In the past few years residents of Brooklyn apartments (and brownstones) in DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill have seen–and will continue to see–an enormous transformation along the waterfront in that neck of the borough. And what a (mostly) excellent transformation it’s been so far!
Where once there was decrepit warehouses and piles of industrial trash, we now have the likes of the great Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 1 (lovely paths, nice grass, solid snacks, spectacular views); the new Brooklyn Bridge Park Swimming Pool at Pier 2 (shallow, yes, but never over-crowded and definitely a pleasant place to hang, especially with kids); and the fantastic array of playgrounds (Swing Valley! Slide Mountain! The Water Lab!), beach volleyball, and Bark hot dogs at Pier 6. All of these have added enormous quality-of-life value for Brooklyn residents.
But the work is far from finished along this 85-acre stretch of Brooklyn waterfront here, in the front yard of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill. Which is both good and, possibly, not so good news, depending. The biggest, most highly anticipated (deeply dreaded?) addition is the 550,000-square-foot hotel and condo complex–two separate buildings, the larger of which will be ten stories high–which is slated to begin construction soon right behind Pier 1.
The latest renderings (at top and above) were released last week, prompting a new round of commentary and criticism, but the consensus seems to be that Rogers Marvel Architects is at least being super-sensitive to the need to integrate these luxury residential buildings into public park on which they are built.
The step-up design helps, allowing each story to sport some greenery (and, not incidentally, offers more residents more of those stunning Manhattan skyline views), and white limestone was chosen for the exterior because of the way it reflects the changing light. Much more to come on this story, that’s for sure.
Also on the minds of DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights apartment residents last week? The 70,000-square-foot “Field House” that’s being proposed for Pier 5, thanks to an enormous $40 million donation–the largest ever given to a NYC park–from Joshua P. Rechnitz.
What could be wrong with that? Maybe nothing, but here’s the thing: the vast majority of that field house square footage (larger than a football field!) is taken up by an Olympic-sized velodrome, including a 200-meter inclined indoor cycling track and stadium seating for almost 2,500 spectators.
Yes, there will be some space allotted to basketball, and maybe tennis, in the center of the track, but, really, this is a velodrome… a somewhat esoteric sporting venue for which Rechnitz, an avid amateur track cyclist, has been lobbying the city to build for years, to no avail, and now, some say, by means of his lavish “gift,” he’s simply building one of his own on public land.
Again: stayed tuned. But one thing seems clear. There is more growth slated in and around the waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
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