As it turns out, the success of the temporary “pop-up park” at Pier 1 came down to a clear trifecta: Brooklynites and tourists really wanted to spend the evenings enjoying sunsets on the water, reposing on park benches, and drinking a cold beer.
“The success of this summer at Pier 1 makes it clear that a café is also hugely desirable, and something that we hope to do again somewhere on the pier next summer,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy President Marianna Koval.
The conservancy said that nearly 193,000 visitors descended to the temporary open space at Fulton-Ferry Landing, which closed on Sept. 28 after a summer-long run. The pier opened on June 26 as a teaser to the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park development project, which is slated to include luxury housing and a 1.3-mile stretch of waterfront open space from Jay Street to Atlantic Avenue — yet has suffered two decades of delays.
But no good park goes unprotested; opponents of the current condos-in-the-park plan are suspicious that this summer’s success won’t actually be replicated in the final Brooklyn Bridge Park development plan — which critics say is too fancy for the community and too expensive to get built.
“The interim uses are a bait-and-switch,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund President Judi Francis, citing a pool, ballfields, an ice-skating rink and an alcohol-vending concession as the four basic elements that the park must have.
Three of those things — minus the ballfields — have happened as interim uses of the site, including last year’s successful Floating Pool.
The current Brooklyn Bridge Park development plan does call for a concession stand and ballfields, said a spokeswoman for the state-run Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, but the proposed ice-skating rink has been delayed by at least five years thanks to an inter-agency battle between the city and state.
The park at Pier 1 cost a reported $100,000 for grassy areas, picnic tables, benches, and a giant sandbox. The restaurant Rice opened an outpost with a condensed menu, plus wine and beer.
Revenues from that concession covered Rice’s costs, plus operation and maintenance of the temporary green space, and were just enough to keep Pier 1 open for a few weeks past Labor Day, said a Conservancy spokeswoman.