Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Top 5 Bloopers (So Far)

Brooklyn Bridge Park has, on balance, been an outstanding addition to Brooklyn Heights and New York City. But during that park’s history, some “bloopers” have been made. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 5. Many of these issues were quickly recognized by park officials and fixed as soon as possible. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.


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  • gatornyc

    Hopefully this article will be balanced by a forthcoming piece titled BBP’s Top 5 Successes.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Would like to hear what you’d put on that list!

  • greatgazoo

    Is there supposed to be a link for the “read it here” reference?

  • Roy Sloane

    Improper or incompetent layout of the bus parking area in back of the berm resulted in not enough room for buses to pull out of the lot thereby rendering the bus parking lot useless (and forcing buses to other parts of the park NOT designed to handle them) . The berm could have been moved back closer to Furman Street to provide a lot more park. This major goof should to be high on the BBP Blooper list!

  • marshasrimler

    what do you think the bloopers and successes have been

  • Jorale-man

    The berm is a major blooper. Along with the above points, park officials neglected to plant grass that could actually grow on it. There was one attempt to re-start when they cut it all down earlier this summer, but it still has only grown in partial clumps. And the whole east side is completely bare.

    The beach design continues to have some problems – the sand has given way to mostly rocks and driftwood now. I’m not sure if that was part of the plan though.

  • zburch

    OK, the park is nice, but there are some problems that could to be corrected. Some not mentioned in the article:

    Lack of bathrooms near the soccer fields…I have noticed men have been using the outer South West corner as a urinal, or at least it stinks of urine there, and it isn’t from dogs, unless the dogs are really really tall.

    The stupid “speed bumps” in the bike lanes. Instead of slowing bikers down they merely swerve into the pedestrian lane to avoid the bumps.

    The dead eastern side of the berm. Clearly gets no sun. Duh.

    Lack of pedestrian link from a major artery of the neighborhood (with subway access) such as Montague or Clark Street The funny thing is, they even have a photo in the park of the old Montague pedestrian bridge. Every time I walk by I wonder why this was not considered…Oh wait, the BHA opposed it for some stupid reason. This pushes much pedestrian traffic to the narrow, uneven sidewalks of Joralemon street. I bet that simple bridge would have cost a helluva of a lot less than the “Bouncy Bridge” debacle.

  • johnny cakes

    Oh, the sun blistering “silver domes” near pier 1. The gravel driveway that messed up TK’s wheelchair wheels. The 15 Toyota Prius cars included in the 2005 budget. The lack of transparency of BBP finances. The lack of common sense in building high-rise condos on a flood plain. That makes 5.

  • marshasrimler

    in my mind the primary and continuing blooper is the folks in charge of the BBPDC..the board of directors. you know who they are….
    They created a happening .. not a real park(central,prospect, van cortland ,even flushing meadows).. in court they called it a park project and got way with taking parkland for development..they created monsterous development like pier house
    and it continues. the best thing about the park is natural.. its the view

  • Welcome to our ool

    The park is being built in phases. There will be bathroom right near the Pier 5 soccer fields when the big parking lot where smorgasburg was this past summer is built out. I believe it’ll be open in a year or two.

  • johnny cakes

    In Appellate Court the BBPC claimed that the waterfront project was a “community development project”. Not a public park. The Appellate Court agreed, which allowed the BBP to build on the land. (It is against NYS law to build private property on public “park” land.)

    This is how the BBPC weaseled the development deal. Now they claim BBP is a city “park”. It was a slick bait-and-switch verbal

    terminology trick, just to confuse things. Afterwards, the State transferred the property to NY City for 65 million dollars.
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  • km

    I am getting so tired of this endless park negativity. I use the park every day, often twice a day, and I love it. Sure, it’s not perfect, but what is? You would all perhaps prefer the abandoned warehouses that were there before?

  • Km

    (1) Toddler playground at pier 5
    (2) Variety of planting (for every season) at pier 1
    (3) Large grassy dog free lawn (beside the berm) to lie on
    (4) Sitting at the end of pier 5 early in the morning with a coffee, watching the boats and birds
    (5) Walking the whole length of the park – no streets to cross, no cars to avoid.
    There are so many other things I could mention that wouldn’t have been possible in that location before the park was there. I am grateful.

  • Andrew Porter

    Didn’t mention the “Green” recharging station that got stolen, resulting in thousands of dollars of high-tech equipment taken by thieves. Oops.

