Plan to Build Brooklyn Bridge Park Velodrome Felled Not by Reason but by Finance

“Philanthropist/reclusive millionaire” Joshua Rechnitz’ plan to bring a $50 million velodrome to Brooklyn Bridge Park is kaput reports the New York Times:

NYT: For cyclists, it is a velodrome dream deferred. For some Brooklyn residents, who balked at the use of an outsize park parcel for a niche sport, it is good riddance.

But in the end, supporters said, the neighborhood was just too expensive.

The decision to abandon the Brooklyn park, reached at a meeting on Monday, came after planners were unable to produce a design that could fit within the bounds of Mr. Rechnitz’s $50 million pledge for its construction and maintenance, despite months of efforts.

“You can’t build a facility of this nature, at this site, at this budget,” said Greg J. Brooks, the executive director of N.Y.C. Fieldhouse, the nonprofit group behind the project. “We’re very excited and eager to find a new home for this recreation center and velodrome. The funding remains intact.”

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  • Eddyenergizer

    They should look in Sunset Park or perhaps the Navy Yard, plenty of room there.

  • Wiley E.

    Hurray. This is just the wrong place for this project. I hope he finds a suitable location with parking somewhere.

    He should consider upgrading the present velodrome in Queens. Or consider developing another City ‘park’ site in Greenpoint or Bushwick here in Brooklyn.

  • Blooomy

    Before Gerry chimes in asking for a pool to replace the velodrome…..

    “Ms. Myer said that before Mr. Rechnitz’s gift, the site, now occupied by a one-story concrete warehouse, had been planned as a garage for park-maintenance equipment, as a storage area for recreational boats and as restrooms. Officials were looking to return to that plan, she said.”

  • Cranberry Beret

    So does that mean all the people who raised the same objections that the sponsors came to see as real impediments, were not nimbys after all just because they happened to be heights residents?

  • Cassie VonMontague

    This is good news. I thought a velodrome was a little esoteric for a neighborhood that is a popular destination for travelers and a park that is filled with families.

  • Martin L

    Ms. Myers shouldn’t quit looking for better choices than bathrooms and truck parking. There have to be more relevant and interesting uses than that for a great park. No douby Van Valkenburgh could come up with ten good ideas in a minute.
    Maybe she’s feelilng a little down now that all that easy money has slipped through her fingers. Regina, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. There’s a great big creative, imaginative world out there. Go for it.

  • stuart

    thank goodness that dumb idea died.

  • David G.

    What a joke. He didn’t go through with it because of rooftop decorations? Put a little bit of flooding protections, put some tinsel on the roof and you’ll be fine. This millionaire guy fell off his bike and hit his head one too many times. I liked this project but now I’m glad we aren’t dealing with someone who breaks his promises. My guess, the money is not there anymore (parents cut him off?) and he just doesn’t want to admit it.

  • Monty

    Storage and bathrooms is fine if it has a smaller footprint than the rec center. I’d rather have the greenspace.

  • Gerry

    @ Bloomy – here I am chiming in about an indoor pool a state of the art aquatics center that opens very early closes late like Asphalt Green in Manhattan.

    This morning I was in the pool at Hofstra University Swim Center from 6am to 7am.

    Swimming is a great way to begin the day I have been swimming early each morning for 32 years.

    Twenty years ago BBP Chairwoman Barbara Brookhart agreed that we need a BIG 50 meter pool here in downtown Brooklyn and it should be located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Regretfully Barbara disapeared and the idea lost steam.

  • Rick

    Great news for the park. And I agree, why does the existing building need to stay so large? Better to reduce its size, save on heat/electricity and increase the amount of open land.

  • stuart

    the existing building is a wreck. I assume it will need to be demolished and replaced with a new, smaller, greener, more flood-resistant building.

  • Clover_Hill_Billy

    Yes, I’m with Monty and Rick. How about a park with more green space and open land.

  • HenryLoL

    i vote for a white castle franchise…

  • Wiley E.

    Regina and Bloomberg don’t like ‘white castle’ type of people. Too shady. Not rich enough.

  • Monty

    LoL@HenryLoL. More appropriate would be tiny steamed burgers served on artisinal buns by hipsters for $8 a piece. I’m kidding, but I’d probably eat them if that actually happened because I’m a sucker.

  • Peter

    Instead of the Velodrome’s 90,000 sq ft arena, the Park’s design for the existing 28,500 sq ft 1-story warehouse on Furman St is to allocate 21,250 sf to workspace and storage space for the Park’s maintenance staff (plus another 15,500 sf of outside yard for vehicles, materials, etc); 2000 sf for public restroom & ‘utilities'; and 5000 sf for the volunteer Public Boat Program’s “Boat Shop” (plus another 4,800 sf outside for its boat-building program). The sight-line from the Promenade will be unchanged; the greenscape and ‘berm’ separating Pier 5’s “Picnic Peninsula” from the building will largely cloak the building from visitors in the Park. Definitely a win-win for the Park and the community.

  • John

    So the NIMBY heighters like Peter Flemming got rid of the last opportunity for a year round recreational center in this so called park. Onward luxury housing. Wiley is right – it should have been situated at Pier 6. Too bad the rest of you are too stupid to realize that you got snookered by the borough’s wealthiest, there will be no pool or anything else to keep people recreating there, and the children of Brooklyn got screwed.

  • David on Middagh


    Well, I never.

  • Jorale-man

    That’s a relief. It was just a bizarre choice of location and made me seriously question the park management’s common sense.

    I too hope for more green space now. I wonder if they’ve considered building the storage shed into the topography, so that it’s essentially buried underneath a grassy hill? I’m no landscape architect but it seems feasible.

  • Vic

    Is time to build a real velodrome instead of this chessy elevated one which is supposed to host other multi-use facilities. Just so that people living in the area won’t be upset about their parking space. FYI, no velodrome but you ain’t have a park there either. Is nothing but a construction site there right now and for a while too. Stupid, is all about the parking space….

  • Cranberry Beret

    Thanks, wingnuts, for one last gasp of your conspiracy theories about rich Heights residents keeping poor kids from the rest of Brooklyn out of the park just because there’s no “rec center,” and especially for the nonsense about a fixed-gear racing bike track being the perfect use for this spot. The rest of us will enjoy the nice open spaces of this park along the waterfront, in the grand traditions of Central and Prospect Parks.

  • Rick

    @Jorale-man, I had the same thought, build it into one of the berms. The berms are to be built up anyway, so the expense would be minimal, and this would create a view from the Promenade of a rolling grassy hill. The back side of the building could be exposed to allow for doors and windows.

    If that can’t be done, then at the very least, how about grass or a garden on the roof? It doesn’t need to be accessible to the public, if that creates a problem.

    Anyway, still can’t understand why so much building space is required? And that doesn’t include parking that is to be outside around that big building? Seriously?

  • Wiley E.

    John, I am against condos and velodromes anywhere inside the ‘park’. By the way, BBP isn’t a city park. It is a Bloomberg development project.

  • Gerry

    @ Wiley E. – Maybe the park should be named Bloomberg Park?

  • Big Dave

    A velodrome in Queens near the National Tennis Center?

  • WillowNabe

    The velodrome in Queens is in Flushing as is the National Tennis Center. How close are they?

  • Wiley E.
  • Bagel Boy

    Thank God someone somewhere saw the ridiculous idea of a velodrome, that no one would use, as a pipe dream.

  • Knight

    @HenryLoL: I agree. Knight votes for a Castle!