McCarren Park

Japanese Backyard Grill “Yaki Tiki” Launches at A/D/O

Yaki Tiki, a new edition to the A/D/O (29 Norman Ave.) outdoor space launched two weeks ago and merges Japanese yakitori-style cuisine and tiki drinks.

The outdoor grill

Yaki Tiki is a partnership between the Sunday in Brooklyn hospitality team (Todd Enany, Adam Landsman, Exec Chef Jaime Young, and bar director Brian Evans), as well as JT Vuong and George Padilla (formerly of Okonomi and YUJI Ramen).

We stopped by last weekend to try some yakitori skewers and boozy popsicles; everything we sampled was delicious, check out the pictures:

Maitake w sansho lime; shishito w nori, lemon; potato salad

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Sacred Cacao, Go Green Festival, Gov Ball After Dark — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (5/29-6/4)

WEDNESDAY 5/29

♫ Bateria with Toribio, Mickey Perez and Djoy de Cuba @ Good Room (98 Meserole Ave), 9pm, FREE, More Info
# Intro to Plant Parenting: Houseplant Fundamentals @ Greenery Unlimited (91 West St.), 715pm, $25, learn the basics of “right plant, right place” to keep your plants happy and thriving! Buy Tix
♫ DigitalArtNight with Duckwrth, Mndsgn & SadhuGold @ Kinfolk (94 Wythe Ave.), 8pm, FREE, an immersive art and live music experience, More Info
♫ Sooner « Absent City « Irrevery « Shop Talk @ Muchmore’s (2 Havemeyer St.), 9pm, FREE, More Info

THURSDAY 5/30

♦ Movies Under the Stars: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again @ Bushwick Inlet Park (50 Kent St. Pop-up Park), 8pm, FREE, movie screening outdoors with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, More Info
♫ Tasha Blank’s Bday + Record Release @ House of Yes (2 Wyckoff St.), 6:30pm, $5 – $25, an epic night of surprise guests, brand new music, nonstop art, live performance + plenty of shenanigans, Buy Tix
# Family Style PIATTI Dinner @ Archestratus (160 Huron St.), 7 pm, $50, an endless antipasto, a many course family style Italian dinner of abundant platters, served a few at a time, some warm and others at room temperature. Buy Tix
♫ Morgana @ Brooklyn Mirage (140 Stewart Ave.), 7pm, FREE, Serge Devant, Ryan Crosson, Dinky, Connie, More Info Continue reading

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Why Is McCarren Park’s Soil Lead Contaminated?

McCarren Park (Ryan Vaarsi/Flickr)

Does McCarren Park have a lead contamination problem? A new report from WNYC found lead contamination levels above 150 ppm in 87 percent of the 30 soil samples taken in the beloved Greenpoint park.

The report also found soil with lead contamination in Prospect Park and Astoria Park in Queens.

For the McCarren soil testing WNYC focused on the grassy circle near the western entrance at the corner of Lormier Street and Bedford Avenue behind the restrooms:

Our focus was on an oval-shaped plot at the northeast corner that’s typically crowded with picnicking families in warm weather. Historic insurance maps reveal a company that made window sashes, blinds and doors once occupied the site in the 1880’s. Present-day aerial images show large patches of bare soil throughout the park.

Out of 30 samples tested in this one area, 87 percent were above 150 ppm. All exceeded 80 ppm. The average lead level was 201 ppm, making McCarren the most contaminated park WNYC tested.

The WNYC Map of soil samples

The map uses color coding to show where the samples measure in relation to differing standards of the current EPA’s New York standard (400 ppm), the proposed New York standard (150 ppm) and California’s standard (80 ppm).

Lead exposure can cause neurological damage and children are especially vulnerable, but the study also notes that the vast majority of NYC children who have elevated lead in their blood were exposed to lead paint in their homes.

A brief explanation in the study as to why the soil in Brooklyn is widely contaminated hints at the manufacturing history of the borough.

Greenpoint and Williamsburg had dozens of manufacturers and industrial businesses emitting toxins as late as the 1990s, possibly impacting the soil in our parks today. A Hunter College study from 1989 entitled “Hazardous Neighbors? Living Next Door to Industry in Greenpoint-Williamsburg” profiles buildings where toxic chemicals were being used and stored for various manufacturers.

The 1989 “Hazardous Neighbors” study from Hunter College summarized the potential sources of toxicity at the time.

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North Brooklyn Parks Alliance Hosts Spring Community Meeting 5/2

McCarren Park (courtesy of North Brooklyn Parks Alliance)

UPDATE: The meeting is being rescheduled: “Due to some unforeseen circumstances, this meeting is POSTPONED until further notice.”

