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Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation History

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation Assumes Management of Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park

June 6, 2009

by State of New York Executive Chamber on Jun 6, 2009

Governor David A. Paterson announced that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) will assume the management of Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. BBPDC will maintain the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park grounds, which is inside the area of Brooklyn Bridge Park, consolidating management of the parkland. BBPDC will also rehabilitate the Civil War-era Empire Stores warehouse and install an antique carousel inside the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. The agreement streamlines efforts to improve the East River waterfront, helping to transform the 1.3 miles along the River from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue into an inviting new destination: Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will lease Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park to BBPDC for 99 years at $1 per year. Under the terms, BBPDC will:

  • Manage all operations, maintenance and improvements of the 9-acre Fulton Ferry State Park, including lighting installations to allow the park to stay open in the evening, and the expansion of the park lawn
  • Issue a request for proposals in early 2010 for a long-term lease to rehabilitate and reuse Empire Stores, the landmark brick warehouse adjacent to park grounds that has recently been stabilized; and
  • Manage the open-air Tobacco Warehouse.

“This announcement is the latest in a series of milestones we have achieved in our efforts to improve the East River waterfront,” said Governor Paterson. “In easing the maintenance and management of the waterfront, we ensure an efficient parks operation that welcomes all its visitors. We are committed to this parkland and look forward to celebrating future occasions, so that both New Yorkers and visitors can discover another reason to enjoy New York: Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

BBPDC will enter into a second agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with David and Jane Walentas, principals of Two Trees Management, to locate an antique carousel within the park. Jane Walentas has agreed to donate her restored 1920s carousel, along with a pavilion and $3.45 million toward landscaping and improvements to BBPDC. The Carousel will be located on the western edge of the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park inside the pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. Ms. Walentas will also establish a non-profit entity, “Friends of Jane’s Carousel,” responsible for carousel operations, expenses and revenue collection.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said: “The investments we’re making to create Brooklyn Bridge Park will transform what are now vacant piers into a magnificent new park for the public’s enjoyment. The State’s transfer of management of Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation will help us enhance the public’s experience of this historic open space along the Brooklyn waterfront.”

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash said: “The magnificent Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park is just a hint of the dramatic recreation and cultural possibilities along the East River waterfront. It is time to turn those possibilities into realities. This plan will enable the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation and President Regina Myer to bring the single-minded focus and streamlined management necessary for Brooklyn Bridge Park to reach its full potential.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said: “Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation’s new role managing this wonderful project is good news for everybody. Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and the future Brooklyn Bridge Park are one park and should be managed as such. This will help simplify the development process and allow us to continue working together to make our dream of Brooklyn Bridge Park soon a reality.”

Senator Daniel Squadron said: “This is one step toward the goal of a new 21st century harbor park – a Central Park for the center of our city. Now we must continue to work together to realize the vision of a park that serves the community and the city as a whole.” Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman said: “I congratulate Regina Myer and the BBPDC for taking another major step forward in realizing our dream of a world-class park along Brooklyn’s waterfront. I also want to thank Commissioner Carol Ash at State Parks for her leadership and close coordination with the BBPDC.”

New York City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said: “Brooklyn Bridge Park is undergoing its transformation into our city’s next great waterfront destination. While the next major phase of construction is well underway, previously built portions in the DUMBO area have already played host to tens of thousands of visitors. Now, with assistance of our partners in the State of New York, the area just north of the Brooklyn Bridge will undergo a rapid transformation. Thanks to the generosity and vision of Jane and David Walentas, the addition of the restored 1920’s Jane’s Carousel will delight visitors of all ages and continue a tradition of grand carousels in public parks.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer said: “We are so pleased that we have been able to work with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to reach an agreement that will allow us to move forward with meaningful improvements to Brooklyn Bridge Park. We are also excited to have this extraordinary neighborhood gem, the historic Jane’s Carousel call Brooklyn Bridge Park its home. This has been a milestone year for us and, with both Piers 1 and 6 opening at the end of 2009; Brooklyn Bridge Park will soon be a reality.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said: “Bravo to Governor Paterson, Regina Myer and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and the State Parks Department for reaching an agreement that will allow the BBPDC to manage Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and transform Brooklyn’s waterfront into Brooklyn Bridge Park—an ‘urban emerald’ of parkland, beaches, recreation, bikeways, playgrounds, historic structures—and even an old-fashioned carousel. And, of course, there are those spectacular views! I have long advocated for this arrangement and am thrilled to see it come to fruition. The economies of our State, City and Brooklyn need this project more than ever before—and today’s announcement will ensure that what Prospect Park was to the 19th century, Brooklyn Bridge Park will be to the 21st.”

City Councilman David Yassky said: “I look forward to working with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation in relation to Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park as we continue our effort to transform the waterfront into a world-class destination that attracts businesses and economic activity. This step will allow for better coordination of the park as a whole.” City Councilman Bill de Blasio said: “Moving Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park under the management of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation will streamline Park construction, and will be a major step forward in turning Brooklyn Bridge Park into an active waterfront for all of New York City to enjoy. For decades, advocates and residents have been working hard to make this dream a reality. I look forward to working with the community and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation as we continue to transform Brooklyn’s waterfront into an open, recreational green space for people throughout the City.”

Jane Walentas, who renovated and donated the Jane’s Carousel, said: “It is truly a thrill to imagine this Landmark 1922 Carousel spinning on that magical point on the river between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges. Restoring the Carousel to its original splendor and donating it, together with a new Jean Nouvel designed building, to Brooklyn Bridge Park for children of future generations to ride and enjoy has been my wish and my passion. I am so pleased to have the Carousel be part of what will be the most exciting waterfront park in New York City.”


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