Tomorrow: Storm the beach at Bushwick Inlet Park

Out in force: A bird’s-eye view of the inlet that Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park armada plans to occupy this Sunday.
Maggie Baker / Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

They’re storming the beaches of Williamsburg!

A regatta of protesters demanding that the city complete the promised Bushwick Inlet Park will invade its waterway by kayak and canoe in a show of force not seen in Brooklyn since the British dropped anchor in New York Harbor before kicking Gen. Washington to the curb that is Manhattan.

“We want the city to know we are not going away,” said Jens Rasmussen, a member Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, which is fighting to make sure the city delivers on its decade-old promise to build a 28-acre park. “We are going to make the city live up to its promise.”

Among the ranks of the aquatic assault on Sunday are going to be a handful of craft that might seem better suited for crossing the Delaware at nightfall than staging a protest.

“We’ve got a couple of war canoes that we’ll be bringing along,” said Maggie Baker, a longtime Greenpoint resident. “These are a little more substantial than kayaks, they can hold about 10 people each.”

The 10-year-old battle for green space was revived earlier this year in January by the five alarm fire that took place at the CitiStorage facility that sat on top of the land the city promised to use for the park. Once the storage facility was destroyed, the waterfront property immediately came to the attention of developers, jeopardizing the future of the park.

Protesters will also be surrounding the perimeter fence of the 28-acre expanse, adorning it with caution tape and art, to illustrate the actual size of the promised park.

The rally is just one part of a greater effort to pressure the city to honor its deal with the neighborhood. In March, Friends of Bushwick Park and its supporters protested outside of City Hall, followed by a flash mob at the soccer field in the seven acre section of Bushwick Inlet Park that has been built. In June, bills were put forward in both the state Senate and Assembly to acquire the CitiStorage lot through eminent domain, but no progress will be made on those bills until the legislative sessions resume in the fall. Another protest is being planned for the fall, as protesters hope to keep the heat on the city to build a park they think they deserve.

“No one knows the beauty that’s possible in the Inlet,” said Baker. “People in the neighborhood don’t realize how great of a space this could be, or how upset they should be that they never got it.”

The invasion commences at 12:30 pm. Any one interested in joining just need to show up at the corner Kent Avenue and N. 15th Street, across the street from the bar Dirck the Norseman.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him at https://twitter.com/HMacBKPaper.
Full House: The city has delivered seven acres of soccer fields of the promised 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park.
Photo by Micah Saperstein

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