Southern Brooklyn

Check Out The Plans For Sheepshead Bay’s Newest Greenspace, Brigham Street Park



ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: After many years, proposals, battles and studies, the plans to begin work on Sheepshead Bay’s newest green space, Brigham Street Park, are finally unveiled.

The park will be sited at Brigham Street, sandwiched between Emmons Avenue and the waterfront. The current site is now a rubble-filled lot abutting the entrance to the bike path and greenway leading out to Plumb Beach. That entrance is about to get a whole lot more appealing with what looks like might be the new gem of Emmons Avenue’s eastern terminus.

The park will feature a playground, walking path, picnic tables and lots and lots of greenery.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans currently being circulated to local leaders by the Parks Department, and which will go for approval by the Public Design Commission later this month.

You can click on any of the images below to see it larger.

Let’s look at the layout:


The park and its construction is going to be built in two phases. Phase one is at the northern end, closer to Emmons Avenue. This is where the playground and comfort station will be. Part of the reason the project is being broken up into two phases is that the southern end of what will become the park is currently owned by the Department of Environmental Preservation, which has underground pipes that they need access to. They’ve agreed to transfer the property to the Parks Department, keeping the area (shaded above) as an easement which Parks will not build upon. The concrete “dock” along the water will remain with DEP, although it looks from the rendering that there will be public access to it.

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The comfort station won’t be built as part of the first phase, and this page of the plans shows why. New regulations following Superstorm Sandy require the station to be built at a higher level than previously anticipated in order to withstand flooding, and so more funding will need to be allocated to build it.

The overall cost of the park has swelled because of this, from $3.5 million to $4.3 million. According to the Parks Department, that cost is already in the budget. But Councilman Fidler, who, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has allocated the lion’s share for the project, told Sheepshead Bites that the area’s new councilman elect, Chaim Deutsch, will have to put some more towards the project next year.

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Above is a larger version of the first image in this post, which you can click to zoom in on and get a better feel for the layout.

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Some information on the materials and designs for the trash cans, benches, bike racks and more. We even get a Flushing Meadows pedestrian lightpole. Ain’t that grand? (I’m not quite sure why this was picked. It would seem the replica antique lightpoles on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue would’ve been a more appropriate choice. But we’re nitpicking.)

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The fun stuff: Some really cool looking new designs for the playground, with futuristic looking structures. I really dig this, and apparently only a handful of parks in New York City are using these designs right now (including Canarsie Park, which Councilman Fidler funded and cut the ribbon on earlier this month. He said that if you want a feel for what Brigham Park will become, you should check it out. )

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The image above shows how the whole thing will come together, and includes extra details such as the planting of native long grass. In fact, it seems there will be a heavy investment in native species of flora here, as well as an attempt to capture the feel of the adjacent wildlife refuge and reserve of Plumb Beach.

Fidler told us the project will go out to bid in the spring of 2014 and construction will begin soon after. Both phases will go out to bid at the same time.

The story of Brigham Street Park goes back quite a ways. Members of the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and the Bay Improvement Group had been pushing a number of proposals, at times competing, for years. City officials finally promised residents that a park would be built on the city-owned land in the early 1990s. More than 20 years later, several ideas fell by the wayside, including part park, part parking lot, and even a combination of parkland and commercial development.

The city finally decided on making the entire thing a park, and the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association teamed up with New Yorkers for Parks to draw up their own proposal. In 2008 they did just that, unveiling plans for one of the city’s most ecologically innovative proposals, chock full of bioswales and other natural defenses to protect the waterfront from pollution and runoff from the nearby highway.

The diva-ish Parks Department, though, chose not to take note. Instead, with funding from Assemblyman Alan Maisel, Borough President Mary Markowitz and Councilman Fidler, the department began working on its own plans.

They did some (legally required) brainstorming with the community at a Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic meeting in March 2012, and said it would be at least three years before construction begins – which puts them a little ahead of schedule.

Comment policy


  1. Seems there’s always lots of money to draw up proposals and pay contractors to build new parks. But there’ll be nada for maintenance you can be sure. Because NYC now counts on free volunteer labor for the parks .Actually has the nerve to talk about how many staff they don’t need because of the volunteers, conveniently forgetting that it is illegal to replace staff with volunteers. Oh, right, they’re not replacing staff because the staff never existed in the first place. But we’ll never hear about any of that, all we’ll hear about is how wonderful they are with all their park creation.

    Think you can get anyone to tell you what the maintenance budget for Canarsie Park is? Really, how many people did the Parks Department hire to take care of that park? I’d love to know exactly how many parks have been created during the Bloomberg administration and exactly how the parks department headcount has increased as a result – and I mean actual park workers, not second vice alternate deputy just in case commissioners.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad there will be a park there. But I am very angry about NYC’s perversion of the good intentions of good people who volunteer at all parks. Where have all the jobs – er, flowers – gone?

  2. Proud to have been a small part of the process in getting this jumpstarted years back with New Yorkers For Parks. So many people deserve credit for persevering for this project. Especially Terry Scavo, who was with me at a New Yorkers 4 Parks back in 2007 when we first met our friend Pamela Governale and became aware of their design program. Getting the conversation going in the summer of 2008 was one of the happiest times in my life, and it is so rewarding to see everyone’s hard work pay off!

  3. Looks beautiful!!! I was hoping that a dog run with a seperation from large dogs and small dogs would have been included in these plans : ( …….but beautiful !

  4. I got you wrong from the very first sentence. Doesn’t seem like you are happy about a new park. That’s too bad. I’ve got your point, but it seems lost next to your anger.

