March 28, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Greenpoint residents can have a say in what they want to see at Box Street Park, the long-promised green space by the waterfront, at an upcoming meeting next week.
The NYC Parks meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on April 5 at the Polish and Slavic Center, located at 176 Java Street.
Box Street Park, to be located at 65 Commercial Street, is one of the many plots of land slated to be turned into parkland as part of the 2005 Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront rezoning. The Bloomberg-era rezoning allowed for dense residential development, while promising several acres of public parks along the waterfront, including the still-incomplete Bushwick Inlet Park.
Delays have plagued Box Street Park. The 2.8-acre lot, used by the MTA to store and repair vehicles, was supposed to undergo its design phase in 2013 with construction to finish in 2016, according to Parks Department documents. The park is also required to receive funding from the developers behind the Greenpoint Landing, adjacent to the park, as part of their deal reached with the city.
A NYC Parks spokesperson said construction cannot begin on the park until a lot is found to relocate the MTA.
At a December 2017 Community Board 1 meeting, NYC Parks said it was awaiting results from the environmental testing done at the site, and were planning to meet with the community in early 2018.
While the April 5 meeting will allow the public to give ideas on park amenities, a working plan for Box Street Park has been outlined in the city’s 2006 Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Open Space Master plan. The plan envisions active and passive areas through the park, including a picnic terrace, a plaza and walkway overlooking the East River, a comfort station, and a multi-purpose field with synthetic turf.
Friends of Box Street Park a local group that advocates for the park’s design and programming, says the park should be an entirely passive green space, and not a synthetic “pay to play” turf field, like what’s seen at Bushwick Inlet Park and at McCarren Park.
“We don’t need more permitted soccer fields,” the group wrote on Facebook. “We need green lawn, lots of trees, and access to the waterfront.”
The Economic Development Corporation is also working with NYC Parks on bringing about Box Street Park.