The 1980s lived on again last Saturday when volunteers repainted the benches in a Gowanus park in neon colors reminiscent of the “Greed is Good” Decade.
As part of an initiative to draw attention to the underutilized Thomas Greene Park, a cadre of park lovers painted over 32 benches in shades of pink, green and orange — a vivid and intentional departure from standard park bench-green.
“We had these very dull benches and we figured it’s a good time to do something fun to enliven them,” said Barbara Brookhart, co-chairwoman of the Friends of Douglass/Greene Park, a mash-up of the park’s given name and its location on Third Avenue and Douglass Streets.
The park has long been off most Brownstone Brooklynites’ radar screen, existing as it does between the Wyckoff Gardens and the Gowanus Houses.
“No one knew this park existed,” said Charlene Nimmons, co-chairwoman of the committee. “We wanted to do something bright and cheery to get people to think of us.”
Of course, plenty of people are already thinking of the park, which is on the edge of two gentrifying neighborhoods — and the painting project is a testament to that, Nimmons noted.
The Parks Department approved the colors, which will be temporary until a full park rehab begins next spring, a project that includes a new playground, play area and a “dramatic” spray shower, as well as cutting down on the amount of paved area and replacing it with more greenery.
For now, the bench project is certainly expected to turn heads.
“The park just sort of sits there,” said resident and committee member Michelle Sauer, co-owner of the Smith Street skate shop Homage. “But when you pass Third Avenue, this will remind you that there is a park that takes up an entire city block.”