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A park as creative as the neighborhood around it.

Mission

Maker Park is a vision for an adaptive reuse park along the Williamsburg waterfront that captures the creative ethos of the neighborhood around it—and reflects its rich history by breathing new life into the site’s industrial fabric.

The idea springs from an awareness that both our waterfront heritage and the local creative community is being wiped away at alarming speed. Maker Park is poised to achieve the acute community need for green open space while also serving as a dynamic, interactive, and educational public park that speaks to Brooklyn’s past, present, and future.

Rendering by Studio V

The site

The site for Maker Park is a waterfront parcel that was historically the home of one of Brooklyn’s most important industrial enterprises: Astral Oil Works, founded by businessman and philanthropist Charles Pratt. Pratt sold this site and used the funds to found Pratt Institute, an egalitarian and trade/maker-based school that still thrives in the heart of Brooklyn.

Pratt's Astral Oilworks

Nearly a century later, the former industrial site blossomed into a hub for hundreds of artists, makers and entrepreneurs, sitting at the very heart of Williamsburg’s thriving creative scene.

Besides its cultural and historical significance, the Bayside lot is overflowing with architectural character, including a three-story brick building with soaring ceilings and factory windows, and a series of 50-foot tall cylindrical, decommissioned fuel containers that rise from the ground to create a beautiful and other-worldly industrial topography.

Vision

Rather than demolishing these structures, Maker Park recognizes the potential to re-imagine them as a habitable eco-system, satisfying the need for green space while creating a new kind of commons uniquely of and for Williamsburg. These fossils of Brooklyn’s bygone industrial era could be integrated into the landscape of the park, serving as an important reminder of the waterfront’s complex and layered history.

Activated for contemporary uses, the tanks could turn into viewing platforms, performances spaces, rotating sound and art exhibitions, and greenhouses. The building could be adaptively reused for community uses, as well as a community-accessible maker space that helps to expand the definition of recreation beyond traditional uses, while also reflecting the current culture of collaboration and making so central to Williamsburg’s character. The possibilities are virtually endless, but only if we embrace the rich industrial legacy that’s been left to us.

The vision for Maker Park debuted during a presentation by Stacey Anderson at the annual MAS summit in 2015.

Timeline

Ten principles

  1. Preserve Brooklyn’s waterfront

    Celebrate Brooklyn’s ecological & industrial heritage

  2. Provide community amenities

    Support community maker space, culture, arts, creative industry

  3. Support the whole park

    Integrate into the greater Bushwick Inlet Park

  4. Incorporate community input

    Integrate 2007 community requests: open space, playing fields, wetlands, performance, dog run, boat house

  5. Open the park

    Utilize NYC Park’s new open design standards

  6. Maximize green space

    Provide same green space as 2007 proposal, with more diverse uses

  7. Propose real solutions

    Adress environmental, ecological, social, & economic needs

  8. Maintain an open process

    Include the public, community groups, & government agencies

  9. Clean up the site

    Employ the safest, most cost effective, least intrusive remediation strategy

  10. Create a sustainable park

    Create a sustainable economic model for community programming

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News

Team

The Maker Park Team: Zachary Waldman, Karen Zabarsky, and Stacey Anderson