GREENPOINT – A park slated for the northern tip of Greenpoint has gone back to the drawing board for a bit after being presented to the community and found lacking.
While the design for the 50 Kent portion of the Bushwick Inlet Park was approved by Community Board 1 this week at the recommendation of the Parks and Waterfront Committee, the Box Street Park on Commercial Street has proven a bit more problematic.
The future park space is sandwiched between two empty development sites that will soon be occupied by waterfront towers. Currently, it’s home to city paratransit vehicles. The process of finding a new home for those vehicles has been arduous enough, but now, the proposed design for the park itself was turned down by the Parks and Waterfront Committee.
The design features a lawn overlook that preserves views towards Manhattan, along with picnic seating, trees, and a dog park. There’s also a basketball court in the park, though the main focus has been on passive space—much like Bushwick Inlet.
There were some minor concerns raised about the design, like how much the bathrooms would cost, their position next to the entryway, and the types of seating. Representatives from the NYC Parks Department and Stantec, the designers, answered as best they could, explaining the constraints imposed by the city budget and the existence of a small emergency vehicle parking lot which won’t be moved for some time.
The chief complaint, however, was the lack of interaction with the waterline at Newtown Creek. Despite the polluted nature of the waterway, residents were insistent that any park design include a riprap edge instead of the bulwark walls in the proposal.
According to Stantec engineers, the draft design opted out of the riprap edge due to poor soil conditions at the edge of the water and the need to dredge part of the creek during construction. These high costs, combined with the 35-foot zone needed to step down to the water, led to the plans for a sea-wall edge.
Residents weren’t happy, however, as nearby developments were also taking the route of least resistance while constructing their sections of the esplanade, like the ones at the nearby Greenpoint Landing.
With residents considering the Box Street Park as one of the last chances to capitalize on promises made during the Greenpoint waterfront rezoning process years ago, the lack of an interactive water’s edge became a sticking point—no matter the potential cost.
The Parks and Waterfront Committee sent designers back to the drawing board, but so far, there’s no concrete deadline for when they might see a new draft.
“We always strive to incorporate community input into a design where feasible and within budget confines and site conditions. We are still thoughtfully considering all feedback from the community, but we do not yet have a revised design for Box Street to present,” said a Parks Department spokesperson.