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Bushwick ELEVATED


Spring 2011 Preservation & Planning

Studio participants: Natasha Rourk, Ronald Senkevitch, Aline Dwyer, Alexis Sussman, Renée Patterson, Jamie DuBois Instructors: Eve Baron & Keenan Hughes Written by: Sara Margolis

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ushwick, Brooklyn, a neighborhood east of Williamsburg, coterminous with Brooklyn Community District 4 and on the border with Queens, has a long and diverse history. The home of “Brewer’s Row” in the 19th and 20th centuries, but most famous for the arson and looting in the 1977 blackout, Bushwick has experienced negative and positive transformations; from planned shrinkage, to arson, disinvestment, and most recently reinvestment. Community organizations, like Family Services Network of New York (FSNNY) and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Center (RBSCC) among others have been vital institutions in the community, successful in seeking to improve the lives of residents in the neighborhood for decades. Family Services Network has been serving the neighborhood of Bushwick since 1981, and provides needed health and human services to residents. These past few years, FSNNY has been the leader in a community planning process – the Bushwick Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program, which is a state program aimed to provide assistance to communities that want to take the lead in an area-wide revitalization of their neighborhood. Having recently completed Phase 1 of the program, FSNNY is looking to commence Phase 2 shortly. Phase 2 involves an in depth analysis of the planning area to identify its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and recommendations for brownfield redevelopment. Eve Baron and Keenan Hughes led this collective preservation and planning studio, and we had the opportunity to work with FSNNY


Natasha Dwyer remembered, “In our first meeting with Family Services Network, Dr. Igwe [President/CEO] told us that our motto should be ‘Only the best for Bushwick’.” We sought to generate recommendations that would assist FSNNY in their Phase 2 report, but that would also be visionary for the community and help increase the quality of life for Bushwick residents; and of course to ensure “Only the best for Bushwick”. These included: 1. Heritage Matters – Historic Preservation Recommendations -Preserve Bushwick’s past through an oral history project -Create a walking tour application - Promote job training and youth activities through the conservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings - Preserve and reuse historically significant architecture and bring vitality to the area - Create a Bushwick-centric heritage festival, celebrating Bushwick history along with its current tradition and culture: The Bushwick Pretzel Festival 2. Bushwick Reinvigorated – Quality of Life and Revitalization Recommendations -Create a Broadway Merchant Organization -Use artwork to fill storefronts and revitalize communities -Find non-traditional uses for vacant stores -Encourage the removal of alienating security measures -Engage the youth in neighborhood stewardship -Green the overall area


-Request bike rack installation near subway stops -Participate in Department of Transportation initiatives -Support community gardens -Encourage resident participation in Food Desert initiatives -Encourage tree stewardship -Host a charrette on brownfields redevelopment - Make local brownfields remediation issues and projects available to residents - Partner with organizations that have brownfield job training programs - Incorporate sustainable building practices into the built environment - Improve the energy efficiency of existing building stock - Provide affordable housing that meets the needs of the current population 3. Bushwick Rebuilt – Brownfield Redevelopment Recommendations -Site 11 Proposal: “Myrtle Market” A day-to-night mixed greenmarket and flea market, with a small plaza for sitting, eating and watching entertainment. -Site 2 Proposal: “The Mattress Factory” A mixed-income condominium building that would allow for home ownership opportunities for a variety of income levels and accommodate demand for high-quality housing for new and existing residents. -Site 10 Proposal: “Bushwick Youth Center” A youth center offering a wide variety of extracurricular activities and opportunities to supplement existing school programs ranging from individual tutoring, college preparation, counseling, job skills training, career placement and resources, among others. -Sites 6 & 8: “Saratoga Square” A true mixed-use development, with ground floor retail frontage on Broadway, a re-opened, wheelchair accessible entrance to the Halsey Street J Train, a new YMCA, and mixed-income housing. -Site 13 & the Rockaway-Decatur Site: “The Rockaway Houses”

Site 10 - The Bushwick Youth Center


Site 13: A mixed use building, with the first floor accommodating a job creation/ workforce development center, and other commercial retailers, and the rest as housing for the community. The RockawayDecatur site: A prisoner reentry program and housing for the formerly incarcerated, families making less than the area’s median income, and market rate units. -Site 17: “Broadway FRESH” A mixed-use building that includes a fresh food supermarket and other commercial retailers on the first floor, and affordable housing units above.

Renderings of Broadway FRESH Market (Site 6): Tara Lambeth Bushwick is one of the worst food deserts in Brooklyn, access to fresh food is an essential and less frequently considered indicators of quality-of-life. Identifyed as a componnt of our plan for Site 6, establishing a food corridor along goal was identified as a common goal.

-Site 4: “Aberdeen Community Center” A sustainably built mixed-income housing development and multiservice community center, providing both market rate and belowmarket rate rental units and a twenty percent set aside of units for low-income and female-headed households. The community center will provide educational and workforce development for female heads of household, programming & services for teen parents, a day care facility for those using the community center as well as for residents from the housing development and surrounding area, and a bike repair & rebuild center which will provide jobs for local youth as well as low-cost bike and helmet rentals to local residents taking advantage of the proposed greenway.


Renderings of Multi-Use Development within Maria Hernandez Park (Site 7): Sean Conway Our study of Maria Hernandez Park along Knickerbocker Avenue located an underutilized parcel within the park about the size of a good mixed-use development, which we have proposed on the site. In addition to providing much needed community facilities, the structure will help instill a consistent street wall in a place currently occupied by weeds.


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