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Fun in the sun — and the shade

SWING’S THE THING: Kids swing in the new play area of Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park can now play with a roof over their heads.

Pier 2 opened to the public on Thursday featuring a workout area, swings, picnic tables, and basketball, bocce, handball, and shuffleboard courts. Three quarters of the space sits beneath a corrugated-metal shelter to keep the fun going no matter the weather. The impetus for the overhang was demand from park goers, park management said.

“The idea of having an active recreational space under a pier shed came from the community,” said Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. “I’m glad we’re here and ready to play.”

A curious basketball player gave the new courts between the Squib Park footbridge and the soccer fields at Pier 5 a rave review.

“This is one of the first sort of outdoor-indoor places to play basketball I’ve seen,” said James Calello, who showed up at the opening to shoot some hoops with his two brothers. “And all the places where you can play inside, you have to have a membership.”

Officials also unveiled Pier 4, which features a boat launch, a bird sanctuary, and for reasons unclear, a sand beach.

The latest additions to Brooklyn Bridge Park mark the halfway point in its long transition from fallow industrial space to Brooklyn’s front yard. The greensward has attracted millions of visitors and the new play stations will bring in more still, boosters say.

“Brooklyn Bridge Park leads the way in reclaiming the city’s waterfront,” said parks commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Neot Doron-Repa, whose Brooklyn Heights apartment overlooks the park, never played shuffleboard before, but came down to try the game with her 8-year-old daughter Maya.

“It’s fun,” the mom said.

“She’s really good,” she added, pointing towards Maya as she slid the puck down the pier.

The shuffleboard gear was on loan from the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and the three courts, as well as its two bocce courts, won’t have equipment for public use until June, according a Brooklyn Bridge Park spokeswoman.

After seeing the swings and playground, Doron-Repa can’t wait to bring her twin boys down.

“They’re going to love it,” she said.

Pier 2 is also slated to get a roller rink at the end of June.

It is not the first time Park officials have covered up the play place’s amusements.

In 2010, tents went up over newly installed metal play pieces after children playing on them were burned by a scalding 128-degree surface temperature.

Signage went up around the slides and swings warning parents that the equipment could get hot, and promised that a canopy of newly planted trees would solve the problem in years to come.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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