You’re Invited! NBK Parks will host BQGreen Panel 12/08


Press Release via North Brooklyn Parks Alliance:

When the past is fraught and the present is unsure – we look to the future. North Brooklyn Parks Alliance is proud to present a three-part discussion this fall on infrastructure projects that will shape our future public space.


The first of three talks kicked off during Open House New York Weekend (10/17) and featured Greenpoint’s newest park, Under the K. Curious New Yorkers joined a virtual panel to hear how an otherwise an abandoned, inaccessible industrial section of Brooklyn was transformed into a soaring seven-acre El-space that is unlike any park in New York City.


For our second panel, Bushwick Inlet Park (11/12), we will celebrate New York as a global river city, examining Brooklyn’s historic 2005 waterfront rezoning in the age of climate change, as well as the creation (and complexities) of a new 27-acre park along the East River. And for our last panel, we do what New Yorkers do best: we look at an ambitious concept that many will say is impossible; and we see nothing but possibilities — BQGreen (12/08).


Speakers include; Diana Reyna, of Diana Reyna Strategic Consulting, Teresa Gonzalez, partner at Bolton St. Johns and the co-founder of DalyGonzalezMelvin Estrella, Director of BQGreen, Frances Lucerna, Executive Director of El PuenteJonathan Valzcones, Assistant Vice President- Community Reinvestment at MT Bank and Vaughn Perry, Equitable Development Manager for 11th Street Bridge Park.


This is a FREE virtual event hosted on zoom. SIGN UP IS REQUIRED
It runs 60 to 90 minutes and includes a Q&A
The event will be recorded. Follow NBK Park’s youtube channel for updates

Want to know more about the BQGreen? Watch our short film!


Melvin Estrella is a cinematographer and an award-winning producer. His films enjoy prestigious premiers and worldwide distribution. However, as a kid who grew up on the Southside, it was his involvement with the recently re-released 1984 documentary Los Sures, about a pre-gentrified Latino community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that he considered some of his most important work.


That’s until he met Diana Reyna and NBK Parks’ board members Dewey Thompson and Kate Bernstein. They told him about this visionary idea to address the toxic legacy of Robert Moses in Southside Williamsburg. The idea is called BQGreen.


The following is a short seven-minute short teaser for what one day they hope will be a feature-length story explaining how a neighborhood was historically cut in two by a massive highway now hopes to create a park out of thin air. 


Spanish (English subtitles)


English (Spanish subtitles)

BQGreen next to current street & highway grid

A Green Dream Along the BQE – OPINION

September 14, 2018

By Borough President Eric L. Adams and Rick Russo, the Acting President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

In a borough with so much activity and congestion — the most populous of New York City — we must ask ourselves how Brooklyn can create more green recreational spaces in order to raise healthy families. As a community, we can do so much better to build a borough that works for all of us — not only in terms of making it easier to get from place to place, but to ensure we have created a thriving space.

That’s why it is time to reimagine arteries like the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) as a linear park. Originally designed by renowned urban planner Robert Moses to help transport New Yorkers, the BQE has become a corridor of pollution and high asthma rates. In neighborhoods around the BQE, such as Greenpoint and Williamsburg, levels of PM2.5, the most harmful air pollutant, are 10.1 micrograms per cubic meter making this district the eighth most polluted in the city according to a 2013 Community Air Survey conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The design of the elevated roadway and the working class neighborhoods through which it cuts, particularly in South Williamsburg, has been locked in decades of environmental degradation, air and noise pollution, and socioeconomic inequality. The land use value has also been severely limited by the BQE as it uproots many residents, cutting the neighborhood in half and creating an unnatural border. As outlined in the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s 100-year plan for the borough, sites along Brooklyn’s Innovation Coast have been isolated from the borough by the BQE’s physical footprint. A new open space network under and over the highway will connect the waterfront and provide linkages to adjacent neighborhoods.

Just as Governor Cuomo reimagined the Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx by unveiling a long-awaited $1.8 billion plan to convert that highway into a boulevard that is pedestrian- and cycling-friendly, we can also rethink the way we see the BQE as an integral part of north Brooklyn. The Friends of BQGreen, a nonprofit that supports the development of the new park, has a proposal that would create an elevated green space above the BQE between Marcy Avenue and Rodney Street, and between Borinquen Street and Broadway. Plans include basketball courts, a community center, field turf, garden, passive areas, playgrounds, and a public pool. With four New York City Housing Authority developments within a 0.5 mile radius, including Williams Plaza three blocks away from the proposed site, public housing residents would greatly benefit from such an environmental improvement.

