Brooklyn, NY, December 20, 2018— Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy (Conservancy) celebrate the conclusion of their ninth summer season. Popular returning events and programs as well as new offerings made for another great season.
Returning events included Photoville, Movies With a View, Brooklyn Bodega’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, and the NYRR Brooklyn Half Pre-Party, as well as the Brooklyn Nets Open Practice, Met Opera, and All the Park’s a Stage. Additionally, many recurring programs enjoyed another successful season, including free kayaking with the BBP Boathouse, weekly 5k Open Runs with New York Road Runners, and basketball clinics with BALSA. Movies With A View, the Conservancy’s popular outdoor film series, returned for its nineteenth year with a new partnership with Smorgasburg, which provided concessions from Brooklyn food vendors, including beer and wine. The Conservancy also hosted a pre-movie SHE TALKS panel with Love & Basketball star Regina Hall and Sports Bra podcast host Elle Clay, in honor of this year’s theme featuring films directed by women. All the Park’s a Stage allowed over 2,000 visitors to explore the park while they were treated to a panoramic performance of Romeo and Juliet by New York Classical Theatre.
The Conservancy hosted over 120 free fitness classes for nearly 2,000 participants this summer, including sunrise yoga, pilates, Broadway dance, Zumba, and tennis clinics. Another 6,500 visitors took to the water with walkup kayaking sessions and kayak polo games. The Conservancy’s annual Kite Festival drew 5,000 people to the park - families had the opportunity to watch their kites soar above the Manhattan skyline, while enjoying special S.T.E.A.M activities exploring the science of flight. Other family festivals included the annual Hindu Lamp Festival, which drew 3,500 visitors to Pebble Beach, and Harvest Festival, which drew 5,000 people to Pier 6 and marked the end of the programming season. In total, more than 261,000 people participated in over 500+ programs in the park this year.
More than 9,200 students from 120 schools across New York City attended school programs in the park, with 61% of students coming from Title 1 schools this year. Children from Pre-K to 12th grade used the park as a living classroom to learn about ecology, sustainability, and the history of the Brooklyn waterfront. The Environmental Education Center, which celebrated its third-year anniversary in September, was essential to the continued success of the Conservancy’s educational programming. The Center’s weekly open hours attracted over 9,300 visitors this season and is open year-round.
The Conservancy also partnered with 655 volunteers who contributed nearly 3,000 service hours to the park. In addition to leading park tours, welcoming visitors as park greeters, and teaching at the Education Center, volunteers worked closely with the park’s gardeners and horticulture team to plant, mulch, and weed. Coastal Cleanups had a record year with volunteers removing over 2,500 lbs. of trash from the East River. This year, 26% of volunteers were under the age of 18, up 10% from the year prior. The Conservancy hosted the third year of a volunteer program exclusively for teens: TIDES (Teens Interested in and Dedicated to Environmental Sciences). Participants from across the city volunteered every Saturday for six weeks to complete community service hours by cleaning oyster cages, seining, gardening, and coastal cleanups.
Other new and returning events also made a splash in the Park this season. BBP welcomed back Photoville for its seventh season at the Park. A record number of 100,000 visitors experienced the one-of-a-kind photo festival which featured more than 75 photography exhibitions inside shipping containers in Brooklyn Bridge Plaza. Corning Museum of Glass launched its 150th anniversary voyage up the Hudson River at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Aboard the Barge, glassblowers gave free glassblowing demonstrations to over 4,600 people. At Pier 2, the Brooklyn Nets hosted their second Practice in the Park, which gave fans the chance to watch the entire team take to the court for drills as they prepared for the upcoming season. New York Transit Museum’s 25th Annual Bus Festival came to Brooklyn Bridge Plaza and displayed their fleet of vintage buses to 7,500 people. In partnership with Jan Bell of the Americana Music Festival, the Conservancy presented the first ever Americana: Unplugged, a music series on Friday evenings that attracted over 250 attendees each night. The Conservancy is expecting to expand the program to four additional nights in 2019 with a second partner.
