Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is located in New York City
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Type Urban park
Location 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York 11201
United States
Coordinates 40°41′51″N 73°59′57″W / 40.69750°N 73.99917°W / 40.69750; -73.99917Coordinates: 40°41′51″N 73°59′57″W / 40.69750°N 73.99917°W / 40.69750; -73.99917
Area 85-acre (34 ha)
Created 2008 – present
Designer Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Operated by Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
Open All year
Status Partially open; unopened portion under construction
Overview of Pier 1 with Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge in background, August 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre (34 ha) park on the Brooklyn side of the East River in New York City. The park has revitalized 1.3-mile (2.1 km) of Brooklyn's post-industrial waterfront from Atlantic Avenue in the south, under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and past the Brooklyn Bridge, to Jay Street north of the Manhattan Bridge.[1] The site includes Brooklyn Piers 1–6, the historic Fulton Ferry Landing, and the preexisting Empire–Fulton Ferry and Main Street Parks. Two Civil War-era structures, Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse, will also be integrated into the park.[1]


Port history[edit]

In 1642 the first ferry landing opened on the land that is now Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Empire Fulton Ferry section. Soon after a thriving trading economy developed into a small town called “het Veer,” meaning “the Ferry”.[2] As het Veer grew throughout the 17th century, it became known as the “Road to the Ferry”.[3]

On August 29, 1776 het Veer served as a crucial strategic location for George Washington and the Continental Army in the American Revolution’s Battle of Long Island. In the middle of the night, George Washington and his men evaded the British Army, who were quickly gaining upon the Continental Army, by escaping across the East River to Manhattan.[4]

As the 18th century came to a close, additional ferry services were added to this waterfront community, including docking points for the “Catherine Street Ferry” and the first steamboat ferry landing that was created by Robert Fulton—this eventually became known as the Fulton Ferry Landing.[3] The community continued to grow into the 19th Century as Brooklyn Heights developed into a residential neighborhood. By the 1850s, Brooklyn City Railroad rail lines were installed at the Fulton Ferry Landing.[3]

During this boom period, brick warehouse development proliferated along the waterfront. In fact, the area soon became known as “the walled city”.[3] In addition to the warehouses, the Empire Stores were constructed between 1870 and 1885.[5]

In 1883 the face of the city changed forever—the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed.[6] While the Brooklyn Bridge formed a needed link between Manhattan and Brooklyn, it also disrupted ferry traffic. The Manhattan Bridge, developed in 1909, further disrupted trade to this section of the East River. The addition of these two crucial bridges resulted in the demise of this waterfront and the closing of the Fulton Ferry Landing in 1924.[3]

Further disrupting the waterfront economy was the construction of the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in 1950 and 1952.[3] These two developments effectively separated Brooklyn Heights from the waterfront.

Throughout the 1950s, over 130 warehouses and 25 finger piers were demolished along Brooklyn’s waterfront. In order to accommodate larger ships and cargo, the New York Dock Company built 13 new piers between 1956 and 1964—this development includes Piers 1–3 and 5–6 of what is currently Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pier 2 was not developed until 1958.[3] However, as trade technology advanced, so did trade routes. By the 1970 much of the Brooklyn waterfront developments were largely barren and decrepit, causing the Port Authority to end cargo ship operations in 1983.[2]

Many of these warehouses were demolished by the end of the 20th century. However, the warehouses on the piers comprising Brooklyn Bridge Park were not demolished until the park began its construction in 2008.[3] In 2011 Brooklyn Bridge Park won the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence silver medal.[7]

Park history[edit]


Pier 5 and 6 under construction (April 2012)
Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, January 2010

In 1984, shortly after closing cargo ship operations on this stretch of waterfront, the Port Authority decided to sell the vacant piers for commercial development.[8] In response to these plans, the not-for-profit organization Friends of Fulton Ferry Landing was established in 1985, conceiving the idea of Brooklyn Bridge Park.[8]

As the Friends of Fulton Ferry Landing grew, its name changed in 1989 to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, an organization dedicated to advocating for the park’s creation, which is now known as the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.[9] With planning for the waterfront commencing, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden established the Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation (LDC) in 1998 to complete a year-long planning and visioning process for Brooklyn Bridge Park.[10] With $1 million in funding secured by New York State Senator Martin Connor and Assemblywoman Joan Millman, the LDC began an intense public outreach process—these efforts culminated in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Illustrative Master Plan, published in September 2000.[11]

