Field of dreams! City backtracks, will allow league play at McCarren Park this summer

Kickball is the new city game — in Williamsburg
The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg

Play ball!

McCarren Park’s dusty baseball field will remain open this spring, thanks to a flip-flop by the Parks Department under fire from several sports leagues for initially declaring the fields off limits until July.

The agency had announced that Gilroy Field near Bedford Avenue would be closed because its reseeding effort had failed. The closure would have displaced two high school baseball teams and canceled the Brooklyn Kickball League until July 1.

But after our exclusive report last week, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey reversed course.

Both Automotive and Van Arsdale high schools played many of their games and practices at Gilroy Field and faced long commutes to Red Hook and the Navy Yard, respectively, if McCarren was off limits.

“Opening the field is a big step towards making more field time available,” said Jeffrey.

The summer season will not be shortened this year — but the city’s long-term rehabilitation of the barren field could force its closure in September for new work.

Parks officials will hold several public meetings this spring to discuss the future of Gilroy Field — which could include adding new sod or synthetic turf.

The costs of either will be significant.

The last major work done on the field was in 2001 when the city added new sod and irrigation for $560,000.

Two years later, the field became a mud pit.

Jeffrey says there are advantages to installing new sod or an artificial turf — but grass is more difficult to maintain.

“It’s nice to have a grass field, but given amount of use there, it would be hard to keep a natural grass field unless you shut down entire fall season,” said Jeffrey.

“We want to have a conversation with the community to find out what serves the community best.”