By Dispatch Editors on Monday, June 27th, 2022 at 11:59 am
Park House opened this past week at the North end of McCarren park.
Inside, patrons will find several distinct businesses each operated separately and sharing the facilities.
The Park House is small, but a lot is packed inside. The set up is like a food hall, also known as a food court. Blank Street provides coffee; Club Club sells light food; Oddfellows serves up ice cream; and Park Bar is a full service bar.
The bar sits at the center of the structure, and is light and airy with a modern, Nordic inspired design.
The coffee shop has pastries and light food from one of the new extensions added to the back of the building. On either side of the original structure, steel beams and big glass windows form two new walls. The whole design feels a bit ad hoc.
Over the weekend, the shop offered customers free drinks from a selection of cold brew, tea, and juices. The store also has an app that allowed customers to get their first drink free on Sunday.
A patio built into the back of the building includes picnic tables with umbrellas. The trees in the park provide limited shade. The patio overlooks a grassy area commonly used for picnics and where people are often seen enjoying beverages with alcohol. The shade from the trees generally keeps the area cooler in the summer. Grills are located in a different part of the park.
Although there are umbrellas on the picnic tables, the sun was intense. Landscaping has been added to shield the tables from the park and creates a kind of permeable fence.
The patio has an entrance to the main building and leading out into the lawn. As more people use the entrance, it’s like that a persistent muddy patch forms where the grass and the patio meet.
A new wall was built to connect the old building to a new maintenance structure. It cause a lot of confusion for patrons accustomed to walking around the bathhouse.
The Park House also includes an Oddfellows Ice Cream stand.
The building was after all intended as a bathhouse to provide toilets. The old facilities were horrific. The toilet looked a lot like that toilet from Trainspotting, “the worst toilet in Scotland”. They have since been renovated and toilets for all persons have been reconfigured through the door that had once been the men’s room.
The toilets for women were repurposed into a service entrance, gated off and connected to the ugly new shed. The old toilets used to have a long line during high summer months. The new facilities did not appear to have any lines on a recent weekend day.
The new maintenance shed is plopped into place with much consideration to design. It intrudes into the pedestrian pathway and looks like a cancerous tumor on the side of the old building. The original bathhouse was built in 1911, and is still a beautiful piece of architecture. This new shed is ugly even by modern architectural standards and a testament to the failure of low-bid construction. Is this the second ugliest building in Brooklyn after PS-132?