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Havemeyer Park has a new location near the Domino Sugar factory

Salvage garden: Park returns to Williamsburg waterfront

Green thumb: North Brooklyn Farms co-founder Ryan Watson gets plants ready for their new home on the Williamsburg waterfront.
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They’re digging it up again.

A short-lived park that blossomed next to the old Domino Sugar factory near the Williamsburg waterfront last summer is re-sprouting across the road, after the developer that owns the site offered to let community groups use more of its unoccupied space.

The public garden will eventually have to cede its seeds back to Two Trees Management Company when the luxury housing group wants to start building on the new site — as it did with its previous location. But organizers say a temporary garden is better than no garden at all in a neighborhood that is increasingly starved for green-space.

“We think that is it valuable even for the short time that it will be here,” said Ryan Watson, co-founder of community garden-creator North Brooklyn Farms. “When you see a smile on a child’s face when they come here, it is hard to say that it is not worth it.”

Two Trees, which is slowly building a complex of residential and office towers along the waterfront, is loaning the lot at Kent Avenue between S. Third and S. Fifth Streets to North Brooklyn Farms and Williamsburg bike shop Ride Brooklyn for free for a year, but told Watson that they will likely be able to use the land for three years before it need the lot back. Two Trees intends to build its own open space on the site, Watson said.

The two organizations opened their previous garden Havemeyer Park on S. Fourth Street between Kent and Wythe avenues in July 2013, in conjunction with event promoter Bobby Redd. The groups hosted night-time movie screenings, concerts, yoga, art classes, and a mysterious teepee in the park, but eventually had to hand the space back in September 2014 so Two Trees could start building its first skyscraper.

Two Trees officials said they invited the groups to return because they made such good use of the empty space last time.

“North Brooklyn Farms did an incredible job transforming a vacant lot into an urban garden over the last two summers and have become a beloved part of the neighborho­od,” said Dave Lombino, the developer’s director of special projects.

The new park will include a larger farm and a new asphalt bike track constructed by the cycle store, which will provide locals with a place to ride recreationally off the city streets, said a spokes-person for the shop.

“We wanted people to have access to a place to ride outside of traffic, learn to ride and to enjoy riding other than in the daily grind of riding to work every day,” said Ride Brooklyn co-owner Pete Kocher.

The bike track at Havemeyer was made of dirt, but the gear-heads said they decided to go with asphalt this time because the dirt was too taxing to maintain, said Kocher.

“It will give us time to focus on running the park instead of worrying about constant upkeep,” he said.

The farm may be getting the land for free, but it will still have to pay for extras including insurance, trash cans, and staffing, said Watson, so it is raising money via a fund-raising party on June 28. The park will officially open in July and Kocher said he hopes to complete the bike track by the end of that month.

The Farm on Kent FarmRaiser at Freehold (45 S. Third St. at Wythe Street in Williamsburg, www.eventbrite.com/e/the-farm-on-kent-farmraiser-tickets-17436221207). June 28 at 6 pm. $40.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to clarify that Two Trees also intends to use the lot as open space.
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