Some Heights Residents Question Velodrome for BB Park


When amateur cyclist and grandson of philanthropists Joshua P. Rechnitz pledged $40 million — the largest gift in New York park history — to build a field house with an indoor cycling track in Brooklyn Bridge Park back in April, it seemed like a gift from the heavens. Now, reports the New York Times, some local residents are questioning the size of the proposed building (larger than a football field) and the traffic it might draw to cobblestone streets with precious little parking. In the fall, architects will unveil the conceptual design and an environmental impact report. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has yet to approve the plan (they’re waiting on the conceptual design), which also requires state approval. “Putting this large of a building at one of the narrower necks of the park raises the question of what’s more important: green space or buildings?” said Fulton Ferry Landing Association head Joan Zimmerman. Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, says that argument misses the point: “It’s not taking away any green space; the plan always called for that location to be a maintenance building.”
A $40 Million Gift, a Proposed Bike Arena, and Now Skepticism [NY Times]
BB Park Gets $40 Million Donation for Community Rec Center [Brownstoner]

26 Comment

  • minard

    there are too many large ugly buildings in this narrow little park.
    I have never known a park group as in love with park buildings as the BBP.

    • Minard, what are you talking about? Most of those old buildings pre-date the park. The BBP folks tore down several old, unused, ugly buildings. There is more open space on Furman Street than ever before. Have you looked at the actual plans for the park? If anything, they’re in love with creatively turning decrepit piers into open spaces with multiple uses. They’re creating a world class water front park Why the hate?

  • Some of those folks in Brooklyn Heights have opposed every single aspect of Brooklyn Bridge Park. At this point they’ve rendered themselves completely irrelevant because they’re nothing more than obstructionists. Can anyone name one aspect of Brooklyn Bridge Park or a proposal that they applauded? Folks, there is already a building there that is almost the size of the one being proposed. How is that any different. And, it’s for people who want to race track bikes. What traffic are you talking about? They’ll ride their bikes to the building! Duh!

  • Some of those folks in Brooklyn Heights have opposed every single aspect of Brooklyn Bridge Park. At this point they’ve rendered themselves completely irrelevant because they’re nothing more than obstructionists. Can anyone name one aspect of Brooklyn Bridge Park or a proposal that they applauded? Folks, there is already a building there that is almost the size of the one being proposed. How is that any different. And, it’s for people who want to race track bikes. What traffic are you talking about? They’ll ride their bikes to the building! Duh!

  • I love that they pulled out the old “parking” canard…Its a biking facility, if there was ever a facility that virtually guaranteed limited parking needs, it would be this. Additionally even if people came from far away to use this facility (which frankly would be good news for Brooklyn and NYC), they really wouldn’t need to park all that close…since they will definitely have a BIKE to get from their vehicle to the facility.
    NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY

  • I love that they pulled out the old “parking” canard…Its a biking facility, if there was ever a facility that virtually guaranteed limited parking needs, it would be this. Additionally even if people came from far away to use this facility (which frankly would be good news for Brooklyn and NYC), they really wouldn’t need to park all that close…since they will definitely have a BIKE to get from their vehicle to the facility.
    NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY

  • Folks, did you even read the article? No one’s riding their bike here. It’s a track for special fixed-gear, no-brakes bikes.

    Still, parking is the least of the problems with this plan. The BBPC and its predecessors have held oodles of community hearings to find out what people in the area actually want. Open space, soccer fields, a pool…lots of options, but except for one rich guy from the Upper West Side, no one has been clamoring for a velodrome.

    The “maintenance building” is the real canard – you’re trying to tell me in this little sliver of a park, they were going to build a football-field-sized maintenance building? Please.

    • Have you looked at the plans for the remaining piers at BBP? The project includes all of those things, hard court sports, more open grassy areas, etc.. If some guy wants to create a brand new facility and in the process develop a premier location that attracts people to the area who otherwise would not have explored BBP, more power to him. I mean how many velodromes can you think of in NYC? None come to mind for me. Yet there once was a world class velodrome in Upper Manhattan. http://myinwood.net/new-york-velodrome/ This is an elitist sport? Well so is tennis but we have plenty of tennis courts in New York serving a relatively small percentage of New Yorkers who actually play the sport.

    • Have you looked at the plans for the remaining piers at BBP? The project includes all of those things, hard court sports, more open grassy areas, etc.. If some guy wants to create a brand new facility and in the process develop a premier location that attracts people to the area who otherwise would not have explored BBP, more power to him. I mean how many velodromes can you think of in NYC? None come to mind for me. Yet there once was a world class velodrome in Upper Manhattan. http://myinwood.net/new-york-velodrome/ This is an elitist sport? Well so is tennis but we have plenty of tennis courts in New York serving a relatively small percentage of New Yorkers who actually play the sport.

    • Special fixed gear, no-brakes bikes? So special that only every hipster and their 8-year-old has one?

  • Folks, did you even read the article? No one’s riding their bike here. It’s a track for special fixed-gear, no-brakes bikes.

    Still, parking is the least of the problems with this plan. The BBPC and its predecessors have held oodles of community hearings to find out what people in the area actually want. Open space, soccer fields, a pool…lots of options, but except for one rich guy from the Upper West Side, no one has been clamoring for a velodrome.

    The “maintenance building” is the real canard – you’re trying to tell me in this little sliver of a park, they were going to build a football-field-sized maintenance building? Please.

  • Oh my goodness! A 2500 seat arena!

