While the city is still 11 acres away from fulfilling its promise to deliver all 28 acres of Bushwick Inlet Park, it took a 7 acre step in the right direction this year by purchasing the remaining parcel of the Bayside Fuel Property. With it came ten 50ft tall cylindrical iron fuel containers and a three story brick building, which the city intends to demolish in favor of flat open space. But will that be an end of an opportunity to repurpose these structures and integrate them into the landscaping of the park? The founders of Maker Park think so and want to start a conversation with the wider-community about adaptively reusing these structures in a way that serves the creative ethos of North Brooklyn.
Maker Park was inspired in part by the story of its industrial past. The site was once home to Astral Oil Works, founded by Charles Pratt, who funded Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. Through preservation and adaptive reuse of the space, Maker Park hopes to create a public park “that connects the site’s rich history of manufacturing with the contemporary revival of making and collaboration in the neighborhood today.”
It was also born out of the story of its more recent past, one that is personal to one of the founding members Zac Waldman, who had worked in the Bayside Fuel Terminal alongside a community of artists and entrepreneurs for six years before being evicted. He, along with co-founders Stacey Anderson and Karen Zabarsky, aims to challenge the conventional wisdom about what constitutes parkland and ask what a truly 21st century park, uniquely of and for North Brooklyn should look like.
But what about remediation? Will keeping the structures adequately address the health and safety concerns considering that it sits on top of a postindustrial site? Maker Park has assembled environmental experts to research and address these concerns in their plans. Consider too that from Gas Works in San Francisco to the abandoned nuclear plant turned amusement park, Wunderland Kalkar in Germany to the High Line in Chelsea that is closer to home, similar projects around the world have turned industrial artifacts to innovative public spaces.
How do you think the site of the Bayside Oil Depot should be used? Join the conversation this Thursday, July 14th (7-9PM) at ROOT BKN (131 North 14th) with Maker Park!