a group of people sitting next to a river

New Jay Street Entrance Plaza Set For Brooklyn Bridge Park

By: Scott Henson

A new pedestrian plaza will connect Jay Street in Historic Dumbo to the larger network of development-funded waterfront parks along the East River. Representatives for Brooklyn Bridge Park presented their proposal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday morning for a community space composed of salvaged cobblestones, large granite seats, bike racks and a 15-foot wide concrete bridge over the water to the adjacent piers.

The commission approved the project for the now-vacant intersection of Jay and John Streets, putting it on track for completion by the end of the year. The development will be paid for through discretionary funds from Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin.

A picture of the existing intersection replete with bikes not attached to racks and an uninviting dead end provoked an audible groan from the commissioners, and they were impressed to learn that cobblestones and railroad tracks from the area’s industrial past will be incorporated into the design by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. “I see very little to object to in this proposal and lots to be excited about,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan.

New shrubbery and evergreen trees will add greenery to the site’s edges, along with metal railings to keep children and dogs from falling into the river. “We’re hoping to construct all of these spaces at once in this year,” said the park’s senior project manager, Leigh Trucks.

Speakers from the Dumbo Business Improvement District and the Historic Districts Council also spoke in support of the plan, though Nadezhda Williams of the council said she’s worried that the potential trees might block views of the water. Who needs trees in a park anyway?

The context of the site in the historic district.

This map show how the site connects to the rest of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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