By William Beavers
Our Summer in NYC Parks – series continues with the introduction to Brooklyn Bridge Park, a spectacular new public space to explore and enjoy.
When you visit a number of New York’s parks, most notably Central and Prospect Parks, you wander through acres of lovely fields and woodlands. But Brooklyn Bridge Park is something completely different. Stretching more than a mile along the East River, this 85-acre park on the Brooklyn side of the East River offers dazzling waterfront views, numerous one-of-a-kind features, and plenty to please children and adults alike.
The park is divided into 11 sections: Piers 1 through 6, Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, Empire Fulton Ferry, Main Street and John Street. Each section has its own distinctive character, plantings and amenities.
Pier 2, for instance, is designed for “active recreation”—basketball, roller skating, handball, sporting leagues and picnics. There’s even a 30 by 50 foot Pop-Up Pool that maxes out at a depth of 3½ feet, making it just right for grandkids. Or head to Pier 6 which has wonderfully landscaped play spaces, including the Water Lab, which features a water-jet field and possibly the largest sandbox in New York City.
On the other hand, if you want to experience a truly peaceful space, Pier 3 has shady seating nooks beneath Metasequoia trees, two lawns, and the sweeping Granite Terrace that offers spectacular views of the New York Harbor. Take a few minutes for a peaceful stroll along the sound-attenuating hill that cleverly shuts out noise from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
Be sure to click here for open hours and directions to all facilities. The park has a lot of free events including exhibitions and concerts. Listed in this article is the only a taste of the Park’s impressive slate of offerings. Click here for full Park Calendar.
Youth Basketball Clinics will be offered by Big and Little Skills Academy, which will also conduct structured 3-on-3 tournaments. This is a great event to take the younger members of the family. Participants learn the importance of fitness, teamwork, unity and sportsmanship, thus enhancing overall personal development. To be held 5-7 pm Thurs. and 12-2 pm Sun. until Aug. 23.
A Free Outdoor Film Series will also be taking place on the Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn this summer. Scheduled features include Attack the Block (2011 R) July 23, Clue (1985 PG) July 30, and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964 PG).
The Hindu Lamp Ceremony, Sat, Aug. 1, 4 pm, is intended to help bring peace and harmony to our shoreline. Aeilushi Mistry will perform the traditional Hindu Aarti Ceremony at Brooklyn Bridge Park and there will be a dance performance by the Artichoke Dance Company!
Jazzmobile will bring seven-time Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band to the Park this summer. Blending Latin music, funk, rock, R&B, gospel, rap and, of course, jazz, this is a musical experience not to be missed. Mon, Aug, 17, 7 pm.
Held on the Granite Terrace, Summer Reading Storytime beguiles children with stories read by librarians from the Brooklyn Public Library. Every Tues. from July 14 to Aug. 18. Afterward, keep enjoying the sunshine at one of the excellent nearby playgrounds.
Photoville, sponsored by United Photo Industries, returns to the Park this summer offering its incredible photography exhibition spread across more than 60 repurposed shipping containers. Photoville features installations, talks, workshops, nighttime projections, and more. In addition, UPI’s park-wide installation, The Fence, also returns this summer.
Coming this fall to Harbor View Lawn Pier 1 will be the Kite Festival. Watch your kite soar above the Manhattan skyline. Kites will be available for purchase or you can bring your own. And don’t forget your camera since it’s a great day for photos. Sat. Sept. 19, 11 am – 3 pm.
Piers 2, 5 and 6 all offer Family Field Days where kids can play an assortment of games from potato sack and hula hoop races to parachute games to learning soccer skills and even scrimmage games.
Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s whimsical park-wide installation, Please Touch the Art, features 18 playful sculptures designed specifically for public interaction. These include a mirror labyrinth, a scavenger hunt and sculptures doubling as park benches.
Brief History of Brooklyn Waterfront
Fulton’s Ferry Landing had its own active commercial life long before the construction of Brooklyn Bridge. It was when the bridge opened in 1883 that the area’s vibrancy began to fade. This decline was worsened by the opening of Manhattan Bridge in 1909. But the coup de grâce came to the waterfront with the construction of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (1950 and 1954, respectively), which effectively severed it from the neighborhood.
So the relatively new $360 million Brooklyn Bridge Park (phased opening began 2010) with its fun new catwalks and serpentine entryways, returns residents to the Brooklyn waterfront in a way they haven’t enjoyed since the 19th century. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a world-class waterfront park with rolling hills, riverfront promenades, lush gardens, and spectacular city views. You owe it to yourself and your children to visit this vibrant new public space.
William Beavers is a New York writer and author of the “New York City Culture Catalog” (Abrams/Alliance for the Arts). Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org