Crumbling Greenpoint park will get $2-million makeover

Crumbling Greenpoint park will get $2-million makeover
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

This green space is getting some green.

The city will give Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park a much-needed makeover after neighbors successfully lobbied local pols to allocate more than $2 million to fix the dilapidated playground, and park-lovers say it was worth the fight.

“It needed the money, it needed the work,” said Greenpointer Marcy Boyle, who is a member of community group the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, which has been fighting for years to get enough funding to restore the park. “Neighborhoods have to take ownership of their parks and that’s what we’re doing here.”

Borough President Adams announced on July 30 that he is earmarking $850,000 from this year’s parks cleanup budget to the green space, in addition to $500,000 he assigned to the garden last year.

The alliance last year rallied residents in Councilman Stephen Levin’s (D–Greenpoint) district to allocate $450,000 to the fix-up of part of its participatory budgeting program — a scheme where locals vote on how to distribute tax dollars in their neighborhoods — and Levin then assigned another $300,000 from his discretionary funds to the park.

The Beep praised the community group’s persistence in championing the rickety recreational area.

“This herculean effort was made possible because of the tenacious advocacy of the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance,” he said.

Greenpointers have long complained about the shoddy state of the park, which is bounded by Driggs and Nassau avenues and Russel and Monitor streets. Vandals have frequently targeted the garden — including a 2013 attack when a group of delinquents set fire to its maintenance building — and residents say the park’s playground is particularly run-down, with peeling paint and dangerous cracked asphalt.

The parks department says it is still deciding exactly how it will use the funds and does not have a start or completion date for the spruce-up, but its plans include replacing playground equipment, spray showers, and the landscaping surrounding the kids’ play area. It will share its early plans with the neighborhood later this year.

And the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance isn’t done campaigning to beautify the public garden — Boyle says the group will continue to look for other funding sources to add to the cleanup kitty.

The city first opened the park in 1891 as Winthrop Park, named for Assemblyman Winthrop Jones, a Greenpoint native who helped secure the funds to purchase the site. In 1923, locals added a bronze memorial statue honoring neighborhood residents who fought in World War I. The city renamed the park in 1941 for Monsignor Edward J. McGolrick, who served as the pastor at Saint Cecilia church on nearby Herbert Street for 50 years.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.
Ouch: Sharp wood on this bench could give a park-goer a nasty splinter.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini