Brooklyn Heights Blog » brooklyn bridge park http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:25:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Pier Six Settlement Talks Fail; BHA’s Lawsuit Continueshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83610 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83610#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:38:35 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83610

The Eagle reports that settlement talks between the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and the Brooklyn Heights Association, along with other community representatives, have failed. This comes as no surprise, as both sides have been adamant in their demands: the BHA and its allies for more green space on the Pier Six uplands and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation for two residential high rise buildings on that space in order to generate revenue the BBPC claims is needed to fund park maintenance in the future.

The Eagle story quotes a BHA statement as saying the “next step will be an argument … on the merits of the lawsuit on June 7th or 9th.”

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BHA Issues “Fake News Alert” About Pier Sixhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83568 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83568#comments Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:57:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83568

The Brooklyn Heights Association has issued a notice under the headline “Pier 6 Rumors Have No Factual Basis.” This is in reaction to rumors it has heard in response to Judge Lucy Billings’ order to the BHA and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation that they have “dialogue” in an effort to reach a compromise on the issue of housing on the Pier Six uplands. Because settlement negotiations are, by court order, held in confidence, there has been, the BHA said, speculation that it “is entering into a ‘secret deal’ that would somehow harm some of our neighbors.” The BHA responded:

We are writing to reassure everyone that those rumors have no basis in fact. The BHA has not and would not enter into any resolution of the Pier 6 issues without consulting with our community and we have consistently said just that to the Court and to the respondents, i.e., the other party.

The BHA added that, to assure community representation in the negotiations, it had persuaded the court that “we could expand the confidentiality tent to include the two community leaders with whom we have worked most closely from the beginning of this case.” In conclusion, it said, “no one should have any concern that we would enter into any resolution without input from our community.”

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BBP News: At One End, Squibb Bridge to Re-Open This Wednesday / On the Other, Judge Tells BHA and BBP to Work It Outhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83517 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83517#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:59:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83517

Love it or hate it, after three years of shut-down and unanswered questions, Squibb Bridge will be back in bouncy action this Wednesday, albeit with a lot less bounce. According to today’s New York Times report:

What was billed as a temporary closing dragged on for months, then years, as a successful fix eluded the bridge’s designer, a noted engineer named Ted Zoli, the recipient of a MacArthur grant. Compounding the problem was the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which operates the park, was strangely reticent about the exact nature of the trouble and what was being done to address it.

While BBPC commenced a lawsuit for breach of contract and professional misconduct against Zoli’s firm, BBPC footed the $2.5M bill to repair the bridge. “I didn’t want the litigation to impede our ability to move forward and get this bridge open as soon as possible,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor and chairperson for BBPC. “This is such a great amenity to the neighborhood. It was better to spend the money necessary to fix the bridge and then try to recover as much money as possible.”

And on the other end of the park, Brooklyn Paper reports that a hearing was held in the Brooklyn Heights Association’s lawsuit against the proposed towers at Pier 6. Presiding over the hearing was Judge Lucy Billings who admonished BHA’s lawyer that “[w]hat you would want to talk to [BBPC] about is what changes you’d want to make to the project to make it more palatable for the community. My first question when you come back [into court] is going to be how much dialogue you’ve had.”

Meanwhile, BBPC’s lawyer complained to the Judge that the BHA would not budge from its position unless affordable housing units in one of the buildings were eliminated and the project was changed “in a major way.” BHA, on the other hand, had previously suggested compromises, “such as moving the proposed affordable housing to the park’s headquarters on Furman Street in exchange for reducing the height of one of the towers.” The hearing ended with the parties being called into the Judge’s chambers for off-the-record discussions, which neither side would comment about.

 

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Floating Restaurant on Sailing Vessel Coming to Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83470 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83470#comments Sat, 08 Apr 2017 15:06:04 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83470

The Brooklyn Paper reports that restaurateur Alex Pincus plans to open an upscale, seafood oriented restaurant on an historic sailing vessel that will be moored to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, locared near the Park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance. The identity of the vessel hasn’t been revealed, but Pincus already has a restaurant, Grand Banks, operating on Manhattan’s shore aboard a Grand Banks style fishing schooner, the Sherman Zwicker (see photo).

According to the Brooklyn Paper story, the floating restaurant will be operating by this summer.

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Welcome back to Squibb Park Bridgehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83468 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83468#comments Sat, 08 Apr 2017 01:01:02 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83468

Brooklyn Paper reported today that just in time for spring, the Squibb Park Bridge will re-open.

Repairs on the long-shuttered, trampoline-like walkway that connects the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the Brooklyn Bridge Park are finally finished, and park officials say they are just waiting on the paperwork so it can reopen, according to a rep for waterfront meadow.

The bridge has been closed since August 2014 after it was determined than a flawed design caused the bridge, which is a shortcut from Columbia Heights over the BQE into Brooklyn Bridge Park, to be unsafe. It was open for a year and half before the damage was discovered.

Fans of the bridge’s bounciness may be disappointed to learn that the repaired bridge will be “a lot less bouncy.”

And some readers and commenters of this blog, displeased by the foot traffic to the bridge, will also no doubt be dismayed at the imminent re-opening. According to Brooklyn Paper, Brendan Rees will not be among them.

 

“That bridge would change my life, “ said Rees. “It did when it was open.”

Read the full report at Brooklyn Paper.

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Pier Six Towers Court Hearing Set for Wednesday, April 12http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83460#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 03:01:25 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83460

The already twice delayed hearing on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s lawsuit against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the Pier Six uplands, near the park’s Atlantic Avenue entrance, is now scheduled for this coming Wednesday afternoon, April 12, at 2:30, at the New York State Supreme Court, 71 Thomas Street, in Manhattan, before Justice Lucy Billings.

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Eric Landau Nominated for Brooklyn Bridge Park Presidencyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83449#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:25:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83449

The Eagle reports that Mayor de Blasio has nominated Eric Landau, who presently serves as deputy commissioner of public affairs and communications at the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, to be the new president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. Before taking his post at DEP, Landau was vice president of government and external affairs and special assistant to the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. If confirmed, Landau will assume the presidency as Brooklyn Bridge Park is undergoing its last stages of construction (photo: Pier 3). He will also inherit the controversy over the need for two high rise residential buildings on the Pier 6 uplands to provide revenue for future park maintenance.

According to the Eagle story, Landau is “[a]n advocate of environmental issues, open space and community voices, [who] also has experience in government and urban park planning.”

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Help to Make Brooklyn Bridge Park Ready for Springhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83397 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83397#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 02:29:22 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83397

Brooklyn Bridge Park has a very effective full time staff who take care of day-to-day park maintenance, but relies on volunteers to help with the intensive work needed when winter yields to spring. This Thursday, March 30, and on Monday, April 3, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, volunteers are needed for “Spring Spruce-Up and Cutback,” at which they may

enjoy the outdoors and getting their hands dirty as they help prepare the park for a new growing season. Volunteers, with various levels of experience, support BBP Gardeners by cutting back overwintered grasses and perennials, removing winter debris, and helping tidy up the planting beds.

If you would like to participate, please register here and you will be given directions to the meeting place.

Should you be interested in being a park volunteer for this and future opportunities, there will be a Volunteer Orientation at REI SoHo, Community Room, 303 Lafayette Street in Manhattan this Thursday evening, March 30, from 7:00 to 8:00. If you wish to attend, please fill out a Volunteer Application, then follow the directions here.

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View of Brooklyn Bridge from Promenade Blighted Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:45:45 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83322

As if the Pierhouse’s blotting out of the full view of the arc of the Brooklyn Bridge, which had been visible (apart from two small interruptions caused by rooftop equipment) from the southern portion of the Promenade when the National Cold Storage Warehouse buildings were there (see here), wasn’t enough, a high rise building in Manhattan is now spoiling the view of the East (Brooklyn) Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. As shown in the photo (by your correspondent) the new building (just north of the Manhattan Bridge on the Manhattan side) is looming over the Brooklyn side tower, thus taking away the view of the tower against the sky, as we’ve always known it.

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Pier Six Lawsuit Hearing Postponed Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83317 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83317#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:16:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83317

We’ve just received word from the Brooklyn Heights Association that the hearing on the BHA’s lawsuit to enjoin construction of two high rise residential buildings on the uplands of Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been postponed for a second time. The hearing was originally scheduled for March 7, then postponed to tomorrow (Wednesday, March 22). It has now been postponed until an unspecified date in April because of a trial this week having been assigned to the judge, The Hon. Lucy Billings.

We will let you know when a specific date, as well as time and place, have been established.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Presents Artist Priscila De Carvahlo at 99 Plymouth Street Saturday Afternoonhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83304 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83304#comments Fri, 17 Mar 2017 03:35:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83304

This Saturday afternoon, March 18, from 1:00 to 2:00, the Brazilian born artist Priscila De Carvalho (photo; from Maria Brito) will give an artist talk in conjunction with her exhibition Before Now, at 99 Plymouth Street, in DUMBO. Admission is free, but spots are limited and available on a first-come, first served basis.

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The Air Was Cold, But The Birds Were Outhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229#comments Sun, 12 Mar 2017 06:29:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83229

Your correspondent ventured out at 8:45 yesterday (Saturday) morning in sub-zero wind chill to walk from his home on Montague Street down to the Pier 1 entrance. There he met Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge and guide for a bird walk scheduled for what proved to be a very cold morning. The only other walkers present were a man named Brian with his two young sons. Heather said she had recently seen woodcocks in a wooded area near the pier entrance; we looked, but found none.

Heather then led us to a path the cuts through the woods on the landward side of Pier One; a prime spot for birding, she said. She was right. Before long we saw a pair of American Robins foraging on the path ahead of us. Then, off to our right, came a rapid “Tap! Tap! Tap!” It was a Downy Woodpecker (see photo above). As we continued along the path, the little woodpecker kept a parallel course, stopping here and there for more tapping. On the same path we saw a Fox Sparrow, but it was too quick for me to get a photo.

When we reached the south end of Pier One, Brian said his boys were uncomfortable in the cold, so they left. At the same time, we were joined by another walker, Clint.

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Coming down off the south side of Pier One we saw lots of waterfowl resting on the exposed pilings. Here are five Gadwall ducks, and, at top left, what appears to be a Mallard, getting some rest while the cold wind blows. There were two Buffleheads, a male and a female, paddling and diving, but they were too far away and too quick for photography. There were also Herring Gulls on the pilings and on the water.

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Coming to the landward side of Pier Two, we found two Mallards, male and female, also enjoying some shut-eye.

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Standing on the water’s edge at the beach near Pier Four was a Ring-billed Gull. Heather also pointed out some Great Black-backed Gulls, but they were too far away for good photography with my little camera.

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A squadron of Brants (small geese) glided across the water between Pier Four and the Marina.

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On the landward side of Pier Six we spotted this White-throated Sparrow. Out on Pier Six we saw a female Cardinal. but she was too quick for my lens.

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Also on Pier Six, which Heather noted has become a very good bird watching spot, we saw this Mourning Dove.

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Here’s intrepid Heather, aiming her long lens at the Mourning Dove shown above. She led us on a very productive walk for a very cold March morning: by my count at least fourteen species, not including the ubiquitous house sparrows and pigeons. I’m looking forward to her next bird walk, which I hope will be in more clement weather.

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Park Corporation, BHA Trade Punches Over Pier 6 Developmenthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83221 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83221#comments Sat, 11 Mar 2017 20:27:28 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83221

We previously noted that the Brooklyn Heights Association, citing new information from the City’s Department of Finance concerning valuation of existing properties on park land, was going forward with its lawsuit to prevent construction of two residential towers near Pier Six and the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Curbed now reports that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has responded with a post on the Park’s website and a February 28 letter to the court. The Curbed story says the BBPC’s interim President, David Lowin, maintains that “the numbers BHA drew from only represent one year of incomplete valuations, and don’t present enough data to project a conservative 50-year financial plan for the park.”

The BHA has since replied with a post to its “News” webpage that links to its March 7 letter to the court disputing, among other things, the BBPC’s claim that BHA has misinterpreted the City’s valuations and their significance. In addition, the BHA has circulated an e-mail in which it notes:

In addition, the BHA lawsuit contains many other challenges to the Pier 6 development, including the failure of the BBPC to consider the environmental impact of the proposed project in light of changed economic conditions and increased school overcrowding in the more than ten years since the last environmental review, as well as the procedural flaws in its decision making process. None of those claims are rebutted in the [BBPC’s] Update.

A hearing on the BHA’s motion to enjoin BBPC from proceeding with the Pier Six residential development is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22. We will give further details when available.

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BHA Annual Meeting: P.S.8’s Phillips and Others Honored; Expert Panel Dubious about BQXhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82930 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82930#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:03:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82930

Court hearing on Pier 6 towers has been rescheduled–see below. At Monday evening’s annual meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association, BHA President Patrick Killackey (photo) began by asking, rhetorically, what a neighborhood association can do in a time of political turmoil. He answered by arguing that the nature of the times requires more action at the local level. We might not, he said, be able to bring about the disarmament of North Korea, but we can do, and have done, things that can improve our lives and perhaps inspire others to do more, both in our community and in others. As examples, among others, he cited the Promenade Gardeners and those who fought to reduce helicopter noise in the Heights and nearby.

Mr. Killackey noted some new developments. The BHA House Tour, which ended in 2015, will be replaced with a new Designer Showhouse event to take place in September of this year. More details are forthcoming. On Monday, March 6, there will be a hearing in court on the BHA’s lawsuit to prevent construction of two high rise residential buildings near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Update: The new hearing date before NYS Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings will be Friday, March 17th at 11:00 AM at 71 Thomas Street, Room 203, in Manhattan.

Mr. Killackey noted with regret the departure of DCI Centa as commander of the 84th Precinct, but expressed confidence in his replacement, Capt. Roberto Melendez. Mr. Killackey reviewed the progress that had been made under DCI Centa, including the installation of cameras on Joralemon Street and the appointment of two community affairs officers to Brooklyn Heights.

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Awards for community service were presented by Heights resident and Channel 13 personality Tom Stewart (photo above), who got a good laugh for announcing that the first award went to La La Land. The real first award for community service went to Irene Janner, who served on the P.S.8 PTA during the years of the school’s transition from struggling to desirable, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Brooklyn Bridge Park, and was treasurer and office manager for the BHA. The second was to Love Our Pool, a group of parents who fought to keep the Pop-Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park open for at least another summer, while the Park finds another way to provide a swimming venue. The third was to community activists Judi Francis and Ren Richmond, and to the law firm Jenner & Block, which has donated its services pro bono, for their fight to keep high rise towers from being built near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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The BHA’s top award, the Martha Atwater Award, went to Seth Phillips (photo above), who became principal of P.S.8 when it was still a struggling, underperforming school to which local parents tried to avoid sending their children, to one so successful that it now has an overcrowding problem. He was also instrumental in expanding the school, and in establishing a new middle school, I.S.8, to relieve the shortage of nearby, attractive middle school options for local students.

The meeting concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by New York Times writer Jim Dwyer, and featuring experts on transit matters. The topic was the proposed “Brooklyn-Queens Connector,” a streetcar line that would connect Sunset Park in Brooklyn with Astoria, Queens. The panel members were. in general, skeptical of the project. The notion that the project could be financed by property tax increases on adjacent properties was questioned because the properties along the line were either fully developed or too small to produce the needed revenue. Engineering problems related to the route being mostly within a flood plain, and lacking a dedicated right of way, which would mean traffic delays. Concerns were also expressed about the ability of the proposed route to connect with other means of transit, such as subways and buses. Finally, it was argued that money would better be spent on improvements to transit on underserved areas like East New York and others on the City’s edge. One panelist said that underserved areas near the proposed BQX route, such as the Red Hook Houses and other NYCHA housing near the Queens waterfront, could be served more economically by providing better bus service connecting to subways.

The audience seemed mostly hostile to the BQX proposal, as each criticism of it from the panel attracted a vigorous round of applause.

All photos by Andrew Porter.

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New Info Breathes Life into Effort to Block Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82914 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82914#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:24:39 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82914

New information from the City’s Department of Finance has revived efforts by the Brooklyn Heights Association and other local activists to block construction of two residential towers on Brooklyn Bridge Park land near Pier Six and the foot of Atlantic Avenue, as reported by Lauren Gill in the Brooklyn Paper. As we noted last June, the BHA was prepared to litigate the issue of whether the towers were necessary to meet the Park’s continuing financial needs. According to the Brooklyn Paper story, the Department of Finance has found that existing developments, such as the Pierhouse hotel and condo complex, stand to produce $300 million more in revenue for the Park than originally projected. The story quotes Judi Francis, a Cobble Hill resident and long time opponent of the Pier Six development, as saying, “We knew that we were right and big surprise, we were right.” The story then quotes David Lowin, interim president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, as saying, “We have repeatedly made clear the necessity and merits of this project, and look forward to responding to the BHA’s erroneous claims in court.”

