Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Markowitz Supports Reopening the Jail and Adding Retail

January 7th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Borough President Marty Markowitz supports the reopening of the Brooklyn House of Detention, but is against the Jail with Retail expansion plan. (Well, he is for a Jail with Retail, but not for a bigger one.) In a statement he says: “It is my understanding that the DOC is within its right to reopen the HOD and that it also intends to increase capacity due to current limitations on Rikers Island. However, I vehemently oppose the envisioned expansion. I believe that a larger facility would be a burden to neighborhood residents, and would not be an asset to the area’s evolution as a modern gateway into Downtown Brooklyn.” Mr. Markowitz says he supports the jail because “each borough should do its fair share when it comes to many services required for city life, and it is thus our obligation to deal with those who are awaiting trial, a good number of whom are from Brooklyn and whose families have a right to see them.” Actually, he says, to be fair Brooklyn should house even more prisoners and that “I feel strongly that Brooklyn families have a right to expect reasonable commuting to visit detained relatives as opposed to the extreme burden of traveling to Rikers Island.”

So, there you have it. Your Borough Presidents wants his cheesecake and wants to eat it too. He supports the reopening of the jail, digs the retail, but doesn’t want the expansion. Of course, there is vehement neighborhood opposition to reopening the jail in any way, shape or form and a suit to stop its reopening or expansion. Yet, Mr. Markowitz thinks adding stores to the House of Misery “would unify Atlantic Avenue as a shopping street and link the Fulton Mall with the boutiques and restaurants thriving in Boerum Hill.” Which may be the first time in our many decades of reporting that we have ever heard any American public official claim that reopening a jail will be great for boutiques and restaurants. (Which only proves that if you live long enough you will hear everything.) All this time, we thought jails were good for lawyers, bail bondsmen and all the other members of the Prison Industrial Complex that thrive on human misery. Now, we know jails are cool for Marc Jacobs and Jim Mamary too. Perhaps, the former could open a shop called Commissary and the latter an eatery called Big House Slop. Sounds like a plan. And we can reassure everyone that Mr. Markowitz has not suggested a Frank Gehry-designed prison at Atlantic Yards should Bruce Ratner cut bait and run, leaving the Beepster twisting in the wind of one of New York’s most historically disastrous failed megaprojects.

Tags: Downtown Brooklyn · Uncategorized

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eric // Jan 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, we should have a jail in Downtown Brooklyn so as not to inconvenience the families and friends of the criminals. Huh?

  • 2 Anonymous // Jan 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I’m sure Marty realized that he would get his picture and name in the paper more if he supported it than if he was opposed to it. He is such a media whore.

  • 3 anon // Jan 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    It’s great to know that Mr. Markowitz is in favor of the HOD. Perhaps if the City DOI did some digging into Mr. Markowitz’s various non-profits he woiuld be one of the first to inhabit the Brooklyn HOD. Besides it’s very close to his Park Slope residence & it would easy for his realtives to visit him.

  • 4 Jack // Jan 7, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I’m not going to enter the fray on whether the Brooklyn House of Detention should stay or go. I genuinely understand what Marty Markowitz says about people visiting inmates… But that part of Atlantic Avenue is pretty much dead… Deader when you consider the two gas stations are construction sites now… I wouldn’t cry if it were gone, but other than “eyesore” claims, it’s really a benign part of the neighborhood.

    But why is there a debate about this, but little-to-no discussion about the homeless and halfway houses that are all over the neighborhood. Yes, we need facilities to house folks. But so many in one area? Does that even make sense? And not for nothing, more folks will see day-to-day crime coming from places like that than the prison.

    I don’t know how many folks here remember the teen detention facility that was near Jolie on Atlantic? I’m pretty sure it’s gone because the kids who called that place home really, really, really harassed EVERYONE that walked down that block.

  • 5 Anonymous // Jan 8, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Vehement neighborhood opposition?
    well, there if you consider that there is vehement
    neighborhood opposition to everything then yes.
    But only by those that are vehement about everything – hardly by neighborhood at large or most of us. Really is non-issue.
    At Marty is probably right on this – Repopulate the building but expansion will probably be financial boondoggle that will last for a decade.

  • 6 PaulBrookHeights // Jan 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Has anyone read Markowitz stupidity? OMG. How is it that we can speak about the idea of rebuilding downtown Brooklyn while including the concept of criminal housing (JAIL/Prison). It is silly. Markowitz needs to get real.

    We don’t want druggies and murders schlept through our neighborhood Markowitz. I can’t believe that a reasonable man would much less a public leader would think that people are so stupid to buy into your marketing scheme about retail space and relatives not having to travel so far to see their relatives. Stupid! In fact, people are willing to travel a lot further to do many less important things than visit family in prison, so this is, again, stupid. That is all I have folks. Thanks.