Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One-Third of Carroll Gardens' Subway Plaza Will Be Lost to Development

CORD would like to welcome aboard and say: "CONGRATULATIONS" to a new CG blog: Carroll Gardens History! http://www.carrollgardenshistory.blogspot.com/

In a disturbing visual presentation made in the Monday, March 24, 2008, post, it is clear that one-third of Carroll Gardens' Subway Plaza will be lost to development if the developer, Mr. Stein, does not significantly alter his plans to build 49 condos at Oliver House (a.k.a. 360 Smith Street). This is, of course, in addition to the enormous height and mass the building will impose onto the narrow Second Place and Smith Street blocks. Not to mention the lack of meaningful dialogue the community has been able to have with the MTA, and the DOB regarding safety and infrastructure concerns. CORD

Here is the post in full:
"The residents of Carroll Gardens will lose one-third (22-feet) of the Second Place Subway Plaza (in red in the above picture) , and an important neighborhood tradition, when developer William Stern’s controversial out-of-context condominium complex is built over the subway plaza.

The 70-foot high condo project will be a massive intrusion at the corner of Smith and Second Place, which is an important gateway to the historic Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Envision a 7-story Hannah Senesh building, perhaps the most out-of-context building in Carroll Gardens, topped off with a hat.

The loss of a third of the plaza will also affect an important neighborhood tradition, that of reading a paper, talking to friends, or making those last puffs on a cigarette, while waiting until the F or G train appear on the Culver Viaduct, the 91-foot-tall subway bridge that spans the Gowanus Canal, as it makes its way to the below ground Carroll Street Station. When the train appears, everyone rushes down the steps to the subway to catch the Manhattan-bound train.

The Plaza has been open to the public in its current configuration since the subway was built in the 30s. The plaza consists of both public and privately owned sections. The publicly owned area consists of the 13-foot sidewalk and the 33’-5’25” courtyard. The courtyard is measured from the edge of the sidewalk (the house-side edge, not curb-side).

To visually understand where the courtyard ends and Stern’s property begins, look for the “S” in “Smith Street” in the mural on the freedom wall (see photo on the sidebar). From the “S”, it is 22-feet to the stairway to the subway. The property line then runs on a diagonal to a few feet north (towards the newsstand) of the MTA manhole. Stern claims that the Condo Association will maintain the 22- foot corridor that commuters will have to walk through to get to the subway stairway, as well as the 33’-5’25” courtyard."


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........