Brooklyn Heights Blog » brooklyn bridge park http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Fri, 14 Dec 2018 04:15:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Local News Round-Up: Kushner Gives Refunds; Changes At Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:41:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87625

One need only look the towers rising all around us to know that the little guy doesn’t often survive a battle with Big Real Estate…but at 89 Hicks Street, that’s what happened.

Crain’s reports that after a class-action lawuit by five tenants, Kushner Cos. re-paid $100,000 that it had overcharged them in “skirting” rent regulation laws.

 

Lawyers for the tenants and others in similar situations in Brooklyn Heights buildings purchased by Kushner Co. say that further litigation is likely, despite Kushner Cos.’ attorney’s contention that the matter is settled. Get the full story at Crain’s. 

Water over a troubled bridge? We hear from Curbed that repairs on the long-beleaguered Squibb Bridge will come to an end. But wait! Instead of a revamped bridge, we’re going to get a brand spanking new one…sometime in 2020.

The new bridge will dispense with the sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials that have been heretofore used, replacing them prefab steel and aluminum.

BBP president Eric Landau told Curbed, “We feel really, really strongly that having a functional bridge that doesn’t call into question whether or not it’s going to be open is paramount.”

Well, yeah. That would be good.

Cost of the new bridge is estimated at $6.5 million, just shy of the $7.5 million that’s already gone into it.  More details at Curbed.

At least all the extra steps you’ll be taking to access the Park from the Heights will justify a stop at the bottom of the hill once Ample Hills takes over the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, as reported by Eater. As the ice cream fanatics among us (myself included) know all too well, Ample Hills is already established at the south end of the Park, and if I might editorialize, it was rather nice having two types of ice cream available in the Park. But fans of the Factory, take heart: the owners hope to find another location nearby.

 

As always, please go the sources for these articles for additional details and to support their original reporting and writing. We couldn’t bring the news to you without them, and the world of digital media is not such a happy place to be these days.

Photo credit: Claire Scanlon, used with permission via Pexels

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City Will Consider Options for BQE Reconstructionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87140 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87140#comments Sun, 30 Sep 2018 18:30:39 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87140

A large crowd assembled for Thursday evening’s meeting at which City Department of Transportation officials discussed plans for the reconstruction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights. I took the photo some minutes before the program began; by the time it did there were even more standing in the back or along the sides, and some were turned away because of lack of space. The size of the crowd, almost all of whom made the trek from the Heights to Myrtle Avenue just beyond the Flatbush Avenue Extension, was occasioned by the DOT’s recent announcement of an “innovative” plan to build a temporary elevated highway that would replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for six years and put highway traffic, including many trucks, close to residences and playgrounds. These are my takeaways from the meeting; for other accounts see The Brooklyn Paper and Curbed.

Nothing is settled. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said that this meeting was only the first of many public events to be held as part of the environmental review process that will continue from now until 2020, when the request for proposals to design and rebuild the BQE will be issued. While the DOT’s Chief Engineer, Robert Collyer, stated his preference for the “innovative” plan, he allowed that the decision on how to proceed would be made as a result of the environmental assessment. Even the tunnel option is still a conceivable outcome, although DOT’s Senior Program Manager Tanvi Pandya noted that the only tunnel alignment the DOT considers feasible would place its northern entrance and exit north of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. This means that traffic to and from these bridges would still have to use the present BQE alignment, or else be routed over local streets. Other means of reducing the traffic burden on the BQE, such as putting tolls on the East River bridges and effecting congestion pricing in Manhattan, would require cooperation at the state level. State Senator Brian Kavanagh, addressing the meeting, said he would support whatever state actions were necessary. Any action with regard to the Verazzano Bridge tolls would require federal approval.

The temporary highway may be re-routed over part of Brooklyn Bridge Park. This was suggested by a local resident during the question and answer period, and was also alluded to by City Council Member Steve Levin, who noted in his remarks at the meeting, “there are these berms ….” The Wall Street Journal reports that, after the meeting, Commissioner Trottenberg expressed willingness to consider this option.

No matter what, the Promenade must be rebuilt. In her opening remarks, Commissioner Trottenberg said that like many of Robert Moses’s structures, the cantilevered portion of the BQE “was not built to last.” Ms. Pandya noted that the Promenade is part of this “not built to last” structure and that, while it doesn’t bear the weight burden that the BQE lanes below do, it is still structurally unsound. The question is whether the rebuilding of the Promenade will be done in one fell swoop (and, under the “innovative” plan, following a six year closure) or in segments, allowing access to parts of the Promenade while work is done on others.

