On BPR: Heights Association brain trust on the destruction of the Promenade

The leaders of the Brooklyn Heights Association pleaded their case to save the Brooklyn Heights Promenade from destruction on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio, telling hosts Vince DiMiceli and Anthony Rotunno there are alternatives to closing the beloved walkway for almost a decade, and that they couldn’t understand why Mayor DeBlasio on Friday endorsed a plan that would turn it into a six-lane speedway.

“The community was blindsided by the mayor’s comments,” said Heights Association executive director Peter Bray on the show. “I think it was extraordinarily unfortunate and inappropriate for him to comment at a point when the Department of Transportation has told the community that this is part of a lengthier community-engagement process.”

Both Bray and Heights Association president Martha Bakos Dietz said they would rather the city divert traffic from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway’s decrepit triple-cantilever to unused portions of Brooklyn Bridge Park instead of destroying the only good thing that ever came of the original construction of the highway in the first place — the Promenade.

And they, along with DiMiceli and Rotunno, wondered why the waterfront’s park, hotel, and condos were even built before the important stretch of highway was repaired in the first place.

Bray hinted that the recession 10 years ago probably played a role in the state wheedling its way out of its responsibility to fix the highway, but DiMiceli took things a step farther, hinting that special interests convinced government officials to push through the lucrative park plan over an infrastructure project.

“I think somebody made this decision,” he said. “Somebody in government said ‘Which one are we going to do?” and somebody said “You know, we’ve going to do the park.’ ”

Ever the journalist and following the mantra to “follow the money,” DiMiceli later wondered if it was those same special interests that are moving the highway skyward and next to the multi-millon dollar homes in the Heights, instead of down nearer the water passing the newly built, multi-million dollar condos within the green space.

Tune in now to hear it all, and make sure to stick around to the end when DiMiceli sprung a burning question on the civic gurus that we all want to hear answered: Is Brooklyn Bridge Park a good neighbor?

Brooklyn Paper Radio is recorded and podcast live every Tuesday at — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on BrooklynPaper.com, on iTunes, and of course, on Stitcher. Listen to a feed of the latest show anytime at BrooklynPaper.com/radio.