Brooklyn Bridge Park celebrates opening of new parkland
New Section Includes Final Connection of Parkwide Greenway
Sometimes called the “jewel” of the Brooklyn waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge Park – with a unique mandate to be self-sustaining – has been continually evolving since the first proposals for a park along the waterfront were developed in 1988. The park on Saturday opened the upland landscape and greenway of Piers 3 and 4. Under construction since last year, the new section includes the final connection of the parkwide greenway, expansive lawns, a granite terrace and the first of the park’s sound attenuating hills. Capital funding for the new parkland was secured through allocations from the City of New York.
“The completion of the parkwide greenway is an important milestone for Brooklyn Bridge Park. Building a permanent link between Piers 1 and 6 has been an overriding goal of this community for over a generation and we are thrilled to welcome everyone here today,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “The addition of the sound attenuating hill creates a contemplative park experience that will enhance our new passive recreation areas.”
Myer was joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “Brooklyn’s beautiful ‘Eden on the East River,’ aka Brooklyn Bridge Park, has become one of New York City’s most popular destinations, and now with the opening of Piers 3 and 4 Uplands, six more acres of public space will offer breathtaking views of the New York Harbor and skyline, rolling lawns and plantings, and a continuous greenway from Pier 1 to Pier 6 for bikers and pedestrians. The new, expanded Brooklyn Bridge Park means more New Yorkers can picnic, pedal, promenade and people watch in a scenic sweet spot in the County of Kings, to which I say, ‘play on.’”
Adding over six acres to the park, completion of the uplands of Piers 3 and 4 marks a major milestone for BBP. The park now includes a continuous waterfront greenway that allows visitors to traverse the park via a safe, off-street and scenic thoroughfare. BBP’s greenway is an important segment of the 14-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway that stretches from Sunset Park to Greenpoint.
“The opening of this portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park is a prime example of Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to providing unprecedented public access to New York City’s waterfront,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “This project is an important step in the Brooklyn Bridge Park development and in reclaiming Brooklyn’s historic shore.”
Also included in this new section is the first of the park’s sound attenuating hills. Running 800 feet along Furman Street, the berm is designed to mitigate noise pollution from the adjacent Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The base of the 30-foot high hill features sloping lawns that allow visitors to enjoy elevated views of the harbor. The berm is densely planted with mixed meadow grasses that will begin to flourish in the spring.
“The opening of Piers 3 and 4 uplands at Brooklyn Bridge Park is an exciting moment for the communities of Brooklyn and everyone who comes to visit,” said New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin. “The uplands of Piers 3 and 4 will change the way visitors enjoy the waterfront and make a remarkable park even more outstanding. Thank you to Regina Myer and the entire Brooklyn Bridge Park staff for their dedication to creating a park for everyone to enjoy.”
“We’ve come a long way since local groups advocated for a waterfront park. Now Brooklyn Bridge Park is growing at every turn, piece by piece, pier by pier,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “Today, with the opening of the park’s upland mid-section, New York families and visitors can walk, run or roll through its entire length uninterrupted.”
Three lawns are included in the new section to provide additional space for passive recreation. In addition to the sloping lawn along the base of the berm, a large, central lawn south of the granite terrace provides direct views of Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty. A smaller crescent lawn north of the terrace sits along the water’s edge and is sloped to provide views of the skyline. The newly planted lawns will remain closed until spring 2014 to allow time for the grass to grow.
“Opening the Piers 3 and 4 uplands means even more people will have more access to more of Brooklyn Bridge Park and our waterfront. That’s great news for all of us who’ve been fighting to expand this extraordinary park with year-round recreation and real community access. I look forward to continuing to work together on additional permanent active recreation, such as a permanent pool, tennis courts, a skating rink, and other community priorities. Thank you to BBP and all of my colleagues who helped make today possible,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.
A sweeping granite terrace provides a unique gathering spot with spectacular views of the New York Harbor. The terrace includes stacked granite blocks that rise 4 to 5 feet and include plantings of flowering trees and evergreens to provide a shady seating area. The granite was salvaged from recent work on the Roosevelt Island and Willis Avenue Bridges.
Assemblywoman Joan Millman said, “Today Brooklyn Bridge Park adds 6 acres to complete the Uplands of Piers 3 and 4 and creates an important link to the 14 miles of Brooklyn’s Waterfront Greenway. This secure and scenic route will add a new experience for the thousands of visitors to the park. The first in a series of berms designated to reduce noise pollution will also increase visitors’ enjoyment of this wonderful park. Each announcement informs everyone of new wonders which help make Brooklyn Bridge Park a first class public amenity.”
“We are very pleased to see this important section of the park coming to life, and connecting more visitors to the waterfront,” said Nancy Webster, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “The Conservancy looks forward to using this new landscape to provide even more free public programming to our community.”
Progress on Pier 2 is visible from the section. Scheduled for completion in early 2014, Pier 2 will be the park’s second active recreation pier. Pier 2 will feature courts for basketball, handball and bocce, as well as an in-line skating rink, swings, picnic tables and restrooms.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. The park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. More information is available on the park’s website: www.brooklynbridgepark.org.
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