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Belly Dancing, Volleyball, Kayaking and More at Brooklyn's Waterfront Park

By Janet Upadhye | July 26, 2012 2:42pm

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — It’s been a little over three years since construction began to create Brooklyn Bridge Park and just two since its first six acres were opened for public use. Originally a thriving industrial center run by the Port Authority, the area between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges has transformed into a green space enjoyed by people from all over the city.

And this summer the Brooklyn Bridge Park is giving visitors the chance to get seriously active. The park offers volleyball, kayaking, dog runs, belly dancing, and Pilates for the body. And the mind and soul are also covered with chess lessons, live music and film screenings. And best of all, all activities offered are free.

"It is our mission to infuse Brooklyn Bridge Park with rich and dynamic programming that attracts residents from all over the city," said Alison Hughes, Director of Public Programming for the park. "When I begin to plan our events each year, I strive to make sure we have something for everyone."

DNAinfo New York rounded up a sampling of the nearly 400 free events taking place in the park this summer. For a full calendar, visit Brooklyn Bridge Park’s website.

Volleyball Clinics with Metro Beach Sports are offered weekly on Wednesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at the Pier 6 courts. Clinic will cover volleyball must-knows like serving, setting, and spiking and then give participants the chance to play. Kids get to learn and play for the first hour and a half; adults are on from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Checkmate 101 is taught by Brooklyn chess instructor Zebedee Collins on the Pier 1 promenade on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The classes are geared towards beginners, but anyone is welcome to join. The park provides the board, participants provide the brains, and Collins will provide the strategy.

Sunset Pilates is a great way to unwind after a long day. Thursdays from 7 -8 p.m., Lou Cornacchia, founder of Cobble Hill's Body in Balance Studio will lead groups in an intermediate class.  Classes will take place at Pier 6 where students will get an un-obscured view of Manhattan as they stretch and strengthen the day away.

Kayaking and boat rowing are offered on a walk-up basis on weekends at the Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse. Kayakers will have the chance to explore the Main Street Cove and Pier 1, from the water. And in the future, a pebble beach will be built near Pier 4, allowing boat lovers to paddle in the calm waters nearby.

Dogs need exercise too. And that’s why the park has opened two new dog run parks for four-legged friends. One park is located at Pier 6 and the other is at the Main Street section of the park. Once in the gated area, dogs can be let off leash and run to their heart’s desire.

Waterfront Yoga, Zumba, and Hip-Hop classes are offered at Pier 1 with Dodge YMCA. Zumba works out the body dancing to Latin beats, Hip-Hop incorporates the energetic music genre with aerobics and a cardiovascular workout, and yoga takes place in the early morning, as Manhattan gets moving across the river, participants will be calmly stretching and holding poses on the calm Brooklyn waterfront.

Alma Bonilla teaches Zumba on Sundays from 4-5 p.m., Hip-Hop is taught Fridays in August from 7-8p.m. and Yoga takes place Mondays from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Belly dance with Dodge YMCA on the Pier 1 promenade. Dancers will learn traditional Middle Eastern movements while also strengthening their core muscles on Fridays from 7-8 pm.

Books Beneath the Bridge gives local bookstores the chance to curate a night with authors. There will be reading, book signings and a Q&A period. Reading will take place on Mondays from 7-8 p.m. at the Granite Prospect at Pier 1.