Anti-Displacement Campaigns



Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance (POWWA) is a broad coalition of residents, businesses, labor, housing advocates, faith leaders, and others. All are committed to protecting the industrial character of the Sunset Park waterfront to: protect and expand career-track manufacturing jobs, protect working class residents from displacement, and develop for climate resilience.




The BQX is a novelty project of several powerful real estate interests along the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront. Together, they make up the so-called Friends of the BQX. While their public relations team emphasizes the public housing along the route, they do not highlight the real estate developers’ waterfront properties that are in actuality driving this proposal.

The PR team does also not highlight how the project is proposed to be funded: by inflating real estate values along the route and then taxing them. What this means is the guaranteed displacement of low- and working-class residents, mom-and-pop shops, and blue-collar industrial businesses. Moreover, there is no guarantee that BQX riders would be able to transfer for free to MTA subway and bus lines. In essence, this is transportation for the privileged at the expense of the poor. There are city government staffers privately referring to this proposal as the GX, or Gentrification Express.

Industrial Retention

Principles for industrial development and climate resilience on the Sunset Park waterfront


The Sunset Park industrial waterfront is being threatened by land speculation, potential rezonings, and high- end commercialization inconsistent with blue-collar manufacturing. The preservation and expansion of a blue-collar manufacturing base is crucial to the economic viability of a working class community like Sunset Park. The loss of blue-collar jobs and the displacement of working class businesses and residents is a devastating narrative that has unfolded in other neighborhoods; it must not be allowed to occur in Sunset Park.

The following principles seek to ensure local economic development, equity, and resilience in Sunset Park:



1. Ensure community control over infrastructure and planning projects in Sunset Park

  •  Local development priorities have been articulated in community-based 197-a and NYS-funded Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) plans
  • Local planning should be guided by community supervision in line with existing plans 


2. Protect the economic needs of long-time residents, workers and businesses

  • Local residents and businesses are increasingly facing flat wages, heavy rent burdens, and the threat of displacement
  • Ensure that economic development on the waterfront directly benefits the local community

3. Expand blue-collar union, career-track jobs

  • Manufacturing jobs pay twice the annual salary of service sector jobs in much of the city
  • Promote businesses and career opportunities at all skill levels, career advancement, and income mobility
  • Commercialization of the waterfront threatens to replace blue-collar manufacturing with service job

4. Promote the development of maritime-dependent industrial uses

  • Maritime-dependent uses reduce truck traffic and emissions

  • The development of port facilities, particularly at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, would stimulate local industrial job growth and should be prioritized above other uses

5. Protect land zoned for manufacturing

  • Restrict any rezonings or zoning variance applications that reduce land zoned for manufacturing to accommodate commercial or residential uses

  • Rezonings and variances lead to land speculation, which result in rising rents and displacement of existing jobs

6. Incorporate climate adaptation and resiliency into waterfront development

  • Promote industries that contribute to the climate adaptation needs of the community, city, and region and identify cost-effective opportunities to save energy

  • Encourage businesses to minimize waste