Direct access from Columbia Heights to DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Squibb Park, and Hillside Dog Park will be interrupted. This is because the bridge that carries Columbia Heights over the BQE must be removed during the reconstruction. This will also entail temporary loss of the Harry Chapin Playground, which sits atop that bridge. Asked about the effect of the “innovative” plan on the Pierrepont Playground, which would abut the temporary elevated highway, Ms. Pandya said the playground would be all right. There were also assurances that, apart from the access issue, Hillside Dog Park would not be affected.

Existing BQE environmental problems may not be cured. During the question and answer period, Willowtown Association member Martin Hale said he had measured noise levels from BQE traffic at Adam Yauch Park, near his home, and found they sometimes exceeded eighty decibels. He said the federal regulations governing environmental assessments included provisions allowing the grandfathering of pre-existing conditions or those that cannot be mitigated by technically available means, and asked if the DOT would rely on these. Mr. Collyer said they would not rely on them with respect to the construction work, and would do their best to mitigate any noise and air quality problems. However, no assurance was given that, following completion of the project, pre-existing environmental problems would be alleviated.

Update: The BHA has now announced its opposition to the “innovative” proposal and urged the DOT to “work with the community to identify and evaluate other options that do not prioritize motorists at the complete expense of residents.” The BHA has yet to take a position. The first speaker during the question and answer period was Peter Bray, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association. He began by comparing the available options to the circles of Dante’s Inferno, an analogy with which Commissioner Trottenberg agreed. Mr. Bray said he had heard from many Heights residents, all of whom were strongly opposed to the elevated highway proposal. He said the BHA “will listen to all alternatives and be responsible to the community.” He also noted concerns that the city would run short of money needed to complete the restoration of the Promenade. Commissioner Trottenberg replied that it’s not up to DOT which option to choose, that there are “many stakeholders” as well as those directly affected by the elevated highway proposal, and that the “Design/Build” procedure authorized by the state for the project meant that the contractor would agree to a firm price. Ms. Pandya added that bonds and insurance would cover the contractor’s obligations.

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Squibb Bridge: The Saga Continueshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87088 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87088#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2018 02:14:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87088

The saga might continue, but the bridge as a path to Brooklyn Bridge Park won’t…not for the foreseeable future.

As reported in Brooklyn Paperthe minor problem that led to the bridge being closed in July is, in fact, “a far bigger structural flaw.”

This comes, of course, after $3 million in repairs after the bridge was found to be structurally faulty not longer after it opened in 2013.

The more extensive problems were discovered by the firm that undertook the lengthy repairs the last time the bridge was closed for safety reasons.

The problem, according to Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation head Eric Landau, is “higher than expected moisture level.”

There is no timetable for the current repairs to be completed and the bridge re-opened.

As the Brooklyn Paper points out, the bridge has now been closed longer than it’s been open.

As always, read the original story for details and to support local journalism–and not just because one of my BHB comments is included in the story. Nice to know that our BP colleagues read us, too!

 

 

 

 

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Swimming in Ideas For New Poolhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87082 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87082#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:34:13 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87082

Brooklyn Paper won the aquatic pun contest, while the Eagle  doused readers with details about recent public meetings for the pool planned for Squibb Park, slated to open in 2020.

Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau was joined at PS 8 by Kristina Drury, founder of Tythe Design, the community engagement firm hired by the Park, at gatherings to solicit suggestions and concerns about the permanent structure.

According to our local reports, approximately 100 people in total attended the two sessions, held on September 12 and 16.

Among the ideas/wishes proffered by locals:

  • a pool that would accommodate both children and adults, including older people who may have mobility problems, though one participant observed, “I like children, but there are so many children [at the Pop-Up Pool] all the time and I could never swim. There were unruly children. If it’s a lap pool maybe there will be less children like that and I could swim sometimes.”
  • a pool that could be used in both summer and winter
  • shaded areas
  • private swimming hours that would accommodate Orthodox Jewish women
  • a concession stand, though perhaps one that might be limited to avoid trash/traffic problems

As with all matters related to the Park, concerns were raised about crowds, foot traffic, and theft. Nancy Webster, executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, told the Eagle that the pool has the potential to “be a real gathering spot and a real experience for members not only of the surrounding communities, but communities further afield.”

