March 21, 2013
By Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Councilman Stephen Levin
By any measure, Brooklyn Bridge Park has become one of the city's great public spaces — a real, world-class park along the Brooklyn waterfront, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
As part of completing the park, a couple of very fortunate developers are being given the right to build a hotel development, with condos, in the park right under the bridge.
Projects on public land tend to have the basic labor standards that are becoming all too rare citywide. There are two main reasons: one, because labor standards generally mean higher quality work and services; and, two, because good jobs are in our interests as a community and as a city.
Unfortunately, despite being a public project, on public land, benefiting a public park, this project does not ensure either of those fundamentals.
Developments that are subsidized by tax dollars or on public lands should reflect the interests of the community. This development will forever sit under the Brooklyn Bridge; and here, in such a prominent place, it is vital that we ensure high-quality development and high-quality jobs that reflect the values of our city and its people.
Yet the developers selected for the project – Starwood and Toll Brothers – are refusing to offer the fair-wage, safe jobs workers deserve. Those standards simply must be the case when public assets are used for private development.
Starwood and Toll Brothers need to be responsible. They must ensure the job security, safety training, and wages and benefits families can be raised on and workers deserve. These are the kind of jobs that enhance and grow New York City’s economy.
Without proper protections in place, New York City will be in a race straight to the bottom, hurting entire communities by cutting wages, benefits and even safety standards for workers – and for neighbors and visitors to the park.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park developers must step up and take responsibility for the community in which they’re building by making a public commitment to create good jobs with proper safety training, fair wages, and quality workmanship, and working with the unions who represent the construction, maintenance, and hotel workers to provide quality, long-term jobs for our community and our city.
With it's majestic views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, not to mention its place within a real, world-class park, it's clear that the Pier 1 development site in Brooklyn Bridge Park is one-of-a-kind — unlike any other site in New York City. The developers will no doubt benefit greatly from the development. We have a collective responsibility as a city to ensure that all New Yorkers share in that prosperity.