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Yesterday the restored war memorial in Saratoga Park was unveiled at a moving ceremony with an honor guard and local politicians. The field behind the statue, draped in a gold cloth until the end, was dotted with flags in memory of the 106 locals who died in World War I. After speeches by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Council Member Darlene Mealy and others, the names of the dead were read out loud and Mealy placed a wreath at the foot of the statue. A bugle played taps and the gold cloth was drawn up to reveal it.

It was so hot in the sun we worried someone would faint of heat stroke, but luckily no one did. (more…)

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The shoreline area of East River State Park in Williamsburg reopened today. The deteriorating waterfront has been spruced up with more beach sand, a new kayak launch and a wall of reclaimed granite blocks around the edge of the lawn. The state spent $526,000 restoring the park, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy and has lost several feet of beach to erosion in recent years.

The state also added new plantings, removed invasive plant species, installed dry wells to collect storm runoff, and created channels in the waterside rocks to prevent fish from getting trapped on the beach during low tide. Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Council Member Steve Levin joined State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey (pictured), Regional Director Leslie Wright and several other individuals who have played a critical role in the park’s creation and continued development to celebrate today’s reopening of the shoreline area of the park to the public. Check it out at Smorgasburg tomorrow!

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The dedication ceremony for the newly restored Victory and Peace World War I memorial in Saratoga Park — now draped in a blue plastic tarp behind a fence so it is not visible — will take place at noon on Wednesday, September 10. Speakers and attendees will include veterans, service members and residents of the community.

Bed Stuy resident and former marine Brian Hartig of Brownstone Detectives, who let us know about the date, has researched the lives of some of the 106 men honored on the statue and contacted the descendants of 22 of them. So far, a great-niece and a great-great niece and nephew of one of them plan to attend the event. “As a Marine who’s fought in a war, myself, this is another passion of mine,” he told us.

All the servicemen honored on the statue were born and raised in the neighborhood. World War I was “a devastating event for Stuyvesant Heights,” said Hartig in a statement he prepared about the unveiling. (more…)

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The war memorial in Saratoga Park has been restored! A reader tipped us off the finish line might be in sight. “Big news!!!” he emailed. “The Victory and Peace statue is resting on the pedestal again behind the chain-link fence!!!” When we stopped by recently, we could see the pedestal and the honor rolls of World War I dead on each side through the green fence, but the statue wasn’t there yet.  (more…)

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The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. has released 14 proposed designs for the two remaining housing developments on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the focus of a controversy over affordable housing in the park. The proposals will be discussed at a board meeting today, reported The Wall Street Journal, and the winner will be chosen around the end of the year. (more…)

Brooklyn Bridge Park is doing better than expected financially, so building affordable housing in the park is now feasible, according to a long story in The New York Times about the controversial proposal and the politics of the groups that oppose it. A jump in housing prices and park use have filled the coffers of the park, which is supported by private development on the park grounds. (more…)

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A Look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Because it was so carefully planned and executed almost 150 years ago, Prospect Park today looks as if it had always been there. Which, of course, was the whole idea. If you don’t know the park’s history, you could easily think that all that needed to be done was to enclose the park with a fence, cut some roads and pathways, build a couple of bridges, follies and a grand entrance or three, and mow the lawn. But in reality, Prospect Park is as constructed as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Both look real, and permanent, and in effect, are, but every aspect of both the park and Hogwart’s School has been carefully thought out and crafted.

After Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted finished Central Park in 1857, Brooklyn wanted a grand park too. The two cities were still fierce rivals, while also co-dependent on each other. Brooklyn’s city fathers came up with a park committee whose president was one of Brooklyn’s leading citizens, James S.T. Stranahan. The committee gave the job of designing the park to Egbert L. Viele, the Charlie Brown of landscape engineering. He had been the Chief Engineer of the Central Park project until Olmsted and Vaux came up with a better design and replaced him. (more…)

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A judge today will hear a motion to block the city from selecting a developer to build housing towers on two remaining empty lots on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Neighbors are suing the Brooklyn Bridge Park corporation to require them to perform a new environmental impact study to replace the one that was done in 2005, reported The Wall Street Journal. (more…)

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A group of residents who live near Prospect Park want to ban grilling in the park, because they say it causes toxic fumes to waft into playgrounds, public walkways and nearby homes. Park Sloper Daz Ryan has garnered 132 signatures so far on his Change.org petition, “Make Prospect Park Toxic Free by 2015.”

She told the Daily News she lives near the park on 14th Street and suffered through years of hazardous smoke seeping into her house. She is forced to close all her windows, and the smoke has even set off her carbon monoxide detector, she said.

Grilling is only allowed in certain areas on the outskirts of the park, but plenty of parkgoers ignore the rules and set up grills wherever they please, according to the story. The fumes also affect aquatic life, herons, ducks, turtles, frogs and possums, according to park cleanup volunteer Randi Lass.

“Runoff from the charcoal wind up in the lake, threatening all living things that require the lake for sustenance,” she told the News.

At least one park goer was outraged by the proposal. “This is everybody’s backyard,” he said as he grilled burgers. “Not everybody has the privilege of having a backyard.”

Borough President Eric Adams’ office said they were considering the issue. What do you think should be done?

Prospect Park-Goers Call for a Barbecue Ban in the Massive Green Space [NYDN]
Photo by Kristin Resurreccion

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Bush Terminal Piers Park on the waterfront in Sunset Park is 95 percent complete, according to city officials, but it’s still not open and will probably not be open this summer. It was originally supposed to ope in 2011, but the brownfield cleanup took longer than expected. Then it was set to open in fall 2013, then in spring this year. Now officials are mum on a target date, according to a story in Brooklyn Bureau.

Phase 1 of the project, located between 45th and 50th Streets along the shore, is 11 acres, with “great views of Lower Manhattan, two ponds, a picnic area, a lawn and wooded zone, plus crucial recreation spaces, including a softball/baseball field and the neighborhood’s first official soccer field.” So far, it has cost $38.5 million.

Eventually, it will hook up with the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and to “local streetscape improvements.”

Impatience Grows Over Promised Waterfront Park in Sunset Park [BK Bureau]
Photo by City Limits

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Pierhouse isn’t the only luxury condo development in Brooklyn Bridge Park setting records for eye-popping asking prices. A penthouse in One Brooklyn Bridge Park just went on the market and wants $32,000,000.

The unit is 11,000 square feet and has been “totally reconfigured,” according to the listing. There’s a formal dining room, a landscaped terrace, wine storage for 3,500 bottles, a screening room, library, central air, and a private guest suite. There are also two deeded parking spaces.

To put that in perspective, a 4,700-square-foot penthouse in the same building recently sold for $9,825,000, MNS announced last week. The building, whose address is 360 Furman Street, has 14 stories and 438 units.

Meanwhile, the penthouse in Dumbo’s Clocktower building at 1 Main Street, No. 16, at is still on the market for $18,000,000, according to StreetEasy.

Think this one will go for ask?

360 Furman Street, #PH Listing [Sothebys]