From Community Board 2:
The proposed project’s open spaces, as defined in the DEIS, are fragmented, hardscaped, and limited and insufficient to counteract or mitigate the effects of the concrete and glass structures of the project. Design guidelines show a half-court basketball court, one tennis court, two or three small playgrounds, and a pair of illegible linear features. Calling a ¼-acre of open space a “main lawn” is absurd.
The response from the Empire State Development Corporation:
The characterization of the proposed project’s open space as described above is inaccurate. The landscaping and programming of this publicly accessible open space has been thoughtfully designed to maximize the amount of tree canopy cover as trees cool and clean the air, provide transitional buffers, and create a more human and comfortable scale for the open space by creating a lower foreground that interacts with the surrounding buildings. The open space will conform to a set of design guidelines as discussed in the General Project Plan (GPP), including: creating a cohesive, continuous and inviting open space with a range of uses and activities throughout; using the open space to connect the surrounding neighborhoods from north to south by continuing the existing street grid system into the open space as pedestrian corridors; and balancing the desire to create an open space protected from Atlantic Avenue with promoting access and use by the neighborhood’s residents and workers. These guidelines also state that entrances must be accessible, without steps or ramps, while providing un-obstructed views and direct paths into the open space, and through to the adjacent street. A consistent palette of materials, paving, furnishings, and site lighting are incorporated throughout the project site. Active programming in the proposed open space includes a half basketball court, a volleyball court, two bocce courts, and no tennis courts. The remainder of the publicly accessible open space on the project site would be for passive use and designed to accommodate a maximum number of users. The oval lawn component of the proposed open space measures ⅓ acre (approximately 14,500 square feet). It is important to note approximately 36 percent of the entire project site (8 of the project site’s 22 acres) is dedicated to open space. Since the issuance of the DEIS, the project has been modified to increase the amount of publicly accessible open space from a minimum of seven acres to eight acres and relevant chapters of the FEIS has been updated to reflect this increase in the amount of publicly accessible open space.