Search results for "Brooklyn"

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Monumental Gains for Women

Brooklyn is slated to erect two statues in honor of Shirley Chisholm
In a city boasting nearly 150 monuments of different men, pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm is set to get not one, but two statues in her honor. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., (D-36) have announced separate efforts to erect public artworks in Brooklyn memorializing the legacy of Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress. As a former educator and decades-long state legislator, the Brooklyn-born Chisholm inspired a whole generation of women to seek public office. She served New York’s 12th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1983 and was the first women to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1972. The mayor’s effort to celebrate her life is spearheaded by She Built NYC, an initiative developed to honor the trailblazing historic women who’ve made an impact on New York. After being nominated during an open call this summer, Chisholm was chosen as the first woman in the program to be honored with a statue. It will be installed outside the Parkside entrance of Prospect Park in 2020. The artist who will design the project will be unveiled early next year.  Council Member Cornegy’s move to commemorate Chisholm’s work is part of a community cultural initiative aimed at highlighting people of color who’ve specifically influenced the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, where Chisholm grew up, and northern Crown Heights. This statue, unveiled in a maquette, will be designed by renowned artist Sterling Brown, Jr., in conjunction with the Crown Heights North Association. It’s set to be installed by July 2019 in Brower Park by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, a two-mile walk from the larger, Olmsted Vaux–designed Prospect Park. Hers will be one of four statues that honor some of the community’s iconic leaders. Once erected, Chisholm’s monuments will make her the city’s fifth female figure to be memorialized in bronze or stone. The Department of Parks announced in August that suffragette leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony will receive a statue together in Central Park next fall.
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Oh Honey Honey

Brooklyn’s Domino Park blends industrial chic with careful pacing
For the first time in 160 years, a 6-acre span on the East River waterfront in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge is open to the public. Located in front of the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) designed Domino Park to inspire curiosity about the site’s history while including new materials to balance its unique identity with performance. A unifying element in Domino Park is its artifact walk that weaves throughout the site. According to Lisa Switkin, senior principal at JCFO, “Integrating the artifact walk with custom furniture made from reclaimed wood from the Raw Sugar Warehouse creates a unique experience where people come into contact with remnants of the original refinery and have an up-close relationship with those artifacts.” Throughout the park, JFCO-designed benches, tables, and chaise lounges create texture and a sense of community. The elevated walkway is supported by beams from the refinery, while other factory elements such as columns, lattice beams, and a loading dock are incorporated throughout. Stadium-style seating made out of the refinery’s salvaged wood creates a central gathering space in front of a water feature by Soucy Aquatik. The refinery’s influence is also evident in the playground, designed by Mark Reigelman, with its many nods to factory structures. It also incorporates part of the factory’s old floors. The park is organized into three areas. Each is connected by Hanover pavers selected in a mix of finishes for durability and color, “keeping with the tough, industrial look as well as maintenance and loading requirements,” said Switkin. The most active area, in the southern end, holds a dog park, a picnic playground, a bocce ball court, and a tennis court. The middle area is dotted with lawn chairs and features a fog bridge. The recreational stretch in the north houses the lawn, a beach, the playground, and the elevated walkway. Tectura pavers were chosen for the walkway because of the manufacturer’s ability to produce the long-format precast concrete planks needed to fit the dimensions of the walkway and meet the load criteria. Introducing new lighting by BEGA, Sentry Electric, and LED Linear, along with Landscape Forms’ Ring Bike Racks and Chase Park Receptacles, JCFO was able to work with materials that are highly durable and sustainable. Switkin explained, “These products created a dynamic urbanscape to activate the neighborhood.” Master Planner: SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations Landscape Architect: James Corner Field Operations General Contractor: Kelco Pavers: Hanover Architectural Products, Tectura Designs Lighting: BEGA, Sentry Electric, LED Linear Furniture: Custom benches, tables, and seating steps made with reclaimed wood from Raw Sugar Warehouse, Landscape Forms' Ring Bike Rack and Chase Park Receptacle, Elkay Drinking Fountains Fog Bridge: Soucy Aquatik Playground Designer: Mark Reigelman Custom Playground Equipment: Landscape Structures
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Intellectual Appetite

