To the Ground

Armory buildings are everywhere in this city. Should they be?

“What do we want?”

“Kill the deal!”

“When do we want it?”


These cries emerged from the public meeting quarters of the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) in late October of 2017. The deal in question when Crown Heights residents stormed the CPC meeting was a redevelopment plan for the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Dozens of protesters—including Jabari Brisport, then a candidate for city council and currently a state senator, and Joel Feingold, a founding member of the Crown Heights Tenant Union, both of whom were arrested—had rallied outside the site for months, coalescing in opposition to a proposal for a recreation center and housing complex at the former National Guard armory. Their contention—and that of the lone CPC member who voted against approving the plan, Michelle de la Uz—was that publicly owned land ought to be used for public benefit. The armory, which had been turned over by the National Guard to the city in 2011, was slated for a privately managed adaptive reuse project that would transform it into a 65,000-square-foot rec…

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