Domino Park salvages the past for an enhanced Williamsburg waterfront
“We really wanted to salvage what was here and make sure, given all the development, that there was a sense of place and history here.”
The Domino Sugar Refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront hasn’t produced the sweet stuff since closing in 2004, but some of its machinery is serving a new purpose in Domino Park, which opens to the public on Sunday.
“We really wanted to salvage what was here and make sure, given all the development, that there was a sense of place and history here,” said Lisa Switkin of James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm behind the High Line and, now, Domino Park, which was co-developed by Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management.
Not only will visitors get to see salvaged Domino Sugar Factory machinery like cranes and syrup tanks integrated into the design of the quarter-mile Domino Park, but the area also features a waterfront esplanade, elevated walkway, 6 acres of parkland and enhanced connectivity to the East River.
Plus, there’s a dog run, bocce ball courts, flexible recreational areas and a children’s play area designed by artist Mark Reigelman that is a “reinterpretation of the sugar-refining process from a child’s perspective,” Switkin explained.
The Domino Park portion of the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment project began right after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and “that impacted how we thought of the entire design,” Switkin said. Its platform was raised 2 to 7 feet above FEMA’s new flood elevations to safeguard the area from flooding.
Given that Domino Park is a prime waterfront locale, a potential NYC Ferry landing has been incorporated into the design of the park contingent on future demand, Switkin added.
The Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment includes 11 mixed-use acres. Its first residential building, 325 Kent, opened last fall, and its second, 260 Kent, is slated to open within the next 15 months, Switkin said. Two other residential waterfront buildings are on deck as well. In its entirety, the complex will house a total of 2,300 apartments, with 700 designated as affordable units for low-income families, and 500,000 square feet of office space.
"The opening of Domino Park fulfills our promise to deliver this long walled-off ribbon of the Williamsburg waterfront to the residents North Brooklyn — residents whose families worked at this factory for generations and who have contributed to the diversity and vibrance of one of New York’s most enchanting neighborhoods," said Two Trees Principal Jed Walentas. "Domino Park will hopefully serve as a living, breathing tribute to thousands of Domino workers, their families and the rich tapestry of history that defines this New York Community. We are grateful to our partners from across the neighborhood for their invaluable input in creating a recreational refuge that illuminates a significant chapter of New York City’s history for generations to come."