The Putting Lot will be opening up in Bushwick the weekend of June 6th, bringing miniature golf to an otherwise vacant lot in Brooklyn. The team is still hard at work, and you can track their progress here. While the exact location is still under wraps, we recently got some answers out of one of the 30 organizers of the course, who told us more about how this whole thing came to be, and their overall vision of transforming the neighborhood's vacant spaces.
What do you do when you aren't building mini golf courses? The Putting Lot is run collectively by a diverse group of more 30 people from different educational and occupational backgrounds. The group includes people working in a variety of different fields from architecture and engineering to writers and community organizers.
What was the process of getting the lot for the course? The process of getting the lot for the course was one of the most difficult aspects of the project. We looked at a lot of real estate listing for vacant lots in the area and did a fare amount of wandering around looking for lots with "for rent" signs. It's rather easy to find vacant lots in the area around The Putting Lot. However, as soon as we described what we were planning to do, many landlords immediately turned us away. The customary uses for these lots are industrial storage or parking. Even though the zoning of the neighborhood specifically permits our use as of right, most landlords did not want to deviate from standard, most common land-uses. In the end, we did find one who has been very supportive and is excited about the project and the possibilities it brings to the neighborhood.
What's your ideal/realistic image of Bushwick in the years to come? We hope that Bushwick will be able to retain the strong sense of identity created by its long time residents. Although it is rapidly changing, it is also a neighborhood with a strong sense of community. We hope that the changes that do take place will help to reinforce the the already existing community bonds while allowing new residents to find their own place in the neighborhood as well. Already this is happening in a lot of places. The growing art scene here is also deeply rooted in community issues and connected to a lot of community organizations. Vacant spaces will play a large role in the evolution of the neighborhood and we hope that some of these spaces will become places that help foster these relationships. With think this image is both ideal and realistic.
Did you have other ideas for the lot? Why did you choose mini golf? The idea for the project actually began with miniature golf. A lot of us are not from the city and have very fond childhood memories of playing mini golf. There is a lack of affordable recreational activities that are appropriate for all ages in New York, so building a mini golf course in the city seemed like a great idea. By including artists and ideas of sustainability we hope to create a fun activity that will also be educational and thought provoking.
What else will be offered at the Putting Lot (drinks, music)? The site will include a snack-shack which will serve Brooklyn-based products. The shack will also act as a space for local organizations to display print materiel. It will include a public seating area, where anyone is welcome to come and hang out even if they do not want to play or eat. This area will also act as an event space where we will hold events. These events will further explore the theme of sustainability began by the golf holes and will include workshops, panel discussions and film screenings.
Is it free (if not, how much does it cost)? The cost for a round of golf will be $5 for adults and $3 for children, however there is no entrance charge and anyone is welcome to come and visit.