When it comes to cool-looking parks, New York City could be on track to becoming the world leader in cutting-edge green space design. First, there was the Pier 55 island park on the far West Side of Manhattan, which is slated for a 2018 opening; now, Williamsburg is getting in on the act. Maybe.
Maker Park, as its proponent’s call it, is alternative proposal to Bushwick Inlet Park, a plan to redevelop a stretch of industrial waterfront between Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The notion has been kicking around since 2005, but only now has the city acquired the last parcel of land needed to go ahead with transforming the former Bayside Oil Depot into 28 sylvan acres of trees and grass. Rather than a more or less conventional approach to greening the site, the Maker Park project is notable for its reuse of the existing architecture, meaning the giant storage tanks currently occupying the Bayside lot.
As designed by STUDIO V Architecture, the old tanks would be adapted to contain any number of amenities from ponds and plantings to performance spaces and galleries. The renderings also show the surrounding area landscaped into playing fields, shaded paths and a large circular feature with terraced seating facing a huge lawn and a boardwalk arcing out just beyond the shoreline. Whether any of this will actually be realized is, as always, something of a crap shoot involving a maze of hearings and approvals from various stakeholders, including the neighborhood and the Department of Parks and Recreation. That’s not even taking into account the whole question of who puts up the money.
Meanwhile, the site itself has an interesting history. During the 19th-century, it housed the Astral Oil Works, which was owned and operated by Charles Pratt. If the name sounds familiar, it's because he later used the considerable wealth he earned there to establish the Pratt Institute.