Art platform e-flux opens bar and restaurant in Brooklyn
e-flux, the New York–based orgnaization best known for its criticism and theory in art and architecture, has branched out in a rather unexpected direction: a bar and restaurant. Situated in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, not far from the Pratt Institute, Bar Laika extends e-flux’s ability to do programming beyond their small Lower East Side main location and in more hangout friendly digs. The new space also has some design pedigree: Alvar Aalto lighting adorns the space and seating was provided in part by Artek and Vitra. The name Laika means “barker” in Russian and is a common dog name, much like Spot or Rover in the U.S. It also happens to be the name of the first dog in space. Bar Laika’s local seafood-heavy menu was developed in collaboration with artist and chef Hsiao Chen and the cocktail list was put together by another artist, Danna Vajda. Wines were selected by Florence Barth. The bar will also be pairing screenings and other programming with special set menus, some put together by participating artists. Like their downtown space, Bar Laika will be used for screenings, talks, musical performances, and readings which are being organized by Lily Lewis and Anton Vidokle, along with curator and chef Ingrid Erstad. Bar Laika launched earlier this month with dinner and a screening of Anri Sala’s 1998 film Intervista.
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Brooklyn Gang

Studio Gang’s undulating Brooklyn tower launches sales
Sales have officially begun for 11 Hoyt Street, Downtown Brooklyn’s upcoming 770,000-square-foot residential tower designed by Studio Gang Architects. The 480-unit curvilinear skyscraper is impressive by virtue of its unique shape and gigantic size; its 57 stories occupy a full city block. Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang is leading the project, with plans to transform the site of a once-dismal parking garage into one of the tallest and most luxurious skyscrapers in Brooklyn—a modern work of art. The proposed building is noteworthy for its beveled and undulating facade, which differs drastically from the ubiquitous glass skyscrapers that currently populate the area. Each window on 11 Hoyt will be individually framed by the building's precast concrete skeleton, with multiple sections extruding outward to form a diagonal, rippling wave pattern across the height of the tower. When the sun shines down on the facade, it will create a unique play of shadows that will accentuate the building’s animated and flexible appearance, while highlighting its glass and concrete sculptural elements. The project site, bordered on four sides by Hoyt Street, Elm Place, Fulton Street, and Livingston Street, is conveniently situated just blocks away from multiple subway lines. Residents who choose to approach the building by car can enter through the outdoor-landscaped porte-cochere, which connects directly to the main lobby. There are a total of 480 units in the building, with interiors designed by London-based Michaelis Boyd Associates. The smallest studios start at $600,000, and the largest four-bedroom unit is priced at $3,400,000. While the floor plans come in nearly 200 different variations, each unit has ten-foot ceilings and eight-foot-tall windows with spectacular views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn, and Queens. Over 55,000 square feet of indoor amenities can be found at the base of the skyscraper, including a lavish cinema, cocktail lounge, library, performance space, private dining area, study lounge, and virtual game room equipped with a golf simulator. A separate Sky Lounge can be found on the 32nd floor. Perhaps 11 Hoyt’s most notable amenity is its 27,000-square-foot private elevated park located atop the second floor, which will become the largest in all of New York City for any residential building. The landscape, designed by Edmund Hollander Design, will hold a sun deck, fitness area, hot tub, children’s play area, and multiple lounge areas. Next to the private residential park will be the “Park Club,” a massive space that will house a 75-foot saltwater swimming pool and a private fitness center designed by The Wright Fit. “From the world-class design and extraordinary, unique amenity offering to the vast, elevated private park, 11 Hoyt raises the bar in the Downtown Brooklyn residential marketplace,” Erik Rose, managing director of Tishman Speyer, the building's developer, told Yimby. “We are incredibly proud to be launching sales for this unmatched residential product and we know it presents a tremendous opportunity for discerning buyers." The project is expected to be complete sometime in 2020.
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Up, Up, and Away