On May 2, 2002 Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which New York State and the City of New York agreed to create, develop, and operate Brooklyn Bridge Park on 85 acres of the East River waterfront, stretching from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street.[12] The MOU also formed the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) to develop the park, following the guidelines as established by the Illustrative Master Plan.[12] To begin the first-phase of construction, New York State, New York City, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contributed a portion of the $360 million of capital funding for a complete park build out. To ensure the park is fiscally sustainable throughout the years, the MOU mandates that all maintenance and operations of the park are required to be economically self-sufficient, financed through revenues from commercial and residential development within the site.[12]

In 2004, BBPDC hired Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., a landscape architecture firm, to plan, design, and prepare a master plan for the full development of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Subsequently, the park’s Master Plan was released in 2005 and the General Project Plan was approved in 2006 and then modified in 2010.[13] In 2011, a new MOU was signed, granting further funding for parkland construction and outlining the requirements for commercial and residential development.[14]


Night view during construction
Park from the Brooklyn Bridge
Inverted suspension bridge

Park construction began on Monday, January 28, 2008.[15] The first 6 acres of park opened in March 2010 at Pier 1, including a waterfront promenade, lawns, a playground, and the Granite Prospect.[16] Later that summer nearly 12 acres of parkland opened on Pier 6 and the Pier 2 uplands, bringing diverse playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, concessionaires, and natural habitats to the park.[17]

With Piers 1 and 6 open to the public, the not-for profit entity Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, was established to continue parkland construction and plan for park maintenance and operation.[18] The Empire Fulton Ferry section, including this historic 1920 Jane's Carousel, re-opened in September 2011.[19]


Brooklyn Bridge Park spans 85 acres of the East River waterfront in the Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo neighborhoods of Brooklyn. The park is divided into eleven sections: Piers 1 through 6, Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, Empire Fulton Ferry, Main Street, and John Street.[11] Each of these sections features unique topographies, plantings, amenities, and cultural artifacts and installations. Piers 1 and 6, Empire Fulton Ferry, Fulton Ferry Landing, and Main Street are currently open to the public. Pier 5 is scheduled to open in Fall 2012.[20]

Pier 1 and Fulton Ferry Landing[edit]

Pier 1 was the first section of parkland opened in March 2010.[16] The pier is Brooklyn Bridge Park’s largest and is the only one constructed on a landfill, rather than a pile-supported structure. The area includes two landscaped lawns overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor, a native salt marsh, a waterfront promenade, a granite prospect, a playground, and concessionaires.[21] Two development sites, slated to contain a 200-room hotel, 159 residential units, as well as restaurants and other public/private spaces, are located along Furman Street and are scheduled to open by Fall 2015.[22] The East River Ferry is also accessible on Pier 1. In addition to these features, Squibb Park Bridge, an award-winning, $4.9 million pedestrian bridge, connects Brooklyn Heights’ Squibb Park to Pier 1, creating a critical point of connectivity for the surrounding community.[23]

The Fulton Ferry Landing is directly adjacent to Pier 1. This small section of the park is historically significant—it is the site of Brooklyn’s first ferry landing, opened in 1642.[2] Today, Fulton Ferry Landing provides spectacular views of Manhattan, houses the cultural amenity Bargemusic, and is home to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The New York Water Taxi is also accessible from the Landing.[24]

Pier 5[edit]

On December 13, 2012, Pier 5 officially opened.[25] Pier 5 consists of three athletic fields, two playgrounds and a picnic area, costing $26 million to develop the 5 acre site.[25] The athletic fields are made of synthetic turf and will predominantly be used for soccer and can also accommodate lacrosse, cricket, rugby and ultimate Frisbee. The fields will be available for youth and adult leagues, as well as for private and public schools. St. Francis College will host its Division I men's soccer home games at Pier 5 beginning in 2013.[26] The first Division I game at Pier 5 was held on September 10th, 2013, as the St. Francis Terriers hosted and defeated the St. Peter's University Peacocks 3-1.[27]

The inland portion of Pier 5 features 2 playgrounds and 57 picnic tables along with two dozen grills scattered around the picnic area. There are also tetherball courts and a child-size telescope.

Pier 6[edit]

Pier 6, located at the intersection of Furman Street and Atlantic Avenue, was the second section of parkland to open in Fall 2010.[17] Pier 6 has a diverse array of amenities, including sand volleyball courts, concessionaires, a dog run, and plantings.[28] The pier also contains four themed playgrounds which span over 1.6 acres, including Swing Valley, Slide Mountain, Sandbox Village, and a Water Lab. The seasonal Governor’s Island Ferry is also located here, providing a link between Brooklyn and Governors Island.[29] Native plantings are a prominent feature of this section of the park, including a Marsh Garden and 15,000 square feet of organically maintained lawns.[28] Portions of Pier 6 remain undeveloped and unfunded, including two development sites located on the upland portion of the pier and an expansive meadow on the pier itself.[30]

