A security guard at the southern entrance to Domino Park (Image via Ben Weiss).

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.

A visitor exiting Domino Park (Image via Ben Weiss).

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.”

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 info@dominopark.com.


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.

Join the Conversation

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  1. Very fishy that you interviewed a guy named Lincoln Restler who just so happens to be commenting on assembly candidate Kristina Naplatarski’s twitter account. He sure gets around. Does the writer know him? Does the writer of this article have an agenda? Nothing wrong with checking people’s bags to make people safe. Stop making this about race. You are nothing more than a filthy Marxist commie and you should be fired!

    1. Checking people’s bags before allowing them to emter a park?
      What’s next- a strip search?
      Domino wanst to discourage public use of the park so the park can eventually become a backyard for Domino residents & offices
      The community ALLOWED Domino to built what it built in OUR community, because it promised such amenities as waterfront park space.
      Katie Denny Horowitz, executive director of North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, should be far more concerned with standing up for the public rather than the owners of such public/private spaces. Perhaps her own non-profit “club” is not doing what it should be doing. But I bet she still makes a tidy profit from running it …

    2. As Senator Rand Paul wisely said about Loser Trump’s storm troopers: We cannot sacrifice our freedom for security.
      And if the Lincoln Restler is the same hard0working Lincoln Restler who has run for various comunity posts, he is the least “suspicious” person that I can imagine.
      Stop making this about race? Really? I’d bet my life savings that Domino would just love to keep out the neighborhood’s black and hispanice kids out of their “public/private” lottle backyard enclave in green-space starved Williamsbirg.
      As for the humorous comment about the firing of filthy Marxist commies like the author of the article, well on second thought perhaps Domino SHOULD keep emotionally fragile people like this esteemed & obviously steamed commentator from entering the park 🙂 For safety’s sake!

  2. I got turn off when i saw a security guard checking bag to enter to the park. Who own the waterfront . If this is a public park or private very disappointed well i ended at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not food so you can use the Tacocina? Just wonder!!!

  3. Extremely off putting and offensive that a private company is monopolizing access to the waterfront. What is the legal basis for them doing this? I have read varying statements but nothing conclusive. Please follow up on this story.

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