The City Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the application for the Greenpoint Landing development project.
The project includes housing, a school, parkland and an esplanade on 22 acres of the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
Some residents protested, saying that construction will make the air more toxic.
Residents have also questioned whether the infrastructure can handle thousands of new residents, and how affordable it will be.
"It's going to bring, I think the number was about 15,000 people, and that would just be an amazing drain on all of our resources," said one person.
"Something less ostentatious would be good, with a little more respect to the existing architecture and the history of the neighborhood," said another.
"I think it would be a shame to have all those high, skyscraper-type buildings in front of the river, which, at the moment, we've got an amazing view," said a third.
"It's a shame if the community has a voice and then the city goes ahead and ignores it anyway," said a fourth.
Developers argued that they've done extensive testing and the site is clean.
They said that the project will include more than 400 affordable housing units, which they said that the area badly needs.
The City Council still needs to approve the project.