The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at 75: A Crisis in Context

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The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is in need of an integrated approach that incorporates both immediate action to avoid catastrophic collapse and the longer-term reconstruction of the corridor as a whole. Current plans focus only on short-term rebuilding of the city-controlled 1.5 miles adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This panel will examine these plans in terms of their larger context—the need to evaluate alternatives for the state-controlled and outmoded expressway that divides and impacts adjacent communities.

Opening Remarks:
Matthew Bremer, AIA,
2023 AIANY President, Founder and Director of AiF

John Schuyler, AIA,
Partner, FXCollaborative; Co-Chair, AIANY Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Antonio Reynoso,
Borough President of Brooklyn 

History of BQE:
Allen Swerdlowe, FAIA,
Principal, d7architects 

Susannah C. Drake, FAIA, FASLA,
Principal Sasaki, Founder DLANDstudio
Michael Kimmelman, Architecture Critic, The New York Times
Raju Mann, PE, Associate Principal, Arup
Sam Schwartz, PE, Founder, Sam Schwartz Pedestrian Traffic Management Services, Inc.

Closing Remarks:
Ernie Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA, Principal, Hutton Associates

About the Speakers:
Ernie Hutton
trained as an architect and city planner at Princeton and Penn and is principal of Hutton Associates/Planning Interaction. His work includes the Pittsburgh Cultural District and the original feasibility study for the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pro bono activities include 13 years as co-chair of the AIANY Planning & Urban Design Committee. He has been a recipient of AIA Collaborative Achievement Awards for New York New Visions (six-year co-chair), the AIANY Post-Sandy Initiative, and the AIANY Active Design Guidelines. Hutton received the 2011 AIA Associate Award and the NY Metro APA Lawrence Orton Award for career leadership in city and regional planning.

Raju Mann is an author of "The Future of the BQE," written for the New York City Council. He is an Associate Principal in Arup’s New York office. Prior to joining the firm, Mann served for eight years as the Director of Land Use and Planning for the New York City Council.

Antonio Reynoso is serving Brooklyn to make the borough the progressive capital of the world by building on his extensive record in the City Council. Reynoso’s twin guiding principles throughout his life have always been the concepts of justice and equity. He has vowed to fight each and every day to give all Brooklynites the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Sam Schwartz is a transportation engineer/urban designer, formerly the New York City Traffic Commissioner. He leads a transportation firm that solves the industry’s most challenging problems by balancing exemplary technical skills with exceptional creative approaches.

John Schuyler leads and manages FXCollaborative's Urban Studio, with a focus on integrating sustainable design within the vision for each project, building, or master plan. Schuyler understands that a city's evolution must consistently support and nurture a growing community from an economic, environmental, and urban perspective. He serves as the co-chair of the AIANY Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

Allen Swerdlowe has been studying the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway since moving into its shadow in 1984. He was funded by Pratt institute to do an early study of replacing the structure with a tunnel from Williamsburg to Carol Gardens, published in 1997. He is a founding trustee of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Swerdlowe currently serves as a Fulbright Specialist and recently consulted in Uzbekistan for the State Department and Fulbright on urban issues.

Michael Kimmelman is the architecture critic of The New York Times. He has reported from more than 40 countries, was previously The Times's chief art critic and, based in Berlin, created the "Abroad" column, covering cultural and political affairs across Europe and the Middle East. Twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist, he is the founder and editor-at-large of a new venture focused on global challenges and progress called Headway. He has written in depth on this and other urban subjects in the last few years.

Susannah C. Drake developed a reconnection strategy proposal for sites over the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens section of the BQE with a grant from NYSCA. The New York City Council funded her feasibility study for capping the BQE trench, resulting in the BQGreen proposal which was supported by Mayor Eric Adams, Borough President Antonio Reynoso, former DPR Diana Reyna, the local community, and the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn.

This event is offered in person on Zoom; COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks are strongly encouraged for all visitors. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here.