Brooklyn Bridge Park runs for approximately 1.3 miles along the East River, from Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue north to just past the Manhattan Bridge in the trendy Dumbo neighborhood. Brooklyn Bridge Park is home to a number of playgrounds, public art installations, restaurants, and all manner of sporting fields and courts. It’s also a great spot for kayaking, is popular with picnickers, and hosts all types of special events throughout the year.
Brooklyn Bridge Park History
Though Brooklyn Bridge Park is a relatively new addition to New York City’s parks scene, the attraction has been in the works for many years. Today the park occupies some 85 acres of prime waterfront real estate, land that for decades and decades was dominated by industrial warehouses and commercial piers. With the decline of Brooklyn’s role as a hub for cargo ships and related business interests, plans were made to slowly transform the site into something suitable for public enjoyment.
After much debate between local government entities and private business stakeholders regarding how best to go about building a park on the site, construction began in earnest on Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2007. Since then, various segments of the park have opened in stages, with the result being the steady unveiling of yet-another fabulous New York City green space.
What’s at Brooklyn Bridge Park
There’s really a lot of diverse things to see and do throughout Brooklyn Bridge Park. One of its biggest draws is its array of sports venues. The park is home to soccer fields, basketball hoops, tennis courts, volleyball nets, bouldering walls, and roller-skating rinks, just to name a few of the fine facilities found here.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is also a terrific place to go for a bike ride. You can, of course, bring your own bike and ride until your heart’s content on the park’s designated bike trail, or you can rent a bike for a specified period of time at one of the park’s bike-share stations. Kayaking is another popular pastime here. Multiple complimentary kayaking programs run regularly at Brooklyn Bridge Park, or there are places to launch your own “human-powered” vessel, too.
Brooklyn Bridge Park hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. These include everything from free movie nights to bird-watching outings to “waterfront workout” classes to live music concerts. Plenty of nature walks, public art talks, and family friendly educational programming takes place here as well.
If you’re visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park with children, you won’t want to miss the remarkable assortment of playgrounds scattered all throughout the attraction. Piers 1 and 5 have small play areas suitable for very young kids, while Pier 6 is home to the “Water Lab” splash zone, Slide Mountain, Sandbox Village, and Swing Valley. There are additional swings and fountains at Pier 2, and the Main Street playground is popular, too. And that’s only a few of the options found here because, seriously, there are so many different places for the kids to have fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park!
Tips for Visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park
- The hours of operation for Brooklyn Bridge Park’s many different attractions, activities, and restaurants all differ, sometimes significantly, while many features are seasonal in nature. Visiting the park’s official website is key to learning what’ll be available to you during your visit and when.
- Many bike tours and walking tours originate in Manhattan and cross over the bridge to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Take a look at Unlimited Bike Tours and Inside Out Tours to find out more.
- There’s not a lot of parking near Brooklyn Bridge Park, so when in doubt, walk, bike, take a cab, or ride public transportation. If for whatever reason driving is a must, your best bets are the parking garages found near Pier 1 and Pier 6. They are best accessed from the south, along Furman Street.
- There are more dining options available at Brooklyn Bridge Park than we can profile in this space, and they range from quaint coffee shops to rustic cafés to well-regarded, sit-down restaurants. Never forget, though, that a superb way to save a bit of money (while making a fantastic memory) is by bringing your own food and throwing yourself a picnic in the park.
- Don’t forget to make some time to stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park’s several unique garden spaces. The Pier 6 Flower Field is an especially lovely corner of the park.
- If you’re considering visiting Governors Island while in New York, please note that an easy, affordable method for getting there is by taking the ferry from Pier 6 here in Brooklyn Bridge Park. You’ll need to check the Governors Island website for a schedule and more details, but it’s something to keep in mind as you plan your outings.