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Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 — A user’s guide

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There’s plenty to see in and around Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, which opened its walkways, playground and greenspace on March 22.

The views of Manhattan are panoramic, the playground exhilarating and the landscaping urbane and satisfying. Even though park-goers are not allowed to use the lawns until the roots set — probably a few more weeks — early reports are positive.

“We love the playground and all the grass area – it’s huge!” said Cobble Hill resident Donna Kelly.

The park’s patrons aren’t the only ones benefiting from Pier 1’s allure. Businesses near the entrance at the foot of Old Fulton Street are seeing an upswing in customers.

“It’s great for the neighborhood and it’s bringing in all kinds of people,” said Peter Thristino, owner of Pete’s Downtown restaurant across the street from the entrance. “I’m definitely happy to be here during this historic time.” (Though, Thristino isn’t too happy about the hordes asking to use his bathroom, since the park does not provide one.)

So what, exactly, can you do at the first portion of what may someday be a 1.7-mile, $350-million strip of green from DUMBO to Atlantic Avenue? We’ve explored and did the dirty work for you — here’s a step-by-step field guide to Pier 1:

The walkways!

Walking in, tree-lined concrete pathways careen through almost three acres of lawn, past the playground and up to sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge.

The wide paths offer ample room for dog-walking, jogging around the park’s perimeter and stopping to enjoy the view.

The promenade!

It’s 30 feet wide, sports long rows of benches and it lines the Brooklyn waterfront. Do you need anything more awesome than that?

From this vantage point, you can use on-site scopes to check out the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, or the jealous types on that other island. A massive flight of granite stairs — Brooklyn’s front stoop, if you will — bisects the promenade. Called the “Granite Prospect,” this stairway was made from steps salvaged from the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction. Once it’s opened to the public after lighting and rails are installed, you’ll get an even more dramatic outlook point.

The playground!

This kiddy park is for the real youngins. It’s got a set of small swings, a couple plastic bubble-like apparatuses for climbing, and a few turrets jutting out of the ground for spinning around.

It’s not the most high-tech playground in the world, but a rubbery platform and a slew of benches lining the gate makes this enclosed area a safe place to rest and let the kids romp.

The seating!

The benches, which line all the walkways, the promenade and the lawn, were built with wood from the demolished National Cold Storage Warehouse, which laid claim to the site before it was flattened.

The pond!

This small pond is the beginning of a series of water gardens that will run along the entirety of Pier 1’s edge. It’s not much to look at yet – but designers say a “dramatic display of water-loving plants,” including swamp rose and pussy willow, will be planted along a creek that flows into the pond. Sorry, no swimming at the park yet!

The neighbors!

Just outside the pier, there are several restaurants on Old Fulton Street that benefit from the park’s customer base.

“It’s a lot more beautiful than the trucking facility that was in its place,” said Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory owner Mark Thompson. “It’s great to see all these people out so early in spring.”

But while owners agreed that the new lawn is gorgeous and will bring in more clientele during warmer months, some had their contentions.

“I can’t believe there are no toilet facilities — now my customers have to line up to use my bathroom,” said Pete’s Downtown owner Thristino. “We have to spend money to man the door, so people won’t come in just to use the facilities.”

That said, the customers of the park (and restaurants) are happy. On Thursday, Boerum Hill resident Anders Thompsen brought his smiling son into the ice cream shop — which sits on its own small pier adjacent to the park — for an after-stroll cone.

“It’s a great place to have a walk and a snack in the same outing,” he said, his son Sebastian gobbling a scoop of strawberry. “I can wait until more recreations open up.”

Oh, and the toilets will be working in three weeks, we’re told.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 [Old Fulton Street at Furman Street in DUMBO, (718) 802-0603 or (212) 803-3822]. To get there, take the A/C train to High Street or the B25 bus to the end. Less-convenient options include the F train to York Street, the M/R to Court Street or the 2/3 train to Clark Street. New York Water Taxi service will resume on June 30.

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Reader Feedback

jora-lemon from brooklyn says:
I heard from the folks at the park that they have ordered a bathroom trailer and expect it to arrive and be installed in May. So that should solve that problem...
March 29, 2010, 11:35 am
Confused from Brooklyn Heights says:
I'm confused -- is it a park or a "park"? In most of your stories you put the word in quotes as if it's not *really* a park -- it's just being *called* a park by some evil powers that be who want to fool us.

But now you write this article saying how lovely it is?

Do I sense some waffling?
March 29, 2010, 1:47 pm
Mary D'Ambrosio from Brooklyn Heights says:
How about some nice wooden picnic tables?
March 29, 2010, 4:09 pm
Matthew Parker from Bklyn Heights says:
Of course this is the article that should have been written LAST Monday instead of Andy's insane, concocted "angle" about dogs not being allowed off-leash in BBP.

There might be hope yet for Andy in journalism.
March 29, 2010, 4:35 pm
TRUDY MARCHAND from NEAR BROOKLYN COLLEGE says:
the uplift and additions given to this park sounds just great!! can't wait to visit and bring some friends to enjoy over and over this spring & summer. each year over the past few years or actually more than just a few, i've spent many warm, breezy summer evenings after work at the Bridge Park and i love it!! i really love that place and some evenings in late July to August, i come to take in the people and the concerts. it's a beautiful place to spend alone people-watching and boats go by or with a loved one. thank you very much to all responsible. thank you!
March 30, 2010, 2:56 pm
TRUDY says:
oops!! clicked on the wrong box!! sorry!!
March 30, 2010, 3 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
It's a piece of junk! No basketball courts, baseball field, ice rink. If I want a promenade I'll go to the one that's up top and historic not the copycat one.
March 30, 2010, 6:20 pm

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