National Park Service looking to land glampers at Floyd Bennett Field

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Two swaths of federally owned land in the city could soon accommodate “glamping” and tiny overnight cabins, as the National Park Service seeks to expand lodging, according to calls for proposals released last week by the ‘agency.

Requests for more whimsical outdoor activities (glamour+camping = glamping) come as the Park Service seeks to squeeze more use and money from Floyd Bennett Field in South Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.

Both sites currently have a rudimentary campsite, but a new operator could start as soon as this summer to improve and increase amenities, according to the NPS.

“Applicants proposing the introduction of additional camping facilities including but not limited to glamping and cottage camping at the locations identified below will be required to submit to an additional level of compliance review to ensure that the proposed activity has no unacceptable impacts on natural and cultural resources,” reads a request for proposals from the parks service.

There have been a few places for city camping and glamping around New York in recent years. Camp Rockaway began operating near Fort Tilden in 2017, with premium tents and a campfire. It is now only open at an upstate location, according to its website.

Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, April 27, 2020.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Governor’s Island will also offer a glamping experience starting in May through Collective Retreats, which has locations across the country.

Keva Niver Ademuyiwa, 42, lives in Brooklyn and owns Boheme Retreats, which refurbishes vintage RVs. She currently runs a site at Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, but would like to find a location closer to home.

“People ask me all the time to use them in Brooklyn, there’s just no room,” she said.

Floyd Bennett is “a great place, you’re also on the waterfront,” added Ademuyiwa.

The federal government is also looking for a new operator of the sports center currently known as Aviator, housed in former aircraft hangars at Floyd Bennett Field, in hopes of attracting more visitors to the former runway. Marine Park military landing.

“The park is interested in proposals that incorporate the use of other areas within Floyd Bennett Field, including the existing public campground, located at the opposite end of the old Runway 6-24 from Hangars 5 , 6, 7 and 8,” the statement read. . “Similarly, the park is interested in proposals that take advantage of opportunities in other zones zoned for recreation at Gateway.”

The request for more campsites is intended to expand visits and opportunities at Floyd Bennett as well as Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Both currently have a rudimentary campsite, but a new operator could start as soon as this summer to improve and increase amenities, the statement said.

Floyd Bennett currently hosts 44 campsites, including 12 RV sites. There are 7 campgrounds in Fort Wadsworth.

Both campsites operate from late May through September, according to NPS, and the new operator could start as early as this summer.

Applicants could not alter any of the historic structures, according to Daphne Yun, spokeswoman for the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes several waterfront sites in New York and New Jersey.

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In Floyd Bennett, the Parks Department also issued a request for interest in taking over the Aviator Sports complex.

The complex includes facilities for basketball, volleyball, indoor tennis, football, soccer, a gymnasium center and an ice hockey rink inside former aircraft hangars. There’s also a 35-foot-tall rock climbing wall, an arcade, meeting rooms, and a food court.

Aviator Sports opened in 2006 but its operator contract ends in 2023, and a new operator could take it over in January 2024, according to the National Park Service. Aviator Sports did not respond to a request for comment.

The request encouraged applicants to explore ways to extend use to Floyd Bennett, which is at the south end of Flatbush Avenue and accessible by public transport only by the Q35 bus, connecting to the Flatbush stop Ave-Brooklyn College on the 2 and 5 trains.

Members of the Floyd Bennett Gardens Association were temporarily barred from the national park at the start of the pandemic.

Members of the Floyd Bennett Gardens Association were temporarily barred from the national park at the start of the pandemic.
Courtesy of Floyd Bennett Gardens Association

The RFP also calls for better transportation connection to Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden across the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge on the Rockaway Peninsula, which is also part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

The new operator could also work to expand on-site camping, the application says. Yun said they are soliciting ideas and proposals that could help expand “multi-day opportunities and improve transportation access” to Floyd Bennett.

Hernan Lucero, 49, started racing bikes at Floyd Bennett Field more than a decade ago. Although he hasn’t officially raced on the site since 2019, he hoped for better maintenance for everyone, not just the cyclists.

“It’s a beautiful piece of territory where a lot of things can happen,” he said, noting it could benefit from better maintenance. In the past, he filled in potholes himself before a race to improve the course.

“For me, that’s something special because I see a lot of different people using federal property, which I think is the main purpose of federal parks.”

Floyd Bennett Field was decommissioned as an airport and became part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in the early 1970s, along with Fort Wadsworth.

It has long attracted visitors who enjoy natural pursuits, including bird watching and fishing.

The area also has space for private gardens, which the NPS closed in the early weeks of the pandemic but reopened days after THE CITY reported outrage from gardeners.

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