One of my big regrets about leaving Brooklyn is that I never really got to be an expert on Prospect Park. I just never went there enough to become one. My forays into the park were infrequent, and I never got to really explore the depths of the park, with all of its wonders and hidden places. I’ve probably seen most of the major landscapes, bridges and buildings, but I never had the chance to make them my own, in daily or weekly walks during all of the seasons, with all of the beauty that that brings. Prospect Park was just too far away, not terribly convenient, public transportation wise, and there was never time. And besides, I thought I had all the time in the world, I was never leaving Brooklyn. Ah, well, you never know…
I do vividly remember my first solo walk in the park, a long time ago when I was just discovering Brooklyn and when I was rather dangerously naive. I somehow ended up on a back trail somewhere, in the woods, surrounded by bushes, trees and overgrowth. I distinctly remember realizing that for the first time since I moved to New York City, I was completely alone. There was not a soul around me. I was alone in the middle of a huge park in a huge city of millions of people. I grew up in the country, and used to wander around in the fields and woods near my home, so being alone in nature was not new to me. But alone in the middle of Prospect Park in the early 1980s? I was quite uncharacteristically freaked. I hauled butt out of there and didn’t relax until I saw people again. So much for the country girl, I had become a paranoid New Yorker.
Most people don’t know a lot of things about the great city of New York that they live in, but many people do manage to know that the same pair of landscape architects designed both Central Park and Prospect Park, sometime back in the 1800s. They may even recognize the names: Frederick Law Olmsted, which is a kind of cool name that rolls off the tongue, and Calvert Vaux, which does not roll off the tongue at all. How do you even pronounce “Vaux,” anyway? (It rhymes with “hawks”) Depending on whether or not you live in Brooklyn or Manhattan, you may also think that Central Park was designed and built first, which is correct. You might also think that Prospect Park is a better park, and that Central Park should be considered just a practice run. You would be correct again, and that’s not just the Brooklyn in me talking. (more…)
Townhouse style luxury condos at Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park will start at $1,500,000 for a one-bedrom, developer Toll Brothers revealed yesterday and Dumbo NYC reported. Two bedrooms will range in size from 1,700 square feet to 3,000 square feet and in price from $2,200,000 to $5,000,000. The most expensive units are five bedrooms, and they will range from $6,750,000 to $11,000,000 for 4,200 to 4,900 square feet. The complex overlooks the East River. Construction will wrap in summer 2015.
Brooklyn Bridge Park yesterday celebrated the opening of new parkland at Piers 3 and 4. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and The Hungry March Band were on hand to welcome the new lawns, a terrace made of granite, the first of the park’s sound-deadening hills, and the final connection of the greenway through the area.
The Environmental Protection Agency overseeing the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site said Wednesday they will proceed with plans to build a holding tank for sewage runoff under a popular public pool in Gowanus unless the city can offer a viable alternative site, The Brooklyn Paper reported. The cleanup would mean closing the Double D pool at the Thomas Greene Playground for years, and a group of Gowanus residents who rely on the pool in the summer vehemently oppose the plan.
The EPA needs an alternative site within nine months so they can start the design, said Superfund Project Manager Christos Tsiamis at a community meeting. But even if another site for the storage tank is found, the pool may have to temporarily close anyway. It sits on top of contaminated soil where a gas plant operated from 1879 to 1929. The state may require National Grid to dig up and remove the contaminated ground.
The new ice-skating rink that’s been carved out of part of McCarren Pool in Williamsburg will open tomorrow at 11 am, Free Williamsburg reports. The 7,200-square-foot rink will be open seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm until the first week in January. It can accommodate up to 300 skaters, who can use the pool lockers and other facilities in the locker rooms.
The Hanson Brothers will provide offbeat concessions, like hot dogs with pulled pork and pickled jalapeños, black bean burgers, a “pot roast” melt with brisket, mirepoix relish and sour cream potato sauce, and red eye chicory coffee. Head over to Grub Street to see the whole menu. Ticket prices will be $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for children. Skate rentals will cost $5. The rink will also host a pro shop and skate sharpening, as well as skate classes, clinics and demonstrations.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is officially opening Piers 3 and 4 this Saturday with music and kid-friendly activities. The new piers add six acres of park land, the final connection of the parkwide greenway, a granite terrace and the first of the park’s “sound attenuating hills” (presumably to block the noise from the BQE directly behind the park). The festivities will run from 10 am to 1 pm and feature music from the Hungry March Band and staff-led tours.
