They had to find more chairs. On Monday evening, a group of more than 70 people — architects, city representatives and Brooklyn residents — met at Fort Greene’s Willoughby Senior Center to talk about the future of the neighborhood’s public spaces.
Hosted by Community Board 2 and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the workshop was part of the Brooklyn Strand. The multi-year, multi-part effort is spearheaded by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and WXY Architecture, and seeks to improve public space around the Brooklyn Bridge and BQE from Borough Hall to Commodore Barry Park.
Claire Weisz, Founding Principal of WXY Architecture, kicked off the evening with a presentation explaining how the construction of the BQE and other changes created the oddly shaped parks and disconnected blocks nearby.
The goal of the workshop was to gather local perspective and discuss ways of knitting these areas back together. Broken up into five tables with rotating discussion topics, the room thrummed with animated conversation.
Below, some photos and comments from the evening.
“Y’all have to put something down here that’s going to make our children comfortable,” one woman told the architect at her table. “Everything is in Dumbo. Bring that to us.”
“Some of these plans are just not gonna work,” remarked another participant to her friend. “They need us.”
Community activist Joe Gonzalez told Brownstoner he was dissatisfied with the Trinity Park discussion: “They failed to understand parks are built in various sizes for the purpose of facilitating certain kinds of behaviors. Trinity Park was built small to foster passive recreation such as sitting on a bench, playing cards, chess or checkers.”
“Wegman’s? We can’t afford that,” said one participant, referring to the grocery store that is slated to open in the Navy Yard in 2017.
“You have to think of short term solutions. Not plans that will never get done,” said another participant.
[Photos: Barbara Eldredge]