Celebrating “Brooklyn’s Next Great Park” - a documentary
by Tammy Scileppi
Nov 16, 2011 | 23035 views | 1 1 comments | 1103 1103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brooklyn Bridge's Pier 1 Bridge View of the lawn, looking northwest towards the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan.Photo credit:Julienne Schaer
Brooklyn Bridge's Pier 1 Bridge View of the lawn, looking northwest towards the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan.Photo credit:Julienne Schaer
What’s green, with a diverse tree palette? It’s a place where you can relax by the waterfront, watch boats go by, and get a million dollar view of the city’s skyline; go kayaking, bike riding and play sand volleyball in the summer. Watch free movies and listen to cool jazz concerts. Explore a natural habitat with your kids.

Where you can view the BQE, the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the alignments of different subways that connect Brooklyn and Manhattan.

With its renewed energy and rich multicultural sensibility, there seems to be a synergy between Brooklyn’s revitalization and the creation of a spectacular new waterfront park, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

It all started with over one generation of strong community advocating and fighting for a green refuge for stressed out city dwellers and their families. Then, in the summer of 2010 Brooklyn Bridge Park finally opened, welcoming thousands of New Yorkers, and even some curious out-of-towners.

An insightful new documentary, “Brooklyn’s Next Great Park,” chronicles the park’s long journey from architect’s model to its modern reality as a vast, vibrant addition to New York City’s landscape -- an 85-acre sustainable park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline.

Homage to a changing borough, the film celebrates a well-thought-out and brilliantly designed project that was based on one feisty community’s wish list.

The park’s story is a lesson in persistence; an excellent example of superb teamwork driven by a shared vision. Great thinkers, planners, and spirited go-getters joined forces with talented architects, motivated political and community leaders, and an ambitious Brooklyn Bridge Park staff, with a can-do attitude.

“Now, over twenty acres have been opened to the public, with more on the way,” said Ellen Ryan, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Last summer, we had 60,000 plus visitors over an average weekend.”

The park is the largest undertaking of its kind in more than 80 years of city history, and initially, the big question was: How do you revitalize an industrial waterfront?

“We called this documentary, ‘Brooklyn’s Next Great Park’ because projects of this scope are rare (special), and it was the first of its kind in many years,” said Leslie G. Schultz, Executive Director of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn. “Consistent with BRIC’s aim to make the great stories of Brooklyn accessible to all, our documentary provides a rich narrative about this amazing new park.”

In 2009 BBP commissioned BRIC and Brooklyn Independent Television (BIT) to produce the film. “As Brooklyn’s primary television outlet, we felt fortunate to document and show how this project evolved, and to support efforts to build community ownership in the process,” said Schultz.

The documentary features interviews with some of the key figures in the design, planning and programming of the park: Mayor Bloomberg, Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Michael Van Valkenburgh and Matthew Urbanski, the principal architects, and others.

To mark the opening of the park’s new administrative offices at 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park is premiering the 25-minute documentary on Thursday, Nov. 17 (6:30 - 8 p.m.), as part of an open house. “We’re excited to welcome the public to our new offices and engage with our constituents on all park matters!” said Ryan.

“The park’s construction is not fully funded at this juncture, so it’s difficult to offer a final completion date. We expect to move forward with Pier 2 construction in summer, 2012.

Brooklyn Bridge Park re-opened the Empire Fulton Ferry section in September 2011 and is now working on the construction of Pier 5 amenities, including three recreational fields and a picnic peninsula. After the open house, BRIC will air “New York’s Next Great Park” on Friday, November 18 at 7 p.m.
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November 18, 2011