No ‘park’ing! Critics say Brooklyn Bridge Park entrance isn’t so grand

No ‘park’ing! Critics say Brooklyn Bridge Park entrance isn’t so grand
Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation

Grand entryway or condo driveway — you decide.

State development officials have released a rendering of what they call a “strong” design element for the entrance to the soon-to-open northern portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The plaza, which will be finished by mid-2010, will lead visitors to Pier 1 at the foot of Old Fulton Street. Most of the work there — including two big lawns and a massive granite front stoop looking out at Manhattan — is slated to be done by the end of this year.

“The design is intended to create a continuous park experience,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, referring to existing greenspaces to the north that are cut off from Pier 1 by the River Cafe.

But critics say the entryway defies state officials’ promise of a “world class public park” in that it lacks a monumental element that would honor the harbor or the bridge that gives the park its name. The rendering merely shows new asphalt, wider sidewalks, and some trees.

“It’s the slap in the face to the great bridge,” said Judi Francis, referring to the Michael Van Valkenburgh design. Francis, a Cobble Hill resident, is a longtime opponent of the current park plan because it relies on the development of condos and other commercial elements to generate revenue for park maintenance.

“Where is any of the special-ness for this location in this entrance?” she added. “At this spot, at the end of Old Fulton Street, is where George Washington saved our army and fled from the British on boats to Manhattan. But this design looks like a driveway to any old corporate park in any old suburb in any old city in the United States.”

Another portion of parkland, at the foot of Atlantic Avenue at the southern edge of the 1.3-mile waterfront park, was also slated to be completed by the end of this year. But this section of the park, atop the former Pier 6, which will include a “destination playground”; a dog run; a promenade onto Pier 6; a 1,000-square-foot restaurant and roof deck; and three sand volleyball courts, won’t be done until the spring, the Daily News reported.

The area near the entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park as it appears now…
The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler