Brooklyn Bridge park is one of the best (my opinion) areas to visit. It almost makes me (almost) want to live in Brooklyn. The park encompasses 85 acres on the Brooklyn side (obviously) of the east river.
History: Back in the 1800s the park was originally a port and had many ferries a day linking Brooklyn and Manhattan. When the Brooklyn Bridge (opened in 1883) and the Manhattan Bridge (opened in 1909) took over the transportation of people and products in and out of Manhattan the ports and waterfront lost almost all of their business. Everything was shut down by 1924.
In the 1950s cargo ships took over the water front and old piers were knocked down to make way for bigger piers to handle the size of the ships. This was extremely short lived due to technological advancements. By 1970s the piers were abandoned (again) and cargo ships operations officially ended in 1983.
In 1984 port authority put the land up for sale and it was zoned for commercial use. Thankfully a non profit stepped in with the idea of putting a park in its place. After years of fighting in 2002 Mayor Bloomburg signed a memorandum that stated NY state and city would help create, develop and operate Brooklyn Bridge park.
Construction began in 2008 and the first 6 acres were opened in 2010. The remaining acres were rolled out in the subsequent years.
Why it's so great:
- Most parks in the city host events and BBP is no exception. Here is a list of all their upcoming events. They have a ton, and then you can stay and watch the sunset.
- That brings me to point two. Watching the sunset from BBP is unbeatable. In my opinion Manhattan is most beautiful from afar. So watching the sun set behind all the iconic buildings is an amazing NY experience.
- FOOD. Right next to the pier they have the best pizza places. Grimaldis. Plus it has shake shack right next to it which always seems to have less of a wait than anywhere in the city. And of course Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory rounds out any meal. Their strawberry is my absolute favorite!