Tourist Tuesdays: Brooklyn Bridge Park

So, I am not a native New Yorker. I grew up in a relatively small city in Northern California (Chico https://chico.ca.us) and spent my teen years in a small suburb in Northeast Ohio (Cuyahoga Falls https://www.cityofcf.com). I’m not a country girl, but maybe country adjacent? Regardless, I am not a city girl at heart. I’m used to lawns and gardens, forests and wilderness. None of which are particularly plentiful in New York City.

That being said, I’m extraordinarily appreciative of the fact that NYC does it’s best to cultivate and utilize green spaces. Given my propensity for being outdoors, I’m sure a number of my Tourist Tuesday posts will feature one of the many beautiful parks or outdoor spaces around the city.

On Monday evenings (at 7:30pm) my wonderful husband broadcasts a Bible study live on YouTube (https://m.youtube.com/c/ucgnyc/live). He loves to hit the road and broadcast from outdoors. So I joined him for a trek to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

We chose to drive to the park this trip, as we can usually find parking in the colder weather months, especially in the evening. Don’t bother trying to park in the warmer months, it’s nearly impossible. You can also get to the park by subway, but be prepared for a mile or so walk once you get off the train. Also, pay attention to the hours of the different piers; some of them close earlier than others.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is 1.3 miles long encompassing 85 acres (!!) along the East River waterfront. Honestly, there is so much to do at this park: there are tennis courts, basketball courts, wooded areas, volleyball courts, soccer fields, running trails, ping pong tables, kayaking, pickleball, fishing, and over 120 different bird species for bird watching. But my favorite thing is the absolutely fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Pier Three is my favorite place to visit. It’s a wooded area with secluded grassy areas and tons of benches facing the water and the city view.

The area has gone through many different iterations since the mid-1600’s. Mostly serving as a trade route, starting with small boats and ferries, moving on to steam powered ferries in the 1800’s until railroad lines were installed in the 1850’s which lead to the construction of massive warehouses along the ferry landings and piers that jutted out from the land. Once the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 the ferry trade ended and the area went through a period of neglect until the 1950’s and the construction of the BQE, which revitalized the area… for a little while. By the 1970’s the area was mostly abandoned and decrepit. In 1984 the Port Authority announced plans to sell the piers for commercial development. It wasn’t until 1998 that the planning for the Brooklyn Bridge park started in earnest, with ground being broken in February of 2008. The first pier opened to the public in 2010 with additional areas or piers opening every subsequent year until 2021 (except 2016 and 2019). You can learn more about the history of this beautiful park here: https://www.bkwaterfronthistory.org.

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