A Tour of All That’s New and Fun in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park, which runs along the East River waterfront from the base of the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO all the way to Pier 6 at the southern edge of Brooklyn Heights, has been the site of an extraordinary amount of development these past few years, both public and private. Even considering the insane pace at which our beautiful city normally changes, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a renovation, reconstruction machine.
If you haven't been to this part of Brooklyn in a while, go now before the new condos bring even MORE people to the park, and be prepared to recognize nothing. Here's a quick look at everything, new and old, that makes Brooklyn Bridge Park a true destination for locals and tourists alike.
Starting South at Terminus of Atlantic Avenue
Pier 6 continues to draw crowds to its unique cluster of playgrounds amoung other spots, including:
- Swing Valley
- Slide Mountain
- Beach volleyball courts
- Fornino's double-decker pizza palace, with large outdoor deck.
- The Governors Island ferry.
Right next door at Pier 5 there are dozens of snazzy new grills and picnic tables, several large playing fields out over the water, and the just-opened Ample Hills Creamery, where they scoop one of the best ice cream in NYC. Note, too: every Sunday through the fall, Pier 5 is also home to the Smorgasburg food festival.
Pier 4 next door is now a real, actual, sandy beach! No swimming allowed, for obvious reasons, but if you've lived in this city as long as I have, the sight of a clean, soft, dig-your-toes-in beach on either side of the East River is nothing short of astonishing.
Northward to Pier 2 and Pier 3
Pier 3 is the least finished part of the park (for now), but even here you'll find some cool public art on an elevated "reclaimed stone" terrace. Currently on display is Dahn Vo's We the People, for which the artists has created an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty, but in 250 parts scattered all over the world. This might be a good place to remind you that the Downtown Manhattan skyline and river views, from everywhere in the park, are spectacular.
The other new NEW addition to the Brooklyn Bridge Park is the remarkable sports and recreation complex at Pier 2, featuring ball courts (basketball, bocce, handball, shuffleboard), playgrounds, lockers, a full-scale roller rink and a pretty uncrowded lawn by the water.
The "Old" Part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park
The "old" part of Brooklyn Bridge Park (circa 2010) includes the lawns, ferry slips, and concessions of Pier 1, and where most of the park's big public events, like the outdoor film series Movies With a View and, coming on August 23 for the first time, a reenactment of the Revolutionary War's seminal Battle of Brooklyn. The beloved Jane's Carousel and the playgrounds and lawns of the Empire Fulton Ferry section end our 85-acre tour. And I didn't even mention the free kayaking, the swimming pool, and the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge, which takes you up from park to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.