Money talks! Gentrifying Williamsburg finally gets park renovation

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city appears poised to spend $2.6-million to turn a decaying Williamsburg park into a destination.

The redesign is part of a long-term plan by locals to improve the busy green space bordered by Maspeth Avenue, Morgan Avenue, Olive Street, and Sharon Street, given a 46-percent population jump in the 14-block area east of the park.

Gentrifiers make up 70 percent of that new population, thanks to a flurry of new developments between Meeker and Metropolitan avenues.

Old and new residents will be pleased with the tweeks: a new play area for dogs, a doggie water fountain, a concrete skate park near Sharon Street, a quarter-mile jogging pathway, resurfaced tennis and basketball courts, and two new volleyball courts — the first in Williamsburg.

“We don’t have any legal volleyball courts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg and now we’re going to have a professional tournament-level volleyball court there,” said North Brooklyn Parks director Stephanie Thayer, whose group will chip in some money for the courts, and barbecue stations, and used coal bins.

The capital money was allocated by Councilmember Diana Reyna (D–Bushwick), who said construction would begin in summer, 2013.

“It has seemed that the waterfront has received all the attention for its open space — but we’ve always wanted to spur development for the whole community,” said Reyna.

Neighbors are indeed pleased.

“This park will most definitely be enjoyed by all age groups,” said Cooper Park Houses resident Karen Leader. “We will now be able to barbecue outdoors in a park within our neighborhood.

And the city is planning even larger reconstructions.

After phase one is completed, the next phase would include new trees and flower beds, renovate the bathroom in the center of the park, build a stage for events, and replace the well-worn oval lawn near Olive Street with synthetic turf.

Resident Brian Butnick, who moved to Maspeth Avenue because of the park, welcomes the changes.

“I was pleased that the turf field and outdoor stage got on the list,” said Butnick.

Cooper Park has been the neighborhood’s playground for 116 years, after the heirs of Peter Cooper sold the site of his former glue factory for a cool $55,000.

For much of the century, the park included a roller-skating track, horseshoe and shuffleboard courts, wading pool, and even two softball diamonds.

The last major renovation, replacing the softball fields and pool with basketball and handball courts, occured in 1965 — but the park has since become dilapidated.

Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018: Clarifies a few things, namely the timing and where the money come from.
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Poor Bushwick. The headline promised it a new park renovation, then the article is all Williamsburg.
Oct. 20, 2011, 8:43 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
wtf? what's wrong with calling bushwick, bushwick?
Oct. 20, 2011, 9:35 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I don't think the area off the Graham stop of the L has been called Bushwick since the Dutch were taking the L into New Amsterdam.
Oct. 20, 2011, 10:09 am
g from cooper park says:
this area is officially williamsburg. but we residents tend to think of it or call it east williamsburg for clarity. anyway, regarding the article, i am not pleased with these renovation ideas at all. i would much rather see MORE nature, LESS astroturf, concrete (skatepark), soundstages, and bbq's.
Oct. 20, 2011, 12:17 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Now the headline's changed!

I'd like a petting zoo.
Oct. 20, 2011, 1:09 pm
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
It's great when the city finally decides to throw Brooklyn a bone and renovate a park. Problem is, they don't maintain it thereafter. Here in Bay Ridge, weeks go by before the lawns at Cannon Ball Park (aka John Paul Jones Park) are cut and fenced areas weed wacked.
Shore Road Park is dark, decrepit, full of rats, thigh-high weeds and disgusting bathrooms. The Harbor Promenade looks like a garbage dump.
The Parks Dept got so tired of my complaints, they don't reply anymore. They say it's wonderfully maintained. I don't know why I can't see that.
Oct. 20, 2011, 2:58 pm
JonnyJ from Williamsburg says:
Wait - a skatepark ?!? you mean something that might get used - as opposed to basketball courts that sit idly by day after day... its only been 40 years since anyone from the city has visited this park
Oct. 21, 2011, 11:56 am
Richard Grayson from Wiliamsburg says:

Do you mean "tweaks"?
Oct. 22, 2011, 5:50 am
Happy from Williamsburg says:
Thanks Diana Reyna for including a tennis court! We needed one!
Oct. 26, 2011, 8:42 am
sharonstreetgurl from williamsburg says:
really...the softball fields were removed during the remodeling of the late 1980s...I lived there from the early 70s until the early 90s...who writes this stuff...certainly NOT anyone who grew up there...that park will never compare to what it was in its heyday....
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:39 pm
sharonstreetgurl from williamsburg says:
for the is Williamsburg...the zip is 11211..there is NO "East Williamsburg" for the newbies that want it to sound "posh" its not working...
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:41 pm
StNicholasKid from WILLIAMSBURG! says:
The park was renovated in the late 80s-early 90s..thats when the ball fields were removed. Not in 65, I know this because I grew up playing baseball on those fields. SharonStreetGurl is 100 percent correct, there is no "east williamsburg".. and any attempt to say there is is wrong. Nor is there a "Billyburg". If I move to Ohio, I will not try to change the name of the area I live in, all I ask is that if you come here from ohio, do not try to change the name of the area that was here 180 years before you got here. You live in williamsburg. That name does not please you? then move back out.
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:52 pm
sharonstreetgurl from WILLIAMSBURG says:
the worst thing they ever did was renovate that park and remove the baseball fields and the bocce courts...that park was my front yard for many years, everyone knew everyone that hung out there, now I highly doubt that is the case...make the park more "sterile" like the people that frequent it...
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:58 pm
patrene from williamsburg says:
First of all, thanks is in order to StNicholasKid and
sharonstreetgurl. There NEVER was an "East Williamsburg." It's just Williamsburg, PERIOD. I think the real estate people are as much to blame as the YUKKIES for that name. (yes, "yukkies," not yuppies or hipsters) By making us "East Williamsburg" it separates us from the "Jewish" section further into Williamsburg so they can make more sales. It makes us the "elite" section--it's a bunch of crap. It's all just Williamsburg.