The Fulton Area Business Alliance recently published the renderings for the redesigned Fowler Square, a public plaza at Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene. The design team integrated the community’s suggestions from a workshop in April and displayed the renderings at Fowler Square on October 19. They plan to present the designs to Community Board Two and the Public Design Commission this month. Construction of the new plaza is scheduled to start next fall.
Click through the jump to see the rest of the renderings.
As controversial Greenpoint developments Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street wind their way through the land use review process, the city is finally moving to deliver two long-delayed parks that were promised in exchange for the controversial rezoning that has reshaped the North Brooklyn waterfront and permitted the huge gigantic towers complexes to be built.
Construction on Newtown Barge and Box Street Parks is scheduled to start in spring 2015, officials told DNAinfo. The Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street towers will rise right next to the parks, and the developers are helping fund the five acres of green space as part of their agreement with the city. The city committed to building the two parks back in 2005, but it took the city eight years to find an alternative storage space for the Roosevelt Island Tram cars stored on the property.
The planning phase for the parks begins next week. A public meeting is planned October 30 at Bushwick Inlet Park at 6 pm to solicit ideas and community feedback. Current plans for Box Street Park call for a multipurpose field, a shaded picnic terrace and a launching pad for kayaks on Newtown Creek. Newtown Barge Park would expand beyond an existing playground at the site to include a picnic area and more recreational space. The parks are slated to open in 2016.
The restored Lakeside Center in Prospect Park opened earlier this year, but two forthcoming indoor-outdoor skating rinks (which will double as a roller rink and children’s water park in summer) are still under construction. The New York Time’s architectural critic Michael Kimmelman toured the site, set to open in December, and found that the contemporary design by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien fits well into Olmstead and Vaux’s 19th-century pastoral masterpiece.
The two pavilions, totaling 30,000 square feet, are clad in rough green granite, and nestled unobtrusively into the hilly site. The underside of the canopy of the hockey rink is painted blue with silver curlicues like skate marks on the ice. The building defers to the “scenic beauty of the site,” and is green in other ways too, including a green roof and low energy consumption, according to the designers’ own website.
Here, the architecture and landscape conspire to direct views mostly inward, back onto the park in its diversity. During the 19th century, Olmstead and Vaux gave Brooklyn a verdant open space to escape the hurly-burly and enjoy the scenery. In the 20th century, Moses added roads and recreation, peace and quiet be damned. Lakeside updates recreation for a new century. But it also recovers the tranquillity and natural wonder that are the first glory of this urban masterpiece.
Click through to the jump to see a rendering of the building exterior via builder Sciame. (more…)
Phase I of Bushwick Inlet Park officially opened yesterday and outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was on hand to cut the ribbon. The soccer field, above, has been open for a while, but now the award-winning community facility building with a green roof, a new playground, and access to the waterfront are open. The green space, which was expected to open in March, is a slice of the 28-acre park promised in exchange for the 2005 Williamsburg rezoning. Click through to the jump to see a photo from yesterday’s ceremony.
The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has secured $882,000 in City Council capital funding, rounding out the money needed to create a 1.7-acre park in the former Brooklyn Naval Hospital cemetery. The BGI and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation will landscape the site, which is on Williamsburg Street West between Kent and Flushing Avenues. The park will be “planted exclusively with native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs and is being designed to provide the experience of being completely enveloped in nature,” according to BGI. Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects are designing it and released their renderings, pictured above, last year. BGI secured the first part of the funding in 2012 — $560,000 from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and $600,000 from TKF Foundation. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2014.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Monday put out a request for proposals for a marina next to Pier 5, a roller rink at Pier 2, and the Pier 5 concession stand, as the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was the first to report. The park is looking for a qualified firm to lease, develop and operate a marina on a site adjacent to Pier 5, pictured above. The 320,000-square-foot area sits at the southern edge of the park and can accommodate 186 vessels. The designs need to be fiscally feasible, incorporate storm and flood protection, and be as green as possible, according to the Eagle. As for the rink, it is already designed and the park is looking for an operator. There will also be shuffleboard, bocce ball, basketball, and handball at this location, according to the request for proposal. The deadline for proposals for all three is November 18. Click through to the jump to see a rendering of the proposed roller rink.