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Change of Command at 84th Precincthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82868 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82868#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:30:32 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82868

DNA Info reports that Detective Inspector Sergio Centa, who has commanded the 84th Precinct, which covers Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and nearby areas, since September, 2014, left Thursday to take command of the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick. He there succeeded his predecessor as commander of the 84th, D.I. Maximo Tolentino. D.I. Centa’s successor as commander of the 84th is Captain Roberto Melendez, who comes to us from the 75th Precinct in East New York.

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“Descension” by Anish Kapoor Coming to Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82863 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82863#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 01:53:29 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82863

Under the auspices of the Public Art Fund, Indian born, London resident artist Anish Kapoor is bringing one of his typically large creations to Brooklyn Bridge Park, as Artnet News reports. “Descension” (photo: anishkapoor.com) is twenty six feet in diameter and is described in the Artnet News piece as being “made by pairing an all-natural black dye with a continuously spiraling funnel of water to produce the illusion of an ever-churning black hole.” It will be on display from May 3 through September 10.

The Public Art Fund’s press release, published on the Brooklyn Bridge Park website, gives Descension’s location as “Pier 1″ but nothing more specific. My guess is that it will be at the north end of the Bridge View Lawn, near the foot of Old Fulton Street, the same location that sported Jeppe Hein’s “Appearing Rooms” (scroll to bottom of linked post) two years ago.

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Register Now for Eileen Dugan Memorial 5K Run Saturday, April 8http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82835 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82835#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 03:49:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82835

Eileen C. Dugan (1945-1996) represented Brooklyn Heights and nearby neighborhoods in the State Assembly from 1981 until her death. She was instrumental in creating the legal groundwork for the establishment of Brooklyn Bridge Park. For the past eighteen years a five kilometer run, named in her honor, has started and ended in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

This year’s 19th Annual Eileen Dugan 5K Run will be held on Saturday, April 8, starting at 9:00 a.m. entry is limited to 400 runners. The entry fee is $40 in advance or $50 on race day, with an early bird fee of $35 for those registering on or before February 28. All runners get a T-shirt, along with pride and an endorphin high. You may register on line here.

Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 05:11:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82763

Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, will lead a Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park this Sunday, February 5. The walk begins at 9:00 a.m. at the entrance to Pier 1, near the foot of Old Fulton Street. According to Ms. Wolf:

Buffleheads [photo] are now being seen near Pier 4 beach and the Pier 1 pilings.
A pair of of Red-breasted Mergansers were courting the other day near Pier 5.

Join me as we look for beautiful winter ducks, geese, gulls, sparrows and more.

The walk is free, but please RSVP here or e-mail to hwbirds@gmail.com

Photo: Photogallery (U.S. National Park Service); public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

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Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Tomorrowhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82044 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82044#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:51:02 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82044

Tomorrow (Saturday, October 29) Brooklyn Bridge Park will present its seventh annual Harvest Festival on Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Activities will include a parade, games, crafts, face painting courtesy of CATS on Broadway (and meet cast members), and a chance to learn Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. It’s all free. There’s more information here.

The floating food forest Swale, which is docked on the north side of Pier 6, is inviting the public on board for tours during the Festival. Afterward, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Swale, in collaboration with Garden Kitchen Lab, will host “a public meal on the barge, consisting of teas, salads, and grilled vegetables.”

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Heather Wolf’s “Birding at the Bridge” Shows Variety of Birds at Brooklyn Bridge Park Year ‘Roundhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81888 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81888#comments Sun, 23 Oct 2016 23:32:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81888

If you walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’re likely to see–in addition to the pigeons, robins, mockingbirds, mourning doves, starlings, and several kinds of sparrows ubiquitous in our neighborhood–several varieties of seabirds. These include herring and laughing gulls, terns, and the double crested cormorants that often perch on the exposed pilings south of Pier One or can be seen flying by, occasionally diving for fish. You’ll also see Canada geese and brants, and American black and mallard ducks. On the landward side of Pier 1 you may encounter a catbird or two. I have spotted a few other species from time to time, including a cardinal and an oddly marked duck called a bufflehead that I at first mistook for a gull.

