Earth Day 2012: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg Claims To Love Brooklyn Bridge Park

With Earth Day coming up on Sunday April 22—which aims to preserve and protect the environment—grassroots environmental organization Sierra Club posted a video offering a slew of notable public figures sharing their favorite “pieces of America.” Actor Corbin Bernsen names Yosemite National Park, “That ’70s Show” regular Laura Prepon cites Big Sur and HBO’s “True Blood” actress Kristin Bauer hearts the redwood forests of Northern California. And then there’s NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who names Brooklyn Bridge Park, “because it gives you a front row seat on one of the great harbors in the world.” See the Earth Day video on YouTube here.

Bloomberg’s pronounced adoration for BBP is ironic, given his persistent distractions to develop Governor’s Island and other areas of the city, instead of focusing on sluggish progress along the Brooklyn waterfront. Last August, Bloomberg, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron and Assembly Member Joan L. Millman finalized a plan to ensure a long-term revenue stream to pay for the park’s annual maintenance, while allowing construction to move forward.

Of the park’s 85 total planned land & water acres, 25 are complete at Piers 1 and 6, with another 10 moving ever-so-slowly forward at Pier 5 and the area between the Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridges, leaving 50 acres to be built. In March 2010, the City assumed from the State responsibility for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of the park. You tell me… aside from a pool coming this summer, is Bloomberg truly invested in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s expedient completion?

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  • stuart

    I think Bloomie is looking to build his legacy in part on the new parks that were built in his administration. So yes, BBP is important to him. However, he is a strict Dutch uncle and he believes his parks should be profit-making endeavors. His favorite, the Highline, is a whiz kid at producing revenue and encouraging new development. He expects the same results along BBP but unfortunately, Brooklyn is not Manhattan and the BQE waterfront is not Chelsea and the Highline.
    So he is disappointed at his under-achieving child and as a result has cut back on its allowance.
    He’s a pip that Scrooge McBloom.

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, it is amazing he’d put his name to the project in such a high-profile way. Nothing seems to ever get built there. I know it’s probably a big undertaking to shore up the piers with lots of underwater construction, but there have been practically zero signs of development above-ground for a good year now. And it’s worth noting that Pier 6 is far from complete. They basically left the outer half unfinished and claim that whole pier is up and running.

    In any case, I’m glad someone in the press is pointing this out now.

  • She’s Crafty

    Wow @Jorale-man I’m puzzled by your assertion that nothing ever seems to get built in the park. I think there’s been a huge amount of progress there. They basically took raw, unstable space and have carefully turned it into several different kinds of environments, not just slapped down astro turf or concrete. Look how long that tiny park outside of OEM took to finish. I love BBP and don’t mind the small amount of profit generating businesses there that sustain the free amenities for everyone like the playgrounds, grassy “knolls”, kayaking, bike and walking trails, etc. etc. etc.

  • Ridiculous

    To say that Bloomberg is not a full supporter of BBP is absurd. Nearly as absurd as saying that nothing is getting built at the park. Under Bllomberg’s administration the City’s financial commitment to building the park rose from $65 million to over $150 million. He has been down to the Park several times and even introduced a movie last summer. His administration spent a ton of time working out the deal you referenced with Squadron and Millman. In the meantime, since construction began in eanest a new large section of park has opened every year. Pier 1 in early 2010, A portion of pier 6 in summer 2010, The revamped Empire Fulton Ferry Park with Jane’s Carousel in summer of 2011. If not for lawsuits, the construction of St Ann’s Warehouse in the Tobacco Warehouse would be underway. The Pier 1 hotel and residential development has been going forward and the park has said that they expect to announce the selected developer this spring. The pool will open this summer and finally, 3 soccer fields and a picnic area will open later this year. And the Park planners have laid out a schedule to complete additional sections of the park in 2013 and 2014. I would describe all that as “steady progress” not “zero signs of development”. You people who expect a fully built multi-million dollar waterfront park to just materialize out of thin are are not living in the real world. Those of us who have lived in NYC for a while have seen how long construction projects take to get done and recognize that things a chugging along quite nicely at the Park. Especially compares to the 20 or so years before Bloomberg when people just talked about a park and not a single thing happened. Bloomberg isn’t perfect and there are alot of legitimate complaints you can make about his 11 years in office, but claiming that he’s not committeed to Brooklyn Bridge Park is absurd.

