Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Battery Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous blog, a walk from Battery Park up to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Part I covered my walk from Battery Park up to the subway at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path and this Part 2 will cover my walk from the pedestrian pathway of the bridge up to Brooklyn Bridge Park. I ended Part 1 with a picture of an old BB subway art so I will start Part 2 with another BB subway art, this time the modern version.

At the starting point of the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway are two blocks embeded on the path containing the history of the bridge. Here's the first one:

You can read the second block here.

Brooklyn Bridge is currently under repair which is expected to last until 2014. Upon entering the bridge the corrugated sheets installed as part of the repainting and rehabilitation work on the bridge are hard to miss.

I can clearly see the year 1875 embedded on the tower as I approached it. It's the year the two bridge towers were completed.

By the bridge towers are etchings of the history of the bridge construction.

The cable arrangement of the bridge forms a distinct weblike pattern, which makes it a good candidate for picture taking. You just have to be patient though, as there is always a lot of pedestrian traffic.

Brooklyn Bridge also has its share of love locks, the rest of my other love locks pics are on Tumblr.

I love the love locks, but seeing some sort of defilement on the bridge made me somewhat sad. I hope this can be cleaned soon.

Still, it was a great day for a walk, I can see the beauty of the bridge towers when I look up.

And across the East River is a view of midtown Manhattan with the Empire State Building lording over all the buildings.

On the other side, the view is that of Lady Liberty holding her torch aloft for all to see.

Looking down from the pedestrian walkway, I can see the vehicle traffic whizzing past.

There are lots of plaques on the bridge towers and this one is especially dedicated to Emily Roebling, who assumed the duties as chief engineer, including day-to-day supervision and project management of the bridge when her husband Washington Roebling was stricken with caisson disease.

Nearing the Brooklyn side of the bridge, I looked down and saw some parts of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the final destination of my walk that day.

Looking back at Manhattan, One World Trade Center, now the highest building in the western hemisphere is towering above all the buildings, followed by Frank Gehry's 8 Spruce Street.

On the ramp leading to the exit are names of places in Brooklyn and their distances from the bridge.

At the bottom of the exit is a directional map embedded on the sidewalk. I wanted to go to Brooklyn Bridge Park so I first had to walk north to go back to the river area and then go west.

On the wall across it is a Welcome to Brooklyn board.

There was a long line of people waiting to buy pizza at Grimaldi's when I passed it on my way to the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Another famous eatery by the shadow of the bridge is the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, its structure is a converted 1922 fireboat house.

I saw this sculpture from above the bridge and noted that it looked similar to some of Mark di Suvero's art pieces in Governors Island, which I wrote about in a previous blog. I later learned it was by di Suvero, and is entitled Yoga.

The other side of the park has awesome views of the Manhattan Bridge and the lower east side of Manhattan across the river.

Near the bridge is the Tobacco Warehouse, constructed in the 1870s as a tobacco customs inspection center but is now used to hosts events and community activities. There is a plan to convert the space into a performance place but I agree with Gothamist that the abandoned open-air space is gorgeous just the way it is.

Also at the park is Jane's Carousel, the first carousel ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is now home to an historic and beautifully restored carousel, a gift of Jane and David Walentas.  Built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, the carousel was purchased in 1984 and painstakingly restored to its original condition.  The carousel is located in the Empire Fulton Ferry section of Brooklyn Bridge Park, housed in an extraordinary new pavilion, designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel. The carousel will be operated year-round for the enjoyment of children of all ages.

It was nearly sundown when I made my way to the nearest subway station. As I was looking at Manhattan Bridge, I saw that its tower supports perfectly framed the Empire State Building which was glowing in the light of the setting sun.

I'll be back Brooklyn Bridge Park! I haven't explored the whole area and I know I missed a lot of things with the limited time I had, but I'm happy I got to enjoy the park even for just a short time. 

Until we meet again Brooklyn Bridge!

For the rest of my pics during this walk, here's the album on Flickr - Battery Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park

Monday, May 20, 2013

Battery Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park (Part 1)

In a previous blog, I mentioned about wanting to walk from the northernmost part of Battery Park City up to the Brooklyn Bridge but ended up walking around BPC only. Last month, I finally got the chance to finish the walk, starting at Battery Park and ending at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

I didn't take many pictures at Battery Park as I've already taken a lot of pics of the monuments there and wrote about them in another previous blog, but as always, seeing Lady Liberty, even from afar, just tugs at my heartstrings.

During my last visit here, the East Coast War Memorial was shimmering in earth tones but on this walk, the eagle and the buildings glow softly in the light of spring colors all around.

I also passed by the Battery Park playground, I love the smiley hearts!

And there by the back of the playground was Zelda, the park's resident turkey. 

