Baylander and Harbor School vessels a sign of things to come

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The Baylander and the historic schooner Lettie G. Howard at Pier 5. Photo by Mary Frost.

Docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 over the summer, the historic U.S. Navy vessel the Baylander is a sign of things to come.

The incongruous presence of a helicopter training ship in the relaxed waterfront park serves as a reminder that soon the surrounding waters will be home to the largest recreational marina to be developed in New York Harbor in 50 years.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina is scheduled to open in April of 2015. Regina Myer, president of BBP, has called the marina “a centerpiece of the park master plan.”

The design was developed by Edgewater Resources, which will also operate the marina, and allows for 120 slips on four main floating docks. While the marina will be capable of berthing large luxury vessels – ranging in size from 40 to 80 feet in length — there will also be room for smaller boats, according to park officials. A community boating program that will include free and low-cost youth boating lessons and free professional kayak instruction are also planned.

Already, vessels and a floating dock belonging to the New York Harbor School, based on Governors Island, are scattered in the calm water north of Pier 5. Students enrolled at the Harbor School, who take a ferry to school in the morning, study marine science and technology along with the traditional NYC required subjects. They also work to preserve and restore the marine environment, a goal which includes bringing oysters back to the harbor.

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Scoping out the Vietnam-era Baylander. Photo by Mary Frost.

On Tuesday, the Lettie G. Howard, a wooden schooner from 1893 was tied up to the Baylander (also called Bay Lander). The graceful Howard, owned by South Street Seaport Museum, is operated by the Harbor School. The John J. Harvey, a retired FDNY fireboat from 1931 has also visited Pier 5.

These historic vessels are part of the park’s efforts to reconnect the waterfront to the community, and give Brooklyn a taste of the marina to come.

Timothy O’Brien, director of the marina, said in a statement that the mission of the marina is to “connect the people of Brooklyn and New York City to the waterfront and its harbor. By partnering with Brooklyn Bridge Park and existing community based waterfront groups we will create the most vibrant and accessible space in all of New York Harbor.”

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