Monday, March 24, 2008

One-Third of Carroll Gardens' Subway Plaza Will Be Lost to Development

The residents of Carroll Gardens will lose one-third (22-feet) of the Second Place Subway Plaza (in red in the above picture) , and an important neighborhood tradition, when developer William Stern’s controversial out-of-context condominium complex is built over the subway plaza.

The 70-foot high condo project will be a massive intrusion at the corner of Smith and Second Place, which is an important gateway to the historic Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Envision a 7-story Hannah Senesh building, perhaps the most out-of-context building in Carroll Gardens, topped off with a hat.

The loss of a third of the plaza will also affect an important neighborhood tradition, that of reading a paper, talking to friends, or making those last puffs on a cigarette, while waiting until the F or G train appear on the Culver Viaduct, the 91-foot-tall subway bridge that spans the Gowanus Canal, as it makes its way to the below ground Carroll Street Station. When the train appears, everyone rushes down the steps to the subway to catch the Manhattan-bound train.

The Plaza has been open to the public in its current configuration since the subway was built in the 30s. The plaza consists of both public and privately owned sections. The publicly owned area consists of the 13-foot sidewalk and the 33’-5’25” courtyard. The courtyard is measured from the edge of the sidewalk (the house-side edge, not curb-side).

To visually understand where the courtyard ends and Stern’s property begins, look for the “S” in “Smith Street” in the mural on the freedom wall (see photo on the sidebar). From the “S”, it is 22-feet to the stairway to the subway. The property line then runs on a diagonal to a few feet north (towards the newsstand) of the MTA manhole. Stern claims that the Condo Association will maintain the 22- foot corridor that commuters will have to walk through to get to the subway stairway, as well as the 33’-5’25” courtyard.


MiMi said...

Thanks Barbara,

This is a great thing and will help my otherwise ignorant neighbors learn something or two. To see where a place comes from is to move ahead more cautiously. I will pass it along. I also have some things you may want to post.

Jean said...

Response from Councilmember de Blasio's office:

Councilmember de Blasio has requested further details from developer Billy Stein about the impact his 360 Smith St project will have on the Carroll Gardens' Subway Plaza. We take seriously the concerns that residents have raised about losing up to 1/3 of the subway plaza because of the project. When we get more information we will update everyone accordingly.