Squadron, Millman, Levin Urge New Bid for Pier 5 Bubble

We’ve just received word from State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office that he, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Council Member Steve Levin have together asked the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to issue a new request for proposals to operate a facility that would allow use of the athletic field on Pier 5 during the colder months. They note that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the City agreed to fund Park construction includes an appropriation of $750,000 for such a facility, and that the community still wants it. More of their statement follows the jump:

Our discussions with concessionaires have made clear that the terms of the initial RFP had a number of drawbacks that resulted in no responses. Specifically, the unusually short lengths of both the contract (five years) and the operating season (four months) made the RFP unattractive for potential applicants. For context, the 2009 RFP issued by City Parks for the bubble at Mill Pond Park Sports Facility was for a term of 20 years, with a seven-month operating season of October to the end of April. Similarly, the 2011 McCarren Park tennis bubble RFP offered a contract term of 15 years, with the same seven-month operating season.

The $750,000 secured in the August MOU remains on the table. We remain committed to realizing the community’s goals at Pier 5. Therefore, there is an opportunity for the BBPC to reissue an RFP or RFEI for a bubble that meets the needs of the community and is commercially viable. Such an RFP or RFEI would ensure community access and free and low-cost programming in the bubble, as well as a plan to ensure year-round recreation on Pier 5, with an opportunity for equal use by all.

It would also:

1. Extend the concessionaire’s contract from five years to a minimum of 10 years;

2. Extend the operating season from four months to five or six months;

3. Allow flexibility in the orientation and size of the bubble;

4. Allow for a regulation-size playing field;

5. Request a plan for facilities.

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  • Bklyn21

    Oh, and that whole “its not a park, it’s a backyard for condos” crap worked as a fear mongering tactic in the years before the park was built and people were more susceptible to your lies. But the Park has been open for 2 years now. Literally hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people have visited the park to lie on its lawns, toss a frisbee around, play volleyball, play in the playgrounds, ride the carousel, see an outdoor movie or concert, or just eat a hot dog. All those people will no longer believe you when you try to tell them that those things didn’t happen in a “real” park. Just like all the parents who took their kids to the Pier 6 playground will no longer believe you when you say that condos at the edges of the park (like the ones right next door to the playground) will somehow “privatize the park. I’ve been there several times and never had a resident of the condos told me that I had to leave “their” private park.
    You guys are not going to have to work a little harder to do your dear mongering now…

  • Gerry

    @ Mom 76 the YMCA Pool on Court Street is not an olympic pool that is not a pool that a guy like me could work out in.

    @ Resident yes I would like a pool swimming has been a big part of my life. And these huge aquatics centers bleed money they MUST be subsidized by the taxpayer.

    @ Andrew Porter the EAC Pool is a dump both of them on Clark Street and the Marriot. Thank you for the suggestion but I will continue to leave Brooklyn Heights in my car at 445am to arrive at the Asphalt Green 92nd and East End Ave a huge pool opens at 530am. Each day in the dark I will drive over a bridge and to another borough to get a decent swim each morning. With tolls, admission, bagle/coffeet/Times this is a lot of money daily to swim that is going OUT of Brooklyn because we have no aquatics center.

    More than 20 years ago when BBP park was in the embryo stages of development there was no talk of housing and/or the park to pay for itself Central Park and Prospect Park do not pay for themselves. BBP will not be able to pay for itself even with luxury housing none of these propsed numbers are realistic.

    We need a state of the art aquatics center in Brooklyn for the benefit of our community.

  • Master Of Middagh

    I went by the carousel this afternoon. The only folks on it were a few scattered adults. And on such a nice day!?! Not there weren’t children around but, you know- $2.00? It’s such a shame when it’s a pretty sure bet that ride would be full of happy children if only they’d make the darn thing free…

  • Gerry

    @ Master – I supsect that the ride can not be free that a charge must be in place to maintain order — but it could be 50 cents or even just a dollar.

  • Gerry

    And I do not understand why everyone has such disdain for Jane Walentas she could not be that bad!

    If this was called Sylvia’s Carosual there would be much less complaining.

