As residents of Queens and Brooklyn sit back and relax amid the greenery and designs of these outdoor spaces, it is the job of the senior park designer for Brooklyn Parks, part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, to make residents feel like they are in an outdoor living space.
The aforementioned green spaces were all conceptualized by Thingue, who has worked for 21 years at the Parks Department. And he has plenty more under his belt, plus a few other projects in the making.
Thingue, a Haitian immigrant who lives in Jackson Heights, has a specialty in landscape architecture. He received a degree in the field from the City College of New York along with another degree in architecture, but it was the idea of green-space designs that really appealed to him. So he put his talent to work when he decided to work for the city, creating park spaces mainly in Brooklyn.
A lot of his ideas, he says, stems from childhood in Haiti and New York.
“The feeling I had as a kid in certain places, I want to bring those emotional aspects to what I design,” he said.
When Thingue immigrated to Crown Heights with his family as a child, he was part of a program which took kids to parks around the city.
“I have good memories of these places,” he said. “And early on I saw the importance of parks in my life and in others'. My aim now is to recreate that for others.”
For him, landscape design is something he is extremely passionate about. “When I'm done with one project, I can't wait to move on to the next,” he said.
Thingue received a Sloan Public Service Award for his work in March of this year, recognizing his ideas and his goal to make people feel as if they are in their own backyard.
“It's nice to win,” he said. “But a lot of people deserve it just as well. Everyone on the design teams are really dedicated.”
It is the quick satisfaction of seeing a design come to fruition in a timely manner mixed with the fact that he is working with nature, which makes the field “fluid” and frankly, easy, for him.
One of the projects he is currently working on is Cooper Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – a project he is “very excited” about.