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Brooklyn block 3137, lots 1, 11, 6, 9

Information about this lot

There are 4 lots grouped here:
  • Brooklyn block 3137, lot 1 (544 BUSHWICK AVENUE). More details at OASIS.
  • Brooklyn block 3137, lot 6 (540 BUSHWICK AVENUE). More details at OASIS.
  • Brooklyn block 3137, lot 9 (534 BUSHWICK AVENUE). More details at OASIS.
  • Brooklyn block 3137, lot 11 (90 BEAVER STREET). More details at OASIS.
Address: 544 BUSHWICK AVENUE, Brooklyn, 11206
Area: 0.44 acres (19029 square feet)

Political Boundaries

City Council District 34 represented by Antonio Reynoso
Community District Brooklyn 4 ( bk04@cb.nyc.gov / 718-628-8400 ), district manager: Celestina Leon
Find all elected officials for this lot at Who Represents Me? NYC

Why is this lot here?

We think this lot is vacant because:

  • In MapPLUTO the city lists this lot's landuse as vacant.
  • In MapPLUTO the city lists this lot's building class as vacant.

Government Agency

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (public)
Contact: Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner

Parks are protected in New York State for the use of people as open space. A City in the State cannot decide to simply close down a park and use the land for something else without getting approval from the state government after land has been dedicated as parkland.

In order to convey parkland to a nonpublic entity, or to use parkland for another purpose, a municipality must receive prior authorization from the State in the form of legislation enacted by the New York State Legislature and approved by the Governor. “Once land has been dedicated to use as a park, it cannot be diverted for uses other than recreation, in whole or in part, temporarily or permanently, even for another public purpose, without legislative approval.” United States v. City of New York, 96 F.Supp.2d 195, 202 (E.D.N.Y. 2000). This clear law has been applied consistently since 1871.

The question is: what is parkland?

The term “dedicated” is often used in referring to municipal parkland subject to State alienation requirements. Common phrases include “lands dedicated for park purposes” and “dedicated parklands.” The dedication of parkland may be formal through an official act by the governing body of the municipality.

Dedication can also be implied. This may occur through actions which demonstrate that the government considers the land to be parkland or the public used it as a park. Examples include: a municipality publicly announcing its intention to purchase the lands specifically for use as a park, “master planning” for recreational purposes, budgeting for park purposes, or “mapping” lands as parkland. Kenny v. Board of Trustees of Village of Garden City, 735 N.Y.S.2d 606, 607 (App. Div. 2nd 2001)(property acquired for recreational purposes and used for recreation was instilled with public trust even though never officially dedicated).

Here is the State's handbook on alienation, updated September 2017: https://parks.ny.gov/publications/documents/AlienationHandbook2017.pdf

Urban Renewal

These lots are part of the West Bushwick urban renewal plan.

News feed

Nov. 7, 2017, 10:49 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

A neighbor emailed us to see about any updates here. Here's what I shared:

Neighbors have been organizing a strong campaign to make this a park for a very long time! From the records below, I see that NYC Parks told Council Member Reynoso's office in March 2016 that they have committed to creating the park by Fall 2018 (a year from now), and that Maria was continuing to work with NYC Parks to make sure there will be a gardening area.

The updated design for it is here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/6002. This NYC Parks website says construction was supposed to be completed by this fall, which is at odds with what NYC Parks told Council Member Reynoso's office.

See if you can get an update on what's going on here by checking with NYC Parks. Here is the Brooklyn office number: (718) 965-8900. According to the Parks website, the person working on the project is Davey Ives, so you can ask for him. If he isn't available, see if anyone can help you get information about the construction timeline of Rheingold Park. Introduce yourself and tell them you need to know the construction timeline. Take notes! Make sure you get the name and email of the person who you are talking to. Follow up with a note and copy organizers@596acres.org. Then add a note describing what you learned on the phone to this lot page (https://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58282/) so that we can all learn from your experience.

If a gardening space is important to you, ask him if the design will incorporate it -- or any other questions you may have.

onwards!

Sept. 1, 2017, 7:10 p.m.
Jessica B said

Hello, any updates if this space is intended to be a park? This season it is still inaccessible. What's the latest?

April 6, 2017, 8:21 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres posted
Plan your park!
Plan your park! This Saturday, 10am to 1pm, come to the Bushwick community plan open space forum to influence the design of the new park at Beaver and Bushwick Ave. Your council members want to help you get the park you want! 1474 Gates Ave., ridgewood bushwick youth center Mara will be there to facilitate discussion: mara@596acres.org You can also email bushwickplanning@gmail.com to let them know what you would like to see in your park!
Nov. 28, 2016, 9:16 a.m.
Mara at 596 Acres uploaded
Template you can use to prepare written and oral testimony for Dec 1 Oversight Hearing on this inaccessible parks department land Tell City Council's Committee on Parks and Recreation about the NYC Parks Property You Are Organizing at a Hearing this Thursday, December 1 at 1pm at the Oversight Hearing called "An Examination of Parks Department Properties Currently Inaccessible to the Public," in the Committee Room of City Hall. This file is a template for preparing written and oral testimony about this land! Want help preparing to testify? Join us this Wednesday, November 30 at 3pm at New Friendly Daycare, 2178 Nelson Ave in the South Bronx -- across the street from land where neighbors are organizing for access. This template you can use to testify about inaccessible parks department land is also here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17nrvXnD-0YLXXvKTyj5K-lx-svVMq4XJR2zd90e6x9w/edit?usp=sharing
Nov. 17, 2016, 11:13 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Tell City Council about the NYC Parks Property You Are Organizing at a Hearing on December 1 at the Oversight Hearing called "An Examination of Parks Department Properties Currently Inaccessible to the Public." It will be at 1pm at City Hall.

