A story making the rounds right now is the revival of Bob Diamond’s trolley car idea for Red Hook. This time he says he is partnering with John Quadrozzi, Jr., and Ray Howell (a longtime friend of his) of the Gowanus CDC.
We have come to feel over the years that Red Hook does not suffer from a major transportation problem after all. The relative inconvenience to get to Red Hook by subway has been offset by improved bus service, the growth of bicycle transportation, and improving access by ferry. We also think that part of Red Hook’s charm and growth as a unique part of New York is indeed it’s relative difficulty to get to. What has been a weakness has actually become a strength.
As far as the plan itself, the front page story in the Brooklyn Paper claims that a 1.6 mile trolley, stretching from IKEA to downtown Brooklyn via Diamond’s Atlantic Avenue tunnel and various streets, will cost $50 million. It is vaguely claimed that this money will come from Federal grants. This is the same Federal Government that cannot pay the full salaries of EPA workers right now, who are sequestered one or two days a week.
This is more pie in the sky for Diamond, as well as a seeming far-fetched grab for publicity by the strange heir to a concrete business and Red Hook property. We suspect that Phaedra Thomas, who led a failed campaign to hook up Quadrozzi’s Gowanus GBX with the EPA, is behind this – as it will keep her busy.
We could be wrong – this is not news coverage but a publisher’s musings, so take it with a grain of salt – we’d love to be proved otherwise with an infusion of outside money to our burb.
But in our opinion, if we had $50 million to play with, a better use would be to purchase the Revere Sugar factory land – that’s the barren stretch along Beard Street bordered by an illegal blue fence – from Joe Sitt and turn that into residential and commercial properties, such as a couple more Brooklyn Crabs and Metal and Threads, bringing real economic activity to our area.