Ten things to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park
A guide to the city's newest green space.
Mon Jul 5 2010
Click #2 for a 3-D image (3-D glasses required).
1 Study the BBP 101
Unless you've been hiding under one of the big rocks in Central Park, you'll know that the much-talked-about BBP is finally open. While it's still growing, you can already wander among Pier 1 (2 Old Fulton St at Furman St), Pier 6 (Furman St at Atlantic Ave), the Main Street Lot (1 Main St at Plymouth St) and Fulton Ferry Landing (Old Fulton St at the waterfront). Pier 5 is scheduled to open by the summer of 2012, and the walk-and-bikeway between Piers 1 and 6 the following summer. But wait—there's more! Next spring, Empire--Fulton Ferry State Park will reopen as well, featuring Jane's Carousel (see No. 4) and the Tobacco Warehouse. Daily 6am--1am (brooklynbridgeparknyc.org)
2 Find the action
It's at Pier 1, BBP's largest pier (9.5 acres) and most happening stretch: Two lawns, one waterfront promenade and multiple tree-lined walkways create a green retreat right along the East River. For an elevated view across the water, climb the Granite Prospect, a set of stairs fashioned out of more than 300 pieces of granite salvaged from the scrapped Roosevelt Island Bridge project.
3 Cut loose
Kids swarm Pier 6's new 1.6-acre playground for the ropes and swings of Swing Valley, the 20-foot-tall Slide Mountain jungle gym and the enormous, 6,000-square-foot Sandbox Village.
4 Bet on the ponies
Pick out your favorite horse on Jane's Carousel, the painstakingly restored 1922 merry-go-round currently on view in a Dumbo gallery. You'll have to wait another year before you can ride it, but come summer 2011, the carousel will finally move to its permanent location—a pavilion in Empire--Fulton Ferry State Park. 56 Water St between Dock St and Main St (janescarousel.com). Fri--Sun noon--6pm; free.
5 See marine life from the beach, or from a boat on the water
The Cove Between the Bridges offers two aquatic treats: Not only can you find crab, eel, bluefish, geese and ducks, but you'll also spot humans—the kind who sign up for gratis kayak and rowing trips with the Gowanus Dredgers and Village Community Boathouse. For boat trips, meet at Main St or Pier 1; visit brooklynbridgepark.org for a schedule.
6 Join a culture club
Cinephiles can camp out on the Harbor lawn for this summer's Movies with a View series (see page 14 for more info). Music fans are in luck too: Bargemusic, the world's only "floating concert hall," offers hour-long afternoon concerts year-round (adults $10, children free), as well as a free show on August 14 at 1pm. Fulton Ferry Landing at Old Fulton St (718-624-2083, bargemusic.org)
7 Do your work...or don't
Free Wi-Fi in the Main Street section of the park means that a blanket or a bench, a cup of iced coffee and your laptop are all you need to create the perfect alfresco workspace.
8 Lend a hand
From May to October, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's Green Team plans projects during which you can get your hands dirty for a good cause, such as working on coastal cleanups. Tue 6--8pm, special Saturdays scheduled; visit brooklynbridgepark.org for info.
9 Sate your sweet tooth
There's a reason that the lines are often long at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. All-natural ingredients are mixed in small batches to create cups and cones ($3.50--$6.50), sundaes ($6.75--$7.50) and shakes ($6.50--$7.50) in old-favorite flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and butter pecan. If you'd rather not wait at the main location, look for the smaller BICF concession stand also on the Fulton Ferry Landing pier, near the Water Taxi stop (Mon, Thu--Sun 1--9pm). It serves only four flavors in either a cup or a cone,with no toppings (not that you'll need any). Pull up a seat in the tent area—nothinggoes better with Brooklyn ice cream thana panorama of the Brooklyn Bridge itself. (1 Water St at Old Fulton St; 718-246-3963, brooklynicecreamfactory.com)
10 Learn something new
Attention, future city planners: Get schooled on the ins and outs of building an outdoor entertainment haven when BBP designers and planners discuss the history and creation of Pier 1—and the importance of sustainability—during a weekly Tuesday-night tour. Pier 1 gatehouse at park entrance, Old Fulton St at Furman St (718-802-0603). Tue 6--6:45pm; free.