Real Estate & Property Law

Federal Court Questions Parkland Status Removal in Brooklyn Bridge Park Project

The National Park Service illegally removed two New York City Civil War-era buildings from parkland protection, said a New York U.S. district court judge Friday in a preliminary injunction order. The plan, according to the New York Post, was meant to boost private developer involvement in the Brooklyn Bridge Park project.

The order, written by U.S. District Court Judge Eric Vitaliano, stems from Brooklyn Heights Association v. National Park Service, filed by various New York organizations, including the Preservation League of New York State.

According to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York complaint, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration pressured the National Park Service into the decision removing the structures from parkland protection. The action claims that Adrian Benepe, commissioner of the New York City Parks Department, filed letters with the federal agency, stating that the two structures were mistakenly included on a federal map.

The National Park Service took the information from city and state agencies “without confirming or even investigating them or requesting any additional information or public comment,” Vitaliano wrote in his April 8 order.

The structures in question are known as the Empire Stores site and the Tobacco Warehouse, a roofless structure that from 2003 to 2008 was used for outdoor, free public programing.

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