Popular park amenities such as the roller rink and climbing wall continued to be a hit with park goers. DUMBO Boulders Powered by the Cliffs welcomed over 29,000 climbers. At Empire Stores, Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO opened their major, long-term installation, Waterfront, in January 2018.
Public art was also a great success in the Park this summer. The Public Art Fund brought Erwin Wurm’s Hot Dog Bus to the Park. A vintage Volkswagen Microbus transformed into an overstuffed, bright yellow food truck served 24,000 free hot dogs to parkgoers at Pier 1 and Pier 5. Public Art Fund also brought Tauba Auerbach’s Flow Separation to the Park. The artist re-imagined the historic technique of ‘dazzling’ for the fireboat, John J. Harvey, which was docked at Pier 6 and offered free trips around New York Harbor to nearly 6,000 guests. United Photo Industry’s exhibition, The Fence, stretched along BBP’s pathways for another summer, exhibiting 7,000 feet of photography. Brooklyn-based artist Oliver Jeffers created a two-sided mural on Pier 1 sponsored by Maisonette. The installation, Here You Are, was a reminder for local families and tourists to slow down and savor the present.
BBP made significant progress on construction of new parkland, with 90% of the Park now complete. In July, BBP celebrated the opening of Pier 3, the final pier to be turned to parkland. The additional 5 acres of open space adds a large central lawn, garden labyrinth, and flexible seating areas. Construction on the Pier 2 Uplands began in September of 2018 and will offer another water play feature and lawns that over look the New York Harbor. The Pier 2 Uplands will open in Summer 2020.
This summer BBP announced plans to build a permanent swimming pool at Squibb park. Community planning sessions took place this summer and BBP plans to release a request for proposals this spring. BBP also announced the selection of two new concessions at the Historic Fireboat Station at Fulton Ferry Landing. Alex and Miles Pincus were awarded the outdoor concession space and Ample Hills was awarded the building space. The Pincus brothers will offer an outdoor seating area with a high-quality seasonal café and bar. Ample Hills will offer an ice cream scoop shop on the ground floor of the building and will work with Brooklyn Historical Society to transform the second floor into a public space honoring the history of the Brooklyn Ferry and Fulton Ferry Landing.
“2018 was another fantastic year in the Park, from opening new parkland like Pier 3, to amazing park programming, Brooklyn Bridge Park was the place to be this year,” said Eric Landau, Brooklyn Bridge Park President. “We thank all of our programming partners, especially Nancy Webster and all the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy staff, for again providing exceptional free programing for tens of thousands of New Yorkers.” “The Conservancy thanks all of our partners who helped us complete another rich season of programming,” said Nancy Webster, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “From family festivals, to recreation and fitness, environmental education classes, and immersive volunteer opportunities, we look forward to bringing more free events and activities to the public in 2019.” “We had a fantastic year of cultural, recreational, and educational programming in Brooklyn Bridge Park,” remarked Devin Mathis, the Conservancy’s Director of Programs. “We are excited for a dynamic and fun-filled season ahead, as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary of Movies with a View and the start of waterfront programming.”
Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP), is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The self-sustaining park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dog, play soccer, jog, bike or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st Century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials and public servants who made it happen.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has worked for over 30 years to bring Brooklyn Bridge Park to life. We started out as grassroots advocates, bringing together residents, government, and local supporters to transform an abandoned waterfront into the park you see today. Now an essential supporter, we work in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to ensure that the park reaches its full potential as a dynamic and vibrant public space for Brooklyn, New York City, and beyond. The Conservancy produces diverse and innovative programming for park visitors and cultivates volunteer and philanthropic support of this special place on the Brooklyn waterfront. Since 2000, more than 1,000,000 visitors have enjoyed the Conservancy’s free, public programs in Brooklyn Bridge Park.