The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce support this proposal including an allocation of $4 million from Brooklyn Borough Hall. A stronger and healthier neighborhood means more investment and greater business opportunities. This kind of imagination is happening in cities across the country from Klyde Warren Park in Dallas to the 606  in Chicago. Our Manhattan neighbors have been successful with the benefits from the High Line. We can reap similar rewards from a linear park in Brooklyn.

Our parks and recreational spaces are our greatest equalizers. They bring together people from all kinds of backgrounds and do not discriminate based on race or household income. That is the true power of creating a linear park in the midst of a thriving, diverse, yet divided community in north Brooklyn along the BQE. We can once again make our streets places where people can come together, enjoy the great outdoors, and unite as One Brooklyn.

Photo Credit: dlandstudio

Original article.

BQGreen Rally 7/26

Public Health Emergency in South Williamsburg Prompts Rally and Press Conference on July 26 Urging Funding for BQGreen


Virginia Ribot 917-280-7732
Carmen Glover 646-726-2266

Public Health Emergency in South Williamsburg Prompts Rally and Press Conference on July 26 Urging Funding for BQGreen

Brooklyn, New York, July 24, 2017: The Friends of BQGreen, community leaders and elected officials will hold a rally and press conference on Wednesday, July 26, at 4:00 PM at Rodney Park North at the corner of Rodney and S. 4th Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The traffic on the BQE and on / off ramps of the Williamsburg Bridge have caused a public health emergency. Asthma rates in South Williamsburg are double the citywide average. The neighborhood has the unwelcome distinction of having the 3rd highest number of asthma cases out of 59 districts in New York City.

The air pollution from the BQE and the on / off ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge are particularly hazardous for the the users of the 4 parks adjacent to these highways. An air quality study, co-sponsored by El Puente and the New School’s Tischman Environment and Design Center, conducted an analysis of La Guardia Playground, Jaime Campiz Playground, Rodney Park and Marcy Green. All four parks have elevated levels of PM2.5 levels that make them unsafe for park users and contribute to the health crisis in the neighborhood.

In addition to the health issues, South Williamsburg is “park poor.” It is one of the of neighborhoods with the least amount of parkland per capita the city. The existing parkland in the neighborhood is all hard scrabble. There isn’t a single park with a decent sized patch of grass.

The location of the rally and press conference is part of the solution to the public health emergency — the future site of BQGreen site. BQGreen will create a 3.5 acre park “out of thin air” by building a concrete platform over a portion of the BQE that runs below the street level between S. Third and S. Fifth Streets. BQGreen will include grassy and wooded areas, a flower garden, a playground, a water play zone and a baseball diamond.

Friends of BQGreen urge Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to end this environmental and social injustice against the residents of the Southside of Williamsburg by funding the construction of BQGreen.

To help call attention to the urgency of remediating the public health emergency, members of the community will put up crime tape around Rodney Park North for the rally and wear gas masks at the event.

For more information about BQGreen, please visit

Air-Quality Study Will Show Need For Park Over BQE, Campaigners Hope


October 18, 2016

WILLIAMSBURG — A group of teens is studying air quality along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in an effort to get a new park built on top of the road, according to community organizers.

El Puente, a local non-profit organization with deep roots in Williamsburg’s south side, received a $5,000 grant from the New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center and will start testing air quality next week with youth in its afterschool program.

Its aim is to collect data showing how BQ Green, a proposed park over the BQE trench from South Third to South Fifth between Rodney and Marcy which would link playgrounds on either side, would be a boon to the area by improving air quality….

Read full article.

Will part of the BQE be transformed into a cool, new High Line–style park?

