The bubble bursts! Brooklyn Bridge Park won’t get promised indoor field

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn Bridge Park won’t get its much-touted indoor soccer field because the city failed to attract developers for it — prompting locals to slam the city for deliberately bursting the recreational bubble.

On Thursday, park officials quietly announced that they received no offers to develop the site — and wouldn’t continue seeking offers to construct and operate a seasonal facility on Pier 5, despite assurances from local pols that the winter-proof field would be up and running by the end of 2012.

“This was designed to fail,” said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association. “[Under city rules], developers would have to put in a lot of money, have it open only four months a year, and charge very reasonable prices. Did that sound like something the city was serious about?”

The facility — which would have been open from December to March — had no rest rooms or locker rooms, and the operator would pay for maintenance, operations and off-season storage.

The city vowed to spend up to $750,000 on construction, but the developer would be responsible for everything beyond that.

Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, said she was “tremendously disappointed” that no developers signed on, but would not elaborate on the bubble’s future.

The Pier 5 development was one of the less-controversial elements of the $350-million greenspace, which is required by a 2002 agreement between the city and the state to generate its own maintenance budget instead of draining taxpayer dollars.

Funding for the bubble was secured in August, after state lawmakers reached a deal with Mayor Bloomberg to allow some luxury housing to fund the massive park’s $16-million annual upkeep.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) — who signed the agreement — said that the bubble is still viable.

“This is only the first round,” he said. “The park has an obligation to build this bubble, and I believe that commitment will be kept.”

But critics disagreed, calling the Pier 5 loss another example of how public facilities are taking a backseat to private development.

Indeed, much of the focus for the past year has been on how to fund the park, with city officials pushing for luxury high-rises as the main funding source — along with a 10-story hotel slated for Pier 1, just south of the park’s primary entrance at the foot of Old Fulton Street.

“This exposes the great lie of this deal — that this serves the residents of Brooklyn,” said Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund. “This park has been constructed as a development project for condos. Anything else has been an afterthoug­ht.”

Park officials began seeking a developer for the bubble at the end of August and set a Sept. 27 deadline for proposals.

On that day, Brooklyn Bridge Park staffers told the park’s community advisory council at a public meeting that they would open the proposals the next morning.

As it turned out, there weren’t any.

“This is a shame because we need a year-round facility — this is another hit for the park,” said Adam Meshberg, a member of the council. “We should reevaluate the size and design and make it more attractive.”

Park officials said they would move forward with Pier 5’s other attractions, including three multi-use artificial turf fields, a playground and a snack concession during warmer months.

The park is currently seeking developers to construct the picnic peninsula. Proposals are due by Oct. 28. For info, e-mail or visit

Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
High time that you guys start putting "Park" in quotes again, don't you think?

And maybe it's time for Occupy Brooklyn Bridge "Park."
Oct. 7, 2011, 9:16 am
liz from dumbo says:
Bunch of whiny old Brooklyn Heights folks at it again.

The park is stunning, now shut up and stop making it seem like the world is coming crashing down because you don't have a bubble you were never going to use in the first place.
Oct. 7, 2011, 9:34 am
raoul from flatlands says:
Is it not obvious that Daniel Sqaudron is full of %@!* ??
He may be doing some good for the Borough but I'd trust him about as far as I could throw him. (And with my back, I shouldn't throw anybody)
Oct. 7, 2011, 9:57 am
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Here is the beginning of the end for the park. The developers were in it for the money that they could make with luxury condos. (As if we don't have enough of those things in Brooklyn already.) Eiither thnk about the park and what could be done in it or walk away if you have thoughts about making money with it and leaving the residents out of it.
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:09 am
RobbyG from Cobble Hill says:
Squadron is definitely speaking out of his arse.

But seriously who thought it was a good idea to have a bubble field open for only 4 months a year, and not have bathrooms or lockers?
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:26 am
judy from bklyn says:
Joe, you are either stupid or naive. Who exactly do you think is going to pay for your new park and the 16 million dollars it costs a year to upkeep it? This is 2011, we don't have unlimited money to spend on things. It's possible to have a park AND a tiny bit of development to help offset the cost of said park. Don't be such a whacko and try to see through the clouds of your ignorant mind to realize that the city is doing what it can to build a park AND pay for it. Funding for parks all over the city (and country) are being nixed and here you have something really special going up and all you and your other brooklyn heights cohorts can do is complain about it.