Email organizers@596acres to let us know you are coming and if you want help preparing your testimony!

July 4, 2016, 9:10 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

The updated design for this space is here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/6002

March 17, 2016, 10:14 a.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

Lacey connected organizer Maria with the NYC parks department.

"Whatever happens with the garden is ok - what matters is that going through the process has been empowering" - Maria

Parks has confirmed that thi vacant lot is turning into a park by fall 2018. Maria is part of a group that is positioned to become stewards once construction is complete; they are becoming master gardeners so they can care for plants and flowers in the park, and eventually introduce edibles. She is in touch with NYC Parks and will keep us posted.

Feb. 29, 2016, 1:57 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Great news today from Lacey Tauber at Council Member Reynoso’s office: the Parks Department is open to finding opportunities to incorporate a growing space and other features the neighboring organizations want in the design of the new park!

Contact: LTauber@council.nyc.gov to be involved in the discussion.

Oct. 1, 2015, 3:19 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

It IS becoming a City Park (hurray!) and Maria-Mercedes Hubbard (maria.hubbard@ahrcnyc.org, (718) 455-5473) has been leading the advocacy to have the park incorporate a teaching garden. Get in touch with her!

Sept. 24, 2015, 9:59 p.m.
neha said

I noticed that this lot is being cleaned up, they started yesterday. Is this becoming a city park?

July 29, 2015, 1:25 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Claudette from Partnership for Parks is connecting Maria with another person at the organization who can help her get a friend of group happening. In the meantime, she is talking to her own organization (AHRC, below the coops) to get petition signatures for a garden - not to be implemented at the start of the park, but after the park is established.

STILL she's also going to reach out the president of the coop board to see if she can convince them to team up with her to approach Commissioner Silver.

July 17, 2015, 5:10 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Sorry for the slow update, everyone. Maria and I are working on a next plan of action.

The meeting was pretty frustrating. Only Maria could make it, but wow, she really hung in there and fought for the cause! Overall, most of the residents in attendance were all from the coop behind the lot and had a lot of safety concerns still present from the last meeting. The Parks Department's new design still had a large area focused on toddlers, which no one seemed to think was needed. (Also, many coop members agreed that when they first bought their homes they were told that a passive park would be there.) And there was a whole long debate about the low part of the wall between the lot and the condos. Maria tried to voice that a gardening space could be the buffer between the two places, but was continuously ignored. Maria also happened to be one of the only neighbors interested in the garden that showed up...

Parks had a lot of ridiculous things to say in response to the garden idea. Mostly that it "just isn't that kind of park" and "parks become parks first and maybe later you can have a garden" and something about the chemicals from growing vegetables harming children. WHAT! I'm still a little floored that these people's jobs are starting open space projects.

They also suggested the Maria connect with Partnership for Parks, who had a coordinator present at the meeting. Maria is going to connect with her about starting a friends-of group that can eventually start a garden.

A next step could be creating a petition and getting folks to sign it. Also, perhaps Maria can approach the coop folks about teaming up to have a meeting with Mitch Silver, the Parks Commissioner. While the coop people are friendly, they showed absolutely no support for the garden. Yet, they did not get everything they asked for. The meeting seemed sort of pointless in the sense that they still voiced their concerns and Parks basically told them it was too late to change anything but they would try. SO, I wonder if the coop people would consider teaming up if it meant they could actually get their demands met.

July 6, 2015, 12:29 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

See you guys tonight!!

July 6, 2015, 12:25 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

MEETING TONIGHT!

CB4 and the Parks Department are hosting a "Final Public Park Input Opportunity" TONIGHT Monday, July 6th from 6 to 8 pm at the 10 Forrest Street (Inside the Ridgewood Senior Center).

I'LL BE THERE! HOPE TO SEE EVERYONE ELSE!

July 1, 2015, 9:56 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres uploaded
Flier for Community Meeting Regarding the Future Rheingold Park! CB4 and the Parks Department are hosting a "Final Public Park Input Opportunity" next Monday, July 6th from 6 to 8 pm at the 10 Forrest Street (Inside the Ridgewood Senior Center). Hooray! I'm so happy to hear that the opinions voiced at the last community board meeting were heard!
June 17, 2015, 8:48 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Community Board 4 voted to put approval of the plans for this site on hold pending a redesign by the Parks Department to reflect community concerns about safety and input in the design process. There WILL be a meeting with Parks and the architecture team, hosted by the Community Board, and we are all invited!

