Cobble Hill

A park with a twist (or a few) is coming to Cobble Hill

The new Henry Street III sitting park will include nary a straight line.

July 8, 2019 Mary Frost
The new design for Henry Street III -The Sitting Park at the corner of Henry and Pacific streets on the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) campus, is based on curves. Plan courtesy of MPFP Landscape Architecture

It has been said in the field of architecture that there are no straight lines in nature.

A park in Cobble Hill will be taking this concept to the max, and local residents are thrilled their suggestions for a design based on curves is coming to fruition.

Except for some movable benches and tables, Henry Street III — the sitting park at the corner of Henry and Pacific streets on the former Long Island College Hospital campus — will have nary a straight line. The design includes a continuous concrete curvilinear bench system and undulating planters, with curved openings to the surrounding sidewalks.

Developer Fortis Property Group, which closed on 20-building campus in 2015, was required to get input from the public before it redesigned the formerly-rectilinear park, which has been shut down during construction of a tower next door at 347 Henry St.

Park designers MPFP Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning met several times with the community via the Cobble Hill Association and Community Board 6 and presented different designs, including one with straight lines.

“Everyone gravitated to the curved design,” MPFP principal Rick Parisi told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The park, which will be used mainly for sitting and relaxing, as opposed to the active playgrounds across the street, has “more versatile space and movable furniture” than the average park, he said. “There’s room for little events, and people can move the tables to sit and socialize. It’s a little different than a standard park.”

Construction will begin in late fall, he said. Before it can start up, however, the substructure of the park must be stabilized and repaired. Over the years, the soil settled and “there are some subsurface drainage issues,” he said. In addition, Fortis is working to get the iconic LICH clock repaired.

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“It was a successful process with the community,” Parisi said.

Fortis won the bid to redevelop the LICH campus after years of lawsuits and opposition. In January, CHA complained that Fortis has failed to replace damaged or missing play equipment in the playgrounds and fix protrusions in the play surface in the parks across the street from Henry Street III.

The curvilinear plans have been approved by NYC Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Cobble Hill Association said in an email.

Community members like the look so much, they want the curvilinear design to extend to the two playgrounds. A master plan showing how that could be accomplished was presented to the Cobble Hill Association and CB6.

The curvilinear design may extend to the playgrounds across the street. Plan courtesy of MPFP Landscape Architecture
The curvilinear design may extend to the playgrounds across the street. Plan courtesy of MPFP Landscape Architecture

The Cobble Hill Association, which advocates for the area, was pleased with the end result of the designs. “We are thankful to the Parks Department and our elected officials, especially Councilmember [Brad] Lander and state representatives [Brian] Kavanagh and [Jo Anne] Simon for ensuring the community input was a part of the new design,” association President Amy Breedlove said on Monday.

The Cobble Hill Association’s Future Parks Committee has been coordinating the community planning effort. Breedlove said the committee “is made up of generations of park users and community members. The committee has architects, arborists, gardeners, teachers and parents who have worked to bring the communities desires for a quiet and beautiful sitting park to life.”

The committee was told by community members that people wanted “to work and read, enjoy a coffee or a meal, have a conversation or gather with a few friends and enjoy a peaceful place” in the park, she said.

“While each day sometimes seems like a struggle to get things done, it is all worth it in the end because we will end up with pretty and comfortable places to gather and play.”

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