The Brooklyn Navy Yard goes vertical for the next phase of its life
After the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) revealed a $2.5-billion expansion plan for the Yard in January of this year, it became clear that, with all of the existing buildings renovated, the only place left to go was up. Now, the BNYDC has released a slew of renderings from the Yard’s master planners, WXY, and a guide to development in the waterfront campus for the next 30 years. How will the Yard add an additional 5.1 million square feet of floor space to the already built-out campus? The BNYDC will be building on three available sites along Flushing Avenue, Navy Street, and Kent Avenue, and to accommodate the wide, open spaces that industrial manufacturers require, will be leaning into a strategy of “vertical manufacturing.” Transportation upgrades for both those who work in the Yard and the general public, and wayfinding improvements, have also been included. The heavy commitment to vertical manufacturing—which places large, floorplate-spanning manufacturing zones at the base of each building, with packaging and offices above—is part of the Navy Yard’s commitment to bolstering industrial manufacturing. Of the 10,000 new jobs the expansion is expected to support, 75 percent of them have been set aside for manufacturers, with technology office space and service jobs expected to fill in the remaining 25 percent. The currently vacant Kent Street lot sits on the Yard’s northern corner, right off of the Barge Basin Loop inlet. Two buildings totaling 2.7 million square feet would rise on the waterfront, as well as a public esplanade where manufacturers could directly showcase their products. At the Flushing Avenue site, which is still partially owned by the federal government and sits on the southern portion of the Navy Yard near the recently completed Building 77, two more buildings will rise for another 1.4 million square feet of mostly manufacturing space. Both of these buildings, which WXY has designed with an industrial feel and linked with several sky bridges, have been tentatively planned for food manufacturing. The parcel could also potentially link up with a pedestrian flyway from the waterfront that would run through W9’s Dock 72 building and allow ferry passengers to walk over the Navy Yard to reach the street. The Navy Street lot, currently an NYPD tow pound at the campus’s Sands Street entrance, would hold two new buildings on either side of a public plaza. WXY and the BNYDC have proposed a possible public museum of science and technology for the larger building, with the other housing classrooms, STEM development programs, and workforce development space. The same saw-toothed roof profile was used for both Navy Street buildings in the renderings, but more importantly, none of the new proposed projects overshadow the existing developments. WXY has also proposed a “historic core” area for biking and walking, which truck traffic would be routed around. “Forward-thinking cities like New York are using urban design to grow districts that support new kinds of jobs in urban industrial and maker settings,” said WXY managing principal Adam Lubinsky, who also led the master planning team. “The Brooklyn Navy Yard is leading the way, showing how to create and integrate valuable public space and amenities, multi-modal transit and streets, and state-of-the-art vertical manufacturing buildings, which will boost the Yard’s economic impact.” Residents interested in touring the Navy Yard can do so on October 2, where David Ehrenberg and Claire Weisz will discuss the future of the 300-acre Yard. Tours of Building 77, New Lab, the BNY Bridge, and Dock 72 will also be available beforehand.
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On the Books

WORKac to design Brooklyn Public Library’s first new branch in 35 years
For the first time in 35 years, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is building a new branch dedicated to serving the communities in DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and the Farragut Houses. With a design by New York firm WORKac, the library is set to become the 60th branch in the system. So far, no design details have been announced, but WORKac will begin an extensive community engagement process this fall to determine the main design priorities for local residents. It will be located at 135 Plymouth Street—just underneath the Manhattan Bridge inside Alloy Development’s One John Street residential complex—and will feature 6,500 square feet of space for flexible programming, book lending services, and desks for working. The project is part of BPL’s major effort to update aging infrastructure in one-third of its branches over the next five years. Thirteen libraries will undergo full-scale renovations while three libraries (Brooklyn Heights Library, Greenpoint Library, and Sunset Park Library) will be entirely reconstructed. The newest branch in DUMBO is expected to be completed by 2020, with an estimated construction start in mid-2019.   WORKac has a long history of working on public projects with the City of New York, including libraries, schools, and historic retrofits. The firm finished the much-anticipated renovation and expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens last fall, bringing structural upgrades, a bright new interior, and an elongated green roof to the 10,000 square-foot space. In addition, WORKac designed the inaugural Edible Schoolyard for P.S. 216 in Brooklyn as well as the more recently-completed second schoolyard at P.S. 7 in East Harlem.
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Trails for Miles and Miles

