Pier-tastrophe! City won’t fix run-down Sheepshead Bay fishing spot

Chopped liver: The city says it won’t fix a rotting fishing pier at the foot of Brigham Street in Sheepshead Bay.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The Parks Department will transform an empty lot at the foot of Brigham Street into a lush park with sweeping waterfront views, but won’t fix a dilapidated city-owned pier next to it that local fishermen fear will crumble into the sea.

“The pier’s in bad shape,” said Jora Vaneshvele, who often fishes at the L-shaped pier at the foot of Brigham Street, risking life and limb for a fresh fluke. “They need to rebuild it.”

The entrance to the pier — which is adjacent to the proposed parkland near the Belt Parkway on-ramp — is littered with garbage. The pier’s awning is torn, sections of railing are missing, and the boards are littered with gaping holes.

Residents said the worn-down walkway is a serious safety hazard to anyone who dares to traverse it.

“Somebody is going to fall through the planks and drown,” said Ed Eisenberg.

Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park), who pushed to have the park built, said the pier should be fixed before the $4-million greenspace opens and visitors flock to the area. He’s proposing that the city spend up to $1 million to rehab the pier and add a fish-cleaning station.

“We should spruce up the pier and make it a little nicer and safer because we’re inviting people to go there,” Fidler said.

Yet a Parks Department spokesman said fixing up the pier isn’t part of the Brigham Street park project — and wouldn’t provide further details.

A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which is in charge of the pier’s upkeep, did not return calls seeking comment.

In February, the Parks Department revived a 20-year-old plan to turn the weed-strewn lot near Emmons Avenue — which is slightly larger than a football field — into the public park residents have been demanding since the 1990s.

Planners initially wanted a 21st-century oasis with high-tech equipment, but the final design is more bare-bones and will include nothing more than grass, a few pathways, benches, and a view of Sheepshead Bay.

The park also won’t have waterfront access or bathrooms, though Park officials said rest rooms could be built in the future for an additional $1.6 million.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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