A new footbridge linking Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park will give pedestrians a bounce to their steps when it opens later this month.
The springy $4.9-million span will stretch 450 feet from Squibb Park on Columbia Heights into the green space below – offering park visitors a new gateway to the 85-acre haven previously cut off from the neighborhood by the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
Designer and MacArthur “genius” Ted Zoli says the 8-foot-wide bridge will boast unbelievable views because it won’t have any overhead supports, making it lightweight and flexible.
“It’s an underslung bridge, so your views of the skyline of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty and the harbor are uninterrupted. There’s no structure above you. It’s just simply cable and wood below you,” said Zoli of HNTB Corporation.
“It’s going to bounce a little the way a trail bridge would if you ever went hiking in the Catskills,” he said.
Politicians cheered the walkway at a construction tour last Wednesday.
“It’s the perfect bridge between the lush greenery of the park and Brooklyn’s industrial heritage,” said Borough President Markowitz, who along with members of City Council allocated funding for its construction after Mayor Bloomberg trimmed $8 million from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s budget in 2009, a move many feared would kill the footpath.
The rot-resistant bridge, made out of black locust wood and galvanized steel cables, will descend 50 feet from the small park at Middagh Street, extend over Furman Street, pass through treetops, and drop off into Pier 1 — wowing locals including Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Brooklyn Heights).
“It’s really an engineering marvel,” said Levin.
Two 122-foot sections of the bridge are currently being laid out at the base of Pier 1 and will be hoisted into place atop concrete pillars by a single crane on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15.
Brooklyn Bridge Park officials say the footbridge will be a key amenity for residents seeking access to the waterfront oasis, which will soon house hotel rooms and housing under a controversial city plan requiring the green space to cover its own operating budget.
“This bridge will really give us better connectivity to the community and better connectivity to mass transit that makes for a richer park experience,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
But some community activists say the bridge is a better amenity for soon-to-arrive condo dwellers and hotel guests than Brooklynites who visit the park.
“They stuck the bridge right at the very end of Brooklyn Heights and put it right in the middle of where the hotels and condos are going to go,” said Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, who has long opposed housing inside the park development. “They built it for the people who are going to live in the park. If they really cared about people going down into the park they would have placed it in a more central location.”