Promenade is 60 Tomorrow

BHB photo by C. Scales

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade, or at least the portion of it from Remsen to Clark Streets, was first opened to the public on October 7, 1950, sixty years ago tomorrow.

Henrik Krogius, Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Brooklyn Heights wouldn’t be the same without the Promenade; yet it’s really only by chance that it ever got built. Unlike the park, whose every step over nearly 25 years has been reported and argued over, the Promenade was sprung on an unsuspecting public.

Krogius’ article recounts the convoluted story of how the Promenade came to be, with some conflicting claims as to who was its author. For those purists who insist that it should be called an “esplanade”, Krogius points to a record of a conversation between highway builder Robert Moses and Roy Richardson, the then president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, in which Richardson complained that building the highway at the same level as Columbia Heights–Moses’ plan at the time–would interfere with the views of those who liked to “promenade” along Columbia Heights, taking in the sights of the harbor and Manhattan visible at street intersections. Moses’ response to Richardson, indicating that he would like to have a real “promenade” with views all along instead of just at intersections, suggests this may have been the germ of the idea.

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  • AEB

    Happy birthday, Promenade!

    Hope you’re going to do something fun!

  • nabeguy

    Fun, yes, as long as it doesn’t involve massive po-go-ing.

  • George Earl

    Thank God and the creators of the Promenade! As a Heights resident for 40 of the 60 years it’s been in existence, I can see it sure has saved tons of possible therapy bills! I’d love to see a graduate study done on how many thousands of people go down there to think through their problems and actually go home all clear of mind, ready for even more challenges.

  • MartinLBrooklyn

    Congratulations to Henrik Krogius for an extraordinary piece of detective work on one of the City’s treasures. It is striking but not at all surprising that Moses might have engaged in some behind the scenes duplicity in having his vision drawn up prior to any public discussions. The master builder was not usually one to let self-serving property owners stand in his way for serving the hoi polloi. Oh, sure, he had his anti-lower classes biases as when he had those Southern State Parkway overpasses made too low for busses effectively keeping them away from Jones Beach, and he had his moments of favoritism for plutocrats as when he re-shaped Northern State Parkway to go around and not through the fancy part of Old Westbury. But here in Brooklyn he took his stand for the general public. We are the lucky inheritors of that determination.

  • Elaine Comstock Leirer

    As the great grandaughter of George Post who built his residence on Pierrepont street when he was an architect for the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Long Island Historical Society building, want everyone to know that my recollection of the smell that permeated the neighborhood in the summer when the street sprayers went by still calls up nostialgic feelings. I have lived all over the world and I still find the Heights my favorite place and the Promenade the favorite addition when I was a child. However it came to be, God must have been involved somehow.

  • frenchbull

    promenade, esplanade
    it’s all good
    a magnificent walk with an incredible array of folks and dogs