Grand Ferry Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, November 24, 2008

Parks and New York Power Authority Cut the Ribbon on Improvements to Grand Ferry Park

Officials cut ribbon
Photo by Daniel Avila

On November 17, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Ed Birdie, Manager of Public and Governmental Affairs for the New York Power Authority of Southeast New York; and Gerald Esposito, District Manager of Community Board 1; to cut the ribbon on improvements to Grand Ferry Park in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“We are pleased to have worked with the New York Power Authority and Community Board 1 to enhance this well used, small gem of a waterfront park,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, increasing public access to New York City’s waterfront is one the Parks Department’s top priorities. New parks are being planned all along the Williamsburg waterfront but in the meantime, come on down to Grand Ferry Park for a grand view of the East River and four magnificent bridges.”

The improvements to Grand Ferry Park were funded thanks to a $300,000 contribution from the New York Power Authority, as well as an allocation of $262,000 from Mayor Bloomberg.

The park’s landscape was reconstructed with new plantings that show an emphasis on native species of trees, shrubs and perennials. The park was also reconstructed with new drainage and erosion control, including a large rainwater swale system, concrete headwall, additional riprap and new asphalt and concrete paths. The path system is now wheelchair accessible.

Originally opened in 1998, Grand Ferry Park's design incorporates elements from the site’s history. A red brick smokestack rising above a circular pattern of cobblestones was part of a molasses plant that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals used in the early 20th century for work that led, eventually, to the large-scale production of penicillin. The cobblestones were salvaged from the section of Grand Street where the park was constructed.

At the water’s edge, a line of boulders, or rip-rap, protects the shoreline from erosion and provides seating with a view across the water to the downtown Manhattan skyline. On one side of the park’s slope, a trench lined with rocks stretches from Grand Street to the water. When storms flood the street, this trench or ‘swale’ serves to direct the stormwater runoff into the river.


Central Park Art Preview

Art aficionados and lovers of Central Park’s sculpture may wish to preview Christophe Fratin’s bronze sculptural group of 1850, Eagles Battling A Lynx--the featured “lot” in an upcoming auction of equestrian, wildlife and maritime art to be held at Sotheby’s on December 5th. The work is strikingly similar to the sculpture by Fratin entitled Eagles and Prey (or alternately Two Eagles Fighting Over A Goat) that may be found at the Central Park Concert Ground at the south end of the Mall.

Fratin (1860-1864) was born in Metz, France. The son of a taxidermist, he became celebrated as one of the anamaliers—a group of sculptors in France mid-19th century who focused on animal themes and their elemental nature. His work in Central Park, dates to 1851 (though it was not installed there until 1863), and is the oldest known sculpture in any New York City park. The pre-sale estimate for his related work to be auctioned at Sotheby’s is $400,000 to $600,000.

In Memoriam

Parks mourns the passing in October of Herbert Mitchell, a librarian and archivist at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, who in his lifetime amassed the greatest collection of 19th century photographs of Central Park. In 2007 Mitchell donated to the photography department of the Metropolitan Museum 3,866 stereographic views of Central Park, which document the acquisition, construction and usage of the park in its early years. Seventeen images from the Metropolitan Museum’s Mitchell Collection were featured in the exhibition, Celebrating Greensward: The Plan for Central Park, 1858-2008, mounted in April of this year at the Arsenal Gallery.

Written by Jonathan Kuhn


“Why isn’t there a special name for the tops of your feet?”

Lily Tomlin
(1939 – )

Park Information

Directions to Grand Ferry Park

  • Grand Ferry Park


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