Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy celebrate the conclusion of its fifth and most successful programming season to date. Over 500 free and low-cost events and activities, including Syfy Movies With A View, sand volleyball clinics at Pier 6, multiple outdoor fitness classes with the Dodge YMCA, an incredible popular walk-up kayaking program, outdoor theater and dance performances, astronomy nights, literary series, children’s programming, family festivals, public art installations and more were enjoyed by 160,000 attendees. In addition, thousands came to the park to picnic, sightsee and take in the spectacular views.
The summer saw the return of several key programming partners including: BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn, who kicked off the season with their Celebrate Brooklyn! concerts in May; Jazzmobile, whose concert this year featured Arturo O’Farrill; and the Metropolitan Opera. Photoville’s third year at BBP brought even more acclaim and an estimated 70,000 exhibition visitors, and the Dumbo Arts Festival brought its unique pieces to BBP over one enormously successful weekend in late September. The Public Art Fund, with Dahn Vo’s We the People, was again instrumental in bringing important arts programming to park visitors.
New York Road Runners hosted their Brooklyn Half Pre-Party on the newly-opened Pier 2, to which 25,000 runners and their friends flocked. BBP also partnered with the New York Mets and Under Armour to provide free athletic events and activities on Pier 2 over the season. Brooklyn Boatworks, in a lead up to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina’s Community Boating program, jauntily launched students’ hand-crafted boats from Pier 4 Beach. Other event highlights included the Syfy Movies With A View series, which was enjoyed by 41,000 viewerson Thursday evenings in July and August, and Books Beneath the Bridge, the popular outdoor reading series curated by six local bookstores, which returned for its third year and welcomed such acclaimed authors such as Elizabeth Mitchell, Joanna Rakoff, Emma Straub, Genevieve Valentine, and Kate Bernheimer. Also this year, for the first time, the U.S. Open was streamed live at the Harborview Lawn and enjoyed by hundreds over the duration of the tournament.
More than 8,000 students from across New York City – including every zip code in Brooklyn – attended education programs in the park. Students explored aquatic ecology, sustainability, the Brooklyn Bridge, geology, history, and more through hands-on activities that utilized Brooklyn Bridge Park as a living classroom.
The park also hosted 1,490 volunteers who gave more than 6,800 hours of their time to beautify the park, conduct user surveys, lead public tours that explored the horticulture, history, and design of the park, and helm the information cart that provided visitors with park essentials.
Park and Conservancy staff, with the help of volunteers, also completed its visitor count and usership survey. Conducted over several days during the summer season, the counts estimated that approximately 119,000 visitors came to Brooklyn Bridge Park on an average summer weekend (Saturday + Sunday), with a weekend average of 24,539. Pier 1 remains the most popular desitination and entrance point, closely followed by newly-opened Pier 2. Although total usership did not increase at the same rate as the previous year, the Park drew a larger portion of visitors from greater Brooklyn (32% of the total) and the rest of the boroughs (20% of the total).
“We are thrilled to have park users coming from an even wider range of the NY region this year,” said BBP President Regina Myer. “As we continue to add more parkland, Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to be a destination for relaxation, recreation and culture with terrific free programming.”
“Filling the park with fantastic, free programs becomes more exciting each year as new parkland becomes available,” said Nancy Webster, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “We are incredibly proud to provide these services to the community and New Yorkers alike, further enriching our incredible park.”
“Our imaginative and popular park programs are unique because they pique the interest of audiences across all artistic mediums and interests,” said Alison Hughes, Director of Programs. “We are excited by our continued programming success and look forward to providing more opportunities for visitors in 2015.”
Brooklyn Bridge Park will continue to expand in 2015 with the completion of Pier 6 parkland, with its winding paths, flower garden and lawns for passive recreation. Midway through the year, the renovated and expanded Main Street parkland will open – including the adaptively reused Plymouth Street building which will provide space for the Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center. Further north, the tidal marshes and pedestrian bridges of John Street will bring BBP even closer to completion.