Electeds Seek Answers On Squibb Bridge, Now Closed One Year

As of August 9th, the Squibb Park Bridge, a.k.a “the Bouncy Bridge” has been closed for one year.  What was billed by Brooklyn Bridge Park as a “unique and vital access point to the park” connecting Brooklyn Heights to Pier 1 has been, as reported by the New York Times in July, closed longer than it was open and a source of frustration for many.

On August 7th, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Steve Levin sent a joint letter to Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President, Regina Myer.

“Dear Ms. Myer,

We write to follow-up on our April 3, 2015 letter regarding the closure of Squibb Bridge. We are concerned that as we approach the one year anniversary of the bridge’s closure, anticipated reopening dates have continually been pushed back, a reopening timeline has not been firmly established, and no clear explanation for the delay has been provided.

As you know, we have long supported Squibb Bridge, which was secured in Senator Squadron and former Assemblymember Millman’s 2010 Memorandum of Understanding, and funded by allocations of Councilmember Levin and former Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz. Additionally, as is clear from the continued coverage and concern about the bridge’s closure, it remains a popular access point and attraction to visitors of the park. We appreciate that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has agreed to release a public incident report on the bridge’s misalignment, and has also agreed to pursue recovery of repair costs from any responsible parties.

As reported in the New York Times on July 14th, the Corporation has indicated the bridge is “currently undergoing final inspections and awaiting occupancy permits from the city.” We request clarification on the specific status of current inspections, any additional inspections required thereafter, the parties responsible for these inspections, and a timeline for each of these steps and full reopening.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

A spokesperson from Daniel Squadron’s office advised this correspondent mid-afternoon on Monday that the Park had acknowledged receipt of the letter.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Too bad the letter didn’t include this line:

    PS. We will also be conducting a full audit of the entire Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation’s finances, starting at day one.

  • NYC118

    As i walked by it yesterday I couldn’t help but wonder if the closure were due to the construction (an accommodation to the builders). Also couldn’t help but feel how the construction (and the huge buildings soon to be) dominates that end of the park.

  • StoptheChop

    I imagine the Fruit Street residents would be delighted if it never reopens. This wonderful “attraction” for visitors hasn’t been so good for them (lots of trash, noise) — but of course the Corporation feels no need to work with the community that “birthed” the Park to mitigate any (unfortunate) negative impacts.

  • Willow Street Watch

    The ONLY way that any real light will be thrown on this totally out-of-control matter is if the entire matter is properly presented to a U.S. Attorney and one or more indictments result. No lower level of correction will even be noticed by the BBPC or…the casino roll overs who approved this project and are still running interference for it. Millions of YOUR money are missing or waisted.. Hey, folks, those funds could have gone for some other “small” things…like childhood leukemia research or “some
    thing” like that….

  • Henry Fonda

    Right on!

  • MonroeOrange

    so are YOU going to volunteer and present it to the US attorney or are YOU just going to continually point out all the ways people who are actually doing something are doing it ineffectively?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    That theory was floated by someone else on the blog a while back. It does make sense however, the bridge did develop a noticeable lean to one side right before it was shut down.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Yeah as I recall the most recent discussion involved the comparison of several theories:

    1. that the bridge was actually structurally unsafe (I’ll chime in to say I’m doubtful of this one);

    2. that the bridge was closed because it was too difficult or impossible to build a construction shed over it;

    3. that the bridge was, and will remain, closed and eventually torn down, because the super-wealthy interests paying in advance for residences with windows facing the bridge didn’t want people to be able to see into their condos or something like that.

    Chiming in again, the more cynical part of me believes in #3, the more even-keel part of me leans toward #2.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    I actually think #1. is the most likely of the theories, at least in part.

    To expand on my post above; I walked over the bridge about a week before it was closed and noticed a obvious lean towards one side (North, if I recall) and it had become extra bouncy. At the time, I thought something is definitely wrong with this bridge.

    It is possible that the bridge does have a design and or construction deficiency. Especially, given the generally shoddy cheap construction in the rest of the park.

    As for #2 I have a background in construction and doubt the city would have required shed over the bridge as it is far enough away from the buildings (things fall straight down, not outward unless thrown or otherwise propelled). You can look up the record of the building permit on the BIS system on the NYC DOB site and see if they were issued any violations regarding the bridge.

    I dont think #3. likely at all as those would be the “cheaper” units, who cares what they think… Besides, the condos will sell out like hotcakes, no matter what.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    I also think the BBP’s statement “the bridge currently undergoing final inspections and awaiting occupancy permits from the city” is a bunch of bull. Reason: The the walkway is still laced with cable and tensioners that were placed on there many months ago. If it was “ready for final inspection” all that stuff would need to be gone.

