Since 2008 the Riverside Tenants Association (RTA) has been fighting our landlord’s plan to build an underground garage in our backyard. Our buildings, the Riverside Apartments in Brooklyn Heights, were built in 1890 by philanthropist, Alfred T. White, who believed that the working poor deserve a standard of living conducive to health and happiness. Today, the eclectic style brick apartment complex hosts a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and young professionals, as well as the elderly, disabled war veterans and families with children who face a stronger than ever threat.
Our landlord has secured permits to build a 90-car underground commercial garage in our backyard, while disregarding our concerns of safety and health. While no one likes fuming cars under their windows, our motivations are deeper. Building the garage will require the chopping down of several hundred-year-old trees that not only shield our buildings from 140,000 cars that pass through the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) each day, but whose roots help protect our buildings’ foundation. This excavation will also leave us without the required fire and emergency egress, cutting off access for fire engines or ambulances to enter. Furthermore, underneath our backyard lies an old sewer system that most likely won’t survive the digging, making the buildings uninhabitable and rendering 150 tenants homeless.
Our attorneys are now filing an appeal with the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) in the hope that we can stop the garage project once and for all. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come cheap. We need to raise $19,000 to cover attorneys’ fees, filing costs and fees for consulting architects. We have been raising some of the money within the tenant's association, but we need your help to win our fight. You can help protect this historical Brooklyn Heights landmarked home and its community, and put this nightmare behind us.