61 Franklin Street: Greenpoint’s Newest Open Green Space?

by Ryan Watson on

This past weekend, I met with a group of concerned Greenpoint citizens and community activists to coordinate efforts to convert a long-vacant lot into the 61 Franklin Street garden. The group included members of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), 596 Acres, New York Restoration Project (NYRP), Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, as well as staff members from the office of Councilman Stephen Levin.

The vacant lot at 61 Franklin Street, which is owned by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, has gone unused for decades and it looks like we finally have the momentum to open it up to public use. As the nearby Java Street Garden is offering individual plots to their garden members (make sure to attend their February meeting if you want to lay claim to one) and the sun exposure of the site is not great for growing vegetables intensively, the group consensus leaned more towards an open space model rather than that of a traditional community garden. What would you do with the space?

If you would like to get involved with the next coordinating meeting, have a suggestion on what the garden should be or are just interested in the project, visit the 61 Franklin Street Garden Facebook page. Our goal is to turn this lot into an engaging space for the community so we want all the suggestions and help we can get!

What would you like to see this space turn into? Are you an artist who could help us cover over the graffiti on the wall with a mural? Do you know a wood workers that might help us build benches for the garden?

Ryan Watson

Ryan Watson

Originally from Los Angeles, Ryan is a relatively new but very proud resident of Greenpoint. He was drawn to Greenpoint by the strong sense of community and history of local activism. Ryan can be found at North Brooklyn Farms, the urban farm at the Domino Sugar Factory, which he co-founded or working in the 61 Franklin Street Community Garden.
  • Dewey Thompson commented:

    This may not be the right place – the proximity to houses and the guy living on the lot next door – but the idea of open space that’s probably not so good for gardening or grass reminded me of how urgently Greenpoint needs a dog run. The dog issue is affecting nearby parks like Transmitter Park where dogs – leashed and unleashed – have been seriously deteriorating the plantings and creating safety concerns, especially with the popularity of the park with toddlers.
    Where can we secure space for a dog run? And who (I’m not, sadly, a dog owner) will spearhead the push to get this accomplished?


    • Steve commented:

      > I agree, this would be a wonderful spot in the neighborhood for a dog run!


      • Ryan Watson

        Ryan Watson commented:

        Hi Steve, thank so much for your comment! Definitely in agreement that this area of Greenpoint sorely needs a dog run. Though like the other dog runs in the neighborhood, we’d need an organized group of residents to maintain, clean and monitor the area, as well as a significant amount of funding to get it built to meet the appropriate drainage requirements. It was those reasons, as well as a number of other limiting factors, that led us to the conclusion that it would be a more appropriate site as a green space than a dog run.


  • Heather Van De Mark

    Heather Van De Mark commented:

    I’m so glad you mentioned this! Over the holidays, Ryan and I were fostering a dog from Dog Habitat Rescue on Franklin St. and whenever we trekked over there to get something, we always trekked right back home because there wasn’t anywhere to take the little pup on that side of Greenpoint. A dog park or dog run is definitely a much needed accommodation on that side of the neighborhood. Sadly, we’re no longer fostering the dog, so we’re also not the right people to spearhead the project, but I really hope someone does!