Sep 9, 2011

How Can We Use the Waterfront Now? A Greenpoint Community Meeting

How Can We Use the Waterfront Now? A Greenpoint Community Meeting
Tuesday, Sep. 13, 6:30 PM
Polish National Home
261 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint

Institute for Applied Reporting and Urbanism and the organizers of Bring to Lightthe light- and projection-art festival planned for Oct. 1 in Greenpoint, invite you to join us on Sep. 13 at 6:30 PM at the Polish National Home for a meeting about realizing a shared vision for the waterfront in our neighborhood.

How Can We Use the Waterfront Now? will present plans for this year's Bring to Light festival, including the scope of the event and all of the ways the organizers are responding to concerns about noise, crowds, flows of pedestrians, bikes, and sanitation. We will give neighbors a chance to respond to those plans and share ideas about how we can improve the festival. We are also inviting a diverse group of community activists, designers, artists, officials, and leaders to provide a broader picture of plans in effect and under development for the transformation of the East River in Greenpoint into an active publicly accessible and sustainable environment.

We would be especially grateful for the participation of those of you who enjoyed the festival last year, as well as everyone who has concerns or misgivings about the role of artists and young people in our community. We believe that this event can only be a success if it models a better future for Greenpoint. We would like the event to be inclusive as possible and build consensus among all the groups that live in our community. We would like to come out of the meeting with an agenda on a number of related issues.

Last year, we produced Bring to Light through an accelerated two-month process of consultation with community activists, elected officials, parks advocates, the city administration, business owners, and neighbors. It was done on a shoestring budget, funded by donations and our own personal investment, through volunteer labor and the commitment of a few individuals. Your participation turned the American playground and Noble Street into a magical place filled with families, young people, and people who have lived in Greenpoint for generations.

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Since the event last year, a new floor was opened for artist studios in the Greenpoint Terminal Market, Fowler Arts Collective has grown and prospered, new cafes have opened up along Franklin Street, a new pier was completed with ferry service connecting the neighborhoods along the East River, the Transmitter Park is nearing completion, planning of the the West Street Greenway was initiated, the Exxon-Mobil case was settled, and the Department of Environmental Conservation began consultations regarding the environmental benefits agreement for the Newtown Creek watershed. There was also a hugely controversial proposal for a Night Market on West Street that was rejected by neighbors and raised many fears about the future direction of Greenpoint.

We want to help create the kind of cultural life and waterfront access you envision for the area. We missed many of you during last year's community outreach process. Are there ways we can produce the festival that can be a tool of advocacy and an advanced front in waterfront access for the public? In the future, would you like to see a children's science center, a small burger stand on the edge of the water, a beer garden, or a protected wilderness for endangered species? A swimming pool in the East River, a place for small boats to launch, a museum dedicated to the industrial history of the area and its service to our country, a preserved historic site, affordable housing, or a place to play? In the absence of real estate development, we have an opportunity to produce the neighborhood we want now and fight for the parks and waterfront walkways promised by the city in its rezoning plan.

Join us in a discussion of the Bring to Light festival and how it can serve as an advocate for your interests, strengthen the community, improve its physical character, and expose the many initiatives underway to make the Greenpoint waterfront more publicly accessible, greener, more sustainable, and a better place for the everyone in the neighborhood. Although our festival is a one-night event, we want it to have a lasting positive resonance throughout the year.

Please forward to your mailing lists and to anyone who might want to participate, and share the invitation on Facebook:

When: Tuesday, Sep. 13, 6:30 PM
Where: Polish National Home
261 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint
Why: To work together now to activate the East River in Greenpoint

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