Brooklyn, NY, January 13, 2020— Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy (Conservancy) celebrate the conclusion of the 2019 summer season. This past summer saw over 5 million visitors, 500 recreational, cultural, and educational events and programs with over 261,000 participants. Construction of new parkland and other capital improvements are underway in the Park. The summer season also marked the 20th Anniversary of the Conservancy’s free, public programming on the waterfront beginning with Movies With A View.
BBP continued to make progress on the construction of new parkland. Construction on the Pier 2 Uplands broke ground and will open to the public in Summer 2020. The new space will offer a new water play feature and lawns that look out to the New York Harbor. The Greenway that runs through the Park from Pier 1 to Pier 6 is in the final stages of a redesign that will encourage a safer and more efficient path for users. The updates include widening the pedestrian path to a uniform width and more frequent signage to indicate bike and pedestrian paths.
Ample Hills Creamery enjoyed a successful first summer in their new location in the Historic Fireboat Station at Pier 1. Their location specific flavor, “I Contain Breakfast Foods,” pays homage to the locations storied past with poet Walt Whitman. Next summer OddFellows Ice Cream Co. will open in the Pier 5 concession space. The Park’s other food concessionaires, including Fornino, Lizzmonade, Luke’s Lobster, and Pilot at Pier 6 were all back in full swing for the 2019 season.
Popular park amenities such as the roller rink and climbing wall continued to be a hit with parkgoers. More than 60,000 skaters attended the roller rink at Pier 2 while DUMBO Boulders Powered by the Cliffs welcomed over 17,000 climbers. Additionally, on July 4th, over 200,000 spectators viewed the 2019 Macy’s Fireworks, which were launched from barges in the East River. At Empire Stores, Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO continued to exhibit Waterfront, which displays the rich and vibrant history of the Brooklyn waterfront. Brooklyn Public Library will open an annex at One John Street as a temporary outpost before their first new branch opens in DUMBO.
Movies With A View, the Conservancy’s 8-week outdoor film series, celebrated its 20th summer with the theme “Better the Second Time Around,’ showing popular films shown over the course of the series’ history. Six thousand moviegoers came out each night on average to enjoy cult classics like Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Spike Lee’s Crooklyn. Partnering again with Brooklyn’s famous outdoor food bazaar Smorgasburg, local vendors and food trucks provided a variety of concessions.
Other popular returning arts and cultural events included the Met Opera, Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, Lift Off: A Waterfront Kite Festival, and Harvest Festival. At All the Park’s a Stage, New York Classical Theatre presented live panoramic performances of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest to 1,250 theatre lovers who experienced an immersive, roaming show through the Park. The Conservancy’s annual kite festival drew 6,000 kids and families to the park for the opportunity to watch kites soar above the Manhattan skyline, while enjoying a live brass-band and special S.T.E.A.M activities exploring the science of flight. Other family festivals included the annual Hindu Lamp Ceremony, which drew 2,500 visitors to Pebble Beach, and Harvest Festival, which drew 6,500 people to Pier 6, which marked the end of the programming season.
The Conservancy hosted a range of free waterfront workouts for over 1,700 participants, including hip hop aerobics, sunrise and sunset yoga, Pilates, bootcamp, Broadway dance, salsa, and Zumba. Newly launched fitness classes included major partners such as The Class with Taryn Toomey and Chelsea Piers Fitness. On the water at the launch dock at Pier 2, another 9,700+ visitors took to the water with walkup kayaking sessions, the Conservancy’s Youth Kayak Program, and kayak polo games.
The Environmental Education Center, which celebrated its fourth anniversary this fall, was essential to the continued success of the Conservancy’s educational programming and citizen science initiatives. Children and teens from pre-K to 12th grade used the park as a living classroom for experiential learning on subjects ranging from ecology, conservation, sustainable design, and the history of the Brooklyn waterfront. Over the season, more than 10,000 students from 120 schools across New York City and Brooklyn attended school and camp programs in the park, with 61% of students coming from Title 1 schools. At Open Hours, more than 9,700 visitors came for monthly themes exploring topics ranging from weather, to birds, reptiles, recycling, geology, and more. The Conservancy also launched a brand-new citizen science fishing clinic, where participants were able to catch and release species, while contributing to data points of large migratory fish patterns.
The Conservancy partnered with 811 volunteers who contributed over 3,500 service hours to the Park. Volunteers led park tours, welcomed visitors as park greeters, and supported the Conservancy’s environmental educators. At Green Team, volunteers worked closely with the Park’s gardeners on horticultural projects in the Park, while at Coastal Cleanups, volunteers removed over 2,000 pounds of trash from the East River. The Conservancy hosted the fourth year of TIDES (Teens Interested in and Dedicated to Environmental Stewardship), a volunteer program exclusively for teens. Up from 10 students in 2018, 13 students, aged 14-19, came from Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens to complete community service hours in the Park, while learning about estuary ecology, sustainability, horticulture, oyster restoration, and more. Through TIDES, the Conservancy aims to engage students in the natural world from an early age and in turn, create the next generation of environmental stewards.
After a successful inaugural launch in 2018, the Conservancy presented the second year of the live music series Unplugged on Friday evenings at Pier 3’s Greenway Terrace. This year featured an expanded lineup with two partners – Brooklyn Americana Music Series and DeGraw Sound, featuring sixteen artists performing for 900 attendees in June and July. In September, the tenth Brooklyn Americana Music Festival kicked off the fall season with the Liberty View Stage on Pier 6, featuring an all-female lineup of talent to celebrate women in Americana music today.
Public Art Fund brought Siah Armajani’s Bridge Over Tree to Empire Fulton Ferry lawn from February through September. The sculpture, which was originally shown in a Minneapolis public park in 1970, invited visitors to walk through a 91-foot-long walkway with a set of stairs that rise and fall over a single evergreen tree. United Photo Industry’s exhibition, The Fence, stretched along BBP’s pathways for its eighth season, exhibiting 7,000 feet of photography.
BBP also welcomed back Photoville for its eighth season at the Park. More than 100,000 visitors experienced the one-of-a-kind photo festival which featured more than 90 photography exhibitions inside shipping containers in the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza. At Pier 2, the Brooklyn Nets hosted their third annual 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 26th Annual Bus Festival returned to the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza and displayed their fleet of vintage buses to more than 7,000 people.
“2019 was another great year in Brooklyn Bridge Park — ground was broken on more parkland and we again had amazing free public programming. Thank you to the staff at Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Conservancy, all of our programming partners and concessionaires, and our neighbors and park visitors for making the 2019 season another amazing summer in the Park,” said Eric Landau, Brooklyn Bridge Park President. “We have achieved so much in the past ten years and I look forward to 2020 and all that the new decade will bring.”
“2019 was truly a special year for the Conservancy, as we celebrated the close of our 20th anniversary season of waterfront programming,” said Nancy Webster, Executive Director of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “The Park is now a thriving cultural destination with free and dynamic programming for visitors across the city, state, and world. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many. To our partners, supporters, and friends at Brooklyn Bridge Park — thank you.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of this season’s free events and programs,” remarked Eveline Chang-Fritsch, the Conservancy’s Director of Programming. “From our 20th anniversary of Movies With A View, to walk up kayaking, live theatre, music, and dance performances, major family festivals, waterfront workouts, and more, there was truly something for everyone. We look forward to offering another enriching season of programming in 2020.”