Green Spaces and Best NYC Places – Williamsburg, Brooklyn

It’s celebrate the earth week and green is the new black. Looking around my neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, what I don’t see enough of is green. It ranked 20th in New York Magazine’s best place to live issue last week with one of the reasons being poor access to green space. To be sure, McCarren Park is great. Saturdays there is a wonderful farmer’s market (love the fresh flowers and crazy variety of mushrooms), there is community composting (North Brooklyn Compost Project), and a dog park (way too many dogs in this neighborhood). This Sunday there is an Earth Day Celebration from 11am-4pm. But this teeny tiny park is being stretched thin — on a sunny day, it seems all 125,000 people living here (according to New York magazine) try to grab a patch of green.

This human morass is what I am thinking of when I say nay to how some high-flying developers foresee remaking the Domino Sugar Factory and the adjacent waterfront area. The idea is on display at the Center for Architecture and it’s called “The New Domino“. I understand the city’s desire to remake the waterfront. Brooklyn Bridge Park has completely transformed an area once full of dilapidated warehouses; there is more to come as the development continues to snake down Brooklyn’s edge. Plans for the East River waterfront in Manhattan and a park for Governor’s Island are equally ambitious.

So why does our waterfront get uber-expensive high rises and not enough green? Brooklyn Bridge Park will also have apartment and hotel buildings in what a New York Times article calls the “encroachment of private development on what should be public space.” But this New Domino is even worse with several tall cookie cutter towers. That’s not green, that’s black.

One of the many reasons I love this neighborhood is because it is short. I have a view of the Williamsburg bridge lights over 15 blocks away and I can see how the traffic is flowing on the BQE. And I love that Domino factory; my Dad worked there for many years. I would like for it to continue to exist in some way – perhaps housing for families which is in dire need in this ‘hood – but the area around it should all be green. Sure the North 5th Pier is a neat walkway with views of Manhattan, but it’s not green, it’s a wood path and the East River State Park needs a serious facelift.

I want a real park, real green spaces, and I don’t want to live in Park Slope.

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