Cadman Plaza Astroturf: This is Beautification?


The "beautification" of Cadman Plaza Park has begun as documented above by nabe blogger Twofones.  The plan to renovate the park's "dustbowl" by laying down artificial turf was initially opposed by the Brooklyn Heights Association, but on its website, the BHA praises Parks Department officials for their "commitment" to the project. The project does sound promising, despite the turf (aka worst idea ever?). City Councilman David Yassky was the major advocate for phony grass, which is said to have been the only option on a plot of land that reportedly hasn't been able to sustain real grass for decades.

Opponents of the project claim that the public park is just a "private park for rich kids paid for by taxpayers." 

According to the BHA website:

The current design for the area includes plans to level the central playing area and replace the dust bowl with Astroturf. In addition, new running paths will curve between the four rows of sycamores; special seating areas with new benches will provide shady areas for rest and watching the more athletic. New lower-canopy flowering trees will edge the Astroturf. The flagpoles will move to the War Memorial plaza, and the paths around the turf will be at acute angles, making the view across the turf more interesting.

Later phases of the project will rebuild the north end, between the Brooklyn Bridge and the War Memorial, and the area to the south, including the area opposite the Post Office between Tillary Street and Columbus Park.

The BHA is working with various federal agencies to expand the fenced perimeter of the park with the ultimate goal of keeping all vehicles (except for maintenance vehicles) out of the park. Recently, Congressman Ed Towns and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez jointly applied for an appropriation from the Homeland Security Agency to fund the extra security. In addition, the BHA is exploring the possibility of a Cadman Plaza Park Conservancy, which will raise dedicated funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the restored park.


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  • Qfwfq

    That looks terrible. Does anyone actually visit Cadman Plaza?

  • Algernon Moncrief

    the homeless and soccer playing hedge fund managers mostly

  • brooklynite

    Re: Does anybody actually visity Cadman Plaza?

    Maybe once they put in the astro turf more kids will go to the park to play games, besides the “soccer playing hedge fund managers,” which I actually haven’t seen. Kids do live in the surrounding neighborhoods. And wouldn’t that be appropriate, for them to play sports carefree on a field honoring vets that fought so our children could live that sort of lifestyle? Obviously grass is better than astroturf, but if grass won’t grow on the field then shouldn’t they go with the next best thing? The kids are going to love it. And it’s great that the city is doing something more to encourage outdoor activity, rather than making the outside environment so cramped and inhospitable to playing that the kids might as well sit inside and play video games.

    It would be great if adults started sports teams and used the field as well, even if they are hedge fund managers. They’re people, too.

  • Jake

    Kids play baseball there during the weekday and I’m glad they’re fixing it up. Cadman plaza is always going to be sterile, but at least now it won’t look so much like a wasteland.

  • janelle

    i sometimes have lunch in the park as i work nearby. the canopy here is really something else. so what if rich kids or hedge fund managers use it? it’s a public park. even you can go there.

  • david

    I struggled with the idea of turf but in the end, I think it’s the best option. No one wants to pay taxes but everyone wants services. If someone was willing to step up and agree to pay for the grass, then great, otherwise, seeing as the park’s natural grass wasn’t maintained the turf is the next best option. If you’ve ever played on field turf (check out Columbia Street & the BQE), you’ll agree it’s not a bad option to natural grass and definately better than hard packed dirt that was there before.

  • tomi

    I am part of a large group that played soccer here for several years. A local newspaper made a story of us because we had people from all over the globe playing every sunday. The field was horrible, so having a fake turf put there is a dream come true for the 40-50 people who played there every sunday.

    We had some hedge fund managers in the team and maybe a few rich kids,
    but everyone is equal in the field of glory – soccer that is.
    When can we play again ? Get ready, sunday at 12.

  • dockery

    You tell them Tomi! A vast improvement over the dust and/or mud (depending on the weather) of before.

    You didn\\\’t give them the link to our glory days of \” Cadman Plaza soccer:

    Apologoies if I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’f posted this several times. I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t know how to do this web stuff.

  • Leon

    I liked the mud!
    but turf is nice too.
    I won’t have to buy new socks all the time.
    I can invest the money instead.
    cotton down, oil up,

  • Aaron

    For the record not only was there a regular Sunday noon soccer game with a global cast of characters including musicians, film-makers, supers, security men, computer programmers, lawyers and neuro-scientists but no hedge fund managers (sorry Tomi I know you were hoping so) and including some folk from slightly humble backgrounds but there was also an almost exclusively Mexican game at 4 with most participants working very blue collar jobs…
    The ‘private park for rich kids’ comment is simply bizarre, Cadman Plaza was and will be a public park, artificial turf or dustbowl, and anyway most rich kids are kept well away from the oiks who frequent public parks.

  • Jo Ann

    The local private school use this park for their outdoor gym during the day, so that is where the comment comes from. Many people, rich and poor, use the park and while dirt/mud is not the ideal surface for any park, grass will usually grow if it is watered. It would then need to be mowed. The city does not want to care for its parks and that is a shame. Plastic grass is made from poisonous chemicals and is harmful to the environment and the humans that will play on it. That is a shame. Real grass would absorb the great deal of pollution in the area from the BQE and Brooklyn Bridge. This decision is bad for the neighborhood, and David Yassky has let everyone there down. Funny how he has no problem sending me requests for money for his campaigns, but will not respond to my requests for information on the plans for the park. Typical.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    From time to time I would run laps in the park (up to 10!) on days I wanted to find somewhere soft to run without going to P’Park. While the astroturf will look a little weird, I agree that the area NEVER grew grass since I have been visiting the Park since 1991. Better to see something useable rather than a continued dustbowl.

    I didn’t get the “private park for rich kids”comment either. Strange.

    But all these news vehicles need to stay out of the Park. They park all over it whenever they want. Please put bollards all around the park.

  • BklynJace

    The issue isn’t the city mowing, but whether or not the grass can stand up to multiple soccer games a day and near-constant use. It can’t — no grass could. You’d have what you had before — dust and mud. Grass is not a viable option for the heavily trafficked areas of the park, unless no one’s ever allowed to walk on it.

  • http://none cycler

    If this turf is anything like that at the Parade Grounds, it’ll be nice. An aerial shot makes it look ghastly, but when you’re running around on it, it’s great. It’s better than grass, in some respects. Except for those little rubber pellets that get into your shoes….you’ll see.

  • annulla

    Cadman Plaza has looked sad for years. Aside from napping hoboes and occasional protesters (the Plaza is usually the staging site for marches across the Brooklyn Bridge), the park is seems to be used primarily by skateboarders, lunch-eaters and soccer players. I’ve been happy to see people out there enjoying the space and never knew (or cared) whether they were “soccer playing hedge fund managers” or construction workers.

  • Jo Ann

    BklynJace – I guess there’s no other live grass park in the city or elsewhere in the world for that matter that would have as much traffic as Cadman Plaza. Interesting factoid. The City would have to care for the park, that’s the main issue and what’s missing here. We shouldn’t settle for misuse of our tax dollars, which are substantial in this area. I for one would have been happy to have my $400 rebate go to a real grass parks fund, instead of a voters bribe.

  • Leon

    talking of which,
    does anyone know when the
    field will be ready?

  • tomi

    Who is booking the field for us ?
    When can we ?

    So many questions and who can we ask ??

  • Jon

    After being transferred numerous times I spoke with a person knowledgable about the status of the park. It is expected to open “in a few weeks.” (I post this on 4/18) They are awaiting warmer weather to put the finshing surface on the new path and the new grass that was planted (in side areas) needs to sprout.