Second of all, I'm all for fixing up the parks, but what about a nice indoor place for the cold weather months? The little crappy places around the neighborhood for kids are WAY too small, over priced, and dirty. I have to travel to Queens for a nice indoor play place for my nieces. We need nicer spaces for kids--or maybe places like the YMCA can offer more kid friendly classes. Something!! The winter is WAY longer than the summer months. All this "gentrification" yet nothing with the exception of fixing up the park, is for kids.
Jan. 9, 2012, 1:28 am
patrene from williamsburg says:
Just to add to my last thought--what we don't need any more of in Williamsburg:
1- bars
2-coffee houses
3-used clothing stores
4- art studios
5- tattoo parlors
6-nail salons
8- bike lanes--no one uses them correctly anyway. They are always riding the wrong way, head on into traffic, blowing red lights, stop signs, etc.

What we need:
1-better shopping
2-movie theater (a REAL theater, not artsy fartsy stuff)
3- roller rink
4- kid indoor spaces
5- better classes for dance, drama, and music--not these "fly by night" places we have now.
6- less drunks roaming the streets from all the damn bars
Jan. 9, 2012, 1:40 am
Lilly from Williamsburg says:
I agree 100% with patrene. & just to add some insight, before Williamsburg became so popular we were a kind, respectful,& friendly neighborhood. When the yukkies came things have gone downhill as far as respecting your neighbor & their property & beliefs. Well let me address that fact: you came (invaded) our neighborhood You should adapt to it, NOT change it....If you don't like it....MOVE.....or ACCLIMATE yourselves to our wonderful enclave. i.e. some years back there was a complaint that the church bells that rang are annoying..well when you moved into the neighborhood you knew churches existed. If the bells annoy you, you should have thought of that before you signed your lease.
And that my friends is just one of the many gripes the people have. We are a very loving community & gladly welcome all. Leave your Hate where you came from & start acting like good productive members of society. Grow up & respect people for who they are. Williamsburg people don't hate "you" or "the yukkies". Search your soul. I think it's the other way around.

Jan. 9, 2012, 2:29 am
patrene from williamsburg says:
Lilly--excellent--couldn't agree with you more!! They walk around with a "chip" on their shoulder, but like you said, they moved into OUR neighborhood--a neighborhood that is very religious and tight. We welcome anyone, but they are the ones that stay in "clicks." They don't like the church bells because almost all of them are atheists, or haven't you heard that one already? Plus, they are sending out petitions to alleviate the "truck" traffic in Williamsburg that make deliveries to stores. Oh, and to get rid of the OLMC feast. Please, you have two choices: love it or leave it. Stop trying to change it because you won't win.
Jan. 9, 2012, 2:43 am
revenge from williamsburg says:
dilapidated?! EVERYONE USES THAT PARK. - we all still barbecue in there and the playground was just recently redone. i hate that monstrosity across the street (huge condo highrise) as well as they are going to take our grass away and replace it with what?! astroturf? why the hell do you move into a neighborhood for its "ambiance" and then change it? i grew up in that park - the handball courts get plenty of use as well as the basketball courts. the park is always full of people. CHILDREN FROM THE WORKING FAMILIES OF WILLIAMSBURG and not you nasty yuppies wanting to drinking your PBR and contemplate how else you can be ironic. COOPER PARK IS NOT DECAYING. volleyball? really? i can't even deal. and there is no east williamsburg - WILLIAMSBURG IS TINY - there is no need for you to break it up to be even tinier. gentrification is basically a slow painful death for the beauty of williamsburg.
Jan. 9, 2012, 9:11 am
ehcoon from williamsburg says:
patrene - you are 100% correctomundo. the yukkies and the real estate people want to change the world. they are nothing but a bunch of "candyasses". They should take their tales and wrap them around a flagpole to see what !@$% they really are. They do not know about the hardworking people who built williamsburg with their hands and not their dollars. They have no courtesy or respect. the fireman on richardson streetshould hose them all down !!!! patrene, you obviously come from good roots and are well written. Just to prove a point - Do any of your parents write profesionally ?
Jan. 9, 2012, 1:41 pm
Herman from Translyvania says:
Lilly . You sound hot !!!
Jan. 9, 2012, 9:07 pm
Lilly from Williamsburg says:
Herman, who ever you are, please stick with the issues at hand..
Jan. 9, 2012, 11:53 pm
sharonstreetgurl from Williamsburg says:
Herman's a troll...
Jan. 10, 2012, 1:17 pm
murphalino from Williamsburg says:
I remember back in the day you couldn't even get a cab to go over the Williamsburg bridge you had to say you were going to Greenpoint now these morons move in and it's like the second coming of I would say Christ but these ——s don't believe in him so maybe I should say Buddha.
Why is it that none of these improvements were done when we were younger I would have liked new parks and ballfields to play in and a newly renovated pool to swim in it's a shame what has come of this neighborhood you want to live here like Lily said acclimate yourself dont try to change it you want change go hang out with that —— Obama!!!
Jan. 10, 2012, 11:12 pm
ball=life from Williamsburg says:
Yo, ball is life. Fix those basketball courts ASAP. Tryin' to work on the shot, y'kno?
Aug. 4, 2015, 10:25 pm

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