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Dirt Bike Obstacle Course Opens at Domino Sugar Factory Lot

By Meredith Hoffman | July 11, 2013 4:24pm | Updated on July 11, 2013 4:53pm
 The pop-up park is open to the public until Two Trees starts building towers there next year.
Havemeyer Park and Brooklyn Bike Park
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WILLIAMSBURG — The Domino Sugar Factory lot on the South Williamsburg waterfront has undergone a metamorphosis — turning the once barren lot into a paradise of dirt bike trails, a kale-filled farm and an outdoor film screen over an expanse of rolling green space — at least for the next year.

A 55,000-square-foot playland with Brooklyn's only course "simulating mountain bike trails" is set to open Saturday after an overhaul by owner Two Trees Management property, which will eventually transform the space and it surrounding vicinity into apartment and retail towers, organizers said.

The ambitious public project — which will feature free bicycle and helmet rentals and lessons for kids under 16 — also includes an educational garden, an outdoor reading room with 1,000 donated books, and a soon-to-open cafe and other food vendors, organizers said.

The changes show that Two Trees is "a responsible developer," local leaders and social justice advocates said.

"This was deplorable land," said Council Member Diana Reyna of the long-vacant lot which she called a "pop-up park."

"This is art coming alive," she said, "and it's wonderful to see it responded to our community."

The park — which the local group Bobby Redd Projects and the bicycle shop Ride Brooklyn partnered to create after winning a bid from Two Trees —  will be open until some time next year, but representatives from Two Trees said they weren't sure the exact date the lot must be closed to break ground on their building.

But in the meantime the public can wander around on an 8,000-square-foot grassy lawn and on elevated platforms built from found bricks in the lot, Bobby Redd member Brant Moeller said.

A bakery and other vendors will sell food out of modified shipping containers the group brought over from Detroit, a free library with 1,000 books in a "giant armoire" will be open to the public, and a giant film screen will also be set up by August, Moeller said.

"It starts passive when you're inland and gets more active when you go towards the water," Moeller said of the structure of the park, whose bike course is closest to the waterfront by Kent Avenue.

And the principal of Two Trees Management said the park was just the start of the company's focus on accommodating local needs.

"The key to building a successful project here it to have it be embraced by people here," said the principal Jed Wallentas.

Despite past local opposition — including a whole organized "Save Domino" group — against the massive development, Wallentas said Two Trees was working with the community.

"You can find people protesting against anything," he said. "We haven't even started building yet. When we start we'll see what people say."