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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

At 595 Dean, West Tower residents lament noise from adjacent dog run. Developer TF Cornerstone deflects to (phantom) Pacific Park Conservancy.

This is the first of two articles on the Pacific Park Conservancy. The second concerns the Conservancy's record of spending.

Perhaps the most active element in the not-always-used three acres of "Pacific Park" open space is the dog run.

It's situated between Dean Street and (demapped) Pacific Street, east of Carlton Avenue, toward the north end of the corridor between 535 Carlton (B14) and the West tower of 595 Dean (B13). Actually, it's divided into two parts, for large and small dogs.

Looking east at dog runs & 595 Dean West tower.
Photos: Norman Oder
The dog run, while popular with dog owners from the nearby buildings and blocks, can generate considerable barking, which disturbs residents in the west-facing units of that West tower, as noted in several Google reviews, one of which called the noise "pretty unbearable."

Building developer TF Cornerstone, which has touted the dog park as amenity for tenants, has deflected complaints to the Pacific Park Conservancy, the nonprofit funded to manage the privately managed, publicly accessible open space.

(Despite the name, it's not a public park.)

Is the Conservancy for real?

However, as one complainant told me, he wasn't able to reach the Conservancy.

Indeed, it's unclear if the Conservancy exists today as more than as a shell, though it collects funding from the existing Pacific Park buildings. Both its publicly posted email address and phone number--visible on columns installed just a year ago--are nonfunctional, so queries them were fruitless.

My queries to the Conservancy's President and Treasurer did not get responses, nor did my query to TF Cornerstone's own representative on the Conservancy.

Moreover, seven of the 16 Conservancy board members listed on the organization's 2022 Form 990 report to the Internal Revenue Service were cited as "former" directors, with no named replacement. They included two representatives of nearby community boards, as well as one from the city Parks Department.

Why the dormancy?

The Conservancy's dormancy likely reflects, in part, master developer Greenland USA's disengagement from the project.

While Greenland in 2019 announced plans to start a platform over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, thus unlocking six future development sites, it never did so so. 

Last year, after Greenland's failure to pay back about $286 million in loans from immigrant investors in the EB-5 investor visa program, a foreclosure auction of the collateral--those six railyard sites--was announced. It has since been postponed three times, most recently to June 5.

A snag in design, and execution?

Without official responses, I can speculate that that problems relate, at least in part, to a debatable location for the dog run, as well as a flawed--or, at least, incomplete--execution. 

As explained below, the dog runs for the project were initially planned for spaces bordering a public street, not between two towers. But those inital sites rely on the platform for development, so they are years away. 

So it seems that one dog run was shifted to accommodate the clear and growing need for it, plus--perhaps--the perceived value in marketing.

Also, the schematic design for the dog run--highlighted below in blue--suggested far more robust tree cover between the dogs and the West tower, which may have helped buffer sound.

Instead, the photos above and below show the the trees, at least so far, seem pretty paltry.

The complaints

On Google, there have been several complaints about the dog run (as well as general reviews of the building, with other aspects praised, and some others critiicized). Wrote Danielle Fraley:
The reason for a 3-star review is because we are in the West tower on the side facing the dog park, and the noise from dogs is very loud even on the 20th floor. It cuts through the apartment even with the windows closed. Unfortunately not ideal for working from home, sleeping in past 7am, or sleeping before 11:30pm. I’d recommend avoiding that side of the building.
Wrote Matt Klein:
As many other commenters have noted, the noise in this building is pretty unbearable, even on a double digit floor. Every day at 6:30am (including weekends) I am woken up to dogs barking which does not stop until 10 or 11 pm on most nights.

I was on the phone with a coworker and they asked if that was my dog barking while the windows were closed. I had to explain that no, I live next to a dog park. Not sure how this zoning was decided but it makes the entire west tower unlivable.
Looking southeast at the dog runs, April 27, 2024. 
Photo: Norman Oder

A different experience was related by Alina Zhuk:

We face the dog park mentioned in the other review - we hear no noise at all, the windows are the best we had in a rental, but that side of the building secures a view over Manhattan and Statue of Liberty and great sunsets every day.
Another review, from Randal Wilhite, stated:
The building is great except for one very significant issue. As another reviewer mentioned, those in the West tower, facing 535 Carlton Avenue, hear dogs barking at all waking hours. We’re above the 10th floor and yet it's quite loud. You'd be making a mistake to rent a unit anywhere along our side of the West tower.

