Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre (34 ha) park on the Brooklyn side of the East River in New York City. Designed by landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, 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. The site includes Brooklyn Piers 1–6, the historic Fulton Ferry Landing, and the preexisting Empire–Fulton Ferry and Main Street Parks. Brooklyn Bridge Park is overseen by Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, a not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of the park.
Park construction began on January 28, 2008. The first 6 acres of park opened in March 2010 at Pier 1, including a waterfront promenade, lawns, a playground, and the Granite Prospect. 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.
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. Each of these sections features unique topographies, plantings, amenities, and cultural artifacts and installations. All of the sections are currently open to the public; the Brooklyn–Queens Greenway, spanning the park, is also open.
Pier 1 and Fulton Ferry Landing
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. In addition to these features, Squibb Park Bridge, an award-winning, $4.9 million, 450-foot long pedestrian bridge constructed in Spring 2013, connects Brooklyn Heights’ Squibb Park to Pier 1, creating a critical point of connectivity for the surrounding community.
The Fulton Ferry Landing is directly adjacent to Pier 1. This small section of the park is the site of Brooklyn’s first ferry landing, opened in 1642. Re-opened to the public in 1997, Fulton Ferry Landing provides views of the Manhattan skyline, houses the classical music venue Bargemusic, and is home to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The New York Water Taxi is also accessible from the Landing. Fulton Ferry Landing features custom-designed marine railings that interweaves Walt Whitman’s famous “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” poem with imagery evocative of the Brooklyn Bridge. Bronze relief drawings of local historic scenes are embedded in the pier deck.
The Empire Fulton Ferry section, including this historic 1920 Jane’s Carousel, re-opened in September 2011
A former warehouse dock, Pier 2 opened in May 2014 and is dedicated to active recreation. The Pier contains over five acres of basketball, handball, bocce, and shuffleboard courts, and over half an acre of artificial play turf, fitness equipment, swing sets, and picnic tables available for walk-up use. A wide promenade wraps around the pier, offering views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. Restrooms, lockers, water fountains/bottle refilling stations, and bike racks are also available. The Pier and all facilities are fully ADA accessible.
In November 2013, Brooklyn Bridge Park opened the Pier 3 Greenway Terrace, adding expansive lawns, a granite terrace and the first of the park’s sound attenuating hills. The Pier 3 Greenway Terrace completes the continuous promenade that runs along the water’s edge from Pier 1 to Pier 6.
Built from the remnant of a railroad float transfer bridge that has settled on the river bed, Pier 4 is planted with native species to assist its ongoing evolution as a protected habitat preserve. The beach design incorporates structures designed by ECOncrete to mimic natural tidal pools typically found along rocky coasts. Some of these pools are accessible to visitors. Non-motorized boats can also be launched from the site. Seven tide pools were installed at the beach for the study of marine life. Offshore from the beach is Bird Island, an inaccessible nature preserve built from the remnants of a railroad float transfer bridge.
On December 13, 2012, Pier 5 officially opened. Pier 5 consists of three athletic fields, two playgrounds and a picnic area. 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.Plans are currently underway to develop a Marina at Pier 5, including a state-of-the-art floating dock and wave attenuation system that will provide the calmest waters on New York Harbor.
Pier 6, located at the intersection of Furman Street and Atlantic Avenue, was the second section of parkland to open, in Fall 2010. Pier 6 has a diverse array of amenities, including sand volleyball courts, concessionaires, a dog run, and plantings. 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. 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.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.
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. Prior to this transfer, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation owned, operated, and maintained the parkland which opened in December 2002. Main Street features a nautical-themed playground, a dog run, and expansive lawns that provide views of the Manhattan skyline.