At a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a small but consequential section of Brooklyn Bridge Park that will be located directly at the foot of the 137-year-old landmarked bridge’s eastern tower; the eponymous Brooklyn Bridge Plaza.
The new section, which will take the form of a spacious two-acre pedestrian plaza, replaces a long fenced-off vacant lot that has long served as an awkward barrier between the park’s DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights sections. When the project is complete, park users will no longer be forced to essentially veer out of the park and onto the congested sidewalks lining Water Street in order to circumvent the fenced-off lot and reach one section of the park from the other. The plaza is also located near Fulton Ferry Landing and Pier 1, where the first section of the park opened in 2010.
This final piece of the 85-acre puzzle that is Brooklyn Bridge Park comes with a price tag of $8 million.
As the Brooklyn Bridge Park website states, the “grand civic space” will include elements that stay true to the park’s “overall design vocabulary” and could potentially be home to festivals, seasonal markets, and a variety of programming. Like the rest of the park the design of Brooklyn Bridge Plaza is spearheaded by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Plans call for the plaza to be flanked by plenty of greenery and seating and lined with concrete pavers that “mimic the span of the Brooklyn Bridge” per Brownstoner.
The vacant lot in question was once home to the Purchase Building, a 1936 Art Deco storehouse that was demolished to some controversy in 2008 with plans to eventually redevelop the site as part of the park. Brownstoner also noted that lintel salvaged from the building will be incorporated into the design of the plaza.
Construction work at the site is slated to begin this fall and wrap up late next year. Elsewhere in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a new and improved Squibb Park Bridge designed by Arup reopened earlier this month after its structurally precarious, semi-nauseating predecessor was dismantled in October 2019 after only six years—most of them spent closed for costly repairs—in existence. The new $6.5 million steel footbridge closely resembles the first ill-fated Squibb Park Bridge but with less terrifying bounce, and will once again provide a much-needed link between the Pier 1 section of the park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. However, practicing social distancing won’t exactly be a walk in the park for users of the new bridge.
Work on another yet-to-be-completed section of Brooklyn Bridge Park near its southern end, the Pier 2 Uplands, is expected to be completed this summer.