FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG OPENS NEW SPORTS FIELDS AND PICNIC PENINSULA ON PIER 5 AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Squibb Park Bridge Nearing Completion, Will Provide a Link for Pedestrians to the Surrounding Community and Public Transportation
Mayor Bloomberg today opened Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, a $26 million five-acre former shipping pier that is now home to three multi-purpose sports fields and an adjacent picnic peninsula. The configuration of the fields is adaptable, serving a variety of sports throughout the seasons - two of the fields can be combined to create a regulation soccer field for collegiate competition, or one field may be divided to accommodate youth soccer matches, and the fields will accommodate lacrosse, rugby, cricket, flag football and ultimate Frisbee. In addition, Squibb Park Bridge, a 244-foot bridge that connects the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood to the park, is slated to be completed in the next several weeks. The Mayor was joined by Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Joan Millman, Councilmember Steve Levin, New York City Parks Commissioner Veronica White, New York Red Bulls General Manager Jérôme de Bontin, Goalkeeper Ryan Meara and Forward Kenny Cooper, St. Francis College President Brendan J. Dugan and student athletes from St. Francis College.
The beautiful and innovative Brooklyn Bridge Park has quickly become one of the main attractions in the newly revitalized New York harbor," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In summer 2012, the park welcomed 90,000 visitors per weekend. Starting today, New Yorkers and tourists alike will have even more reasons to visit Brooklyn Bridge Park."
"Since it opened, visitors from all five boroughs and all around the world have enjoyed Brooklyn Bridge Park," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. "This new pier is the next step in the ongoing development of the park and will provide even more opportunities for recreation and enjoyment."
"Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the City's finest examples of adaptive reuse," said Commissioner White. "And with the opening of Pier 5, this once barren space will come alive with a variety of sports and activities for visitors to enjoy. We look forward to increasing access to this popular park with the installation of the Squibb Park Bridge."
"We are thrilled to be opening the park's first active recreation pier," said Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park President. "This marks a major turning point for BBP and opens up a realm of possibilities for park visitors who seek more than just enjoying the fantastic landscape, great programming and breathtaking views. In addition, the Squibb Park Bridge, once completed, will provide a unique connection between Brooklyn's urban landscape and the park by providing a dramatic descent to the waterfront."
"The community's vision of a vibrant, world-class waterfront park takes another giant step forward today with the opening of the Pier 5," said Nancy Webster, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. "Sweeping playing fields, a picnic peninsula, and a new pedestrian bridge will add to the stunning views, rolling lawns, and waterfront paths we have come to love in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for their commitment and leadership and to our local elected officials for their crucial support in bringing us to this day. And congratulations to Regina Myer and the BBP team, who with heart and tenacity, are building the city's most exciting, beautiful, and sustainable new waterfront park."
"Whether your 'goal' is to play soccer, lacrosse, cricket and rugby or, like me, you prefer to relax on the sidelines with a great meal in the Picnic Peninsula, Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5 truly offers something for everyone, said Borough President Markowitz. "Brooklyn Bridge Park attracts visitors from all around the world, and now they can take in the spectacular view, have a BBQ, and enjoy the international sports that will be hosted on the new year-round playing fields. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and its executive director, Nancy Webster, who have really 'scored' with Pier 5 and the soon-to-be-completed Squibb Park Bridge-which I was proud to support-and continue to transform our very own 'Eden on the East River' into one of the world's premier urban green spaces."
"The opening of Pier 5 means another major step as we build a real world-class Brooklyn Bridge Park," said Senator Squadron. "From Pier 5 and its regulation-size field, the Squibb Park Bridge, and the pop-up pool, to the tennis courts, bubble, skating rink, permanent pool, and other community priorities we'll continue to work towards, the uses and access the community have long advocated are becoming reality. The City and BBP deserve real credit for getting the Pier 5 fields and picnic area, as well as the bridge, open so that more people can visit, play in, and enjoy Brooklyn Bridge Park. Senator Squadron, who, along with Assemblymember Millman, negotiated an agreement last year that secured funding and recreation and allowed park construction to move forward.
