Not So Vacant Lots

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Leah Gauthier’s citywide gardening effort isn’t the only innovative land use project happening right now. In Brooklyn three groups have found radical new uses for backyards, a roof, and a vacant lot.

The Putting Lot
Use the extra daylight hours to play putt-putt at The Putting Lot, a temporary, collaborative installation in a former Bushwick parking lot. Entirely constructed from recycled and reclaimed materials, the course is more than just cheap fun; it’s also a way to engage with art. The nine holes, each created by a different artist, architect or design group, include the charmingly impossible “Are you wet yet?” by OpenShop, above, ($100 goes to anyone who gets a hole in one! Really!), as well as a bodega-themed design by local artist Ad Deville, aka Skewville. Hurry though: it’s only open until Sept. 6. 12 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick, Wed.-Fri., noon-8pm; Sat. and Sun., 10am-8pm. $5 for adults, $3 for kids 12 and under.

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
Launched by GoodeGreen and run by farmers Ben Flanner and Annie Novack, the 6,000-square-foot Eagle Street Rooftop Farm atop a former bagel factory in Greenpoint just began yielding its first crops: tomatoes, spring onions, and salad greens. Volunteers and droppers-by can purchase produce or attend gardening workshops most Sundays, and the roof has also begun supplying local restaurants like Marlow & Sons with spring mixes for a “rooftop salad.” Expect regular “farm stand” hours soon, along with workshops on pickling and green roof issues. Get in touch directly for questions and to lend a hand, at rooftopfarmer[at]gmail.com.

BK Farmyards
If you have a backyard or other outdoor space that’s lying fallow, and a hankering for fresh vegetables, get in touch with BK Farmyards. Started just last month, BK Farmyards is a decentralized farming network that will grow vegetables in your backyard for sale to your neighbors. In exchange for the use of your land, they’ll give you a percentage of the freshly-grown vegetables for free. Their goal is to reduce Brooklyn’s reliance on fossil fuels by cultivating local food. They’ve already partnered with a few local homeowners in Ditmas Park and Bed-Stuy, including the founder of Lab 24/7, and they’re partnering with a city organization to install educational plots in parks. So remember: Just because you live in the city, have no time, and no green thumb, that’s no reason why you can’t have homegrown zucchini.

Other not-so-vacant lots on our radar: J. Andrew + Norte Maar are planning a ballet in a Bushwick lot this August, and Brooklyn artist Saul Becker, who recently exhibited electroplated weeds (sounds cool whatever that is!) pulled from local vacant lots and Newtown Creek, has a new show of his composite, industrial landscape paintings, “Vistas and Vacant Lots,” at Chelsea’s Horton & Co. gallery. Shore, 2009, is pictured above.

Sent by Nicole. From top, text by Chloe Bass (Putting Lot), Cathy Erway (Eagle St.) and Leila Sales (BK Farmyards). Photos from top by Chloe Bass, Ben Flanner, and courtesy BK Farmyards and Horton & Co.

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