The Rockwell Group offered a pro-bono plan for a Brownsville Imagination Playground as a renovation to the existing Betsy Head Playground on Dumont and Thomas S. Boyland St. At a price tag of $3.92 million, the park is the second worldwide Imagination Playground and the first for Brooklyn.
Inspired by tree houses, the park will include a multi-level space with water, sand, and loose part play areas surrounded by a long, curving play ramp that weaves through the trees and is bridged by permanent play equipment; renovated basketball and handball courts; and an exercise area for adults.
A trained staff of Play Associates will be onsite to maintain and manage the loose parts during the summer.
MKW + Associates, LLC is the landscape architect for the project.
The $3.92 million playground will be funded with $3.1 million capital funds from Councilwoman Darlene Mealy (D-Brooklyn), $750,000 from Borough President Marty Markowitz, and $70,000 from Mayor Bloomberg.
“The Imagination Playground concept allows children to exercise their minds, as well as their bodies,” said City Parks Commissioner Veronica White. “David Rockwell’s innovative design at the Burling Slip site of the South Street Seaport has proved a tremendous success and we are thrilled that he is working with us to introduce a vibrant new permanent play space for children here in Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park. Special thanks to Council Member Mealy and Borough President Markowitz for allocating the capital funds for this imaginative oasis of play.”
The playground uses large blue re-configurable blocks for “unlocking children’s creative spirit” says Matt Goldman, Co-founder of the Blue School. The Rockwell Group has donated a preliminary set of play blocks to the Brownsville Recreation Center to test.
This comes as great news as the Brownsville Partnership and the Municipal Art Society have recently been holding Hope In: Parks and Open Space sessions as a break out from their successful Hope Summit community planning event earlier this year. Conducting park audits to assess and rank the needs of the community, the organizations are looking to their partnership with Community Board 16 to produce actionable steps toward engaging city resources to do the work that needs to be done in Brownsville—a predominately black area that has seen considerable disinvestment in recent decades in physical environment and educational creative outlets for the youth. This could be a grand opportunity to affect am entire generation of young black and brown children and cultivate their minds to think creatively not only about their play but the physical world around them.
Who knows. I might not be the last black Architect out of Brownsville after all thanks to this.
*Hipster voice* Oh, you don’t have your personal flying helicopter car yet? It’s so three days ago.
This week the Dutch company PAL-V announced the first flights of its prototype “flying car”.
This unique vehicle is called the PAL-V One, or the ‘Personal Air and Land Vehicle’, and It marks the start of a new era.
On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car. Within minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail is extended: then it is ready to take off thanks to the advanced gyrocopter technology.
Frank Lloyd Wright was drawing helicopter cars for Broadacre City way before these posers. Check out this video by my friend and Fulbright Scholar, Shelby Doyle.
You don’t really appreciate the labor that goes into something as small as a tomato until you’re ankle deep in fertile earth trying to arrogate the soil. That’s what I awoke to do today, surprised that, due to the torrential downpour we had last night into this morning, we didn’t go to meet the elders of Umuoba-Anam as scheduled. Instead, Stacey introduced this sterling silver-spoon fed city slicker to the toil and grunt-work of farming in this tropical climate. The sun beaming on the six of us, we rolled up our sleeves (and pants) to cement bag wild palm trees growing in a small 25’ by 20’ garden for possible transplant to other locations around the site. Additionally, we tilled and capped the center of the garden with top soil to allow for a more natural, distributed irrigation during the rains.
With far less endurance than the rest of the clan, I had to tap out early. Unfurling myself from my hunch at the side of the garden where I was ready to retch, I watched the tireless efforts of my comrades and thought to myself how strong the men and women of this place were and continue to be. I thought especially hard about the women who often bare the brunt of the harvesting labor, trade at markets, and cook, all the while melodically soothing an infant fixed with cloth to her back. And here I am, a slender and relatively healthy young man and I can’t even handle an hour of hoeing around. Thank goodness no one was watching.
Later in the evening, we watched the remaining two parts of the BBC’s Lagos documentary. They framed two closely related aspects of the ethos within Lagos; entrepreneurship and innovative solutions. Showcasing the ingenious yet contaminate method of land reclamation in Mokoko (“the Venice of Lagos”), as well as the struggle for income through the plight at the Olusosun rubbish dump. I would really encourage you to watch it if at all interested.
Oh, and there’s a goat here, but it won’t be here for long.