  5. And I hope dog owners will remember to keep their dogs on a lead and pick up after them! Nothing worse then the burnt yellow spots and piles of poo from your little buddy 🙂

    We’re very lucky to be getting a new park, for people. Let’s hope we all get to enjoy it.

  6. For walkers and bicyclists mostly. I do not see any parking included in the plans. Was handicapped parking at least figured in? That area because of the 2 nursing/rehab places/school/hotels is very hard to find parking. . Canarsie pier at least has parking.

  7. Maintenance has always been a problem with parks, but that is because the city doesn’t allocate enough money to Parks to begin with. A lot of the money coming into maintenance has been from private funds (conservancy groups like the Prospect Park Alliance) that fundraise for the maintenance and programming of the parks. Even small neighborhood parks are now considering conservancies. It is a matter of someone in the community wanting to care for their neighborhood park for it to be in top-notch shape, hence, why so many volunteer groups have arisen.

    This article explains the funding issues with parks:

    To answer your question about the number of park workers… it has increased over the years, but if you knew the amount of work that goes into it… you would realize it is still not enough to keep up with 29k acres of land plus street trees and greenways. Think about how much time and investment you would have to put into maintaining your front/back yard, now times that by 19113303390303. Because everyone uses parks, things get worn out a lot; Parks have to fix benches, re-do pavement, care and prune trees, spread wood chips, spray lawn, clean up garbage, re-plant annuals… etc. etc. etc.

    Volunteers are allowed to do zero to low-risk activities to help up-keep the park. A lot of it requires trained/specialized workers. Yes parks staff have increased, but mostly seasonal workers. Parks maintenance staff has to train these people and by the time they become fully competent, they leave and a new batch arrives.

    I can go on and on… but if you are really concerned about this issue, I encourage you to check out this video from the Talking Transition series:

  8. Thank you Gene! I appreciate the time and effort you put into the planning process. We need more active citizens, such as yourself in the Souther Brooklyn area!

  9. Nola, this is considered a neighborhood park and not a destination park. so parking would be inappropriate.
    Lew from Brooklyn

  10. First of all, you’re preaching to the choir. I’m all too aware of what that article says. Cities across the country are trying to privatize anything they can and organizations like the Prospect Park Alliance and the Central Park Conservancy, which started as community groups trying to do something good, showed cities the way to foisting off their responsibility onto private organizations created for the purpose and funded increasingly by corporations. (Take the newly created Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy for example)

    While studying at a NYC botanical garden which I won’t name, it was clear that people there knew that they didn’t need to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on their lawns, and in fact were pretty much cutting them out, but couldn’t be too vocal about it. Why? Because one of their big “supporters” was the Scotts Corporation, makers of what? Right. So, our parks are being privatized and the people who run them are now more answerable to big corporations than they are to taxpayers. And the interests of those corporations will always be put before the interests of the park users/taxpayers.

  11. I’ve probably done more for the maintenance of NYC parks than anyone reading this. And yes, I did it as a volunteer. And that was how I learned how all levels of government are abdicating their responsibility to maintain public places and doing a damn good job of hiding how they do it.

    So, I don’t think you actually did get my point because anger was an important part of my point.

  12. Conservancies that choose to receive corporate dollars will run into pressure from corporations if corporate dollars are self-motivated. Not saying that the model is perfect or that existing groups have it right. It’s all about how the conservancy chooses its fundraising model. Personally, I’d prefer for it to be derived from public funds, but that as you know requires more of taxpayers money and more people advocating on behalf of their parks. As you mentioned, the city loves to hire contractors, and in turn Parks is forced to do so despite contractors tendency to be negligent. It’s really more of a systematic problem that I hope in my life-time will be cleaned-up. I admittedly, misinterpreted your comment to be anti-Park agency and anti-stewardship projects, but I’m guessing that is not the case. I apologize in that aspect. I only wish for more public participation and that the public’s wants/needs are being heard and met by our elected officials.

  13. Maybe getting families with kids to walk and bike to this location, and take a picnic lunch, or go to one of the local establishments, or bike the loop out to Flatbush and then north to Toys R Us would make a nice health fun day.

  14. Yes. The Parks Dept goes begging while the politicos are patting themselves on the back for all the new parks they create. It’s great to create new parks but not as great as it seems if the agency that is charged with maintaining them isn’t funded to do their job, which NYC isn’t doing.

  15. I was hoping that the ‘ no tell motels ; adjacent to the planned improvement area would be demolished. Prostitution and drug dealing have been a blight on the area for many years.

  16. Which would be why I wrote, ‘i don’t get your point’. In any case, if you’re really that angry, do something about it. Join the system and make a change from within. Obviously being angry alone isn’t working for you.

  17. Seems you feel I thought otherwise. I did start my statement “for walkers and bicyclists mostly”. But thanks for agreeing. I still feel handicapped parking should have been included.

  18. See that I finally got someone who knows. Let’s hope it stays that way. TY Ned.
    Maybe Lew can have a few spots marked for handicap parking.

  19. I don’t know much about city parks. But I’m sure every single word Barbara says is correct. I’ve been volunteering in State Parks (Gateway: Breezy, Floyd Benet etc) for many years and know and see how these B*TCHES are stealing our money and we end up with restoring and maintaining it with our own hands.

  20. Who are the bitches that are stealing our money? Seriously, I would like to know. It’s something to look into. I’m really looking forward to seeing this park built, and until now, I’ve been accepting of the information that I’ve read.
    So many people are of the opinion that something shady is going on…. What is it?

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