News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
September 22, 2020
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News + Views

Piazza Cafe in Carroll Park?

By Lisa M. Collins

With fear of becoming the Gary Buiso Review over here at South Brooklyn Post, the intrepid local reporter for News Corp. has this piece about local media celeb Kurt Andersen, who is proposing to the city Parks Department to turn the Court-Street side of Carroll Park into an Italian/Argentinian-style piazza, with local cafes serving folks sitting at tables and relaxing. The story says that side of the park is largely unused, which is mostly true, though ball players of many ages love it in good weather, and the story suggests moving basketball players to PS 58’s courts, which likely would not please parents and kids there.

Andersen, a 21-year resident of Carroll Gardens, lives on Second Place. He’s the award-winning host of the NPR show, “Studio 360,” a writer for Time and The New Yorker, and former editor of New York Magazine.

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Readers' Comments

Joe Nardiello
February 10, 2011
9:01 PM

If only Bruce Ratner would’ve been an NPR host?…

Go ahead and wonder how exactly, a City Councilman could so merrily want to facilitate restaurant-concession/development ideas that threaten what is one of NYC’s most treasured City Parks — ahead of say, 100s of architects at that — and not have that idea reach a crescendo our out-cry from bloggers, such as yourself.

Why haven’t you pressed Kurt Anderson to see/picture his plans, on your blog — instead of reinforcing the absurdity that the open-playground bordered by Court Street is “under used”?

Do these words, make for a double-standard:

New York mag?

He’s an author and you’re a writer. How is the word “piazza” synonymous with “restaurant concession”? Does anyone remember the fight over Union Sq. Park in ’08 — that to restore of decayed building vs. the reason-less threatening of a wide-open, multi-use space? This is the epitome of public-space, honed nearly in an evolutionary fashion over the 150 years that Carroll Park has been our area’s “town square”.

What’s next, a Shake Shack in Verandah Park? Why not put the Walmart between the two green-spaces of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and solve two issues? (That is, if Walmart can fund PBS.. you know?)

This idea is outrageous — and may demonstrate just how far a City politician will go — to patronize and befriend a media type (watch for the quid pro quo).

Your blog is named “South Brooklyn Post” and yet it is oblivious to the central and vibrant heart of Carroll Gardens and surrounding areas, across the lives of 10,000s of residents. Carroll Park is already 10x the ‘town square’ of any sleepy Euro-style cafe/plaza — because it is alive with activity and it is OURs.

Residents use it, from all walks and all ages of our residents. It may in fact be THE most visited park in our area of Brooklyn, aside from Prospect Park.

It’s just not ideal to Kurt Anderson’s tastes, maybe.. that he’d rather be able to have a seat that is unsightly as a row-seating, park bench. He’d rather an umbrella maybe, overhead? (While he watches what, exactly? when you eliminate the play-area and ball-fields?)

(Who cares about where a 6-year old girl is going to learn how to ride a new bicycle? or the 20-somethings that play basketball, both young men and women? or the 1,000s of inner-city children that use the ball fields for both organized softball play and endless uses with their friends and family?)

You say: “the story says that side of the park is largely unused, which is mostly true, though ball players of many ages love it in good weather”…

Yesterday, at 5:15pm.. I was there, at the very space in question (and it was 18-degrees and far from ‘good weather’) speaking with a local news reporter. There were more than 15 children and 4 adults, playing on the ice (laughing, running, falling, laughing again) even in that Winter chill… Now, think to yourself. Would you rather take even that option away from these young families (one said they just moved here from France and think Carroll Park “magnificent”), because Kurt Anderson doesn’t want to be forced to carry his latte 1/2-block and sit there alone, in some imagined February to come?