Mayor declares support for Bruckner rezoning, housing advocates rally in Throggs Neck with residents protesting

fortune society speaker bruckner just home foodtown
Advocates and union representatives gather in support of the proposed Bruckner Boulevard rezoning at a rally that Mayor Eric Adams was planning to attend. From left, Stanley Richards, deputy CEO of Fortune Society, and Barrie Smith, executive board member of Laborers Local 79, address supporters at the development site.
Photo Aliya Schneider

“Hosts Rally in Support of Affordable Housing” was at the top of Mayor Eric Adams’ schedule for Tuesday, located at the site of a highly controversial Bruckner Boulevard rezoning proposal in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx.

By Tuesday morning, his appearance was quietly canceled, but he still declared support for the redevelopment, which would bring four new buildings with 349 apartment units, of which 168 would be designated affordable, including 99 units for seniors. An additional 22 units would be designated for veterans and privately subsidized, according to the development team. But Bronx residents of Community District 10 have responded with uproar against the project, branding it as a harmful upzoning that will overload their previously designated low-density community.

“Mayor Adams wholeheartedly supports this project to create more than 150 new affordable homes in a community that desperately needs them, and we will continue working closely with the City Council and the community to get this project done and create the affordable housing we need,” said Charles Kretchmer, deputy press secretary for the mayor.

Kretchmer said Adams couldn’t attend the rally because of an emergency meeting.

But the rally still went on, primarily organized by the 32BJ SEIU and Laborers Local 79 unions, with speakers from advocacy groups Open NY, Jericho Project, Regional Plan Association, NY Housing Conference, Black Institute and Fortune Society, the nonprofit that would operate another controversial project, the proposed Just Home project at Jacobi Medical Center in Morris Park. Advocates at the rally also spoke in support of Just Home, which would provide housing for formerly jailed medically complex individuals and is also facing fierce community opposition from the neighboring Community District 11.

“We have enough rooms in our hearts and in this world to provide places for people to rest their heads, to build communities, to feel loved, to be engaged, to be valued, and to add to the diversity of a community,” Stanley Richards, deputy CEO of Fortune Society, said at the rally. “So I encourage you all, all residents of this community: walk with love in your heart, see people for not what they did, not for who you see them to be on the streets. See them as you would see your family members: someone to be valued, someone to be loved and someone to be welcomed.”

Supporters chanted about affordable housing while contained to the side of the Bruckner Super Foodtown parking lot furthest from the street, with barriers and NYPD officers keeping protestors chanting “No Upzoning! on the other side of the lot. Yet the advocates weren’t entirely protected from the opposition, with a next-door neighbor lifting a garden hose with running water over the parking lot fence.