Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Named January’s Park of the Month
Friday, February 5, 2010
McCarren Park has been named January’s Park of the Month. Bordered by Nassau Avenue, Bayard, Leonard and North 12th Streets, McCarren Park has been providing endless recreation opportunities for people in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint areas of Brooklyn for more than 100 years. The nearly 36-acre park is a gathering place for the community, with space for kickball, soccer, bocce, handball, basketball, football and tennis, along with running tracks, walking paths and playgrounds for children.
“For more than a century, Brooklyn families have treasured McCarren Park’s infinite opportunities for fun and relaxation,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Thanks to the continued involvement and dedication of neighborhood residents and community groups, McCarren Park is benefitting from many recent improvements, with the additional support of our public-private partnership with the Open Space Alliance of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. A ‘rad’ new skate park and a restored pool are among the major initiatives to ensure that the park remains the recreational hub of Greenpoint and Williamsburg for many years to come.”
A sweet skate park, complete with steps, ramps, wedges, cheekwalls, pyramids and combination ledge obstacle, was completed in October 2009. Funded with over $800,000 from a DEC grant, the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg, it allows Brooklyn skateboarders to practice their ollies, grinds and other tricks, while trying not to slam on the concrete.
This winter ground was also broken at McCarren Pool as a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative. The original McCarren Pool was a majestic New Deal-era structure with huge arches and enough space for 6,800 swimmers, but it was closed in 1984 after almost 50 years of use. With the leadership of Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel, Community Board 1, and a $50 million allocation from Mayor Bloomberg, McCarren Pool will again bring refreshment to the hot summer months beginning in 2012.
McCarren Park was named after Patrick Henry McCarren, a Cambridge, Massachusetts native who went to school in Williamsburg. After working as a cooper along the waterfronts, McCarren turned his attention to politics, soon rising through the Brooklyn Democratic Party to win election to the State Assembly in 1881 and the State Senate in 1889. Following McCarren’s death in 1909, the site previously known as Greenpoint Park, was renamed after him.
Major renovations transformed McCarren Park in the 1910s, including the construction of a running track that transformed into an ice skating rink in the winter, tennis courts, a platform for dancing, play equipment for children and fields for baseball, football and soccer. Brooklyn’s first children’s farm garden opened on the site in 1914 where “little farmers” grew radishes, beets, carrots, beans, onions, lettuce and corn. Around the same time, the garden’s “Farm House” was used by clubs and church groups as a social meeting place.
Renovations at McCarren Park are still continuing today to modernize the park and turn it into the pride and joy of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Not only is the pool being restored to its original glory, but in March 2008, Parks installed $920,000 worth of night lights over the soccer field to extend playable hours. May 2006 marked the completion of an entrance garden named after Thomas Stofka, the late Director of Brooklyn Forestry. In 2005, Parks renovated the running track, while replacing the worn out dust bowl with a synthetic turf soccer field.
Park of the Month introduces some of our greatest parks and recreation centers to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike. Visit www.nyc.gov/parks for more information about McCarren Park and an archive for past featured parks.
Directions to McCarren Park
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