A long-promised park in Greenpoint has the green light thanks to a deal the City has worked out with prominent real estate developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit, who are also revamping the Hotel Bossert in Brooklyn Heights, Crain’s reported. The three-acre Box Street park at Box and Commercial Street at the head of Newtown Creek was promised by the City in exchange for the 2005 rezoning of the waterfront in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The developers are paying the city about $8 million for the air rights to City property at 65 Commercial Street, currently used to park MTA buses, and the City will put those funds toward the park, move the buses, and incorporate the lot into the park, said the story. Meanwhile, the developers are building a high-rise on neighboring property at 77 Commercial Street, which they purchased last year for $25 million. The building, pictured above, will have about 700 apartments, of which 200 will be affordable. The City plans to unveil plans for the park in the fall.
New Park to Blossom on Greenpoint Waterfront [Crain's]
Rendering via Crain’s
An eagle-eyed tipster spotted a tractor trailer hauling a modular unit into Brooklyn Bridge Park last week. The Brooklyn Bridge Park brass told us the New York Center for Sustainable Energy Educational Center is being relocated from Pier One to Pier Six. The center, housed in three shipping containers, is where the park holds many of its educational programs. It also serves as a charging station for park maintenance and security vehicles. The structure was designed to be entirely sustainable and operate completely off-grid — it receives no outside power sources to operate. Here’s a photo tour of the center from when it opened in 2011.
Locals said they fear the City may try a condo giveaway on parkland it promised to create in Williamsburg, according to The Brooklyn Paper. In exchange for rezoning the waterfront to allow high rise development, the City promised to turn six waterfront parcels of land in Williamburg into Bushwick Inlet Park. Eight years later, the City owns only two of those parcels, and the value of land in the area has risen so dramatically that it can’t afford to buy the others. ”I’ll be shocked if we get this park without a big tower sitting in the middle of it,” the story quoted Community Board One member Ryan Kuonen as saying. “That’s the only model the city seems to recognize as a viable way to build park space.” Recently the City has greenlighted a private condo development in Brooklyn Bridge Park and proposed selling off Brooklyn Public Library land to developers and housing the libraries in apartment buildings. The City intends to buy one of the six plots in 2015; it opened a soccer field on one of the sites last year, above, and a parks building on the same site is set to open in June. The Open Space Alliance has been holding concerts on the other City owned site while it is tested for pollutants.
Greenspace Advocates Fear Bushwick Inlet Park Will Go Private [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo by Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park
This year’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale starts Tuesday, April 30. The yearly fundraiser takes place on the Cherry Esplanade in Prospect Park and offers the biggest selection of plants in Brooklyn. Opening day is for members only, but if you go early on Wednesday, you will still get your pick because they put out new merchandise. The selection includes vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials, and house plants. The sale runs until noon on Thursday, May 2. For more info, check out the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s web site.
Photo by Rebecca Bullene via Brooklyn Botanic Garden
An unusual, tree-house-inspired playground is going into an existing park in Brownsville, the Architzer blog reported. It’s called the Imagination Playground, and its central feature is big building blocks made of blue foam, designed to encourage children to play creatively on their own. A similar playground already exists in Manhattan at the South Street Seaport, and others have been springing up around the country; the playgrounds and the blocks were designed and donated by architectural firm Rockwell Group. The multi-level space at Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park will incorporate sand and water, and a long, winding play ramp will weave through the surrounding trees, said the blog. (more…)
Today Brooklyn Bridge Park announced its outdoor summer movie lineup! The free series takes place on Pier 1 and will feature 11 films with the theme “With Love From…” The first film in the series kicks off on Thursday, July 11, and it’ll run weekly through Thursday, August 29. The preshow will feature DJs from Brooklyn Radio playing music from each of the films’ locations as well as food and drinks from Blue Marble Ice Cream, Luke’s Lobster, No. 7 Subs, Lizzmonade Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar. And every week BAMcinématek curates short films to be shown before the feature. Here’s the full lineup. Films this summer include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Rocky, Good Will Hunting, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Can’t wait!
Photo by agent j loves nyc
Just an hour ago the Parks Commissioner Veronica White, Council Member Sara Gonzalez and others gathered at Sunset Park to cut the ribbon to the new field, a former asphalt play area that was transformed into a synthetic turf field. (Here’s a Twitter picture of the new space… more coming soon!) Work began on this $4 million renovation project in 2011. The project includes new lighting, dugouts, fencing, benches, a walking track, drinking fountains and landscaping. The path and plaza around the field were repaved and landscaped. The Parks Department also refurbished the existing comfort station. The Sunset Park Playground is also due for a renovation; Parks plans to restore the spray shower play area adjacent to the pool in the spring of 2014. Council Member Sara Gonzalez already secured funding for the first phase of that redesign.
Major Overhaul of Sunset Park Under Way [Brownstoner]
Schematic via the Sunset Park Revitalization and Improvement Group
Curbed attended Community Board Two’s land use meeting this week and got an update on what theater group St. Ann’s Warehouse is planning for its remake of Dumbo’s historic Tobacco Warehouses. The big news is that architect H3 Hardy Collaboration isn’t on board any more, and Rogers Marvel Architects is the new firm. Architect Jonathan Marvel and the St. Ann’s Warehouse crew presented a design for an 18,000-square-foot enclosed building with performance space, a 1,000-square-foot multipurpose space, and a 7,600-square-foot open space “imagined as a walled birch tree grove.” The open space will be designed by Michael Van Valkenberg Associates and it will be open to the public during park hours. The theater lobby will also have access into Brooklyn Bridge Park. Check out another rendering over at Curbed.
Theater Group Unveils Proposed Tobacco Warehouse Makeover [Curbed]
A popular City pool that has already been saved once from city budget cuts is now threatened with closure by the pending cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo reported. The pool at the Thomas Greene Playground, nicknamed the Double D for its location on Nevins and 3rd Avenue between Degraw and Douglass, sits where the EPA plans to build an underground sewage storage tank. The tank will house raw sewage runoff from the canal during rain storms. Nearby residents have started an online petition protesting the closure.
Locals Rally to Save Swimming Pool Threatened by Canal Cleanup [DNAinfo]
Photo by Brooklyn Paper
Not so long ago we wondered when the Bushwick Inlet Park facility building would finally open. After spotting new signage that’s now gracing the building, it seemed like that day was coming soon. According to Laura Treciokas at the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, the Parks Department is aiming for a June opening. The opening was vaguely scheduled for the “beginning of this year,” after being pushed back from this March. The building, which has a sloping green roof, will house community facilities and park operations.
Almost Done at the Bushwick Inlet Park Building? [Brownstoner]
Exciting news: A farmers market is coming to Pier Six at Brooklyn Bridge Park! This upcoming Monday, the green market organization Down to Earth will present to the Community Board Two Parks Committee a proposal for a market on the upland portion of Pier Six. Down to Earth runs markets upstate, in Park Slope, and in Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park. If they are shooting for a launch this summer, they will join a number of food vendors also slated to set up around the park. Fornino Pizza will serve pizzas from the Pier Six concession stand, as well as beer on the rooftop beer garden. If you’re interested in learning more about the farmers market, the meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 15, at 6 pm at the Brooklyn Hospital at 121 DeKalb Avenue.
Photo by Etienne Frossard via Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park has published all 10 design proposals for what to do with the old Empire Stores buildings, above, it received in response to its call for ideas. For anyone interested in planning, architecture, or repurposing old buildings, it’s fascinating reading. The waterfront complex consists of seven landmarked 19th century coffee warehouses between Main and Dock streets with approximately 327,000 square feet of space. Some of the ideas floated include a green roof, retail, cultural and office space, events on the rooftop, outdoor dining, workshop space, a food exchange, and rooftop topiaries in the shape of giant bunnies and other animals. Proposed structural enhancements include exterior stairwells, glass enclosures on the roof and sides, and an internal circular ramp, some of which seem to echo some famous public buildings such as the Pompidou Center, the Louvre Pyramid and the Guggenheim. The Community Advisory Council will give feedback to the park about the designs April 19, and the winning project will be selected sometime this summer. Which one is your favorite? Click through to the jump to see a gallery of images from the proposals. (more…)
Just in time for spring, a new pier has opened up at Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park, DNAinfo reported. The pier offers some very nice views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline. It can also be used for fishing. Transmitter Park opened in Greenpoint last summer, and the pier has been under construction for just about as long.
New Pier Opens in Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park [DNAinfo]
Transmitter Park Pier on the Way? [Brownstoner]
Photo by DNAinfo
This spring the Prospect Park Alliance plans to close the park’s Audubon Center permanently on weekends for private events, a move that has some park goers upset. The Alliance hopes to raise funds by privatizing the Audubon Center during the weekends and plans to host “Pop Up Audubon” events around the park during the weekend. The center will then be open on Thursdays and Fridays. A group called 4 Audubon @ Boathouse issued an opposition statement to the closure, saying that the proposed pop-up Audubon will not be a suitable substitute for the actual building. The pop-ups will not have a cafe, nature tours, or the electric boat. As they say, “We feel that the PPA should open the Audubon Center on the weekends when there are no events taking place. The public deserves to have a permanent place to enjoy and learn about nature and where their children can continue to appreciate the natural environment of Prospect Park.” Borough President Marty Markowitz has also expressed his support in keeping the center open when no events are taking place.
Photo by heart_of_brooklyn
Community Board One’s land-use committee will hear a very interesting proposal from the Open Space Alliance at its meeting on Wednesday night. The OSA and the Parks Department want to close off streets around McCarren Park, in Williamsburg, to expand the park and to connect sections of the park currently separated by a road. The proposal asks for “the discontinuance and closing of Union Avenue from North 12th Street to Driggs Avenue,” “the discontinuance and closing of a portion of Driggs Avenue at its former intersection at North 13th Street,” “the establishment of an addition to McCarren Park,” and “the adjustment of grades necessitated thereof.” As the Brooklyn Paper reported, by “demapping” one block between Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street, the park would gain 33,8000 square feet. The plan would also connect the triangular section of the park, home to the dog run and farmers market, with the park’s southern end. The roadway would be replaced with planting beds, shrubs, loading zones and catch basins. But because the plan takes away 34 parking spaces, it is facing some resistance from neighborhood drivers. Should make for an interesting meeting! If you’re interested in attending, the land-use committee is meeting Wednesday at 6:30 pm at 435 Graham Avenue. Jed Walentas is also on the schedule to present some information about the Domino Sugar conversion.
