Park or parking? DUMBO decides

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The once trash-strewn parking lot at Pearl and Water streets in DUMBO has been transformed into what supporters say will become a neighborhood hangout, but others feel isn’t worth the valuable parking spaces it is sitting on.

With little fanfare late last month, workers from the Department of Transportation converted the former parking lot into a sitting area with a dozen planters, tables and chairs in just three days.

The reaction was even faster.

“People used to dump syringes and appliances here,” said Jamie Walker, an artist whose work hangs in a neighboring gallery. “Now, it’s beautiful.”

But that beauty is beholden to different eyes.

“It’s a great idea,” said Barnaby Furnas, who has lived in DUMBO for nearly two decades, “but the bridge is just too loud for this to be a restful place.”

Critics also attacked the plaza for eliminating 12 parking spaces in a neighborhood that already has a limited number of spots, but park planners dismissed the criticism, claiming that the lack of parking is a neighborhood issue that is far bigger than just the plaza itself.

“The parking in DUMBO was designed for industry,” said Tucker Reed, director of the DUMBO Improvement District. “It all needs to be redone anyways.”

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