Sunday, February 13, 2011

News Of Carroll Park Piazza Greatly Exaggerated

Spring In Carroll Gardens

Contrary to what was reported by the Brooklyn Paper, Carroll Gardens resident and National Public Radio's Studio 360 host Kurt Anderson is not envisioning a permanent
change or displacement of the ball courts in Carroll Park. Instead, he would like to bring even more vitality to our neighborhood oasis by helping to organize a few summer events that will allow everyone in the community to come together for a few themed evenings during the summer.

In order to make that happen, he has reached out to Councilman Brad Lander who set up a meeting with the Friends of Carroll Park, a long standing park volunteer organization, to discuss the idea.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Anderson and his wife Anne Kreamer, Councilman Lander and four officers of the Friends group. (For full disclosure, as the co-secretary of the group, I was in attendance.)

After the meeting, the Friends of Carroll Park issued this statement:
"On Thursday, February 10th, at the request of Councilman Brad Lander, several officers of the Friends of Carroll Park/Committee to Improve Carroll Park, met with long time Carroll Gardens residents Kurt Andersen and Anne Kreamer so that they could present an idea to contribute to the vitality of Carroll Park. They had been inspired by a wonderful piazza they enjoyed during their travels and hoped that some elements might be introduced here. Since our park is already a piazza , we discussed ideas which might enhance the "piazza" atmosphere of the park. Everyone felt that the idea was worthy of consideration, as long as it did not interfere with the existing park uses.
At this point, we are exploring the idea of "Friday Evenings in Carroll Park" around the monument, perhaps with some cafe tables and chairs, a food or drink vendor, lights, and some entertainment. The committee has organized such activities many times in the twenty years we have volunteered at Carroll Park. We want to assure the community that no plans have been made and that discussions will continue with community notification and input. As a result of this discussion, we contacted the Parks department regarding the rumor we had heard about a food vendor awarded a contract to serve Carroll Park. We have confirmed that a contract had been signed several months ago and we may see a food cart in or around Carroll Park in the near future. The committee had nothing to do with this, we just wanted to know if it was true as it should be considered in our discussion. We will want to be sure that a vendor will only add to and not detract from our wonderful park.

We have always welcomed ideas from many sources and will continue to do so. Please join us for our monthly meetings which begin again in March - The first Thursday of each month in the park house at 7:30. The more ideas and help we have, the better Carroll Park becomes for all of us. You can also contact us at:"

Calexico Comes To Carroll Park

The Friends Of Carroll Park have confirmed with the Park's Department that Calexico has been awarded a five year contract for food services at Carroll Park.
The three Vendley Brothers behind Calexico, who operate a restaurant at 122 Union Street as well as in Greenpoint, already hold a concession contract for Brooklyn Bridge Park. They also operate a food truck in Soho.

I am not sure how I feel about that myself. The decision was made independently of the community by the Parks Department, but we certainly should be involved in making sure that the food cart does not interfere in everyone's fun in Carroll Park.

photo credit: Complex City Guide



Anonymous said...

I was amused/horrified to read Joe Nardiello's diatribe against this in the Courier. Eventually he reached some meaningful reasons for keeping the asphalt playground as is in our community, but he began with a rant against Mr. Anderson's "insider" influence and ended with comments on how unappealing Piazza's are in Italy & Argentina! I was pleased to read hear that, as I suspected, it was just something discussed in the committee. It also led to a larger concern of the park vendor (community-ignored) contract.

John said...

How would a food cart of any sort interfere with people's fun in the park? I think it would be a welcome addition.

Anonymous said...

why is our little park that has been our neighborhood fixture been all of a sudden being considered to be "improved?" It is what it is , a NIGHBORHOOD park not a destination from other boros. Why is any open space immedialtly eyed for some project? The taco truck, if kept on the street so what? Calexico uses food service grade meats but if there is no roaring generator like on the softee trucks, so what? It will just generate more trash. All those little forks and paperplates. Will they remove their own waste? Really, a piazza? like Piazza Narvona with giant fountain and packs of smoking kids and Vespas? What language here: "Piazza". We all love the wide open space for ball playing and skating. Sure, there is no dog run, but, I would like OUR park kept as it is. Next someone will want to remove the war veterans memorial and put in a raw bar.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, will be taco-ing down "Piazza" style on the first warm day.

Also- why not move the farmers market inside the park?

Katia said...

Hi Anon 10:36 Am,

The people who organize the Farmers Market opted against having it inside the park when they were scouting out locations. It was easier to have the trucks line up along the PS58 side of Carroll Street instead of loading and unloading the trucks in Carroll Park.

Anonymous said...

yes the park actually decided not to compete with other activities on Sunday so banished the farmers market accross the street.They had no choice really.

Anonymous said...

Why not have the Farmer's Market inside the Park?..... Because it's a Park! Parks are for children and families to play, run around and relax, not for shopping!

Chris said...

