The Daily Plant : Thursday, August 30, 2001
ONE STEP CLOSER: PHASE I OF THE RENOVATION OF BROOKLYN HEIGHTS PROMENADE COMPLETED
The view from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of the greatest in all of Brooklyn. One can see the Manhattan skyline, Staten Island, Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Bridge, and other major landmarks. Parks is halfway through renovating the promenade. A symbolic Parks leaf half, repainted and half weathered, placed at the line separating the newly renovated from the rundown, represents the current condition of the promenade. Work is being completed thanks to $2.5 million from Council Member Kenneth K. (Rising Star) Fisher in the near future walking from Orange Street to Remson Street.
The idea of a promenade at this location can be traced to a wealthy Brooklyn Heights resident named Hezekiah Pierrepont (1768-1838). In 1827, he proposed that this site be developed into a park to rival Manhattan’s Battery Park. However, due to vehement opposition from one of his friends and neighbors, Pierrepont abandoned the idea. Over a hundred years later due to circumstances Pierrepont could hardly have foreseen, his dream of a Brooklyn Heights Promenade was fulfilled.
In 1941, Robert Moses wanted to construct the Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway right through the center of Brooklyn Heights. The community successfully opposed his plan. After nine years of negotiating, Robert Moses was able to placate the community with a construction plan that drastically reduced the amount of noise and smog they feared a major arterial highway would bring. By installing a double-decker highway, and covering it with a promenade, Moses was able to get the job done. The promenade, which extends from Remsen Street to Orange Street, was built in the 1950s. Ever since it opened, residents and tourists have visited to stroll and admire the unmatched views.
A ribbon cutting and groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, August 21 marked the opening of the southern end of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the start of work on the northern end. Phase I, a $1.3 million project, included new pavement and curbs, benches, fencing, and lighting, bike racks and signs, new water services, drainage and irrigation systems, drinking fountains, topsoil, trees and plantings, and panoramic art. Another $1.3 million will be spent on Phase II to bring similar improvements to the northern end.
The Promenade is not parkland, but is owned by the Department of Transportation. The parkland includes only the landscaped gardens between the walkway and the private residences. However, with the generous support of volunteer groups, Parks maintains and protects the promenade as well as the gardens.
Andrew (Chevre) Gray
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Thursday, August 25, 1988)
TODAY IN PARKS HISTORY
The first annual Parks lifeguard tournament was held 50 years ago today, when six men’s teams met at the Central Mall in Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway to compete in seven events. (There were no women lifeguards until 1969. And no there’s no city-owned Riis Park Beach. It was transferred to the Federal Government on March 1, 1974 as part of the Gateway Recreation Area.) The games were intended to demonstrate “improved methods of life saving at beaches and fostering healthful competitive spirit among the lifeguards.”
In 1847 Charles McKim was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania. His architectural firm, McKim, Mead & White, designed the Washington Square Arch, Fort Greene Park and the croquet shelter in Prospect Park.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“On action alone be thy interest,
never on its fruits.
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
Nor be thy attachment to inaction.”
Bhagavad Gita (c. 250 B.C. – c. A.D. 250)