Smorgasburg Reverses Course and Transmitter Park’s Pending Café

Smorgasburg + Brooklyn Flea = way too many people in East River Park  Image: Andre van Hoek

There has been a lot of talk about Smorgasburg and East River State Park lately. Two weekends ago, the company behind Brooklyn Flea, the outdoor market that spun off Smorgasburg, decided to combine the two markets into one massive Saturday market. This move sent ripples through the North Brooklyn community as it made the southern end of East River Park completely unusable for locals. Luckily, after Smorgasburg/Brooklyn Flea combo was reported about, the founders heard the neighborhood’s complaints and decided to break the markets back up into two. Now the neighborhood needs to turn its attention to a much bigger fight happening with Transmitter Park.

With only about 2 acres of actual land, Transmitter Park is definitely one of Greenpoint’s little gems. Once home to WNYC’s radio transmission towers, it was renovated into a park, opening only five years ago. But now the city put out a request for proposals for a café to inhabit the small building. Transmitter Park is already an extremely popular space in our community, with lawn space at a premium during hot summer days and movie nights. Additionally, with Brooklyn Barge on one side and the plans for a restaurant across Kent Street, the sanctuary of Transmitter does get disrupted with noise and a café would obviously cause more people and more noise. There is also concern that a café’s trash will give fuel to the park’s rat population. The group, Friends of WNYC Transmitter Park (FWTP), has started a petition asking the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner to withdraw the RFP.

Not so lush Transmitter Park

North Brooklyn is currently riding a high of finally getting the park space it was promised. Until Bushwick Inlet Park is fully open, our communities will continue to have some of the smallest amounts of green space per person in the entire city. This lack of space is the main reason behind the recent fight for Bushwick Inlet Park and the city’s purchase of the CitiStorage parcels. McCarren is notoriously overcrowded on weekends, itself being another tourist destination, while McGolrick is desperately in need of improvements. The North Brooklyn community will fight anything that impedes upon our limited space. Transmitter is a park where the Parks Department can barely keep the lawn lush as it is. If you’ve been in the past few months, you would have noticed that the grass is all but gone. The popular theory is that dogs running off the leash during the winter caused the destruction of the lawn. Grass seed has been thrown on the lawn, but it’s currently still open.

There will be a community board (CB#1) meeting tomorrow at 211 Ainslie Street, 6pm, where the FWTP plan on also asking the board to withdrawal the RFP.

About Siobhan Wallace

Siobhan Wallace is a freelance writer & editor. She co-founded the food blog Blondie & Brownie in 2008 and co-authored "New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks" (Running Press, 2013).

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