February 26, 2010 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
I’m looking forward to this spring, when a portion of the future 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6 is scheduled to open, followed by Pier 1 scheduled to open this winter, with the entire project expected to be completed by 2012.
Brooklyn Bridge Park will stretch 1.3 miles along the East River from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue and includes Piers 1-6, each approximately the size of Bryant Park, and their uplands. The park will transform this underused and inaccessible stretch into a magnificent public space filled with lawns, recreation, beaches, coves, restored habitats, playgrounds and beautifully landscaped areas incorporating breathtaking vistas and views across the harbor to Manhattan.
Connecting visitors to the waterfront and New York Harbor with floating pathways, the park will have fishing piers, canals, paddling waters and restored wetlands, including pockets of natural landscape recreated on some of the parkland to attract birds and other wildlife.
The planting strategy for Brooklyn Bridge Park is founded on three guiding principles:
1. Create different natural areas that serve individually as gardens but work together to establish a new site ecology
2. Maximize area of shade and cover from the wind
3. Preserve open space
One of the park’s important design goals is to establish the maximum number of sustainable, functioning natural habitats. These may include dunes on Pier 6; a coastal forest on Pier 1 and its upland, and the uplands of Piers 4 and 5; shrubland on Piers 1, 2, and 3 and on the uplands of Piers 5 and 6; a wildflower meadow on the uplands of Piers 2 and 3; and marsh and shallow water habitats on and adjacent to Piers 1 and 4 and between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges; and freshwater swale and wetlands near Piers 2 and 3.
The entrances to the proposed Project at Atlantic Avenue, at Fulton Ferry Landing, and in D.U.M.B.O (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” the acronym for the neighborhood located in that vicinity) are designed so that at each entrance visitors will have access to a wide range of amenities nearby and would not have to walk long distances to arrive at playgrounds and lawn areas.
At an estimated cost of 130 million dollars, the Brooklyn Bridge Park is the most significant park development in Brooklyn since Prospect Park, designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, was built 135 years ago.