Brooklyn Promenade Social Seating and Kiosk/Cafes for Remsen Street, Montague Street Extension Experiment

This promenade in Brooklyn certainly offers the most beautiful view of Manhattan and is a great place to stroll, walk your dog or just sit and rest.

However, there are few amenities and little to do. There is a possibility of adding a small cafe at each end of the Promenade to enhance the experience of being here.

Connecting Montague Street with Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Activating The Brooklyn Heights Promenade represents an enormous opportunity to add some small features that give it a richness to make it even more special. A few small kiosks, or cafe could make it a strong gathering place for the Brooklyn Heights Community and enhance the experience for visitors and residents alike.

Some Thoughts:

The entire promenade is very stark and not very inviting except for the extraordinary view. By initially just adding a few items to experiment with, the community could see what might be possible in the future. No matter what decision is made, it should be considered an experiment as a way to get it started, something we call an LQC (Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper) intervention.

The seating needs to be either fixed or very heavy. The few people we have talked to are concerned that someone might take the lighter seating and throw it over the railing. The three examples from Porto and Paris along the Seine in Paris might be potential examples. You may know of other types of seating that would provide the social seating you are seeking.

We think there are other small activations that could add a lot to the experience along the Promenade. Once you get started, other ideas will very likely arise and should be encouraged.

As to the cafe (or whatever there might be here), the images suggest temporary ones like the example in Stockholm or even mobile ones. This needs more discussion but adding refreshment is an important step.

Miscellaneous Carts/Kiosks types that could be a possible

Stockholm – Shallow cafe and seating along a promenade leading down to the waterfront

Paris Waterfront Seating

Paris - a recently added bench along the Left Bank

Seating - Other Possibilities

Exhibitions and book stalls along the Paris Seine

The Louvre Museum has been actively involved in bringing art to the Paris Plage in a number of locations. the Brooklyn promenade can also have exhibitions of this sort.

Our work on revitalizing public spaces around the world for over 50 years with the Placemaking Movement has given us insights into what works in these places and a sense of how some of what we have seen around the world could be applied to Brooklyn. We hope these discussion posts can lead to improvements that we can all enjoy and show the rest of the world how great Brooklyn is.


Community Discussion: Creating the Heart of Brooklyn — Brooklyn Borough Hall, Court House, Cadman Plaza down to Fulton Landing
This article is meant to help build a campaign around a concept for a promenade from Borough Hall doown to Dumbo and Fulton Landing — an idea that we first introduced in the New York Times in 2007. The concept has in part been carried forward by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership as
Emerging Social Hubs in Brooklyn: Building Back Better
A social hub is by nature community led. It is local, even hyper-local. It can ripple out from a single enterprise on a block, spread to others, and evolve organically
Two Buildings that Build Life: Fostering Sidewalk Social Life in Brooklyn and Paris
A building needs a base, At the street level, buildings with small shops that spill into the public space that has a plaza with a market or double-loaded sidewalk, buildings can come alive. What is outside becomes inside, and what is inside becomes outside.
Always a Draft - Community Discussions: Montague Street Activation
Exploring significant opportunities for Montague Street starting at Bourough Hall Plaza and ending on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Who we are: We set up the Placemaking Fund as the next part of a trajectory of the placemaking movement we started when we established and grew Project for Public Spac…
Three Iconic Waterfronts—Two of World’s Best, and One that Fails Miserably
What Brooklyn (and everywhere else) can learn from Paris and Porto, Portugal

Further reading

Passeggiata: An Exuberant Italian Custom We Should All Adopt
A regular stroll through town is not just fun—it also boosts our sense of community
A Great European Waterfront Few People Know About
Otranto— a town of 6000 on the Adriatic Sea—features harborside streets alive with walkers
The Magic of Luxembourg Gardens
The magical appeal of Luxembourg Gardens is simply that people feel welcome to eat, relax or stroll. But it’s under-pining is that, it’s all about just a nice place to sit

We want to hear from you! This post, along with other efforts, add to a discussion that we hope, ultimately, will pave the way for a dramatic transformation of the downtown core of Brooklyn, and our nearby neighborhoods.

Our family lives in Cobble Hill. Kathy and I work together with our two sons. Kathy and I work on the Social Life Project while Ethan and Josh lead PlacemakingX , a global network that grew out of the work we collectively did at Project for Public Spaces starting in 1975, creating placemaking campaigns and catalytic projects in over 3500 communities around the world. They were led and implemented locally with a big impact as part of a fast growing Placemaking Movement. Our two programs are managed by Josh as part of The Placemaking Fund.

Our Brooklyn team also includes Steve Davies, Madeley Rodriguez and Chris Heitmann.

Next Steps for the Global Placemaking Movement
Imagine if the places where we live were shaped for, and from, our social lives, re-imagined to make it easy for us to gather, shop, have fun, eat together, and be around people different from us. we would collectively have an impact on the health of our planet.
The mission of the Social Life Project is to incite a renaissance of community connection in public spaces around the globe. Through our online publication, presentations, campaigns, and catalytic projects, we can create transformative impact on communities everywhere. Our work grows out of more than 50 years devoted to building the global placemaking movement. It is an initiative of the Placemaking Fund, along with PlacemakingX — a global network of leaders who together accelerate placemaking as a way to create healthy, inclusive, and beloved communities. We gladly accept donations to advance our work.
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