Maker Park, the proposed 7-acre waterfront space once home to Astral Oil Works and now within the larger scope of Bushwick Inlet Park, has been aiming to bring art, education, community and performance to the Williamsburg waterfront by adapting industrial infrastructure since 2015. Now, the team behind the reimagined industrial-space-turned-community-hub is moving forward with a whole new vision based on open dialogue, communication and feedback from the community.
Since their December 2016 design display for Maker Park, Stacey Anderson and Karen Zabarsky, co-founders of Maker Park, and the project’s Executive and Creative directors respectively, have taken the past year to listen to the community. Each time, they heard community members call for open space, and environmental remediation of the land.
Stacey and Karen touted North Brooklyn’s “Civic Warriors,” who have worked so hard to get the city to deliver on the full 28-acres Mayor Bloomberg promised for Bushwick Inlet Park in 2005. They hope that Maker Park will be one feature of Bushwick Inlet Park, which they aim to incorporate into the community’s vision for the park space as a whole.
Given the increased density that Bloomberg’s 2005 rezoning has engendered, open space is a paramount concern on the North Brooklyn Waterfront. In order to increase green space, Maker Park will no longer advocate for repurposing the 3-story brick factory building on the site, and will instead focus on remediating the 50-foot decommissioned fuel tanks that speak to the land’s long and sometimes painful industrial history.
The Maker Park team hopes to honor the community’s complex relationship with the tanks, and the industrial history they represent, while also reinventing them in “playful and contemporary ways” that will make them available to the community as a resource for art, education and performance.
The idea has successful precedent. For example, in 2017, the Mapo Oil Depot in Seoul, South Korea was repurposed as Mapo Cultural Depot Park; the site’s oil tanks are now used as exhibition spaces and concert halls.
To make sure our own tanks here in North Brooklyn will be a safe and sustainable asset to the community, the Maker Park team is working with environmental lawyers, scientists and architects on a preliminary remediation plan, which they will make accessible to the public.
Ultimately, Stacey and Karen said, they hope Maker Park will help transform the tanks into something “beautiful and green,” which will be “literally creating new life.”
For on-going updates on all things Maker Park, you can follow the project on Instagram @makerparkBK
Domino Park, the public space concession that Two Trees promised to throw into their larger Domino Sugar redevelopment project, will open to the public June 10. The park will stretch from South 5th to Grand Streets, and feature picnic areas, bocce ball courts, a dog-run and a sugar-factory-inspired playground.
The park has some deep design bonafides. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations, the same firm that helped design the High Line. Accordingly, Domino Park will have a High Line of sorts all its own. This will take the form of an Artifact Walk, an elevated catwalk that will feature the salvaged industrial innards of the Sugar Factory. Items on display will include dials, meters, valves, tanks and bucket elevators. Additionally, the Brooklyn Historical Society will curate a small, permanent exhibition about the site’s history which will be on display inside the converted refinery. Continue reading →
The community organization Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park has been fighting for green space in North Brooklyn since 2005. That year, the City rezoned Greenpoint and Williamsburg, leading to frenzied development in both neighborhoods. At the time of the Rezoning, the City promised to compensate North Brooklyn by adding park space to the neighborhood, with 27-acre Bushwick Inlet Park being the most prominent among the green parcels. But, 13 years later, residents are still waiting for that park space, and local advocacy groups like Open Space Alliance, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning, and of course, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, have been fighting from that time til this to hold the City accountable.
Goal 2: Create a balance between active and passive recreation opportunities to serve the diverse recreation needs of the community
Goal 3: Identify appropriate opportunities for direct interaction with the river, such as boating
Goal 4: Promote a healthy east river environment through sustainable design practices, habitat enhancement, and public education
Goal 5: Develop design guidelines to unify the waterfront as a whole, while encouraging the creation of unique, memorable spaces on an individual basis
Goal 6: Reflect the rich character, heritage and culture of the community in both publicly and privately developed open spaces.
Neighborhood advocates had enormous success working toward those goals in 2017: In April, Mayor de Blasio closed on all 27 acres of parkland, ensuring that Bushwick Inlet Park will be a reality; in October, the Mayor pledged an additional $17.5 million in funding to develop the park, and over the summer, the City finished remediating the 50 Kent parcel of parkland. Following those spectacular strides, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park hopes to take advocacy “to the next level” in 2018, pushing the City, the Parks Department, and other involved stakeholders to remediate, design and develop the rest of the park with community input, in a way that adheres to the principles of the original Master Plan. Continue reading →
If you’re interested in North Brooklyn parks and have some time to dedicate to a good community cause, then this gig with the North Brooklyn Open Space Alliance might be for you!
The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn is seeking someone to manage the growing group of generous, dedicated volunteers working to make their neighborhood parks and community better. The Volunteer Coordinator is a new position and is responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, rewarding and retaining the individuals belonging to OSA’s Volunteer Corps. The Volunteer Coordinator will help volunteers engage in opportunities that meet their interests. He / she will track volunteer performance data, and create program reports for the community, the OSA board and staff and its funders. The commitment is 10-15 hours per week. The role is ideally suited to a retiree or a homemaker willing to make a long-term commitment. Experience managing individuals and/or a team is required. Experience managing volunteers is preferred. Please contact OSA Executive Director Joe Mayock if you’re interested in learning more.
If people get involved, Cooper Park will get better! Please join Friends of Cooper Park for their first meeting!
When:Monday, November 13, 6pm-7:30pm Where:St. Nicks Alliance, 2 Kingsland Avenue Who: Current and future volunteers, park stewards and activists Food and Drinks: Yes! A complimentary light buffet dinner and drinks will be served Childcare will be provided More info: “Cooper Park can be so much more—health club, art studio, outdoor classroom, a place where we meet when we get together with friends and neighbors, and a space where we connect with nature. Our neighborhood’s friends groups, including Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park (FBIP) and McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance (MPNA), have demonstrated the value of parks groups, helping raise millions of dollars in capital improvements and getting neighbors involved in improving their parks! The sky’s the limit for Cooper Park….if we all get involved!”
The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn is hosting a Town Hall meeting this Thursday November 2nd from 6:30pm-8pm, where folks can pow-wow about ideas for improving our parks, as well as discussing park programming like health and wellness events, movie nights, music and art events, historical and nature walks and food events. Here’s a recap from the 2016 Town Hall meeting. This Thursday’s meeting will be held at the McCarren Play Center (776 Lorimer Street), and includes a light buffet dinner and drinks.
When: Thursday, November 2, 6:30pm – 8pm Where: McCarren Play Center, 776 Lorimer (between Driggs and Bayard) Who: Neighbors who love their parks and want to see more parks and better-kept, safer parks with more programming Food and Drinks? Yes! A complimentary light buffet dinner and drinks will be served *Childcare will be provided RSVP:[email protected] (for headcount for food)
Williamsburg is full of a lot of fabulous things like delicious food, beautiful art and exciting entertainment, but our neighborhood can’t boast a lot of park space. In fact, when it comes to parkland Williamsburg is ranked 46th out of 51 districts in New York City. And even within the neighborhood, the North Side has 15 times more park space per person than the South Side. The Friends of BQGreen hope to change that.
BQGreen will create a “park out of thin air” by extending a concrete platform over the BQE between South 3rd and South 5th Streets. The Green will incorporate Marcy Green and Rodney Park and include “3.5-acres of open space with a flower garden, a playground, a baseball diamond, barbecues, grassy and wooded areas, an indoor pool and a water play zone.”
Renderings of the proposed park are dynamic and inspiring, and Friends of BQGreen, including Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, Los Sures, El Puente, and Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, see their project as akin to the High Line in terms of innovation, but the initiative could have an even more profound affect on the neighborhood when it comes to fighting air pollution and delivering “environmental justice” to residents who live in the shadow of the BQE.Continue reading →
Looks like Greenpoint could be getting another park! The Open Space Alliance and the Department of Transportation are holding a meeting on June 28 to offer the community the chance to give input on possible open space usage underneath the Kosciuszko Bridge. They’ll also be hosting a tour of the proposed park site on June 24th, but the tour is capped at 25 people and currently full.
What: Kosciuszko Bridge Park Community Planning Meeting When: Wednesday, June 28, 6:30 – 8:30 pm Where: The Park House at Bushwick Inlet Park, 86 Kent Avenue (at N. 9th Street) RSVP here
What’s been going on with the negotiations between the city and the owner of the CitiStorage site? Come join Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park tonight at Greenpoint Beer & Ale to chat about the park’s future. While there’s currently nothing specific to report, FBIP has been told that the parties have begun negotiating, so they’re cautiously optimistic. But that said, they believe that time is of the essence and hope the parties will come to a settlement soon. However, if negotiations fall apart and no deal is made then potentially the only remaining course of action would be for the city proceed to eminent domain and condemn the CitiStorage site for the public good, fulfilling the 2005 rezoning agreement to the benefit of all New Yorkers.
Join FBIP tonight and engage with fellow open space advocates!
Greenpoint Beer and Ale | 7 N15th St @ Franklin St. Wednesday October 5th Meet Up at 7:00pm Updates + Q&A at 7:30-8:00pm Craft Beer & Conversation thereafter