Brooklyn Heights

Your guide to summer in Brooklyn Bridge Park

June 21, 2019 Mary Frost
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Conservancy provides popular cultural, educational and recreational events including movies, concerts and more. Photo by Mary Frost
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You don’t have to go far to take advantage of Brooklyn’s own little riviera: Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Unless you don’t live in Brooklyn — in which case, a) Too bad and b) It’s worth the trip.)

Sun, nature, river breezes and dozens of activities and sports make the 85-acre waterfront park an ideal place to spend an hour or the whole day.

This summer marks the park’s 20th anniversary of programming, so special events are planned by the park conservancy.

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Here’s the Brooklyn Eagle’s comprehensive guide to summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

What to see:

Each pier, terrace and nook in the park has a different feel and its own set of activities. Some people walk or bike through the entire park, stopping here and there for shopping and a bite. Others find their perfect niche and chill out there all day. If you’re walking north to south along the waterfront, here’s what you’ll find.

Empire Fulton Ferry Park

Jane's Carousel draws the attention of passersby in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Jane’s Carousel draws the attention of passersby in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

In the Empire Fulton Ferry section in the park’s north end, you’ll find a rolling grass lawn, picnic meadow, scenic beach overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, and the lovingly restored Jane’s Carousel — a great place to take kids, if you have them, for a ride. (If you don’t have kids, ride anyway.)

Try out the rock climbing at DUMBO Boulders. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Try out the rock climbing at DUMBO Boulders. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

If you feel like rock climbing, walk toward Main Street and try out DUMBO Boulders, the largest outdoor bouldering area in North America. You can rent climbing shoes, and there are lockers for stashing your stuff.

Just east of the carousel is the Empire Stores complex, where you can shop, have a bite or visit the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Pier 1 and Fulton Ferry Landing

So yeah, there are tourists on the ferry to Williamsburg, but Brooklynites are welcome too. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
The best summer mode of transit. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

Heading south, stroll along the pier at Fulton Ferry Landing and check out the view. This is where you can board Bargemusic, a floating chamber music concert hall that offers wonderful classical music year round.

At Pier 1, you can walk around a marsh, relax on the grass, sunbathe and picnic. From the Granite Steps, the island of Manhattan looks serene across the waves. You can also catch the NYC Ferry from here.

Pier 2

Why not get out on the water? Eagle file photo by Mary Frost

Ready for some exercise? Walk on to Pier 2 for free fitness equipment and five acres of basketball, handball, shuffleboard courts, bocce, a roller rink and more. There’s a free kayaking program during the warm season.

Pier 3

Pier 3 is the latest pier to be converted into lush parkland. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Pier 3, covered with green trees. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Walking further south brings you to Pier 3, the latest pier to be converted into parkland. There’s is a lush green space where you can hang out on the central lawn, get lost in the labyrinth, or sit under an umbrella on the terrace.

Pier 4

The “No swimming or wading” signs were blithely ignored as visitors dipped their toes into the East River.
You’re not supposed to swim at this beach — it looks pretty, though. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Pier 4 features a sandy beach and tidal pools at the foot of the ruined, partially submerged pier. There’s a place to launch (non-motorized) boats.

Pier 5

Relaxing at Pier 5 while someone throws something yummy on the fire. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Relaxing at Pier 5, grilling up something yummy. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

For team sports, like flag football and ultimate Frisbee, head to Pier 5’s synthetic turf fields. Spectators can watch the game from the bleachers. There’s also a fishing station at the end of the pier. Next door are two playgrounds for the kids.

Next to Pier 5, boaters can dock at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina. You can learn to sail at the community program there.

Relax under an umbrella while someone throws some shrimps on the fire at the Picnic Peninsula east of Pier 5. Bring your own charcoal or wood chips for the hibachi-style grills.

Pier 6

Brooklynites have a summer of fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park to look forward to this summer. Shown: Kids love the Water Lab at Pier 6. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
Kids love the Water Lab at Pier 6. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Pier 6 features five playgrounds, each with a special focus like swings, ropes or sandboxes. If you have little children, you will definitely want to let them loose at the Water Lab, with its water-jet wading pool and rocky landscape.

Events, events, events 

There are more than 500 free and almost-free events in the park this summer, from movies to music to dance. Here are just a few.

Pilates in the park. Photo courtesy of Etienne Frossard/Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy


Want to try out Hip Hop or Afro-Caribbean dance but don’t know how? On Pier 3 Plaza, Dancewave’s Moving Together program will host group dance classes for children and adults of all ages. Learn hip-hop dancing on July 14, then Afro-Caribbean on Aug. 11.


The Conservancy’s live music series, Unplugged, takes place at Pier 3’s Greenway Terrace. Expect “intimate acoustic sets” by local artists every Friday through Aug. 2.


Experience a fresh take on Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” by New York Classical Theater, which is finishing up a 5-night run from June 18-23 at various spots in the park.


Get a waterfront workout: Exercise classes are held in the park almost every day through the end of august. Options include the music-driven “The Class” by Taryn Toomey, at Pier 2 turf on some Wednesdays; and free outdoor fitness classes by Dodge YMCA, including Sunset Yoga, Salsa, Zumba, Hip Hop Dance Aerobics, and Pilates.


If you want a literary kick to your summer, you can attend Books Beneath the Bridge, a reading series hosted by a different independent bookstore each week from early July through mid-August.


The popular outdoor film series Movies with a View takes place every Thursday evening in July and August on Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn. This summer’s films kick off with “Pariah” on July 11 at 6 p.m. The evenings begin with a DJ set and a short. Food and beverages from Smorgasburg are available all night. See the schedule here.

This is just a taste — there’s much more, from kayak polo to fishing clinics to lessons in seining. See the full calendar for this summer here.

Where to eat

Concessionaires in the park include Ample Hills at Pier 5, Fornino at Pier 6, Lizzmonade, Luke’s Lobster and Pilot. A café from the Pincus Brothers is on its way, as is Ample Hill’s newest outpost at the Historic Fireboat Station.

Time Out Market just opened a rooftop bar at Empire Stores in DUMBO. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Time Out Market just opened a rooftop bar at Empire Stores in DUMBO. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Time Out Market food hall, formal dining options and a rooftop bar can be found at Empire Stores.

And just steps outside of the park are the restaurants, diners and bars of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.

Correction (3:30 p.m.) — This article has been updated with the correct acreage of Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

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