If ever there was a public-space success story for residents of Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, and DUMBO–and all of us New Yorkers who love awesome things–the development over the past few years of the Brooklyn Bridge Park has to be it. For as long as I can remember this whole area between Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge was littered with unlovely industrial sheds, rotting piers, abandoned buildings.
Sure, up on the Brooklyn Heights promenade, above the BQE, everything was pretty and nice, with those fantastic views of lower Manhattan. But down below, by the water? Forget it. But now that’s all changed, thanks to the combined efforts of the NYC Parks Department and the non-profit Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.
Squibb Bridge Park is Now Open, Connecting Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Heights
Just this month the newest addition to the Brooklyn Bridge Park was completed and opened to the public, the Squibb Park Bridge. Connecting Brooklyn Heights (and Squibb Park, the playground/ball courts/skate-ramp area) to Pier 1, this bouncy, zig-zaggy, open-air pedestrian bridge may not save any travel time as against the until-now usual route of going down steeeeep Columbia Heights Street, but it is way cooler and a lot more fun. The bounciness, especially on the longest stretch near the top, is of course by design, and it is slightly vertigo-inducing. But just look at these views! Once all of the landscaping is complete below, this stretch of Brooklyn Bridge Park will almost certainly be a huge hit with both locals and visitors alike.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has Expansion Plans, Including the Recently-opened Pier 5
Meanwhile, the recently reconstructed Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which opened last December, is getting ready for its first warm-weather seasons. The three sports fields here are in terrific shape, and the adjoining Picnic Peninsula, complete with some 20 hibachi-style grills, was much bigger than I had imagined.
And the excellent ice cream purveyor Ample Hills Creamery is coming to the new Pier 5 concession stand, joining a new all-star line-up of Brooklyn Bridge Park food vendors that includes Luke’s Lobster, No. 7 Sub, and Fornino Pizza, all three of which are setting up shop over in Pier 1 and the nearby Smokestack Building.
Food, fun, sun, crazy pedestrian bridges: Brooklyn Bridge Park is really hitting its stride right now… and just wait until they finish Pier 2 (with tons of sports and recreation facilities) and the Pier 3 uplands (for lounging and relaxing), due in the late fall of this year.