The North Brooklyn Parks Alliance will host a meeting with local advocates and those interested in helping to support local green space on Thursday May 2, at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St.) from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

NBPA formed in 2003 with the purpose to increase and improve open space in Brooklyn Community District 1: Continue reading

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The Lot Radio’s Kiosk Will Return May 1st

(courtesy of the Lot Radio)

The Lot Radio (17 Nassau Ave.), an independently owned and operated internet radio station across from McCarren Park, can resume selling drinks and snacks from its neighboring kiosk after the Dept. of Health shut it down last January.

Beer, wine, espresso drinks, and snacks will once again be available at the Lot Radio (with a few new items like sake) starting May 1st. “The kiosk is there to support the radio, so we’re excited to welcome people back,” owner Francios Vexelaire said.

The Lot Radio (kiosk on the right)

“Since the shutdown, we had [a] constructive and positive conversation with the Department of Health to get some code modification approved by them,” Vexelaire said, adding that the Office of Nightlife was a major help during the process.

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Giraffes on Horseback Salad, the Future Is Female, Spring Fever and the Twilight Zone — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (3/27- 4/2)

Spring into peace, love, and local business! Our sensational Flower Power Spring Market returns to the Greenpoint Loft (67 West Street, fifth floor) on Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 7pm.

WEDNESDAY 3/27

☺ The Nerds on The Wall. @ Muchmore’s (2 Havemeyer St.), 7pm, FREE, Stand Up Comedy, RSVP
♫ Hereyouare Launch Party: Social Experiment 1 @ Good Room (98 Meserole St.), 7pm, $6-10, drink, dance, get a tattoo, do some Karaoke, Buy Tix
♫ Tank/ Sabine Holler/ Steph Chrysalis/ Breakaway @ Secret Project Robot (1186 Broadway), 8pm, FREE, RSVP
♫ Funk You: 2 Year Anniversary @ House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave.), 10pm, FREE, RSVP

THURSDAY 3/28

# Ovenly Studio ONE54: Intro to Cake Decorating @ Ovenly Studio One54 (154 Franklin St.), 6:45pm, $105, learn how to decorate Ovenly’s Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Buy Tix
♦ Neotenic Design – Closing Night Conversation & Panel Discussion @ A/D/O (29 Norman Ave.) 7pm, FREE, RSVP
^ Meet Josh Frank, author of Giraffes on Horseback Salad @ WORD (126 Franklin St.), 7:30pm, $5, A graphic novel about the true story of Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made! Buy Tix
♫ Alien Trilogy / 1980Special Twin / Mez Swimmers / 2uarm / Alex C @ Secret Project Robot (1186 Broadway), 8pm, $7, More Info Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Hidden Waters Explored at A/D/O

Pratt’s Astral Oil Works on the East River at Bushwick Inlet (Scientific American 1872)

Walk alongside the western Greenpoint waterfront and you’ll eventually hit a jut of water bordered by a weathered fence, marsh plants, and a lingering stench of seawater. Unlike the mammoth Hudson or Superfund-famous Gowanus, Bushwick Inlet is easily lost in the hierarchy of remarkable city waters.

This humble inlet, however, joined the limelight this past Thursday, thanks to Sergey Kadinsky, an analyst at the New York City Parks Department and adjunct professor at Touro College. Speaking at A/D/O, a design hub and workspace on Norman Avenue, Kadinsky gave a wide-ranging talk exploring the “hidden waters” across the metropolitan area.

Kadinsky took the stage as the final speaker in a series on water and design. Once a tour guide on Gray Line double-decker buses, he channeled that same brio as he barreled through the five boroughs, pointing out disappeared bodies of water at a blistering pace.

Suffice to say, the city hasn’t been kind to its ponds, streams, creeks, or lakes. Take the now-defunct Collect Pond, which used to be Manhattan’s main source of freshwater. As the city grew, so did the surrounding industry. Contaminated wastewater from breweries, tanneries, and slaughterhouses seeped into the small lake, leading officials to fill it in.

1924 NYC Map aerial survey of Bushwick Inlet to McCarren Park (via Hidden Waters blog)

Bushwick Inlet had a similar history. Fed by the disappeared Bushwick Creek, it had an illustrious career, home to a notorious rumrunner during prohibition and was also the launch site for the first ironclad warship constructed in the United States.

City officials then filled in Bushwick Creek in the 19th century, which ran through north Williamsburg and present-day McCarren Park, leading to the contraction of the inlet.

