Domino Park has stationed private security guards and barricades at its entrances, drawing complaints from community members about the policy’s optics and implementation.
The recent addition of new security measures at the park is due to an increase in public drinking, fireworks and other illegal activities on the Williamsburg waterfront, says Michael Lampariello, director of Domino Park.
“We are trying to strike the appropriate balance between allowing unfettered park access and ensuring public safety,” he said in an emailed statement.
Some residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, however, believe that the new security apparatus at Domino Park feels unnecessarily imposing.
“I am sure that many people would be wary to go through a security checkpoint to enter a park space,” said Lincoln Restler, who lives in Greenpoint.
During a visit to Domino Park last week, the security guards were not fully wearing masks, not socially distanced and did not explain why they were searching his bag, Restler claims.
“I was seriously disappointed by the experience I had,” he said.
Restler isn’t alone in his complaints about the picturesque park on the Williamsburg waterfront. When Lucille, a white resident of Williamsburg who declined to give her last name, and a friend visited Domino Park a few weeks ago, guards allowed Lucille to enter but turned away her friend, a person of color. Both were carrying the same drinks, she says.
More recently, Lucille tried to enter Domino Park in the early afternoon with a cup of iced tea and a chocolate croissant. Even though bringing in food and non-alcoholic beverages isn’t against park policy, guards told her to dispose of her food and drink, stating that she could “get lunch at Tacocina,” she alleges, referencing Danny Meyer’s taco stand inside of the park.
“The general feeling when you’re there is that you’re not welcome anymore,” she said. “It’s like a club now.”
They really got like security checkpoints now at Domino Park, tried to pull up yesterday with a drink and dead made me finish it outside smh
— Unruly King (@WatchuDoingFab) June 20, 2020
Domino Park isn’t a “club” but a privately owned public space. The use of private personnel within a public park is not uncommon in New York City, says Katie Denny Horowitz, executive director of North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, a nonprofit that partners with city government to advocate for North Brooklyn green space.
“That’s sort of the model of parks conservancies and parks partners across the city,” she said, pointing to the Highline, which recently reopened and now tickets visitors as they enter.
Some North Brooklyn residents, though, remain skeptical of Domino Park’s added security.
“What’s preventing the private security from saying we don’t want, hypothetically, a black kid in a hoodie to be down here?” said Chris Berry, a Greenpoint resident who recently visited the park.
For park visitors with similar questions, comments or complaints about the recent security measures at Domino Park, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: July 21, 2020
This article has been updated to clearly state that bringing in food and non-alcoholic beverages isn’t against Domino Park’s official policy.