  • bklyn20

    Gerry, Jane Walentas is resented because she took her pet project, made a large donation to Brooklyn Bridge Park to improve the site of that pet project, and then installed it in BBP with no public hearing whatsovever She ripped up a part of the park that was loved by many for her own pleasure. Perhaps you like the carousel, but what if someone donated several million dollars to BBP to construct and maintain their own archery range? To install their very own sculpture park? Just because you have the money, should you be able to insert whatever you want into a public park/development project?

    Furthermore, the carousel costs $2/ride so it can make money to maintain itself, while putting no money into the park. It’s great that kids enjoy it, but kids enjoyed the old park, too. And is the evening lighting working yet?

    And regarding other posts on this topic, several people opined on this blog that bubbles are ugly and should not be in the park. That is what I was responding to. These people want a green viewscape rather than an active park, even though the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is readily available for this purpose. I would like a more pastoral park myself, but the children of Brooklyn need space to move, and I must defer to their needs.

    Regarding the size of the proposed bubble/soccer fields: a regulation soccer field is app. 100 yards x 60 yards. An NCAA regulation soccer field is 120 yards x 80 yards. bklyn21 is talking about smaller fields of 45 yards x 30 yards. Most kids and parents want a regulation size field rather than a half-size field. They need to practice on the proper size field because they will most likely be competing on them and will be using regulation fields in college, inter-school play, etc. Bubble or no, our kids should not be forced to practice soccer on a postage stamp.

    No one has to say “get out of my private park.” The point is that housing forever alters the activities, or lack of them, in the park. These are not mistakes that can be undone — once the buildings are up, they are up for perpetuity. We already have an excess of asphalt around 1 BBP, and the playgrounds are nearly a block away from that building, rather than “right next to” it.

    The attendance figures cited in an earlier post are deceiving. The numbers include the 5 minute visits of the daytripper tour buses. The red buses hold about 100 people and enter the south end of the park quite frequently, at least in the warmer months. If you take off a few hundred visitors a day — people who did not choose to visit the park but are only passing through — the attendance figures are much lower. I daresay none of them ate even a hot dog.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @bklyn20- Actually, as has been pointed out on this blog before, the carousel does NOT need to charge $2.00, or even any money at all for its upkeep- not for, like, ten years or something. That’s already been covered. So children should ride for free! Yay!

    Your other points were very well made- just don’t mess with me ’bout that carousel of unfairness…

  • bklyn20

    MoM, I think the carousel should be free. The Walenti should endow a trust for this purpose. If they are to charge, then all funds should go back into the park. Jane got a place to park her ponies,
    and David was able to develop another building once the carousel was out. They can afford to underwrite the carousel.

  • Master Of Middagh

    You’re right about that too, bklyn20. But I wonder where the current money they are collecting is going to right now since the carousel upkeep has been payed for over the next several years already (by donation if I’m not mistaken).

  • bklyn20

    Good question!

  • mom76

    It is amazing to me that most NYC guides now list Jane’s Caroussel as one of the top ten destinations in NYC for kids. Every site has raving reviews about the park. People call it “the jewel”, “the best park in NY”… The only comment you hear from everyone in the heights is “we want this park to be completed”. Yet, this site is full of controversy and hatred for “condos”. Is it possible that most negative comments here do not represent public opinion at all? This question is for small group of residents who the last ten years have been delaying the park’s expansion. And btw, never seen a carousel that was free of charge. Not in NY, not anywhere in the world.

  • bklyn20

    I would prefer that the Carousel was free. If there is a charge, the money should go back into the entire park, not just the carousel.

    This carousel cannot be compared with others – they are not the hobby project of a millionairess who wanted to see her showpiece from her bedroom window.

  • bklyn20

    And many sites and guidebooks say Grimaldi’s is the best pizza — the only pizza to try — when in Brooklyn.

    Most of the websites mom76 refers to have no doubt received press releases about everything in the park — which would be expected. But, to echo Daffy above, not all writers do their homework before they issue their reviews.

  • Andrew Porter

    Daffy, I’m a writer and I’m a person. Darned if I will write “anything you pay them to.” Hey, if I pay you, will you shoot someone?

    The carousel in Prospect Park, housed in a beautiful old building, also charges $2.00 a ride: