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Friday, February 26, 2016

Paerdegat Basin Park

Paerdegat Basin Park, on the southeast Brooklyn coast, is one of those more-or-less natural areas that's called a park, but that you can't actually go into – with one very recent exception.

The "park" is a saltwater wetland surrounding Paerdegat Basin, which divides the neighborhoods of Canarsie to the northeast and Bergen Beach to the southwest. The basin is a one-time tidal creek that was widened and dredged in the 1930s into a 1.25-mile-long channel as part of an aborted Long Island Railroad extension project.

paerdegat basin brooklyn nyc

Last year the city's Department of Environmental Protection completed a $455 million "holistic upgrade" to the grasslands and waterway, improving the grounds and the water quality and planting 1,100 trees. The DEP monitors the park – half of which is technically underwater – "to ensure that it remains a stable environment to support the wildlife in the area," according to the Parks Department.

paerdegat basin brooklyn nyc
paerdegat basin brooklyn nyc

The only wildlife we saw was a man walking his dog in one of the McGuire ballfields at the mouth of the basin.

mcguire fields paerdegat basin brooklyn nyc

We became aware of Paerdegat Basin from an NY1 report last summer about the opening of something there. I didn't catch the details at the time, but it must have been about the new five-acre Paerdegat Basin Ecology Park, discussed in this DEP press release from October 2015. The release also goes into detail about that costly upgrade to the formerly very polluted basin area.

paerdegat basin ecology park brooklyn nyc
The Paerdegat Basin Ecology Park, photographed through the double-locked gate

In addition to the Ecology Park there's supposed to be a walkable grassland park. We'll return in the warmer weather to see if those areas have been opened.

Meanwhile, here's a short DEP video about the restoration of wetlands around New York City. It includes photos of the Paerdegat Basin area and the Ecology Park. And if you're wondering how locals pronounce "Paerdegat" – which means "horse gate" in Dutch – you can listen to the video for that too.

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