First the Greenmarket, then more street furniture, noontime concerts, the occasional circus, street musicians, outdoor movies and even a miniature golf coarse.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) is embarking on a new plan to turn Columbus Park behind Borough Hall into the borough’s version of Union Square or Byrant Park in Manhattan.
“We’re trying to create diverse kinds of programing to draw people not only into the park, but to Downtown Brooklyn,” said Michael Burke, DBP Executive Director of Policy and Planning. “Our goal is to also get nine-to-five workers to stick around after work.”
Currently, the park hosts a Greenmarket on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Burke said the addition of tables and chairs for the lunchtime crowd right off the steps behind Borough Hall have been a real hit with the public.
The only problem is during warm days the street furniture is right in the sun so next year, the DBP together with theCourt-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID, will put in some shade umbrellas as well.
The DBP is also working on having some outdoor movies in the park sometime in September and to set up a Brooklyn-themed miniature golf course sometime in October.
Finally, the group isembarking on a study to be done in October to analyze ways to energize the park through physical improvements including new street furniture, expanding green spaces, softening some of the paved areas and linking to other nearby parks.
Other continuing plans include special shows such as this week’s Bindlestiff Family Cirkus featuring stilt walkers, clowns, juggling, a wire walker, sword swallowing, plate spinning, target bull whip and audience participation.
“We’re constantly brainstorming other ideas and next season we’ll probably continue with these programs along with what Marty [Borough President Marty Markowitz] does with summer concerts and the Greenmarket,” said Burke.
Markowitz applauded the effort and vowed full support.
“The great cities of the world are defined by their iconic public spaces. Judging by the success of our Brooklyn Book Festival, the circus, popular musical programming in our plaza and arts initiatives like the hit installation ‘Stair Squares’ on Borough Hall’s steps, we agree with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership that Columbus Park has the potential to rival the great piazzas of Europe and beyond,” said Markowitz.
“This is just one more piece of the collaborative vision to help make Downtown Brooklyn one of the nation’s premier cultural centers—and the 2.5 million residents of America’s ‘fourth largest city’ of Brooklyn deserve nothing less.”