City Life Org – NYC Parks cuts ribbon for new McCarren Park Cafe

Photo: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

McCarren ParkHouse features four unique food and beverage vendors in an attractive outdoor setting

Over $3 million in private funds invested for adaptive reuse of historic structure with sustainable features

The building will also serve as a local hub for North Brooklyn Parks Maintenance and Operations personnel and Parks Law Enforcement Patrol personnel.

New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today joined operators of the new McCarren ParkHouse, Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein, and members of the community to cut the ribbon for the new cafe at McCarren Park in Brooklyn.

“We are thrilled to announce the start of the summer season, while continuing New York City’s ongoing recovery, by welcoming the opening of a brand new cafe in McCarren Park,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “New Yorkers can now enjoy a delicious outdoor dining experience in North Brooklyn’s largest public park. I am also thrilled that this historic building has been completely restored with new sustainable features and, in addition to the cafe, will serve as a new center for maintenance and operations personnel from North Brooklyn and NYC Parks’ Parks Enforcement Patrol.

“All communities should have access to manicured, beautiful, family-friendly, full-service green spaces, like McCarren Park in our beloved North Brooklyn neighborhoods,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “As a native of Williamsburg, I have had the pleasure of spending much time in McCarren over the years and watching its slow but steady transformation into a central attraction for families and young adults in the surrounding communities. J can’t wait to introduce this new McCarren to my sons and the next generation of Williamsburg residents.

“We feel fortunate to have had this opportunity to restore a historic NYC Parks building to such an idyllic public setting,” said Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein, operators of McCarren ParkHouse. “We look forward to welcoming all New Yorkers to the city’s brand new Park Bandstand this summer.”

The new McCarren ParkHouse includes four unique vendors operating in unison:

  • ClubClub. With a menu rooted in American classics and a rotating selection of seasonal sides, Club Club is a sandwich oasis in the middle of McCarren Park. (Open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • OddFellows. Offering high-quality ice cream since opening its first store in 2013, OddFellows has concocted hundreds of flavors alongside reinvented and improved classics. (Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
  • Virgin street. Local coffee supplier, Blank Street, offers great coffee, seasonal drinks and pastries, with early opening hours to appeal to commuters, dog walkers and picnickers. (Open 7/7 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Park bar. The Park Bar offers an eclectic and friendly selection including New York breweries and wineries, with an added emphasis on batch, frozen and signature cocktails that will change seasonally. (Open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays from 11 a.m. to midnight)

This historic structure in McCarren Park has benefited from more than $3 million in private equity funding for its adaptive reuse. Its paintwork has been stripped to reveal the original historic brick details. The building has been extended with a retractable glazed dining room that opens onto the patio and offers stunning views of the park. Additionally, the building’s fuel oil tanks and gas lines were taken out of service, ensuring the structure is fully durable and electrically powered. The result is a fine example of how a public/private partnership can achieve design excellence. Throughout the design and construction process, the design team, led by Brooklyn-based KTISMA Studios, worked closely with New York City Parks and Public Design Commission staff.

The building has been redesigned to meet the needs of the general public, café customers and park staff in a homogeneous space that promotes circulation and access for all. In addition to housing the cafe, the park house also has dedicated space for NYC’s North Brooklyn Parks maintenance and operations staff and its parks enforcement patrol staff. McCarren Park House includes over 100 outdoor seats at picnic tables and 30 seats inside the building. The building also includes restored facilities and an increased number of restrooms accessible to the general public. Restrooms now have ADA access, double the number of stalls, and a changing station.

McCarren Park House was originally designed in 1911 by McKim, Mead & White as a toilet block with changing rooms. In recent decades, the building has fallen into disrepair. Its original dark red Harvard brick with limestone details had been painted red and black to conceal years of graffiti and the green tiled roof was replaced with a standing seam metal.

In an effort to revitalize this space, Parks issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development, operation and maintenance of a food service in the park. The contract was awarded to the events and concession company founded by Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein, operators of Brooklyn Bazaar and Rockaway Beach Bazaar, and Bathhouse Lodge, which will come to Jacob Riis Park in 2023.

For more information, please visit the McCarren Parkhouse website.

Rufus T. Sifford