New, temporary park with bike track, small farm, and yoga classes opens at Domino site

New, temporary park with bike track, small farm, and yoga classes opens at Domino site
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Have a blast at Havemeyer Park!

The temporary park atop a former parking lot on Kent Ave. between S. Third and S Fourth Streets opened yesterday to dirt bicyclists who slalomed the hills on the new track, and members of the North Brooklyn Farm, who’ll use the greenspace to grow crops while others play nearby.

The grand opening was part of a plan by Two Trees Management — the development firm which owns the lot and will eventually make it part of its Domino Sugar Factory development — to give the public access to the space that would otherwise have sat vacant during the build-out, a move that gave the cavalcade of politicians and activists on hand a reason to cheer.

“Sites like these that are not ready for development tend to just sit vacant when they can instead be used for public good,” said Antonio Reynoso, who is running for the 34th district city council seat. “I’m excited that they are making good use of this space.”

Two Trees chose three groups to work together to build out the park — bike shop Ride Brooklyn, event promoter Bobby Redd and North Brooklyn Farms.

Redd manages the east end of the football-field-sized lot, where he plans to host yoga, aerobics, and public events such as film festivals.

“This is a great change for a space that used to be a parking lot,” said Brant Moeller, chief designer of Bobby Redd. “I’m happy to be able to help turn this into something that can be used by the whole community.”

The west side of the lot has become Brooklyn Bike Park, run by Jessica and Peter Kocher of Ride Brooklyn. That space includes a practice cycling space for young riders, beginner and intermediate bike tracks, and a “pump track,” — a course set up with bumps, jumps, and berms. Volunteers from the New York City Mountain Bike Association will oversee the courses, and loaner bikes are available.

“There has never been a place in Brooklyn where people could ride off-road and be unobstructed by traffic,” said Peter Kocher. “This is something the borough has needed for a long time.”

North Brooklyn Farms plans to host educational trips for school-aged children and will also hold “pick-your-own” fruit and vegetable markets.

The operators’ year-long lease started Memorial Day weekend and could be extended, depending on how long it takes Two Trees to begin construction. Dave Lombino, director of special projects at Two Trees, said the company will most likely not be ready to break ground until late 2014. He added that the company may offer other spaces on the sprawling development site as they tear down old Domino Sugar buildings.

“We are planning four towers and we will not be able to build more than two at a time,” said Lombino. “There will be more opportunities.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

State Assemblyman Joe Lentol gives the pump track a try (not really, he just posed on a bike).
Photo by Stefano Giovannini