stop the power plant
greenpoint williamsburg waterfront task force
What's Happening
The Inside Story
197a Plan: An Alternative Vision

Adam Victor and TGE have targeted our waterfront for profit-making in the energy speculation field. Their plans include tons of toxic emissions released into our environment, threats to community health, and a 325 foot tall smokestack!
Is there an alternative? Absolutely!

The neighborhood of Greenpoint/Williamsburg is home to one of the ripest opportunities for re-development in New York City, with several miles of formerly heavy industrialized waterfront that can and should be revisioned for mixed-use development, including commercial and residential, with a significant component of affordable housing.

The plans directly involved hundreds of community members, led by a core group that worked closely with the Department of City Planning. Both plans were passed by the City Planning Commission in December, 2001, and adopted by City Council in January 2002. Finally, in June 2002, the plans were honored with the William H. Whyte award for creativity in planning, given annually by the local chapter of the American Planning Association.
Unfortunately, our community is now locked in a battle with TGE whose proposal for our waterfront including unsubstantiated claims regarding "public benefit" are far from compatible with the community's own long-standing vision.

Final versions of the plans may be purchased for $6 at the Department of City Planning bookstore at 22 Reade Street, (212) 720-3667, or check the list of publications on the DCP website at

Some Background
Once one of the busiest industrial waterfronts in the country, such activity began to decline in the 1960s as heavy industry moved out of the Northeast. Left to real estate speculators in the 1980s, swaths of waterfront land were purchased at astronomical cost, fell into disuse, or became undesirable as garbage transfer stations, etc. Several plans were set forth to redevelop the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal and the Greenpoint Terminal Market in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but these were met with community resistance because they did not include affordable housing or adequate public open space and waterfront access.

In 1989, Community Board #1 commissioned studies of the BEDT and GTM sites. With private funding, the community began the process of designing its own plan for recapturing one of New York's most beautiful skylines. Specifically, the plans call for rezoning of the East River waterfront from M3 (heavy industry) to allow for residential and compatible mixed-use development. The community envisions moderate heights and density, with generous provision for housing affordable to community residents, plentiful open space, and waterfront access. The plans include additional recommendations on environmental remediation, improved transportation, expanded community facilities and historic preservation.

At Risk!
The Bushwick Inlet (where Adam Victor proposes to site what he describes as a "state-of-the-art" gas-fired power plant) is the centerpiece and historical point-in-common of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint 197-a plans. Both plans call for a continuous waterfront promenade that would culminate at the Inlet, bringing both communities together and linking them to upland neighborhoods, including McCarren Park. In the plans, the area surrounding the Inlet has been designated as a park and marina, encouraging direct water access for fishing, kayaking and other water sports. Throughout New York, there is great demand and little opportunity for such activities. At the northern edge of the Inlet is the site where the Civil War Battleship USS Monitor was built and launched. The Greenpoint Monitor Museum has held its State Charter since 1996 and plans to open one day as a National Historic Site, adjacent to the Marina and Park.

Development surrounding the Bushwick Inlet has been moving forward for several years, since community members won a battle against a waste transfer station at Kent Avenue and North 5th Street. After foreclosure of the former Eastern District Terminal site on Kent between North 7th and North 9th Streets, the community engaged in negotiations, led by the Trust for Public Land (with the State and New York University) to purchase the 2.6 acre parcel. The $850,000 purchase agreement--supported by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Greenpoint) and City Councilman David Yassky (D-Greenpoint)--was near signing when Shell Oil affiliate Motiva Enterprises abruptly withdrew from the deal.

Many other projects are in the planning and development stages for the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront. They include a number of large residential developments, additional open space, and improved bicycle and pedestrian access to and along the waterfront:

Residential Developments:

  • Up to 350 Units at the former SchaeferBrewery, Kent Ave. between S. 8th & S. 10th
  • 540 units at the current Domsey/Glantz site, Kent Ave. between S. 8th & S. 10th
  • 216 units at 184 Kent Avenue at North 3rd Street
  • A residential building at the 4G's trucking site, corner of Kent and Broadway
  • Residential buildings to the south and north of the NYU/State Park
  • 3.5 million square feet at the Greenpoint Terminal Market Site
  • 4 million square feet at the LumberExchange site

Open space:

  • NYU/State Park, Kent. Ave., N. 7th — N. 9th
  • Use of this site for the 2012 Olympics if New York is chosen as host city
  • Greenpoint/WNYC Park
  • Greenpoint Avenue at the East River
  • EDC Pier and Promenade, West Street between Kent and Java Streets
  • Street end park at the end of Manhattan Avenue on Newtown Creek

Transportation/Waterfront Access:

  • Reconstruction of Kent Avenue and Franklin Street, from Williamsburg Street West to Manhattan Avenue, planned for FY 2003-2004
  • Williamsburg Waterfront Pedestrian Access Project: a project of New York City Department of City Planning, Transportation Division; a study funded with TEA-21 Federal monies to study and create better waterfront access to and along Kent Avenue
  • Borough President's grant to study the creation of a greenway from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Greenpoint, including continuous public waterfront access, with path and access points
  • Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce, which has begun implementing the above-mentioned Greenway at its southern points

Department of City Planning Waterfront Rezoning Action:
Subsequent to the adoption of the community's two 197-a plans, and in keeping with one of the plans' major recommendations, the Department of City Planning is preparing a comprehensive rezoning of the entire Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront and several inland areas in the Northside and Greenpoint. A Rezoning Task Force has recently been announced by Community Board 1, which will work with local organizations on extensive public outreach to build consensus for specific rezoning principles.

The Face Of Our Waterfront Is About To Change--Help Decide How!
The history of our neighborhoods, and the tremendous number and speed of land use changes and funded projects, make it clear that our waterfront can finally become the dream our community has planned and advocated for: a vibrant mixed-use area, including important residential development, waterfront access, open space for active and passive recreation, and appropriate commercial and community facilities.

The proposed TransGas power plant--no matter how clean, attractive or safe its proponents claim it may be -- does not fit anywhere within the community's (or the City's) development scheme for the waterfront. Contact your state and city representatives now and demand that they honor our community's hard work and vision, as well as their own stated commitments to waterfront revitalization! Also contact TGE and tell them there is no place in our community for their power plant.

For references and related reading see our Press File as well as selected information and articles at the excellent GWAPP and Williamsburg Watch websites.

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