02/26/14 9:00am

This past weekend, Toll Brothers launched 12 units for sale at Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park and “sold them all” immediately! The prices were “well above the original pro forma,” a tipster told us the real estate firm said on its quarterly earnings call. The total sales price for all 12 was “about $44 million,” a Toll Brothers executive said.

The firm said it plans to put seven more units on the market this week. “We…believe we will immediately sell them all,” our tipster quoted the exec as saying.

The joint venture with Starwood Capital includes 192 hotel rooms as well as 108 condos with river views in the park. Construction started in 2013 and is expected to finish by summer 2015. Marvel Architects is the architect. Toll Brothers has “an interest list of several thousand people” for the units.

Rendering by Marvel Architects Via Curbed

02/25/14 11:30am

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 in on track to wrap up construction in the spring, and the finished product will feature a roller rink, several sports courts, workout area and green space. Community Board Two released all the details about the planned five acres for recreation activities in an email yesterday.

Pier 2 will include five full-size basketball courts, two of which will be covered by the pier roof, the roller rink, six handball courts, three shuffleboard courts, two bocce courts, a half acre of turf and a workout area equipped with state of the art fitness equipment. There will also be 12 swings of varying sizes, restrooms, picnic tables, lockers and skate rentals. BBP will begin taking permit applications for use of the sports courts on April 1.

02/20/14 11:30am


Design Brooklyn brings us some fresh shots and commentary on Prospect Park’s beautiful new LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

In a section of Prospect Park called Lakeside — until recently the somewhat neglected site of the Wollman Rink — a crisply beautiful new building has taken its place within the landscape. Designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in collaboration with the Prospect Park Alliance’s lead landscape architect Christian Zimmerman, the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center offers a year-round skating facility as well as a stunning example of how restoration can work hand-in-hand with modern design. (more…)

02/18/14 4:00pm

Brooklyn Brainery is hosting another cool Brooklyn history class, this time on the rise and fall of Prospect Park, which  planners Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux envisioned as a pastoral refuge. By the mid-1970s, the park had become a symbol of the borough’s urban decay and rising crime rates, and “the goddess driving atop the arch in Grand Army Plaza had fallen over in her chariot,” writes urban planning researcher Patrick Lamson-Hall in the workshop description.

But 30 years later, Brooklynites are proud of the park once again. It has a newly landscaped lakefront, a new ice skating rink and clean, rolling green space everyone can appreciate.

“Prospect Park is the the heart and lungs of Brooklyn,” writes Lamson-Hall. “Its decay and subsequent revival showcase important lessons about urban public space, public safety and policing, and the powerful role of citizens in reclaiming their city.”

The workshop costs $10 and will happen from 6:30 to 8 pm on March 11. You can buy tickets here.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is looking for civil engineers and landscape architects to redesign and reopen the currently closed BAM Park at Fulton and Lafayette, according to an RFP issued Monday. The 14,000-square-foot triangular park sits on top of the Fulton Street G train top, which has apparently made the park unsafe for pedestrians.

The chosen engineers and architects will have to come up with a plan to repair the “subsurface conditions” which currently make the park unsafe to walk on. The plan should also strengthen the park’s visual link to the surrounding neighborhood and create welcoming places for pedestrians and possible performance space.

Plans should include measures to protect the subway infrastructure and the existing adult trees. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development will oversee design and construction, and the Parks Department will maintain the space. The revamp will take about nine months, according to HPD. Proposals are due by February 6.

01/07/14 11:30am

Construction begins this week on more improvements to Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to an email the nonprofit sent out yesterday. They will include a rock wall, bicycle paths, a new park and more pedestrian bridges. On Main Street, the park will get an expanded lawn, new dog run, better pedestrian and bike paths, a bouldering wall and an upgraded entrance at Washington Street. The park will also transform the one-story former NYC DEP building on Plymouth Street into a 1,700-square-foot park building with restrooms, community meeting space and an environmental education center.

During construction, the Main Street dog run and lawn will be closed, but the playground and pebble beach will remain open.

BBP is also planning a new park area at John Street, where there will be pedestrian bridges over a tidal salt marsh, tree-lined pathways, and a 13,000 square-foot gathering lawn. And there will be a bridge linking Jay Street with the planned John Street park. Lastly, BBP plans to wrap up the construction of the Pier 6 uplands by adding 3.4 acres of landscape and lawn to the southern end of the park.

Rendering via Brooklyn Bridge Park

01/02/14 2:00pm

North Brooklynites welcomed the opening of McCarren Park’s ice rink in mid-November, and now it will close, as planned, on January 5. The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, which operates the rink, said it has hosted 16,000 skaters in the last two months.

OSA also employed more than a dozen people for the season, and the Hanson Bros. food stand gave four Brooklynites full-time jobs and internships to teens from the Greenpoint Youth Program. The local non-profit secured funding to purchase its own ice rink equipment for next season, allowing them to keep the rink open for longer next year.

The rink will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $4 for children.

McCarren Ice Rink Opens Tomorrow [Brownstoner]
Image via McCarren Rink/Open Space Alliance

We’re a little late to this news, but the two ice rinks at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park opened to the public on Friday. The 32,000-square-foot skating facility includes an open ice rink and a covered one, which will be used as a roller rink during the spring and summer, and a cafe and event space.

The LeFrank-funded rink replaces the 50-year-old Wollman Rink, which closed in 2010. As we have reported, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed the $74,000,000 Lakeside complex and helped restore the waterfront to its original Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design.

The new rinks are near the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to the park. Holiday hours are available on the Lakeside website, and admission is $6 on weekdays and $8 on holidays and weekends. Skate rental is $5.

