The Parks Department is partnering with the former owners of the recently shuttered Brooklyn Night Bazaar to open a restaurant at McCarren Park that will help finance a $1.2 million renovation of bathrooms and other facilities there, according to one of the restaurateurs.
“As a father of two young boys, I go to McCarren Park and enjoy it on a regular basis,” Aaron Broudo told members of Community Board 1 at a meeting on Jan. 14. “I personally have an understanding of how important it is to have good, clean bathrooms … to also have healthy snacks for families and friends and for everybody enjoying that space.”
Broudo and his business partner Belvy Klein will open their new eatery in the rear of an ailing structure called the McCarren Park House, where patrons will be invited to dine inside or at one of two patios located within a bush-lined courtyard when the restaurant opens in spring 2021, according to Parks Department spokeswoman Anessa Hodgson.
Broudo and Klein, who operated an entertainment venue in Greenpoint until their landlord gave them the boot in November, plan on serving alcohol and the project will require approval by the State Liquor Authority before it moves ahead.
The McCarren Park House dates back to 1911 and was designed by the Gilded Age architecture firm behind Manhattan’s old Penn Station McKim, Mead, and White, and the revamp will focus on bringing the structure back from decades of neglect, according to the architect of the project, Jonathan Chesley of Greenpoint firm Inca Architecture PLLC.
The renovation includes doubling the amount toilets from three to six, adding two changing stations, fixing the peeling paint on the facade, replacing the windows and doors, and making the building compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Chesley.
There will also be a new storage facility adjacent to the building’s eastern flank for equipment, which no longer fits inside the main structure because of the new restaurant and restroom.
Board members had some critiques of the city’s plan, and one man said a storage room the city plans on installing next to the 109-year-old building should be relocated to a space nearby the park’s tennis courts, claiming the addition would detract from the building’s charm.
“This is such a beautiful, historic, pristine, naturalistic park and I feel like that structure is going to hit people like a ton of bricks,” said Steve Chesler.
A rep for the agency said the storage facility’s chosen location would make things easier for workers, and said it was designed to be as inconspicuous as possible.
“It’s meant to not really draw attention to itself and the restoration that we’re getting in the existing building is definitely intended to grab your focus,” said the rep, who didn’t give his name.
And the chairman of the board’s Liquor License Committee said he was worried about the restaurant’s open plan, saying patrons may wander off into the park — cocktails in hand — a concern which previously led operators of Tacocina in Williamsburg’s Domino Park to install a fence there to keep drinking diners inside.
“Tacocina had to close off its space so people didn’t go wandering out of their restaurant with their margaritas — now you’re saying this space is just wide open for people,” said Tom Burrows.
They owners said they would hire a security guard to keep patrons in-line and Chesley added that the aforementioned bushes clearly demarcate proper drinking boundaries.
“We do have a defined area there, you see the way the bushes are wrapped, so there’s basically a contiguous space between here and that patio and there’s only one point of entry between those bushes and that is the way that we will be controlling,” Chesley said.