Brooklyn Bridge Park has been built in stages for nearly a decade, stretching for a mile-and-a-half along the East River. Now, construction of the final stage is under way. NY1 Brooklyn Reporter Jeanine Ramirez takes a look.
With Lady Liberty looking on, Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park is getting a makeover. It's the final pier to be redeveloped in the 85-acre park. Historic bollards are being incorporated into the design for a children's playground.
"It's about three feet of soil that we'll be putting in," Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau said, motioning to a bollard. "So everyone will be walking, starting at sort of this point here."
The elevation is being raised with foam blocks. 80 percent of the park has been completed since construction began in 2008. The newest section opened in July, adding three-and-a-half acres of green hills that act as a sound barrier.
"It's a beautiful way to not only have a signature element in the park that is recognizable, but it blocks the sound from the BQE so that when you're further down in the park, you can't hear the traffic on the BQE right next to us," Landau said.
The redevelopment of the landmark tobacco warehouse, known as Empire Stores, which was built in the 1850s, is continuing, with the opening of new sections. It now features several eateries, office space, and a public rooftop garden. Developer Midtown Equities began that project three years ago.
"Where else in a city like New York do you get a building that's on the waterfront in the middle of a public park, with these amazing views and a palate for redevelopment?" said Jack Cayre, the principal of Midtown Equities.
But the work is still shadowed by controversy after the uproar over the construction of a hotel and condo. A lawsuit is seeking to prevent two residential towers, 14- and 28-stories tall, from going up. But Landau said they are needed to generate tax revenues to finance the park.
"We don't receive any operating money from the city or the parks department, but rather all of our operating costs come from the developments," he said.
The goal is to develop ten percent of the park to fund the other 90 percent of open space. Pier 3 is scheduled to open to the public next summer.