Restoration and Skating Rinks Offer Tranquility, Natural Wonder in Prospect Park [Brownstoner]
Inside the Prospect Park Lakeside Center [Brownstoner]
Image by Mary for Ditmas Park Corner

12/19/13 9:30am


Brooklyn Bridge Park yesterday announced Edgewater Resources will develop and operate the marina next to Pier 5 in the park. Edgewater’s proposal calls for 125 slips on four floating docks, as well as a community boating program that includes kayaking and free and discounted boating for young people. The company has extensive experience designing, developing and operating marinas around the world. It will operate the marina under a long-term lease, said BBP.

The park also chose United Skates of America Inc. to operate the roller rink on Pier 2. It is supposed to open early next year. Ample Hills Creamery will expand its concessions near the Pier 5  sports fields and picnic areas.

Rendering via Brooklyn Bridge Park

12/12/13 10:45am

Prospect Park Lake postcard

Prospect Park was not even half completed when it opened to the public in 1867. It was a huge success, made even larger over the next six years, as work continued. Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted created one of the greatest urban parks in the world, combining nature and architecture seamlessly into the center of Brooklyn. They had already become well known because of Central Park, but Prospect Park enabled them to create something even bigger and better, and it was indeed good.

But they didn’t rest there. Olmsted and Vaux, who had become business partners at the beginning of their Prospect Park project, were in high demand, both in Brooklyn, and elsewhere. While the workmen were still creating Prospect Park, they started work on the great boulevards that sprang from the park’s entrances. These roads would not just get one from along the route to the park; they would ring Brooklyn with a necklace of interconnected roadways and parks, bringing the country into the city. The first strings of that necklace were Eastern Parkway and Ocean Parkway.

Olmsted and Vaux presented the city fathers with the plans for both parkways as plans for Prospect Park were proceeding. They based their designs on the great boulevards of Paris and Berlin, where wide center roads for traffic were flanked on both sides by bands of trees and plantings, sidewalks for strolling and bridal paths. Service roads would also be built on both sides, and they envisioned stately mansions and homes lining the routes.

Eastern Parkway would travel past the Mount Prospect Reservoir, linking it to the nearby park, and then travel eastward to the edge of Brooklyn. Ocean Parkway would begin at the other end of the park and lead out to the sea. The city fathers loved it, approved the plans, and began buying the land in 1868. Eastern Parkway was first, completed between 1870 and 1874. Construction of Ocean Parkway began that same year, and it was completed in 1880. (more…)

12/10/13 10:31am

Prospect Park, Arch Bridge

In 1859, a commission was formed by the New York State Legislature, charged with finding locations for parks in the rapidly expanding city of Brooklyn. James S. T. Stranahan, a wealthy Brooklyn businessman, was president of this Brooklyn Board of Park Commissioners. Washington Park, in Fort Greene, was the city’s first park, but the city needed more. They wanted the equivalent of Central Park, the enormous greensward which had just been completed across the river in Manhattan. The commission wanted something big, and after looking at six different locations, they thought they had just the place for it.

The glacier that cut through Long Island millennia before had left a terminal moraine that sliced through central Brooklyn, creating its highest points. One of them was Mount Prospect, the site of the city’s main reservoir and its water supply. Nearby was Battle Pass, the site of the Battle of Brooklyn, during the Revolutionary War. What a great place for a park for the people, a landscaped reserve that would protect and celebrate these important locations. The park would also protect the reservoir from being surrounded by too much development. The eastern portion of the park, surrounding Battle Pass, would be perfect for attracting wealthy people to a new upscale neighborhood that could be built for them. It was perfect. (more…)

12/09/13 10:30am

The Toll Brothers decided to embrace the design aesthetics of Brooklyn Bridge Park when building their newest luxury condo development, Pierhouse. Every unit will have its own $400 composter and wood floors reclaimed from Dumbo’s waterfront warehouses, reported The New York Daily News. Architect Jonathan Marvel lined the building’s base with the same granite used in the Brooklyn Bridge. It may be “the most Brooklyn of condos,” said Curbed. Already 4,500 people have signed up for information on the building’s 108 units, which are still under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The apartments range from one- to five-bedrooms and are mostly duplexes with double height living rooms and 18-foot-high windows. Eighty percent of the units will have private outdoor space, and kitchens will have marble countertops and solid American walnut cabinetry with Gaggenau appliances. Master bathrooms will feature soaking tubs, glass-enclosed showers, and marble floors and walls.

Building amenities include a yoga room, multiple gyms, an outdoor terrace, several lounges, on-site underground parking , bike storage, 24-hour concierge services, and access to amenities in the hotel at the north end of the site. Brooklyn Bridge Park landscape architect Michael van Valkenburg will design the development’s public outdoor spaces.

The condo building’s west-facing side, looking out over the East River, will have a limestone facade, and the east-facing side, looking down on Furman Street, will be clad in anodized aluminum paneling. The 200-room 1 Hotel, at the northernmost edge of the development, will have a 12,000-square-foot event space and farm-to-table restaurant by Seamus Mullen. Starwood is developing the hotel, and INC Architecture and Design is designing the interiors.

To protect the site from future floods and storms, the architects set the first level of apartments 11 feet above the required flood level and moved all the mechanicals from the basement to an upper floor, according to Curbed. There’s also an emergency generator to power elevators and unit appliances, and the driveway into the garage has a flood gate.

There are more renderings after the jump!

Pierhouse Aims to Blend in at Brooklyn Bridge Park [The New York Daily News]
Pierhouse Woos Brooklynites With Composters, Eco Aesthetic [Curbed]
Renderings by Marvel Architects Via Curbed