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City Moves Forward on Two Long-Awaited Greenpoint Parks

By Meredith Hoffman | October 23, 2013 8:32am
 The city's design phase of Box Street Park and an expanded Newtown Barge Park kicks off this fall.
The city's design phase of Box Street Park and an expanded Newtown Barge Park kicks off this fall.
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NYC Parks Department

GREENPOINT — The neighborhood is slowly on its way to getting two long-fought swaths of green space the city promised back in 2005. 

Construction of Box Street Park and an expanded Newtown Barge Park — totaling about five acres of public land by the East River — is slated to kick off in spring of 2015, officials said.

The news comes a year after the city admitted it had no concrete plan to develop the green space, particularly Box Street Park, a current lot that for several yers has stored cars from the MTA Roosevelt Island tram.

The parks, whose "design phase" kicks off this fall, should be complete by 2016, a spokeswoman for the city's Parks Department said. The city is soliciting public feedback on the design of the spaces and invites residents to weigh in at a meeting next week.

Work on Box Street Park can commence after the tram cars are moved to a new storage site in the Bronx, said City Councilman Stephen Levin, who noted that it had taken eight years to identify a space to relocate the vehicles.

"It took very long. You're talking about [completing the parks] 11 years after the committment was made, but as long as the ball gets rolling I'm OK with it," said Levin, who has previously blasted the Bloomberg administration's delay. "I really welcome the opportunity for the community to have input into what the park will look like.

The parks are adjacent to the controversial high-rise developments of Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St., and the developers of Greenpoint Landing are required to help fund the parks as part of their agreement with the city, officials noted.

The parks' development follows years of locals pushing for the open space, but some residents said they were so disenchanted by the other water development that they'd lost their excitement about the projects.

"I'm personally not as excited about parks as I used to be...Most of us won't even be able to live here to use the park," said resident Laura Hofmann, who said the waterfront woud change so dramatically with the influx of residents and increase of prices with the slated Greenpoint waterfront towers.

Plans for Box Street Park include a multi-purpose field and shaded picnic terrace, and a possible launching pad for kayaks at the "mouth of Newtown Creek," a city presentation on the park explains. And as for Newtown Barge Park, a current playground in the spot would expand to include a picnic area and more recreational space.

The meeting for public feedback on the projects is Oct. 30 at 6 p.m., at Bushwick Inlet Park.