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Sweet as Sugar: Williamsburg Welcomes New Waterfront Park

The massive Domino park opening in summer 2018 will feature everything from food to fields.

With 520 miles of waterfront in New York City and a majority of waterfront parks sitting in Manhattan, it was only a matter of time before one of the four other boroughs would add another to their repertoire. And next summer, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg will be able to boast this feat.

As part of the overall Domino redevelopment project, developer Two Trees Management partnered with landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, the same firm that built the High Line, to conceptualize and build the massive new public waterfront park. Named Domino Park, the park will stretch a quarter of a mile, weaving its way through the 11-acre Domino megaproject and bringing a new waterfront walkway and six acres of parkland.

The walkway, which will be called Artifact Walk, is inspired by the series of ramps that connected the buildings on the Domino site when it was still a sugar factory. It will run 450 feet long, curving along the base of the old sugar warehouse.

When coming up with the design for the park, James Corner Field wanted to preserve the history of the site and showcase some of its best features. The promenade will incorporate large pieces of machinery from the sugar factory, featuring two 80-foot tall cranes at its northern end. Visitors will also find artifacts strewn throughout the park, such as 585 feet of crane tracks, 36-foot-tall cylindrical syrup tanks and 21 columns from the sugar warehouse.

“We were deeply inspired by community input and the site’s rich history when creating Domino Park,” said James Corner Field Operations principal Lisa Switkin in a statement. “The design of Domino Park aims to create a space that will revitalize the beauty of New York City’s incredible waterfront and foster interest in the history of the site and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The waterfront park will also feature sports fields (including a sport-flexible field, volleyball court, areas for bocce ball and horseshoes and a fishing station), lawns, gardens, cafés and restaurants and a children’s play area. It will also serve as an extension of River Street, running from Grand Street to South 5th Street at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The park’s opening will be followed by the launch of one of the residential buildings at the megaproject, 325 Kent, a doughnut-shaped building featuring 105 units of affordable housing. Leasing for the 395 market-rate units in the building will begin this month.

“By opening Domino Park in its entirety next summer— ahead of the site’s new waterfront buildings—we are delivering on our commitment to bring waterfront access and much-needed public park space to North Brooklyn,” Jed Walentas, principal at Two Trees, said in a statement. “Weaving in industrial remnants of the factory, Domino Park will serve as a living, breathing reminder of the history of this storied neighborhood.”

When finished, the full Domino Sugar site will bring 2,800 new rental apartments to Williamsburg, 700 of which will be affordable, and 380,000 square feet of office space across four buildings. Working with the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism and Beyer Blinder Belle Archictects & Planners, the landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery will be transformed into an office campus, preserving the historic structure through repurposing.

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