A vacant lot on Wythe Avenue and South 3rd Street in Williamsburg has been transformed into Havemeyer Park, a new "interim community space" that comes complete with an urban farm, open air bilingual reading room, affordable food and goods from local vendors, a bike course and 8,000 square feet of grass. Yoga classes TBA.
What was once a sad, 55,000-square-feet lot full of concrete and other detritus is now the closest thing to a Hipsterland Amusement Park we've got (next to PS 1's Warm Up). At today's ribbon cutting, sweaty, dirt-faced volunteers donned combat boots and Uniqlo tank tops while raking away at the soil, putting those Zen Garden skills to the test, while officials in suits waved their hands in an arbitrary direction, saying things like "This is cool, huh? Very cool!"
In March, Two Trees Management Company revealed their plans to build a $1.5 billion residential and commercial complex at the old Domino Sugar Refinery site. Before construction begins next year (pending city approval), they've used this parcel across from the refinery to create an Alt Park, with the help of organizations like Ride Brooklyn, Dellavalle Designs, Build It Green NYC, and North Brooklyn Farms.
According to the press release, the farm will host Saturday farm stands, supper clubs, pick-your-own harvests, workshops and farming lessons. All food is grown in modular farming containers designed by North Brooklyn Farms.
Henry Sweets of North Brooklyn Farms declared, "We want to activate vacant space in the city and turn it into productive space that not only provides food for people, but also gives them an opportunity to be in nature, to be in a natural setting, to touch the Earth, to touch plants, and to get a dose of Vitamin Nature!"
The new interim community space (the lot will eventually be occupied by residential/commercial buildings) also boasts Brooklyn's first-ever bike park, which includes a multi-use trail for bikes, a skills area to help train aspiring cyclists, and a "pump track" for bikers of all skill levels, including tall berms, 360-degree berms, rollers, and transition areas. And for those of you who don't know what a berm is, well, neither do I, but here's a Wikipedia entry on the subject. There is also a 6-foot-wide, multi-use trail that is completely ADA-accessible and can accommodate bikes, strollers and walkers. The loop meanders through the bike park, providing an overview.
You can begin practicing your berm skills starting this Saturday, when the park opens to the public.