Greenpoint

New park on Newtown Creek attracts volunteers under Kosciuszko Bridge

Gardeners came out to "Under The K Bridge Park"

February 15, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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GREENPOINT — Even in a season when the weather can threaten to turn nasty, the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance (NBK Parks) has no trouble getting volunteers to plant more greenery in the park Under the Kosciuszko Bridge (Under the K Bridge Park). Recently, as indicated by the photos here, many turned out to plant something called “fuzzy beans” — a purple flower vine in the legume family.

The next volunteer opportunity will involve nurturing the all-important trees with pruning and pest management and will occur on Friday, Feb. 24 (3:30–5:00 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 25 (12:00–2:00 p.m.).

As tens of thousands of commuters drive daily overhead on the BQE and the Kosciuszko Bridge, few of them are aware of this special park on the banks of the Newtown Creek. In the planning stages for several years as the new bridge was being built, the park was opened to the public just two and a half years ago.

North Brooklyn Parks Alliance’s Director of Horticulture & Stewardship, Lisa Bloodgood, with volunteer gardeners.

In September 2020, North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, in partnership with New York State Department of Transportation, proudly announced the opening of a new seven-acre park in Greenpoint. Called “Under the K Bridge Park,” the new space converted a formerly abandoned site into a vibrant seven-acre open area that invites the public to a little-known waterfront of Newtown Creek. Designed by Toronto-based landscape architecture firm, PUBLIC WORK, the space features expansive multi-purpose sections for recreation and culture, as well as woodland areas where more than 20,000 trees and native plant species now grow, including ferns, birches, maples, dogwoods and evergreens. Elevated lawns and a granite stairway provide optimal viewing points for the Manhattan skyline.

Unprecedented demand for open spaces was then exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It made clear that parks are essential to the physical and mental health of our communities. Under the soaring Kosciuszko Bridge columns, reaching as high as 100 feet, the new park distinguishes itself with massive industrial rooms that offer opportunity for creative expression, including large-scale public art projects that incorporate light, sound and sculptural works.

Rendering of the “Under the K Bridge Park” back in 2019. Photo: PUBLIC WORK

Connecting Brooklyn and Queens, the new Kosciuszko Bridge is the first bridge built in New York City since the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.

“As our neighborhoods become increasingly dense amid historic development, we all must reimagine the types of spaces that can become open and public,” said Katie Denny Horowitz, Executive Director, North Brooklyn Parks Alliance. “Under the K is a visionary solution to the urban plight of limited space, transforming how cities can and should approach future parks.”

“We founded the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance (formerly OSA) more than 15 years ago for the purpose of expanding and maintaining parks in North Brooklyn,” said Joseph Vance, AIA, NBPA Board Member. “We are absolutely thrilled at the possibility this partnership with New York State Department of Transportation provides to create nearly seven acres of exciting multi-use open space for our neighborhood.”

North Brooklyn Parks Alliance’s Director of Horticulture & Stewardship, Lisa Bloodgood, gives instructions to a group of volunteer gardeners on planting fuzzy beans (Strophostyles helvola)—a purple flowering vine in the legume family native to the eastern seaboard — on an artificial hillside in the section of Under the K Bridge Park known as “Flex 2.”
Late afternoon sunlight streams through the “Solar Slice” — the affectionate name for the dramatic gap between the Queens-bound and Brooklyn-bound lanes of the Kosciuszko Bridge. This view of the Solar Slice is from an artificial hillside in the area of Under the K Bridge Park known as “Flex 2.”
Late afternoon winter sunlight illuminates an artificial hillside (built on styrofoam blocks) in the area of Under the K Bridge Park known as “Flex 2.” The structural design of the hill with limited soil depth makes it a difficult place for plants to thrive.
A bagworm moth (the Psychidae family of the Lepidoptera Order of Insects [butterflies and moths]) pulled from a tree.
The seeds were generously donated to North Brooklyn Parks Alliance by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island. Come spring 2023, these plants will hopefully cover the hillside in a purple flowering vine that’s part of the legume family and native to the eastern seaboard.
North Brooklyn Parks Alliance’s Director of Horticulture & Stewardship, Lisa Bloodgood, closes the gate to the section of Under the K Bridge Park known as Flex 2.
North Brooklyn Parks Alliance’s Director of Horticulture & Stewardship, Lisa Bloodgood, shows a group of volunteer gardeners the native plant nursery at Under the K Bridge Park that was started with the help of more than 80 volunteers over the course of January 2023. As of early February 2023, nearly 15,000 native plants have been started at Under the K, where they will hopefully continue to thrive for years to come.
North Brooklyn Parks Alliance’s Director of Horticulture & Stewardship, Lisa Bloodgood, gives instructions to a group of volunteer gardeners on planting fuzzy beans (Strophostyles helvola)—a purple flowering vine in the legume family native to the eastern seaboard — on an artificial hillside in the section of Under the K Bridge Park known as “Flex 2.”


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