Yes!!! It is a Park, not a shopping place.
But we love the lady that comes with the icy cart, the guy with cotton candy and the clown with the balloons... although the clown is a bit strange, but they are part of our park's character. A Piazza... not so much.

No, Mr Nardiello did not rant, I read his comment, he was very straight forward and informative and like the majority of us, quite clear about what is to be part of a community. He showed knowledge and named names. Some might feel uncomfortable with it, however, there is an army of people already more "uncomfortable" with the idea of inserting commercial spots inside a park.
If you are a parent with a kid in school you would know what we think at pick up and drop off.

No, we were never asked anything about this issue

No, Mr. Anderson might be a long-term resident, but still, we wrote on his own words that the part of the park is "underutilized".
Carroll Park being "underutilized" is just not reflective of the reality, in fact it is crowded, and any empty space is a necessity, to an opportunity and not o fill it up with something commercial. Publishing such statement one can only expect strong feedback.

Yes, he thinks a Piazza is a good idea...
What about supporting local cafes, wouldn't be a better idea? I guaranty you, it would be much more of an italian experience than a fake Piazza taking play space and producing more garbage outdoors, no matter if for while or for short time, the issue is the same, the community was never asked anything about it.

Now... Farmers Market inside the park reference... Is this a joke, or you guys are really not seeing the point?

I found the raw bar comment hilarious though...

BD said...

Against a Piazza at Carroll Park-Its a park-we need this park to remain what it is. It wasnt appreciated. Our older look was what we enjoyed and loved. How about, they put their big bucks and rent one of many lots that are open spaces, build their bella piazzas, leave be well enough with our Carroll Gardens Park. Our children are most needed to sport and play at the park. There is no other area close enough to home, where the children can go with their coaches, their parents, their friends to enjoy baseball,hockey and basketball. What else is going to be taken. Keep your ideas stored, find yourselves a space- build your dream . LEAVE MY AND OUR CARROLL PARK ALONE. Its their for the babies,youngsters, adults -seniors, to sit and chat and enjoy an afternoon of sunshine and relaxation. We have our flea market once a year, we have our parks amusements for the children-Puppeteer Theatre,etc Even the special birthday bench and tables upfront are cute. Children gather around, than they run into the sprinkler. Now with this winter with all the snow-ice- its a great soace to walk and romp and play in the snow- even ice skste.

Anthony said...

Who's going to "PAY for the clean UP and Exterminating" of the neighborhood ??? Food Services bring Entertainment ,"RATS" !!!!

Viva Zapata said...

1) Calexico is crap; only in Brooklyn's lamest Mexican neighbohood(s) could it be considered even "decent."

There are about two dozen superior Mexican joints in Sunset Park alone, at least a 100 others throughout BK. Vote with your mouth, not WHITE media marketing.

2) Can't wait for everyone to start crying about RATS again in the park.

3) Why so? See #1

Joe Nardiello said...

What was most clear, with the Brooklyn Paper publishing that first story on Feb. 3rd -- is that our Community is impressively aligned to openly challenge the idea (as portrayed in that article) if ever it does resurface.

The board members of the Friends of Carroll Park -- it has to be said -- deserve credit for listening/responding to the community reaction, then meeting 2/10, hearing out "the piazza" idea.. and steering the conversation toward an event, or series within the Park that will not threaten use of its open space. What many felt was out of the Park's contextual use, design and need -- was made to blend with what may be possible.

There was never 'confusion' -- as labeled in summary by some apart from the concern. Just the Public's need for clarification and explanation, after reading a clear-cut local news feature.

All that had transpired -- from Feb. 3 to the 13th -- is also partly owed to parents of at least 6 local public schools, residents from Red Hook to Cobble Hill and beyond.. as diverse as anywhere...who reached out, expressed concerns, and asked for consideration for what seemed dismissed. For one, I'm impressed by this deep regard for community shown here, once again.

Anonymous said...

I am a mom of two young kids and actually welcome this idea. I like the ideas of Bryant Park-like tables set up around the statue in the middle. I like Calexico's food -- and it's a neighborhood business. I would love to see the bocce court cleaned up and used as a court -- or turned into a sand play area. Carroll Park is a great park and a great place to gather. I think these things could make it even nicer -- and aren't permanent if they don't.

Anonymous said...

I think there are enough businesses on Smith and also Court that can satisfy anyone's food cravings. Carroll Park is great because there IS that feeling of non commerce, it is just a place to be.

The kids need a place to play ball. Kurt must be at work during the day because kids do use that area.

Some commentors have the right idea on here..why not spend some money to fix up the parks on Huntington Street and also the one on Nelson?

Oh well i am sure it will all happen come the rats!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of 2 kids, I also think this is a bad idea. The trash and rat problem can only get worse with a food truck around. There are plenty of places to get food on the way to/from the park. And adding tables and chairs is a terrible idea too. Whoever said that part of the park is underulitized has clearly never been there on a beuatiful, sunny day. The last thing we need is to have to navigate strollers, scooters and bikes around tables. There is precious little space for kids to run around as is, leave it alone.

Anonymous said...