FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR PATERSON AND LOCAL OFFICIALS OPEN FIRST SECTION OF BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Portion of Pier 1 on the Brooklyn Waterfront - the First of Six Piers to be Developed as Part of the Park - Opens with New Promenade, Lawns, a Playground and the "Granite Prospect"
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor David A. Paterson and local officials today opened the first portion of Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pier 1 includes the first of the park's waterfront promenades, lawns, a playground and the "Granite Prospect," a set of steps built from granite stones where park goers will be able to sit and enjoy the scenery. Earlier this month, the Mayor and Governor announced an agreement that gives the City the primary responsibility of developing the entire 85-acre park. Once completed, it will stretch along the Brooklyn waterfront from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street, north of the Manhattan Bridge. The Mayor was joined at the announcement at Pier 1 by State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Assembly Member Joan L. Millman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Steven Levin, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Empire State Development (ESD) Chairman and CEO designate Dennis Mullen and Executive Director Peter Davidson, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Chairman David Kramer.
"The piers along the Brooklyn waterfront south of the Brooklyn Bridge have for years sat vacant or underutilized, acting as a barrier between Brooklyn residents and their waterfront. Today, we're removing that barrier and reclaiming this waterfront for Brooklynites and New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The opening of part of Pier 1 is an important milestone, but it's just the beginning of the development of what will be one of the world's great waterfront parks."
"Today is a historic day for the State, City, and the borough of Brooklyn. After more than 25 years Brooklyn Bridge Park is a reality - one that New Yorkers and visitors alike will enjoy," said Governor Paterson. "The development of Brooklyn's waterfront will create livable communities and strengthen our State's economic future while adding to the wide variety of tourist destinations that Brooklyn has to offer. I would like to thank my colleagues in government for their commitment to developing this incredible public space and also applaud ESD Chairman & CEO Dennis M. Mullen and BBPDC President Regina Myer for their work on this important project."
"There's no better way to celebrate spring than with a new park for our community and all of New York," said State Senator Squadron. "The opening of Pier 1 is the next step in achieving a true Harbor Park - a Central Park for the center of our city. I want to thank the local community leaders who have fought so hard for this park, as well as Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson, Assembly Member Joan Millman, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Council Members Brad Lander and Steve Levin for their work on making this park a reality."
"I am thrilled to be here today," said Assembly Member Millman. "Our long awaited dream of a world-class waterfront park has finally been realized. It's taken over 25 years to reach this point but we are finally here. I look forward to a new partnership with the city to build this much needed park. I believe that this partnership will usher in a new era of cooperation and community participation to ensure that we can accommodate everyone's vision for this park. I want to thank Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and former Council Member David Yassky for working with us to make this dream a reality. Not to be forgotten are my predecessor, Eileen Dugan, former State Senator Marty Connor and former Brooklyn Borough President Howie Golden. Without their leadership and vision, this day would not have been possible. I especially want to praise Regina Myer. When she first started, the only advice I gave her was: 'Build the park.' And build the park she has."
"What Prospect Park was for the 19th Century, Brooklyn Bridge Park will be for the 21st," said Borough President Markowitz. "I am delighted that this emerald by the East River is open. For visitors from Manhattan, now all it takes is a quick trip across the bridge to discover what residents here already know: the grass is always greener in Brooklyn."
"I am thrilled that the city will play a strong leadership role in the final development stages of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I want to congratulate the Mayor and Governor for keeping this process moving forward," said Council Member Levin. "This plan will give city officials much needed oversight of the Brooklyn Bridge Park project, as well as bring an additional $55 million to the project. I look forward to working with my fellow elected officials to make sure Brooklyn Bridge Park is a spectacular park for all of Brooklyn."
"Today Brooklyn Bridge Park has the center piece of a new active waterfront that all of Brooklyn can enjoy," said Public Advocate DeBlasio. "I hope we will continue to utilize Brooklyn's coast to create new green space, jobs, affordable housing and make it part of our City's public transportation network."