According to Landau, an online survey has garnered over 1,500 responses. The pool is expected to double the capacity of the Pop-Up Pool, accommodating between 150 and 300 people, and cost between $10 and $15 million.

Get all the details at the Eagle and Brooklyn Paper. Your clicks help support the good work of our local publications.

Were you at the meetings? Tell us what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Meeting Tonight & Sunday: Brooklyn Bridge Park Seeks Input for Squibb Park Poolhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86967 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86967#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2018 15:51:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86967

From the folks at community group, Love Our Pool:

“Great news! Community planning for the permanent pool in Squibb Park is in motion and Brooklyn Bridge Park would like our input! The Park wants to learn more about how you use the Pop-up Pool as well as your ideas and concerns about this new permanent pool.

Please fill out this short survey and share your ideas, your experiences and your perspectives about the new pool. Click here to access the survey. Looking to contribute further? Join us for an upcoming Community Conversation to dive deeper.

Join us at PS8 at 37 Hicks Street,NY,11201 Wednesday, September 12th from 6-8:30p -OR- Sunday, September 16th from 2-4:30p.  Space is limited. Click here to RSVP.

Please note, both event dates will be identical experiences. You are advised to choose a single event to attend. Find out more about the pool and upcoming Community Conversation.”

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Brooklyn Book Festival This Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86988 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86988#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2018 10:54:22 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86988

The Brooklyn Book Festival will be on Sunday, September 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m at Borough Hall and other nearby venues, and in Columbus Park (immediately north of Borough Hall). There will be readings by and discussions with writers, and books for sale. There’s more information here. There will also be a special Children’s Day before the main festival, on Saturday, September 15.

During this week and the Monday following the Festival there will be “Bookend” events held in various venues around Brooklyn and in other parts of the City. A full schedule is here.

In conjunction with this year’s Festival, Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, is inviting bird enthusiasts and those curious to learn more, to meet at the booth (#312) of her publisher, The Experiment, at noon on Sunday and to go from there to Brooklyn Bridge Park to look for some migrating birds. More details and RSVP here.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Seeks Input on Squibb Poolhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86848 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86848#comments Sat, 18 Aug 2018 17:26:03 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86848

Want to offer feedback on the proposed pool?

Here you go.

The survey takes just a few minutes.

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National Night Out Against Crime – Tues., Aug. 7, 4:30 pm at Pier 5http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86794 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86794#comments Tue, 07 Aug 2018 02:10:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86794

The 84th Precinct Community Council invites all to the National Night Out Against Crime- Neighborhood Safe Streets Rally, at the Pier 5 Picnic Peninsula in Brooklyn Bridge Park, on Tuesday, August 7 at 4:30 p.m. There will be entertainment, refreshments, ice cream, games, and face painting, as well as bicycle and scooter registration. Bicycle accessories will be distributed by the Department of Transportation. See flyer and video below.

NYPE

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“Bouncy Bridge” Closed Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86709 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86709#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2018 02:11:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86709

If you’ve walked by the entrance to Squibb Park on Columbia Heights or along the pedestrian and bike walkway that parallels Pier One in Brooklyn Bridge Park (which is where your correspondent got the photo) anytime since Friday you’ve probably noticed that the Squibb Park, or “Bouncy” pedestrian bridge has been closed again. Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Eric Landau has given the following explanation:

We recently completed a routine inspection of Squibb Bridge, and unfortunately, discovered a piece of wood in poor condition. Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed the bridge while our engineers conduct further analysis. This analysis will fully inform the appropriate repair and associated timeline.

Since Squibb Bridge reopened in the Spring of 2017, it has again become a popular and vital access point to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains one.

We are working closely with our engineers to reopen the bridge as soon as possible and will provide updates. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.

We hope it will re-open soon.

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A Bird Spotting Walk Leads From Pier 1 to Newly Opened Pier 3http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86693 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86693#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 03:05:14 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86693

Your correspondent roused himself from bed early Saturday morning in time to join Heather Wolf and a group of other orinthophiles for a bird spotting walk around Pier One and the newly opened Pier Three in Brooklyn Bridge Park. On our walk around Pier One we saw many birds, mostly sparrows, starlings, robins, and catbirds. We did find one red winged blackbird on the Bridge View Lawn; unfortunately, it was too far away for me to get a good photo. When we got to the south edge of the pier, I was able to get a shot of two double-crested cormorants perched on pilings, drying their wings.

IMG_1349Arriving at Pier Three, I found this expanse of lawn, with a view of the downtown Manhattan skyline.