"Today, we celebrate another milestone for Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) with the completion of Pier 5 we now have three sport fields, a picnic area with barbeque grills and easy access to the Park from the Squibb Park Bridge," said Assemblymember Millman." The sport fields will provide for a much needed soccer field for collegiate competition and for youth soccer matches and can also be used for players and fans of lacrosse, rugby, cricket and other games. I want to thank the Mayor, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, City Department of Parks and Recreation for improving the connection between Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Also, congratulations to the Park for receiving the Excellence in Design award from the Public Design Commission for Squibb Park Bridge. "
"This new recreational pier is an important milestone in the creation of this great new park for Brooklyn," said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). "The facilities on this pier will provide much needed open space and recreation, and the Squibb Park Bridge will better connect city residents and visitors alike to this great waterfront resource."
"The opening of Pier 5 and the picnic peninsula provide even more world-class recreation space on the Brooklyn waterfront," said Councilmember Levin. "I am thrilled that, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg and Regina Myer, local schools, sports organizations, and individuals will finally have the opportunity to play soccer, lacrosse or other sports close to home, against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline."
"This is an incredible transformation" said Public Advocate de Blasio. "Pier 5 has been a long time in the making and it's a tremendous success story that we are standing here today. As a Brooklynite, I am incredibly proud of everything the city and this community have accomplished here."
"As the New York area's soccer team tasked with growing passion for the world's game, we are proud to be part of the opening of Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park," said Red Bulls General Manager Jérôme de Bontin. "It is a beautiful facility that will serve thousands of sports and soccer enthusiasts. We look forward to continue being involved with Pier 5 and Brooklyn Bridge Park for many years to come."
BBP will begin permitting the fields for league play in spring 2013 during open park hours, and will provide open play for the general public and free play for public schools. Because BBP's electrical equipment sustained significant flood damaged during Hurricane Sandy, there will be no evening play until the electrical equipment that provides power to the pier lights is replaced.
Pier 5's synthetic turf fields are supported by shock pad and an organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers. In addition to padding the playing area, this infill will help decrease surface temperature, creating a cooler experience for teams and spectators. Shade sails line the northern and southern sides of the pier to provide shade, and there will be ample lighting for night play, with 30 light poles around the perimeter of the fields. A 30-foot promenade surrounding the fields will offer a unique opportunity for visitors to get out on the water and take in the magnificent views of lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor. There will also be an area for fishing equipped with bait preparation tables. Benches and bleachers will provide friends and family members with the best seats in the house.
Adjacent to Pier 5 will be the Picnic Peninsula, an area that includes picnic tables constructed out of salvaged long leaf yellow pine, umbrellas for shade, a barbeque area with grills that will accommodate more than two dozen grillers at a time, a concession area, tetherball, and two play areas for children. The parkwide greenway will connect through the Picnic Peninsula. Both Pier 5 and the Picnic Peninsula were designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
At the opposite end of the park at Pier 1, visitors will soon have another way to access the park. The Squibb Park Bridge will provide a vital circulation link for pedestrians near the center of the park. The bridge's proximity to the surrounding community and to public transportation will offer park visitors from around the city a convenient and dramatic approach to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Designed by HNTB Corporation, the $5.9 million bridge is slated to open before the end of the year.
The bridge will be composed of black locust timber, a sustainable, naturally rot resistant material, with galvanized steel connections, mesh panels and lit handrails. The design echoes the material context of the existing industrial waterfront as well as the material palette featured throughout the park.
Squibb Park Bridge represents a collaborative effort of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and numerous community groups to improve opportunities for recreation and pedestrian connectivity in Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park. HNTB Corporation was selected to design the Squibb Pedestrian Bridge, working in close collaboration with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, who have guided the park design. This project recently received an Excellence in Design award from the Public Design Commission. It was funded by Borough President Markowitz and Councilmember Levin, and included in a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by the City, Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Millman that allowed for continued park progress.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn's East River shoreline. The park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Marc LaVorgna/Julie Wood (212) 788-2958
Teresa Gonzalez/Maureen Lynch (Brooklyn Bridge Park) (718) 724-6432
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