NEW YORK: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP OUT OF TOWN

BROOKLYN

Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Much attention has been focused in recent years on developing New York City waterfront parkland for use by the public. In Manhattan, the Hudson River Greenway runs the entire length of the city’s west side stringing together a series of parks and redeveloped piers. On the east side of the island, the East River and Harlem River Greenways do the same, allowing for access to large portions of shoreline along the East River. Closer to home for me is Brooklyn Bridge Park, an absolute gem of waterfront parkland waiting to be explored.

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Running 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River edge, the impossibly-scenic park starts at Jay Street in the DUMBO neighborhood and runs south to Atlantic Avenue along the border between Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. I can promise you won’t be disappointed by an afternoon spent walking or biking its length, taking in the view of Lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island, and New York Harbor, marveling as you go.

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Some of our favorite park features, from north to south:

  • The newly-opened John Street section of the park brings you up to and right under the Manhattan Bridge. Watch the subway rumble across the bridge and look north along the river for views of the Williamsburg Bridge. Marvel at the ferries and tugboats as they jockey for space on the busy waterway.
  • We spend many hours at the Main Street Playground (dubbed ‘Pirate Ship Park’ by my daughter) in the Main Street section. Stop into the Environmental Education Center if it’s open to learn more about the animals and plants that call the Hudson River Watershed home, and join the crowds of people watching the sunset at the water’s edge on Pebble Beach. It’s not uncommon to see wedding parties or engaged couples having their photos taken, adding to the festive atmosphere.
  • Between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges is the Empire Fulton Ferry section, containing Jane’s Carousel and a large lawn for playing and relaxing.
  • Pier 1. How I love Pier 1! The wooded trails lacing the backside of the pier make you feel a bit removed from the city (especially in the warmer months, when the greenery fills in alongside and overhead) while guiding you up to elevated vantage points with spectacular views of the skyline and the harbor, including the Statue of Liberty. Stroll along the promenade, board the East River Ferry for a trip to Manhattan or north along the river to other parts of Brooklyn and Queens, or stop at a tiny playground developed exclusively for toddlers.
  • The beach at Pier 4, for skipping stones.
  • Ice cream at Pier 5 during the warmer months, plus two more toddler play spaces.
  • The playgrounds at Pier 6 are fantastic, and include dedicated sections for sliding, swinging, sand, and water.

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One slight word of caution: Brooklyn Bridge Park is understandably quite popular, and certain parts can become crowded on nice weekend afternoons. You may want to consider coming earlier in the day or on a weekday if you prefer a quieter experience, or you can bring a picnic, claim a spot of empty lawn, and enjoy the views and theater of city life that make this spot so quintessentially New York.


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Comments (2)

August 2, 2017

[…] boutique in Dumbo Brooklyn, adding to the list of reasons (Jane’s Carousel and Brooklyn Bridge Park chief among them!) that this neighborhood makes for a perfect family outing. The boutique is a […]


August 10, 2017

[…] June. Part of the newly-developed Empire Stores complex along the East River in DUMBO adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Park, VHH Foods fills a space on the ground level facing the river, just off the soaring atrium. We […]


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