Group Members: Danilo Rojas, Richard Lee, Vincent Xue, Joanne Cheung, Patricia Pares, Angela Hum

The Hole

East New York is one of the most underserved neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with half of its 90,000 residents living below the poverty line and receiving public assistance. The neighborhood borders Queens, specifically Ozone Park and Howard Beach, to the east, and it is this boundary on which our plan focuses on. On the outskirts of East New York lies a distinct site with no specified name despite its glaring differences from the surrounding areas. Some residents have come to refer to it as “The Hole”, since the area is 30 feet below grade, a key feature of the area. The site sits at the junction of Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard, separating East New York, Brooklyn from Howard Beach and Ozone Park in Queens. The separation is more than physical. A racial and economic divide exists between the two areas as well. The Hole has been neglected for years by the city, with construction projects being started and then being abandoned, leaving vacant lots and abandoned houses scattered throughout the area with an enormous mound of debris overlooking the area. The area has been so neglected that it was once notorious for being a mob dumping ground, and multiple bodies have been found within “The Hole”. With no sidewalks, streetlights, or stoplights, the area looks unlike any other site in Brooklyn, or even NYC, and the problems and neglect become even more apparent when contrasted with the suburban Howard Beach neighborhood lying just a few blocks away.

Planning issues in “The Hole” involve changing the area’s infrastructure to better integrate it with the surrounding communities. Planning needs to take East New York into consideration and determine how to make “The Hole” an integral part of the neighborhood rather than cutting it off. One of the questions that our plan will attempt to answer is how can physical structures and improvements to infrastructure help  “The Hole” to become a site of integration between Howard Beach and East New York rather than being the ugly boundary between the two, almost symbolic of the ugly racial and class divide between the neighborhoods.