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Waterfront Parks Unlock Stunning Vistas and Recreation Space in Brooklyn

 The Brooklyn Bridge Park and Transmitter Park are the latest additions to the Brooklyn waterfront.
Brooklyn Waterfront Parks
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BROOKLYN — The Brooklyn Bridge Park and Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park are bringing playgrounds, barbecue pits and volleyball courts to the borough, as waterfront parks take over Brooklyn’s piers.

WNYC Transmitter Park

Greenpoint’s long-awaited waterfront space, the Transmitter Park, opened last year with a grassy area, children's playground and its own fishing spot. The 6.6-acre space, located between Kent Street and Greenpoint Avenue, was once the home of WNYC radio transmission towers, giving the park its unique name. It also includes an overlook, seating and a waterfront esplanade.

The pier neighboring Transmitter Park opened just last month, the Open Space Alliance announced, offering Greenpoint locals a spot to sunbathe in the summer months, as well as views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline.  

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Stretching 1.3 miles along the Brooklyn waterfront, the park currently consists of Pier 1, Pier 5, Pier 6, Empire Fulton Ferry, Main Street, the Greenway and Squibb Park & Bridge.

Construction began in 2009 on the expansive green spaces that run from Atlantic Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge. The park was designed to “reengage the river with the city, specifically Brooklyn,” said Stephen Noone, project manager for the Brooklyn Bridge Park and a senior associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Noone said they designed the long, linear outdoor haven with the existing infrastructure in mind, including the gigantic piers that jut out along the Brooklyn waterfront. The park's components are open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., except for the Pier 5 soccer fields, which close earlier, according to the Parks Department.

The beauty relies on a “reveal and conceal” concept, where spectacular views of downtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty or Governor’s Island are at times revealed as park-goers walk, yet hidden at other points on the path.

By the end of the year, two-thirds of the park will be completed, Noone said, bringing an open and usable flat space to the waterfront — “something that Brooklyn was just starved for.”

Pier 1 — The largest of the park piers, Pier 1 spans 9.5 acres on Furman and Old Fulton streets. The park features two open lawns, a playground, bicycle rentals and a boat launch at the southern edge of the pier, where the Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse offers free boating during seasonal months. Pier 1 also has the Granite Prospect, an area where visitors can sit and take in New York Harbor views.

► Pier 5 — Whiling away the time this summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5 won’t be difficult. The area now boasts 200,000 square feet of synthetic turf, picnic tables, barbecue pits and a play area for young children.

Pier 6 — A paradise for children, the park has a 1.6-acre playground, featuring Slide Mountain, Swing Valley, the Water Lab and Sandbox Village. An expanded section of the pier opened in May 2011 with three sand volleyball courts, lawns and picnic areas.

► Greenway — Connecting Piers 1 to 6, the Greenway is a biking and pedestrian path that will link the planned borough-wide Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

► Main Street — A 4.8-acre area with rolling lawns, access points to the water’s edge, as well as a nautically themed playground and dog run.

Squibb Park & Bridge — The bridge, crafted from Black Locust timber, offers visitors a convenient approach to the park, with its proximity to Brooklyn Heights and to public transportation. It also offers pedestrians a dramatic view of the waterfront. Squibb Park & Bridge is located on Furman Street between Columbia Heights and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Empire Fulton Ferry — Found between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, the park includes a picnic area, the Tobacco Warehouse and Jane's Carousel, a vintage carousel housed in an all-weather pavilion.

Coming Soon

► Piers 2, 3 and 4 Uplands — The 5-acre park area of Pier 2 will feature basketball, handball and bocce ball courts, a full-size in-line skating rink and a picnic spot. Pier 3’s uplands, the land-based part of the park, will include lawns, a granite terrace area and the first of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s “sound attenuating hills.” The piers will be open later this year or early next year, according to a Brooklyn Bridge Park spokeswoman.

► Pier 4 uplands, whose opening date has not yet been determined, will be an accessible beach for launching watercrafts.