In March of this year, Pier 1 — the first newly built section of Brooklyn Bridge Park — was opened to the public. Hae-In recently visited the park at night, for the first time since OHNY’s behind-the-scenes preview back in August of 2009. The park has since developed into a true urban oasis, offering lush lawns, meandering walkways and taking full advantage of the beautiful view of downtown Manhattan and the East River. Move over Central Park!

Brooklyn Bridge Park lawn

Located on Brooklyn’s waterfront, right under the Brooklyn Bridge and right by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, the park offers a variety of spaces, including grassy lawn, wooden benches and chairs, and stone steps. There is also a new playground and various food vendors. For decades, the site had been mostly empty and used to function as a shipping terminal, built on landfill. One of the main challenges when designing the new park area was how to take advantage of the dynamic and expansive views of the Manhattan skyline, New York Harbor and Brooklyn Bridge from a relatively flat stretch of land. A 30-foot hill was then constructed from rock that was being excavated for the construction of a Long Island Railroad tunnel under Manhattan, which helped create a large, inviting lawn and slopes that can be traversed by walkways.

There are a variety of other spaces that make up the park, in addition to Pier 1. These will include: Pier 6, Main Street Lot, Tobacco Warehouse, Empire-Fulton Ferry and the “cove” which is a body of water between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. The Empire-Fulton Ferry, closed currently for renovations, will be the new home of Jane Walentas’ carousel. The ride will be housed in a pavilion created by prize winning architect Jean Nouvel and is scheduled to open in Spring 2011.

Nighttime visitors admiring the skyline

Many of the park’s details are also great examples of re-use. The benches are built from a supply of long leaf yellow pine timbers, which were found in one of the warehouses on the piers. Dense, old-growth timber, with a beautiful grain, they were able to salvage, work, and finish the wood.

Steps made from recycled granite

The monumental granite steps are also built with stone from the re-cladding of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, complete with iron stains and discolorations from its former life. Old stone from the Willis Avenue Bridge, which is also being renovated, has been used to form terraces that look out over the constructed salt marsh.

Brooklyn Bridge at night

Completed, the park will be a total of 85 acres and will stretch along 1.3 miles off of the East River (estimated to cost $350 million). There will be six big piers, which will be distinct spaces but also connected by a single pathway, incorporating a variety of programming for everyone to enjoy. Go check it out this weekend, the weather’s supposed to be great! And here’s a little tip — go at night, you will be shocked at how many people are there at 11pm!

Brooklyn Bridge Park
1 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY
Get subway directions via HopStop

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