Brooklyn NIMBYs Remove Online Poll After Broad Public Support Confirmed for Schools and Housing at 80 Flatbush Avenue

80 Flatbush Avenue, rendering courtesy Alloy DevelopmentOutdated design for 80 Flatbush Avenue, rendering courtesy Alloy Development

New York’s NIMBYs rarely choose battles worth fighting, needlessly and maliciously bogging down the process of new development in many of the city’s neighborhoods. But one of the more vindictive melees now taking place is being fought over 80 Flatbush Avenue, a pair of mixed-use buildings that would add substantially to Brooklyn’s housing stock, promising 900 new apartments, office space, retail and cultural amenities, and two schools totaling 700 seats. After launching a website, NIMBYs opposing the project have doubled down on their regressive bottom line, deleting a poll they themselves had created, after a 3:1 voting margin in favor of the proposal threatened to undermine a message without merit.

80 Flatbush Avenue will not be a destination for oligarchs. It will house over 900 new apartments atop two brand new schools and retail space. 200 of those units will be designated as affordable. The arrangement will provide housing for humans, and opportunities for both adults and children, including the relocated Khalil Gibran International Academy. It is also located directly across the street from what was Brooklyn’s tallest tower from 1929 til the early 2000s. The scale is proportional to the surrounds, which include plans for a supertall at 9 DeKalb Avenue, just a few blocks away. The intention is positive, and the plan is attractive. There is no problem with 80 Flatbush Avenue.

There most certainly is a problem with the people who would cast a burgeoning neighborhood in amber, just as its actual potential begins to be reached. The West Village is proximate to just about every subway line in the Five Boroughs yet it has remained a graveyard of nineteenth century architecture despite the amount of capital all New Yorkers have paid into the development of its infrastructure. The area surrounding 80 Flatbush could be subsumed into a similarly Disney-esque and under-built state relative to its potential, if the actions of the moneyed few are not met with resistance from everyone else who stands to benefit from an imminent proliferation of new apartments, jobs, and opportunities for schooling their children.

While moneyed NIMBYs often use local community boards to oppose development, putting the fight online is a way to allow a larger proportion of the community to contribute to discourse. Public meetings require participants have free time to spend in the first place, which is why the most vocal opponents of development are typically those whose accumulations of lifelong privilege afford the ability of partaking in vociferous pointless discourse when other members of the community are busy working or caring for families.

This accumulation of privilege is lacking in most neighborhoods composed of people who work, which is why places like Greenwich Village have been cast in formaldehyde while places like Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy have continued to evolve. The democratizing effect of the internet is one way to mitigate this gaping chasm of representation, and in the case of 80 Flatbush, it has proven that the NIMBYs are set on ignoring widespread public support, revealed in their own poll.

80 Flatbush Poll Results as of 3:11 PM on 4/19/2018

80 Flatbush Poll Results as of 4/19/2018 at 3:11PM. By 4/20, the margin was over 3:1.

The removal of the only measure of public opinion from the website of 80 Flatbush’s opponents is further confirmation that these NIMBYs have no interest in serving the public good. It does not matter that the surrounding community supports the towers. In fact, this is verification that the selfish interests of the privileged figures at the center of the group are all that matters.

Amended 80 Flatbush poll results as of 4/22/2018

America’s regressive politics do not start in the Midwest or the South. When New Yorkers look to the reactionary opinions fomenting elsewhere, too often, expressions borne from desperation are conflated with convictions perceived as absolute ignorance. But New Yorkers know better. Or at least, they should. Brooklyn’s educated NIMBYs are fully versed on the politics of displacement, they know that segregation is wrong, and they know the impact disenfranchisement has on those whom it does not benefit. Yet, they continue their campaigns of obfuscation, which have the singular goal of keeping newcomers out of their neighborhoods, and maintaining a status quo from which they alone benefit.

