case.Thursday, August 10, 2017 • Brooklyn Heights Press • 3Landmarks Preservation Commission OK’s Fix-Up Work at Vincent Viola’s Former Jehovah’s Witnesses BuildingThere Will Be 101 Apartments at 124 Columbia HeightsPhoto courtesy of Jehovah's WitnessesPhoto by Omar Vega/Invision/APABOVE: Vincent Viola, shown here at a 2013 Florida Panthers hockey game, is turning former Watchtower property 124 Columbia Heights into an apartment building. AT LEFT: The building at left is 124 Columbia Heights. By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Heights PressThe makeover of a prime former Watchtower property into a secular building took a step forward Tuesday. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved fix-up work at 124 Columbia Heights — a former dorm for workers at the world headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses that new owner Vincent Viola plans to turn into an apartment building.The LPC vote took place at the preservation agency's Lower Manhattan headquarters. Viola, the billionaire owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team and co-owner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby's winning horse, Always Dreaming, was President Donald Trump's first nominee for Secretary of the Army. Viola plans to transform 124 Columbia Heights into a 101-unit apartment building, city Buildings Department filings show. There are currently 237 dwelling units in the vacant property.Last year, Vincent Viola bought the building through an LLC for $105 million, city Finance Department records show. His wife Teresa Viola is the president of the LLC. Landmarked 124 Columbia Heights has frontage on Brooklyn Heights' famed Promenade and stellar views of the Statue of Liberty, the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. As an architectural reference to the religious organization that constructed it, the 10-story, 152,000-square-footbuilding has a small tower on its roof that looksLuxury Tower at Heights Library Site Breaks Groundlike a watchtower.A Parking Garage with An Elevator for the Cars Several planned changes to the building's exterior are related to the need to provide offstreet parking spaces for this residential development. The building currently does not have a parking garage, Thomas Hut of HS2 Architecture said at a public hearing that was held before the Landmarks Preservation Commission's vote. Hut is the architect of record for 124 Columbia Heights' makeover project. So a parking garage for 124 Columbia Heights' tenants will be constructed inside the building. It will have an elevator to move their cars — and there will be a bulkhead on the building's roof for this elevator. An opening for a garage door will be carved into the building's facade and a curb cut will be made in the sidewalk. Another planned change to the building is the replacement of its existing windows with new aluminum ones. This change blossomed from an initial plan to remove the building's window air conditioners, Hut said.Former Home of the Watchtower’s Radio StationBROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD MEMBERS, DEVELOPERS AND OTHERS ATTENDED A GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY ON AUG. 1 at the site of the now-demolished Brooklyn Heights Library (280 Cadman Plaza West). A new library will be housed at the base of a luxury tower developed by Hudson Companies, which bought the site from the city for $52 million. After fitting out the new Heights branch, BPL says $40 million will be available to fund capital projects in other Brooklyn branches. Heights Press photo by Mary Frost 4 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, August 10, 2017Viola had the opportunity to purchase 124 Columbia Heights because the Jehovah's Witnesses are in the process of liquidating their once-vast holdings in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. That's because they recently moved their world headquarters from Brooklyn Heights, where they had a major presence for more than a century, to upstate Warwick, N.Y. The property the Watchtower sold to Viola, 124 Columbia Heights, consists of a neoFederal building constructed around 1930, a Moderne-style building constructed in 1949 and a remnant of a building from the late 19th or early 20th century. In 1909, the Jehovah's Witnesses started assembling the site where they built 124 Columbia Heights by buying a brownstone where Abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher had lived. Though 124 Columbia Heights served primarily as a residence for Watchtower headquarters staffers, it was also the home of the Jehovah's Witnesses former radio station, WBBR, for most of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.BROOKLYN EAGLETake Our Self-Guided Tour Of the Gowanus CanalVolume 18, No. 1Two SectionsTHURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017Eagle photo by Lore CroghanTHE GOWANUS CANAL, A TOXIC BUT BELOVED SUPERFUND site, is super-fun to tour. But some of us lack the courage — or upper-arm strength — to paddle through the canal with the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. So the Brooklyn Eagle has devised a self-guided walking tour for folks who Love That Dirty Water. Read all about it in EYE ON REAL ESTATE, pages 3-5.$1.00Woodstock Reunion Festival Comes to BrooklynBrooklyn Mirage in East Williamsburg Will Host 2-Day Celebration of Historic Event By John Alexander Brooklyn Eagleing back to Brooklyn to bring “the spirit of Woodstock into the hearts of today’s Brooklyn audience.” Following the conversation, there will be a screening of a special cut of the movie “Woodstock” that was directed by Michael Wadleigh. Topping the bill is Coney Island-born singersongwriter Arlo Guthrie, who informed the Woodstock audience that the New York State Thruway was closed before performing his This iconic photo from August song “Coming into Los Angeles,” will headline 1969 shows a couple hugging the second day of the con- during the Woodstock Music cert. Arlo is the son of folk and Art Festival in Bethel, N.Y. music icon Woody Guthrie. Also set to appear is legendary singer-guitarist Leslie West from the group Mountain and Billy Cox & Band of Gypsys, which consists of three remaining members of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock band, will also perform along with folk singer Melanie. Wavy Gravy, the original MC of Woodstock 1969, will also be attending. “I want to remind today’s generation of their power,” Kornfeld said. “It’s time for them to step up and make themselves heard. The people are Woodstock.” The Brooklyn Mirage is located at 140 Stewart Ave. in East Williamsburg. For ticket information go to 2MoreDays1969.com.INSET: Arlo Guthrie performs at the Ferst Center for the Arts Jan. 31, 2015 in Atlanta. Photo by Katie Darby/Invision/AP2 • Brooklyn Eagle • Thursday, August 10, 2017AP PhotoIf you were around in 1969, you know full well the cultural phenomenon of Woodstock. And if you were too young to attend or born after the historic concert, you now have a chance to be part of the “peace, love and freedom” generation. The Brooklyn Mirage, a new event venue in
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