NAG started over 17 years ago as advocacy group for public access to the waterfront. At that time, NAG (as Neighbors Against Garbage) was fighting against a Giuliani-administration plan to put waste transfer stations on the Northside waterfront. With the advent of the 2005 waterfront rezoning, the waste transfer stations were history, and the redevelopment of the Northside waterfront became a reality.
For many years, NAG has been advocating to expand access to the waterfront and open space, and one site that we have pushed strongly for is the DCAS/DOT property on the waterfront between South 6th Street and Broadway. This City-owned does not present the acquisition issues that are holding up the creation of parks on the Northside and Greenpoint waterfronts, and would be a tremendous open space asset to the Southside, a part of our community that is particularly underserved in terms of open space in general and passive (green) open space in particular. NAG supported the efforts of former City Councilman David Yassky to have the DCAS/DOT property transferred to the Department of Parks, and we have successfully advocated for the inclusion of the site in Community Board 1′s District Needs Statements and in the City’s Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan.
This year, we are excited to have been awarded a grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City to advocate for the creation of Williamsburg Bridge Park. This generous grant will allow NAG to devote dedicated staff time to the research and advocacy necessary to press the City to take the first steps in making this park a reality. NAG has been working with a broad group of local elected officials and community groups to build a coalition that can advocate for this much-needed resource. NAG has also been working with local planners and landscape designers to develop ideas for the use of the property – both interim and long-term – and to research the parks and open space needs of the neighborhood.