Science and art museum proposed for North Brooklyn waterfront

Science and art museum proposed for North Brooklyn waterfront
Photo by Ken Yapelli


A North Brooklyn community group has come up with a grand idea to open the Brooklyn Science and Art Museum — an institution merging the abstract pursuit of aesthetics with the concrete study of the natural world.

Town Square Inc. is looking for a waterfront site in Williamsburg and Greenpoint that could host a world-class facility on the scale of Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History or the New York Hall of Science in Queens in the next six years.

“We want this to be one of the things on the list when you are a visitor to New York City,” said co-organizer Darrick Borowski. “We want you to cross the East River to come here.”

The museum will have interactive exhibits, an educational center, and scientists in residence.

“We’re looking for scientists who are interested in art and artists who are interested in science,” said Borowski. “We want to highlight the intersection between those two.”

It’s still too early to tell how much the ambitious project will cost, how it will be funded, exactly where it will be located, or when it will be completed.

“It’s an embryonic idea yet,” said Graciela Flores, a science writer who is also one of the main organizers. “And the partnerships we make are going to be crucial.”

The first step is conducting a feasibility study to determine what museum-goers want to see — whether it’s dinosaur bones or murals by Diego Rivera, or maybe both.

“We’ve tossed around the idea of an iMax theater, but we have to see if that’s what the people want,” said Borowski.

No matter what shape the museum ends up taking, the organizers say now is the time.

“There are families moving into North Brooklyn and the demographics are shifting,” said Borowski. “We’ve got a more well-rounded audience now and there is no cultural institution to match that.”

To raise awareness and attract partnerships and monied sponsors, organizers are planning a series of pop-up exhibitions at storefronts and parks throughout the borough, with the first exhibit at the annual Go Green! Greenpoint festival hosted by Town Square Inc. on Earth Day.

“We’re also going to try to organize regular talks and a science cafe, maybe something where we meet over drinks and listen to a speaker,” said Flores, who lives in Williamsburg.

It won’t be the borough’s first world-class museum — there’s the massive Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway, with its famed Egyptian collection.

And this isn’t the first time North Brooklynites kicked around a plan to create a waterfront cultural hub: opponents of a plan to turn the closed Domino Sugar factory into a residential and commercial development proposed turning the hulking industrial site into a museum that would rival London’s Tate Modern.

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