a tumblog by FIERCE, an organization by and for LGBTQ Youth of Color
Testimony from Tiph Browne, FIERCE Active Member
June 21, 2012, Community Board 2 Meeting
Re: Development on Pier 40
Hello to the CB2 Waterfront Committee:
My name is Tiph Browne and I’ve been hanging out at the piers since 2008, the same year I became a member of FIERCE and coincidentally, the same year that FIERCE presented to you our White Paper policy which outlines better solutions to the pier’s money problems and better uses for Pier 40. It is 2012, and we should not be moving backwards. Opening the act to big private development was a bad idea in 2008 and it is still a bad idea today. Private development always puts profit over people.
Opening the HRP Act to allow for mega-private development will not address the root causes of the lack of funds needed to maintain the piers, nor does it take into account the impact on community members. What it will do is lead to increased policing of the LGBTQ youth who use the pier, displace local businesses that will be bleed dry by larger corporations, and raise living costs for current and future residents.
Thought I don’t visit the piers as much as I did in 2008, I do still rely on the West Village as my safe place to build community. However, I continue to feel less and less welcome because of the increased police presence and the unaffordable food options that make it clear that I am not wanted. I should not feel like this in a neighborhood that historically has belonged to the LGBTQ community.
As a stakeholder in this community, I would rather see an income generating community-driven solution for Pier 40, not a luxury hotel that only a select few can afford. We need long-term investments in the community that do not rely on big businesses that might not last. When you invest in the community, the return on your investment is always bigger and more sustainable.
As a community, we want more involvement in decisions that affect our safe space and we demand more transparency and easier access to information. My challenge to you CB2 Waterfront Committee and to the Hudson River Park Trust is to reconsider opening the Act, consider the recommendations of FIERCE’s White Paper Policy, and find solutions that do not neglect the needs of the broader community.