Newly opened Uplands upgrade B’Bridge Park’s Pier 5

Newly opened Uplands upgrade B’Bridge Park’s Pier 5
Lush: The Pier 5 uplands include a lush lawn and plenty of benches to catch views of Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Jason Speakman

They put paradise onto a parking lot.

The lush, hilly landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands opened to the public on Thursday, and Brooklynites who visited the rolling-countryside–inspired retreat were relieved to find a greened-up waterfront parcel where a giant stretch of concrete used to be.

“I’m glad they finally did something with this space,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Beverly Smith. “It’ll be a great place to walk around, hang out, and enjoy the pier area.”

The Uplands’s main lawn includes an inviting sloped meadow, a shaded grove, benches along the upper edge where park-goers can gaze at the lower Manhattan skyline, and a grassy berm to muffle noise from traffic on the crumbling Brooklyn–Queens Expressway behind the site.

Work began last year on the $22-million project, which, in addition to the just-opened lawn, will include a new boathouse, maintenance building, and Furman Street park entrance called the “Montague Street Turnaround” when complete.

The paved lot that the Uplands replaced was once the home of popular food market Smorgasburg, but visitors who came from across the city to celebrate opening day said they preferred the space’s grassy new look and were jealous their home boroughs’ lacked such a bucolic escape.

“Wow, this is really nice,” said Civita Mazzella, a Bronx resident. “I’m really impressed, like damn, I wish I had this in my backyard.”

Eighty percent of the parkland inside the sprawling riverside greensward is now complete. The huge lawn and kids’ play space at Pier 3 are under construction, designs for the Pier 2 Uplands have yet to be finalized, and funds are still being raised for a plaza that honchos plan to build beneath the park’s namesake span.

And, of course, two towers are planned for Pier 6, which activists are currently fighting against in court.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Green team: Park and city officials cut the ribbon for the Pier 5 Uplands on Thursday.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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