June 17, 2015, 4:57 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

It's beautiful to see interest and support has grown! We're finally moving closer to our goal. I'll see everyone tonight, representing AHRC Wendy Siegel Adult Habilitation Program (522 Bushwick Ave; directly next door to lot).

June 17, 2015, 4:37 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

If you can't make the meeting, you can always fill out the comment section of this page if you have input (they're calling the project Rheingold Park): http://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/contact/6002

June 17, 2015, 11:41 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres uploaded
Letter of Support from Tony Canty Tony shared this letter of support with me and I passed it on to Kevin Worthington at Council Member Reynoso's office, who confirmed he would be at the meeting tonight. REMINDER: TONIGHT WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17TH Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center 195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue) 6:00 PM http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb4/html/home/home.shtml
June 10, 2015, 2:25 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Hi everyone!

I hope that some folks are getting geared up for the meeting next week. There's two ways the meeting can be approached:
1) Everyone can attend as individuals, listen, and give individual input to the board depending on how things go.
2) Everyone can attend as a group that have one goal: neighborhood input and specific wants in the plans. If folks are interested, everyone could meet beforehand - but is everyone busy/still at work around that time?? Unfortunately, I won't be in attendance (have another board to visit in the Bronx!) but the director of 596 Acres, Paula, will be heading to the board meeting anyway.

I'd love to know how everyone is feeling about this. Are people still planning on going to the meeting?

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17TH
Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center
195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue)
6:00 PM
http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb4/html/home/home.shtml

May 28, 2015, 4:31 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

BIG NEWS!

Renee, who is a Bushwick resident and co-director of BK Rot, went to the community board meeting last night and shared some updates with me. In regards to this lot, it will be a passive park and the designs for it will be shared at the NEXT CB4 meeting. She confirmed that there were a limited number of residents (about 20) at the community meeting years ago that we've been trying to dig up info from.

SO...
Mark your calendars! everyone should head to this meeting to hear what's planned and also voice your input.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17TH
Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center
195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue)
6:00 PM
http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb4/html/home/home.shtml

May 19, 2015, 2:23 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Tony (who is listed as an organizer) is getting two letters of support from PS 120, one from the principal and one from a teacher!

Crystal - How is the support from the Bushwick Coop Gardens going?

I haven't got any other letters of support! I'd like to have things as soon as possible so that I can pass them along to the CM's office in hopes that they'll advocate for this project when they meet with Parks!

ALSO!
There's community board meeting happening tomorrow night:
Wednesday, May 20th
6:00 PM
Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center
195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue)
Perhaps someone would like to go? Maybe just to stay looped into the Community Board, but it would also be great if the board heard from more neighbors directly that they never knew about the mysterious meetings for this planned park!

April 24, 2015, 5 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Awesome, Crystal!!
You can email me at mary@596acres.org with the letter whenever it's done!

April 24, 2015, 11:25 a.m.
Crystal said

HI,
I'm able to represent the Bushwick Gardens Co-ops which are right up against the lot. I'm currently gathering input from residents and will be able to write a letter or provide feedback in whatever way makes sense. I'm also forwarding this email to Ms. Santiago and Mr. O'Malley at PS 120 who have expressed strong interest on behalf of the school to have a park that can be visited by students and be able to support learning activities such and the students growing plants and vegetables. BTW, nearly EVERYONE I've spoken with here at the co-op and at the school feels that green space, rather than another cemented playground, is the goal. There are a number of playgrounds, one at the other end of the block and another across Flatbush. A green place to enjoy peace and quiet, and for children to experience nature seems to be the resounding request that I'm hearing.
Warm Regards,
Crystal DeBoise
PH: 917-650-6615

April 24, 2015, 10:20 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

*Can anyone representing organizations, community groups, a school, or local businesses pass along to me supporting documentation of your organization's interests or support of certain design inclusions into this space? It can just be a simple note asking for real resident input into the design of this part, but please put it on letterhead :)

*If you a neighbor who is 'watching' this lot's page anonymously, can you let me know that I can add your name to a list of neighbors interested giving input to this space?

I would like to pass on these things to Kevin Worthington from CM Reynoso's office. See the email below:

From: Worthington, Kevin KWorthington@council.nyc.gov
Date: Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 10:20 AM
Subject: RE: Fwd: Update on community-space-to-be at 544 Bushwick
To: "Mary Prall, 596 Acres Organizer" mary@596acres.org

Hi Mary,

Just got some interesting news from Parks. As opposed to what I thought and had heard, the park is in design. The expected completion date for the design is December 2015. So I asked a meeting to meet with their design team. I'll keep you posted.

Best,
Kevin Worthington
Community Organizer
Office of Council Member Antonio Reynoso
34th New York City Council District
244 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11206
(718)-963-3141
(646)-584-2676

April 21, 2015, 11:42 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

ps. The next community board meeting is Wednesday, May 20th!

http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb4/html/home/home.shtml
Monthly Community Board Meetings

Regular Monthly Community Board #4 meetings are open to the public. Community Board #4 regular monthly meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday of the month (except for July and August) at:

Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center
195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue)
6:00 PM

April 21, 2015, 11:40 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Has anyone heard anything more from the community board? I still can't seem to get any answers but reached out to the council member's office again.

March 10, 2015, 6:02 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

The community board (though answering the phone) still can't seem to get me any info.

I followed up with Kevin Worthington, the community organizer for Reynoso's office to see if they could help in any way.

March 5, 2015, 12:13 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

I never heard back from the community board but got Ms. Whitted on the phone today. She said Ms. Salig from Parks had reached out to her and mentioned that I was poking around trying to get info. She wouldn't tell me much - except that no next meeting is planned to discuss the park-to-be as of now - but asked that I forward my past email to her directly. Just trying to understand what the plans are and how everyone can have a say in them!

If anyone else wants to bug the community board with me... you can give them a call or shoot them an email:
Community Board No. 4
1420 Bushwick Avenue, Suite 370
Brooklyn, New York 11207
Tel: 718-628-8400
BK04@cb.nyc.gov

Feb. 10, 2015, 3:41 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Rene from BK Rot reached out to me that she's communicating with the Community Board and trying to all get some information about the past planning meetings for this park!

Jan. 29, 2015, 5:02 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Nina - Thanks so much for that incredible information!!! That is awesome tool! So, I spoke to Mary Salig, Director of Capital Projects for Parks for Brooklyn, who clarified that this project IS in the works. She said that Parks had a community meeting with the board at some point (?) and lots of input was given, and the board approved putting a park here. Currently, Parks is working on a design for the Park and will report back to the board with it for approval. She does not know when the next meeting will be. I let her know that many neighbors (and schools! and organizations!) want to be a part of this planning. She said nothing is set in stone in terms of planning but to keep in touch with the community board about the next meeting.

Then I spoke to the CB4 office staff person, Willy, who couldn't tell me any information about this past scoping meeting. I thought maybe he could search a database of meeting minutes but it wasn't possible.. He gave me the number for Emilio Llopiz, Parks manager for Brooklyn, who thinks maybe the meeting I'm talking about was something that happened a yr and a half .. he can't remember. I followed up by emailing details of this project, which he said he'd investigate and get back to me.

I called back the community board who said I needed to place a formal request via emailing bk04@cb.nyc.gov. We'll see what I hear...

Paula our director is meeting with Council Member Reynoso and will be sure to relay this information. It would be awesome if Reynoso could push the Parks Department to have another meeting NOW so that EVERYONE can be caught up!

Jan. 28, 2015, 3:42 p.m.
Nina said

As for playground-garden hybrid spaces, it looks like there are plenty of examples in the city! If you go to GreenThumb's garden map http://www.greenthumbnyc.org/gardensearch.html you can filter all the gardens that also contain a playground by clicking "structure--> playground". There are some DPR Parks (with playgrounds, basketball courts, etc what you'd expect in a park) that set aside space for a community garden, such as M'Finda Kalunga garden, in Sara Roosevelt Park http://www.mkgarden.org/about-the-garden/
We should also consider talking to DPR about having them host a community visioning meeting for this space; they're organizing these as part of their Equitable Parks Initiative. These meetings are typically for existing parks that they've identified as underserved, but they might be open to the idea for this space (considering the size, the community interest, and the playground plans).

Jan. 28, 2015, 8:55 a.m.
brigette said

hi all-

a few of us were at CB4 but Maria we did not see you there. We thought the
plan was you were going to introduce yourself to CB and speak a bit to CB
about garden (maybe after the meeting...)

Also I reached out to the PS120 school principal and she is very interested
in a garden. I fwd their email to Renee (BKROT) who had expressed interest
in this site and who had not followed up with PS120 since rheingold garden
possibilioties. I also fwd the ps120 email to Maria but have not heard back.

those are all the updates i have.

:)

Jan. 27, 2015, 4:34 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Sounds like no one made it to the last community board meeting, or the smaller Parks Committee meeting. That's ok! I heard from Maria that she's still working on gathering support letters.

Here's some general cb info:
Brooklyn Community Board 4
M-F 9-5
http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb4/html/home/home.shtml
1420 Bushwick Avenue, Suite 370
Tel: 718-628-8400
Regular Monthly Community Board #4 meetings are open to the public and are held every 3rd Wednesday of the month (except for July and August) at:
Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center
195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue)
6:00 PM

I'm still trying to get more information from Mary Salig at the Parks Department. Will try her again on Thursday if she doesn't get back to me.

I also reached out to GreenThumb to inquire about rules relating to gardens and playground being within one (smaller than usual) park!

Jan. 24, 2015, 9:41 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Apologies for the long wait on the meeting recap! I'm waiting to hear more from Maria (organizer above) as well:

There were ten of us present! We talked about how everyone would love to convince the community board to support putting a garden in with a playground! Kevin Worthington, the Community Organizer for Council Member Reynoso's office was also present. He said he would talk to the Reynoso about getting a letter of support but first would like to hear first hand from Parks about the plans for this space and said he would reach out to them. He was also wondering if any of the hesitation might be on soil remediation because apparently there used to be a garage on the site. Also in attendance was LJ (listed as an organizer) who said he would like to start building playgrounds out of natural materials, and would be interested in providing this space with one.

