my speech read at City Hall last month regarding the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint rezoning laws
Here's the speech I read at City Hall last month for the Williamsburg/Greenpoint rezoning laws hearing.
(as Dean Dederko would say, "My eyes are going batty" from too much editing.)
What is important here?
Of course, no one wants to lose their views. Does the EPA know what kind of effect 40 story buildings will have on Air Quality and other environmental issues on an already overly toxic environment such as Williamsburg/Greenpoint?
Let me focus on our waterfront. I attended an amazing party in an abandoned building on the waterfront in 1989. Fully tapped into electricity, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black played that night. Countless other parties and performances followed. A sinking ship next to the waterfront was the site of a midnight underwater tea party(thank you Erin). After abandoned buildings were torn down, Friends planted gardens, built stone barbeques and benches then staged literary readings after cleaning up the rubble. The Hungry Marching Band rehearsed weekly and snaked around, uplifting everyone’s mood. In those early days, Police stopped by, amused, impressed, and even supported the creative use of that abandoned waterfront.
In more recent years, the waterfront has functioned as something of a town square.
On 9/11, various communities gathered on the waterfront to see what was going on, to find each other and to make sure their neighbors were all right. The night of the summer blackout a few years later, people again congregated on the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint waterfront, to check in with each other. Relieved after recognizing we were not under attack, and that we could survive peacefully together without electricity, a waterfront celebration, fireworks and all, ensued.
From what I understand the developers want to make a killing on this area. We are not for sale, and what you are looking for will evaporate before your eyes: this neighborhood full of magic, and creativity. Change is not always a negative thing. Let the community guide you to a healthy and equitable move forward.
I hope you understand… this neighborhood is not just an extension of Manhattan. This neighborhood has character that should not be crushed nor suffocated but honored. Let us guide you with this change without destroying the soul of this town. Rather than live in an atmosphere of hostility we prefer an atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect.