Well, Well, Well…

funny-soccer-photoI had hoped to keep the movement focused on ideas and community dialogue, and keep the spotlight off myself, but thanks to the message boards at the Fort Greene Local, it’s unfortunately all about me all of a sudden.  Just so there is no lingering mystery:

I am TC, and yes, I am Tom Wentworth. I was not concealing my identity, but rather hoping to make Fort Greene Soccer about the ideas and not about me. Comment boards allow us all privacy for a reason, but since I know you’re all curious now: I am a writer and documentary producer, a local business owner, and a family man. I have served on the board of the Fort Greene Association and with Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. I have lived within a block of the park for 13 years, and until 2009, I spent every day of the year in the park with my dearly departed dog. Since then, my wife and son are my regular park companions. We have a personal connection to the oval as it’s where I first met my wife at a Brazillian Girls show, and we moved on to court (entirely platonically) on the benches and fields near the tennis courts every afternoon for weeks. Over the years, I have rescued 3 stray dogs from the park. I am inspired by our park, it’s history, it’s famous architects, it’s denizens, and I am proud to see community dedication return it to life after years of neglect. Though my playing days are behind me, I am a tremendous soccer fan, and I’m saving up to finally see a World Cup in Brazil this time around. I grew up idolizing Pele, and curiously, I was once bitten by Johan Cruyff’s doberman. My son actually takes soccer lessons from Itai and Dwayne, who are totally amazing, so I have nothing but love for the players. I am just over the dust and the division, as are many folks, and so I am trying to find a way for everyone to rise above the BS. I believe we can care for our park, and make soccer a force for good in our community, at the same time. I have seen all the amazing soccer pitches Parks has brought to Brooklyn, and I think Fort Greene deserves one, not least because the sport has been growing here for years. My vision is totally distinct from the dustbowl. I’m talking about a permitted pitch for leagues of all ages sponsored by local businesses like mine; one local schools can share and food trucks can encircle. Clearly none of this can take place in Fort Greene Park, so my idea need not concern the dustbowl players, although I’d love to have them on board. In the end, my mission will continue whether they stay or go. If they go, they know where to find me now. If they stay, I think they should show some real community spirit and take charge of helping Parks seed and maintain the oval instead of playing “tragedy of the commons” with our park. To the rest of my neighbors, I say this…if you want to help “green” Fort Greene Park, let’s work together. If you want to help win an official home field for soccer in our hood, let’s work together. My bet is most people want both. So, that’s me. Anyone else want to divulge their identities? Thought not. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you in the park!

But enough about me, let’s hear from you.  Got any bright ideas?  Got a post you’d like to submit for publication?  Reach out in the comments, and we’ll get a conversation going!

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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

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

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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…

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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’…

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

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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.

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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!!!