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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

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The city is building a methane gas recycling facility on land it promised for a park 10 years ago, according to community group The Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee. The group supports the facility but is demanding the city move it elsewhere, Brooklyn Paper reported.

“It does not look like we are going to get any of the open space they promised us,” at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at 329 Greenpoint Avenue, pictured above, a member told the paper.

The Department of Environmental Protection said they put the gas facility, which includes “an 18-wheeler-sized mechanism” to produce energy from sewage and compost, as close to the plant as possible. The site between North Henry and Humboldt Streets will be a fenced off construction site till 2016. 

Activists: Newtown Creek Gas Plant Squashes Park Promise [BK Paper]
Photo by Google Maps

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Yesterday the restored war memorial in Saratoga Park was unveiled at a moving ceremony with an honor guard and local politicians. The field behind the statue, draped in a gold cloth until the end, was dotted with flags in memory of the 106 locals who died in World War I. After speeches by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Council Member Darlene Mealy and others, the names of the dead were read out loud and Mealy placed a wreath at the foot of the statue. A bugle played taps and the gold cloth was drawn up to reveal it.

It was so hot in the sun we worried someone would faint of heat stroke, but luckily no one did.

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The shoreline area of East River State Park in Williamsburg reopened today. The deteriorating waterfront has been spruced up with more beach sand, a new kayak launch and a wall of reclaimed granite blocks around the edge of the lawn. The state spent $526,000 restoring the park, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy and has lost several feet of beach to erosion in recent years.

The state also added new plantings, removed invasive plant species, installed dry wells to collect storm runoff, and created channels in the waterside rocks to prevent fish from getting trapped on the beach during low tide. Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Council Member Steve Levin joined State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey (pictured), Regional Director Leslie Wright and several other individuals who have played a critical role in the park’s creation and continued development to celebrate today’s reopening of the shoreline area of the park to the public. Check it out at Smorgasburg tomorrow!

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The dedication ceremony for the newly restored Victory and Peace World War I memorial in Saratoga Park — now draped in a blue plastic tarp behind a fence so it is not visible — will take place at noon on Wednesday, September 10. Speakers and attendees will include veterans, service members and residents of the community.

Bed Stuy resident and former marine Brian Hartig of Brownstone Detectives, who let us know about the date, has researched the lives of some of the 106 men honored on the statue and contacted the descendants of 22 of them. So far, a great-niece and a great-great niece and nephew of one of them plan to attend the event. “As a Marine who’s fought in a war, myself, this is another passion of mine,” he told us.

All the servicemen honored on the statue were born and raised in the neighborhood. World War I was “a devastating event for Stuyvesant Heights,” said Hartig in a statement he prepared about the unveiling.

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The war memorial in Saratoga Park has been restored! A reader tipped us off the finish line might be in sight. “Big news!!!” he emailed. “The Victory and Peace statue is resting on the pedestal again behind the chain-link fence!!!” When we stopped by recently, we could see the pedestal and the honor rolls of World War I dead on each side through the green fence, but the statue wasn’t there yet. 

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Brooklyn Bridge Park is doing better than expected financially, so building affordable housing in the park is now feasible, according to a long story in The New York Times about the controversial proposal and the politics of the groups that oppose it. A jump in housing prices and park use have filled the coffers of the park, which is supported by private development on the park grounds.

A Look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Because it was so carefully planned and executed almost 150 years ago, Prospect Park today looks as if it had always been there. Which, of course, was the whole idea. If you don’t know the park’s history, you could easily think that all that needed to be done was to enclose the park with a fence, cut some roads and pathways, build a couple of bridges, follies and a grand entrance or three, and mow the lawn. But in reality, Prospect Park is as constructed as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Both look real, and permanent, and in effect, are, but every aspect of both the park and Hogwart’s School has been carefully thought out and crafted.

After Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted finished Central Park in 1857, Brooklyn wanted a grand park too. The two cities were still fierce rivals, while also co-dependent on each other. Brooklyn’s city fathers came up with a park committee whose president was one of Brooklyn’s leading citizens, James S.T. Stranahan. The committee gave the job of designing the park to Egbert L. Viele, the Charlie Brown of landscape engineering. He had been the Chief Engineer of the Central Park project until Olmsted and Vaux came up with a better design and replaced him.

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Bush Terminal Piers Park on the waterfront in Sunset Park is 95 percent complete, according to city officials, but it’s still not open and will probably not be open this summer. It was originally supposed to ope in 2011, but the brownfield cleanup took longer than expected. Then it was set to open in fall 2013, then in spring this year. Now officials are mum on a target date, according to a story in Brooklyn Bureau.

Phase 1 of the project, located between 45th and 50th Streets along the shore, is 11 acres, with “great views of Lower Manhattan, two ponds, a picnic area, a lawn and wooded zone, plus crucial recreation spaces, including a softball/baseball field and the neighborhood’s first official soccer field.” So far, it has cost $38.5 million.

Eventually, it will hook up with the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and to “local streetscape improvements.”

Impatience Grows Over Promised Waterfront Park in Sunset Park [BK Bureau]
Photo by City Limits