As high-rise construction sites sprung up in Chelsea and spread to the far West Side, Brooklyn and even Roosevelt Island, I was on high alert — having witnessed previous real-estate crashes in New York. History not only repeats itself but in the current situation, intimations of how dire the economic climate truly or purportedly is have permeated not only the media and the conversations of our daily lives but also the built environment around us.
As construction funds vanish, frozen cranes and incomplete glass towers hover in front the Manhattan skyline as solemn reminders of economic folly, cyclicality, uniformity, and the commodification of architecture. A derivative and an aggrandization of a style heralded by Richard Meier in his landmark and controversial Perry Street Towers in 2002 in the Far West Village, designed to be both simultaneously voyeuristic and inaccessible for the outsider, the inability for this to be translated on a mass-scale is symbolic of much more than gentrification or economic downturn.
As such, with vacant space diminishing or transforming into a limbo state of incompleteness, and even seemingly “public” spaces in fact privatized, there is no more opportune location to explore the relevance of empty space in New York City than in Bushwick— once the frontier of the outer boroughs. In an upcoming mini golf course set in an empty Bushwick lot, some design themes include making visual reference to the vacancy that was once there, a conversion of a bodega into a receptacle for street art, a utopian (and masochistic) striving for the near impossible, a Japanese pinball game and exploring sustainability via discarded and repurposed elements. Upon completion, you exchange your golf ball for a seed bomb of various native New York flowering plants and grasses.
But I think the designers of Hole 2 express it best: “The Putting Lot design challenge appealed to our overdeveloped interest in not growing up.” There’s a snack shack too! We will be taking a trip to the Putting Lot on Saturday, June 13th –meet at the Graham Avenue L Subway Stop at 2pm. Pictures of the finished golf course to be posted after!
12 Wyckoff Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
L train to Jefferson Street
Hours: W-F 12-8pm, Sat/Sun 10am-8pm
$5 Adults/$3 Children
Update: Pictures from The Putting Lot!