Brooklyn Bridge Park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, eventually will include Piers 1-6, Empire Fulton Ferry Park and the existing Main Street Park. In addition, two historic properties, the Civil War-era Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse, will be integrated into the park. The park will include playing fields, sport courts, playgrounds, civic lawns, and running and bicycle paths. A calm water area is planned for kayaking and canoeing. Pier 6 will open later this spring.
The portion of Pier 1 to open today is six acres, with several additional acres opening later this spring. At 9.5 acres, Pier 1 will be the largest of the park piers, and the only one built on landfill rather than on pile-supported structure. That foundation provides the base for a new topography including a hill at the center of the pier, which provides dramatic and sweeping views of the New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge. When complete, Pier 1 will include two large lawns: the Bridge View lawn and the Harbor View lawn, a playground at the northern edge with play equipment for younger children, a waterfront promenade, and a series of tree-lined pathways that provide a varied waterfront experience. The "Granite Prospect" is a set of steps built from granite salvaged from the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction along the western edge of the pier. Nearly 400 trees have been planted on the Pier so far; there will be as many as 500 mature trees this spring. This summer, a salt marsh planted with native plant life will open and a boat ramp for non-motorized watercraft will open.
As part of the agreement announced earlier this month by the City and State, a new Brooklyn Bridge Park Operating Entity will be responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of the park, with the majority of its members appointed by the City. The agreement includes the commitment of as much as $55 million in new City funding for the park, which will be self-sustaining, on top of $139 million already committed by the City and $85 million by the State. Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer will serve as President of the new entity.
"Today marks an exciting milestone in the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and we're committed to seeing the entire project through to completion," said Deputy Mayor Lieber. "For years, these piers have lied vacant, cutting Brooklyn residents off from the waterfront. Today we're reconnecting them with the waterfront and creating a one-of-a-kind asset for Brooklyn and the whole City."
"With today's opening of Pier I and the upcoming opening of Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park is making its debut as Brooklyn's new 'front yard' on the waterfront," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe. "Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor and Governor, the diligent efforts of Peter Davidson, Regina Myer and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and the compelling and beautiful design by Michael Van Valkenburgh, we are elated to open the first section of the most important new park in Brooklyn in more than a century."
"It is a true honor to see the transformation that has taken shape at Brooklyn Bridge Park," said Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis Mullen. "The opening of Pier 1 marks a milestone for this highly anticipated project that will breathe new life into this neighborhood and offer New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy our waterfront for years to come. ESD is looking forward to the opening of Pier 6 this spring and to supporting the future development of the park."
"First off, congratulations and credit to Regina Myer and her hardworking team at Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation," said ESD Executive Director Peter Davidson. "Brooklyn Bridge Park is exceptional not only in terms of its size and scope, but as a progressive example of green design and intergovernmental partnership. ESD is proud to have played a part in this monumental achievement for the State and the City of New York and we look forward to the park claiming its place among New York's greatest attractions."
"Thanks to the strong partnership between the City and State, we are making the long awaited dream of Brooklyn Bridge Park a reality," said Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer. "This is truly a New York park - incorporating repurposed materials from four boroughs to achieve the highest standards in sustainability and design. We are thrilled that this Park, with its unique waterfront features, multitude of recreational and leisure opportunities and stunning views, will become a cherished resource for residents and visitors alike, and particularly for the Brooklyn community that has advocated for and supported this project over the years."
"We've worked twenty-five years for this extraordinary day," said Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster. "This is the fulfillment of over two decades of advocacy, planning, hard work and fortitude by the community, the Conservancy, civic and environmental groups, local elected officials, and the City and State of New York who all came together to transform a set of abandoned, industrial piers into a world-class park on the Brooklyn waterfront."
"This park benefits all those who live and work in our region, as well as the City's millions of visitors, by providing a beautiful place to relax and play in the shadow of a true New York icon - the Brooklyn Bridge," said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward. "I want to thank Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg for their leadership on this issue."
Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation re-launched its website, www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org. The revamped site features an interactive park map for easy trip planning, new videos, image galleries and a FLICKR group for posting visitor photos. Visit the site to view park renderings, learn about the park's sustainable features, and sign up for updates on construction, exciting events and public programs at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
Morgan Hook (Governor) (212) 681-4640
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