Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights tree-lighting tradition continues despite threat to Promenade

December 17, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Promenade, under threat of being demolished in favor of a six-lane highway, was packed with holiday revelers. Eagle photos by Todd Maisel

Just as they do every December, merrymakers packed the Brooklyn Heights Promenade near Montague Street last Wednesday night to celebrate the annual Heights tree-lighting ceremony — but this year, a cloud hung over the festivities.

The cloud was the fact that the city’s Department of Transportation has announced a proposal to replace the Promenade with a temporary six-lane highway for six years, while the BQE’s triple-cantilever structure underneath the walkway gets repaired.

Some of the Heights residents attending the gathering wore “No Way” pins that had been distributed by the Brooklyn Heights Association. Still, revelers cheered as the tree was lit. Santa paid a visit and carolers from the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn entertained the crowd.

Susanna Furfaro and Amerika Williamson of the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club, which sponsors the event, gave introductory welcome remarks.

As tradition dictates, the tree is lit by a child with multigenerational Brooklyn roots. This year, fifth-generation Brooklynite Carmen Alperin-Lowe waved the magic wand to turn on the lights.

Peter Bray, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, was recently quoted likening DOT’s plan to Dante’s inferno, adding that most people in the community are “vehemently opposed” to the temporary roadway plan.

In November, as the Brooklyn Eagle has reported, the BHA presented an alternative plan that would move traffic to a temporary structure within Brooklyn Bridge Park, west of the existing BQE structure.

More recently, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based national organization, has declared the Promenade “a threatened national significant landscape” and says it will “work with the site stewards on regulatory and communications strategies to benefit the Brooklyn Promenade.”

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