Since the first plans for a park along the Brooklyn waterfront were developed in 1988, Brooklyn Bridge Park has continually evolved to become a remarkable, award-winning public space featuring expansive lawns, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and spectacular views of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy announced this week that the planning, development and social history of the park will be chronicled in a forthcoming book, published by Columbia University Press in 2015.
The book will describe the park’s evolution during the past three decades from the dilapidated piers and abandoned warehouses that cluttered the shore of the East River in the mid-1980s to the vast, green space that occupies the Brooklyn waterfront today.
Each stage in the park’s history — from the spontaneous efforts of concerned citizens during the mid-1980s to resist the commercial development of the piers to the collaborations and controversies that accompanied the design and funding of the park over the next two decades to the ongoing expansion of the park today — will be told through the voices and perspectives of the neighborhood leaders, community activists, political officials, staff members, architects and designers who were involved firsthand in the process.
"We are delighted to partner with Columbia University Press to publish a history of Brooklyn Bridge Park," said Nancy Webster, executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. "The Conservancy was born from the grassroots movement to build the park, and we are excited to tell the story of how a visionary and passionate community spearheaded a movement and worked with government to build the park we love today."
"The journey of Brooklyn Bridge Park from community vision to reality is a story worth telling," said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. "I can’t wait to read it!"
"We are very excited to be working with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy on this history of the park," said Philip Leventhal, Editor at Columbia University Press. "It will be a great addition to Columbia University Press's New York City list. The book will not only celebrate what the park has brought to New York but help readers understand the complexities of how citizen groups, government, and other organizations can come together to effect change."
The book, which is scheduled for publication in 2015, will be written by Nancy Webster, executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, and writer David Shirley, author of “A Good Death” (Addison-Wesley), “B.B. King: Every Day I Sing the Blues” (Franklin Watts Publishers), “Thomas Nast: Cartoonist and Illustrator” (Grolier Publishing), and “Mississippi” (Cavendish Square Publishing), and journalist who has written for Spin, Rolling Stone, Oxford American and The Brooklyn Rail.
Enjoyed by over 1,000,000 visitors per year, Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. The Park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of the park.
We have reported in the past about former Brooklyn Heights Press editor Henrik Krogius' book, which will thoroughly chronicle the park's storied history.