Several hundred angry New Yorkers – and one Marvel superhero – congregated on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on Saturday morning to defend one of Manhattan’s most revered viewing spots from being bulldozed into a temporary highway.
Among the swill of disgruntled faces English actor Paul Bettany, star of the Avengers series and husband to Jennifer Connelly, led chants of ‘save lungs not lives’ to show his contempt towards the plans, having just bought a $15.5million mansion across from the man-made beauty spot.
But Bettany isn’t the only celebrity set to be affected the proposition, which is set to commence next year.
The Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill neighborhoods that surround the promenade are well known for harboring some of the City’s biggest stars.
Paul Bettany, 47, pictured will his daughter as he attended the protest on Saturday morning. He recently bought a $15 million home just feet away from the promenade last year
Hundreds descended on the iconic location to make their voices heard to Major DeBlasio, insisting there are viable alternative options to his plan to bulldoze the promenade
Residents of all ages congregated on the promenade on Saturday. Several hundred were heard chanting ‘save lungs not lanes’
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade (pictured) showcases a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline. It’s appeared in a host of Hollywood movies, including Annie Hall and Moonstruck
Parents Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz recently moved to the area from Manhattan, in search of a more practical place to raise their newborn daughter.
Fellow-actor Paul Giamatti, the star of Showtime’s Billions, is said to live just a few doors down.
Academy award-winner Matt Damon also lives near-by in a $16million penthouse in The Standish Arms Hotel.
After the success of Disney’s Mary Poppins re-boot, A-list couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski announced their move to the same building last week, having bought an entire floor in the complex for $11million that overlooks the promenade.
Daniel Craig (left) and Rachel Weisz (right) are also recent residents of the neighborhood, having made the switch from Manhattan in anticipation of the birth of their new-born daughter
Matt Damon (left) moved into a $16 million penthouse in The Standish Arms Hotel this month. Mary Poppins Star Emily Blunt (right) has also secured a foothold in the building with her husband John Krasinski
The Standish apartment block underwent renovations in 2018. Matt Damon’s $16 million condo broke records for the city
Other protesters, from toddlers to pensioners, displayed placards urging New York Major Bill DeBlasio to reconsider his plan to turn the esplanade into a six-lane highway until 2026, while the Brooklyn-Queens express way undergoes repairs.
The congregation said they want more of a say in how any potential planning in the area may look.
‘I am against the damn plan as it stands,’ Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said during his speech.
‘As an environmentalist, I can’t accept the same old paradigm.
‘I’m concerned about the continuation of believing the only way we can move through this city is by expanding highways,’ he said.
‘I’m tired of the poison in schools; I’m tired of the poison in the air; I’m tired of the way we’re thinking about how do we move people around this city.’
The 1,826-foot path could be bulldozed into a six-lane highway for up to six years
The Brooklyn-Queens express way is in desperate needs of repair and the DOT insist the $ billion plan to be the best and most economical alternative
The controversial plans were announced by the Department of Transport (DOT) last year, with projected costs over $3 billion.
Only one alternative is has been tabled by the DOT so far, which would see them stagger the reconstruction over a series of stages.
Officials say the ‘plan b’ would cost hundreds of millions more and take an additional two years to complete.
Major traffic diversions could also lead to more congestion in local areas, backing traffic up for as much as 12 miles in each direction of the express way.
Protesters however are accusing city officials of being too narrow-minded, and overlooking other important issues such as congestion pricing and pollution.
Protesters are demanding a more collaborative and environmentally friendly approach to the express way repair, that doesn’t see the beloved spot ruined
‘We reject any plan that would cause the traffic to clog the streets. We need to find a better way of working together,’ said Hillary Jager, from the group A Better Way NYC.
Jager urged the DOT to come up with a more responsible plan that reduces traffic, potential environmental damage and noise pollution.
A DOT spokesman said, ‘The City and DOT are thoroughly engaged with the community to ensure the BQE reconstruction is as transparent as possible, and any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false.
‘We are committed to partnering with elected officials, community leaders and all local stakeholders on the entire project corridor to hear their input and prioritize their safety.’