Greenspace gurus at Brooklyn Bridge Park opened a freshly-minted lawn adjacent to Pier 2 on Monday — adding new, hilly parkland to Brooklyn’s front yard.
“10 years after opening the first section of the park, we are incredibly excited to today open the Pier 2 Uplands, now one step closer to finishing Brooklyn Bridge Park as originally designed,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation president Eric Landau in a statement on July 6.
The more than 3-acre space next to Pier 2 marks the second-t0-last section of the sprawling waterfront redevelopment, according to Landau, who lauded the opening as a way for locals to enjoy the outdoors amid COVID-19.
“Parks have always been essential, but during this time, open space is more critical than ever,” he said.
The section’s development cost $17 million and includes a 6,300 square foot lawn, 1,300 new trees and shrubs, a sound-attenuating berm, and a play area with water sprinklers, according to officials.
The non-profit Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which oversees the park, used granite from Brooklyn Bridge’s abutment for seating in the new section and repurposed remnants such as concrete columns cut away during the construction of nearby Pier 3 in the water play area.
A custom-designed 15,000-gallon retention tank will capture the runoff from the water play area, and officials will then reuse the water to irrigate greenery throughout the park, according to officials.
At the park’s perimeter, the corporation built a sloping grassy mound of earth that will reduce noise coming from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Furman Street, as well as camouflage the area’s existing maintenance building.
Last summer, parks gurus removed 10 parking spaces along Furman Street, replacing them with five spaces for bus layover parking for school trips and an expanded Citi Bike dock, while adding a new parking lot near Pier 2.
Locals lauded Brooklyn Bridge Park leaders for including their wishes into a revised design of the park in 2017, after resident watchdogs asked for the stone seating to be removable so that park-goers could sled down the hill come wintertime and for planners to include the bus drop off, so that the people-movers wouldn’t clog the busy streets.
Pier 2 Uplands is the penultimate section of the more-than-a-decade redevelopment of the former industrial waterfront into a 1.3 mile long, 85 acre park, which the corporation broke ground for in 2008.
For the final stretch, the organization plans to install a pedestrian plaza beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, which the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved on May 19, and which is slated to start construction in the fall with completion scheduled for December 2021.
Locals have pushed for that final section, currently dubbed “Brooklyn Bridge Plaza,” to be renamed after Emily Roebling, who oversaw the completion of the borough’s iconic span in the 19th century. Landau has previously said he is supportive of that renaming, but would want to do it through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office ahead of the square’s opening.
Nearby, Brooklyn Bridge Park also opened a rebuilt metal Squibb Bridge on May 4 leading from Brooklyn Heights to the park’s Pier 1.