The Wall

February 20, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Last night Mr. Heather elected to attend the planning meeting for the India Street Park. Feeling a bit antisocial, I opted to stay home. In hindsight I wish I had gone just to have a Parks official explain to me with a straight face why they are endeavoring to build a waterfront park that will not have a view of the city. Yes, you heard me right. Here are Mr. Heather’s notes from the meeting. Read them and learn why:

It was stressed that the Kaplan Fund and the Borough President’s office is the source of money for this project. This is a temporary park. The man from the Parks Department said they alloted at least $35,000 and it should last at least 5 years. To get around DEP requirements* they can only place on top of existing pavement. They cannot rip out or change any existing structure or pavement. They are going to pave over with colored concrete, remove the chain link fence and replace it with concrete barriers (similar to what is along highways) This might be topped with steel fence. It could be up to 12 feet high. This barrier could very well block all views of Manhattan. All plants will be in planters and will be no access to the waterfront. But we get bike racks and benches that come from either the 1939 or 1964 World’s Fair. Also there is an existing business that has a loading dock which cuts into the planned park space.

The Parks Department is really pushing this. The intend for this park to be completed by July 4th of this year. Why?

There is also going to be a feral cat colony displaced by this project. Some of the ideas presented at this meeting were shot down by the Parks Department because they would encourage “homeless boogeymen to appear“.

After being assured repeatedly by Mr. Heather that the terminology “homeless boogeymen” was indeed invoked by a New York City Parks employee in GREENPOINT, we put our collective heads together and made a conceptual rendering of what this park will be like. Here it is.

You are leaving the American Sector

You know, I can’t shake the feeling all that poured concrete and a twelve foot high fence is going to make a certain segment of the population here (“homeless boogeymen” notwithstanding) feel right at home. It’ll be like Perestroika never happened.

Miss Heather

*because, among other things, a sinkhole is located at this site.

Comments

10 Comments on The Wall

  1. rowan on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 10:14 am
  2. this doesn’t sound like much of a park anymore. it sounds like a parking lot dressed up with planters and colored concrete. ironically, you can get more out of the area the way it is. who is going to want to sit and bake on benches without benefit of shade or grass or waterfront breezes? unfortunately, i missed the meeting also, since was working late. good thing Mr. H was there to get the vitals!

  3. missheather on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 11:32 am
  4. I take little delight in deriding this project because some of the people behind it have very good intentions. The previous having been said this park is a farce. Seriously folks, we deserve and should demand better.

  5. Tony From Kent Street on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 12:51 pm
  6. Ugly ass shit rules in Brooklyn.

  7. neighborhood threat on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 3:07 pm
  8. So, miss H – what can we do about this? who should we write letters or complain to?

    thanks to the B61, I left work at 7:30 but didn’t get home until close to 9, so i stood no chance at making it to this gathering.

  9. missheather on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 3:20 pm
  10. Well, for starters I’d hassle the borough President’s office and the Parks Department. I have the email address of the Parks Department person who was at last night’s meeting. If you are interested in writing him shoot me an email at missheather(at)newyorkshitty(dot)com and I’ll forward his email address to you.

    That said, I doubt we can do anything to block/improve this thing. They (the city) seems hellbent on building it and the “planning” meetings seem to be little more than window dressing.

  11. ml on Wed, 27th Feb 2008 6:53 pm
  12. Well I was at the meeting and it didn’t seem too bad to me to get an improved space down there in the short term with some greenery and benches – as a temporary measure before a more permanent facility is built in the – uh – long run? Hmmm – what did Keynes say exactly??? Oh well I’ll enjoy being there and watching my friends plant the planters if it happens this spring – they’re insanely (to my of thinking) enthused about it…

  13. wba on Thu, 28th Feb 2008 6:57 am
  14. I think all of the new parks in the neighborhood, particularly on the waterfront, are great, but the process is fucked. Community planning meetings and other sources of community input are routinely ignored. And I’m concerned about OSA–who exactly do they represent? The rich people on their board? Why do they have a seat at the table?

  15. RichM on Thu, 28th Feb 2008 2:36 pm
  16. Nice conceptual rendering Mr. Heather, but it’s a cockroach’s eye view from a block away. I also attended the meeting. The Parks’ Dept. rep talked about putting up Jersey barriers at the waterfront. Jersey barriers are only 32 inches high. I kind of miss the whole Berlin Wall, Cold War environment and would love to see a replica of the original “Wall” on the site but we’ve only got a street-end that’s 65 feet wide by 24 feet deep (only 12 feet deep at the sinkhole) and there’s not really much to work with.
    I agree that’s it’s not what I would envision as the ideal use of this open space but I’m grateful to the local community groups that raised even the small amount of money to get us going, even if it’s only for benches and planters with black bamboo trees so we can hang out by the river. Maybe some zillionaire will read the blogs and build a great lawn with a botanical garden, arboretum and a kayaking pier on the site.

  17. missheather on Thu, 28th Feb 2008 3:23 pm
  18. Rich: For the record, I did that rendering. Mr. Heather (a Cold War enthusiast) simply provided creative input.

    That said, I am all for parks. Just not THIS park. That is my opinion and I am entitled to it (just as you are entitled to yours— hence why I published your comment).

    My intent was not to malign the local community groups’ fund raising efforts. I am grateful for all the hard work GWAPP does— hence why I posted your meeting about the power plant today.

    Rather, it is manner in which this (admittedly meager amount of) money is being used that troubles me. There comes a point when so many concessions/compromises are made that one has to wonder if a given project is indeed worth following through. The India Street Park (once again, in my opinion) falls under this category. Why not parlay these funds into Transmitter Park (which you spearhead and I adore by the way) or doing a little maintenance on what parks and playgrounds we currently have? The latter most are deplorable.

    You wrote: Maybe some zillionaire will read the blogs and build a great lawn with a botanical garden, arboretum and a kayaking pier on the site.

    Maybe we should demand more of the city? God only knows they are demanding a lot (in the way of property taxes and construction-related inconvenience) from us. I do not seek a botanical garden, arboretum or kayaking pier— all would be out of character for Greenpoint. But a cement lot with planters at the end of India Street? If that is the best the city is willing to give us it is not good enough. Sorry.

    You guys work hard and there are a number of projects GWAPP has in the works I am very excited about. The India Street park happens not to be one of them. If getting park space— all the park space you propose— is an all or nothing proposition you can count me out. But I’d prefer not to be counted out.

    I hope you (GWAPP) and I can agree to disagree in regards to this project. If for no other reason because I want to see Transmitter Park built and wish to help make it happen.

  19. RichM on Thu, 28th Feb 2008 5:03 pm
  20. missheather, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship (not to worry MR HEATHER for I truly love another), I agree with most of your disagreements. I’m not especially fond of India St. as a real park either but it could be a great place to bring your dog and take some “turd of the day” pictures. That could make it popular as a “Theme Park”. People would begin feeding their dogs all kinds of crap to produce all kinds of craps just to get into the slimelight.

    One would think that a World Class City like NYC could come up with the funding to show off their skyline from the Brooklyn side (especially the magnificent Greenpoint view) where all could promenade and enjoy real bulkheads, trees and grass rather than colored concrete over asphalt.

    I’m all for pouring in more resources into the Transmitter Park. At least there, we’ve got some $10million of City Funding to start with. I’m working on getting the “Transmitter” group together in about two weeks at the “Red Star”. I’m trying to coordinate with some Parks’ reps to get an update on what’s being done so that we can push for an even more creative “real” park community destination. I’m soliciting for donations to fund our gathering. You’re on my list and I look forward to a fun meeting.

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