AUGUST 5, 2010
Reported by Joseph Weishaar, ULI New York Young Leaders Group
On Wednesday August 5th, over 30 members of ULI’s Young Leaders group gathered for a tour of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designed the park, which stretches 1.3 miles along the East River from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue. The park site formerly consisted of storage sheds, parking lots and unused piers.
Although parts of the park are already open, Ellen Ryan, Vice President of the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation, let the ULI group behind the fences for a sneak preview of what is yet to come. The unfinished section of the park will include infrastructure for a variety of outdoor activities including, kayaking, beach volleyball, basketball, soccer, and tetherball. In addition, the park will feature a tidal marshland, which will allow visitors to getter a better sense of the tidal flows of the river.
According to Ms. Ryan, “part of the ethos of the park is sustainability.” To that end, the park has used reclaimed stone and soil from other infrastructure projects in the city. The granite rock used for a series of “river steps” overlooking the harbor came from old the Roosevelt Island Bridge and limestone featured in the park was quarried during the reconstruction of the Willis Avenue Bridge. In addition, over 50,000 cubic yards of soil was salvaged from the Long Island Railroad’s East Side Access project and used as bulk fill for the piers on which the park rests.
The park was designed to be financially sustainable as well as ecologically sustainable. Approximately 10% of site’s land was dedicated to revenue generating activities including concessions, a restaurant, and long-term ground leases for residential developments, including the recently renovated One Brooklyn Bridge Park. This revenue will not only help defray the cost of the park’s development, but will also cover the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the park.