He added a pretty convincing video. 

Similar concerns about noise were raised on this Reddit thread, though several other residents, not necessarily those exposed to the dog run, were enthusiastic about the two-tower 595 Dean. After all, many of them, either in the East Tower or facing east from the West Tower, are away from the dogs.

Is there a solution?

Wilhite also wrote: 

We actually like the dog park in theory, but its location directly between two large residential buildings belongs in the annals of bizarrely poor design choices. Moreover, my friend who is an architect explained that there are some noise reduction measures that can be implemented for dog parks (trees, special fencing/barriers) — none of which have been utilized here. So, it's just a ton of dogs barking freely all the time with no measures taken to manage the noise.
Indeed, various companies, such as the AcoustiFence Dog Barking Barrier Project or the Acoustical Solutions Soundproofing Blanket, offer sound barriers, though installation of opaque fencing, depending on the height, might be seen as detracting from the dog run's permeability.

Wilhite told me he complained to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding pet noise, but was told that private parks do not fall under their purview, and he'd have to contact building management.

Owner's response

While owner TFC Cornerstone responded to Fraley by saying "we are doing our best to address this issue," it more expansively responded to Klein and Wilhite:
We understand your frustration with the noise from the dog park and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused. It's important to note that Pacific Park is a public park [ed.--not exactly] and not owned or managed by TFC. The Pacific Park Conservancy oversees its operations and is the best point of contact for addressing issues related to the dog park. We have conveyed your concerns to the Conservancy and requested that they address the use of the park with their dedicated security team.
It's unclear what security could do regarding the dog run, other than potentially enforce before-hours and after-hours use, which would only partly address the problem.

I reached out to Wilhite after seeing his review. He told me his email to the conservancy bounced back and another to the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Liaison office, generated no response. 

Note that Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project, in its regularly Construction Updates, still encourages community members to contact

While TFC does not own/manage the "park," it helps fund the Conservancy and has a voice on it, via a board member.

Early plans--no dogs?

Interestingly enough, the  Atlantic Yards November 2006 Open Space Design Guidelines, produced by landscape designer Laurie Olin, mention active space, passive space, planting, seating, lighting, walkways, and a water feature--but not a dog run. 

Similarly, the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement chapter on Open Space doesn't mention a dog run. 

Nor does the June 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement chapter on Operational Open Space, though it does note, "Esplanades are an example of open space that may be used for active uses like running or passive dog walking."

Dog runs emerge

As far as I can tell, the concept of a dog run--two, actually--surfaced in the open space plan unveiled in June 2015 by landscape designer Thomas Balsley, whose master plan succeeded that of Olin and was applied to the project renamed Pacific Park.

The conceptual Open Space plan, annotated.

Dog runs, Balsley said at a community meeting that month, are "just as important as play areas," since they're "places where people meet each other" and are used every day. "We always know there are people going to be in the park, with the right intentions."

Note that the two dog runs planned, marked #13 on the schematic above and highlighted in purple and pink, were attached to the open space bordering the B6 and B7 towers over the railyard, between Sixth and Carlton Avenues.

The dog runs were placed a reasonable distance south of each tower, with a street--not a building--as a southern buffer.

At the time, according to a tentative plan released by then-developer Greenland Forest City Partners, those towers are not due until 2025 and 2021, respectively. Today, of course, there's no timetable.

Dog-friendly promotion

Dogs have been part of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park marketing rhetoric. Helping promote sales at the 550 Vanderbilt (B11) condo, a sponsored Instagram fashionista wrote in July 2016, "I think Hadley [the dog] would say the best amenity is the 8-acre brand new Pacific Park that the building sits within." 

That, of course, was a fantasy projection, since the "park" was only a stub, and today consists of just three of eight planned acres. While it didn't mention a dog run, it implied that the open space would be welcoming to dogs.

As I wrote in August 2017, developer Greenland USA promoted Pacific Park on its website, including:
Homes will also be oriented with views in mind, whether it be of the Manhattan skyline, or the park, with its sloping lawns for picnics and sunbathing, public promenade, children’s play areas, dog runs, and athletic spaces.
Dog problems → dog run?

