No ‘park’ing! Critics say Brooklyn Bridge Park entrance isn’t so grand

The Brooklyn Paper
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Grand entryway or condo driveway — you decide.

State development officials have released a rendering of what they call a “strong” design element for the entrance to the soon-to-open northern portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The plaza, which will be finished by mid-2010, will lead visitors to Pier 1 at the foot of Old Fulton Street. Most of the work there — including two big lawns and a massive granite front stoop looking out at Manhattan — is slated to be done by the end of this year.

“The design is intended to create a continuous park experience,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, referring to existing greenspaces to the north that are cut off from Pier 1 by the River Cafe.

But critics say the entryway defies state officials’ promise of a “world class public park” in that it lacks a monumental element that would honor the harbor or the bridge that gives the park its name. The rendering merely shows new asphalt, wider sidewalks, and some trees.

“It’s the slap in the face to the great bridge,” said Judi Francis, referring to the Michael Van Valkenburgh design. Francis, a Cobble Hill resident, is a longtime opponent of the current park plan because it relies on the development of condos and other commercial elements to generate revenue for park maintenance.

“Where is any of the special-ness for this location in this entrance?” she added. “At this spot, at the end of Old Fulton Street, is where George Washington saved our army and fled from the British on boats to Manhattan. But this design looks like a driveway to any old corporate park in any old suburb in any old city in the United States.”

Another portion of parkland, at the foot of Atlantic Avenue at the southern edge of the 1.3-mile waterfront park, was also slated to be completed by the end of this year. But this section of the park, atop the former Pier 6, which will include a “destination playground”; a dog run; a promenade onto Pier 6; a 1,000-square-foot restaurant and roof deck; and three sand volleyball courts, won’t be done until the spring, the Daily News reported.

Updated 5:15 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to include a link to a prior classic by Daily News reporter Mike McLaughlin.
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Reasonable discourse

bayof from biscay says:
Will modesty and self effacement hallmark all of Brooklyn's public spaces forever? This entrance merits a world class sculpture, stature or an elaborate fence. It should visually draw people to it. On the other hand, please don't block the entrance with an ill concenived, pedestrian averse "circle" like the ones blocking Prospect Park's major entrances.
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:04 am
Bob from Brooklyn Heights says:
What's the tall, modern building, inland on the left?
Nov. 30, 2009, 12:45 pm
BPOE from Brooklyn says:
"But critics say the entryway defies state officials’ promise of a “world class public park"

That was a typo. They meant to say the word "lie."
Nov. 30, 2009, 2:18 pm
Sue from Boerum Hill says:
Good citizens care about the "rules" but the ESDC plays by none of them. So, we get condos in our parks - or no real park at all (like this debacle). And yes, bayof, those are good ideas for the entrance to this park - and if you look at the community's 2001 park plan, that is exactly what was originally envisioned when this was a park and not a condo complex. And yes, bob, that modern building is a super huge condo and hotel complex. And yes, BPOE, the ESDC lies - all the time, particularly about the need for housing inside this park to pay for it.
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:46 am
sue from brooklyn heights says:
Judi Francis is as usual overdramatic. Nobody listens to her.. Yes the design is poor.. but get someone who is repected by their neighbors to talk about it.. enough with the publicity hounds
Dec. 1, 2009, 4 pm
bklyn20 from brooklyn heights says:
Maybe there's no grand entrance because the people in the condos won't want too many of The Great Unwashed" (that is, what they may perceive as "The Great Unwashed") playing in their front yard. When you have private housing paying for a park, the needs, or perceived needs, of homeowners seem to come first. Look at Battery Park City --some nice parks, no visible entrances from the public streets. The parks serve the housing and are merely visited by the "outsiders" who are in the know about those spaces.

Mr. Van Valkenburgh (sp?) is getting something like $25 million dollars for this World Class Park. That's our tax dollars, everyone! Ms. Francis and many of the other posters here are not being paid anything for their efforts to build a really world class park. Someone must be listening, if you have a look at recent elections results.
Dec. 3, 2009, 11:07 pm

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