Discussed next steps:


  • Get letters of support from both of the schools in the area, the senior center across the street, BK Rot, and other local organizations and groups.

  • Research other examples of NYC Parks that hold both playgrounds and GreenThumb gardens, and see how they fit together or not!

  • Maria was going to try to get a hold of the Parks Committee, to see if she can arrange a meeting with them before approaching anyone on the full board again... (Additionally, there was a full meeting on January 21st, but I'm not sure if anyone went. Anyone?)

A few days after the meeting LJ let me know that he spoke to Martin Maher, chief of staff of Brooklyn for the Parks Department (he called 718-965-6951 and was connected but he can be reached at 718-965-8917) who said that a design process has begun for the space. I'd like to get more details...I've left two messages but have yet to hear back.

Anyone else have new info?

Jan. 13, 2015, 1:16 p.m.
someone posted
first meeting 1/9/2015
Jan. 8, 2015, 4:42 p.m.
Zhenya Vladi said

Hello,

my friend just forwarded me this link. I live on Arion Pl, I love the space and would love to help.
I organize many local community activities such as markets of local designers, tea ceremonies, workshops , healing activities and other projects - I will be happy to provide my recourses and contribute creatively to the building a community space/garden/payground.
My contact info: zhenya@glorka.com
1-347-524-8838
Thank you

Jan. 5, 2015, 11:19 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Hello everyone! CORRECTION: THE TIME IS 5:30 pm!

WE'RE HOLDING A MEETING THIS FRIDAY, January 9th at the AHRC center next to the lot at 522 Bushwick Avenue at 5:30 pm. Just walk in the front door of the center.

I know it might be hard for people to leave work, so please show up late if you need to! We'll hang around for at least an hour.

We'll be going over the information (mentioned above in the last note) and talking about what we can do next!

Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

(Additional update: I got a message from Lauren at the Parks Department: No new update except from now on we should contact the Mary Salig, Director of Capital Projects for Brooklyn in regards to updates on this project:
718-965-6951
mary.salig@parks.nyc.gov)

Dec. 29, 2014, 12:43 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Lauren from the Parks Department returned my call but can't seem to find any updates or information about planning for this property. It's just in Parks inventory and that's all she can see!

I also just spoke with Maria (organizer above) She spoke with Community Board District Manager Nadine Liden earlier in the month who said that the board has had plans for years to turn this space into a playground. She shut down the idea of including a garden in the space, but suggested that the AHRC (where Maria works) could potentially become a 'friends of' group... but I don't see why a garden couldn't share the space as well - especially one that caters to youth!

Maria would like to attend the next community board 4 meeting on Wednesday, January 21st (6 pm at Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center, 195 Linden Street (Corner of Wilson Avenue) to maintain a presence at these meetings. It would be awesome if other neighbors and non-profits would like to team up and attend as well, and maybe even the group could use the chance to speak about this wish to be included in the playground plans.

We would love to have a meeting the second week of January for everyone to meet and talk about an approach.

Additionally, this group can reach out to Kevin Worthinton (KWorthington@council.nyc.gov)at Councilmember Reynoso's office to get support. While the property is in the Parks Department, it sounds like there is no capital allocation to make a playground happen. Support for a garden within the playground could draw attention and get your elected officials invested!

Another way to convince the community board might be the suggestion of a temporary garden until funding for playground appears. Then the community could give input on a design...

Dec. 29, 2014, 9:50 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Alicia - thanks for offering a space for a meeting! Is there a specific week that works best?

I left a message for Maria (organizer above). It would be awesome to have her at a meeting to fill us all in on any progress in terms of getting community board support.

Colleen Anderson (Director of Parklands), Jose Lopez (Environmental Project Manager), and Ed Janoff (Property Manager) at Parks are all on vacation, but I spoke to two other individuals who are going to look into an update and call me back.

mary@596acres.org
718-316-6092 ext 3

Dec. 22, 2014, 4:33 p.m.
Alicia Diamond said

I am interested in meeting about this lot after the Holidays. if a space is needed I can request that we can have the meeting in the community empowerment center adjacent to the empty lot. I am an employee at the empowerment center and can ask permission to use the center as a central meeting space for everyone. My email is adiamond@rbscc.org if you would like to discuss planning a meeting further.

Dec. 9, 2014, 1:25 p.m.
Maria said

Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from December 3rd, re=
turning December 16th. Please forward any time sensitive matters to Witembe=
rg Cabral, Nancy Jean-Baptiste, or Shpresa Petrela @ (718) 455-5473
=20
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended =
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This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the=
individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not dissem=
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that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on=
the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

Dec. 9, 2014, 1:19 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Maria went on vacation, but when she returns i hope we'll have an update! I would love for all the people and organizations interested in the park-to-be to get together and have a meeting!

