One of Brooklyn’s trendiest and most expensive areas is choked with tourists, locals said.
Residents of upscale Dumbo say the local business-enhancing neighborhood has been harming the area for nearly a decade for all but tourists, frivolously closing the streets for events and creating a day-tripping congestion without any. input from people living in the historic district.
“We cannot accept the passing of the Dumbo BID and the continuing lack of respect for residents by that organization,” says a petition signed by nearly 150 locals.
The most problematic area is Washington Street, which serves as the main thoroughfare in and out of Dumbo, critics say.
It is closed between Front and Water Street for 10 hours a day in partnership with the city’s Department of Transportation Open Streets initiative to make room for countless tourists. It has been nicknamed “Selfie Street” because of the flocks of visitors who crowd the roadway and take snapshots with the Manhattan Bridge in the background.
The result is a severe lack of parking, and fire trucks and delivery vans are forced to navigate the narrow side streets, occasionally stabbing and crashing into cars, local fed up say.
“I didn’t sign up to live at Disneyland,” resident Daniel Meek said.
Formed in 2005, the nonprofit Dumbo Improvement District operates on a budget of $ 1.2 million, according to its most recent tax forms available from 2021. Its funds come largely from special valuations paid by property owners commercial in the area.
Tara Quinn, who co-wrote the petition and helped organize a public discussion Thursday with City Councilman Lincoln Restler, said the BID is not listening.
“Many of us have asked for a change or at least a communication with this group, and it has completely fallen on deaf ears,” he said.
While happy to facilitate the meeting, Restler, a progressive and once advisor to former mayor Bill de Blasio, continued to show his support for the so-called “open roads” and called the BID a “strong partner”.
“Washington Street is like a circus,” Arlyne Blitz said during the meeting.
Magdalena Levy, owner of La Catrina Flower Studio on nearby Water Street, said the open road makes it impossible to fulfill orders efficiently.
“To make a heavy delivery just four blocks away, it can take forty minutes,” he said. “We have world class [Brooklyn Bridge Park] just a block away. I don’t see why they have to close the roads ”.
On Friday, The Post saw Sweetgreen employees chasing a group of 20 people from the restaurant’s outdoor dining area on Washington Street because they weren’t ordering anything, just taking up space.
There is some love of open roads, though.
“It makes walking around with a small child safer and easier and helps slow traffic, which I think is a plus for a small neighborhood like Dumbo,” said resident Brian Steinwascher.
Asked whether they intend to reduce street opening hours or how they will deal with traffic problems, Dumbo BID executive director Alexandria Sica instead focused on foot traffic to local shops and the “magical moments” the venue creates.
“It’s a photo destination New Yorkers take to celebrate life’s greatest moments, like a graduation, engagement, or Quincinera, and a must-see photo for visitors, bringing people to Brooklyn, which is great for the district, “he said.