This summer, New Yorkers will be able to play mini-golf along the East River.
Putting GREEN, an 18-hole course on a 15,000-square-foot tiered deck on the North Williamsburg riverfront, will open early summer at the former Con Edison site that now belongs to developer Two Trees.
The space at River Street and North First Street, just north of Domino Park, has been inaccessible to the public for over 100 years but this summer, it'll be completely open seven days a week. The mini-golf course will serve two purposes—one, to provide a fun time to New Yorkers, and two, to teach them about climate change, green and blue infrastructure, animal habitats, energy, and emissions.
Local artists and design professionals, community and school groups, environmental advocacy organizations and public agencies designed the course, including Dear Climate, SiTE:LAB, Juanli Carrion, Mel Chin, Blane De St Croix, Kim Holleman, Katie Shima, and Mark Tribe; designers and engineers Julie Ember, Institute for Aesthletics, OBJ, MAS, and WSP Global; climate advocates and organizations Billion Oyster Project, Building Energy Exchange, DSNY Sanitation Foundation, NYC Climate Action Alliance, and Alison Simko; and community groups Lower East Side Girls Club, Greenpoint YMCA, and the Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design.
Not only will there be a mini-golf course, but Two Trees is also opening a Sustainable Farm, a 20,000-square-foot open space dedicated to sustainable farming, composting, research and education. It'll have an aquaponic farm by Oko Farms with fish tanks and garden beds growing vegetables, herbs and flowers which will be donated to farmers' markets in underserved communities.
There will also be a pollinator meadow by Brooklyn Grange in hopes of increasing green spaces for people but also growing the bee population with nectar- and pollen-rich vegetation. City Growers will also have hands-on activities for students about pollinators and native plants and spent flower seed heads will be collected for children’s wildflower seed giveaways, too. Of course, there will be a mini-apiary with two hives there, and a honeycomb-inspired artwork by Carolina Zuniga, Stacey Vazquez and Brenda Alvarez of the Island Bee Project.
Billion Oyster Project will also collect shells with a 64-gallon bin and use them to restore oyster reefs.
"Two Trees has a long history of utilizing local talent to create interim uses for the whole community to enjoy; first with Domino Park’s North Brooklyn Farms and the skate park, and now with River Ring’s miniature golf and sustainable farm," said Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management. "By partnering with dozens of local organizations and environmental stewards throughout the city, we hope to elevate the conversation about climate change and our personal and collective roles in these issues, while at the same time immediately providing much needed beautiful open space for the community. We’re thrilled to build these spaces at no cost to taxpayers, with all proceeds going straight back to the organizations who are on the ground every day fighting this existential crisis."
The North Williamsburg lot is actually the future Two Trees River Ring site—a repurposing of a former industrial location into a protected public beach, an in-water park, a nature play area, an overlook, a nature trail, a salt marsh, and more that will protect the area from flooding. There will also be 1,050 new homes, including 263 affordable housing units.
The mini-golf course will open this summer at River Street and North First Street.
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