WILLIAMSBURG — After months seeming "incomplete," Williamsburg has finally sprung back to life with the return of its recreational nucleus: a fully functional McCarren Park.
The outdoor hub that was closed off in sections the past several months for a massive renovation reopened this weekend, one month before the city predicted the project would be complete. New paths and drains are designed to stop the park's previous severe flooding (prompting some to call it "Hipster Lake"), and dozens of new benches and grass plants now cover the space.
McCarren's reopening — just a week after Memorial Day and a few weeks before the June 28 season at McCarren Park Pool begins — is an uplifting sign that summer is truly here, locals said.
"It's like the neighborhood was incomplete, and now everyone is back together," rejoiced resident Dan Levey, 30, as he walked his dog down the fresh cement path Wednesday morning. "It's a symbol of spring and summer...Everyone came back to life after hibernating for the winter."
And North Brooklyn's Councilman Stephen Levin, who funded the project with $930,000, said the completion was timed for when McCarren began seeing "exponential use" in the warm weather — and it was a necessity for the diverse population's needs.
"For too long, the pathways of McCarren Park were notorious for being potholed, broken, and uneven," he said. "They were a hazard to children and seniors, and an eyesore for the rest of the users of the park."
The Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey also said he was "thrilled" at the reopening in time for summer.
And as Miguel Rivera played with his son in McCarren Wednesday, he agreed that the park had desperately needed repairs.
"The paths were all broken," he recalled. "We came to the park during construction anyway...but now it's really nice."