The lack of a dog run, coupled with new dog-owning neighborhood residents (significantly in the new Atlantic Yads/Pacific Park towers), provoked problems.

As I reported in May 2018, Prospect Heights residents at a community meeting complained that the Dean Playground, outside the project on the south side of Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, at night "has become a dog run," as one resident said. "We are overrun by dogs."

The playground's Astroturf, she noted, "is not dirt" and does "absorb what their dogs leave," which means those playing on the turf "are covered in dog excrement." She recommended new signage from the Parks Department, given that the current sign didn't emphasize that pets aren't allowed.

She encouraged the developers to put up signs inside the four towers then open: "We know most of the dog owners are coming from these buildings." 

Ashley Cotton, representing the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners (and a resident of 550 Vanderbilt), didn't immediately agree to the notion that most dog owners come from the buildings, or commit to new indoor signage.

"Can we get the Parks Department to put up better signage?" Cotton asked, and a member of the mayor's Community Assistance Unit (CAU) indicated he'd ask the department. Note: no new signage was added beyond the existing park rules, which prohibit pets. Cotton now serves as the Conservancy's president.

Looking east along Dean Street
New plans, new dog run

Perhaps because of the perceived existing and expected new demand, one dog run was incorporated into the revised landscape plan for B12 and B13, the two towers at the center of the project's southeast block, now dubbed 595 Dean Street.

Designs for the towers and the open space were unveiled at a community meeting in November 2019.

The big news, at the time,  was a change in the configuration of the towers. Rather that face 535 Carlton Ave. (B14) in a reversed L-shape as initially conceived, the B13 tower would essentially parallel B12 in a modified L-shape.

That would allow the "main lawn" to shift between the two new towers, which would better serve the mostly market-rate tenants, rather than those in the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton. Also, it would center that lawn. The revision also provided room between B14 and B13, for the dog run. 

Note: there have been far fewer complaints from 535 Carlton residents, who live to the west of the dog run, perhaps because the location of the dog run, and the acoustics of the building materials, direct more sound toward the 595 Dean West tower.

Promoting the dog run
From 595 Dean website

As I wrote in March 2023, marketing copy for 595 Dean, from TF Cornerstone, gushed:
In fact, there’s nearly two acres of public park and plaza space (and that includes a gem of a playground with an interactive water feature!), a dog run, picnic seating, and hundreds of feet of lushly landscaped green space for the public to lounge and play in. 
The towers' website also promotes the dog run among building amenities: "The perfect hangout spot for your dog and all of their friends featuring separate runs for large and small dogs."

About the Pacific Park Conservancy

The Conservancy for now seems elusive.

Despite columns at the entrance to the open space offering an email address for the Pacific Park Conservancy, my message to "" was rejected, according to a response from

Similarly, a call to the number listed, 347-292-6479, did not ring, leaving dead air.

I emailed Cotton. No response.  I also emailed Treasurer Jen Kuang, listed online as Greenland USA's Design Director, but similarly didn't hear back. I called Kuang's phone number, which wasn't operable.

Anyone in charge?

As noted in the Conservancy's latest annual return posted publicly, seven of the 16 directors listed were former directors, as indicated at right.

Scott Solish, who left Greenland USA last year for The Brodsky Organization, may be in that category too.

Besides Solish, Cotton, and Kuang, the other directors listed in the 2022 document are Renduo Cheng (then a Greenland USA design employee), Josie Mok (a former Forest City executive who lives at 550 Vanderbilt), Suma Mandel (former General Counsel at Brooklyn Bridge Park), Alyson Beha (formerly at Empire State Development), Amir Stein (TF Cornerstone), and Rick Mason (The Brodsky Organization).

Note that, in the latest annual return, five directors were estimated as devoting 2 hours per month (four weeks) to the Conservancy, while the others were estimated as devoting .2 hours per month, or 12 minutes. 

However, in the Conservancy's August 2018 application to the IRS, each director was estimated to devote 4 hours per month.

Any public voice?

The Conservancy is also supposed to have seats, ex oficio, for representatives of the three adjacent community boards. (One declined.) 

In the listing above right, the representatives of Brooklyn Community Boards 6 and 8 are listed as former directors, without replacement.

Similarly, the New York City Parks Department is supposed to have a non-voting director, but Martin Maher is listed as a former director, without replacement.