The New York City Community Garden Coalition is suing the city on behalf of the Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island, which lost its city-owned land to make way for a seaside amphitheater.
Just days after the City Council approved a plan to make a 5,099-seat concert venue at the landmarked Childs Restaurant in December, bulldozers rolled onto the adjacent property and demolished the garden in a midnight raid.
But the outraged gardeners say that the city failed to do its due diligence, and that the West 22nd Street greenspace was legally a New York City park and the group had an agreement with the city to operate the garden, which should have at least delayed the demolition.
The city, though, previously claimed that the garden was decommissioned as a park in 2004, Brownstoner points out. The group says the city never told them that and let them continue to operate for years, according to NY1.
The gardeners are also suing over what they believe has been an insufficient environmental review, particularly when it comes to the requirements of their sewer system and flood protection. Brooklyn Daily reports:
“The city did not follow its own regulations,” said attorney Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project, which is spearheading the suit. “You’re going to have thousands of people coming to a concert, and the sewers in Coney West cannot take that.”
Kupferman further alleged that iStar Financial, the company that will construct and operate the new hall as a permanent home for Markowitz’s summer concert series, did not do the proper studies when they designed the underground reservoirs that the company claims will combat flooding at the waterfront venue.
Attorneys for iStar say that the blueprints are perfectly in line with regulations.
The amphitheater is set to be the new, permanent home of the former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s free summer concert series. It has been opposed by Community Board 13, but given the green light by the Department of City Planning and the City Council.