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Project of the Month May'01



OLIVER CORWIN: Graphic Design

PETER WOLPENSINGER: PE,Structural Engineering

YELENA LYUBARSKAYA: Environmental Engineering

MAGARY AIME: Electrical Engineering


STEVEN WHITESELL: RLA, Specifications & Estimating


THOMAS STOFKA: Brooklyn Forestry


Illustration of park playground

Funding: This project is funded in part by the Mayor, and in part by City Council Member Victor L. Robles. The total construction budget is $1,130,000.

Location: The park is located on McKibbin Street between White and Bogart Streets in Brooklyn. It is within Council District #34 and Community Board #1.

Construction Schedule: Order to work was 8/28/00. Anticipated completion date is 8/27/01.

This project is the recipient of an Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design and was recently honored at the Art Commission of the City of New York's Nineteenth Annual Awards for Excellence in Design. Congratulations to all involved!


Whether tunneling through streams of water or entering subway turnstiles for a ride through an imaginative play world, the little visitors to the new McKibbin Park will undoubtedly enjoy this whimsical interpretation of their surrounding urban environment.

The theme of this creative and thoughtfully designed park ties into the surrounding urban fabric by incorporating elements of the city into the park. The immediate neighborhood is industrial, filled with old warehouses slowly being converted into livable spaces, and this industrial, urban flavor is reflected in the park.

A subway stop at the edge of the site and the proposed new city water tunnel #3 are inspirations for the main features of the park. The subway line runs diagonally under the site, as will the water tunnel. These lines were brought to the surface and used as guidelines for the layout of park. The layout is thus skewed off axis to reflect these diagonals. The result is an exciting, dynamic space that reflects the dynamism and motion of the city.

The subway is referenced as the children run through the entrance and exit of the subway themed play area. The north arrow rosette is a subway token that reads "Good For One Play." The alignment of the water tunnel also inspired a water play feature composed of water sprayed in arches to form a tunnel-like space. It is situated in the park along the tunnel diagonal, and children can leap across the water to an area where musical chimes await their composing.

An artistic fence runs along the park edge to screen an unsightly concrete wall. Alternating panels consist of laser cut steel in images of a variety of neighborhood scenes. Between the art panels are perforated metal panels. The fence posts are heavy tapered I-beams with large, visible screws. The fence contributes to the modern flavor of the park; the articulated structure reflects the surrounding industrial built environment.

The park name was recently changed from McKibbin Park to Gilbert Ramirez Park, in celebration of Gilbert Ramirez, a Supreme Court Judge and community leader in Williamsburg and Bushwick before his passing in December of 2000. Ramirez advocated for a government that would provide improved services and increased opportunities for Latino and African American populations of these communities.

The new Ramirez Park reflects the city in which it is situated by incorporating elements of utilities, transportation, and the built environment. It reminds us of the excitement and motion of the diverse urban activity, both above and below ground, and it will give children another fun way to explore their city.