The definition of deplorable is “deserving condemnation,” and in the case of this behavior, no description would be more appropriate. As NIMBY outrage frothed from the same logical conclusion in a recent post on similar tactics deployed against 200 Amsterdam Avenue, it further confirmed a worsening reality in New York. The destitution that has become increasingly prevalent across the Heartland is, in fact, a direct outcome of what has happened in this country’s cities, from coast to coast. Even in supposedly blue states like California, housing equality is an issue fought against tooth and nail by the very same people who cast blanket-labels against anyone who can’t afford and benefit from the artificially-inflated cost of housing in metropolitan cores.

Politics are inherently based on perceptions of what constitutes a group’s self-interest, and said group then acting upon that interest. This is why actions based on a desire to exclude, deny, and deprive other American citizens of comfortable habitation so that costs can continue to be artificially inflated for those who profit from the housing shortage are morally reprehensible.

Deplorables do not start in the South or the Midwest. Just as fashion, food, and culture are exported from cities to the heartland, so are hatred and desperation. Correcting the problems that have begun manifesting so negatively across so much of this country demands dealing with their root cause. And that cause is the reprehensibly regressive bottom-line championed by NIMBYs who would delete and pretend a poll they themselves created never existed, rather than acknowledge that New Yorkers do indeed support new skyscrapers in Central Business Districts.

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40 Comments on "Brooklyn NIMBYs Remove Online Poll After Broad Public Support Confirmed for Schools and Housing at 80 Flatbush Avenue"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: How come they do like that? (Thanks to Nikolai Fedak)

  2. Most of these anti-everything NIMBYs in these coastal cities are liberal. Ironically (or more appropriately, hypocritically) they claim to support illegals and sanctuary cities but not when it comes to their own backyards.

  3. It looks like a nice development.

  4. I think it would be nice if you stayed out of the politics of development and confine yourself to reporting on the developments. We know you are pro development. Neighborhood interests have never been a feature of your site so stay with what you do.

  5. I would echo the last comment. This article is very misleading, and undermines my faith in his site’s reporting. Just spend 5 minutes reading other coverage of this issue, and you can easily see that the central opposition to 80 Flatbush is that goes too far — introducing a 74-story building on a residential block and attempting to max out FAR at 18 when the rest of downtown BK is zoned at 12 — and, in fact, does very little for the community in return — the project only nets 164 seats for the public schools and the affordable housing wont’t be in the first phase (in addition, housing that meets the definition of “affordable housing” is increasingly expensive, as the demographics of the community shift with these developments, and fail to take into account the space needs of families). This community is increasingly savvy about big developments after Atlantic Yards and all of the deceits, delays, and losses there. To portray this as knee jerk NIMBYism is not only dishonest, but also denys your readership nuanced portrayals of such development. Other real estate blogs, newsletters, sites have done an excellent job of portraying the real issues at stake and actually capturing the human element. This community has not opposed the countless other buildings that have gone up with Such intensity, and there are good reasons. I would like to see you give this issue fairer, more honest treatment.

    • This is Downtown Brooklyn. Barclays Center is across the street and has every subway line in the city. If you don’t want to live around people NYC probably isn’t the spot for you.

      • Emma brought up some good points, which you dismissed in an ad hominem attack. This is not the way to treat YIMBY readers.

      • I live on State, across the street from the proposed development. I can’t claim that I like the development, but I won’t take an active role in protesting it. Taking into account transit:
        – Loading docks on State and 3rd Avenue will tangle traffic going forward. I question whether trucks will even fit on State. I expect State will be closed for the duration of construction, at least after demo.
        – We can’t keep talking about new retail space as a boon to a neighborhood with actual retail blight happening even before new construction of big block buildings.
        – To call 105 votes in an online poll “broad public support” is disingenuous, at best.
        – The building really is out of context. Yes, yes, Downtown Brooklyn, Transit, Williamsburgh Savings Bank. But the south side of State is brownstones from 4th Avenue almost to Hoyt. A 900 foot building on the north side is an eyesore to the people at ground level, even if it is not to people who are looking at a skyline.

      • Yes the new development is a dramatic difference, a much higher FAR. These changes are necessary for the entire city though, you cannot tell people to not want to move here, the only option is to build more housing. If our city’s developers were free to dramatically increase our housing stock, we wouldn’t see such expensive “affordable housing”.

