Space-starved Greenpoint is about to receive a welcome overhaul of its Sgt. William Dougherty Playground, a compact park at the corner of Cherry Street and Vandervoort Avenue. Once threatened with a four-year closure to facilitate completion of the Kosciuszko Bridge in 2013, the park will now receive some extra real estate—with a modest expansion from 0.76 to 0.83 acres—and a perimeter fringed with trees.
Officials from the NYS Department of Transportation announced plans for a new rectangular design and a children’s playground with all-new equipment on a rubber safety surface. One of the main attractions will be a skate park designed by “mayor of NYC skateboarding” Steve Rodriguez of 5Boro with its own viewing area and skate fixtures, including a bank to bank, double-mound, hubba (skate wall), flat bank with a ride wall, and a 3-inch ramp.
For cooling off on hot summer days, the playground will have spray showers for kids to run through. The plans were spurred by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway construction, in which led to buildings being demolished, longtime businesses relocated, and the park downsized.
According to the proposal, the existing basketball and handball courts will be relocated to a more central position in the park, while the three entrances—two off Anthony Street and one on the corner of Vandervoort Avenue and Cherry Street—will be outfitted with new gates. At the community board meeting, residents requested a basketball court that could be converted into a skating rink in the winter, however, this idea was rejected by Jim Lau of the NYC Department of Transportation, who said: “We found it to be too much of a liability. It would not be feasible.”
While the existing park offers no restroom facilities, its new iteration will have a comfort station installed on the Anthony Street side of the playground between the spray shower and skate park. The park honors US Marine William Dougherty of the 155th infantry, who fought and died in World War II.