  • Andrew Porter

    This just in: The bridge will be rebuilt with two more levels on top of the existing one, to accommodate necessary superstructure…

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    News flash: Bridges are not supposed to be bouncy https://youtu.be/nFzu6CNtqec?t=6s

  • Jay Brooklyn

    Something ‘fishy’ here. No work whatsoever has been done. Those straps on the bridge are just for show and at most to measure ‘changes’ in tension, etc. but NOT a solution. Next statement from park will be that the bridge is not sustainable and will be turned over to Pier House!

  • Willow Street Watch

    I shouldn’t dignify your comment with a response, but it is reasonable to observe that someone in a responsible…and highly funded position should be looking for criminal wrongdoing. Yes, the media has one of the most primary responsiblity in a matter like this. But there IS your and Arch’s favorite organization which OPENLY has $400 K in VISABLE assets and states they safeguard the Heights. Er, I sort of feel that such a group sort of has the capablity of mounting a serious investigation into what in truth, is occurring here and given the number of very experien ced trial attorneys in their ranks, they certainly have the ability to properly present evidence to th3 proper quarters

  • R.O.Shipman

    I agree with Arch. I think #1 is the most likely scenario. Or rather, it is the closest to true. My guess is that after initially believing there was a construction error regarding the “alignment” someone (maybe from the contractor) believes that it wasn’t a construction error but rather a design error. Now there are probably lawyers involved trying to figure out who is going to pay for changes.

    It’s probable that the design error is not something that can’t be fixed to make the bridge structurally sound, but that it isn’t easy or cheap and therefore there is a fight about it. The park is likely trying to keep this under wraps as the money spent on the bridge in the first place was a waste since it only shaved very little time off of the walk to the park (now, if at the bottom, the bridge turned south instead of north, it may have been worth it).

    I guess there is the outside possibility that the bridge can’t ever be structurally sound without being substantially rebuilt, but I sort of doubt it. The only way I see that being possible is if the “natural bounce” of the bridge was instrumental in the support design. I’m not a structural or bridge engineer, but it seems to me that the natural bounce would likely be more an architectural feature rather than a structural necessity.

  • StoptheChop

    And with the Corporation crying poverty as requiring them to build the Pier 6 highrises (and to give Pierhouse whatever it wanted with the extra stories)—- who’s overseeing its actual spending? Did it have to spend over $4M on this connector? Seems like it has carte blanche for a “Cadillac plan”, using other people’s money….. regardless of whether fiscal constraint is more prudent.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    But am I crazy, or was there a period before it closed completely that the bridge would close, then open again, off and on like this for a few weeks? To me that signaled a tug-of-war between two parties with different interests (some wanting it closed, some wanting it open)…

    The bridge was designed to be a little bit wobbly, and I liked that. It was fun to walk on and (to me at least) never felt unsafe. So if it was finally deemed “too” unsafe, where exactly was the threshold between an acceptable and unacceptable level of bounce? This would have had to have been entirely theoretical since (as far as I know) nobody was injured or killed on the bridge.

    On a related note, I think it was in the spring of 2014, someone fell from the wall on Columbia Heights adjacent to Squibb Park and the BQE underpass, a 20 or 30 foot drop into the flower beds in the park below, and was taken away in an ambulance. There is a ledge there where people sometimes sit and in this case I think the person was taking a selfie or something and simply fell off. I was there and have video of it somewhere. No safety measures were taken in response to this, and that ledge is much easier to fall off of than the bridge, even at its highest bounce.

  • R.O.Shipman

    I don’t recall one way or another whether there were periodic closings. But others have reported that portions of the bridge were “listing” one way. I would assume that this listing was the reason for the closure, and not that bouncing was deemed “unsafe.” The wobbliness/bounciness of the bridge was probably fine, but you can’t have a public walkway bridge that is permanently not level and still be safely within the building code. That’s why I said your theory 1 was closest. I highly doubt that the bridge is in any danger of falling down. But, the design to give the bouncy feature is unsound and the bridge would constantly be in danger of listing.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Yes I remember closings, usually for a few hours or sometimes days during the winter.

  • Willow Street Watch

    There are three basic realities:
    1) a lot of money is gone
    2) those in charge don’t feel the need
    for any transpanancy
    3) At this point, this is a matter for
    law enforcement….

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Um… I dont know what drugs you might be on, but I am not affiliated with any organization based here in the Heights. Sorry to bust your hallucination.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    During these closings I never once saw anyone on the bridge, surveying or checking, no equipment, no sign that any such thing was being done. Hence my suspicion about theory #1.

  • Willow Street Watch

    I try to engage in issue and event based comments here and leave comments/observations directed at individuals out.
    But it is reasonable when even in the face of extreme nonfeasance or
    Outright malfeasance an individual remains noncritical, repeatedly it in no way is hallucinatory to feel there if there is no actual legal connection a very strong sympathy or bias exists…..

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Your saying I’m “noncritical” LOL… Try actually reading my posts.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Guys, I thought we agreed at the last meeting that we’re going to keep our little club and its activities on the down low. Willow Street, any information you could provide about the source of this leak would be greatly appreciated.