Shirley Chisholm State Park is coming to Central Brooklyn next summer
Central Brooklyn will soon be the home of New York City’s largest state park, which will be opening next summer according to 6sqft. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the first phase of Shirley Chisholm State Park, a 407-acre piece of land on Jamaica Bay, will be finished by mid-2019. Named after Brooklyn native Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, the new parkland will include 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, an amphitheater, and more on top of two former landfills. The project will open up 3.5 miles of waterfront with areas accessible for kayakers and beach-goers. The initial build-out will also include a bike path that will connect the former landfill sites at Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenues, allowing visitors to easily approach both sides of the park to take advantage of the educational facilities and comfort stations placed throughout. The massive project falls under the governor’s “Vital Brooklyn” initiative, a $1.4-billion plan that funnels the state’s financial resources to community-based health programs, affordable housing, and recreational spaces in the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Bushwick, Flatbush, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, Ocean Hill, and East New York. For the park project, planning began 16 years ago when the site remediation process started to make way for the landfill sites’ potential future use. In 2002 the NYC Department of Environmental Protection installed over 1.2 million cubic yards of clean soil and planted 35,000 trees and shrubs. Over time, a diverse ecosystem of coastal meadows, wetlands, and woodlands has grown, resulting in the area as it exists today. The first phase of the park’s construction will use $20 million to open up the restored site and create a new waterfront. Next fall after the park opens, public meetings will be held to discuss the second phase of the design, which may include the amphitheater, an environmental education center, and a cable ferry.
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Art of Texting

Brooklyn Museum will activate its public spaces with a year of text-based installations
Beginning in September, the Brooklyn Museum will bring four site-specific installations to its indoor and outdoor public spaces. The installations, which will include existing and new works, are part of Something to Say, a year-long exhibition that will highlight the museum's role in civic conversation through text-based works installed in its entry pavilion, plaza, and lobby, all of which were designed by Ennead Architects. The exhibition is curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, the museum's director of curatorial affairs, and Carmen Hermo, associate curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum. The four selected artists are all Brooklyn-based and include Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Hank Willis Thomas, and Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine (BHAM), a Crown Heights–based collaborative art project of Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney. All four grapple with text and language in their work. BHAM's woven text work, DO NOT DISAPPEAR INTO SILENCE, will take over the facade of the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion, reflecting the duo's concerns about gentrification and the role of artists to speak about and with silenced communities. Deborah Kass's giant, eight-foot-tall OY/YO sculpture, which was most recently displayed on the North Fifth Street pier in Williamsburg, will be installed on the museum's plaza and reflects a polyglot sensibility (in Spanish or Yiddish, depending on how the sculpture is read) that the artist believes is an urgent intervention at this fractured political moment. Rasheed's two-part installation will include a series of questions installed on the interior brick arcade that are meant to spur conversation, while her outdoor text-based work will be installed on the steps and invite visitors to reflect on location, time, and direction. Her work will also be accompanied by a programming collaboration with the nearby Brooklyn Public Library, where she will have a solo exhibition in 2019, in the form of a public reading group. The artist is currently engaged in an exhibition at the New Museum alongside The Black School that offers a learning space and library inspired by the community organizing of the Black Panthers and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Finally, Thomas, who founded an artist-led "super PAC" currently leading a massive public art project encouraging voter participation via artist billboards in all 50 U.S. states, will bring something a little less monumental to the show. His nearly seven-foot-tall neon work, Love Rules, will hang above the museum's front desk and flash variations of the words in the work, from "Love Over Rules" to "Love Overrules," based on a phrase that was among his cousin's last recordings before he was killed in 2000. The Brooklyn Museum is located near four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Park Slope, and its recent programming has been steadily oriented toward bringing more diverse museum-goers and local community members into the museum. For this show, the museum will kick off with a public event on October 6 at 11 a.m. that is open to the general public. The show is on view until June 30, 2019. Something to Say Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn Through June 30, 2019
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Topping the Train