  • Andrew Porter

    Which abandoned warehouses? The ones occupied by the Port Authority and Strober Bros. Lumber for years? The ones used for “Brooklyn Works!”? The ones used by Gran Columbiana Lines for decades until the Port Authority evicted them, thus creating that empty area? I have a shipping directory from the 1960s which advertises those supposedly abandoned cold storage warehouses.

  • marshasrimler

    I agree with you

  • Eddyde

    There are certainly more than 5″bloopers”, but the main one is, the overall quality of construction is shoddy, cheap.

  • BrooklynCoffeeLover

    I always find it funny when I am running on the correct side of the pathway and a person on their bike is on the wrong side of the pathway and gives me a look like I am in the wrong. Those speed bumps aren’t doing anything when you can go around them.

  • nathan

    I love the park, I think it’s a great success, and I want
    MORE of it. The park is so great, in so many ways, I can’t even begin to list
    them all. Here are 5 ways to improve the park:

    5. The BERM. This appears to be a waste of valuable park land. If it was built to block noise from the BQE – why not simply make the BQE a tunnel? The BERM could then be more parkland. This would also reduce the BQE noise on the promenade.

    4. The childish attacks of NIMBYism against anyone that wants to “Keep the Park – An Actual Park.” Is it wrong to enjoy the park so much, that one prefers a beautiful park without a 30 story building inside that city park? Development is great for this city, but not INSIDE city parks.

    3. The quality of the field turf on the Pier 5 soccer field. It looks great, but it is so cheap. It feels like sprinting on an area carpet that is not attached to a wood floor. The field has already buckled in sections. Many other city parks have installed
    high quality field turf, and have seen huge benefits. The field turf field at Van
    Voorhees Park, a block away, is way better quality. I can’t believe St. Francis
    plays their collegiate soccer games on this field, it looks dangerous to me. Very
    minor related issue: The glass basketball backboards look cool, but are also
    very cheap. The metal backboards used in most other NYC parks are more than adequate.

    2. Misleading financial projections by the Park Board. The Park Board is either incompetent or are really trying to show the ‘need’ for development – regardless of actual need.
    The Park’s original financial projections were based on the single year PRIOR to when a multi-million dollar tax rebate expired (coincidence?) Thus the Park’s original projections showed the “need” for more development. Then, when confronted with the additional tax revenues that the Park Board did not account for, the Park Board simply created new “capital expenses” that matched the additional tax revenues. Sounds crazy.

    1. If the development fees are needed to fund the park, the scale of development on pier 6 is ridiculous. The development includes a 30 story building. That is right, a 30 story building inside a city park, nearby buildings are only 15 stories. And, in a section of the park is already gridlocked with traffic/pedestrians. This just looks ridiculous. Period. Even if the development is needed to fund the park (I have not seen proof of that), 30 stories is absurd. Build to scale, if you must build – AND then don’t try to sneak another three stories (like what happened on Pier House). And if the development is required, let’s discuss the larger impact of this development (and the booming construction in the ;larger area) to make sure we have adequete infrastructure (schools, hosptials, etc). Let’s not just develop for developments sake, and not improve the infrastructure for all of us.

  • ClaudeScales

    Why not provide some sort of temporary facilities until the permanent ones can be built? It seems there’s an urgent need.

  • ujh

    Mr. Porter, get a grip on reality. When did you last see breakbulk being loaded or unloaded? The piers became surplus because the shipping industry turned to containers, and the upland portion of Piers 1 to 6 was too small to store thousands of containers. You have probably never seen a container port, otherwise you would know how much land they require; and that’s one of the reasons, if not “the” reason, for the development of Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, not to speak of deep enough water for the giant container ships to navigate. I gather from your naive comments that you’d rather have businesses like Schober (or the Home Depot) and the once-a-year Brooklyn Works exhibition, or “wall-to-wall” housing occupy the piers and their uplands, like Battery Park City with its measly esplanade, instead of providing access and giving pleasure to thousands of Brooklynites and others.