Main Street[edit]

Jane's Carousel

Spanning 4.8 acres of the eastern section of parkland, Main Street came under the jurisdiction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation on December 1, 2010.[31] Prior to this transfer, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation owned, operated, and maintained the parkland which opened in December 2002.[31] Main Street features a nautical-themed playground, a dog run, and expansive lawns that provide views of the Manhattan skyline.[32]

Empire-Fulton Ferry[edit]

The Empire–Fulton Ferry section of the park is 4.5 acres of waterfront parkland that is directly adjacent to Main Street.[33] This part of the park was formerly a state park, but was incorporated into Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2009.[34] The part of the park offers a lawn with picnic tables and a boardwalk with views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Lower Manhattan.

Two Civil-War era structures, the Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores, are also located on the site. The Tobacco Warehouse lacks a roof, and is used for outdoor concerts and similar events. Plans to renovate these aging structures are underway.[35]

In 2013, Brooklyn developer Midtown Equities was selected to redevelop the abandoned Empire Stores warehouses into a mix of commercial, retail and office space, with design by STUDIO V Architecture.[36][37]

After reconstruction the western part of the park opened in late summer 2011 with new park plantings, improved lighting, and a restored 1922 carousel, purchased from Idora Park, Youngstown and housed in a pavilion designed by architect Jean Nouvel, which opened September 15, 2011.[38][39]


  1. ^ a b "Governor Paterson Announces Major Step for Brooklyn Bridge Park" (Press release). June 20, 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Brooklyn Bridge Park: Site History". Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Chapter 7. Historical Resources (Report). December 12, 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2013-09-06. "Empire State Development Corporation"
  4. ^ "Battle of Long Island, 26–29 August 1776". Retrieved 2013-09-06. "Military History Encyclopedia on the Web" 
  5. ^ "Endangered Buildings Initiative". The New York Landmarks Conservancy. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  6. ^ "NYCDOT Bridges Information". New York City Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  7. ^ "Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence". Bruner Foundation. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  8. ^ a b "Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Chapter 1. Project Description, Project Planning". December 12, 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2013-09-06. "Empire State Development Corporation" 
  9. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  10. ^ Waldman, Amy (January 25, 1998). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: BROOKLYN WATERFRONT; One Park, Many Squabbles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  11. ^ a b "Brooklyn Bridge Park, The Park". Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  12. ^ a b c Memorandum of Understanding, Brooklyn Bridge Park (Report). May 2, 2005. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  13. ^ Modified General Project Plan (Report). June 15, 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  14. ^ Memorandum of Understanding (Report). August 1, 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  15. ^ "Brooklyn Bridge Park Construction Begins". The New York Sun. January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  16. ^ a b "Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg Open First Section of Brooklyn Bridge Park" (Press release). New York State. March 22, 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  17. ^ a b "Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Patterson and Local Elected Officials Open Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Kick Off Governor’s Island’s 2010 Public Season" (Press release). New York City. June 5, 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  18. ^ "Brooklyn Bridge Park, About Us". Brooklyn Bridge Park. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  19. ^ "Pier 5". Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  20. ^ "Pier 1". Archived from the original on 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  21. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg Announces Selection of Toll Brothers/Starwood Capital Group Joint Venture to Develop Hotel and Residential Complex at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park" (Press release). June 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  22. ^ "Impressive Feat, HNTB’s Pedestrian Bridge to Brooklyn Bridge Park". May 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  23. ^ "Fulton Ferry Landing". Archived from the original on 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  24. ^ a b "Fields and Picnic Area Open in Brooklyn Park". Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  25. ^ "Men's Soccer Team Has a New Home at Pier 5 Brooklyn Bridge Park". Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  26. ^ "In the Bag: Bagot's Two Goals Seals Home Opener For Terriers on Tuesday Night". Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Pier 6". Archived from the original on 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  29. ^ "Park Phasing". Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  30. ^ a b "Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Assumes Management of Main Street Portion of Park" (Press release). December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  31. ^ "Main Street". Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  32. ^ "Empire Fulton Ferry". Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  33. ^ Calder, Rich (December 17, 2009). "Brooklyn Bridge Park finally set to open". New York Post. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "Agreement Reached with Local Community and Preservation Groups to Provide Expansion of Brooklyn Bridge Park" (Press release). May 21, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  35. ^ Dunlap, David (September 25, 2013). "Another Pass at Revitalizing Abandoned Warehouse Space on the Waterfront". (The New York Times). Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  36. ^ Chaban, Matt (August 25, 2013). "Local Developer Chosen to Transform Brooklyn Bridge Area". New York Daily News. 
  37. ^ Official site Jane's Carousel

External links[edit]