At the edge of Battery Park, I had this view of lower Manhattan.

Adjacent to Battery Park is the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, used by the Staten Island Ferry for transporting passengers to/from Manhattan and Staten Island.

From the terminal, you can see the national shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, America's first canonized saint, who was born on Staten Island, and was also the founder of the American parochial school system.

Adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal is the Battery Maritime Building, looks like there's some renovation work going on at the upper level. This historic building serves as terminal for the ferry to Governors Island.

A little bit further is the very busy Downtown Manhattan Heliport. You can see Brooklyn across the river.

I then dropped by the Vietnam Veterans Plaza, a memorial in honor of the 250,000 men and women of New York City who served in the United States armed forces from 1964 to 1975, especially the 1,741 who died fighting the Vietnam War. The "wall" contains etchings of parts of the letters that soldiers wrote to their families.

The memorial also contains the names of US military personnel from New York City who died as a result of their service in Vietnam, from 1957 to 1975. At the northern part of the memorial is a map of Vietnam.

Coming from the memorial, there was a flight of steps with a sign that says The Elevated Acre. So I climb the stairs and was greeted with a small park nestled in between two buildings. There were plants and seats on one side, while the other side has an astroturf lawn, a nice place to kick off your shoes and sit down with a good book.

Then I crossed South Street to walk along the East River Waterfront Esplanade.
The East River Esplanade, also known as the East River Waterfront Project, consists of 2 miles along the East River waterfront between the Battery Maritime Building east of Battery Park in Manhattan's Downtown Financial District to Pier 35 by Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. The project aims to rehabilitate the existing waterfront space and connect it to two existing waterfront parks, Battery Park and East River Park. Upon completion in 2013, the East River Esplanade is slated to feature two rebuilt piers, new glass pavilions underneath the elevated FDR Drive, new biking lanes and waterfront seating.
 I love the different seats I saw along the path.

At the start of the walkway, near Pier 11, I saw this artwork which I later learned was part of Carl Cheng's Shadow Garden and Community Island Pond.

The Esplanade also has bleacher sitting with views of Brooklyn across the river and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

Walking further I spied a new development which turned out to be Pier 15, which opened last year.
The lower level houses two glass pavilions, one of which will become a restaurant and the other a maritime museum. The upper level features three arched grass lawns, lots of things to sit on, and a very nice view out over the East River.

When I was there, however, the glass pavilions were still unoccupied, or maybe the facilities were closed? The upper level has peanut shape benches but the north part was still cordoned off as there was still some work being done. Still, it was great sitting down looking at the river and Brooklyn across, with the tall buildings of lower Manhattan behind you.

Beside Pier 15 are two of the historic ships docked in the city, the Wavertree, the largest iron sailing vessel currently afloat, and the Peking, made famous by the Irving Johnson film Around Cape Horn which documented her 1929 passage around the southern tip of South America in hurricane conditions.

Near where the ships are docked is a pilothouse, which once sat atop the steam tugboat New York Central No. 31, built in 1923 in Brooklyn, NY.

The pilothouse is located near the shopping mall at Pier 17. Inside the mall are shops and a food court which has awesome views of the Brooklyn Bridge. I also noted that the mall has a Christmas shop. There are plans to renovate Pier 17 after Labor Day.

Outside the South Street Seaport by the Fulton Market area, the effects of hurricane Sandy can be seen on the boarded up businesses. It's sad to see a once bustling place still empty almost seven months after the hurricane.

It has been maybe five years since I last went to the South Street Seaport Museum. I remember seeing the model ships and reading on the shipping history of New York and it is good to note that after the damage of hurricane Sandy, the  galleries at Fulton Street are being repaired and that the museum is still open. If you want to donate to the museum's Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, here's the link.

Besides Pier 17 is the now abandoned Fulton Fish Market, which opened in 1822 and was then the most important wholesale East Coast fish market in the US. In 2005, the Fulton Fish Market moved to a new state of the art facility in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. When I passed by the building that day, there was a cute guy inside, guarding the building.

After I passed the Fulton Fish Market, I came across this sign containing some data about the Peck Slip area as well as a map. The area also has a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is Brooklyn Bridge viewed from lower Manhattan. You can see the part where renovation work is being done.

The Manhattan span of Brooklyn Bridge stands along Dover Street and then Frankfort Street. I walked along these streets to follow the bridge until I came to the subway station where I can exit at the other end and start my way across the bridge. At the subway station are these tiles with the letters BB, but then I guess you all know what that means. :)

It was a long walk and I still have lots of pics so I will split this blog into two parts. My walk across Brooklyn Bridge and ending in Brooklyn Bridge Park will be in Part 2.

For the rest of my pics during this walk, here's the album on Flickr - Battery Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park