Nov. 13, 2014, 11:56 a.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

We checked in with Brooklyn Borough Parks about this site today. It doesn't look to them like anything is planned at this point but the best person to speak to is the Parks property manager for the particular area to get the most specific update: Ed Janoff 718 218 6130. He wasn't at his desk when we called. We'll keep trying but you can too! Write a note if you reach him and get information about this site's status.

There are a few options for moving forward:


  1. continuing to remind Parks that this process is moving forward and folks would like a growing space to be a part of it. This means things will move slowly as the funding is not there this year for any development on this site. But we might then get a cool placemaking-based fence-less space since that is what the new commissioner says he stands for;


  2. the community can also apply to develop this site themselves through the GreeenThumb program. GreenThumb is the "gardening" program but that definition is really broad. A garden can include a growing space and a children's area and art and all kinds of things. The big difference is funding. The GreenThumb program can support community efforts with some materials but the majority of the funding will need to come from local community fundraising. The benefit of this is we can move a lot faster. Putting together an application, with a letter of support from the Community Board, to the GreenThumb program is likely the most direct route to having the keys.


  3. the space IS there, just looking so empty...


Since the land is already in the Parks inventory, the space will be relatively secure as open space for a long time to come, no matter what option we chose.

Oct. 14, 2014, 1:36 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Things are going well with the folks organizing! Several neighbors have seen the sign posted on the lot and contacted Maria (the organizer above). The group is working on getting a letter of support from Community Board 4. Stay tuned for a possible event/meeting on November 7th in conjunction with the AHRC.

Aug. 28, 2014, 3 p.m.
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Aug. 28, 2014, 2:56 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

I checked in with Rasheed at GreenThumb as well. He's going to touch base with Parks again and get more info about this space. He's going to call me back!

Aug. 20, 2014, 5:35 p.m.
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Aug. 20, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

So awesome!

Aug. 20, 2014, 4:50 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

GOOD NEWS!!! Jose Lopez, Deputy of Parks & Recreation just confirmed that they have ownership of Block 3137 as of 2 weeks ago. This is the time to act. He said the lots may be slotted for a children's park, but nothing has been confirmed. It's a very large space and I think having a children's park along with a community garden would be an incredibly beneficial use of the space for the Bushwick community.
SEE YOU TOMORROW, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21st @ 5:30pm. Call me at (718) 844-6061. I supervise a non-profit program right next door and will be serving refreshments!

Aug. 20, 2014, 4:10 p.m.
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Aug. 20, 2014, 2:21 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

Mary Elizabeth Prall, another organizer for Block 3137, and I will be meeting tomorrow, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21 @ 5:30/6:00pm. All interested in opening this space for Brooklyn residents to learn amazing sustainable gardening skills and beautifying the block are invited. Thank you! -Maria-Mercedes Hubbard, (718) 455-5473 or (718) 844-6061.

Aug. 20, 2014, 12:43 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

Thank you to all the people who have recently reached out to me in regards to Block 3137. AHRC is still very much looking forward to proposing this space be used as a community garden. As of July 2014, Block 3137 ownership has still not been reappropriated to Parks and Recreation. Jose Lopez just called me back and will get back to me about the status of the block this week hopefully. As far as I know, scoping meeting has not been scheduled. The first step to making this a community garden space is actually writing a letter to the Community Board No. 4 District Manager Nadine Whitted. I can send a letter, or would you like me to post a draft on this forum for everyone to contribute to? I would like to have this to them before the next Community Board meeting on Wednesday, September 17th. It should be a letter stating that there is interest in a community garden from the residents of Bushwick and the benefits. I'd also love to start meeting with you guys! Please feel free to email me or call at 718-455-5473. I can host our own preliminary meeting at our site right next door. Thank you!

Aug. 5, 2014, 10:39 p.m.
Tejal Patel said

Hi All!
I am interested in working with those coordinating to turn this awesome vacant lot into a community garden and green space. I am currently traveling abroad right now and will be back in Bushwick in Jan 2015 available to consistently help with the effort.
I can be reached at tejalpatel.r@gmail.com

Thanks,
Tejal

Aug. 5, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
Tejal Patel said

I am a resident of the immediate area and have dreamt about repurposing this land in green community space and farms. I am excited to contribute to this project and am reaching out to those involved!
Thanks,
Tejal

June 11, 2014, 11:50 p.m.
Yeimi said

I am out of the office today 6/12/2014. if you need immediate =
assistance, please contact Facility Director Witemberg Cabral or =
Community Support Supervisors Amara Kamara,Nancy Jean-Baptiste or =
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard at 718-455-5473. Thank you.
=20
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and =
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are =
addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the =
system manager. This message contains confidential information and is =
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information is strictly prohibited.

June 11, 2014, 11:35 a.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard, AHRC said

I usually follow-up with Colleen Alderson once a month (around the 15th) to get updates. Ownership of property has still not be exchanged from HPD to Parks and Rec. Planning meeting has not been scheduled. I will get an invite and spread the word as soon as planning meeting has been scheduled.

