Sunset Park

A waterfront walk around Bush Terminal Park

Eye on Real Estate: Brooklyn’s quirky green spaces. (Part Two)

June 26, 2019 Lore Croghan
Bush Terminal Park is a quirky green space that was formerly a toxic illegal dump. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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If you really know the Brooklyn waterfront’s public access points, you’ve probably visited Bush Terminal Park.

But have you seen the back door to this austere and lovely (yes, both) recreation area on Sunset Park’s shoreline?

You get a tantalizing glimpse of the waterfront on the pathway to Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
You get a tantalizing glimpse of the waterfront on the pathway to Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

I love this quirky Brooklyn green space. When I’m there, I think about how it was a toxic illegal dump in the 1970s that has been redeemed.

The fix-up required a lot of cash — some $40 million in federal, state and city money. Brownfield remediation (a special EPA program) was involved. The project took more than a decade.

Some promised amenities have still not been built. Still, Bush Terminal Park is a tranquil oasis where you can sit and watch the ships in the harbor, or smile at Lady Liberty, put on your sunglasses and read, or play a game of soccer or baseball.

A colorful mural along the way

You’ll see this mural when you head towards Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
You’ll see this mural when you head towards Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

In the past, I’ve started my Bush Terminal Park strolls at its main entrance on 43rd Street. It’s marked with an archway with the park’s name emblazoned on it.

But there’s also a 50th Street entrance, which I had never tried out.

Jonathan Sperling wrote a story for our sister publication, the Brooklyn Reporter, about the 2017 debut of this park entrance.

To find the paved pathway that leads to the park, you walk along First Avenue until you find an opening in a chain-link fence. The day I made my visit, restaurant-supply store McDonald Paper put out a sidewalk sign with an arrow pointing towards the path.

This is a convenient entryway if you take the NYC Ferry to Sunset Park. The ferry landing is at 58th Street. The 50th Street entrance to Bush Terminal Park is also a good thing for Bay Ridge residents.

As you walk along the path from First Avenue, you’ll see a colorful mural.

Honey bees and bronze statues

Look but don’t touch. Sharp thistles frame a view of sports fields at Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Look but don’t touch. Sharp thistles frame a view of sports fields at Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Just when you start to think you’re heading towards a dead-end, there’s a sharp turn and you’re in the park, in front of a flower bed buzzing with honey bees.

On my recent stroll, I followed winding walkways up a hill with a meadow of picturesque thistles and down to the water’s edge. The sky was nearly purple because of an approaching storm.

In the distance, One World Trade Center rose like a mirage.

An impending storm casts lurid light over the waters off Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
An impending storm casts lurid light over the waters off Bush Terminal Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Waters along the shoreline reflected nearby trees like a mirror.

When it was about to start pouring rain, I reluctantly left Bush Terminal Park by walking through the front entrance. I passed an eye-catching brick building with a bronze statue of Irving T. Bush standing on a pedestal above a door.

He built the mammoth port from which the park gets its name.

There’s a statue of Irving T. Bush over the door of this building. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
There’s a statue of Irving T. Bush over the door of this building. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.


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