By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Bridge Park is unveiling its newest nifty amenity: A floating dock for kayaks.
The dock, attached by a gangplank to Pier 2, will shorten wait times for park visitors who join in on the free kayaking sessions offered during the summertime.
Park honchos and volunteers, elected officials and community members will gather Saturday to mark the official opening of the Community Eco Dock, which was paid for with $170,000 in discretionary capital funding obtained by City Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn) and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
“This is a great way of activating different parts of Brooklyn Bridge Park and bringing what is an increasingly popular waterfront activity,” Levin said.
“I’m not a frequent kayaker myself – but I know demand for it continues to grow,” said Levin, who vowed to go kayaking from the new dock in the next few weeks. “We’re very excited.”
Until now, kayaks have been launched from the shoreline.
The free kayaking has been offered since 2010 by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, which operates out of shipping containers set up near Pier 2.
The new dock is designed to rise and fall with the tide, which should enable it to survive storm surges like those caused by Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s like a rubber duck in a bathtub – it goes up and down with the water,” said Roland Lewis, CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a kayaker who hopes to test out BBP’s new dock on Saturday.
The waterfront alliance – an umbrella group for more than 700 metro businesses and non-profits that care about an accessible, revitalized shoreline – helped get permits for the dock from the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“The installation of the new Community Eco Dock at Pier 2 builds on the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s and Brooklyn Bridge Park’s shared goal of promoting recreational boating on the waterfront,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp.
The new dock joins a host of BBP recreational amenities such as a pop-up swimming pool, which was funded in part by $400,000 secured by state Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn).
The kayak launch pad is part of the Alliance’s Open Waters Initiative, whose goal is to build at least one Eco Dock in each borough. The next one, at the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge, has room for large boats as well as kayaks. It’s set to open in September, Lewis said.
Construction is expected to start this summer on an Eco Dock for kayaks and small sailboats at Gantry State Park in Long Island City, Queens. Work should begin next year on a dock for big boats and kayaks at Dyckman Marina in Inwood.