Thursday, June 14, 2007

Could Coney Island Be Among Countries Most Endangered Places?

As a result of the development explosion happening in Brooklyn and the rest of the country, The National Trust For Historic Preservation has placed Brooklyn’s industrial waterfronts as well as other historic areas across the country, on its list of The 11 Most Endangered Historic Places - 2007 - due to developers demolishing them for profit over the area’s new hip status

Though Coney Island is not part of their endangered list, the same results could happen here if the city doesn’t stay on course with their promise to uphold the strategic plan.

The endangered places specifically mentioned by the group for Brooklyn are its waterways, which are part of its industrial heritage. And include maritime operations, factories, warehouses and sugar refineries. And a good part of it is not simply historic but still a part of today’s industrial work force. Almost a quarter of a million New Yorkers currently hold industrial jobs and many small manufacturing enterprises have housed their companies’ facilities in these historic industrial buildings. And this rapid increase in residential development has threatened most of Brooklyn’s working-class waterfront.

Many have already been wiped off the map. In Williamsburg it has displaced many of the working class as well as the artist community that have sought refuge there. Also in Red Hook; a Civil War-era ship repair dock was recently in operation before being demolished to make way for an IKEA parking lot.

The National Trust Historic Preservation sites states:
Brooklyn’s real estate market is booming. The City’s Department of Buildings issued 1,740 new building permits in Brooklyn in 2005, amounting to four new building permits per day. In that same period, the department issued 1,924 permits for demolition, or five demolition permits per day. And the city is rezoning to make way for residential development without adequately planning for the preservation of Brooklyn’s industrial heritage.

The group says, in order to keep the City’s waterborne regional transportation network in operation and its maritime industry competitive, it is extremely critical to preserve Brooklyn’s historic docks. And the city needs to do a much better job in implementing stronger preservation laws and comprehensive planning to obtain suitable development.

The New York Newsday also reported:
Parts of New York City's fabled waterfront are disappearing faster than the Brooklyn accent of "dese, dem, and dose."
Coney Island is not part of this specific heritage but is part of an equally important heritage of New York. And the Historic Preservation Endangered list should come as a warning for the city to make sure it does not falter under pressures by developers in Coney Island for the sake of hasty and inapt changes in the area.

Discussion on CIUSA board

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