City reveals revised plans for Bushwick Inlet Park Motiva site

A rendering of the Motiva site at the Bushwick Inlet.
Abel Bainnson Butz

The city presented revised plans for its almost $10 million project to build a small waterfront park at the Bushwick Inlet in Greenpoint on June 3.

The Parks Department’s plans for 1.9-acre sliver of green at Franklin and Quay streets will be a “naturalistic” and “passive” lawn around the formerly-industrial cove, according to Terri Burger, a city-hired landscape architect with the Manhattan firm Abel Bainnson Butz who showed the new plans to Community Board 1’s Parks and Waterfront Committee at a virtual presentation.

The $9.8 million scheme would overhaul the boomerang-shaped section of the space by installing a small beach with a wheelchair-accessible path, wet marshes and concrete paths, along with plantings and trees to boost local wildlife, according to Burger.

A 66-inch underground sewer line runes through the northern corner of the site (marked in red below), which prevents any trees with deep roots from being planted there, according to officials. 

The new plans call for a simpler more naturalistic design of the park with less pavement and more green.Abel Bainnson Butz

Community Board 1 rejected the city’s previous plans for the site in 2019, because civic gurus said it had too many paved pathways, and not enough green space. Last week, officials returned with a stripped-back plan including fewer hard surfaces and more soft greenery.

One committee member praised the agency for taking the community’s suggestions to heart.

“I think this is a tremendous evolution of the design and the designers and the parks team took in the data from the board and the community and I think the translation, there’s a lot of softness, a lot more naturalism,” said Steve Chesler.

The parcel is part of the city’s 2009 Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Open Space Master Plan to transform the former industrial waterfront into publicly-accessible walkways and parks spanning from N. Third Street in Williamsburg to the northern tip of Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint.

The Motiva site will be part of a larger park that stretches to the state’s Marsha P. Johnson State Park (formerly known as East River State Park). 

The Motiva site will connect to a waterfront park that includes the current Bushwick Inlet Park to the south.NYC Parks Department

Officials offered the master plan as a sweetener for the controversial 2005 North Brooklyn rezoning, which allowed massive skyscrapers to go up at the waterfront.

The city bought the Motiva parcel in 2014 for $4.65 million from Motiva Enterprises LLC, a former joint venture between Shell Oil Company and Saudi Refining Inc, the Greenpoint Post reported.

The site borders a planned museum honoring the Civil War-era U.S.S Monitor to the north, and further planned parkland on the former Bayside Fuel Oil depot to the south, connecting it to the existing Bushwick Inlet Park.

The different parcels of former industrial land the city plans to convert into parkland.Abel Bainnson Butz

To the north, it runs along the rear of 40 Quay St., a Metropolitan Transportation Authority storage site local activists and pols have been pushing to turn into a park rather than a condo building. 

The timeline for the Motiva project is between 2-2.5 years, according to Brooklyn borough parks commissioner Martin Maher, who noted there could be delays as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and cuts in the city’s budget.