Courier Life’s

Residents blast school’s dead-end plan

Brooklyn Daily
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A Bay Ridge private school says it wants to make the neighborhood — and the country — safer by taking over a portion of a troublesome dead end street near an entrance to its football field, but neighbors say there is nothing dangerous about the area and that the school is simply making a land grab that would take valuable parking spaces away from them.

Poly Prep Country Day School is asking the city to let it lease a 185-foot section of Battery Avenue between Fort Hill Place and the Fort Hamilton Army Base, claiming it is a den of drug dealing, prostitution, and drinking that cannot be contained by police. The school would close off the area with a chain-link fence and gate, moving up the dead-end and taking away about 10 parking spots.

“We’re doing this because we’re good neighbors,” said Malcolm Farley, director of communications for the school, who added that drug dealing so close to the fort is a threat to national security because dealers could be selling dope to soldiers. “We want to protect the safety and security of Fort Hamilton, our kids, and our neighbors.”

But neighbors say the area is safe, and a police source we spoke to could not confirm the number of complaints about the street, but denied that prostitution was taking place there.

“We definitely received complaints about the location, but there was nothing that was justified as ongoing prostituti­on,” the source said.

So neighbors think that blocking off the street is just a ploy to privatize a public road and take over sorely needed parking spots so buses carrying visiting football teams have a convenient place to park on game days.

“They’re going to block the streets so that visiting cars and buses can park,” said Elaine O’Rourke, who lives on the block.

School officials admitted that the block has been used by visiting football teams, but that’s not the reason Poly wants the land.

“They do park buses back there four or five times in the football season and yes, we would continue to look to do so,” said Rutuelo. “But we are not doing this for additional parking.”

Few cars were parked on the street when we stopped by last Wednesday, as every house on the block has off-street parking.

But neighbors said that every home had at least two cars, and finding parking at night was difficult.

“People on the block park here at night,” said Joan MacGregor, who lives one house away from the site of the would-be fence. “It’s hard to get a spot already.”

The 157-year-old school, which has about 800 students from grades five through 12, is located on the edge of the Dyker Heights Golf Course and abuts Fort Hamilton, features a bucolic campus with ponds and geese. Poly Prep has a lower school in Park Slope near Prospect Park.

School officials are meeting at a hearing on Wednesday at Community Board 10 — but some board members are skeptical of the plan.

“My impression is that they feel they’re entitled to take over a public street because they’re rich,” said CB10 member Bob Hudock.

The school first made its request to take over the land to state Sen. Marty Golden in May, 2010.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at

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Reader Feedback

Sally from Dyker says:
sounds like hudock already made up his mind.
Nov. 8, 2011, 1:26 pm
Bugsy from Bay Ridge says:
This is MOST CERTAINLY a ploy to privatize a public road and take over precious parking spots so buses carrying visiting football teams have a convenient place to park on game days.
There are no "prostitutes and junkies" over there. What a joke! The residents of Battery Avenue are wise to Poly Prep's game and they will NOT stand for this. Mark my woids.
Nov. 8, 2011, 6:06 pm
AnGee from Bay Ridge says:
Polyprep has a long history of annoying the quiet residents of Battery Avenue of which I am one. About 5-6 years ago, they embarked on a 'greening' program / project during which over 200 trees on their property were taken down, to make way for a green house and additional buildings for the school. An abandoned lot on Battery Avenue that was annexed to their property was paved over to make way for parking spots for the school. At that time they tried to have an entrance/exit placed at that property line. We who live on Battery Avenue see no reason why Polyprep traffic should impact our lives. We fought and won that battle, they placed only a small gate for people to access. However, the paving of the roads of Polyprep as part of their modernization has caused floods and weakening of the fences along the joint property lines of Polyprep and the Battery Ave residents. Poly has fixed some of the fencing, but not the flooding. A tree that was clearly over 100 years of age was felled due to the rainwater that washed away the soil outside the poly parking lot on Battery Avenue. You can clearly see which property belongs to Polyprep, it's the overgrown with weeds sidewalk that is never shoveled in winter unless one of the neighbors does so, to prevent falls. Now Polyprep says they will erect a gate for student and national security at the deadend of the block. I say, You've done quite enough already, Poly! You think you can provide yourself a back entrance to your facility there? No way! It's still a residential block, and when the majority of the teachers and students go home, the neighborhood returns to its quiet serene crime-free status! Except for Steve Andersen who resides on Polyprep property but chooses not to deal with resident's issues. Once upon having a complaint about the landscaping noises that start on Saturday and Sunday before 8AM, Mr Andersen provided me the landscaper owner's number and told me to deal with him myself! That's not neighborly, Mr Andersen, and Polyprep is not a neighbor, it's a nuisance!
Nov. 9, 2011, 4:56 pm
Sienna from Bay Ridge says:
It's not just that they're bad neighbors. They've now insinuated that the NYPD can't handle crime that no one else seems to think is happening, and they have outright slandered the brave soldiers of Ft. Hamilton. This place is out of control! I still can't get over 'national security issue.' gimme a break!
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:39 am

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