‘It’s hard to imagine’: Locals cheer approved plan to turn Dumbo’s Bridge Park 2 into functional play space

Worst. Park. Ever. The other ‘Bridge Park’ is a giant slab of concrete
Community Newspaper Group / Jaime Lutz

Things are looking up for the worst park ever.

Members of Community Board 2’s Parks Committee on Monday green-lit the city’s redesign plan for Bride Park 2, a makeover that will transform the Dumbo “park” — which is more like a crumbling concrete lot than a lush green space — into a welcoming playground decorated with artwork throughout. The much-needed spruce up is a win for residents forced to find creative ways to play in the lousy space or walk the 10 minutes to frolic in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to a local commerce booster.

“This is very, very exciting, and I love the incorporation of the art very much,” said Alexandria Sica, who heads the Dumbo Business Improvement District. “It’s kind of shocking to see some of the renderings because it’s hard to imagine this kind of lush and green atmosphere today.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses handed the city $7 million to revamp the dilapidated space after pols demanded the religious organization keep its word on a 2004 promise to revamp the park as its honchos prepared to move their headquarters upstate. The group originally pledged $5.5 million for the makeover, but Department of Parks and Recreation officials and Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Dumbo) negotiated the extra moolah to account for the cost of inflation after the deal was made.

Parks’ design for Bridge Park 2 re-imagines its eyesore of a wall that holds up the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway as a blank canvas, on which local artists can display their work or neighborhood youngsters can watch a flick beneath the stars with the aid of a projection system, according to an agency planner.

“You can have a projector at this location and people can be sitting here and viewing, using the wall sort of for movie nights and also for art works,” said designer Emmanuel Thingue.

The parks department also plans to better connect the irregularly shaped space’s two sections with a new pathway, and to lay a synthetic-turf field atop the space’s blacktop — a renovation that miffed some locals, including athletes in the Yorkfield Stickball League who play on the concrete and claimed they and other kids from the nearby public-housing complex will lose their beloved pitch.

“We’ve been using this as a ball field or 10 years now,” said Daniel Brumleve, a league member who lives in Greenpoint. “And not just us — kids from the Farragut Houses come all the time and they want to play ball with us too, and I think they are starved for that.”

Separate play equipment for 2-to-5-year-olds and 5-to-12-year-olds, spray showers, swings, adult fitness equipment, and additional plantings and lighting will also be installed as part of the makeover.

The current redesign nixed an earlier provision for a skater’s sanctuary because the city recently built a skate park inside nearby Golconda Playground, according to a parks department spokeswoman, and it also excludes renovations to Bridge Park 2’s old and dirty comfort station, which community-board members said desperately needs a refresh. But the agency’s spokeswoman said it lacks the green to redo that amenity.

“We would love to renovate it, but it currently remains unfunded,” said Maeri Ferguson.

Members of the board’s Parks Committee approved the designs four to one with one abstention, and with the caveat that the city try to raise more cash to fix the bathroom.

Parks department honchos expect work on the makeover to wrap by the summer of 2020.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Summer nights: The Parks Department’s new designs for Bridge Park 2 include projection technology for displaying movies, like along this wall of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Parks Department

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