North Brooklyn’s parks have had an eventful year, from two long-awaited groundbreakings to the debut of a popular summer concert series at a new riverside venue. In addition, there were a number of small yet significant improvements throughout the park system. Here is a look back and forward with North Brooklyn Parks administrator Stephanie Thayer.
McCarren Park (North 12th Street, Union Avenue; Lorimer and Bayard Streets):
Public officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground on McCarren Park Pool in December. After being shuttered for 23 years, and at a cost of $50 million, the pool will open in 2012. An adjacent skate park is already open.
“It’s done, they’re using it, they’re not using the construction site, they’re using the real park,” said Thayer.
The park welcomed a new artist market, a children’s crafts fair, and a public art display with the help of the North Brooklyn Public Arts Coalition and the Open Space Alliance. In addition, parks workers have reseeded entrances where the farmers market used to be, the field house and the ball fields. Plans are in the works to demap Union Avenue as well as fixing water boxes and planting more gardens and flowers.
McGolrick Park (Nassau Avenue and Russell Street)
A new memorial garden was planted as was dog fencing, funded by Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg), just in time for the District Dog Halloween Parade. OSA repaired water boxes to make it easier for gardens to maintain and planted two Magnolia trees on Monitor Street and a cluster of trees to shade the picnic area.
Sternberg Park (Montrose Avenue, Boerum, Lorimer, and Leonard Streets)
Sternberg welcomed the debut of Moviehouse’s summer film series, which projected a variety of independent films on the handball courts. A dog run is in construction and should be open spring next year and a new farmer’s market could be on the way too.
Transmitter Park (Greenpoint Avenue and West Street)
Such a tiny street-end had a bevy of activity after the Parks Department opened the gates this year. The city is planning a full renovation for the park, but its raw form has already hosted an Ocktoberfest activity, sponsored by MeanRed Productions, complete with a root beer garden for the kids and the kickoff event of Greenpoint Open Studios.
Macri Park (Union and Metropolitan avenues and Lorimer Street)
There has been a lot of interest in this small triangular park. A group of dog owners rallied support at a recent Community Board 1 meeting and the staff at TrueValue Hardware, whose CrestFest raised money for park improvements in June, want to clean the park up too and add an entrance on the Metropolitan Avenue side.
Bushwick Inlet (Kent Avenue North 11th and 12th Streets)
Mayor Bloomberg and public officials broke ground on the Inlet in July and the soccer field is going through final inspections. Thayer expects the soccer field is going to be in use as scheduled next year and that the city will eventually acquire the Bayside fuel site, despite questions surrounding TransGas Energy’s court appeal for building a power plant on the waterfront.
National Grid has asked for another extension to their environmental testing and final inspections on Northside Pier for an esplanade are ongoing.
Rodney Park (Rodney Street and South 4th Street)
The second northernmost park of four smaller lots will be receiving $400,000 in upgrades from Borough President Marty Markowitz for more flowerbeds and trees.
65 Commercial Street
Still a bus lot operated by the MTA, the next step in the coming year is that certain legislation passed at the state level in order to relocate a portion of MTA services to another appropriate site. The EPA has also promised that testing and remediation work nearby will not delay construction work or permitting on the site, but this remains a worry of the city.
Cooper Park (Maspeth and Morgan avenues and Sharon Street)
Several trees were planted throughout the park and the Cooper Park Neighborhood Association with Town Square Alliance hosted several events in the summer and fall such as a crafts weekend, film and theater events, and a Halloween pumpkin fest.
East River State Park (North 8th and North 9th streets and Kent Avenue)
The only state park in North Brooklyn hosted the inaugural season of Jelly Pool Parties this summer. OSA managed the venue, and donated $90,000 to the state for improvements to that park. State Parks workers have been busy constructing a playground over the winter, which should be ready next year, and OSA is set to return to produce and manage free and ticketed concerts on the site in 2010.