Not bad for a newbie to the birding world, but it seems I’ve barely made a dent in the variety of species to be found in the Park. Heather Wolf, who has been birding in Brooklyn Bridge Park since 2012, and photographing birds there almost as long, has seen and photographed more than 150 kinds of birds there. She has collected these photos in Birding at the Bridge, subtitled “In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront”. The photos alone make the book worthwhile, but along with each is a generous amount of explanatory text, a separate section on young birds that includes a photo of a robin with nestlings similar, but better, than one I was able to get last spring, and handy tips on getting started in birding and on photographing birds (if I’m going to get serious about this, I’ll need to spring for a camera with a big lens).

With the fall migration season pretty much if not entirely over, and winter approaching, this may not seem an opportune time to start birding. The “Winter” section of Wolf’s book includes photos of only twelve species. These include the common rock pigeon, the white-throated sparrow, and the brant, but also the downy woodpecker and the winter wren. There is also a wide variety of ducks, including the aforementioned bufflehead, the gadwall, the red-breasted merganser, the canvasback, and the northern shoveler. Ms. Wolf has spotted and photographed a red throated loon, which she notes only appears here on the coldest winter days, and a rarely seen red-necked grebe, which she found because of a Twitter alert.

Hence, it could prove rewarding to put on your winter duds and head for the Park with a camera. If winter walks aren’t your thing, spring will come soon after, bringing a multitude of species, including the familiar robins, house sparrows, mockingbirds, and Canada geese, but also colorful cardinals, finches, warblers, and Baltimore orioles (not the kind that Yankees fans hate). Fall brings another wide variety, some of which may still be seen this year.

Ms. Wolf’s philosophy is stated in the foreword to her book, by David Lindo of The Urban Birder, who describes it thus: “Urban areas are filled with natural wonder and are worthy places to explore, watch, and study.” You may keep up with Ms. Wolf’s continuing birding adventures by subscribing to her free newsletter, for which you can sign up here.

Birding at the Bridge is published by The Experiment. It is available at most local bookstores.

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Update on Brooklyn Bridge Park Vehicle Joyridehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81776 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81776#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2016 03:50:49 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81776

As a clarification to earlier news reports, we have learned the following from Brooklyn Bridge Park authorities:

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, several individuals broke into the Pier 2 Uplands maintenance and operations yard.

Without keys, they turned on and drove a series of BBP’s utility vehicles and a bobcat.

It appears they used the bobcat to lift, and turn over, an NYC Parks Enforcement patrol car. The extent of the damage is under review.

The entire incident was recorded by our security cameras, and the tape has been handed over to NYPD, with whom we are working closely.

We will let you know of any further developments.

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Joyrider Steals Construction Vehicle, Wreaks Havoc at BBPhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81751 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81751#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:41:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81751

Never a dull day at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. NBC New York reports that at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, a vandal stole a bulldozer (CBS Local calls it a forklift) and drove it through Pier 2, toppling a parks police truck and damaging other items at the site. Police believe a construction worker left the keys in the vehicle before leaving for the weekend on Friday. Video of the joyride remnants at the link to the story here.

 

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Squibb Bridge Repairs May Top $3 Millionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81739 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81739#comments Sun, 09 Oct 2016 13:31:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81739

According to Brooklyn Paper, the Squibb Bridge saga continues…this time to the tune of a few more million.

The paper reported on Friday that the board of Brooklyn Bridge Park voted to authorize $3.12 million to repair the bridge, which has been out of commission for exactly two years and two months.

The article details the tangled history of the Bridge, including this update that would verge on the absurd if it weren’t so maddening:

And to add injury to insult, developer Toll Brothers — which is building the luxury Pierhouse condominium complex on either side of the springy pathway — hit the bridge with a truck in May and damaged some of its cables, although it is coughing up an additional $790,000 to cover those costs, according to Patricia Kirshner, the park’s vice president of capital planning and construction.

