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Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, September 26, 2003

NEXT WAVE OF BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK OPENS


Brooklynites had something to celebrate on Monday, September 22, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz opened the newest segment of Brooklyn Bridge Park. This 1.5-acre segment was converted from a parking lot into lush green parkland as part of a far-reaching City/State plan to transform a 1.3-mile stretch of the formerly industrial Brooklyn waterfront into parkland. In July of 2001, work began to provide increased public access to Brooklyn’s historic waterfront, and Monday’s ceremony marked the opening the $6.6 million, city-funded renovation of this portion of the park.

Parks & Recreation stabilized and reconstructed the shoreline, using large granite boulders to replace the rubble. On the southern edge, the rocks have been pulled back to create public access to the water. Large granite steps and a pedestrian path lead to the scenic viewing spot. A new plaza with bluestone paving and special seating links Brooklyn Bridge Park to Empire Stores/ Fulton Ferry State Park, serving as an entranceway for both green spaces. Native shoreline plantings have improved the wildlife habitat at the river's edge. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers have also been planted. Pedestrian paths, new sidewalks, benches, fencing, park lighting and a nautical flagpole make Brooklyn Bridge Park even more enjoyable for all park patrons.

The children’s play area has a nautical theme, featuring a 50-foot ship’s hull and a spray shower shaped like a paddle wheel ferry. The playground segment of the project was completed in December 2001, just five months after the groundbreaking. The next phase of construction extends the waterfront experience and is expected to start in fall of 2003.

This new park lies within the historic district of Fulton Ferry, now known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges Overpasses). When the first commercial ferry service between Long Island and New Amsterdam started in 1642, this neighborhood was established as a hub for maritime commerce. From 1850 to 1912 the Catharine Slip Ferry carried passengers from Main Street – the site of this project – to the shores of Manhattan. With the completion of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in 1883 and 1902, ferry service dwindled, but the Brooklyn waterfront remained an active port for many years.

The decline of maritime commerce coupled with a surge in the area’s residential population helped to inspire the creation of this waterfront park. In 2002, the efforts of the Local Development Corporation and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, along with elected officials, and community residents spurred the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) officially formed by Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki. The BBPDC, a subsidiary if the Empire State Development Corporation, is creating a master plan for a 1.3-mile park stretching from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue on City, State and Port Authority properties.

Deputy Mayor for Administration Patricia E. Harris, Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles Gargano and Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation Jim Moogan also attended Monday’s press conference at the park. Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects Amy Freitag, Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects Nancy Barthold, and Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel were also there to celebrate the opening.

Thanks to Parks & Recreation’s Capital Projects team for all their efforts. Landscapes Architects include Marcha Johnson, Emmanuel Thingue, Dennis Flynn, Nancy Prince, and Hui Mei Grove. Construction staff include Ricardo Marc, Francisco Velez, Matthias Augustin and William Walsh. Other members of the Capital Team that worked on this project include John Natoli, Mary Pazan, Celia Peterson, Gerald Castagna, Dominick Cusumano, Peter Williams, Brian Duncan, Samuel Akinyemi, Jerry Young and David Martin.

With its lush green lawn, scenic views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, its nautical playground, benches for relaxing, and wide steps cascading to the water’s edge, this picturesque park is sure to become a favorite for New Yorkers and tourists alike.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"A little house – a house of my own –

Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way."

Padraic Colum

(1881-1955)

Park Information

Directions to Brooklyn Bridge Park

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