July 29, 2015

The coolest thing in Williamsburg is the ferry.

This is especially true in summer, when passengers can stand out on the deck and take photos without their fingers turning into wind-whipped icicles.

Just ask the selfie-snapping tourists who flock to the two East River Ferry docks on the north and south ends of the neighborhood. Just ask Williamsburg moms whose kids have playdates in DUMBO or Greenpoint. The New York Waterway's boats offer an entertaining way to get around this part of B'KLYN.

For real estate-obsessed souls, the ferry affords fine views of the landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery and its surrounding terrain as Two Trees Management moves forward with development at the 11-acre site.

We're smitten with the shuttered factory at 292-314 Kent Ave., along with everybody else who's ever laid eyes on it.

The 1880s-vintage property — which is made up of three American round-arch style industrial buildings — was originally known as the Havemeyers & Elder Refinery. It will be renovated by the Walentas family's company and turned into office space for techies and creative businesses.

We head for the ferry dock at Brooklyn Bridge Park to board a boat.

A pop-up park with fine views

The other day, after we took a ferry ride past this fine piece of waterfront Williamsburg's industrial past, we checked out a new vantage point on terra firma for eyeballing the famed former factory.

On the ferry, we get our first look at the Domino factory (that's its smokestack at right, behind the Williamsburg Bridge).

A nice-sized chunk of the Domino site that's right next to the historic refinery has been turned into a pop-up park.

The Farm on Kent, as part of the waterfront park is called, has a grassy lawn where one can sit and gaze upon the factory — and the Manhattan skyline as well. There is also a garden where vegetables have been planted. Later this summer, there will be a farmstand to sell the produce, a worker told us.

From the ferry, we get a good look at the Domino site.

In the meantime, avid eaters can sign up for $75 Sunday farm-to-table dinners served in the garden, or $85 Thursday dinners prepared by award-winning chefs.

The farm's address is 320 Kent Ave.

There's also a paved cycling and skateboarding track, which is called the Velosolutions Brooklyn Bike Park. Until Aug. 5, you must buy a membership ($60 for kids, $100 for adults) to use it. Membership fees are being charged to raise money for an initial down payment for insurance, according to the bike park's GoFundMe online money-raising campaign.

Williamsburg artist Jon Burgerman has painted whimsical characters on the track, which made it interesting to look at though cycling is not our thing.

The bike park's address is 318 Kent Ave.

Once on land, we go to a new pop-up park to gaze upon the Sugar Shack. (Remember that song by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs?)

Does this building design remind you of a donut?

At the other end of the Domino site, we stopped by another vantage point with a water's-edge view of the property — Grand Ferry Park, at the end of Grand Street.

We also visited another spot that's required viewing for the Domino-obsessed, which is on the east side of Kent Avenue. Two Trees refers to it as Site E. It's where the developer is constructing the first new building in the 2.95 million-square-foot project.

Oh Oh Domino (a favorite Van Morrison song) — seen from Grand Ferry Park.

Through holes in the construction fence, we saw bulldozers all over the place, and a deep hole dug below street level.

We're looking forward to watching this approximately 500-unit rental-apartment building take shape. It was designed by high-profile architecture firm SHoP — and will have a hole in the middle like a giant donut. About 105 of the apartments in the 16-story building will be for low-income residents.

Two Trees started work in March on this site, whose address is 329 Kent Ave.