On North 15th Street between Nassau Avenue and Banker Street, Brooklyn’s latest pedestrian plaza — Banker’s Anchor — looks like it’s ready to go.
A group of dedicated local volunteers worked to turn this particular triangle of space into a pedestrian-friendly zone. Earlier this year, the city approved the group’s application to the NYC Department of Transportation’s Plaza Program, allowing underutilized spaces to become pedestrian plazas. North Brooklyn Parks Alliance is the official community partner working to maintain the Banker’s Anchor space alongside volunteers from various North Brooklyn community groups.
The Banker’s Anchor project, which already acts as an Open Space on the weekends, currently houses The Lot Radio and the Greenpoint Community Fridge.
According to the architects behind the project, David Clark Smith and David Ruperti, the DOT still has more work to do on finalizing Banker’s Anchor. The DOT has just finished laying down gravel with an epoxy coat. Next, they will install the planters, which will serve as permanent barriers and add additional rocks, boulders, and a bike corral. Considering the traffic pattern on the street is redundant, the impact on their neighbors’ ability to drive and park will be minimal.
Katie Denny Horowitz, executive director of the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, says they’re looking at the horticulture of the space, and the plants chosen for the planter barriers will be native plants and pollinators.
“In thinking about connecting the space to places like Bushwick Inlet Park, which has a huge pollinator presence at 50 Kent or pollinator gardens that we’re working at parks throughout the district, we’re really trying to restore that native habitat for North Brooklyn,” she told Greenpointers. “However small, this is one place we’re hoping to create a network not just of Open Spaces, but of ecological oases.”
This fall is the soft opening for the project, and the team hopes that the space will reach its full potential by next spring, with much more in the way of community programming. In the meantime, a tiny art gallery next to the community fridge indicates things to come. Plumes Art Gallery, whose name, in true Greenpoint fashion, cheekily nods to one of our numerous Superfund sites, will feature work from a new artist every month or so. The gallery space was first envisioned by local volunteer, Birgit Rathsmann.
“There’s just a wonderful network of brilliant people who have dedicated time to this stuff, and we’re just really grateful,” Clark Smith and Ruperti told Greenpointers.