Bound for Greener Pastures, Building Greener Pitches

Turf the Slab is here to help build Fort Greene a permanent home field for local sports at long last.

The goal is to build a turf field with lights on the unloved concrete slab in Commodore Barry Park, and promote a master plan that includes additional athletic fields and a Mondo track for area runners.   Click here to read all about the pitch for a pitch in Commodore Barry Park!

There are so many amazing public sports fields in Brooklyn, from Prospect Park to Red Hook, and now Brooklyn Bridge Park and Bushwick Inlet Park.  We think it’s Fort Greene’s turn.

Red Hook soccer fields

Red Hook soccer fields

Red Hook food trucks!

Red Hook food trucks!

McCarren Park mixed use field in Williamsburg with Mondo track for runners

McCarren Park mixed use field in Williamsburg with Mondo track for runners

New turf fields in Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo

New turf fields in Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo

New turf field in Bushwick Inlet Park in Greenpoint

New turf field in Bushwick Inlet Park in Greenpoint

“The Slab” in Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene…a future home field for local sports?

Imagine an official pitch in our own backyard; a community magnet for athletes and fans of all ages, and maybe even food trucks!

FORT GREENE TRIVIA:  Did you know thatCommodore Barry is the oldest park in Brooklyn?  Originally called “City Park”, it was purchased by the Village of Brooklyn in 1836 and was renamed after Commodore Barry in 1951, owing to its proximity to the Brooklyn Navy Yard that Barry helped found.  Fort Greene Park, originally called “Washington Park, was a close second dating to 1847.  It was named Fort Greene in 1897 when its Olmsted and Vaux makeover was finally completed.

While growing fields and a sports community in Commodore Barry Park is our top priority, we also support efforts to revitalize Fort Greene Park.  We are blessed to have two such amazing, historic parks in one little neighborhood, and they both deserve the greenest futures we can make for them.  Now that the “Dustbowl” soccer game is over, it is important that Parks be allowed to reseed Fort Greene Park’s oval properly and tackle lingering drainage issues.

The photos below offer us all a sense of what Parks can accomplish with our support.  Here is the oval in 2013, after a the Dustbowl soccer game trampled reseeding efforts in 2005-2006


Here is a rare picture of the oval before the soccer game arrived…


The Parks Department and dedicated local leaders and neighbors have brought Fort Greene Park back from the dead, and returned it to greatness.  Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument has been lovingly restored, but it now looms over a desolate oval.  It is safe to say that Olmsted and Vaux never envisioned a dustbowl as the centerpiece of our fair park.  To experience their vision, head to Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park…


Ours is not the only Olmsted and Vaux oval to see hard times.  Central Park’s “Great Lawn” also had a “Great Dustbowl” phase, thanks to unregulated use in the 1960’s and 70s’…


However, in 1995, it was closed for a two-year restoration…


And today a well-regulated Great Lawn is once again a lush green retreat for the public, that also hosts concerts and permitted baseball leagues.


It’s time our little oval got a similar chance to come back healthy and green once and for all.  We hope to provide you a full Parks department assessment on what that process may require, from re-seeding to proper drainage.  When the time comes, we look forward to raising community awareness and support.

This is a community movement, so let’s hear from you!  This site is a forum to share ideas, information, and resources, so please feel free to comment here.  We intend to keep the conversation positive and productive.  Angry speech and personal attacks should find other outlets.  Thank you for understanding.  Now let’s get to work!!!


5 thoughts on “Bound for Greener Pastures, Building Greener Pitches

  1. I see you think you are trying to shift the conversation away from the stated differences between the two groups, and focus on a supposed “common goal”– a respectable endeavor. But, you are doing a few things that make me distrust immediately. First of all, your group name is one that usurps the voice and platform of your opposition. Is this supposed to be dialogue? Also, that before/after photo of the park is incredibly misleading, the perspective change effectively squeezes the effected area right from view. I’m not arguing that the soccer does not affect the grass, but if you want “work together” on this community problem, it would help to build some trust first.

    • Hi Djuna,
      Thanks for commenting! We don’t expect trust overnight, and we look forward to earning it. Since you seem to at least appreciate our approach, we invite you to contribute some posts of your own and make this a community effort! As for our name, we are not usurping anything, we just want to promote soccer in Fort Greene, and the name keeps it simple. We are looking to build a real pitch in our neighborhood, where youth and adult leagues can play and share the field with local schools, football teams, etc. Obviously, none of that can happen in Fort Greene park, and our campaign will continue whether the dustbowl players stay or go. Again, thanks for commenting, and we hope to see you at future forums with local leaders and players alike, where we will be eager to hear any and all ideas that serve the health of the park, and the growth of the soccer community in Fort Greene!

    • Djuna,
      As for the before photo of the oval, it was simply the only existing image we could find of the lawn with grass, which seemed awfully sad. Any photoshop experts out there want to help us paint a more accurate picture of a greener oval, please let us know, and we’ll post it here. Thanks for pointing that out, Djuna!

  2. Have you tried talking to any of the soccer players in person? They seem to be very visible and very active users of the park — wouldn’t it make sense to talk to them and see where common ground might be found, instead of creating blogs that attempt to circumvent the will of the community?

    • Hi Ben!
      Thanks for commenting! The players are really nice guys…a little combative when challenged about the dustbowl, but nice guys for sure. I used to speak with them more often, mostly to ask them to stop wearing cleats, but I gave up once the dustbowl was full blown and the Parks department seemed to give up seeding. This blog does not circumvent anyone’s will. It is a forum for the community. We invite all our neighbors to contribute posts for publication. We want to build a coalition that can win a real pitch for organized soccer in our neighborhood. Our vision involves leagues of all ages, regulation lines and goals, and maybe even food trucks. Our mission is distinct from the dustbowl players, because it will continue whether they stay or go. We would love to have them on board, but we respectfully leave that up to them and their priorities. Once again, thanks for commenting!

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