Plan to Expand McCarren Isn’t Getting a Greenlight from Drivers [BK Paper]
Union Avenue and North 12th Street, via Gmap
The Fort Greene Park Conservancy is showing the documentary The Greenhorns to raise funds for its vegetable garden. The film “explores the lives of America’s young farming community — its spirit, practices, and needs” and is part of a larger effort by the filmmakers to reform agriculture in the U.S. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion on sustainable and urban farming. All proceeds from the $7 admission and sales of beer, wine and popcorn go to the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. The event takes place at 7 pm tonight at The Greene Grape at 767 Fulton Street.
The GoogaMooga Festival is back for its second year at Prospect Park. Today the company who runs it, Superfly, announced the full music and food lineup coming on the weekend of May 17. Eater has the full rundown, but musical acts include The Flaming Lips, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Darkness, Matt & Kim and De La Soul. Food vendors (85 restaurants are participating) include Baked, Do or Dine, Fatty Cue, Momofuku, Mile End, Vinegar Hill House and Roberta’s. A bunch of beverage tents will serve over 75 beers and over 100 wines. Even more food and drink additions are expected in the coming weeks. The Flaming Lips, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Darkness will play a paid show on Friday night, and complimentary tickets will be available for the Saturday and Sunday shows at the GoogaMooga website from Monday, April 1 to Wednesday, April 3. Last year there were technical issues with the complimentary tickets, and some vendors ran out of food during the festival. For those who attended last year, will you return?
Check Out the Food, Music Lineup for GoogaMooga ’13 [Eater]
Photo by El Wingo
The Squibb Park Bridge opened yesterday, but that is not the only exciting thing happening at Brooklyn Bridge Park right now. According to an update on the BBP website, progress is moving steadily along at Pier Four and Pier Two. Construction workers have broken ground at Pier Four, which will be a beach and a calm water zone. Right now workers are bringing fill into the site to build up the topography. According to BBP, “Twenty-four trucks are pulling into BBP each day carrying 20 to 30 cubic yards of fill each. Over 50,000 cubic yards of fill will be on site once all of the fill has been delivered!” This process will take two-and-a-half months. Over at Pier Two, pictured above, workers are demolishing and reinforcing parts of the pier shed. The portions of the shed that remain on site will provide shading and rain shelter around the planned rec courts, in-line skating rink and picnic tables. The western edge of the shed will be removed to create the open recreation area. This project is scheduled to finish in the late fall.
Construction Updates [Brooklyn Bridge Park]
Photo by Julienne Schaer for Brooklyn Bridge Park
To our surprise, the Bushwick Inlet Park is looking nearly finished these days. The 15,530-square-foot building will be used for community facilities and park operations. The multipurpose athletic field and the Bushwick Inlet Park shoreline are the only available park spaces currently accessible out of the 28 acres of parkland promised after the Williamsburg rezoning. The ETA for the community facility is scheduled for sometime at the beginning of this year — in December, the Parks Department told the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park it would open by March. The building, designed by Kiss and Cathcart Architects, is very energy friendly and will use a green roof to cool the interior. Inhabitat posted some great photos of the green roof under construction, which actually slopes down into the ground-level soccer fields. (Check out a rendering on the entire space here.) This park space has been a contentious issue between the city and local residents for a long time now.
Today Two Trees today announced some nifty plans for the Domino site before construction starts. A group of Williamsburg residents will take over the eastern portion of Site E, the vacant 55,000-square-foot lot on Kent Avenue between South 3rd and South 4th streets, and create a bilingual reading room, a community farm operated by North Brooklyn Farms, and a community green space with different programming initiatives. Possibilities include yoga classes, kid activities, and urban-farming classes. (This is the same group that’s doing events over at the former Lutheran church in Bushwick.) Over on the western portion of the site (which borders Kent Avenue), Ride Brooklyn, in partnership with the New York City Mountain Bike Association, will offer bikes and a place to ride them for free. The bike course will include a training area for children, novices, and intermediate riders, as well as an advanced pump track for skilled riders. The temporary space will be open to the public by the end of May and will be active until construction starts on the Domino Sugar redevelopment next year. As part of the redevelopment plan, Two Trees plans to build out a waterfront esplanade which will include kayak launches, a floating pool, sports fields, green space and public seating. The permanent esplanade will be designed by the landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations.
Two Trees Seeks More Proposals on Site E [Brownstoner]
Two Trees Asks Locals for Ideas on Domino Development [Brownstoner]
Image via Two Trees