Sunset Park

Sunset Park hosts 12th annual Brooklyn Waterfront Tastes benefit

June 6, 2016 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s director of development and administration Brian McCormick wearing flower lei at Factory Floor entrance where BGI’s “bad weather plan” went into effect. Eagle photos by Andy Katz
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The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) took another step in its march to the sea by assembling an impressive roster of vendors for its 12th annual Brooklyn Waterfront Tastes benefit. Goodies from Steve’s Key Lime Pies, le Gamin, Black Swan and BK Roasting Company filled Sunset Park’s Factory Floor. One very popular stop for guests, who paid $125 and up for tickets, was a delectably frangible slow-roasted brisket, compliments of The Landing Café, which had hosted Hillary Clinton’s most recent campaign stop in Brooklyn.

The selection of Industry City for this year’s Waterfront Tastes added a kind of symmetry to the process of urban renewal by using a revamped factory floor to help restructure a waterfront once strictly the purview of tugboat captains and longshoremen into a place of parks, open spaces and clear pathways.

“I really appreciate this because I’m a cyclist myself,” Erin McDonald of Brooklyn Gin said as she and Cecily Smith mixed volumes of the “Bee’s Knees,” a lemon and honey-infused cocktail bolstered with lots of gin.

The hard citrus concoction seemed to be a major hit with guests on hand to support the BGI and sample the best of local restaurants, wineries and distilleries.

“I think some people were concerned about the weather reports,” Brian McCormick, director of development and administration, said shortly after doors to the Factory Floor opened at 1 p.m. “Luckily, we had a bad weather plan in place.”

Indeed, by 3 o’clock that afternoon clouds had cleared and quite a few guests filled the outdoor courtyard, where the event had originally been scheduled.

Milton Puryear, BGI co-founder and director of project development, spoke briefly about the initiative’s forthcoming project: the Columbia Waterfront Park, set along Columbia Street between DeGraw and Kane. Having already received nearly $2 million in funding under Title 11 of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and the borough of Brooklyn, BGI envisions the park as the north end of a flood barrier system — the necessity of which was demonstrated in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy.

The ultimate design here is to connect parks and green spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge in continuous, non-motorized pathway. At present, BGI has completed six miles of continuous flow.

“Ultimately,” said Puryear, discussing the Initiative’s long-term plans, “We’re looking to create a class one [physical separation from vehicular traffic] greenway all the way to Coney Island.”

For the time being, BGI’s goal is to complete the 14 miles of greenway from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. The organization’s next event is July 23’s Epic Ride, which will follow the entire Brooklyn waterfront from Greenpoint to Riis Park Beach in the Rockaways.

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