Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Showing Permit To Cut Down ONE Tree, Developer’s Men Cut Down FIVE At Brooklyn Heights Library Truth Park. Story Given Police Is That Property Is Privately Owned, Not City Owned. Police Buy It. Not Us.

This page will be updated.

Developer David Kramer of the Hudson has been busy at the Brooklyn Heights Library, which we understand he still does not own, yesterday, today and possibly tomorrow, cutting down trees in Truth Park and another in front of the library: In all five trees, although 3/4th of one Honey Locust in Truth Park still stands and another is a trunk that could regrow if allowed to.

We hope that the library and Truth Park remain city-owned and that the pay-to-play investigations by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara will finally bring to a close the plan to plunder this public asset.

The developer's tree removers showed up with a permit to cut down one tree, but were going after five (at least five so far).  Today their target was the two most magnificent Honey Locusts in Truth Park.  Apparently, without showing any paperwork to back it up the developer's guys talked the police department into assuming that the property is now privately owned, not city owned, which is our understanding and which nobody is actually truly contradicting us on.

A checks of property records via ACRIS (see below) shows that the property remains city-owned, unacquired by the developer,

Public records in ACRIS show that the teveloper took down trees before (and is trashing the property, laying waste to it, in other ways) without acquiring the property.  Remember that because the developer has never bought the property the library, according to the promises as part of the ULURP process, should still be open and serving the public in all its original glory. 
At the behest of Eric Adams Borough President's Office the Parks Department sent out a representative who, although he was quickly in transit, did not show up with alacrity, and when he arrived, announced (after checking) that he was the wrong person to have been summoned because the Park Department did not have jurisdiction for this kind of city-owned property.

The Borough President's Office is looking into what to do next.  (Many of us called and/or visited the Borough President's Office.  Feel free (assuming de Blasio is a lost cause in this pay-to-play environment) to also call Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James.

One of the police officers first on the scene who mistakenly thought that "the library" was being put back, didn't know it was being shrunk substantially, pushed more underground, apparently had misgivings about what he heard when seeing the library destroyed and apparently, at the station house, attempted to better inform himself about the situation, or was lectured to by somebody who gave him misinformation.  Returning to the scene he was talking about understanding that the new library would be smaller because it was a "library of the future" and that it was all happening because it was a generational thing with digitally oriented younger people not wanting big libraries with books libraries of the sorts that were revered by prior generations.

So he was fed the pish-tosh PR the library hands out to justify pay-to-play, crony capitalism real estate boondoggle real estate deal hand-outs, and our law enforcement officer happily swallowed it hook, line and sinker (although we do thank him for at least trying to do some due diligence).

His due diligence apparently feel far short of looking at any of the following:
Physical Books vs. Digital Books
Articles About Library Privacy and Surveillance In Libraries

Articles About Libraries and Net Neutrality
We have video.  Lots of photos.  We even have a time-lapse video of today's destruction.  We will be putting up more.

Here is the YouTube video of the Truth Park tree destruction on February 22nd with  the men working for the developer telling the police that property is now privately owned, not owned bythe city, even though the developer has never yet acquired the property from the city.  (Click through to YouTube for best viewing- fast forward if the experience is too painful and you want to shorten it.)

Destruction of Truth Park Trees Feb 22, 2017

Coming:  We have video of the final destruction of the last tree on February 23rd, which, ultimately, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President did not stop. . .  which we are sorry to say was not stopped.

Here is a time lapse video (click through to YouTube for best viewing). 

Time Lapse Truth Park Tree Removal

Here is coverage from the Architects Newspaper who was there, johnny-on-the-spot, to get the story out in service to the public:
•    The Architects Newspaper: Tree removal at Brooklyn Heights library begins, paving way for 36-story tower, by Audrey Wachs and Zach Edelson, February 23, 2017.
Here are some pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Might be interesting to find out who at 84th instructed the police officer in what to say when returning to the library site?