Brooklyn Heights

De Blasio chooses promenade he wanted to tear down as prop for presidential bid

May 16, 2019 Mary Frost
A tone-deaf moment: Mayor Bill de Blasio stands on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in a presidential campaign video released Thursday. He recently proposed replacing the Promenade with a six-lane highway during BQE reconstruction. Screen grab via de Blasio campaign video.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade as a prop in his presidential announcement video on Thursday brought swift scorn from those who noted that he recently proposed demolishing the iconic site.

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, told the Brooklyn Eagle, “Imagine my surprise when I watched the de Blasio campaign announcement video this morning and saw this. As near as I can tell, this is filmed at Columbia Heights and Cranberry Street.” He added, “Certainly says something that the mayor chose the view he proposed to demolish as a backdrop for his national debut, doesn’t it?”


Brooklyn resident Chris Bastian discussed the campaign ad on Twitter.

“Tone-deaf moment 1: Including shots of him being driven around in a car (he never takes the subway) while complaining about environmental issues,” he said. “Tone-deaf moment 2: Scene of him on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where he wants to relocate a six-lane highway.”

The mayor backed a Department of Transportation plan to replace the landmarked Promenade with a six-lane BQE bypass for roughly eight years, destroying a protected view plain and polluting neighborhood air with toxic particulates.

De Blasio’s announcement that he backed the plan — even before public input and an environmental review had taken place — was met by ferocious opposition. After the outcry (and threats of a lawsuit), he softened his support for the plan and appointed a BQE panel to study various options. The BQE panel issued its first report yesterday.

The Promenade was not the only issue depicted in his video to come back and hit de Blasio. Some commenters pointed out the mayor was riding in a city vehicle when he filmed his campaign ad, which is illegal. Others noticed the e-bike deliverymen riding by his car window. The city allows companies like Lime, Uber and Motivate to legally provide pedal-assist electric bicycle sharing, but tickets delivery workers who use an illegal, throttle version of the same vehicles.

Twitter users piled on. One commented, “Surely there is a more qualified presidential candidate at the Park Slope YMCA.”

In the interest of fairness, we searched for a positive reaction to the mayor’s announcement.

We found one (kind of), which said, “He isn’t the best mayor, but I don’t mind him, he won’t get very far in the election though …he is making a mistake!”

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