Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.
We continue this week’s look at Brooklyn’s natural treasure: Prospect Park. Summer is coming!
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Prospect Park Peristyle, aka Grecian Shelter, aka Croquet Shelter
Address: 96 Parkside Avenue
Cross Streets: Park Circle and Ocean Avenue
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: McKim, Mead & White
Other Works by Architect: In Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza park entrance, and other entrances and structures within Prospect Park (Stanford White)
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (1968)
The story: Who doesn’t love this Classical Greek inspired structure? For many people, Prospect Park begins and ends on the Park Slope side, but other parts of the park have some of the best goodies, some hidden, and some, like this shelter, in plain view.
And to learn that it was designed by one of the finest architectural firms in the history of American architecture is just icing on the cake. As summer rapidly is upon us, let’s take a look at this wonderful folly on the Flatbush side of the park.
Just before dawn this morning, a group of artists installed a bust of famed NSA leaker Edward Snowden on a short column at the far edge of the Prison Ship Martyrs monument in Fort Greene Park, according to Animal New York. The Parks Department tied a tarp over the bust around noon, hiding it from the public.
After a year of community workshops, architecture firm WXY Studio has presented its recommendations to link the waterfront, courthouses and the Navy Yard with a series of green spaces — an effort known as the Brooklyn Strand. The Strand would create more public space and easier walking around areas that have been neglected by the Parks Department or made inaccessible by the BQE. During a Community Board 2 meeting on Monday, which we attended, WXY principal Claire Weisz offered improvements and renderings for Borough Hall Park, Cadman Plaza Park, Commodore Barry Park and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
Here are the recommendations:
The parking lot next to Borough Hall could be moved underground, freeing up space to build a covered cafe with seating and space for events. Another plan calls for renovating the Brooklyn War Memorial and transforming it into a visitors center. Weisz also suggested adding bike lanes around Cadman Plaza Park, making it more accessible and establishing a better link with the Brooklyn Bridge.
On July 4th, 1902, the bands marched, politicians waxed poetic, and the people celebrated on this, the grand opening of the Warren Hill Park, on top of Mount Ida, overlooking downtown Troy. The year before, after a few positive voices of agreement, along with the usual contentious wrangling and pompous posturing, the City Council of Troy voted in favor of purchasing the parkland to create Troy’s newest and most important public park.
As our Brooklyn readers all know, Prospect Park was designed by the famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park. That park opened in 1857 with great fanfare and much success. As well it should; Central Park is one of the great urban parks, and Olmsted and Vaux created a masterpiece of natural and enhanced landscaping that America had never seen before. When the City Fathers from across the East River in Brooklyn went to inspect the park, of course, they wanted one too.
When the Williamsburg waterfront was rezoned over a decade ago, the city promised a 28-acre park that would include what is now the burnt-out remains of the CitiStorage warehouse at North 11th and Kent Avenue. But so far, the city has not delivered, and Bushwick Inlet Park today is but a fraction of what was promised. As numerous media outlets have detailed in recent days following the fire, local residents and community activists now fear the CitiStorage owner will sell to a private developer to put up condos.
The Open Space Alliance is hosting a meeting tonight for anyone who would like to organize in support of the park. It’ll take place at 7 pm at El Puente at 211 South 4th Street.
When we last checked in at the construction of the Pierhouse hotel and condo development going up in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the hotel portion at 60 Furman Street had topped out but it looked like the condo part had not yet begun. Now it looks like the condo section, which is closer to Atlantic and appears in the foreground of the photo, at 90 Furman Street, is up to about eight stories, out of a total of 10. Thanks to a reader for the photo.
Pierhouse Coverage [Brownstoner]
Toll Brothers’ Pierhouse condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park, some of the priciest real estate in Brooklyn of any sort, are more than half sold (in contract, that is) since sales launched in February. Prices are averaging $1,850 per square foot and the developer expects to realize at least $250,000,000 in revenues from the project. It has invested almost $39,000,000 into the development, said executives during an earnings call Wednesday reported by The Real Deal.
The development, designed by Marvel Architects, is still under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and has angered preservationists such as Otis Pearsall and the Brooklyn Heights Association because a three-story rooftop structure housing mechanicals is unexpectedly blocking views of the bridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, as we reported in September.
The units have proved so popular prices have increased six times during the two and a half months of sales, said the story. Of the 106 condos, 60 are in contract. Construction is expected to wrap in summer 2015. Toll Brothers plans to eventually sell the hotel portion of the project, which will be a 1 Hotel from Starwood, for about $100,000,000, said the firm’s chief financial officer.
Toll Brothers’ Pierhouse to See Big Payday [TRD]
Rendering by Marvel Architects
Bush Terminal Piers Park has finally opened on the Sunset Park waterfront, after more than a decade of planning and several delays during two years of construction. DNAinfo reported that the park officially opened its gates to the public Wednesday.
The eight-block-long green space runs from 43rd to 51st Streets but only has one entrance, at 43rd. The park has two multi-purpose soccer and baseball fields and a waterfront esplanade with tide ponds and restored wetlands, according to the Parks Department.
Until March 1, the park will be open from 8 am to 4 pm, and the summer hours will extend until 8 pm. The city spent years cleaning up the 11-acre stretch of waterfront, a former brownfield.
Bush Terminal Piers Park Opens to the Public on Sunset Park Waterfront [DNAinfo]
Image via NYC Parks
The EPA has been warning since 2012 that the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup might require digging up Gowanus’ only public park and swimming pool to install tanks to catch overflow sewage. That scenario is looking more likely — and neighbors are not pleased — following an announcement Tuesday by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection that it has narrowed the list of possible sites for the sewage tanks to just two. Those are Thomas Greene Park and Double D Pool or the “salt lot” on 2nd Avenue and 5th Street next to the Gowanus Canal.
The Friends of Douglass Greene Park issued a statement today, not its first, against the siting of the tanks in the park and is again circulating its petition to save the pool. But if the EPA does decide to dig up the public space, the community group demands a “seamless transition” to park and pool facilities somewhere nearby.
Photo by Park Slope Patch