Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reader Question: What's Up With The Dirt Patch On Court And Union Street?

When Sackett Union, Alchemy Properties residential building in Carroll Gardens was completed in 2013, the enlarged sidewalk tree pit on Union Street was planted with liriope and mulched.  Soon afterwards however, the plants were trampled by people getting in and out of their cars. Since then, the long strip looks rather sad, which prompted reader Bonnie to write:

Hi Katia
Do you know if there are any plans, by tenants or the city, to do something with the dirt patch in front of TD Bank (Court Street btwn Union and Sackett)? When the bank first opened, I seem to recall some greenery in that pit. The soil is so compacted nothing grows and  water just runs off...
Thanks,  Bonnie

Indeed, one wonders why the condo owners or the ground floor businesses have not done anything about the sorry looking strip of dirt.
Does anyone living in that building have an answer to Bonnie's question?

Just a few days ago, I was contacted by someone on Sackett Union's condo board who would like to let Bonnie and others in the neighborhood know that the board hates the dirt patch just as much as everyone else.
The original developer, Alchemy was supposed to landscape the area, and initially had done so. (See photos below), However, the plantings were unsustainable and clearly did not work, given the fact that people get in or out of their cars along that stretch.

The board member wants to assure everyone that the residents of Sackett Union are not ignoring this eyesore.  The board is working on finding an appropriate solution and funding to implement it. "The end result will look like the nicely mulched tree pits on the Union St side of the building, which the condo already maintains," the member told me.

That's great news.

Below are some photos of what that same block looked like when the building opened three years ago.


Anonymous said...

It's become a giant bathroom for dogs, so it really needs to be planted with urine-hardy greenery.

jackie from designsmitten said...

a little mulch is the least they could do! looks terrible this way!

Unknown said...

I hate to say it, but the best move would be to pave it back over. Nothing else will hold up to constant foot traffic from passengers entering and exiting cars.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the city signed off on allowing open beds up to the curb when there is street parking. This should not have been allowed. It needs to be paved around the trees, to the curb, as it was before and is everywhere else. Then either TD bank of the condos can plant something (or not), but at least it won't be an open dirt pit.

psternglass said...

I was surprised that they made that type of pit as well where cars are parked. I knew right away that the plants would be trampled. They could install some Belgian Blocks or some other kind of permeable paving.

Anonymous said...

Mulch won't work. It will just end up on the sidewalk making a much bigger mess. As suggested by Anon 1:29 pm, the sidewalk needs to be paved so that each tree has its own pit -- and I would add tree guards on three sides -- which can then be planted with urban pollution-resistant evergreen plantings that need little or no maintenance. Someone, either TD Bank or the condo association, should be responsible for upkeep.

Anonymous said...

It is my observation that many of these new condo bdgs with corporate commercial tenants pay little attention to streetscape.
Another messy one is on Atlantic avenue and Boerum place with a walk-in medical clinic--- tree pits and sidewalks always filthy. RiteAid on Smith by Warren is another pigsty.(inside and out)

Anonymous said...

What an eyesore. Gross. Thanks TD for being such a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone in those million dollar units read anything like this blog. And if they do its to see what the little people are doing.
At least the trees were spared when they built that hideous thing. Yes. Belgian block would be much better for the trees and cement it back to the way it was in another less glamourois solution.

Anonymous said...

We knew that it was a bad idea with the cars parked right there, People getting in and out the plants didn't have a chance. They do need to extend the sidewalk and not plant anything, it's a urinal for the dogs. The people who bought these care less about the surroundings.

C.G. Family since before St. Agnes was built said...

I agree that it looks terrible. I also agreed back in 2013 that this wouldn't be a good idea.
However, you shouldn't blame TD Bank or even "Doctor" Massie. They rent this space, and like any other tenant should not be held accountable for the Landlord's (or contractor's)shortsightedness.
Adding more trees to Brooklyn is a great thing - but how about closing up the pits around each tree with a NYC Lawn (a.k.a. Concrete)
It's bad enough the city allowed the removal of so many parking spots along Smith Street - - -(when they butchered the curb-side parking by making the sidewalks wider in the worst possible way, and by adding too many Bike Parking Spots)- - - but to have Court Street curbside parking be a mine-field of Dog Poop & Pee is just not right.
BTW: I do not own a car, and yes I do have a dog that I pick-up after.

Anonymous said...

It's not the tenants responsibilty to tend to the outside of the building. You would have to contact the company that manages the building.

bored at work said...

From what I can gather, this set up was required by the city when the new building was constructed. It is supposed to serve as a bioswale, to reduce the amount of water flowing into the city sewers, and therefore reduce the amount of raw sewage that flows into the Gowanus during heavy rains. There are other in the neighborhood (Union and Third Avenue, Third Street between 3rd and 4th, etc), but those seems to be the responsibility of the city. Not sure who the responsible party is here. If the soil is so compacted as to not allow drainage, it seems to defeat the purpose.

bonnie said...

This is great news! Would Sackett Union be open to inviting the community to participate--perhaps a community clean-up or planting event? The more involved the greater community is in creating the space, the better. Perhaps if folks had a greater stake in the creation of the tree pit, they'd take a greater role in stewarding it (i.e. not stepping on their hard work).