Real blooper: Spike Lee unwittingly lets locals into long-closed park prompting rumors of sudden reopening

A cinematic return: Spike Lee debuts new boro-based series with gala premiere at Ft. Greene theater
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

These park-goers got punked!

Reports that a long-shuttered green space near Fort Greene’s Brooklyn Academy of Music quietly reopened last weekend are not true, according to city officials, who blamed filmmaker Spike Lee for unknowingly letting a few locals into the park when he forgot to lock its gates while shooting there.

Blog Brownstoner first reported that the triangular Bam Park bounded by Lafayette Avenue and Fulton and St. Felix streets reopened following a 13-year closure, after it recently spotted folks lounging inside the meadow that officials plan to revamp after padlocking it in 2005 due to its unstable ground filled with contaminated soil.

But the residents actually got an illicit sneak preview, because camera crews with Lee’s Fort Greene–based production company 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks didn’t lock up after filming new scenes for his Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It,” according to a rep for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who said the still-flawed lawn is not ready for the public.

“HPD was contacted by a film crew for use of the site,” said Juliet Pierre-Antoine, a spokeswoman for the agency that runs Bam Park. “HPD granted permission, but has since learned that the site was not properly secured after each filming session.”

Lee’s crew had a permit to film in the green space on June 11, according to city records, and another housing-agency rep said he had permission to shoot through June 20, after which workers allegedly re-locked Bam Park’s gates.

The meadow, however, will officially reopen after workers contracted by business-boosting group the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership — which is overseeing its makeover — finish the job that’s set to kick off later this year, according to Pierre-Antoine, who could not say when the project will end.

“Plans to permanently improve and reopen the park to the public are moving forward, and should begin before the end of this year,” she said. “In the meantime, the site will remain secured to ensure the safety of community residents.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Still closed: Bam Park, a triangular green space near the Brooklyn Academy of Music, did not reopen unnanounced over the weekend, contrary to other reports, city officials said.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell