The making of Cadman Plaza Park

A new artificial turf field is unrolled in Downtown Brooklyn

August 27, 2023 Mary Frost
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Work began on Aug. 18, and already large sections of a new artificial turf field are being unrolled in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn. 

Last week the old artificial turf was stripped from the field, and over the weekend, workers laid down rolls of fresh underlay and new synthetic turf.

The former turf had been worn out by the thousands of soccer, football and T-ball games, protest marches and rallies which have taken place on the synthetic field since its installation in 2007. 

The artificial turf replacement at Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn continued over the weekend. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

This first round of artificial turf had itself replaced what was locally known as the “dust bowl,” a hard-scrabble dusty lot at the south end of the park, which turned into a mud hole after every rain. The field was further degraded by its use as a parking lot by scores of TV news trucks whenever a big case was being held in the court house across the street.

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Black infill crumb pellets made of shredded tires, long suspected to contain known carcinogens, have been spilling from the artificial turf for years, sticking to the clothing, hands and hair of anyone playing there.

A porous underlay made of recycled foam, seen here in rolls, was laid down under the artificial turf. Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

In recent years, the city’s Parks Department has gravitated to newer infill materials — typically sand coated in silicon — Davey Ives, chief of staff for the Parks Department’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner’s Office, said at a Community Board 2 meeting in October 2022.

On Saturday, dozens of large sacks of this “synfill” were stacked around the edges of the park.

Replacing the turf has long been a priority of the Cadman Park Conservancy, park-goers and the Brooklyn Heights Association. Councilmember Lincoln Restler’s office allocated $750,000 for the turf replacement, which could take two to three months to complete, BHA said in an email in early August. 

Over the weekend, workers laid down underlay and new artificial turf over much of the south end of Cadman Plaza Park. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

In addition to the turf replacement, the shaded oval section at the north end of the park is currently undergoing a major, $6.4 million upgrade that includes a new lawn, new paths, replaced plumbing for water and drinking fountains, new planting and lighting. This job was expected to take a year.

Parks also plans to develop a new cafe to be built inside an existing former Parks maintenance building along Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street.

Bags of silica sand filler line Cadman Plaza Park’s field. The filler helps the blades stand up and make the surface comfortable to play on. It is also cooler than the former turf’s black crumb filler made from used tires. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle
A young boy runs along the benches circling the artificial turf field at Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn. The field is closed while the turf is being replaced. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

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