Down by the river

While I wrote recently that I might expound on the rationale for adding a rec center in Hunters Point, I’ve decided I would provide an excerpt that I wrote to Robert Dobruskin, the director in the NYC Planning Dept. who is collecting community comments on the Anable Basin rezoning.  The excerpt is below.  More importantly, if you haven’t already please sign the petition being circulated to bring a community center to Hunters Point.

<<<This weeks news links at the very bottom>>>

//YESTERDAY the little information fairies were asked to distribute a memorandum to their parents announcing a meeting about a new District Elementary School to be incubated in Long Island City in the 2018-19 school year.  Other than the time and place for this meeting (January 30, 6pm @ PS78Q), little other info was offered including lack of a definition of the word incubation (though it was translated into Spanish).  Fortunately, thanks to the miracle of the Book of Faces, we can provide you with the following details, which like most news from this stalking dating site is 50% likely to be correct:

“78 could never sustain the amount of K classes that were added. They can handle 4, and currently have, I believe, 7. There isn’t room as they age up to house them. The new school won’t be completed until 2021, so what they plan on doing is essentially starting the new school at an “incubator site” (St. Theresa’s) for the next 3 years. 3 sections of K will go there, and attend for 3 years, at which time the new building will be ready.”

Sounds like a plan!  Now I can focus on the Pro Bowl this weekend, woo-hoo!

//LETTER to Dobruskin:

Dear Comrade,

Though my written pleas for a community center are impassioned and might come across as subjective,

I believe the rationale for one in a completely rezoned and recently created community of tall

towers should be self-evident (Think of Battery Park City, where there are two and a third just

across a footbridge – Asphalt Green, Community Center at Stuyvesant High, Manhattan Youth

Community Center).

As it turns out, the visionaries of the initial rezoning of the LIC waterfront agreed, and included a

“community center with swimming pool” in the original blueprints for QueensWest (see footnote 8).


For better or worse, the plot of land that was set aside in the blueprints is now a long-delayed

library, which while I’m sure will be a great addition to the neighborhood once it is complete, is

not the same thing as a community center.


Ever since plans for placing a library on the site were formally announced, Hunters Point

residents have seen every other viable location for a c.c. ignored:

-Hunters Point South Phase I development plans announced in 2011

-Hunters Point South Phase 2 parcel C plans announced in 2013

-Water’s Edge Development plans announced in July 2017

-Hunters Point South Parcels F & G plans announced in November 2017


Fast forward to 2018 and we are down to one location on the waterfront for this oversight, and

frankly indifference, to be rectified: the Anable Basin Proposal.


So far the concessions granted in return for the rezoning, while considerable, are of

little value to the existing community.  Providing the location for a new school is a wash at best

in light of 5,000 new residential units being built.  Shoring up the bulkhead and an extension

of our already considerable esplanade, while potentially expensive, is more of a necessity for the

developer and an attraction for the new tenants than something HP really needs.  Additional

retail?  What landlord wouldn’t put it on the ground floor?  Mixed-use manufacturing and

affordable housing both still bring in revenues for the developer and the benefits seem to accrue

more to the city overall than the local residents, who are left having to endure all the burdens

that come when the city opts to effectively eliminate zoning in an area.  So I don’t think it would

be too much for Hunters Point to be granted something tangible in all the horsetrading that

occurs over the Anable Basin site.


Best of all, the cost would be negligible.  First, by including a community center the

developer could recapture a good chunk of space set aside for gyms and other amenities

Second, slicing 20k-30k square feet from the 330k set aside for industrial is not a

big ask and probably wouldn’t bother anyone, within government or outside of it.


A community center – with pool – is something that I think would go a long way to making a

rezoning more palatable for many in the neighborhood, not to mention making the neighborhood

an even better place.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    How about an emergency medical center or a decently priced supermarket? Or a pharmacy near court square?

  2. MyBackYard says:

    A little history for the readers here: the Queens West Library was originally slated to be housed in the Avalon Bay north building, and Avalon was granted additional bulk & height prior to construction as compensation – then somehow the developer decided that the Library wasn’t economically feasible, so Avalon built the larger apartment building anyway and punted their responsibility for the Library off to the sidelines.

    Plaxall is now claiming ownership to the public land (it was afterall 11 Street 150 years ago, not Plaxall’s private path to wealth) beneath the Anable Basin for their Zoning Calculations. Plaxall has no claim to own this, they have never paid real estate taxes on that property nor have they taken any financial responsibility to clean up the grossly contaminated land under the Basin that is the basis for much of their claimed holdings.

    What they are asking the city to do is give them an extra 1,700 apartments based on fake calculations – and even with this extraordinary gift the family members of Plaxall (who have ALL moved out of Queens where they were raised) still can’t quite manage to provide any meaningful community center or similar facilities – despite the billion dollar give-away deBlasio is about to trade for a few more “affordable” apartments (read 130% of Queens West income). Watch to see how quickly this family sells the land and drives off without once looking in their rear view mirror at the mess they’ve left behind in poor Pfohl’s name.

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