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On The Post-Industrial Waterfront: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn, NY)

View of the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 - Happier Place

Big, refreshing and super fun Brooklyn Bridge Park stretches along the East River and features must-see NYC vistas, a fresh breeze from the open water, beautiful gardens and lots of opportunities to play and relax among diverse nature.

The 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park revitalized 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of Brooklyn waterfront from John Street in the DUMBO neighborhood to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. The unique park runs underneath the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, past the Brooklyn Promenade and over the river on several piers.

Brooklyn Bridge Park (Piers 3 and 2), Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge seen from the Brooklyn Promenade.
Brooklyn Bridge Park (Piers 3 and 2), Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge seen from the Brooklyn Promenade.

A little history…

What was once a vital part the NY shipping industry had fallen into disrepair over the decades – with abandoned warehouses sitting on piers jutting far out into the river. Plans to turn part of the East River waterfront into a park began in the 1980s.

In 2010, the first official section of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened: a revitalized version of Pier 1 covered by lawns and trees… right next to Fulton Ferry Landing, home of the magnificent Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Yum!!! Several areas already in existence along the water in DUMBO received a nature-facelift and were incorporated into the park around the same time.

By today, Piers 2, 3, 5 and 6 (which all sit on pile-supported structures) are finished as well. Pier 4 doesn’t exist as a pier per se, but offers a small beach and a marina for private boats. A greenway connects all the piers as well as Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Jane’s Carousel, Main Street Park and Pebble Beach in DUMBO.

Pebble Beach and Main Street Park and the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO.
Pebble Beach and Main Street Park and the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO.

Each Brooklyn Bridge Park pier has a slightly different focus:

Pier 1 – trees, open spaces and panoramic views of Lower Manhattan.
Pier 2 – sports: basketball, handball, ping pong, bocce, fitness equipment and turf.
Pier 3 – parkland features a lawn surrounded by trees and shrubs
Pier 4 – beach and ONE°15 Brooklyn Bridge Marina
Pier 5 – soccer fields, grills and fishing station
Pier 6 – fun for everyone: playground, dog park, volleyball, restaurants, Governors Island Ferry and flowers galore (seasonal)

Brooklyn - We Go Hard. Basketball court on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn – We Go Hard. Basketball court on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park FAQs

You can reach the park via subway (A/C, 2/3, 4/5, F, R), bus (B25, B61, B63, B67) and the ferry.

There are several places that sell food and beverages. No, you’re not allowed to bring alcohol into the park, but you can buy and consume such beverages at Fornino (Pier 6) and Luke’s Lobster (Fulton Ferry Landing). Plenty of picnic tables, grills and lawns invite you to enjoy your homemade food. You’ll find free drinking water at Pier 5. Smoking is not allowed in the park.

Hey, but dogs are allowed in Brooklyn Bridge Park – but not on the lawns. Dog parks are at the north and south ends of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Of course, there are also playgrounds for children. The park has public bathrooms and lockers and… a sizable fish-cleaning station on Pier 5 – and seasonal kayaking lessons!

With so many things to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park, it might be the NYC park with the most outdoor-fun-having opportunities! And that makes it an ideal place to try out this “secret” to being happier: Take a break. Go outside. Have fun.

Family on Pebble Beach; Empire Fulton Ferry Park (featuring the Empire Stores buildings and Jane's Carousel) and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Pebble Beach, Empire Fulton Ferry Park (featuring the Empire Stores buildings and Jane’s Carousel) and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Jane's Carousel in DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge and the Lower Eastside in Manhattan. Happier Place
Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge and the Lower Eastside in Manhattan. (Photo taken in 2013)
Table and chairs on Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River.
Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park offers front row seats to the East River and its iconic views. (Does anyone else remember when the Verizon Building was still the Atlantic Bell Building?)
New and old and not-even-finished: Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the One Manhattan Square high-rise, still under construction.
New and old and not-even-finished: Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the One Manhattan Square high-rise, still under construction in 2018.
Cyclists on Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park with Statue of Liberty in the distance.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is great for riding a bike – and for gazing at the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
Pier 3 features a green parkland that seems suspended between the East River below and the Manhattan skyline above (including One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere).
Pier 3 features a green parkland that seems suspended between the East River below and the Manhattan skyline above (including One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere).
Close-up of pink and white flowers in Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC. Happier Place
Brooklyn Bridge Park invites you to stop and smell the flowers.
Even the New York City sparrows get to enjoy a break along the green lawns, trees, flowers and shrubs of the park. Happier Place
Even the New York City sparrows get to enjoy a break along the green lawns, trees, flowers and shrubs of the park.
Geese swimming off the beach between the piers in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Geese swimming off the beach between the piers.
The Brooklyn park offers plenty of places to sit and relax while watching the boats go by on the East River.
The Brooklyn park offers plenty of places to sit and relax while watching the boats go by on the East River.
Not a bad place to dock your boat: the One 15 Brooklyn Marina on the East River with views of Manhattan, Pier 3, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building in the back.
Not a bad place to dock your boat: the One 15 Brooklyn Marina on the East River with views of Manhattan, Pier 3, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building in the back.
The soccer fields on Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The soccer fields on Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Walk among vibrant flowers and gaze back at the Brooklyn skyline from Pier 6.
Walk among vibrant flowers and gaze back at the Brooklyn skyline from Pier 6.
Take your mind off the big city and focus in on the natural beauty of the flowers in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Take your mind off the big city and focus in on the natural beauty of the flowers in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Monarch butterfly hanging in Brooklyn - on Pier 6.
Monarch butterfly hanging in Brooklyn – on Pier 6.
Sunset over Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a wonderful place to enjoy a sunset. Depending on the season and your exact location, you’ll see it set behind the Manhattan Financial District, the East River, the Hudson River and/or New Jersey. No matter where, you’ll get a big display of the open sunset sky.

Want to see some action? Watch a time-lapse video of a sunset seen from Pier 6 with plenty of boats zipping by and the Manhattan lights coming up: Sunset Time Lapse – In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 115)

Want to see even more? Check out this 1-minute video of Brooklyn Bridge Park from the Moving Postcard web series.


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On The Post-Industrial Waterfront: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn, NY)


All photos in this post were taken by Luci Westphal. By clicking on an individual image you can see a larger version – and even purchase a print if you’re so inclined.

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