        To only be concerned with what neighborhoods’ current residents want is not fair to the entire city’s housing stock.

    • Restricting this type of development will not stop, or even slow gentrification. I will say that the NYC definition of affordable housing does leave people out, but restricting development is always worse in this regard.

      And this is exactly the place for larger buildings. You must take into consideration the mass transportation connections. NYC is not a museum.

  6. Thank you, Emma. You’ve said everything I would have said. And to Nikolai, it doesn’t really matter what we call this block (actually, half-block), or that it’s located near Barclays. The point is that it is not zoned for these types of buildings, and for good reason — State and Third can’t support this type of development. It’s actually nonsensical. And the FAR was already raised a few years ago! As-of-right, the developers could already build a 40-story high rise, but they got greedy and got in bed with ECF. NYYIMBY should be totally opposed to this lack of transparency when it comes to building — shouldn’t YIMBY want more bids from developers and more developers involved? That’s not what we got here. Furthermore, all of the entrances, trash, loading docks, etc., are not on Flatbush, but are on State Street and Third Avenue. One can determine simply by walking down these streets that a 74-story building just won’t fit — not because people don’t like the looks of it — which is true — but density wise. This is bad architecture, bad planning, and bad education policy — YIMBY should be calling that out. We have to start saying no to these corporations, who won’t pay any taxes for this project, or we won’t have a city or a country left.

  7. Yimby News: Please attend the myriad community level meetings surrounding this project before writing a piece like this. This makes Yimby seem like a shill for the developers. While people are in favor of affordable housing and schools– this development delivers little of both (no affordable housing component until at least 2024, assuming all financing comes through), only 100+ additional school seats. That’s why there’s almost unanimous community opposition to this project. Your reporting that it’s elitist nimby’s is recklessly off the mark. The NYC public advocate, local residents, most politians (who are all in favor of housing and school space) are lined up against this development. The developers refuse to budge on FAR for one reason: greed.

    • Most people in the community don’t even care about development.

      There is a vocal minority in every neighborhood that repeats this process time and time again.

      Additionally, this is not only about this neighborhood. This is about New York City and the region really. It makes the most sense to build very densely in areas like this, which are rich in transportation options.

  8. I like this development, though I think it should have more office space and less apartments. Some claim newyorkyimby is not being honest. However I think the people opposing this project on the basis that it is too tall and on a residential block/neighborhood do themselves a disservice by painting an misleading exaggerated picture. 380 flatbush would be accross the street from Brooklyns tallest building, and on the busiest part of Flatbush avenue (Downtown Brooklyn proper). Anyone can see that. people will not support the opposition if they insult their intelligence. That being said, there is already too many of these residential luxury towers in the vicinity and I can see how they could drain the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. Their opposition arguments should be based on the reality of the area not an exaggerated picture. Id also like to add that Newyorkyimby using the Village as an example is not good. Everyone including myself loves the fact the Village kept its character. And thank god for Jane Jacobs that defeated the cross Manhattan Highway.

    • About the Village.

      Who knows what the village would be like if it were denser? Density does not equal bad. And part of the Village’s success is it’s central location and proximity to major high-income employment centers and amenities. And the character of the Village has indeed changed over the years. The Village of 2018 is not the same village of the 1990s, or the 1970s, or the 1950s, and so on. Of course, if it were a highway, that’s different, because a chunk would be missing.

      • I think the village if not protected would have ended up becoming the Upper East Side, twice as big and with no park or water in between. Not a pretty picture in my opinion. There should always be a balance between development and preservation. There are some things worth preserving. As much as I love skyscrapers Im glad the village was preserved for us and generations to come.

  9. Id also like to add If I lived in the neighborhood I would support this development with more office space and less residential. As office space is less demanding on the neighborhoods resources and a plus economically. Also situated on Flatbush avenue, it would act as a shield against all the noise and pollution coming from one of the busiest avenues in NYC.

