Last week, the Glen Cove Business Improvement District (BID) announced that Glen and School Streets will be closed to vehicles for outdoor restaurant dining once Govenor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan permits. Glen Cove businesses have suffered through coronavirus, and this is a fantastic first step in helping them recover. However, we should not stop there – the Glen Cove BID should partner with local breweries to turn the top level of the Brewster Street Parking Garage into an outdoor rooftop beer garden.
First, this would make downtown Glen Cove more inviting to the community. In order for downtown Glen Cove to succeed, it needs to be a destination. Far too often people head downtown for isolated trips (in and out for a Starbucks coffee; downtown for a hair appointment, then home). By adding a beer garden, the businesses can become – harmoniously – a destination. The rooftop beer garden is novel, complementary, and could ostensibly provide someone with a foundation to spend an entire afternoon in downtown Glen Cove, making downtown Glen Cove more inviting.
Next, there has to be a better use for the parking garages than as empty, isolated concrete slabs. Although the parking garages may be used more frequently with the street closures, there isn’t much parking to lose on those streets to begin with. Once the roads are closed there would be more than enough room to accommodate increased vehicular use and the transformed beer garden. Repurposing one section of one garage would be an efficient use of the space that all of downtown Glen Cove would then benefit from.
Finally, parking garage beer gardens have been successful elsewhere. Athens, OH hosts an annual “Fall Fest” on the top level of a city-owned parking garage, which features local beers, music, and games. Philadelphia has Cira Green, a park and beer garden on the top level of a parking garage with live music every Friday from April to June. In 2018, Hamilton, OH opened up “Park5” on the 5th floor of a parking garage with picnic tables, planters, and menus for local businesses to deliver food. This idea has been proven to be a success, and we would have plenty of blueprints to work from.
Turning the top level of the Brewster Street Parking Garage into an outdoor rooftop beer garden falls perfectly in line with Glen Cove BID’s mission of supporting downtown restaurants and businesses. As communities across the country confront the new normal, we are lucky to have readily available structures that, with a little bit of imagination and determination, can immediately become valuable assets to our community. Our local businesses face an uphill battle – let’s do our part to help them out.
-Adam Ramadan Lorenzana