  • ujh

    I agree that the berm was probably a mistake. A metal or concrete structure with cantilevered troughs on both sides planted with shrubs and lots of hanging plants, which can be replanted individually if necessary, would have been less expensive and taken up less space.
    Repair/replacement of the BQE cantilever – or preferably putting the BQE underground – have been a topic of intense debate for what is by now decades, and some of us who’ve dealt with this matter have not given up hope yet, but the elected officials representing this part of Brooklyn have not stepped forward in a concerted effort to secure the federal funds needed for such a daunting project (as an example, the East Side Access project for the LIRR to come into Grand Central Terminal currently has a budget of 10 billion dollars). Enclosing the cantilevered BQE was an urgent request during the BBP planning sessions, but again, this is not in the BBP Corp.’s purview, viz. lengthening the Clark Street subway station platform to Furman Street. Such projects must be financed by the NYS and federal DOT, and the MTA.
    If you want natural turf for Pier 5, annual repair/replacement costs in excess of $200,000, adding to the park’s M&O budget. Given the intense use of Pier 5 daily until 10 or 11 p.m. year round, Voorhees Park is not a valid example. Find out from the MLS organization what annual field maintenance costs are.

  • Andrew Porter

    Dear Anonymous Person: I pointed out that the warehouses were certainly not abandoned, and you’ve jumped down my throat as advocating all the uses you write about so disparagingly. Fact: the piers were not abandoned, and were in use by several businesses until the Port Authority sold them off.

  • Anneke Berken

    BBP has been wonderful destination for our New York Cares field trips with Cobble Hill Health Center residents during the past three to four years.
    This summer was especially amazing. We visited our favorite location, the Southeast corner of Pier 5 (behind the soccer fields) ten times with eight to eleven residents in wheel chairs and we, hopefully, will be able to take one or more trips there before it gets too cold.. The views are spectacular, there are lots of things to watch- boats, and yes, helicopters.
    The CHHC residents love to go there because of the wonderful views and the access to water and fresh air. One of the residents used to live and work in Brooklyn Heights and asks us to turn him around instead so he can watch his beloved neighborhood.
    It is easy for us to access BBP, by using the bike path from Cobble Hill.
    Could the park be improved? Yes, of course! Even though the gravel has settled it is still harder to navigate wheelchairs on it, but not impossible. There are not enough bathrooms. We certainly do not need more congestion at the Atlantic Avenue entrance.
    Please check out New York Cares, newyorkcares,org and join us in the projects in our neighborhood.
    Thank you,
    Anneke Berken

  • Hicksup

    Beg to differ on number 5. We have to be careful not to get hit by park operations vehicles going way way to fast. Someone will get seriously hurt one day.

  • welcome to our ool

    There are restrooms a couple of hundred feet away at Pier 6 and also in the other direction at Pier 2. In addition, this past summer there a number of porta potties located inside the smorgasburg set up AT PIER 5. There are literally more bathrooms per acre in BBP than in any other park i’ve ever been in. It’s always nice to have restrooms nearby, but this is far from an urgent need or a blooper. People walk alot further for restrooms in propsect park and central park and they seem to be ok. When did everyone become such babies?

  • ClaudeScales

    If people really are urinating on the soccer field, maybe there should be signs directing them to the restroom at Pier 6.

  • rubenkincaid

    I am so glad that the park has finally been built and look forward to its completion.
    But there have been some mistakes.
    1. Lack of bathrooms. The ones that do exist were not built for thousands of weekend visitors. Two stalls and two urinals at Pier 6? I haven’t been in the ladies room. And soccer players do in fact pee at the SW corner of Pier 5. There should simply be more bathrooms, designed also for people with kids, people in wheelchairs, older folks.
    2. The Berm is a failure. It looks awful and actually bounces noises from the BQE back into the Heights. It looks like the backside of a shopping mall from the Promenade. How are they going to mow the grass on that thing?
    3. The Bridge. Bad choice of materials. Materials like these won’t age well. Bouncy bridge bad.
    4. No main entry. Joralemon and Furman is a very dangerous corner. The entry at Fulton has a natural flow to it, but Montague would have been a good addition. After the BQE falls down, maybe they can build the pedestrian bridge.
    5. The turf at Pier 5. $26 Million for Pier 5 and its coconut turf that is in need of repair after two years?
    There are great qualities to the park, but for the money spent upon it, and the amount of time spent, it could be better.

  • Jorale-man

    It really does reek around the far corners of the field. I hold my breath whenever I jog by there in the morning (not easy, when you’re jogging, mind you). It wouldn’t be so hard to walk to Pier 6 to use those — but who knows what motivates people who urinate in public? Hopefully more WC’s are on the way.