Or did you want to front the rest of the costs so that no developers are involved?
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:32 am
Frank from Furter says:
Judi Francis and Roy Sloane I believe are each other. The Pier 5 bubble was proposed as alternative to housing funding and you can see how that worked out. So the Park will have to pay more to get this built to keep their commitment to Senator Squadron and where will that money come from? From the housing of course.
Hey Brooklyn Paper get over with it already. The Park is expensive to maintain because its on piers. The pilings are expensive to maintain. This isn't going to high payment to Regina Myers(who deserves every penny she gets)... The agreement that authorized the park required that it be self sufficient as to not take money away from any existing park. Was that a bad deal? not as I am concerned but others would have said no to central park too(its too big-the buildings at fifth ave consider it their private park and who agreet to all those noisy concerts)...
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:33 am
Frank from Furter says:
oh by the way Roy and Judi live in Cobble Hill not Brooklyn heights...
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:35 am
eff from you says:
Every single park in the world is surrounded by development. I don't know why the old fogies in Brooklyn Heights should be the exception.
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:44 am
VoiceOfTruth from William S. Burg says:
Now how about spending some money outside of BBP and Governor's Island, and give back to the citizens instead of the crumb bum cronies who got this windfall from His Majesty King Bloomberg I and Sir Daniel Squadron?

Stop piling needless amenities on BBP and buy the land you promised for Bushwick Inlet Park!
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:53 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Big whoop...imagine, they couldn't find anyone in the private sector willing to take a financial hosing on this.
Oct. 7, 2011, 1:46 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
What is so strange is why this tiny park is asked by Cobble Hillers Roy and Judi to build a multi-million dollar indoor athletic facility on one of its four piers when neither Central Park nor Prospect Park nor any other City Park I'm familiar with has one.* Perhaps the upscale tenants in One Brooklyn Bridge Park could afford the tariff to use such a facility -- but the average Brooklynite won't. Roy complains that the Park asked the bubble bidders to "charge very reasonable prices" -- horrors.
[*Yes, the humongeous Chelsea Piers resides "in" and ostensibly helps support Hudson River Park, but no such facility would fit on Pier 5, even if Pier 5's pilings could support it, which they can't.]
Oct. 7, 2011, 2:42 pm
frank from furter says:

the Brooklyn heights association probably the foggiest of the old fogies supports the park as currently approved
Oct. 7, 2011, 8:57 pm
SkyRoller from WrightHair says:

Somehow this song makes a great background sound to this story. I was listening to it whilst reading the ariticle!
Oct. 8, 2011, 1:54 pm
Mr. Frost from Brooklyn says:
Glad the project is not going forward. So over the city spending NY tax payers money to accommodate the privileged few living on the park.
Those funds should be used to build some AFFORDABLE HOUSING in the area.
Enough with the "entry level" half million dollar studio condo units with 1200 a month maintenance fees! Who are they building these monsters for? Most of them sit there half empty. People are paying this to live, in of all places Brooklyn!? Stop the madness.
Oct. 9, 2011, 12:46 pm
Robert from Cobble Hill says:
Our politicans only want tax dollars from Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights residents so they can spend it on more worthy neighborhoods like Park Slope and Manhattan's east and west sides where they get parks with no strings attached.
Oct. 9, 2011, 12:55 pm
Frank from Furter says:
the parks on the east side and west side of Manhattan are part of the Hudson River Trust whose money comes from you guessed it- the Housing in Battery Park City. Its too bad that the Trust money is limited to Manhattan and Governor's Island which is included in Manhattan. Any overage is supposed to go into the City's coffers and an audit found that they were improperly withholding money. When the Mayor needed 60 million dollars or so to renovate the Intrepid and its pier that is where -off budget- he got the money...but we shouldn't confuse Politics and the facts about complaining about the 15% or less of the land that will be used for development in Brooklyn Bridge park to the purists who will get neither a park nor money to build it....
Oct. 9, 2011, 6:07 pm
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:

Hey, I'd be happy if they could cut the lawns at Cannon Ball Park on a regular basis. Right now, last time was Sept 9th & 10th to prepare for the politicians attending the 9/11 ceremony there.
Oct. 10, 2011, 11:26 am
Gerry from Brooklyn Heights says:
We NEED an Aquatics Center a huge indoor swimming facility and not a soccer field.

We need a huge pool complex like Asphalt Green 93rd street and East End Ave on the East Side of Manhattan.

Put an indoor pool in the park.
Oct. 15, 2011, 2:32 pm
Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
Judy, how could you be so naive and think that these fantastic politicians and do gooders are to be believed. First Squadron gives in to a luxury building TO PAY for the manitenance of the park . Earlier this year Brooklyn One weaseled out of using money TO PAY for maintenance of the park. Because of the lack of will to fund the maintenance of the park the park is now being short changed. I give it a little more time before someone like Walentas will say I got an idea! Let's build more luxury high rise condos to finance the park! Who came up with this figure that it takes 16 miliion to upkeep the park? What kind of lawn mowers do we need to spend that kind of money?
Oct. 23, 2011, 11:47 am
Ben from Brooklyn says:
That's a shame.
Jan. 4, 2012, 2:26 pm

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