  10. Can someone be specific about what online poll was taken down?

  11. Very interesting discussion in the comments. I think this building might be a good addition to the neighborhood and I’m hoping the NIMBYs are actually just using this as a negotiation tactic for more school seats, more affordable housing, etc.

    Also, Nikolai’s political screed is pretty amusing. I don’t necessarily buy it, but it’s a fun read.

  12. Tim Prendergast | April 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Reply

    I enjoy this website and support development in general but this opinion piece is way over the top. Demonizing the people who provide a check and balance against out of control development helps no one except the developers. Attacking people who are justifiably concerned as low scale neighborhoods suddenly turn into skyscraper neighborhoods. The term “thou dost protest too much” comes to mind. Your editorial is obnoxious. You undermine this website and make those of us who are pro development suspicious of your motives. Stick to reporting. Let the people decide.

  13. Tellya what?
    When rapacious developers and their shills pay attention to public opinion polls when it comes to overdevelopment, then maybe your column would make more sense and have some validity.
    But here – this rare time – the community activists, whom you excoriate with a sophomoric epithet, are merely doing what developers do ALL the time.
    Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

  14. Outstanding Article.

  15. This caught me by surprise.

    While YIMBY is all over this site, it’s just as flawed approach as NIMBY. Are you going to support all new skyscrapers even if it’s a one big strip club? What if it’s constructed near an already overloaded subway station? What if casts shadows over a small and single shared public park/garden in the area?

    It’s quite sad there is no law in place in NY to reasonably balance and settle the business priorities of a new development and local communities needs/requirements for the new development. Something akin to Act 250 in Vermont (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_250_(Vermont_law))

  16. I live and own nearby and support this development | April 23, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Reply

    Hard to understand how this development doesn’t move forward ultimately given the administration’s agenda regarding access to housing and education. All of this silliness is likely a sideshow prior to decision-making by the bodies who actually call the shots on these issues.

  17. Howard Miller | April 23, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    Wow! Yeah, while self-serving, selfish & self-interested Knee-Jerk “NIMBY-ism” which is often done by both “liberals” who own property to protect their investments by artificially limiting the supply of housing, it simply isn’t true that our city’s real estate dynasties, many of whom give generously to the Republican party are completely innocent of playing the “Nimby”-card when it suits them, be it to further their own selfish agendas, or to punish/”pay back” those within their own universe whom has fallen out of their “good graces”.

    Indeed, a perfect example might be all of the bs that was done to stop “Diller Park” by one particular, and powerful, real estate family who held a long standing grudge against Barry Diller…

    Or sometimes I wonder, in how many other situations like “Diller Island”/Park are there when “dirty tricks” are being played by the some with real estate universe who generously fund community groups are branded “NIMBY’s” but really are nothing more than fronts to either imperil rivals’ plans or to sabotage rezoing/redevelopment efforts undertaken by the city or other community groups?

    Please, simply blaming elitists or labeling “NIMBY’s” as always being hostile to development for no valid reason is as shallow and irresponsible as suggesting that historic districts such as the West Village lack merit for preservation.

    Perhaps if our country embraced Urban Planning the need for historic districts such as the West Village might not exist.

    However, how is it that our country, and especially our own supposedly “World Class City”, which has convinced itself that it knows better than cities around the world that do embrace Urban Planning far better than we do, has one “Fugly” building after another littering our skyline, while cities like London, has several spectacular buildings of all sizes, tall and small, that are far more architecturally impressive than what we’re seeing built in our country, and especially here in NYC?

    Please, Hudson Yards is turning out to be one of the biggest examples of a wasted opportunity to build spectacularly attractive, 21st century iconic “Super Talls” it’s NOT even funny!