Details at Brooklyn Paper

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Squadron, Community Groups Win One-Year Extension for Pop Up Poolhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81688 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81688#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:15:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81688

Brooklynites and park-goers rejoice! State Senator Daniel Squadron and the grass-roots group, Love Our Pool have won an extension for the Pop Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The pool will open for one more season as stakeholders continue to devise a plan for a permanent pool.

The Senator released a statement immediately following this morning’s Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Board of Directors meeting.

“The push for active recreation is about building a park that is great locally and across Brooklyn. I’ve long believed that a pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a key part of that, which is why I secured the  pop-up pool five years ago and have worked with the community to secure a permanent pool. With the extension of the pop-up pool, and continued commitment to work towards a permanent pool, it’s great news that Brooklyn Bridge Park and the City now agree: Brooklyn Bridge Park should have a pool.”

“This is a huge victory for ‘Love Our Pool: Families United For A Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park,’ the community and park goers now and into the future. It shows that a community-driven effort, strong partnerships and a successful amenity can change minds and make a real difference. I appreciate that Brooklyn Bridge Park and the City have agreed on the importance of a pool, and thank ‘Love Our Pool,’ the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, my colleagues in government, former Assemblymember Millman, and the community for their ongoing efforts.”

In a separate statement to the blog Love Our Pool Co-Founder Suzanne Quint shared, “We are thrilled, and appreciative, that Brooklyn Bridge Park has agreed to extend the pop-up pool for Summer 2017, recognizing the value and joy it brings to families across Brooklyn.  We look forward to continued collaboration with the park and our elected officials to ensure that swimming is a permanent feature in our wonderful park in the years to come.”

Earlier this summer, Senator Squadron released 1,000 petition signatures and the results of a survey that demonstrated the community’s strong desire for the pool to remain open.  As previously reported, of the 189 visitors surveyed, 82% came from outside of the pool’s zip code, 60% said it is the only public pool they visit, 64% of respondents visit more than once a month and 80% sited the pool as the Park’s most important feature.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect the addition of a quote from Love Our Pool Co-Founder, Suzanne Quint.

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Coming Events at Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81596 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81596#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:43:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81596

On Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 6:30, Marie Viljoen, an expert on Brooklyn’s wild plants, will lead a “Fall Foraging Tour” to discover the “indigenous edible plants of Brooklyn Bridge Park.” She will also instruct on how to prepare them for the table, and how to grow them in gardens. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy members. There’s More information and buy tickets here.

There are several events scheduled aboard Swale (photo), “a collaborative floating food project” and artwork that is docked on the north side of Pier 6, near the Nantucket lightship (Nantucket will be open for free public tours from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 2 and subsequent Sundays in October). The Swale events are: on Saturday afternoon, October 1 from 3:00 to 5:00, a drawing workshop with the artist Kim Darling; on Saturday evening from 8:00 to 10:00 a concert, “Verdant, a Sound Tasting on Swale with Biome Arts”; on Sunday afternoon, October 2 from 3:00 to 4:30, a “Beneficial Microorganisms Workshop with MoS Collective”; and on Monday evening, October 4 from 6:00 to 8:00, “Public Food: a Science of the Living City Event Aboard Swale. Admission to the drawing and microorganisms workshops is a suggested donation of $10; tickets may be purchased through the web pages linked above. Admission to the concert and the Public Food event are free, but you are asked (again through the linked web page) to RSVP for the concert, for which space is limited.

Swale photo by C. Scales for BHB.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Prez, Regina Myer Tapped as Head of Brooklyn Bridge Partnershiphttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81508 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81508#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:52:37 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81508

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports via re-printed press release Regina Meyer, current President of Brooklyn Bridge Park has been named the new President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Meyer will take the helm in November. She replaces Tucker Reed who stepped down from DPP in August after an almost five year run.

“This was an opportunity I just couldn’t refuse — a chance to really come full circle,” said Myer. “Now that Brooklyn Bridge Park is teeming with visitors, financially secure and nearly fully built, it makes sense to head back up the hill to Downtown, where I’m ready to embrace the exciting challenge of building on the area’s success over the past decade. Through smart public and private investment — in open space, in commercial development, in the burgeoning Brooklyn Cultural District — we really have the chance to shape the future of Downtown in a holistic way, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Immediately prior to her position at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Ms. Myer served as senior vice president for Planning and Design at the Hudson Yards Corporation.  During her 22-year tenure within the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) she helped spearhead the 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn as Director of DCP’s Brooklyn office, an initiative that has irrevocably re-shaped Downtown Brooklyn.