New Sunset Park development by DXA Studio could rise over tracks in Brooklyn
New York YIMBY revealed this morning that a new development designed by DXA Studio is potentially in the works for Sunset Park. The 240,000-square-foot complex, likely mixed-use with residential and commercial components, will stretch between 7th and 5th Avenues at 6205 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. The upcoming site, spearheaded by New Empire Corp., will feature three mid-rise towers situated atop a platform covering the train tracks. The Hudson Yards-like vision for the project—albeit smaller as YIMBY notes—will bring a much-needed, massive new housing option to the borough’s southwestern industrial neighborhood. Renderings show that the structures will include a terraced design facing west towards the river with rooftop plazas dotted with greenery. On the east side, a lower-level, elongated structure runs two-thirds the length of the development while the taller towers jut out at angles facing south. The facades of each building appear to be clad in muted materials with big, boxy, recessed windows that allow ample light into the interior spaces. Close-up visuals detail the jagged shape the angular towers take on at the edges of the development.  The architects told YIMBY that 6205 7th Avenue will house two blocks of retail, office space, restaurants, a gym with a pool, a hotel, community facilities, as well as public park space. Though the initial designs have been released, permits for the site have not yet been filed.  
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Tried All the Angles

Judge clears way for controversial Brooklyn development at Broadway Triangle
Last Friday in New York City, a lawsuit against one of North Brooklyn’s most contentious, high-profile developments was dismissed after a six-month delay in court. The lawsuit, filed by the Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH) and local groups in February, claimed the Broadway Triangle project would discriminate against people of color and further segregate the predominantly black and Latino community from the rest of Brooklyn. Currently a vacant piece of land situated at the corner of Union and Flushing Avenues, the contested site is slated to become a massive eight-building, mixed-use complex. It was formerly owned by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. In their complaint, the plaintiffs said the development violates the federal Fair Housing Act and asked the city to stop the rezoning of the site. They also urged the city to consider requiring racial impact studies when rezoning areas in low-income communities throughout New York. Alexandra Fennell, network director at Churches United, told The Architect’s Newspaper that such a study could easily be incorporated into the Environmental Review process when properties are up for development. “The land use process provides opportunities for tangible remedies for issues that are present,” she said. “If the city refuses to even study segregation in our neighborhoods then we are almost certain to perpetuate it.” The plaintiffs also noted that the Pfizer site’s current developer, Rabsky Group, has a longstanding history of building luxury homes and apartments exclusively for larger Hasidic families with three- and four-bedroom options. They argued these sizes don't make sense for smaller black and Latino families who might be interested in applying for the 287 affordable housing units being offered at the Pfizer Project.  The planned 1,146-apartment complex will include those subsidized units, 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and green space, designed in conjunction with the NYC Department of Planning and Manhattan-based firm Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP). According to the architects, the new design will aim to improve the local pedestrian experience on the southwest corner of the 31-acre Broadway Triangle, boost economic activity in the area, and beautify the surrounding neighborhoods of South Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Magnus Magnusson, the firm's principal, said since the first goal of the project was to receive the zoning change, the initial drawings specifically show the urban design approach taken to the site. You can’t tell from the images, he said, but going east the scale of the buildings get lower to match the surrounding neighborhood. The tallest structures on Union Avenue—a busy, car-ridden street—feature up to 18 stories. “Another big urban design feature we added was a large, public open space in the middle of the complex,” Magnusson said. “The neighborhood today lacks green space and we wanted to make it a place for the entire community to come together.” Magnusson also noted that there hasn’t been any talk of a luxury development by Rabsky so far. “There are seven apartment buildings ranging in various sizes, so each one could be for a different use and feature either affordable housing versus market rate,” he said. “The attraction here for us was the fact that for decades, this was an empty property. To build a new mixed community is really what New York is all about in trying to do to make the city more inclusive. Even though the opposition wanted more, this will probably be the best compromise." Broadway Triangle has been a public topic of controversy for nearly a decade. The city voted to rezone the area, which it owns, in 2009 to make way for new development and affordable housing options, but a federal judge blocked such actions three years later, citing that it would be detrimental to the local minority populations. After the city agreed to find a new developer for the site last year, plans restarted. In March the court put a temporary restraining order on the site, but the ban was lifted with the final ruling last week. “The city needs more housing...a lot more,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in his ruling. “The Pfizer Project has already passed political process muster; today it passes judicial process muster. This court finds no legal impediment to it and will not stand in its way one more day.” Judge Engoron also stated that the city has no obligation to carry out a racial impact study when it considers rezoning properties and noted that concerns of gentrification and displacement speak to broad social trends rather than the hidden agenda of developers. For the past month, Churches United has hosted the “Take Back Bushwick” campaign, a series of 17 “actions” or events calling out future local market rate developments that are driving up rents, displacing residents in Brooklyn, and have zero affordable housing options. The last and final action, a rally against an incoming 27-story residential building on Wyckoff Avenue, was held this morning. Fennell calls this particular project the “ultimate middle finger building” in Bushwick and a development that “could not be farther from what the community needs.” “Today’s action was not related to Pfizer but it also focuses on the city’s failure to create policies that encourage development of low income housing which we desperately need in favor of luxury development,” she said. “New York is one of the most segregated cities in the country and this type of development is only segregating us further.” Council member Antonio Reynoso, who represents District 34 where the Pfizer Project will be developed, also spoke at the rally and urged the local community to continue getting involved in these discussions. “Bushwick looks a certain way, it has a character,” he said “That’s what makes it so popular and that’s what's being taken away from us. We’re allowing developers and big money to dictate and determine exactly what they want to do in this community, instead of allowing the community to be the sayers of how we want things to be.” This article was updated on August 2nd with comments from Magnusson Architecture and Planning.
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Dog Days Dawning

