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PROTEST -> MASTER PLAN -> BRIDGE

 

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I’m just trying to find the bridge
Has anybody seen the bridge?
Please
Have you seen the bridge?
I ain’t seen the bridge!
Where’s that confounded bridge?

THERE’S going to be a protest this Saturday.  In general, the impetus behind it is to make sure the LIC community has a say in the development of three adjacent waterfront plots: Anable Basin, Waters Edge, and Lake Vernon.  Of equal importance is the request to recognize and rezone these three lots as a whole, not in isolation. The belief is that in doing so it will not only optimize the space for the neighborhood but also for the city, inasmuch as it will allow more comprehensive planning and be able to incorporate much larger economies of scale and/or amortization of concessions. The most obvious example, and one near and dear to The Editor’s heart, is a rec center.1

The logic of creating a Master Plan for the three lots is self-evident, yet the powers-that-be have been completely dormant in recognizing the tremendous opportunity right in front of them.  That’s what the protest is for!

Now, while the Rec Center is the most obvious oversight, and almost de rigeur when talking about concessions for variances or granting a rezoning, there’s another need that also lends itself to amortization, and frankly might be more timely than even, ahem …affordable housing.  That would be a pedestrian/bike bridge to Roosevelt Island, and a Master Plan without it would be an epic mistake because the three lots in question are the only logistical landing on the Long Island City side that would inextricably link it with Cornell Technion.

The irony is that there would be no greater beneficiary of this bridge and relationship than …TF Cornerstone!2  Followed closely by Plaxall, Rockrose, Avalon, and the owners of the Lake Vernon lot.3

In fact one may argue that this bridge would so greatly enhance the value of these three properties that another demand of the protesters – fewer units to curtail overcrowding in Hunters Point and the 7-train – should also be given some credence.  Heck I’m even willing to put aside my distaste and acquiesce on having an affordable housing component in this grand compromise.  But I think it’s also time to put the request for wetlands on the cutting board.  Lake Vernon is a private lot which I believe is zoned to allow a pair of 30-story buildings. The city would have to purchase this lot at the market price out of it’s own pocket – killing the economics or requiring even taller buildings on the existing plots.  Plus if builders wanna build in these flood plains and insurers want to insure them, that’s none of my business.

In summary, while it’s a little more prickly given that two plots are private and one is public, there’s something to be gained for everyone by upsizing and developing the whole waterfront.  In fact there’s almost a free lunch vis-a-vis the Technion bridge.  Think big!  The tangible link would be huge for Long Island City and all the things it aspires to be.  It’s time to get what we want and the city needs – be there Saturday.

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  1. and that rec center can also be optimally located where the most people could potentially have the closest walk to get there: on 5th Street & 46th Rd.
  2. They’re already long 3,000 apartments w/ 2,000 more proposed!
  3. The same could be said for a Rec Center, especially one located on the southern periphery of the Plaxall property

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