NYC Parks Cuts the Ribbon on a New Cafe’ at McCarren Park, Brooklyn




New Cafe’ at McCarren Park. Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today joined the operators of the new McCarren ParkHouse, Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein, and community members to cut the ribbon on the new café at McCarren Park in Brooklyn.

“We are thrilled to herald the start of the summer season, while continuing New York City’s ongoing recovery, by welcoming the opening of a brand new café at McCarren Park,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “New Yorkers can now enjoy a delightful outdoor dining experience in North Brooklyn’s largest public park. I am also pleased that this historic building has been completely restored with new sustainable elements and, in addition to the café, will serve as a new hub for NYC Parks’ North Brooklyn Maintenance & Operations and Parks Enforcement Patrol staff.”

New Cafe’ at McCarren Park. Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

“All communities should have access to well-maintained, beautiful, family-friendly, full-service greenspaces like McCarren Park in our beloved North Brooklyn neighborhoods,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “As a Williamsburg native, I’ve had the pleasure of spending a lot of time at McCarren over the years and seeing it’s slow but steady transformation, becoming a central attraction for families and young adults in the surrounding communities. I look forward to introducing this new McCarren to my sons and the next generation of Williamsburg residents.”

“We feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to restore an historic NYC Parks building in such an idyllic public setting,” said McCarren ParkHouse operators Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein. “We can’t wait to welcome all New Yorkers to the City’s newest Park kiosk this summer.”

New Cafe’ at McCarren Park. Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

The new McCarren ParkHouse includes four unique vendors operating in unison:

  • Club Club.  With a menu rooted in American classics and a rotating selection of seasonal sides, Club Club is a sandwich oasis in the middle of McCarren Park.  (Open Tuesdays through Sundays, and holiday Mondays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

  • OddFellows.  Offering high-quality ice cream since opening their first shop in 2013, OddFellows has concocted hundreds of flavors alongside reimagined and improved classics.  (Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

  • Blank Street.  Local coffee purveyor, Blank Street, offers great coffee, seasonal drinks, and pastries, with early operating hours to appeal to commuters, dog walkers and picnikers alike.  (Open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

  • Park Bar.  Park Bar serves up an eclectic and crowd-pleasing selection featuring New York breweries and wineries, with an added focus on batch, frozen and signature cocktails that will change seasonally.  (Open Tuesdays through Sundays, and holiday Mondays, from 11 a.m. to midnight)

This historic structure at McCarren Park was the beneficiary of more than $3 million in private capital funds for its adaptive re-use. Its paint was stripped to reveal the original historic brick detailing. The building was expanded with a retractable glass doored dining area that opens to the patio and provides expansive views of the park. Additionally, the building’s oil tanks and gas lines were decommissioned, ensuring that the structure is entirely sustainable and electric. The result is a fine example of how a public/private partnership can achieve design excellence. Throughout the design and construction process, the design team, led by Brooklyn-based KTISMA Studios, worked closely with NYC Parks and Public Design Commission staff.

New Cafe’ at McCarren Park. Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

The building was redesigned to meet the needs of the general public, café patrons, and Parks staff in a seamless space that encourages circulation and access for all. In addition to housing the café, the park house also has dedicated space for NYC Parks’ North Brooklyn Maintenance & Operation staff and its Parks Enforcement Patrol staff. McCarren Park House includes more than 100 outdoor seats at picnic tables and 30 seats inside of the building. The building also features restored and an increased number of restroom facilities that are available to the general public. The restrooms now feature ADA-access, double the number of stalls, and a baby-changing station.

McCarren ParkHouse was initially designed in 1911 by McKim, Mead & White as a comfort station with locker rooms. Over the course of the past several decades, the building fell into disrepair. Its original dark red Harvard brick with limestone details had been painted red and black to conceal years of graffiti and the green tile roof was replaced with standing metal seam. 

In an effort to revitalize this space, Parks released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development, operation and maintenance of a food service facility at the park.  The contract was awarded to the events and concession company founded by Aaron Broudo and Belvy Klein, operators of the Brooklyn Bazaar and Rockaway Beach Bazaar, and the Bathhouse Lodge, coming to Jacob Riis Park in 2023.

Love the idea of a cafe’ in our Parks? NYC Parks is now soliciting for Mobile Food & Merchandise Vendors for our iconic Parks citywide!