First Look: Brooklyn’s Domino Park Is a New Era for Williamsburg’s Historic Waterfront

Daniel Levin

Located on the site of the iconic Domino Sugar Factory, this brand-new six-acre park will revitalize the neighborhood's coastline in unprecedented ways.

Move over, Smorgasburg. This summer, New Yorkers and visitors alike can experience Brooklyn's Williamsburg waterfront like never before with the arrival of Domino Park, which opened to the public on June 10.

Located just north of the Williamsburg Bridge on the site of the iconic Domino Sugar Factory—one of largest sugar manufacturing facilities in the world until it closed in 2004—the park is the combined venture of Brooklyn-based real estate development firm Two Trees Management and landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, the lead designers of Manhattan's High Line.

Just as the High Line pays homage to its former life as an elevated freight rail line, Domino Park was designed with its namesake sugar factory in mind. The six-acre space features more than 30 pieces of salvaged factory machinery, including nearly 600 feet of crane tracks, 21 columns from the now-demolished raw sugar warehouse (which also housed American artist Kara Walker’s installation A Subtlety in 2014), and four 36-foot cylindrical tanks that collected syrup during the refining process.


Daniel Levin

In addition to boasting stunning views of Manhattan's skyline, the park also offers ample opportunity for both relaxation and recreation, including a Japanese pine garden, an urban beach (with a shaded lawn area, chaise lounges, and a beach volleyball court), a 6,300-square-foot playing field, a picnic area, two bocce courts, and a 1,750-square-foot linear dog run.

There's also kid-friendly fun to be had in the form of a high-concept playground designed by New York-based artist Mark Reigelman. As children move through the space end-to-end, their journey mimics the sugar-refining process: the three main structures are inspired by a raw sugaring cabin, a refinery, and a packaging facility.


Daniel Levin

Lastly, near the center of the park, there's another reason to make a day—or an evening—of it: Tacocina, the first Brooklyn restaurant from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, will serve up fast-casual Mexican fare like tacos and guacamole, plus margaritas, micheladas, and more (open daily from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.).

This summer’s opening of Domino Park marks the second phase of the Domino Sugar Factory Redevelopment Plan, a broad and multi-phrased waterfront improvement initiative overseen by the New York-based SHoP Architects. Future developments will include the adaptive reuse of the Domino refinery building, plus four mixed-use residential buildings—the first of which, 325 Kent, opened this spring.