By Mike Mclaughlin
Feature article in The Daily News
Wait till next year.
A large section of Brooklyn Bridge Park - with a playground, beach volleyball courts and a dog run - that was scheduled to open by the end of the year won't be ready until spring, the Daily News has learned.
"That's outrageous," said Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association President Sandy Balboza. "The winters are mild. I would go there with my dog. People are always visiting the waterfront."
Merchants on Atlantic Ave. want Pier 6 opened, because it would attract more shoppers to the area, Balboza said.
Officials from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., a state agency, said they delayed the opening of Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Ave., because a harsh winter could wreak havoc on the sandy playground and volleyball courts, and few people are expected to use them when the temperature drops.
But the park's boosters remained upbeat, because another section of the park will soon open.
"The real news, what's really important, is that Pier 1 is actually opening this coming winter," said Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy Acting Executive Director Nancy Webster.
Pier 1, a rolling meadow near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, was also slated to open by the new year, but that's been rescheduled for mid-January to avoid conflicts during the holidays, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. officials said.
Unlike Pier 6, where much construction needs to be done, Pier 1 has already been largely covered with greenery.
When fully complete, Brooklyn Bridge Park will stretch for 85 acres along the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.
Total construction costs are estimated at $350 million.
The park, which will also feature luxury condos, a hotel and shopping inside its boundaries, has slowly progressed over the past two decades, which is why the latest setback didn't surprise the project's critics.
"It's obvious that it was off track just from looking at what they've been doing," said Murray Adams, a board member of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, a group that lost a lawsuit trying to keep housing out of the park.
Elected officials insisted that the park must be ready when the warm weather returns.
"It's critical that Piers 1 and 6 are open by next spring and summer," said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Cobble Hill).