Brings better bathrooms and food and drink kiosks
For decades the brick structure in the north central part of McCarren Park, which housed the bathrooms, was a place that inspired this inner dialogue, “only if I absolutely have to, will I go in there.” It was a prime example of a public restroom nightmare: broken toilets, backed up plumbing, wildlife. Its sad state was often a topic on social media. Then in January 2020 the news came that the restrooms would be renovated and the project, named Park House, would include a café of some sort. This project is helmed by Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein of Brooklyn Bazaar fame. There was also talk of music, but neighboring residents who had elevated noise concerns spoke out against it at the Brooklyn Community Board 1 meeting when the project was introduced. At this point music is off the table — that is music events won’t be offered by the Park House; you can read between the lines here or read on where this will be explained slightly more.
The pandemic slowed the progress of the Park House project, as it has with everything since mid-March 2020. It was originally planned to open in spring 2021. McCarren Park’s Park House opened on June 17, 2022. The southwestern edge of the structure is the entrance to the restrooms, which is an all-gender lineup. Still on the southern side, there is an entrance to the Park Bar at the center — once in you can continue through to the other side which houses: Blank Street coffee, Odd Fellows ice cream, Club Club sandwiches, and a hedged-in patio with umbrellaed picnic tables. There is a break in the hedges to exit to the lawn on the northern side of the Park House. On the weekend of June 25-26, signs out front and back advertised “Your first drink is on us” if you downloaded the Blank Street app. A music group had flyers up advertising they’d be playing in that area. No live music was set up or playing when I passed by. Whether that meant I was too early or too late or that they got the hook due to the no-music rule I do not know.
The McCarren Park Park House is located “north” of the softball fields and “south” of Lorimer between Driggs and Bedford Avenues. Hours for the Park House vendors are as follows: Blank Street (coffee & such) Mon–Fri ,7 a.m. & Sat–Sun, 7:30 a.m.; Club Club (sandwiches) Tues.–Sun, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Oddfellows (ice cream) Mon–Sun 12 p.m.; and the Park Bar Tues–Sun, 11 a.m.–12 a.m.