By Dennis Holt
Until last week I don’t think I ever heard the word “velodrome,” and I looked it up even after I discovered what it meant. In doing so, I found the word, “velocipede,” also a new one for me.
It would have been fun when my parents bought me my first Schwinn, oh so long ago, to have raised my arms in joy and yelled, “Ah, my first velocipede.”
Under the circumstances, it doesn’t matter because the vocabulary discovery matched my pleasure in the news. First of all, Brooklyn Bridge Park was given a persuasive reason to get rid of the ugly old warehouse that was a blot on the park property. Second, what will go there will be unique in the city and that seems only fitting for our unique park.
Third, it suggests that there may be other “gift” surprises in the future. Perhaps, someone could emulate Mr. Rechnitz and donate a permanent floating swimming pool. There is always a chance that Pier 7 could be added to the park. For that matter, it is not impossible to think that all the piers going south to Hamilton Avenue will be included because the containerport will probably someday be relocated to Sunset Park. It is fun to dream.
We learn that this new structure will be sizable. 115,000 square feet is no small potatoes, and everyone is looking forward to reviewing both the internal and external plans of this surprise building. Is there anyone on Community Board 2 or 6 who has even seen a velodrome?
What follows is pure conjecture, but the work that had to go into discussing this new development may explain why there has been delay in announcing the winner in the Pier 1 hotel and housing competition. And does this development affect further plans for Pier 1?
It goes without saying that having a year-round active building is a blessing. It could very well change some of the seasonality of restaurants and food services. People eat in the winter also, and now there is reason to ponder the needs of a year-round people destination place where there had been none before.
This good news also probably explains the lack of enthusiasm for an enclosed bubble on Pier 5 and maybe why there were no responses from developers to the request for proposals.
So, the park moves forward in an unexpected, but positive direction. There will be more surprises, I bet.
April 26, 2012 - 2:59pm