June 11, 2014, midnight
Yeimi said

I am out of the office in training on 6/10/2014. if you need inmediate =
assistance, please contact Facility Director Witemberg Cabral or =
Community Support Supervisors Amara Kamara,Nancy Jean-Baptiste or =
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard at 718-455-5473. Thank you.
=20
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and =
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are =
addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the =
system manager. This message contains confidential information and is =
intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named =
addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. =
Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this =
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information is strictly prohibited.

June 10, 2014, 11:46 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

Has anyone else gotten any updates from Parks about an Open Space meeting?

May 29, 2014, 11:28 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

I've contacted Colleen Alderson (212-360-3441, colleen.alderson@parks.nyc.gov) twice and have not yet heard a response about the Open Space meeting - when it will be held or if there's a contact list. I'll try her again tomorrow if I don't hear anything.

April 24, 2014, 4:36 p.m.
Maria-Mercedes Hubbard said

I am with AHRC, non-profit organization serving people with disabilities, and our facility shares the same block with Lots 1, 11, 6, and 9. Our organization has been intersted in this site for some time. Yeimi Korsberg and I made contact with Colleen Alderson from Parks and Recreation this week. She confirmed that ownership of the lots will be transferred to Parks and Rec in the near future (but no specific date). I gave her our contact information so that we can be invited to the Spacing Meeting once it is scheduled. This is a meeting open to the community where they discuss plans for the lots and all interested parties are invited. Please feel free to contact her to also request to be contacted when the meeting is scheduled. Our facility is at 522 Bushwick; we are happy to open our doors and host a meeting at our site to discuss our plans and make a proposal to the community. Yeimi and I can be contacted at maria.hubbard@ahrcnyc.org and yeimi.korsberg@ahrcnyc.org. 718-455-5473. Thank you

April 24, 2014, 3:38 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

I spoke to Lynne Cheng at HPD today. She said that these four lots are still technically under HPD's jurisdiction. They're in the process of being transferred to the Parks Department, but still need to pass a few more environmental review procedures. She could not let me know how soon the transfer would happen. If anyone speaks to Parks about the transfer or about ability for the community to be involved, please share here!

Oct. 10, 2013, 9:11 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

I went by the lot and it looks totally cleared - the buildings and blue fence are down. Seems ready for Park-i-fying. Let's make sure that this is really a space for people who live in the neighborhood now to enjoy.

Aug. 12, 2013, 1:55 p.m.
Keri Kroboth said

Just an update, spoke with Mary at Parks. The lot is still in HPD's possession, hasn't been transfered yet.

July 12, 2013, 11:02 a.m.
Yeimi Korsberg said

I passed by the site today and HPD is demolishing the structures on the site! YAYYY!!

Let's keep in contact with Parks and Recreation and also Green Thumb. We need to work together to make a beautiful place for the entire community to enjoy in these lots.

June 6, 2013, 10:22 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

In 2011, the good folks at Bushwick City Farm (http://bushwickcityfarm.wordpress.com/, which manages an awesome site just a few blocks away) was involved in a proposal with Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (a non-profit founded by Vito Lopez that was recently investigated for fiscal improprieties). The proposal stalled.

Here's a piece of an article written in 2011:
http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/3101/bushwick-city-farm

Promoting a firm knowledge of green initiatives, Bushwick City Farm is also seeking to expand their network within the community and share their knowledge of crop cultivation with others.

Located at the corner of Bushwick Ave and Beaver Street, across from newly built affordable housing units for seniors, lies a slice of land that Radzinsky believes will become Bushwick’s “green legacy.”

Working in conjunction with the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, Bushwick City Farm has already set in motion a project that they believe will teach a community how to cultivate their own crops and eventually feed hundreds.

Already recognized by the City, the group is now only months away from gaining access to the deserted concrete space and are now reaching out to the community to help fund their venture.

“[Bushwick] has so much negative space,” said Radzinsky, as she surveyed the 8,000 square foot vacant lot, which will soon be the site of their next conquest. “With this space we’ll definitely claim back the term community garden.”

May 24, 2013, 12:14 p.m.
Keri Kroboth said

Talked to Luis Avarez at HPD. He said there is no development slated for these lots currently and he does not have a note about it being transferred to Parks. It is zoned as a West Bushwick urban renewal area and a residential site with projected construction for 2015. On the other hand Parks is certain it is being transferred to them and they are waiting for HPD to demolish the structures on the site.

May 24, 2013, 11:26 a.m.
Keri Kroboth said

Just an update, spoke to Mary Salig at the Parks Dept. yesterday. She said this lot still hasn't been transferred, they are waiting on HPD. I emailed HPD and called a few times, still waiting to hear back.

April 25, 2013, 4:37 p.m.
Yeimi Korsberg said

Good afternoon,

I am a Program Supervisor at AHRC Wendy M. Siegel Center which is located right next to the lots in question. We love the idea of these lots to be used as a community garden. Many of the individuals we serve and our staff would love to volunteer and commit to maintain and beautify these lots.

I am the Internship Supervisor for Merrill Stephen. I support her post and our center is willing to commit and take ownership along with other community members to make of this lot a beautiful place for community could use.