IMG_1360One of the objectives of our walk was to find young birds that had hatched in the park during the spring and early summer. We found this juvenile Northern Mockingbird, whose parent was periodically bringing food.

IMG_1363The pier offers several lounging areas, with Adirondack chairs, and some with picnic tables. This is at the pier’s southwest corner.

IMG_1391Near the pier’s nortwest corner, we found two terns, perched on a piling, engaged in courtship.

IMG_1394The mirror labyrinth, located near the pier’s northeastern corner, afforded your correspondent the opportunity to take a simultaneous triple selfie.

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Never Mind the Bollards, Here Are The Local Landmarkshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86623 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86623#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2018 00:04:09 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86623

If local officials have their way, habitues of the Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park might need to watch where they’re going.

According to the Eagle, the city has been considering since last fall the installation of retractable bollards at entrances to the Park and the Promenade, spurred by the attack on the West Side walking path in Manhattan that killed eight people.

In a letter sent out June 13 but not publically shared until now, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams urged NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to consider “specific locations in Brooklyn that are ripe for additional security measures.”

Borough president Eric Adams said that our local locations “should be considered for inclusion in the first round of bollard security investment.”

Adams is a former police officer.

There doesn’t seem to be a timeline or a firm plan in place yet, but it’s not surprising that such popular spots for locals and visitors would be among those receiving extra security attention.

As always, please read the original article for more details…support our local journalists!

Photo: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr and Creative Commons.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brooklyn Bridge Park’s “Movies with a View” Features Women Directorshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86612 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86612#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 20:45:56 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86612

This summer’s edition of “Movies with a View”, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual free outdoor movie festival, has the theme “She Directs.” All of the films to be shown have women as directors. The schedule (all are on Thursday evenings) is:

July 12, Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman)

July 19, Kung Fu Panda 2 (Jennifer Yuh Nelson)

July 26, Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)

August 2, Bend it Like Beckham (Gurinder Chadha)

August 9, Wayne’s World (Penelope Spheeris)

August 16, Love & Basketball (Gina Prince-Bythewood)

August 23, Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins)

August 30, Big (Penny Marshall)

The festivities, which take place on the Harbor View Lawn, Pier One, begin each evening at 6:00 with a DJ show (all women DJs this year) followed by a short film (all by women), followed by the featured movie. Food, beer, wine, and soft drinks from Smorgasburg will be available for sale on the Pier One Promenade. There’s more information here.

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Pop-Up Pool Opens Wednesday, June 27http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86597 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86597#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 03:46:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86597

The much loved Pop-Up Pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park will open Wednesday, June 27, for its final season. The new Squibb Park Pool won’t be completed by next summer, so the park will be without a swimming hole for a while.

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Battle Brewing Over Park Bridge On Montaguehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86588 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86588#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 01:51:47 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86588

It was just a matter of time.

A few days ago, we shared Brooklyn Paper‘s news about the possibility of an access bridge from Montague St. to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Today, the Eagle writes about the inevitable objections raised by Montague St. residents.

Montague Street to Brooklyn Bridge Park will ruin the “peace and relaxation” of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and infringe on the Promenade’s protected views, say some Heights residents who live near Montague Street.

Predictably, the business interests on Montague feel differently:

…the increased pedestrian traffic would be a boost to businesses, said Kate Chura, ‎executive director of the ‎Montague Street Business Improvement District.

But Rick Dean, president of the co-op board at 2 Montague Terrace, says the idea requires much more study before any support is given. The stately 2 Montague Terrace is adjacent to the walkway connecting Montague Street to the Promenade.

Among the most serious objections came from the president of the co-op board at 2 Montague Terrace, Rick Dean, according to the Eagle, which quoted him as saying in a letter to the Brooklyn Heights Association that a new bridge could “kill the neighborhood.”

 

 

The comments came at a meeting last Thursday.

Was anyone else present? Anything to add to the conversation?

Check out the Eagle for more details, and let us know what you think…

 

 

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BBP Infrastructure Updates: Swimming In Constructionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86562 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86562#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:45:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86562

The ever-on-top-of-it reporters at Brooklyn Paper have more info on the good news/bad news about the permanent pool coming to the neighborhood.

The good news is that the pool is expected to be completed in about two years.

The bad news is that its construction may well wreak havoc on park access.

When I first posted about the pool a couple of weeks ago, one of my questions was about how it would affect the Squibb Bridge access from the neighborhood. Turns out, pool construction and the pool itself might eliminate it entirely.

