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Crumbling Borough Hall Sidewalks Could be Fixed After Years of Complaints

By Janet Upadhye | January 3, 2014 11:10am
 Locals have been complaining for years about the cracked bluestone slates surrounding Brooklyn's Borough Hall.
Borough Hall Bluestone
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Brooklyn's Borough Hall is where the sidewalk ends.

Bluestone pavements have been crumbling around the building for nearly 20 years, locals said. And they're hopeful that 2014 will be the year they're repaired.

"At the risk of sounding a (mildly) negative note to start the year, it would be nice if 2014 is the year that the city fixes the crumbling sidewalks around Borough Hall," wrote a resident who calls himself "Jorale-man" on the Brooklyn Heights blog.

"I noticed yesterday while lugging my rollerboard suitcase from the Jay Street station that they're in a pretty sorry state of disrepair.

"Perhaps the next borough president can make this more of a cause.'

The demand for improvements has been growing louder in recent years, and the NYC Parks Department, which manages the sidewalk, says it's listening.

"We are working on a plan to restore the plaza," said department spokeswoman Megan Lalor. She was unable to give details of any repairs planned.

T.K. Small, a Brooklyn Heights resident who attended Brooklyn Law School — across the street from Borough Hall — and now runs a disability rights law firm, said the sidewalks make it very hard for him to travel in his electric wheelchair.

"Those sidewalks have been bad for 20 years," he said. "When I roll over those walkways the jostling is very hard on my neck and there are times when I get caught in the holes. It can be very dangerous."

Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association who said she has received numerous complaints from neighbors over the years.

She added that in the last few months the outgoing Borough President made a last ditch attempt to have the sidewalks repaired.

"Marty Markowitz wrote a final letter to Parks asking them to pay attention," she said. "But it's something that still needs doing."

Community Board 2 District Manager Robert Perris has also raised concerns about the safety of the sidewalks for years — without seeing results.

"We are still where we have been from the beginning," he said.