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Last night, long after the Domino drama was over, Community Board #1 passed a resolution calling on the City to turn the DOT-operated property underneath the Williamsburg Bridge (in green on the map) into a public park. As I wrote yesterday, this is not a new idea (in fact, the Williamsburg 197a plan called for this same thing 10+ years ago). But it is an idea whose time has come.
Coincidentally, City Planning did a presentation to the Board last night on their development of a 10-year comprehensive waterfront plan. They are in the midst of a survey of the entire NYC waterfront (the last such survey was in 1992). Two of the City’s stated goals in waterfront planning are “expanding public access to the waterfront” and “enlivening the waterfront with attractive uses, high-quality public spaces, and publicly oriented water-dependent uses, integrated with adjacent upland communities”.
“Williamsburg Bridge Park” is a 700′-long site located between South 5th Street (the southern boundary of the Domino site, in red above) and Broadway. The property includes a large amount of paved-over open space directly on the river, so it could be turned into an ersatz esplanade at relatively little expance. The property also includes a two-story building between South 6th and Broadway and a couple of smaller buildings directly under the Williamsburg Bridge, any of which could be repurposed for recreational uses. The property is currently used by DOT, but there are no “water-dependent” uses – the land is just left over space from the old Brooklyn Ferry Company (which ran the Broadway Ferry from this site) that would be put to better use a public park.