Last week came the announcement of a new school to be located along the waterfront on parcel C in Hunters Point South (TF Cornerstone Development). Two months prior to that came the announcement of a new school to be built along the waterfront on the former site of the Water’s Edge restaurant. Two weeks prior to that came the announcement that a new school would be built on parcel F in Hunters Point South, also located on the waterfront.
In summary, in the last ten weeks LIC received the news that it is expected to possibly get three new waterfront-located schools over the next four to six years.
That’s great, but somewhat bittersweet. The battle for increased school capacity has been waged by parents for several years now, many of whom won’t be the beneficiaries of the new schools. Though most ultimately were unscathed by the controversy, inasmuch as their child eventually received a seat in PS78, the uncertainty was unsettling, and may have motivated others to move out or not move to LIC in the first place. Also, in the question-mark that is truncation, it was a factor in prompting some recent middle school parents to opt for the new middle school instead of sticking it out at 78.
In viewing the current situation, I can’t help but think that for every action there is at first a delayed response, and then inevitably an overreaction. Since it’s been primarily parents along the waterfront who have been demanding schools now, that is where the schools have been going. Yet any chess player can see that the next big need is closer to Court Square. The powers that be completely screwed up in not insisting a school be placed in the base of 5Pointz. In addition to being extremely well-situated to accommodate children from all parts of LIC, it would have been available in time for the school year beginning in 2018. Instead the community received baubles in return for granting the developers a zoning variance allowing them to build an additional 28 stories.
That’s spilt milk today. What is not is the need to:
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
GIVE BACK TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HERE A LONG TIME
GIVE SOMETHING TO THOSE RESIDENTS WHO DON”T HAVE ANY CHILDREN
In light of this, I propose the following: cut it from three schools to two along the waterfront, redirect the SCA/de Blasio money for a school in a development planned for the Court Square area, and put a community center in Hunters Point, a real one.
More specifically, place the community center in parcel C (TF Cornerstone). As things stand, the plans for a free-standing school in parcel F (at the very bottom of Hunters Point South) are still ambiguous – nothing concrete about it has been said since the “change order” announcement last week. Nevertheless, because the completion dates for parcel C and parcel F are tentatively the same, it’s a wash in terms of the timing of adding capacity. Yet since the buildup and buildout of a community center is paid for by the developer as part of its concessions for being allowed to build on city land, it’s financially undoable as a freestanding location.1
An added bonus to placing it in this location, is the ability of the developer to forgo having a gym and similar amenities, and thus recoup some of the space it would give up for a rec center.2. Having a building with a substantial rec center – including a pool, more than makes up for solely having a simple gym exclusive to the building ((also, it’ll be the only tower w/ an a la carte amenity option – attracting those who have no interest in a gym)). An important distinguishing factor and selling point, especially if LIC Glut becomes a reality.
Oh there are so many other reasons3 to think long term and put this plan into action, but the weekend is here so let’s move on to other things …for now.
//The 6th Annual LIC Arts Open (LICAO) is next week from Wednesday-Sunday (May 18-22). There are three reasons you should make an effort to check it out. The first, is that I’m not sure how much longer there will be a viable arts community in LIC. Whether one calls it evolution, gentrification, or just sad, the reality is that market forces are quickly chipping away at inexpensive square footage – the lifeblood of an art community. The second is that with over 100 artists participating, there’s going to be at least one exhibition with nudity – you just have to find it. Finally, with art exhibits come receptions, and with receptions comes booze. One example, is the opening of Plastique – vieux chiens de nouveaux trucs. It’s occurring May 19, from 6-9pm, at Anable Basin Bar & Grill. Now that’s a good start to the weekend.
LICAO 2016 – remember, one in a hundred
What to Look Forward to at LIC Springs – tomorrow from noon-5pm on Vernon Blvd
Another Brewery to Open in LIC – Fifth Hammer Brewing Company at 10-28 46th Ave to open in the fall
225K Square Foot Office Building Sold for $60 Million – 6-story building located at 43-01 22nd Street will be revamped by new owners, continuing w/ the recent theme of upgrading of commercial spaces in LIC. As for the artists…
Architects Design Underwater Aquarium in East River Next to LIC – I really debated whether this crazy plan was newsworthy
- Of course things get sticky here, because the typical concession made nowadays in NYC, is for the developer to set aside a big swath of apartments for affordable housing. For the time being, I’m not going to touch this, other than to leave it at “Don’t long time residents deserve something too? [↩]
- Possibly for another concession, say a little more affordable housing, or whatever the cause-du-jour is. All part of a big compromise to be worked out [↩]
- The community needs a pool; a place for teenagers (think ahead); a place for seniors; not everyone in LIC lives in a large tower w/ amenities; it improves home values; the original plans for Queenswest contained a rec center w/ a pool, as any community like this should – Battery Park City has two [↩]