While there’s little hope for the resurrection of Bushwick Creek (its path was projected to run through the location of A/D/O), Kadinsky argued that this doesn’t prevent us from “daylighting” previously forgotten waters.

View of Bayside Oil Tanks through the weeds at Bushwick Inlet Park. Photo by Megan Penmann
Bushwick Inlet Park. Photo by Megan Penmann

For example, Collect Pond is gone for good, but city officials named a park in the same location in lower Manhattan Collect Pond Park, connecting past geography to present.

Bushwick Inlet has fared better than Collect Pond, but by all accounts needs a facelift. Luckily, it projects to be part of the northern extension of what will eventually be a complete Bushwick Inlet Park, a move to put the inlet “back on the map.” 

Via Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park
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McCarren Park Track Reopens Following Improvements

McCarren Park Track (via @northbrooklynrunners)

Time to celebrate with a few laps! The quarter-mile McCarren Park track has reopened after almost a year of improvements by the parks department for a cost of $3,188,000.

 

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Track‘s back. Wheels up BK! #runbrooklyn #mccarrenpark

A post shared by Brooklyn Running Company (@brooklynrunningco) on


The soccer field was also closed last March and a new artificial-turf was installed. Other improvements include a misting station and adding trees to the surrounding green area.

McCarren Park Synthetic Turf Soccer Field Reconstruction (via NYC Parks)
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A Stroll Down Historic Guernsey Street

Guernsey Street in Greenpoint

Perhaps other blocks in Greenpoint have more elegant houses or more imposing churches, but no block has more beautiful trees than Guernsey Street, which runs parallel to the river between McCarren Park, on its southern end, and Oak Street at its northern tip. The block between Meserole and Norman Avenues has the most dramatic tree canopy in our area. The street is towered over by forest-scaled locust trees that create a leafy roof – a delightful respite from the blazing sun on steamy summer days.

The area was once home to the Meserole orchard, where fruit trees thrived in the rich wet soil that has also allowed these atmospheric locusts to create a tunnel of leaves, whose shade makes entering the block feel like stepping indoors from outdoors. The green ceiling of the locusts alters the light and tricks you into believing that you have stepped indoors. The west side of the street in particular, with its high flat brick buildings, creates the perfect backdrop for the magic of the subdued light, which gives the block its surreal, indoor quality.

In March of 2003, a New York Times reporter filed a story on the residents of the street and perfectly captured the block’s unique verdant beauty:

“In a landscape of warehouses and factories, this block of Brooklyn seems to appear out of nowhere like a magical wood in a fairytale. Graceful 19th-century apartment buildings, some with bay windows are guarded by towering honey locust trees that in a few weeks will form a lush green canopy.”

The trees are so atmospheric that it is hard to imagine that they were not always there, but people who grew up in the 1960s on the block and returned decades later are often shocked by the change the locusts have made. Artist Tim Doyle perfectly captured the feel of the green shade trees in the painting below:

(Tim Doyle)

The Times correspondent also called Guernsey Street “the archetypical American block,” but I disagree because there is nothing else locally quite like it and the street also has a unique history. The Southside of the street was a for many years open land, known to locals as “Paddy Floods lots.” The Eckford baseball team practiced there for a time before the Civil War, but the area’s development forced them out. When Grover Cleveland ran for president, his likeness was outlined in fireworks and ignited, much to the delight of local Democrats. A trestle once ran from these lots to the Southside, but it was long ago demolished. Around the 1920s, tawdry clapboard wood-frame four-story apartments were built, their flimsiness standing in marked contrast to the solid brick structures just across the street.

Image from Corcoran.com

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Former Greenpointers Address NYC Homelessness With ‘Backpacks For The Street’

Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner, founders of Backpacks For The Street

Amidst a citywide housing crisis and rampant gentrification, the time is now to address homelessness in our community. Former Greenpointers and longtime couple, Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner, launched the Backpacks For The Street (BFTS) initiative in February 2018 as part of Together Helping Others, their full-service non-profit for the homeless.

BFTS distributes backpacks to the homeless full of essentials many of us take for granted, such as food, toiletries, clothing, and water bottles, as well as information about food pantries, health services, shelters, and other resources.

Jeffrey and Jayson, along with their team of volunteers, will bring the program to Greenpoint, starting in McCarren Park, on Friday, Nov. 16, from 7-11 p.m. During the planning process, the Euro Chemist Pharmacy (669 Manhattan Ave.) has been instrumental in providing storage space, driving to pick up supplies, and donating money to BFTS. Continue reading

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