    Each building seen rising so far in the Hudson Yards is “Fuglier” than the next, that it almost makes one wish Mayor Bloomberg succeeded with his attempt to build a new stadium to host the Olympics, and thereafter the NY Jets, than the boring and banal crap seen rising in its place after the NIMBY’s (who knows maybe they were fronts for the developers who are now polluting our skyline with these “Fuglies”?) were victorious at killing off Bloomberg’s dream of hosting the Olympics by claiming the automobile traffic for the dozen or so football games would overwhelm nearby West Side communities, when what’s replacing Bloomberg’s Olympic Stadium is a dense mass of Super-Talls, that oh so conveniently will be home to the richest and most powerful companies and law firms in NYC, high-end retail, restuarants & entertainment most New Yorkers cannot afford anyway, or of course, multi-million dollar condos and/or ultra expensive apartment rentals that, again, most New Yorkers will NEVER be able to afford.

    Yeah, right, those dozen or so football games after the brief two weeks of Olympics would’ve been
    so much worse in terms of traffic and air pollution than the increased traffic and pollution that’s sure to come when all those shiny, new, but alas, FUGLY Super Talls at Hudson Yards are completed in a part of the city that until recently was a mass transit desert, but now only suffers from being mass transit deficient after the sole subway station at 34th Street/Hudson Yards opened to serve the millions and millions of newly built square footage that will house all of the new and very expensive/lucrative high end office space, retail, restaurants, hotels and housing that just so happens to be being built in a mass transit deficient section of the city that already CANNOT handle the traffic clogging its streets and neighborhoods from the ramps to/from the Lincoln Tunnel…

    Oh, yeah, because the, NIMBY’s that “feared” an Olympic Stadium, and killed that to allow the Fugly stuff that’s rising at Hudson Yard’s now were ALL pure as the “Lily Snow” and none of them were funded by others’ with hidden agendas that instead eyed the opportunity they’d lose if all that undeveloped land were to be “wasted” on an Stadium instead of the Fugly buildings rising now that will likely be far more toxic to surrounding neighborhoods and communities than that Stadium would’ve up!

    If you want to bash “NIMBY’s” unilaterally, fine.

    But offer something more than unfettered, unrestrained, real estate development that would tear apart historic districts because they’re “useless relics” from a bygone era that hinders “heroic developers” from building affordable housing.

    Please, if most of us had $1 for every (broken) promise of affordable housing made by our city’s real estate developers, we’d all be as rich as those real estate developers – but of course, we’re NOT!

    And until our country (or city) gets serious about embracing Urban Planning, then don’t act all surprised when NIMBY’s, legitimate in their objectives, or those treacherous ones that are funded by members of our city’s very wealthy, and elite of all elites, real estate community become the obstructionists that you lament them as being.

    Yeah, you’re right, very often “NIMBY’s” in our city are obstructionist, hypocritical, toxic and unwelcome.

    But playing an overly simplistic “blame game” that oh so conveniently omits the long known “tradition” of “dirty tricks” played by the exceptionally wealthy and well connected real estate interests in our city’s and state’s politics, and most assuredly via some problematic/litigious “Community Groups” that really are fronts for developers and/or existing landlords (instead of just “elitist” property owners in historic districts such as the West Village) as happened with “Diller Island”/Park is a glaring omission in and of itself.

    Further, likening our city’s history and tradition of expertly deploying NIMBY’s to influence public policy or to impact the outcome of proposed development projects to our nation’s broader political divisions, which ironically, has only escalated exponentially since a certain NYC-based real estate developer descended his faux gold escalator from his sprinkler-free, gilded tower, is pure folly.

    To me, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Our NIMBY “problem” has so much more to do with specific local, public urban planning policies (or actually the lack thereof) and bears little, if any larger relationship with the more commonly experienced NIMBY issues elsewhere regarding land use development in our country, such as the location of incinerators to replace landfills, or other “undesirable” things that more often than not are proposed for development in, or adjacent to white, affluent suburban communities anyway.

    But in NYC, NIMBY’s, in the absence of a cogent approach to urban planning are all we have.

    And if it’s a choice between being paralyzed by our NIMBY’s versus handing over historic districts to developers and their “grand plans” to tear down “useless relics” from the 19th and early 20th centuries in pursuit of profits that these developers will benefit disproportionately from, then we’ll just all have to accept the NIMBY’s we’re stuck with whether they’re sincere in their intentions, or not.

    Or whether we like them, or not.

