By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Here's a first look at a new recreation area planned for Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the two-thirds of Pier 6 that is currently undeveloped.
BBP honchos unveiled design drawings at a Community Board 2 meeting Monday night – revealing plans for an inviting piece of parkland where visitors will sit or stroll, with a vast lawn, generous helpings of shade trees and a big field of meadow flowers.
Its most dramatic feature is a triangular wood-covered platform that lifts off from a corner of the pier at the water's edge like a barely tethered magic carpet. At its high point, the platform rises 17-and-a-half feet, offering a vantage point to take in killer views of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
The viewing platform, supported by steel columns, is also a prime spot to take in the Statue of Liberty. There is room beneath it for a shady seating area that's 3,000 square feet in size.
Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park president, called the planned Pier 6 project an “exciting milestone” that will finish off the southern end of the hugely popular park.
The plan requires the approval of the city Public Design Commission, which has scheduled a Sept. 9 hearing. It won the unanimous approval of CB2's executive committee, which voted Monday night to recommend it to the PDC.
Pier 6, whose entrance is at Atlantic Avenue, is already one-third built with sand volleyball courts, a playground called the Water Lab, swings, slides, jungle gyms, a sandbox and a dog run.
“We have a lot of active programs; we want a nice, open piece of landscape,” Leigh Trucks, a senior project manager at BBP, told the community board's executive committee members.
The viewing platform was designed by architecture firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and the landscaping by Downtown Brooklyn-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
There's been plenty of construction work of late at the iconic 85-acre waterfront park, which is being built on shut-down shipping piers on the edge of the East River.
In recent months Pier 5 opened, with synthetic turf sports fields, a “picnic peninsula” and an area for fishing. An instantly popular pedestrian bridge made its debut, stretching over Furman Street like a boardwalk in the sky to connect Brooklyn Heights to BBP.
In June, a kayak dock opened off Pier 2 – where a sports complex for basketball, handball and bocce courts, an in-line skating rink and more is well under construction.
As for Pier 6, Myer warned that BBP doesn't have funding yet for the viewing platform, which would cost $5 million to $7 million. It has lined up money for the project's landscaping, which would cost $13 to $15 million.
If BBP winds up without enough cash to pay for the platform, there's a “landscape solution” as a fallback, she said. This alternative plan calls for the installation of “shade structures” – similar to those now in use in the “tot lot” on Pier 5 – set in groves of trees.
So why a viewing platform on Pier 6? Because “we are unable to build topography” on the pier, Trucks said.
The huge lawn next to the platform will allow BBP to stage big events on Pier 6, she said. One design drawing shows musicians perched on one edge of the platform playing an al fresco concert, with their audience seated on the grass – reminiscent of summer movie nights on Pier 1's Harbor View Lawn.
The flower field beside the lawn gives the pier a “focal point,” she said – and provides eye candy for nature lovers.
Flowers including the showy aster, stiff goldenrod, prairie dropseed and more will create masses of color that change with the seasons. Some of the trees selected for shady areas on the pier, such as sassafras and tupelo, have vividly colored leaves that will create “great blazes of fall color,” she said.
One Community Board 2 member recalled that Pier 6 is particularly windy and noisy, with lots of salt-water spray. The landscaping is designed to address that problem, Trucks said, with “dense plantings to calm the weather.”