Opened in 2012 as a local waterfront destination, WNYC Transmitter Park is situated on a pier on the east river at the end of Greenpoint Avenue. Transmitter Park is now a stunning green space, containing both natural areas and places for fishing, play, and active recreation. The street is filled with abandoned warehouses and a huge warehouse lies at the end of the street next to the pier where trucks remain parked to load and unload. The park is definitely a loose space, just a patch of grass with very little architecture, other than the bride to cross over a stone pattern. Some people were there laying down while others looked out at the skyline of the city and listened to music. Others were there to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee. The space was designed to be loose because of the changes the neighborhood is undergoing. It is becoming more hipster and family oriented, branching out to provide services other than just a space for industrial warehouses and work. By allowing the space of the park to be interpreted in various ways, the area is able to facilitate all kinds of activities and purposes, fitting for a neighborhood that is in the midst of adding to its identity.
Yi Fu Tuan writes, “space is transformed as it acquires meaning and definition,” and goes on to say, “when space feels thoroughly familiar to us, it has become a place” (Tuan 136 & 73). Due to the fact that the park is relatively new, it does not yet have a concrete identity, and is therefore not recognized as a place for most residents of New York. However, to the people that live in Greenpoint this space has grown on them and become a place they venture to for relaxation and to enjoy time away from everything else. The park is located at the end of the street, away from the main crossroads of Greenpoint, so it offers some sort of a refuge from the constant noise of cars driving by. In addition, the park is located on the water, so it sets itself apart from other parks by offering a distinct setting that is impossible to come across in other parts of the city. Since it was built, families in Greenpoint along with young people from all across Brooklyn have enjoyed some secluded time in the park.
Due to the limited structures that were built in the park, Transmitter Park has been used as a loose space. There aren’t apparent designations for different activities or uses, such as in McCarren Park, where the soccer field is clearly separated from the skate park and distinct structures dictate what the space should be sued for. Franck and Stevens write, “looseness depends in part on the overall structure of the urban environment,” and that, “possibilities are expanded and space is loosened by the wide diversity of activities pursued” (Franck & Stevens 6). Only recently has Greenpoint begun to make effective use of the waterfront land that it possesses by building more parks for people to come and sit in the neighborhood. The view of the skyline itself is already an attraction, but by creating a loose space the park attracts an even wider variety of people that the neighborhood can benefit from.
Similar to how Thoreau goes into the wilderness to let his thoughts roam and to be free from society, I felt that at transmitter park I possessed the ability to reflect on my experiences in the city and be free from the constraints of Manhattan, allowing myself to think differently and gain a different perspective on the place I live in. I feel that Brooklyn in general, but Greenpoint specifically, offers such a different environment than that of Manhattan, especially uptown, that when I go there I feel that I’m a completely different place. Once I enter the park I feel even further removed from my everyday life, having almost as much freedom as Thoreau in the woods.
Tuan, Y-F. (2001). Space and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Thoreau, H.D. (1854, 2007). Walden and Civil Disobedience. Boston: Beacon.
Franck, K., & Stevens, Q. (2006). Loose Space: Diversity and Possibility in Urban Life. New York: Taylor Francis.
WNYC Transmitter Park. (2012). NYC Parks.