a tumblog by FIERCE, an organization by and for LGBTQ Youth of Color
Testimony from Karen Hall, FIERCE Active Member
June 21, 2012, Community Board 2 Meeting
Re: Development on Pier 40
Hi. I’m Karen, an active member of FIERCE. Since the age of 14, I’m 18 now, the pier has been my safe space. The pier has served a very important role in my life and in the lives of my close friends because it is where we’ve had our best memories together. As youth, my friends and I didn’t have money to spend on going to the movies or anywhere else so we always went to the pier after school and spent afternoons laying in the grass talking about how hard life was and dreaming of how it would get better.
Now as I come back to the pier, the number of LGBTQ youth I see there has decreased because of gentrification and increased policing. But the pier still serves as a place for LGBTQ youth, especially youth who have just came out of the closet and are looking for a safe place to meet people like them and discover themselves.
If the Hudson River Park Act is opened to allow for big developers that will build fancy hotels and condos, then not only will my friends and I be kicked out of the pier without a safe space to go to, my friends and I will be even more harassed and targeted by the police or private security there.
Cheerleaders, soccer players and other students that use the pier would have limited access to a place that they also rely on. The few small businesses that are left in the area will be forced to move out because of the raise in rent or property value, along with residents of the West Village. This type of big development will only make the West Village even more costly for the people who live, work and come here.
Some alternatives to building condos and hotels on the pier is to have health and medical resources there, have affordable local food options like a farmers market, and have community events that are organized by community groups. Some that are free and some that are not free, which will bring in money.
I hope that the Hudson River Park Trust and Community Board 2 listens to the concerns, needs and solutions from community members like me.