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Update On: Brooklyn Bridge Park

People who get close enough for a good look at the mystery wall that’s really a sculpture will see something surprising on the dead tree – a basketball hoop.

Questions answered in visual overview

For Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Tens of thousands of people pass Brooklyn Bridge Park every day.

They might be driving past on the BQE or strolling on the Promenade, catching a glimpse from the Brooklyn Bridge or seeing things up close while they wheel along BBP bike paths.

With so many huge parts of the park in transition, inquiring minds might wonder …

What’s with the huge granite stones?

Why all those stumps stuck in the water?

Why do they leave young trees sitting on the pier, with their root balls wrapped?

These, and other questions, will be answered on our pages as we try to stimulate the eye and edify the minds of our readers about Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Out in the water, those protruding piles aren’t some piece of unfinished business. They are remnants of now-departed 1950s-vintage Pier 1, left on purpose as visual mementos. “What’s exciting is people can discern when the tides come in and out,” said Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. president. Look closer – you’ll see some of the piles line up in rows, marking twin pathways in the water.  That’s where the twin tubes of the A and C subway line run in and out of Brooklyn Heights. Nothing can be built above subway tubes. Flanking the road alongside the piles a mysterious little wall stands with a dead tree seeming to grow out of it. It’s a piece of outdoor sculpture by artist Oscar Tuazon. In the foreground, off to the right, the unbuilt space is where a hotel is being planned by Starwood and Toll Brothers. Pipes for the park’s irrigation system stand at the ready.

The bright-colored boxes in the foreground near the piles from old Pier 1 are shipping containers that form a backdrop for the pop-up swimming pool BBP installed last summer. The dark turquoise rectangle by the shipping containers is a tarp that covers the pool, which will look a lot different when it opens in June.

“This is the heart of what we’re building on the upland of Pier 3,” Myer said. The trench in the foreground that looks like some medieval moat is the makings of a “sound attenuating hill” – the first one in BBP. Landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh devised the hill as a way to lessen the roar of traffic from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Beyond the noise-absorbing berm, stone blocks stand waiting to be built into a granite terrace. In the background, trees are parked in a temporary spot, their roots carefully wrapped, waiting to be planted into fresh landscaping.

These stacks of stone sit patiently in a staging area to the south of the Pier 3 upland. Give it time and they’ll be used to build the granite terrace. P.S., The granite is recycled. “Using reclaimed materials gives them a second life,” Myer said.

This plank in the water is Pier 2 – and the metal skeletons on top were carefully kept from the storage shed that originally stood there. They will provide shading and rain shelter for the recreation area that’s under construction. It may not look like much now – but the five-acre pier will have courts for basketball, handball and bocce and swings – for grownups. BBP officials are hoping to finish work on both Pier 2 and the Pier 3 upland by the end of the year, Myer said.

What’s that appendage in the water, attached to Pier 2? A floating dock for kayaks.

What’s this boardwalk in the sky? A fancy wooden footpath called Squibb Bridge, which became popular the instant it opened in March. “We see the community is so engaged with it,” Myer said.  It zigzags past the skateboarders’ park that’s two blocks from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, crosses Furman St. 40 feet above the blacktop and eases its way into BBP. The bridge design is rustic enough to look like it belongs in the woods – but the understructure is designed as a visual echo of the cables of uber-famous Brooklyn Bridge nearby.

This blocky building shares the waterfront with BBP but isn’t part of the park. It’s an MTA emergency access building.

Those black coils and tubes and piles of crushed rock near Pier 3 are the makings of an eco-friendly storm-water collection system. “We retain the rainwater and use it for irrigation,” Myer said.

May 17, 2013 - 10:30am


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