    But until we have urban planning of the sort seen elsewhere, in other world class cities that embrace old with new, and which seem to result in far more interesting architectural masterpieces of all shapes and sizes than we’re seeing rise in what we like to claim is the “Capital of the World”, such as those seen in London which has a far more interesting 21st century skyline emerging than we’ll ever have with what’s being built or proposed so far, plus a far richer, more dynamic architectural texture for buildings of all shapes, sizes and ages than we have here, I’ll gladly take the homegrown “NIMBY’s” were stuck with, which have EVERYTHING to do with our particular local politics, and practically NOTHING to do with the larger political divisions being sowed by our city’s (Faux) President.

    There! That’s my free-association, and unofficial “Op-Ed” rant/rebuttal to the official one posted by the “voice of the real estate community” that this blog, much as I do enjoy reading for its coverage of new development in NYC, pretty much is.

    Had a reasoned and thoughtful discussion of urban policies and planning, along with examples of successes and failures in cities that embrace urban planning as a potent, and useful tool to balance out old with new, tall and small, and overall public needs versus private profit, would’ve actually served a public good – instead of being shameless in its efforts to advance a pro-real estate industry agenda that has proven time and time again that it can neither be taken at its word, or trusted to fulfill its grand promises of tangible public good, and stunningly gorgeous skyscrapers dotting our skyline, when in the end, all we get is a dense forest of very profitable, “value-engineered” FUGLY Super Talls like those rising at Hudson Yards that not only are unbearably fugly, they’re also going to be largely the province where one must be affluent (or merely work for the affluent) to have any reason to ever go to this part of the city anyway.

    To suggest those who are fighting development in downtown Brooklyn, where other than perhaps at Pacific Park (nee Atlantic Yards) much of the buildings there apart from mandated “affordable housing” set asides is itself luxury housing is disingenuous at best.

    Sorry, but it is…

    • I cant agree with you more about Hudson Yards. The location,The buildings, layout and architecture are so flat, boring and depressing. There is no variance, just blue glass pillars. I would not want to work or live there.

    • such a clear and concise comment

  18. I see that Nikolai is on one of his insulting, name-calling, illogical, over-generalizing, take-no-prisoners rants ….again
    – quite out of characters for your otherwise informative website.
    Such an over-reaction! Was poor Nikolai perhaps scared by a so-called NIMBY as a child, with resulting emotional scars?
    The only poll – online or otherwise – that would be valid would be one composed of the nearby residents that would be most affected.
    And those nearby residents, no matter what excitable Nikolai claims, have both a right and a duty to express their opinions on the place they call home. And to have a meaningful input as to its future, and theirs –as everyone should.
    It called democracy Nik, something which you obviously do not value nor understand.

  19. An online poll lies at the heart of this sorry rant? Leaving aside the question of whether it is worthwhile taking an online poll seriously, it seems odd that the a responsible reporter would not have reached out to the community group in question for some kind of comment or explanation. Given the nature of online polls, it is quite possible the poll was taken down because it was being abused by big real estate trolls.

    Which community group was hosting this poll – the Boerum Hill Association which is at the forefront opposing this megadevelopment? The writer mentions that a Nimby group launched a website to oppose 80 Flatbush, but no where in this piece is the group or the actual website identified. The only 80 Flatbush website I can find via google is pro-development.

    As for the canard that the location of 80 Flatbush is appropriate for a development of such scale because of the many subway lines that converge there – please, has anyone making this statement with a straight face tried boarding a subway train at Nevins Street or at Atlantic Terminal/Pacific Street during the morning rush? The subways don’t even have the capacity for the current number of riders.

  20. Will there be a school included in the East Side Re-Zoning? Maybe the Bill Greene School for Politics & Real Estate?

    Can you help me get in touch with the New York NIMBY group? I didn’t think we were organized.

  21. The west village is not a “graveyard of nineteenth century architecture”. It’s a beautiful neighborhood and the only one in manhattan I’d ever want to live in. I’m from williamsburg and live in Greenpoint now and I’m not a big fan of all the new buildings here.

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