Our Favorite Greenpoint Parks

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To say that New York City suffers from a lack of available open space would be a massive understatement. Despite its location in the concrete jungle, Greenpoint is fortunate enough to contain a plethora of open and green spaces within its borders in the forms of parks. In New York especially, parks serve as the centerpiece of any tight-knit community; it’s a place where friends and neighbors can enjoy each other’s company in a natural setting. Due to their public significance, it is important to stay updated on the current state of your neighborhood’s parks. That’s precisely the topic of today’s blog post: the inside scoop on Greenpoint’s parks!

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To kick things off, we’ll start with Greenpoint’s oldest park: McGolrick Park. First opened in 1891, this space was originally named Winthrop Park in honor of  Winthrop Jones, who is the assemblyman who helped secure the funds to purchase the site. The park has been around for so long that its bronze WWI memorial statue was constructed right after the conclusion of the Great War, during the year 1923. In 1941, the park was renamed after Monsignor Edward J. McGolrick, who served as the pastor at Saint Cecilia Church on the nearby Herbert Street for more  than 50 years.
Bounded by Driggs and Nassau Avenues and Russell Street, McGolrick Park is a green space featuring the French neo-classical style Shelter Pavilion as its beautiful centerpiece. Despite its storied past, McGolrick Park has fallen upon some hard times in recent years. With a rundown playground, cracked and uneven asphalt surfaces, and peeling surfaces, the park needs upgrades and renovations. Luckily, the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance has been working tirelessly to bring the revitalization plan to fruition. Formed several years ago with the sole aim to improve the state of McGolrick Park, the MNPA managed to secure a  $2 million from City Council District 33 for the renovation of McGorlick Park this past fall. Working with the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, Horticultural Society of New York, and Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, the MNPA recently completed an overall restoration plan for review. In essence, there are bright times ahead for McGorlick Park!

 

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Up next is McCarren Park. The location is close to Nassau Avenue, Bayard Street, Lorimer Street and North 12th Street. Originally named Greenpoint Park, the park was renamed to McCarren Park after State Senator Patrick H. McCarren, a former State Senator from the area in 1909. In its early years, McCarren Park was perhaps most famous for its massive pool known as McCarren Pool. The largest of all pools built by the Works Progress Administration, the pool, opened on July 31, 1936, to much fanfare with an original capacity for 6,800 swimmers. After the park had fallen upon hard times, the giant pool was closed in 1984.

Boasting soccer and baseball fields, volleyball courts, handball courts, a track, and lots of open space, McCarren Park is a highly popular destination nowadays for Brooklynites. Much of this popularity is owed to a series of renovations that the park underwent during the 2000s, which includes:

  • The baseball field was renovated at a cost of $560,000 and the handball and bocce courts were upgraded for $601,000 in 2001
  • The park’s running track and soccer field were both renovated at a cost of $1.7 million project in 2006
  • Nearly $50 million was allocated to the refurbishment of the McCarren Pool and Play Center as part of the City’s PlaNYC initiative in 2007
  • What’s more, new lighting was added in 2008 at a cost of $1.1 million
  • After extensive reconstruction, the pool reopened in the summer of 2012

Largely as a result of all of these renovations, McCarren Park is in better shape than ever before!

 

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Unlike McCarren Park, Bushwick Inlet Park is currently in a state of limbo. Located along the East River waterfront near North 9th and 10th Streets, the existing park was constructed from 2008 to 2011. It features a soccer/football field as well as a 15,500 square foot community center, which is the New York City Dept. of Parks and Recreation’s greenest facility. While the current park is a significant improvement over the empty parking lot that once stood in its place, there is still much work to be done to reach a completed Bushwick Inlet Park.

For a bit of background information, in 2005, the City rezoned almost the entire Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront, promising that the entire riverfront would be transformed into a continuous strip of green space and public amenities. Bushwick Inlet Park was to be the 28-acre crown jewel of this new waterfront. However, almost ten years later, there is currently no scheduled completion date for the park, despite the community’s urging for an update. The Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park is moving to change this situation, having worked tirelessly for the past few years to get the City to deliver on its broken promises. Previous efforts from the Friends of Bushwick Park included protesting against the owner of the 11 acre CitiStorage site between N. 10th and N. 12th Streets, who refused to sell the much-needed property to the City and the owner let the City’s offer expire, .the group organized a sleepover at the park and a countdown clock on the deal’s expiration date. All in all, Bushwick Inlet Park’s future is murky, but Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park are working to ensure that Greenpoint and Williamsburg get the park that they deserve.

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Finally, the tale of Greenpoint’s newest park is a much happier one. Located along the East River at the end of Kent Street, Transmitter Park was opened to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg communities as a local waterfront destination. Once the home of WNYC radio transmission towers, the park was reconstructed into a stunning green space- which includes a pedestrian bridge, children’s playground, open lawn, nature gardens, and a waterfront esplanade.

Only four years after its opening, Transmitter Park has quickly become a favorite spot for all Brooklyn residents. Indeed, the success of Transmitter Park has confirmed that there’s nothing quite like an open space right on the edge of a river. What’s more, the recreational pier at the end of Kent Street provides excellent opportunities for fishing, as well as a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline.

Quick tip: on Friday nights during the summer, the park hosts family-friendly movies presented by Town Square, so join your friends and neighbors for a night of fun!          

Although it sometimes may seem like there’s quite a bit of work to be done on Greenpoint’s parks, the reality is that the area is truly blessed to have so many great spaces to come together as a community! There are many organizations around the neighborhood, such as Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park and the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, that could use all the help they can get! Remember: there’s always more to be done to maintain the open spaces we all use. To learn more about the organizations that specialize in open spaces, visit our “Get Involved” page here or visit some of our friends at the following:

 

By Romey Louangvilay