Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP)
85 acres along Brooklyn’s East River waterfront
Year and month completed: Construction began in 2009, with first section opened in March 2010. By the end of 2015, BBP will be 72% complete.
Landscape Architect & Park Structures Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects, P.C.
Lighting Designer: Domingo Gonzalez Associates, Inc.
Marine Engineer & Site Infrastructure Designer: AECOM, DMJM Harris
Structural Engineer: Ysrael A. Seinuk, P.C.
Stormwater Reuse Consultant: Nitsch Engineering & Land Surveying of NY
Soil Scientist: Pine & Swallow Environmental
Signage Designer: Open
Water Feature Designer: R.J. Van Seters Company Limited
Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre urban park along the Brooklyn waterfront. The area was formerly an inaccessible cargo shipping site owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). When PANYNJ announced plans to sell the piers in 1983, the surrounding community began to consider the site’s value as a local resource. A series of community planning workshops were held and a conceptual framework was developed for a waterfront park. In 2002, PANYNJ, Governor George Pataki, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed to transform the piers into public parkland, dedicating State and City funding to the park’s construction. Today, BBP is 56% complete, and due to its enormous popularity, already receives an average of 119,127 visitors on an average summer weekend.
The design and layout of the Park make it a successful addition to the neighborhood, creating a thriving space for active and passive recreation, congregation, and rest. Due to its adjacency to residential neighborhoods, access to varied transit modes, and its unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline, the Park’s site presented exciting opportunities. The Park extends along the East River from Jay Street, north of the Manhattan Bridge, to Atlantic Ave/Pier 6 in the south, and will eventually include 5 retrofitted piers connected throughout by the Park’s Greenway - increasing pedestrian and cyclist connectivity between the previously disparate sections.
Its location also posed significant design challenges, most notably the noise and the disconnection caused by the triple cantilever of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) along almost a mile of the park’s eastern border. In order to offset the noise disturbance, the Park’s landscape architectural team, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., proposed sound-attenuating hills. These hills absorb and deflect traffic noise, thus creating a peaceful environment for the park user.
The Park introduces a variety of uses to a previously nonfunctional and inaccessible industrial waterfront. Amenities span from high-intensity sports courts and dynamic children’s jungle gyms, to flexible-use lawns and relaxing gardens by the water. Combined with a robust schedule of cultural events, environmental education, and fitness classes, the Park’s wide range of amenities and programming allows people to customize their visit to meet their own preferences and needs.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has been successful not only in creating an active play, relaxation and recreation space for residents, but also in developing a sense of identity for a previously underutilized space. In this sense, Brooklyn Bridge Park is uniquely innovative — bolstering community identity by making healthy activity and recreation accessible, enticing, and culturally relevant to a broader population.
Active Design Highlights
For more information, please visit brooklynbridgepark.org.