Disparate Visions for a Brooklyn Park: Dismantle Industrial Ruins, or Preserve Them

Disparate visions for a brooklyn park: dismantle industrial ruins, or preserve them
Under the Maker Park plan, the Bayside Oil Depot and other refineries would be turned into a sort of industrial theme park along the Bushwick inlet / © Christopher Lee

New York City abhors a vacuum. And, in some ways, the scraggly parkland along the Bushwick Inlet in Brooklyn, pocked with industrial ruins and warehouses where a 28-acre park was to be born, is exactly that. It is a hole in the cityscape, waiting to be filled.

So it makes sense that as the city continues to struggle to make good on a more than decade-old promise to develop the park — stymied by its inability to acquire all the necessary land and slowed by the laborious process of cleaning up the area’s legacy of industrial grime — a competing idea has arisen, sprouting through the cracks in the process like weeds through a sidewalk.

And of course, since this is Brooklyn, the two visions for the site peel back to reveal something familiar: the clash of Brooklyn past and Brooklyn hipster.

The original plan would tear down the graveyard of rusting oil refineries that sit on the site, which stretches from Greenpoint to Williamsburg along the East River, and return the reedy riverbank to something closer to nature. The new idea, called Maker Park, would keep the refineries and turn them into a sort of industrial theme park — “a beautiful and otherworldly industrial topography,” according to the website of its advocates.

But the idea is anathema to longtime park advocates.

Scott Fraser, a member of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, an advocacy group that has spent two decades fighting for green space at the water’s edge, denounced the industrial park plan: “Every day we are like the little guy with the dam, trying to keep the water from coming and taking away our dream of the park. This stuff hits personal. To the soul.” […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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