Time Out (New York)

May 10, 2016

Among other things, New York is a city of dream projects that never get built. But sometimes they get a second chance, and that appears to be the case with BQ Green, a proposal to turn parts of the BQE between South Third and South Fifth Streets in Williamsburg into a park featuring bike lanes, a pool and a baseball diamond. The brainchild of Councilman Antonio Reynoso, the idea was initially floated in 2010 and priced at $100 million, but was met by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decided disinterest. Now, Reynoso wants to try again.
The idea is to build the park on a platform across the BQE ditch that had been rammed through parts of Brooklyn under the aegis of New York’s legendary, if arrogant, building czar, Robert Moses. Besides providing much needed green space, the park would also knit back together a neighborhood torn apart when the expressway originally went through. How feasible is BQ Green? Its designers, dlandstudio, have already built something like it for Dallas, Texas….

Read full article.

Chasing the Dream of a Platform Park Over the BQE in Williamsburg


May 9, 2016

A Williamsburg councilman is looking to revive a grand plan to build a park over a stretch of the sunken Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs through the neighborhood. Councilman Antonio Reynoso wants to bring back the project, dubbed BQ Green, as a part of Council parks committee chairman Mark Levine’s push for the city to commit $200 million dollars to an expanded park capital budget.

“History has shown us that we can do very little when we’re providing new parkland, and the parkland we do provide is never enough,” Reynoso said. “We currently have the resources to do that. We have the economy to do that. So why not use long-term items to build something beneficial to the community?”

BQ Green would create parkland over more than two blocks of the BQE ditch. Robert Moses rammed the expressway ditch through the neighborhood in the 1950s, and Reynoso said the road is to blame for the area’s elevated asthma rates, and serves as a convenient boundary for modern-day gangs.

The BQE has “divided our community for a long time,” he said. “Robert Moses had great vision but it’s like he didn’t know how to plan, though.”…

Read full article.

Plan For Two-Block Park Over the BQE In Williamsburg Pitched, Again

Curbed NY

May 6, 2016

The proposed elevated park, BQ Green, needs elevated hope to become a reality

City councilman Antonio Reynoso is looking to bring green above Williamsburg—literally—in an ambitious way. Realizing the underutilization of a ditch along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Reynoso is hoping to convert what is currently a community divider into an elevated park named BQ Green. (h/t Gothamist)

The proposed park would be situated above the BQE between South Third and Fifth Streets with the objective of converting the concrete platform into parkland that would stretch over two blocks. If approved, BQ Green would feature flower gardens, barbecue areas, a baseball diamond, and even a pool. Reynoso also argues that it would add to the neighborhood in a more health-oriented way: the added greenery could counter pollution from the expressway, and potentially help the neighborhood’s asthma rates.

Along with his predecessor and current Brooklyn deputy borough president, Diana Reyna, Reynoso concocted the project plan for BQ Green back in 2010, but Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t interested, instead focusing on more affluent neighborhoods around the city. But now, with money to spare and an estimated price tag of $100 million, Reynoso is pushing to get the project approved this time around….

Read full article.

Surprise, New York Turned Into One of the World’s Greenest Cities

New York Observer

April 26, 2016

Now that abandoned industrial infrastructure has become the design frontier for park proponents, efforts are underway to transform an abandoned rail line in Queens into a linear park called QueensWay and build a deck over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to be known as BQGreen Park. The Natural Areas Conservancy, a recently formed group operating in collaboration with the parks department, surveys the social benefits and environmental health of the city’s natural areas and engages communities in trail building and forest-restoration projects. Its work is furthered by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island, which was established by the parks department to germinate seeds and propagate plants for habitat-restoration sites. Additional good news includes the Trust for Public Land’s data-driven advocacy of a 10-minute (or less) walk for every resident of an urban area to a nearby park, playground, or greenway. And let’s not forget that there are 600 community gardens blooming today on former vacant lots throughout the city….

Read full article.

Greenpoint Park’s Renovation Fully Funded With $850K From Borough President


August 3, 2015

GREENPOINT — A renovation for a Greenpoint playground is finally fully funded after some three years of fundraising.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ park funding announcement last week included $850,000 for McGolrick Park, a Greenpoint park south of Nassau Avenue and Russell Street.

The money, which was allocated as part of the 2016 fiscal year budget, brought the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance to its fundraising goal of $2 million to renovate the playground.

“We’re just really elated at the fact that the borough president and the city council completed funding to get it all done,” said Martha Holstein, a member part of the alliance.

Neighbors initially spearheaded the idea of renovating the park during Councilman Steve Levin’s participatory budgeting in 2013, pitching it as one of several ideas to fund…

Read full article.