The long-awaited Brooklyn Bridge Park is slowly taking shape -- a small-but-welcome miracle to many old-time Brooklynites who've been waiting for the new greensward since the bulk-cargo piers began closing in the '80s.
The park will stretch 1.3 miles along the East River from the Dumbo district in the north, under the Brooklyn Bridge, to Pier 6 near Atlantic Avenue.
But there's trouble ahead.
Local activists have won a temporary restraining order in State Supreme Court against two apartment towers -- championed by Mayor Bill de Blasio -- that are planned for Furman Street at Pier 6. The activists oppose any housing in the park.
While planners see one tower rising 31 stories and another reaching 15, this is hardly a craven sell-off of beloved city parkland. The towers have been on the drawing board -- for years -- as a way to help make the park financially self-sustaining. The area was a working waterfront until the piers closed.
But the apartments are a trade-off. When housing was added to the master plan in 2002, the city had no requirement for below-market units. It was only thinking about luxury condos. Now -- in return for giving permission to build tall -- de Blasio wants 30 percent of the development's 430 units to be reserved for moderate- and middle-income residents. The rest will be luxury.
This isn't unreasonable. Everyday New Yorkers would get a chance to live near the water, and the city would get help with the maintenance bill for 85 acres of new parkland.
Activists contend that much has changed since 2002. Brooklyn is deep into a major boom, they argue, and new housing built on land that would otherwise be part of the park is unnecessary.
They want the Pier 6 planning process to start again.
That would be a mistake. Today Brooklyn Bridge Park is more than 70 percent complete -- featuring, among other things, a beach, greenways, an athletic field and lawns.
It's a splendid development that has been fought over and litigated and delayed for what seems an eternity. The city has a credible plan for Pier 6 and it should go forward.