The Daily Dirt: Pro-housing movement turning tide in Brooklyn

Assembly member pilloried for shooting poison arrow through project

Pro-Housing Forces Turn Tide in Brooklyn: The Daily Dirt
Sen. Zellnor Myrie, City Council member Shahana Hanif and Assembly member Robert Carroll (Getty, Google Maps)

The fight for housing is getting more interesting.

Not the one in Albany: That doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. (It’s only two days into the legislative session, so perhaps I should reserve judgment.)

Rather, Brooklyn is where the action is. Political and real estate observers are focused on the Arrow Linen project in Windsor Terrace, where City Council member Shahana Hanif has an opportunity to make amends for caving in to NIMBYs in a Park Slope/Gowanus project last year.

Arrow Linen is proposing to move its laundry operation elsewhere and build two 13-story apartment buildings in its place. But it needs new zoning to do that.

In the past, this would have played out predictably, with vocal locals making hysterical predictions about “towers,” shadows, traffic, overcrowded schools and sewage backups, followed by the local Council member negotiating a roughly 40 percent reduction in project size. The project would get built and life — and the housing crisis — would go on pretty much as before.

Not this time, it seems.

The pro-housing movement has grown, and many voices are demanding a new script. Some are asking on social media why the project should be shrunk at all. The latest to chime in was state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who is understandably frustrated that wealthy, white neighborhoods typically whittle down or defeat proposed developments, putting more pressure on communities of color to absorb housing demand. He knows who wins bidding wars for homes.

Luckily for Hanif, the housing movement’s vitriol has been focused on Assembly member Robert Carroll, who claims to be a progressive leader but opposes progress on the Arrow Linen site. Thirteen stories, he says, is too tall for super-wide Prospect Avenue. He wants seven.

Why Carroll thinks that would make any difference in Windsor Terrace’s quality of life is anyone’s guess. What we do know is a smaller project would house fewer people. In a housing-starved city, that makes absolutely no sense. And politically, Carroll’s position will be harder to defend now that Myrie has pointed out the racial dynamic.

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What we’re thinking about: Will Council member Hanif follow the usual playbook and shrink the Arrow project? Will it even matter, given that rental projects don’t pencil out without 421a? Send a note to

A thing we’ve learned: Nearly 440,000 apartments were completed in the U.S. in 2023, the most since the mid-1980s, and even more are expected in 2024. But then completions will plunge, according to RealPage. It attributes a recent slowdown in project starts to higher financing costs and softer fundamentals.

Elsewhere in New York…

— Intruders entered two out-of-service subway cars — “lead cars” used at the front of trains — and drove them a “short distance,” MTA officials said. The incident happened at a Forest Hills rail yard Dec. 20, Gothamist reported, and was posted on social media by the giggling vandals. The MTA was not amused, though it said a signal system would have prevented the trains from leaving the yard.

— Gov. Kathy Hochul knows the meaning of a heavy lift in politics, having tried last year to get the state legislature to force localities to allow more housing. Now she finds herself the victim of a literal heavy lift: Her arm is in a sling after she tore a pectoral muscle in the weight room, the Daily News reported.

— The United Federation of Teachers is suing to stop congestion pricing, the New York Post reported. “We’re sick of people just trying to shove things through,” union head Michael Mulgrew said of the program, which has actually been debated ad nauseam since 2007, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed it. Mulgrew did not mention the free, reserved parking provided by the city that lures teachers to drive to work in the first place.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Thursday was $18.5 million for a townhouse at 8 Perry Street in West Village.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $425 million for Prada’s purchase of 724 Fifth Avenue in Midtown from Jeff Sutton.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Thursday was a condo at 212 Warren Street in Battery Park asking $8.4 million. Compass has the listing. — Jay Young

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