    If only the journalists of these articles – who have no problems quoting the same guy for the Post and the Times – did some homework:

    “The Carroll Gardens Patch reports that the park volunteers—who, one assumes, have no interest in exaggerating attendance numbers at the park where the volunteer—counted an average of 60,000 visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park on July weekend days. On summer weekdays the park, which spans the DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights waterfronts from Pier 1 at the end of Old Fulton Street to Pier 6 at the end of Atlantic Avenue, saw 11,500 visitors.” http://bit.ly/rXRaNL

    If I hear of one more project stalled/altered/cancelled because of parking concerns I’m going to vomit. I you want traffic-free – ample parking living, move to the other 99% of America. That shouldn’t be the primary concern here, ever.

  • The day the news broke of the $40 million gift, I predicted that the Brooklyn Heights NIMBYists wouldn’t like a single thing about this and it has come to pass. Imagine the uproar if anyone tried to get approval to build something like the Heights Casino today (OMG, no windows! A deserted streetscape! An elitist sport! It breaks up the flow of Montague St! I am sure they would all shout.) Parks need to attract people year-round and an indoor facility will be a good way to get people into the park in February when they aren’t playing beach volleyball or kayaking. The local schools are starved for recreational space and some of those chubby kids might do well to get involved in bicycle racing. Those who are complaining about the lack of open space are viewing the park as it is now. Once pier 5 and 3(?) get finished, the fieldhouse won’t seem so close and people will begin to complain that the restrooms are too far away from the soccer fields.

  • Northheights, Did you know that there are actually plenty of people who ride track bikes on the streets of NY? It’s mostly the Critical Mass set but I suspect anyone who’s interested in racing them is also comfortable riding them on the street. And with the growing popularity of the Red Hook Crit each year I can easily see how this velodrome could be an interesting and poplular addition to the park. Hell if BBP does’t want it maybe Rechnitz can see a way to have it built in Red Hook. I’d rather see that on the old Revere Sugar Factory sight than a BJs or some other big box monstrosity.

  • Northheights, Did you know that there are actually plenty of people who ride track bikes on the streets of NY? It’s mostly the Critical Mass set but I suspect anyone who’s interested in racing them is also comfortable riding them on the street. And with the growing popularity of the Red Hook Crit each year I can easily see how this velodrome could be an interesting and poplular addition to the park. Hell if BBP does’t want it maybe Rechnitz can see a way to have it built in Red Hook. I’d rather see that on the old Revere Sugar Factory sight than a BJs or some other big box monstrosity.

  • you do understand you don’t ride yr pierce arrow at a velodrome, the bikes are special & no one will ride there -They Can’t Ride Those Bikes On Blacktop -get it? Everyone will drive their SUV with the bikes in back….

  • minard

    I’m very surprised at the level of hate and ignorance.
    First of all my fellow posters, Brooklyn Heights has always supported the park. The BHA is one of the staunchest BBP supporter and was way back when people from other communities such as Cobble Hill were adamant that the park was merely a development project etc. etc.
    If you are going to hate on a whole neighborhood and all its residents at least know the facts.
    Secondly, there are a number of buildings in the park, like the one pictured, that should be demolished to make way for more park. If a maintenance building is needed it should be a tenth the size.
    Thirdly, a velodrome is a large windowless box that could be accommodated anywhere. Why chose a waterfront site? I would rather have more open space and more green area, which is what we need more than anything in the community.

  • Whatever it takes to keep those dirty, phuqing hipsters from riding their bikes on the sidewalk I’m in favor of.

  • only in new york…

  • only in new york…

  • Minard:
    “First of all my fellow posters, Brooklyn Heights has always supported the park. ”

    Total and complete B.S.:
    saying “we support a park”, and then opposing virtually everything about the park that doesn’t fit your narrow NIMBY agenda does not equal support, it equals politics.

    Minard:
    “Thirdly, a velodrome is a large windowless box that could be accommodated anywhere.”

    Really have you seen the veledrome in Athens, or London, they are gorgeous buildings

    Minard:
    “Why chose a waterfront site?”

    Because it is a park for recreation, and bike riding, like basketball, tennis, carousels, restaurants and museums are often found in and near parks. Plus it makes the park more year round and the land is available for this use.

    Minard:
    “I would rather have more open space and more green area, which is what we need more than anything in the community.”

    Exactly!!!! thats why its called NIMBY, its is of only limited interest what you and your neighbors would prefer, this is a Park for all of Brooklyn and NYC. And some dude is donating $40MILLION to build this, not for more grass or gardens or fields, but for something else, that is new and cool and different; sorry you personally arent interest, noted and of extremely limited importance

    NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY

  • minard

    bryklinmind: how old are you?

  • minard

    bryklinmind: how old are you?

  • I love BBP, I like all the open space along Furman, I hope nothing gets built there and it is just open natural grassy space.

    I like the look of natural. So we have the manicured park, which is nice and then the rest could be left natural.

    why must every morsel spec of land have to have something built on it.
    I say more open space !!!

  • So why doesn’t he just plop down his 2 acre velodrome building in Central Park? Very close to where he lives on the Upper West Side – why, it would be right in his backyard, so he would definitely not be a NIMBY. It’s a park for all of Manhattan and NYC and last I checked, Central Park was pretty big and has plenty of land for it.

  • New York is the largest city in the country with a large and vibrant bicycle racing community, yet we do not have even one real bicycle racing track. NYC used to be the world capital of track racing, and we deserve to have a world class velodrome. I live just a mile from this proposed track, and I for one hope to be riding on it opening day! There are thousands of bicycle enthusiasts all over NYC who would love to use this track! It will also be multi-purpose, for tennis basketball, concerts, etc.

    The parking thing is a BS issue, there will be new parking at the Pier 1 hotel and there is parking available now at 306 Furman.

    These Heights people are really starting to bug me. NIMBY,NIMBY, NIMBY!