Tuesday, March 9, 2010

As I Was Saying Last Night

And today turned out even nicer than Saturday and Sunday. And where was I? In an office, slogging through manuscripts, galleys, and what not. Oh, well. Back to Cooper Park, which I've been looking for an excuse to talk about since I discovered it last summer. The new building around there gives me my opening.

Cooper Park is tucked away at the far end of Williamsburg. To the east are the swamps of Maspeth, to the south is industrial Bushwick and to the north the BQE and a wedge of Greenpoint along Dutch Kills or Newtown Creek or whatever name it goes by. I can't say that no one knows about it, there is a project nearby and houses bordering the park and along Maspeth Avenue, and Metropolitan Avenue is nearby, but it's on the way to virtually nowhere so you would more or less have to know it was there to go there, or else stumble on it by chance as I did. To give you an example, a friend of mine said her boyfriend had lived within a few blocks of the park for several years, blissfully unaware of its existence.

I wanted to get the feel of the park here when it's at its prettiest so I am adding photos from last June, not from this past weekend. That's the view from Maspeth Avenue above. Below is a shot of the other side, Sharon Street, where the park is lined by small brick attached houses with a few faux Tudor touches, some of them almost smothered in foliage.

It's hard to believe, when you are strolling around the park, or sitting on a bench watching a soccer game, or the dogs in the dog run, or just reading a book, that Metropolitan Avenue is only a short block away.

But even here (et in Arcadia ego) there are some hints of breaches in the walls . . .

Now there is nothing at all exceptional about this row of small red brick dwellings except the way they all relate to each other and the park. It makes a very satisfying whole. But even these small intrusions are nothing after you look at the Maspeth Avenue and Olive Street corner of the park . . .

I have to admit that by the time I discovered Cooper Park that enormous building on the corner was already a fact on the ground so I don't know what it replaced. I always suspected it was something similar to the small brick apartment buildig to its left. If anyone knows or has a photo, I wouldn't mind knowing.

The street leading to the park from Metroplitan Avenue is called Orient Avenue and has what I like to think of as its own version of the Bates Motel.

It is just about time to call it a night once again, but I wanted to slip in a couple of map images here to give you an overview of Cooper Park and to show how close Maspeth Avenue, for example, is to Orient Avenue. Then I want to show you what Maspeth Avenue now looks like.

Looking down Maspeth toward it's intersection with Metropolitan Avenue at Bushwick Avenue.

Those trees at the far end are Cooper Park.

Colorful anyway.

The developers have already pushed themselves around the corner to one end of the park. Will they keep going; who's to stop them?

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