Bloomberg wants parks to be future-proof — and Brooklyn Bridge Park is the proof

Swamped during Sandy, Jane’s Carousel gets a fence for next time
NIGHT LIGHT: The lights of Jane’s Carousel remained on during Sandy despite the ride being inundated by East River water.
Photo by Ana Andjelic and Brian Morrissey

One of Brooklyn’s most prominent waterfront parks is wet-defying.

Brooklyn Bridge Park suffered little damage during Hurricane Sandy because it was designed in line with Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for waterfront public space that takes climate change into account.

“[The Brooklyn Bridge Park] has been working closely with the City of New York and the development community to monitor waterfront developments and identify best practices in flood prevention and storm resiliency measures,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park spokeswoman Belinda Cape.

The park was designed with global warming in mind, using the predicted sea level for 2045 as a guide. The recreation area was raised using fill from subway tunnel construction, reaching as high as 30 feet in some sections. Trees were planted at least eight feet above the future sea level. Closer to the shore, workers laid out sandy soils and salt marshes to increase absorbency and hold back rising waters. And the park only uses sturdy, salt-tolerant plants and strong construction materials, just in case the water comes up over the edge.

Designers drew up emergency plans, too. All buildings in the green space move the buildings’ mechanical and electrical equipment to higher floors during storm conditions, and extra systems are in place in case primary equipment fails.

A city report found that the park’s future-facing features worked their magic during last the 2012 superstorm, minimizing damage, though the deluge also revealed some rooms for improvement.

The parts of the park that Sandy took offline — playgrounds and electrical systems — were replaced with more flood-resistant materials.

Bloomberg pushed his sponge-y park agenda around the city, including at parks and gardens in Gowanus, and at Manhattan’s Battery and Riverside parks.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Green-rise: Most of the park is raised to be above the water level of three decades from now.
File photo by Andy Campbell

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