Falling under “depends on your point of view” is the possibility of a new bridge from Montague Street to the park–this sounds like good news to me, though I suspect others in the neighborhood might feel differently.

…a handful of Brooklyn Heights pols recently penned a letter to the Department of Transportation, asking transit gurus to include a permanent, handicapped-accessible bridge in their plan for rehabilitating the expressway.

Complicating matters is the possibility that pool construction will overlap the overhaul of the BQE.

As always, hit the original article for more details…it’s because of their work that we can share these stories with you, and they deserve your clicks.

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Metropolitan Opera Recital at Brooklyn Bridge Park Wednesday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86511 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86511#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2018 04:09:19 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86511

The Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Harbor View Lawn, Pier 1 this Wednesday evening, June 13, from 7:00 to 9:00. This year’s recitals feature soprano Latonia Moore, tenor Mario Chang, and baritone Joshua Hopkins (photo, by Simon Pauly). It’s free. There’s more information here.

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“Sing for Hope” Pianos Returnhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86478 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86478#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2018 02:53:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86478

The much loved “Sing for Hope” pianos are back. They are at many locations throughout Brooklyn and the City, including two in Brooklyn Bridge Park: one on the esplanade of Pier One in front of the Granite Prospect, and one on Pier Six. They will be here through Sunday, June 24. Go tickle those ivories!

I had hoped to get a photo of the piano on Pier One early this evening, perhaps with someone playing it, but found it draped in plastic against the forecast of rain. I’ve used a photo I took of the piano that was there in 2013.

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A Permanent Pool For Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86460#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2018 12:54:24 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86460

Posted by Brooklyn Bridge Park on Twitter this morning:

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT: A permanent pool is coming to BBP! The location of the pool will be Squibb Park, which sits above Pier 1 and is connected to BBP by Squibb Park Bridge. We are thrilled to add such a desired amenity by park visitors and the community to our world-class park!

More details as they become available.

First thought:  Yay!

Second thought: How psyched are the people in those buildings going to be to have a pool right outside?

Third thought: What does this mean for the bridge from Columbia Heights to the park?

Gothamist has details.

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“Glassbarge” and Schooner Lois McClure at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86336 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86336#comments Sat, 19 May 2018 16:22:20 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86336

The “Glassbarge” and the canal schooner Lois McClure (photo) are docked at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park through Memorial Day, May 28. They will be open for tours every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tours of the Glassbarge, which is owned by the Corning Museum of Glass, and that include lectures and glassblowing demonstrations, are free, but require reservations, which you may make here. Tours of the Lois McClure are self guided, and require no reservations.

Brooklyn is the vessels’ first stop on a summer long tour celebrating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal. From here they will sail up the Hudson to Albany, then across the Erie Canal to Buffalo, stopping at towns along the way. Returning from Buffalo, they will take a side trip southward through Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, to Watkins Glen. From there, a ceremonial land journey will end with the tour’s conclusion in Corning.

Lois McClure is a replica of a schooner built in Burlington, Vermont in 1862 for the trade between there and other ports along Lake Champlain as well as southward through the canal connecting to the Hudson and westward on the New York State canal system. It’s possible the original McClure visited Brooklyn, perhaps carrying grain taken on in Buffalo for transshipment to oceangoing vessels at the Erie Basin. She was able to navigate the canals, with their low bridges, because her masts and spars could be folded down. This meant she needed an external source of power. On this trip, that will be supplied by the South Street Seaport Museum’s historic tug W.O. Decker. South Street is a co-sponsor of the tour, along with the Corning Museum of Glass and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont, which owns the Lois McClure.

A theme of the Lois McClure’s participation is the effect of the construction of the canals, and the commerce they fostered, on the forests of New York State and New England. The schooner will be carrying a cargo of white oak and white pine seedlings to be planted in locations along the tour’s route.

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Heights Artist John Tebeau Illustrates and Chronicles the City’s Bar Scenehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86212 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86212#comments Mon, 07 May 2018 02:30:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86212

Brooklyn Heights resident artist John Tebeau has, in common with your correspondent, a love for good drinking spots. Several years ago he started to do drawings of some of his favorite places. With some encouragement, he expanded this to a tour of Bars, Taverns, and Dives throughout the Five Boroughs, and accompanied each drawing with a description of each place, along with helpful hints on when to go, where to sit, what to order, and how to get along. John is as effective a writer as he is talented with pencil and brush.