Weekend Edition: Architecture and activism, Brooklyn business building, candy-colored communism, and more
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! AIANY’s Whitney M. Young Jr. exhibit calls architects to action A new exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York celebrates the influence of civil rights activist Whitney M. Young Jr. and details demographics that reveal the critical gaps within New York's design profession. WeWork is using user data to chart their meteoric expansion With the company’s first ground-up building, Dock 72, nearly complete in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, AN spoke with the designers and researchers who are making WeWork’s growth possible and tried to divine where the company is going next. Federal Transit Administration cuts funding for mass transit projects The Federal Transit Administration has pulled back on funding many existing expansion projects throughout the U.S. through its Capital Investment Grants program. Inside North Korea: A candy-colored fever dream In Wainwright's forthcoming book, Pyongyang embodies North Korea's approach to self-presentation: Big Brother-esque images that project the state's power and ability to protect its citizens amplified at a bombastic scale and sweetened with saccharine pastels. Lincoln Yards could bring an “instant neighborhood” to the Chicago River Developer Sterling Bay released additional details and renderings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the Lincoln Yards mega-development during a packed public meeting in Chicago’s 2nd Ward on July 18. Enjoy the weekend, hope you're not in the office, and see you next week!
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Bridging the Final Gap

Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open, making the parkland 90% complete
Another five acres of permanent green space was added to New York City yesterday with the opening of Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now 90 percent complete, the beloved, 85-acre waterfront parkland designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is almost finished after nearly 20 years in the making. The project is the final pier of the formerly industrial site to be turned into green space and features a rolling landscape of shrubs and over 500 trees. It also includes one of the largest open spaces in the entire park, a great lawn reminiscent of the seminal one found within Central Park in Manhattan. Laid out at the northern edge of the pier is an exploratory labyrinth garden with hedges of varying sizes. It houses interactive elements like mirrored games, a walk-in kaleidoscope, a conference tube, and unique stone seating by German industrial designer Gunter Beltzig. The design was inspired by the community’s need for a more expansive hangout space within Brooklyn Bridge Park. While meandering walkways provide unmatched views of Manhattan and the other piers have settings for recreational activities, there was not a dedicated area for relaxation until now. “The center of Brooklyn Bridge Park needs an embracing green space," said landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh in a statement, “and with Pier 3 we finally have it. The bowl-like lawn provides a serene interior that I think will draw people in, acting as a complementary counterbalance to the dynamics of river and city.” Since the design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was first revealed in 2005, the 1.3 mile-long parkland has been one of the city’s best examples of land reclamation. The narrow site along the East River had been out of operation since 1983 when the rise of container shipping replaced the need for the bulk cargo shipping and storage complexes that once lined the shoreline. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki, the city and state signed a joint agreement in 2002 to begin the design and development of the Park. Construction began in 2008 with reclaimed soil from the World Trade Center site. The remaining sections of the park include the recently announced Squibb Park Pool, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, and the Pier 2 Uplands, which will add 3.4 acres to the park and is slated to begin construction this September.