On Friday, September 19th, Sustainable Flatbush will transform a parking spot on Cortelyou Road in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn into a park, complete with grass, plants, and seating. "Cortelyou Road Park", located on the corner of Cortelyou and Argyle Roads [GMAP], is one of 50 sites around New York City – twice as many as last year – participating in Park(ing) Day, an international event.
"Park(ing) Day is an opportunity to create a community gathering space, and to make a statement about how we allocate public space," says Anne Pope, Founder/Director of Sustainable Flatbush. "In this neighborhood, despite all the beautiful homes and lawns and gardens, the amount of public green space per person is much lower than the city average."
Cortelyou Road Park will be open from 9AM to dusk and include activities for children and adults – a school and several day care centers are located nearby – and an art exhibition in the adjacent plaza of the local Brooklyn Public Library branch. "Using 160 square feet of concrete for temporary storage of an automobile benefits only its owner. If we can take that area and transform it into something magical that is enjoyed by dozens of people, maybe that's a better use of the space," says Pope. "I hope it gets people thinking about how public space can be allocated for the maximum benefit."
This year, park builders are putting new emphasis on site-specific designs that will reflect the social, cultural, and architectural contexts in which they're situated. This approach will also generate innovative proof-of-concept designs for permanent public space reclamation. Seating areas, art installations, and community engagement will all make the case for a more sensible and human-friendly distribution of available urban public space.
Also new is Park(ing) Day Redux, taking place on October 18th. This capstone exhibit will feature a rebuild of selected parking spots on a closed street in front of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center on West 21st Street, photos and media from the September event, and a mixer with the city's most imaginative public space interventionists.
Sustainable Flatbush brings neighbors together to discuss, educate, and advocate for sustainable living in our Brooklyn neighborhood and beyond. Their vision of a sustainable neighborhood includes equal access to healthy food and open spaces; preserving affordable housing (and the diverse population it enables) through innovative energy practices; and high-quality, resource-efficient transportation options (including cycling). As residents of one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the nation, they strive to learn from each other and emulate global best practices in sustainability, whether that translates into cutting-edge technology or just living more simply.
Park(ing) Day NYC
Transportation Alternatives (T.A.)
The Open Planning Project (TOPP)
The Trust for Public Land
Cortelyou Branch, Brooklyn Public Library, 1305 Cortelyou Rd. at Argyle Road