  • Pat R. Ician

    I agree– Mayor Mike has been great! He understands that those of us in the 1% need our parks too! Who could argue with a few hundred million $$$ worth of landscaping in front of my mansion along with the great new affordable yacht housing right down the street? I’m going to berth my boat “It’s all about me” there the moment the publicly financed, revenue neutral marina is completed to show my support for Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • Ridiculous

    My point was not whether or not it was a good thing that Bloomberg has been so supportive of the Park. I take no stance on that and you can make whatever argument you want. My point was that it is obvious to anyone paying attention that he has in fact been very supportive and BHB’s original post which claimed otherwise is based on some alternate reality.

  • Park Lover?

    He also absolutely adores the 200-300 daily tourist chopper flights (depending on the time of year) that zoom along Brooklyn Bridge Park and over Governors Island, and SO enhance the experiences there.

    So, it’s hard for me to take his assertions too seriously.

  • She’s Crafty

    LOL @ Pat.R. Ician at your moniker.

  • Jorale-man

    I’m trying to guess who Ridiculous works for – the park or Bloomberg.

    I’ll concede that the section of the park around Dumbo was a big step forward last year. Whatever you think of the carousel structure, the landscaping looks great. It’s just frustrating to look out on the empty stretch of pavement of Piers 2-5 month after month and see nothing really changes there. I also wouldn’t hold up the hotel complex as a signature achievement. To me it’s more of a last-ditch effort to keep the whole thing afloat but it will certainly be a blight on the final results.

  • stuart

    Bloomberg sees the park as a money-making enterprise. Build a park to encourage nearby condos, hotels, theaters, and other buildings, Use development rights from the park to add to the bulk of the new buildings. A park for Bloomberg is not an open space where weary New Yorkers can rest and take in a little nature, it is a real estate development venture.
    BBP is a real estate deal same as the Highline, same as the new waterfront park in Williamsburg. This is not all bad, but in the case of BBP, where the adjacent real estate turns out not to be worth as much as projected, the park is put on hold until prices firm up.
    The move on the part of the Parks Commissioner to illegally excise a portion of the old Fulton Empire Park in order to hand it over to a developer is a classic Boombergian move. Parks are for raising tax revenue and if they can’t, then the hell with them.

  • Ridiculous

    A yes, the old “you don’t agree with me, so you must work for the person i’m criticizing” bit. That’s so played out. Haven’t we gotten to the point as a society where we can acknowledge that people who disagree with with us aren’t necessarily paid to do so? Look I’m not defending bloomberg or the park. You think that bloomberg only cares about the rich? Fine. You think that the funding plan for the park is bogus or that janes carousel is in the wrong place? Fine. Legitimate opinions.
    But to say that Bloomberg has not been an ardent supporter of the park or that nothing has is getting done in the park is just not true and not supported by the facts. If you want to look at one small part of the park and point out that nothing has happened there, that’s fine, but you have to acknowledge that the park is being phased in over a multi year period and the section you are referring to has always been scheduled to get built in 2013-2014. And until that part gets built alot of other stuff has happened.

    Express you opinions all you want, but stick to the facts and don’t lie. I expect more from BHB readers and especially from BHB writers.

  • Bloomin’ for Bloomie

    Isn’t Bloomberg a dream? I can’t wait to be asked to plant some bulbs in front of those wonderful, glorious condos? Imagine, I might even be asked in for tea whilst I spend my free time greening up those cute condo buildings that the park planners and Senator Squadron, along with Joan Millman, have so generously planned for our open space. How thoughtful of Bloomberg and his other “ridiculous” admirers to provide for our time! The Brooklyn Heights Association and the adorable Conservancy are to also be congratulated! Thank goodness for condos in our parks – giving me a free job on my weekends. I love Mayor Bloomberg!