Tourist in My Town: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a waterfront park that hugs the East River for about 1.5 miles. For decades it was absolutely derelict.The area inspired plenty of mafia films. The piers were rotted. Everything was either tagged with graffiti or rusted. Old trailers were abandoned with weeds overtaking them.

But thankfully that is a thing of the past. As if you needed one more reason to come to Brooklyn (I mean, come on people!), Brooklyn Bridge Park is now a great space for the community.

At the north end of the park is Jane’s Carousel. Jane Walentas and her team painstakingly restored the horses and chairs by hand over 20 years. I love everything about this place. If I need a pick-me-up, this is where I come. Hurricane Sandy nearly spelled the end in 2012, but luckily the water receded just in time.

Jane's Carousel

The park runs under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges along the piers lining the East River.  This is definitely an urban, mixed-use park. It’s not a space of quiet contemplation like the Conservatory Gardens.

Large pavilions provide space for organized sports. For the record, I do none of these sports, but I like the idea of someone else doing them.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Look at these intrepid young people playing beach volleyball! Good for you, young people!

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Now this is more my speed: Ample Hills Ice Cream stand. I doubt that Walt Whitman had this in mind when he wrote, “I too lived—Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,” but let’s not quibble. I had a scoop of “Baby, I was churned this way,” and it was delicious.

 

Brooklyn Bridge Park

I thought this was a clever concept and design. It’s a curved wading pool in a protected alcove. Though it does beg what should have been the obvious question: who wants to wade into the East River? I wouldn’t go in even wearing a hazmat suit.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

During the warmer months, there are concerts and events at this new bandshell. What a lovely view. See the orange Staten Island Ferry docking in Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty to the left of the frame.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

 

The park is about 75 percent complete so construction is ongoing. The same is true of these luxury apartments being built just behind the park. A two-bedroom unit costs only $3.7 million. Who’s in?

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What a bargain! And this view is free. Sweet.

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There are quite a few art installations throughout the park. This one gets right to the point.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

I spent hours walking the park and this just scratched the surface. There are even nature walks through the park. Check out Heather Wolf’s photo blog to see the wide variety of birds that live here.

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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16 comments

  1. Excellent pictures, but is Brooklyn Bridge Park not Reggie-friendly? After Milton and I saw “A Streetcar Named Desire” at St. Ann’s Warehouse last month, we gravitated straight for Jane’s Carousel … Unless I have her carousel mistaken for one that looks exactly like the one in your picture that we saw a short walk from the theater near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges? We’re such Manhattanites, we have little idea how to get anywhere in Brooklyn, especially during the weekend when the subways are all inconveniently re-routed. Fortunately it was a great weather day to get lost in such a picturesque area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s the same carousel, just behind St. Ann’s Warehouse. The story of how Jane Walentas restored the horses is fascinated. She’d bought them at auction in Ohio and shipped them to a warehouse here while she and a small team of interns painstakingly chipped away at 70 years of paint to get to the original colors. A labor of love to be sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this. This looks like a great park! It will be on my “next visit” list. Great historical details too about the carousel. I’ve been above the park and near it, but never went through it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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