A Meadow Grows in Red Hook
This past Wednesday, an 8000-square-feet green space in Red Hook dubbed “Urban Meadow Bklyn” officially opened its doors, or lack thereof, to the public.
A ceremony commemorating the event marks the end of an 18-year-effort to bring much-needed open space to the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The site, located at the intersection of President and Van Brunt streets, was once home to Mother Cabrini Chapel, but the building was badly damaged during sewer reconstruction in the 1970s and had to be demolished.
From 1992 to 2000, several plans emerged for the vacant lot, including a parking lot, dog run, and senior center. In 2000, the Parks Department acquired the land, but the hefty price tag associated with converting the lot into green space meant that it remained a trash-filled mess.
Then, in 2005, landscape designer Julie Ferris of XS Space converted a nearby lot at the corner of Columbia and Sackett streets into a temporary pasture. The success of the installation inspired Ferris to create permanent open space in the neighborhood, and she immediately set her sights on the old chapel site.
With help from environmental professionals, Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office, the Parks Department, and legendary gardening guru Edie Stone, the eyesore was transformed into a community garden with flowering dogwoods and wildflowers. It officially opened to the public on June 11.
– Shane Miller