A Day at the Park

East, East Coast
Monday, March 22, 2010
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New York's newest park, Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Click to launch slideshow)

We’ve already mentioned the opening today of Pier 1, the first piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park. But for those of you less concerned with park governance and public-private funding mechanisms—most of you, really—than with the actual park itself, herein is our guided tour (click the photo above to begin). While the rain may have dampened the mood of some New Yorkers today, not here in the park, which seemed brighter for the downpour, verdant as Ireland and twice as lucky for having opened after a 25-year struggle. The park, and even this first sliver of it, is magnificent and majestic, a transformative place so different and particular—not unlike the High Line—that it can change your entire perception of the city. Dan Kramer, chair of the BBP Conservancy, agrees. “When I walk around, I get the same feeling I get walking around the High Line” he said at today’s ribbon cutting. “This park feels like it was always here, like it always belonged here.”

Michael Van Valkenburgh sees the park as a civics lesson. “I’m always reminded when a park opens that there’s nothing more democratic or important to the city than a park,” he said. “I’m always struck how this is for everyone.” He and principal-in-charge Matt Urbanski said they expected the newly empowered to city to keep on building, and the opening would only help boost their momentum. “It’s like serving the entree without all the fixings,” Urbanski said. “This is a big slice of roast beef, and it’s gonna be good, and everyone’ll want more.” Regina Myer, head of the park development corporation and maestro of its construction, certainly believes New Yorks will like their first taste of the place. “It’s a park like none other, given its place on the water and in the city,” Myer said, “but really, it’s extraordinary for the way it embraces beautiful design and sustainability and I think that, maybe after the bridge, is what people are going to notice.”

One Response to “A Day at the Park”

  1. buddy11210@yahoo.com says:

    We would not have parks but for the fact that we have public lands for the public. To say that those who care about parks are not interested or concerned about their funding and governance is idiotic. This is a beautifully landscaped lawn for the 1200 condos that will, for the first time ever in NYC and any city in the US, have housing inside its borders. And when private luxury housing came in, out went the pools, baseball fields, indoor recreational center and ice rink. This is indeed an incredible harbor and the views amazing. But parks are for the people and giving public lands over to the interests of private developers is shameful. You ought to mention, too, that the people you quoted are all economic development people not park people! David Kramer is a large real estate developer. Regina Myer is the president of an economic development corportation. Van Valkenburg is a landscape designer. And everyone knows that nothing sells condos better than great landscaping.

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