Sunset Park

Postcards From the Edge of Sunset Park: Toxic dump site is now Bush Terminal Piers Park

Eye On Real Estate

March 8, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to Bush Terminal Piers Park, which is situated on the Sunset Park waterfront. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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There’s always something special to see in Sunset Park.

As a preservation-obsessed Brooklynite, we’ve devoted photo features to the landmark-worthy blocks of this intriguing neighborhood.

As a writer fascinated by immigrant cultures, we’ve devoted features to Fifth Avenue’s Hispanic food businesses and Eighth Avenue’s entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and China’s Fujian Province.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

As a believer in small businesses as big sources of job creation, we’ve devoted yet other features to Industry City, Sunset Park’s mecca for tech and manufacturing companies.  

Now, we offer Postcards From the Edge. (Yes, we’re borrowing that phrase from the title of the late, great Carrie Fisher’s novel.) Namely the edge of Sunset Park. There are such interesting things out on the edges of the neighborhood.

* * *

Being here is a very Zen experience.

Bush Terminal Piers Park is an ethereal place when the waters of New York Harbor, which lap against its shoreline, are shrouded in mist.

It is quiet and calm. There is noise, presumably industrial and traffic-related, but it is in the far distance, as if it’s coming from some other world.

There is the occasional bellow of a ship’s horn, which sounds very solemn.

There is the occasional honking of geese as they fly by, and once in a while, the faint hum of an airplane.

A few fellow park-goers appear from time to time. The vast spaces swallow up their words.

The artificial turf on the park’s ball fields looks like emeralds.

Tidal pools reflect nearby trees like mirrors. Ships ride at anchor just offshore. It’s hard to see where the gray-ish waters end and the skies begin.

To the north, the World Trade Center and other Lower Manhattan skyscrapers are nearly obscured in fog.

If you sit for a bit on a bench — and during that time, why not read Yeats’ poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” to match the park’s peaceful mood? —  the sun might put in an appearance and burn off the mist. That will make the scenery even more splendid.  

This would be a good time to pause and explain how on earth to find this place we’re rhapsodizing about. Its entrance is on First Avenue in Sunset Park, in a spot you’ve possibly never seen unless you work at a Sahadi’s facility that’s located nearby.

There’s a “park entrance” sign on a chain-link fence at the intersection of First Avenue and 43rd Street. Don’t be confused by the guardhouse in the middle of 43rd Street and the industrial buildings lining the street. You are free to walk down the sidewalk or roll along the bike lane.

When you get to a building with a statue of Irving T. Bush above its front door, turn left and head for a gateway with the name “Bush Terminal Park” on it.

The park was created at a toxic dump site at a cost of $40 million. The money came from federal, city and state sources.

It opened in November 2014 after more than a decade of remediation and conservation work.

Sunset Park residents and environmental groups pushed hard to get it built, as our colleague Paula Katinas previously reported. Those of us who love Brooklyn’s waterfront say Thank You for their efforts.

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