It’s not surprising that John, being a Brooklyn resident, includes more Brooklyn bars (22) in his book than those from any other borough. Manhattan comes a distant second with 14. Staten Island is a surprising third with six; the Bronx and Queens are tied with four each.

There are only two spots in Brooklyn Heights that make his list: the Atlantic Chip Shop, at which my wife and I are regulars, and Montero’s, where I’ve been twice and should go back. He includes two very nearby spots: the Long Island Bar and Restaurant, on the Cobble Hill side of Atlantic at Clinton Street, and gives Honorable Mention to the rooftop bar at Fornino at Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Some Last Minute Weekend Suggestionshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86203 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86203#comments Fri, 04 May 2018 17:38:11 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86203

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 5) Brooklyn Bridge Park will be host to a kite festival, to be held on Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn from noon until 2:30 PM. Admission is free. BYOK, or buy or make one there. There’s more information here. (Photo by C. Scales from 2013 festival.)

Alert reader Andrew Porter has compiled a list of Sacred Sites open house events in the neighborhood this weekend and posted it in a comment on OTW. I’m re-posting it here:

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), 110 Schermerhorn Street, Saturday 11am-2pm & Sunday 10am-1pm

Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks Street, Saturday & Sunday 12:30pm-2:30pm

Grace Church, 254 Hicks Street, Sunday 12:30pm-4pm

Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Maronite Cathedral, 113 Remsen Street, Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday noon-5pm

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, 157 Montague Street, Saturday 12pm-4pm and Sunday 12pm-3pm

First Unitarian Congregational, 119 Pierrepont Street, Saturday 10am-3pm & Sunday 1pm-3pm

There’s more information here about the Sacred Sites events (link provided by Mr. Porter).

Don’t forget the Repast Baroque Ensemble concert tonight (Friday, May 4) at 8:00 at the First Unitarian Church, and the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn concerts at Plymouth Church Saturday at 7:00 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM.

If anyone knows of an event or events that should have been included, please tell us in a comment.

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Increased Security at Brooklyn Bridge Park this Summerhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86076 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86076#comments Tue, 24 Apr 2018 03:18:23 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86076

The Eagle’s Mary Frost quotes Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Eric Landau saying that increased police presence and newly installed security cameras should prevent the sort of incidents that have troubled the Park during previous periods of warm weather.

The Eagle story also notes that Joralemon Street and Willowtown residents think that more needs to be done to thin the crowds heading to and from the Park along Joralemon. Their preferred solution: a Park entrance/exit to and from Montague Street.

Photo: Teresa Genaro

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Design/Build for BQE Renovation Approvedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 02:20:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85921

The Brooklyn Heights Association has let us know that the state budget, passed by the legislature and approved by Governor Cuomo on Friday, includes approval for the use of a design/build procedure for the renovation of the crumbling Brooklyn Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights. As the BHA noted:

This victory is the culmination of months of community effort, led by the BHA, to urge the legislature to enact a measure whose passage failed during the past two years. Had it not passed now, DOT would have proceeded with a Design-Bid-Build approach, which would have cost $113 million more to complete the BQE project and led to trucks being diverted onto local Brooklyn streets in 2026 due to the extended project timeframe.

The BHA thanked State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (whose office also advised us of the approval) for their efforts to secure passage, along with Governor Cuomo for his support. It also expressed gratitude to the local residents who demonstrated their support.

In related news, the BHA has announced that it will not appeal the New York Supreme Court’s decision to allow construction of the two residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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NYC DOT Engineer Says Keeping Traffic Off Brooklyn Heights Streets High Priorityhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:02:37 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85785

The Eagle’s Mary Frost has an excellent report on last week’s Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting. Here are my takeaways from the meeting:

1. The featured speaker, DOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Collyer (photo) said at least twice that a primary DOT concern is keeping traffic off Brooklyn Heights streets during the BQE renovation.

2. Mr. Collyer said that DOT is considering creating alternate routes for traffic during the BQE project that wouldn’t affect the Heights or other residential areas.

3. One of the objectives of the BQE project, according to Collyer, is to “improve [vertical] clearances” on the highway. Some residents asked if this would necessitate raising the BQE roadways, thereby affecting the Promenade. Mr. Collyer said it would not, and that the preservation of the Promenade was of vital concern.

4. When asked about the proposal to create an entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park from Montague Street, the BHA took no position for or against. Mr. Collyer also remained neutral, but noted the long drop from Montague to the level of the Park and that any entrance/exit would have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

5. The BHA is considering options following the court decision allowing construction to proceed on the two high rise residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including a possible appeal.

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Court Gives Go-Ahead to Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 04:16:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85686

Curbed reports that New York Supreme Court Justice Carmen Victoria St. George on Friday issued a ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association in July of 2016 against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and two developers, seeeking to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the uplands of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, near Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street.

The BHA’s suit was based on language in the Park’s General Project Plan providing that no more private development would be allowed in the park than is necessary to provide the Park with funds, in the form of payments in lieu of taxes (“PILOTS”), needed to provide for the Park’s ongoing maintenance and operations. The BHA engaged financial experts who compared the Park’s maintenance and operational needs with what they considered the likely amount of PILOT revenue to be generated by already completed or soon to be so commercial and residential projects. These projects, the experts concluded, would produce more than enough revenue to cover all reasonably expected maintenance and operational costs. The BBPC’s and developers’ experts disagreed.

The Curbed story quotes the judge’s ruling as follows: “[while the BHA’s experts] provided rational alternatives to the analyses of respondents’ experts … [i]t simply means that respondents had more than one acceptable path to take in their review of this complex and multi-part project”. This implies that “build” and “don’t build” were both acceptable results within the terms of the General Project Plan, which seems odd. Perhaps it reflects the court’s sense of frustration following repeated attempts to get the parties to reach a compromise and settle the suit.

Curbed reports that the BHA has issued a statement of its “disappointment” with the court’s ruling, noting that it still strongly believes the Pier Six towers “far exceed the Park’s fiscal needs.” It also notes that the BHA “is considering its next steps in its long-term effort to ensure that the BBPC complies with its legal obligations.”

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Pier Six Towers Update: Developers Busy Building and Advertising Despite No Court Decisionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 03:48:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85618

The Brooklyn Paper reports that the developers of the two controversial high rise residential towers on the uplands of Pier Six, near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park and on park land, have already done extensive construction work on one of the two towers (see photo in story linked above) and are, as the story indicates, already advertising to (although not yet accepting any money from) prospective condo buyers. This is despite there is as yet no final ruling on a lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association and others to prevent construction of the towers, on the contention that revenue from them is not necessary to fund the park’s maintenance. As it stands, a judge has ordered that, while construction may proceed at the developers own risk, they should do nothing “that is irreversible or incapable of restoration to its original condition” until the court issues its final decision.

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Brooklyn Historical Society Opens “Waterfront” Exhibition, Presents Three Programs This Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85582 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85582#comments Sun, 21 Jan 2018 05:41:17 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85582

The Brooklyn Historical Society has opened a new exhibition, “Waterfront”, at its second location in the Empire Stores, Brooklyn Bridge Park (55 Water Street in DUMBO). The exhibition contains many fascinating photos, prints, preserved objects, videos and other materials concerning the Brooklyn waterfront over the years. Your correspondent took this photo of some youngsters enjoying the “Magnet Wall” on which “kids and adults can create their own whimsical waterfront on a ten-foot magnetized landscape.”

There will be three evening programs at BHS’s headquarters, 128 Pierrepont at Clinton Street, this coming week. On Monday evening, January 22, Daniel L. Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor during the Bloomberg Administration, will read from and discuss his book, Greater Than Ever: New York’s Big Comeback. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS members; buy tickets and more information here.

On Tuesday evening, January 23, BHS, in conjunction with Underwater New York, will present “Current / Bodies: Art and Action on the Waterfront,” in which “six New York artists and writers whose works address the history and future of our waterways…consider New York’s waterfront as a site of continuity and a threshold for political, social, and environmental change.” Admission is $5, or free for BHS members; buy or reserve tickets and more information here.

On Thursday evening, January 25, New York Times writer John Leland will discuss his book Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old with fellow journalist Julie Scelfo. Admission is $5, or free for BHS members; buy or reserve tickets and more information here.

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“Chip In” and Recycle Your Christmas Treehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85482 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85482#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:12:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85482

NYC Parks are recycling Christmas trees at locations all over the city. The mulch will be used to “used to nourish trees and plants on streets and gardens citywide.” Drop your tree during the week or you can bring your tree to Brooklyn Bridge Park or any number of  parks this coming weekend and take home a bag of mulch for your own garden. Here are all the details:

When the holiday season is over, don’t let your tree go to waste. Bring it to MulchFest at 99 Plymouth.