“Regina is a Brooklyn visionary, and we’re lucky to have her as our next president. Over the past decade, we’ve seen tremendous growth and investment in Downtown Brooklyn — now it’s time to build on that success by stitching the neighborhood together with vital infrastructure and continuing to advocate for targeted investment in office space to meet the demands of the growing innovation economy in the area.” said MaryAnne Gilmartin and Bre Pettis, co-chairs of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Board of Directors and president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies.

The release continues, “At DBP, Myer will look at ways to both build on [the] success [of Brooklyn Bridge Park] and supplement it with supportive infrastructure, like the growth of the Brooklyn Cultural District and the increased open space development throughput the district.   In particular, Myer will continue DBP’s leading role in advocating for the Brooklyn Strand.”

If you’d like learn more about Ms. Myer’s new role direct from the source, “[she] will deliver opening remarks at DBP’s Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Summit on Sept. 28 at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. For more information, go to http://www.makeitinbk.com.

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Thefts in Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81472 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81472#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 16:35:02 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81472

A series of “park plunders” took place in Brooklyn Bridge Park in the past week according to Brooklyn Paper’s “Police Blotter.”  On September 7th at about 9:00 pm, two men left their bags at the foot of Furman Street to play soccer.  When they returned the bags were gone, their wallets and phones along with them.

On September 10th, two men left their bags unattended at Pier 2 to shoot some hoops.  Their bags were discovered missing at 9:45 pm.  Finally, a young woman who had borrowed a bike from her roomate and locked it up near Pier 5 at about 5:00 pm, returned several hours later to find the lock had been cut and the bike had vanished.

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Coming at Brooklyn Historical Societyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81452 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81452#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 19:23:53 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81452

In July we noted the opening of the exhibit “Truman Capote’s Brooklyn: The Lost Photographs of David Attie” at the Brooklyn Historical Society. This Thursday evening, September 15, at 7:30 BHS will present a discussion of Attie’s photographs, which illustrate Capote’s Brooklyn: A Personal Memoir, between Eli Attie, the photographer’s son, who discovered the photographs, and Randy Kennedy, of The New York Times. Following the discussion the actress Janel Moloney (Donna Moss in The West Wing) will read from Capote’s memoir. After that, there will be a tour of the exhibit. The event is free, but you must reserve tickets here.

This Friday, September 16, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. there will be one of a series of “Free Fridays”, with free museum admission and various activities. The theme this week is “Back to School”. There’s more information here.

On Monday evening, September 19 at 6:30 BHS presents “From Gray to Green: The Role of Urban Parks in the 21st Century”, a panel discussion featuring landscape architect and Brooklyn Bridge Park designer Michael Van Valkenburgh and architectural critic Paul Goldberger, moderated by New Yorkers for Parks Executive Director, and former head of the Prospect Park Alliance, Tupper Thomas. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS or Green-Wood members; purchase tickets here.

On Tuesday evening, September 20 at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Person, Place, Thing series, BHS will present Maria Popova, creator of the blog Brain Pickings, who will talk about”her life and the world of blogging” with Randy Cohen. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS or Green-Wood members; purchase tickets here.

Photo: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Brooklyn Book Festival Next Sunday, September 18http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81414 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/81414#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2016 21:10:19 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=81414

The eleventh annual Brooklyn Book Festival will be on Sunday, September 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m at Borough Hall and Columbus Park (immediately north of Borough Hall). There will be readings by and discussions with writers, and books for sale. On Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. there will be a Children’s Day at Metrotech Commons, with many children’s authors participating.

Beginning this Monday, September 12 and continuing through the week there will be “Bookend” events held in various venues around the Borough, as well as in Manhattan and Queens. Among the events scheduled locally is a reading by the best selling children’s author R.L. Stine at the Granite Prospect on Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, on Tuesday evening, September 13, starting at 6:00. Also on Tuesday evening, starting at 7:00, sports writer Mike Lupica will be at BookCourt to read from his new young adult fiction book, Last Man Out. There’s a full schedule of Bookend Events here.

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