Brooklyn’s new waterfront park held for ransom by property owner

Is a neighborhood park in Brooklyn worth a half-billion dollars?

That may be the ultimate cost of Bushwick Inlet Park, which you’ve probably never heard of. This time of year, it’s full of children from around the city playing soccer. But it’s not much to look at.

Abutting the waterfront in Williamsburg, it consists of a five-acre playing field on what used to be a lot for rental trucks in the shadow of a big, ugly CitiStorage warehouse.

The warehouse and a defunct oil fuel depot next door were to have been bought, knocked down and turned into parkland, 28 acres in all.

In 2005, the Bloomberg administration promised the entire park to the neighborhood in exchange for massive, high-end rezoning in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. At that time, city officials imagined a price tag of around $60 million to $90 million.

The owner of CitiStorage, next door, Norman Brodsky, naturally assumed he had hit the jackpot. He now wants $500 million for his 11-acre site. If the city won’t pony up, his site will cleave the prospective park in two. The city will not, and should never, pay that kind of ransom.

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