A new urban park engages the spectacular environment and experience of New York Harbour
Pier 1 opened to the public in 2010 as the first completed portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a park that will eventually include the entire 1.3 mile riverfront stretch between the base of the Manhattan Bridge to the north and Pier 6 to the South. At 9.5 acres, Pier 1 is the largest of the Park’s piers.
The overarching goal of the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) 2005 Master Plan for the entire 85 acres of Brooklyn Bridge Park, as defined by the community and the client, was to create an environmentally and economically sustainable park that encouraged new public uses of the urban waterfront. In addition to a programming framework that makes the best use of the structural capacity of existing piers, detailed maintenance and upkeep projections for the park were used to create associated development models that could satisfy a requirement for economic self-sufficiency.
The MVVA team of landscape architects, engineers, urban designers, architects, and ecologists that planned and designed the park recognised that the site’s greatest experiential asset was its location at a highly dynamic edge between estuarine and urban ecosystems. Diverse waterfront experiences found at Pier 1 include ramped access to tidal waters along a rip-rap edge of recycled granite, Bridge View and Harbor View lawns, a stepped seating area made from salvaged granite, waterfront promenades, and tree-lined pathways.
Initiatives for environmental sustainability are integrated into larger site systems of experience and performance. Over 500 mature trees have been planted on Pier 1 and new water gardens wrap around the main park promenade. Excess stormwater collected from building roofs, paved areas, and lawns, passes through the gardens, allowing pollutants and sediment to be removed, eventually draining back into an underground tank to be stored for irrigation. Materials reuse in the construction of Pier 1 include benches built from wood that was salvaged from a demolished site building, granite from two bridges demolished elsewhere in the city, and new site topography built on subway excavation fill.