New open space to open in Greenpoint

Greenpoint will do a better job living up to its name when a long-awaited park opens at the foot of Kent Street this weekend — marking the first new green space in North Brooklyn since the city promised to build broad expanses of parkland in exchange for permitting luxury housing along the waterfront seven years ago.

Transmitter Park at the river’s edge between Kent and Water streets will celebrate its official debut after two years of construction and months of delays during which some impatient neighbors got in the habit of hopping the fence and enjoying 1.6 acres of new open space in the park-starved community.

The park, which is located at the former site of a WNYC radio transmitter and a ferry dock, boasts a 300-foot pier, a waterfront esplanade, a grassy lawn, and a water feature for kids.

Neighbors are happy to have to it, but dismayed that it took so long to turn such a small site into an open space.

“Never in my mind did I think that this would take seven years,” said Christine Holowacz, the co-chairwoman of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning.

“I’m really angry that it’s taken so long,” she said.

Community activists say that’s a bad sign for other planned parks in the neighborhood, such as the much more ambitious Bushwick Inlet Park — a proposed 28-acre waterfront park currently stalled due to budgetary woes — and 65 Commercial St. — a Metropolitan Transportation Authority parking lot slated to become green space if the transit agency ever finds a new place to put its vehicles.

The city is working on selling the air rights above the Commercial Street site to a neighboring developer in hopes of drumming up cash for the project.

But raising money won’t guarantee that the MTA will actually relocate it trucks.

The owners of two adjacent properties had until Aug. 22 to tell the city what they would build beside the long-promised open space in exchange for the air rights, according to Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) — who claims he won’t stop fighting until the MTA parking lot becomes a park.

“It’s been a top priority,” said Levin. “We are not letting this one go.”