You can bring your tree to 99 Plymouth for chipping on January 6 & 7 from 10am to 2pm. Watch your tree get chipped in front of you, and get a free bag of mulch to take home.

Or you can bring your tree to 99 Plymouth for drop off from December 31 through January 7 from 10am-2pm. Leave your tree with us, and we’ll recycle it for you later!

Drop your tree off at the gate behind 99 Plymouth (corner of Plymouth and Adams Streets).

Please remember to remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, netting, etc. before bringing it to the drop off site. Trees with decorations will not be accepted.

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Park Entrance from Montague?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85232 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85232#comments Thu, 16 Nov 2017 22:02:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85232

The Eagle reports that the Montague Street Business Improvement District wants a footbridge to connect the Promenade near the foot of Montague Street (photo) to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The BID says this is necessary to provide access to the Park during the time the needed repairs to the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway below the Promenade are being done, as this will affect access to the Park through other entrances. According to the Eagle story, the BID envisions the footbridge as resembling the “Penny Bridge” (see photo in the story linked above) that used to allow pedestrians to cross Montague Street, when it extended steeply downhill to the level of the then docks, before the construction of the BQE and the Promenade.

What puzzles your correspondent is how a footbridge, by itself, could allow pedestrians to get to or from the Park from the level of the Promenade, which I believe is about an eighty foot vertical distance. Nothing that looks at all like the little Penny Bridge could do this. The bridge would have to connect to a very long staircase (more steps than many people could easily manage), or escalator (prone to breakdowns), or — and this is the only way it could meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act — a tower with elevators. To meet the anticipated summer traffic volume, this would probably require two or even three elevators the size of those at the Clark Street subway station, and the tower could impinge on the protected view plane from the Promenade. The footbridge that does connect to the Park — the “Bouncy Bridge”– does so by starting from Squibb Park, which is below the level of the BQE, and executing a zig-zag. A footbridge from the level of the Promenade would have to go through several zig-zags between there and the Park to be easily walkable; it’s hard to see how this could be executed without creating a structure so massive that it would negatively affect views from the Promenade.

I also wonder what significant impediment to Park access will be caused by the BQE repair work. Neither the Squibb Park, or Old Fulton/Furman Street entrances could be affected by it, and it seems unlikely to me to affect the Atlantic Avenue entrance, as it is south of where the cantilevered portion of the BQE begins. The Joralemon Street entrance could be affected, at least for a period of time less than required to complete the entire project. This is likely also to bar auto traffic on Joralemon from going to or from Furman Street during that time.

DISCLOSURE: I live on Montague. The concerns I’ve expressed above relate only to the technical difficulties I perceive with the proposal; not from fear of excessive pedestrian traffic on Montague (my windows face Pierrepont Place, so we already get the mostly cheerful noise from the playground, and the tour guide who stops his group in front of 3 Pierrepont Place to enlighten them about Seth Low, and at whom my historian wife occasionally yells at out the window, “No, Robert Moses did NOT build that playground!”).

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Another Court Hearing on Pier Six Towers Tomorrow Afternoonhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85199 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85199#comments Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:14:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85199

Cobble Hill community activist Judi Francis has alerted us to another, and probably final, court hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14, on the action brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association to prevent further construction (some work has already begun; at a previous hearing the judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order, but issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the developers from doing anything that can’t easily be undone should the court’s final decision go against them) of the proposed high rise residential towers on two parcels of land near Pier Six and the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since then, a new judge has taken over the case, and at the immediately previous hearing she appeared to be receptive to the case being made by the BHA, urging the parties to seek compromise.

From Ms. Francis:

While always difficult to win an Article 78 [the type of proceeding the BHA has had to institute], we have a strong case, and after 13 years of near complete disregard for the needs of the community (i.e, school overcrowding, no new parklands despite the huge increase in residential population never studied in the park’s original EIS, violations of the Promenade’s view plane by gross overbuilding of the Pierhouses, and admitting they do not need the funds from this housing for the park’s maintenance), the city remains immovable and unwilling to consider alternatives to their housing plan. The city seems to have forgotten that the purpose of this project was to build a park for the recreational needs of residents that are here today, not a housing complex.

The hearing will begin at 2:45 PM at the New York Supreme Courthouse, 80 Centre Street in Manhattan, in the courtroom of Justice Carmen St. George. As Justice St. George has shown interest in the community involvement in this case, Ms. Francis is urging anyone who can to attend.

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