I have contacted Charles Marcus, Brooklyn Property Development with the Housing Preservation and Development Department at 212-863-8961 to inquire about the plans for the lot. I have also outreached to Green Thumb at (212) 788-8070 and Colleen Anderson with Parks and Recreation at 212-360-3441.

I can be reached at 718-455-5473 or via email yeimi.korsberg@ahrcnyc.org

Please keep me up to date with further information and development. I will be doing the same on my end.

Thank you,

April 15, 2013, 9:29 a.m.
Richard at 596 Acres said

Check out the write up in the Brooklyn Paper: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/36/16/dtg_bushwickpark_2013_04_19_bk.html

April 5, 2013, 1:31 p.m.
Keri Kroboth said

Merril,

It would be so great to involve the AHRC site in a garden project! I just spoke with Parks again. Seems these lots are technically still in HPD's possession because Parks won't accept it until HPD demolishes the buildings on the site...which almost seems like a waste to me because the structures could likely be utilized. I will contact HPD again and see what they have to say. Parks recommends going to the community board meeting to get more info. Seems like a woman named Nadine Whitted has been involved with this site. I will be in touch with any more info I find.

Keri

April 3, 2013, 2:16 a.m.
merrill stephens cox said

Keri -

I wish I could be there for the photo but I've got other things scheduled at this time on Thursday. I'm still interested in being a part of the birth of this lot into something great and or green and it seems like you've been pretty active and involved. Let me know if I can do anything or if you would like to meet up sometime to discuss my email is listed on the thread. I have an entire site of individuals that want to be involved in volunteering (the AHRC site next to the plot, which is approx. 20 adults and approx. 80 individuals receiving services). Additionally, I have several contacts for GIS mapping (that has proved to be helpful with other plots in the area!)

April 2, 2013, 10:51 p.m.
Keri Kroboth said

A reporter from the Brooklyn Paper is writing an article about this lot and how people from the neighborhood would like to see it be a garden. He would like a photo of people who want to be involved in this transformation to accompany the article. Please come to the lot on Thursday 4/4 at 7pm to be in the photo!

March 20, 2013, 11:51 a.m.
Keri Kroboth said

Good news is this lot just got bigger! Found out from parks that both lot 1 & 6 are being transferred from HPD to Parks. Colleen said the transfer is a process and could take a while. She explained that the decision about what the space will be made into is open to public input. Parks hosts something called "scoping" meetings to establish a consensus about how the community feels about the space. I will continually check in with parks to find out when the transfer is official and how interested parties can attend these meetings. I will update here.

Feb. 23, 2013, 3:08 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

Has anyone called Housing Preservation and Development yet?

I'm about to call a city agency -- what do I say?
You'll need the identifying information about the lot you are interested in handy - the Block and Lot number is crucial; the address, if the lot has one, is also nice.

This site gives you contact information for the person for each piece of vacant public land who we think has the ability to tell you it's status and give you permission to use it. Sometimes our sluething is off -- or sometimes people change jobs. When you call, start by asking if they are the person you should speak to about a vacant property in North/South Brooklyn. If they're not, ask who is (and remember to tell 596 Acres!).

If they are, tell them you are calling from a neighborhood organization. Describe the lot, how long it's been empty. Give the Block and Lot number and maybe the address.
Say your group is interested in getting permission to do a temporary project/garden/playground/movie theater/farm/free school/etc. on that site. Emphasize that you realize the agency has plans for the site that will eventually be impletemented -- your group just wants to use it this year/ this season/ until the plans are solidified.
Ask if such an interim use plan would be compatible with the agency's timeline for the "real" plan. Say you would like to sign a license agreement that would be revokable at any time -- offer to send a sample.

Make sure you get the email of the person who you are talking to. Follow up with a note and copy 596acres@gmail.com. We can help you negotiate the licence.

We would also love to get a note from you describing what you learned on the phone -- add your Note to the page for the lot you are calling about so that we can all learn from your experience.

Feb. 23, 2013, 3:05 p.m.
Merrill said

Has anyone noticed that recently (last two weeks) there have been a ton of
cars parked in the lot? Any info on this?

Feb. 23, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
Chad Harper said

I can be reached at chadharper@hiphopsaveslives.org
917-406-8289

Feb. 23, 2013, 2:28 p.m.
Chad Harper said

I am also interested in the lot as a community garden for youth in my after school programs. I like cutting the lock idea and getting started.

Feb. 7, 2013, 2:08 p.m.
Jessica said

The sign might alert developers. Why not just cut the lock and get started? It is public land. That is how green guerillas got started from what i have read....

Jan. 15, 2013, 11:06 a.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

We heard from a neighbor who runs a local business that the "city" had told him there was a park planned for this space. We're not sure what this means. Has anyone heard any details from Housing Preservation and Development about this spot? A call to the Community Board would be great to get info (follow the democracy map link from the lot's page for contact info for all municipal entities that have jurisdiction over this land, including the Community Board); or to the Parks Department (contact Colleen Anderson; phone: 212-360-3441; email colleen.anderson@parks.nyc.gov).

Jan. 6, 2013, 2:46 a.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

We put some signs on this lot today!