Developers are proposing a massive project to transform the Red Hook waterfront that could include a new subway tunnel to extend the 1 line from Lower Manhattan into Brooklyn. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
The waterfront in Red Hook is old and underused. The community can feel removed from the rest of the city. There is no direct subway service, and few tall buildings.
But a proposal unveiled Tuesday would change that.
"We have to act," said Chris Ward, chief executive at AECOM Metro New York. "Not doing anything will leave this neighborhood at risk."
Ward presented a broad blueprint Tuesday to transform Red Hook by adding as many as 50,000 new housing units and extending the 1 train train from southern Manhattan.
But the plan aims for growth that is equitable and sustainable. After flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy showed how vulnerable Red Hook is, the plan proposes parks and other improvements that would protect it from severe storms.
It also focuses on the economic needs of the community. One-quarter of the housing would be affordable.
"Economic isolation, the Red Hook Housing Projects, the level of poverty, there is so much a function of connectivity and transportation," Ward said.
AECOM says the tax revenues generated by the development could partially pay for extending the 1 train from Manhattan into Red Hook through a new tunnel under the harbor, a direct link to the rest of the city.
Some see AECOM's vision as a fanciful idea that will go nowhere.
"Until we really deal with access to opportunity and not just transportation access, and until we actually invest in human capital, a lot of folks don't see themselves in the visions that's put forward," said Michelle de la Uz, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee.
"There is no public high school in Red Hook. So we're talking about all this growth, and the high school graduation rate is less than 50 percent," said Jill Eisenhard, founder and executive director of the Red Hook Initiative.
AECOM says this is just meant to be the framework to be used as a starting point for discussion with the community. The Port Authority and the MTA say they'll examine it.
Independent experts tell us that the $3.5 billion cost for a new subway tunnel is unrealistically low.