-- Lore Croghan, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A group against the Fort Greene Park project rallied outside of court, where their lawsuit against the plan faced a hearing Tuesday. (Anna Quinn/Patch.)

A group against the Fort Greene Park project rallied outside of court, where their lawsuit against the plan faced a hearing Tuesday. (Anna Quinn/Patch.) 

Quotes from attorney Richard Lippes and Michael Gruen on the lawsuit: 

“We believe the Parks Department tried to avoid doing an environmental impact statement that would shine a light on the history, tradition, and enjoyment of the park and the surrounding community that would be lost” (source)

"The parks department should not be allowed to escape the procedural requirements," Richard Lippes, the Sierra Club's attorney, told a judge. "(The environmental study) does not mean that the work will not happen — what it means is they have to do an environmental assessment…the environmental impact statement is a consideration of alternatives that was not done here." (source)

Attorney Richard Lippes has handled mass tort cases related to environmental matters including the representation of hundreds of Love Canal plaintiffs. He also was special environmental counsel for the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Pennsylvania. 

The agency’s decision to classify the project as not needing a review relied solely on the consultation by Nancy Owens, Gruen found in the heavily-censored report

“They’re making a very important decision with an environmental impact and that’s the one that they won’t allow us to see,” said Gruen, who also heads up the City Club of New York. (Source)

Attorney Michael Gruen provided advice on matters in litigation and helped draft the 1973 amendments to the New York City Landmarks Law.

Seek Alternatives to Removing Mature Trees and Paving Over Greenery. 

Fort Greene Park Redesign Greenery Loss

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver's Parks Without Borders program will remove 58 mature shade trees at the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park in the $10.5 million redesign. A total of 78 trees will be removed across the entire park. 3-inch caliper saplings will be planted in restitution. The cost of restitution alone costs $858,732, close to a million dollars

The city didn't follow a landscape architect's recommendations in their renovation plans for Fort Greene Park and then tried to hide those recommendations from the public

"We couldn't help but wonder what the text under all those black splotches said, and why the Parks Department would not want us to see it," attorney Michael Gruen said. "The more adamantly they refused, the more curious we became. In the end, we learned that the report gave sensible advice — and Parks refused to follow it." 

"The recommendations from an expert of Nancy Owens' caliber are in line with community feedback.," FFGP President Ling Hsu said. "Over 500 petitioners have said all along to repair, not to pave over greenery with a hardscape plaza for commercial events in our beloved park." 

Coming to a Park Near You -- Protect Nature from NYC Parks Without Borders Program

NYC Parks intends to "apply these design concepts to parks city wide". (PDF Report page 48)  

Isn't NYC Parks Planting More 3-inch Caliper Saplings in Restitution?

"A large, healthy tree removes almost 70 times more air pollution each year than a small, newly planted tree."

What has been taken away in canopy, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, food production and more in mere hours will take decades to replicate.

... The argument for removing trees with "We'll replant for each one cut down" sounds good to the average person but it is grossly misleading. What has been taken away in canopy, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, food production and more in mere hours will take decades to replicate. That is the information that is not shared in that argument.

"... The standard 1:1 to replacement is disingenuous accounting. Peak ecosystem services come from bigger trees. Trees take decades to reach big tree status. A 2" tree has nothing on a 20" or 30" diameter tree that has aged in place. " (Source)

About the Lawsuit

What are we asking for in court?

Perform an environmental review on the Parks Without Borders redesign plan for Fort Greene Park. 

Who is asking?

Friends of Fort Greene Park, City Club of New York, and renowned environmental attorney Richard Lippes working for Sierra Club.


At the North West triangle of Fort Greene Park, the Parks Department has planned a new design that includes:

What's the Rationale?

So pedestrians can have an unobstructed view of the monument at the top of the hill from Myrtle Avenue.

All of this without any study of the environmental impacts on the people, the animals and the environment of Brooklyn

"Against Every One of the Historic Moments in the Design of the Park" -- NYC LPC 

The NYC Parks Without Borders program plans to turn a beloved, quiet corner with dense canopy and open greenery into a cement plaza with no shade--creating a concrete frying pan in intensifying summer heatwaves in a climate crisis.

Landmarks Preservation Commissioners said his Parks Without Borders plaza proposal is "against every one of the historic moments in the design of the park" (Source)

We Need Trees, not a Cement Plaza in Intensifying Heat Waves

Photos: Residents wait for the bus in the shade provided by mature trees at the Myrtle and St. Edwards corner. 

ALL the shade trees at this triangle in the photos will be cut down in the Parks Without Borders redesign plan.

The Parks Without Borders proposal would eliminate the trees and canopy we rely on to enjoy the park amid rising air pollution and more extreme summer heat waves

Save Nature in Our Parks

Save Nature in Fort Greene Park