Photo by Marco Lenti on Unsplash
Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy (Conservancy) celebrated the conclusion of the 2022 season, with exciting growth and a return to robust programming. After another amazing season, BBP and the Conservancy look forward to announcing the 2023 lineup of events, welcoming back partners hosting a range of art and cultural, recreation, volunteer, and education opportunities, and continuing to build upon popular new programs, for all to enjoy in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
This past season nearly 5 million visitors enjoyed Brooklyn Bridge Park, while more than 95,000 participated in over 220 recreational, cultural, and educational events and programs in the Park. For the first summer season ever, Brooklyn Bridge Park operated with all park sections completed as originally designed. The completion of the Emily Warren Roebling Plaza in December 2021 marked the Park complete, and provided two additional acres of parkland, an essential connection between the northern and southern sections, and opened an incredible area beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that had not been publicly accessible in decades. BBP also debuted four new pickleball courts at Pier 2, which have been very popular since opening last winter.
Park concessions continued to offer a selection of food and beverage. Ample Hills Creamery, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., Fornino, Luke’s Lobster, and Pilot were open for the season. While more than 55,000 skaters took to the Roller Rink at Pier 2.
From May through November, Public Art Fund had on view at the Park Black Atlantic a collection of exhibits created by artists Leilah Babirye, Hugh Hayden, Dozie Kanu, Tau Lewis, and Kiyan Williams. In June, The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative brought the sculpture To Sit Awhile, created by artist Alison Saar to the Pier 5 Uplands. The installation featured the figure of Lorraine Hansberry surrounded by five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of her life and work. The life-size chairs are an invitation to the public to do just that: to sit with her and think. Also in June Photoville returned for its eleventh year at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photoville featured over thirty photography exhibits throughout the Park, from June 4 to June 26. St. Ann’s Warehouse produced Fandango at the Wall, a concert at Pier 1 on July 9 featuring Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. St. Ann’s also brought to Brooklyn Bridge Park Little Amal, a twelve-foot puppet of a 10-year old Syrian refugee during her tour to New York in September and October.
Wimbledon: The Hill in New York, a Wimbledon tennis match watch party debuted at Pier 6 in July. The three day event attracted more than 1,000 attendees. New York Road Runners again hosted the Brooklyn Half Marathon Pre-Party at Pier 2 in May, when 20,000 participants and fans stopped by for bib pick-up and celebration. The Brooklyn Nets hosted their annual Nets Practice in the Park in October, which welcomed fans to Pier 2 to watch the entire team take to the court for drills as they prepared for the upcoming season. CBS brought Destination Brooklyn: Champions League Watch Party to Pier 2 in October for live coverage of the Champions League soccer finals.
The Conservancy celebrated with a variety of brand new programming events, with particular focus on music, dance, and interactive performances:
- Summer Fridays, held on the first Friday of the summer months (June 3, July 1, and August 5), kicked off the weekend with live performances, meditations, and music, led by host and guest curator Madison McFerrin
- On June 17, an upbeat dance party, Big Summer Get Down with James St. Joy, got visitors dancing and grooving on the waterfront at Pier 3 Plaza, despite the summer heat
- Two Waterfront Dance Socials provided introductory dance classes of two distinct styles, with salsa on July 16 led by Talia Castro-Pozo, and house dance on August 27 with Cebo Carr/NXGN, both with a refreshing breeze off the harbor
Music connected artists and visitors across the Park throughout the season, starting with nearly 1,000 visitors to celebrate the second annual Brass Bands Festival in May. The day featured L Train Brass Band, Sugartone Brass Band, Ad Hoc Brass Band, Stoop Kidz Brass Band, and Extra Syrup Horns, processing from Pier 6 to Pier 3. Sounds at Sunsetreturned for its second year, with the series bringing live music to Pier 3’s Greenway Terrace in an intimate setting with glorious views of the waterfront and city on Thursday evenings; artists included folk singer-songwriter Miriam Elhajli, percussion and electronic music duo NOMON, American Symphony Orchestra ensemble Italian Expressiveness and Expressionists, and Brooklyn-bred jazz trumpeter Adam O’Farrill with his quartet Stranger Days. Brooklyn Americana Music Festival’s Women’s Stage returned to Pier 6 Liberty Lawn on the weekend of June 25-26, welcoming over 1,500 guests across two full days of original live music from thirty women and women-identified LGBTQ and BIPOC artists playing original folk, roots, country blues and Americana.
Across eight Thursday evenings in July and August, the Conservancy welcomed over 37,000 guests to the beloved series Movies With A View. With the theme of “Away We Go”, this past season blended a combination action movies and family-favorites, showcasing locations across the globe. Titles included Before Sunrise, The Bourne Identity, Crazy Rich Asians, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Jurassic Park, Thelma and Louise, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and a Public Choice nomination of Mamma Mia! to close out the season, drawing over 6,500 attendees for the final night. Partners provided pre-show entertainment, with food and drink sold by Smorgasburg vendors, short films curated by BAM, DJ sets provided by Brooklyn Radio, and free bike valet by Transportation Alternatives.
Getting moving on the waterfront, nearly 17,000 participated in recreation this past summer. The Conservancy’s popular Waterfront Workouts series drew nearly 4,000 attendees across class offerings including Zumba, Pilates, and virtual Hatha Yoga with Dodge YMCA; Amp’d and Vinyasa Yoga by Chelsea Piers Fitness; and Sunset Yoga with Abhaya Yoga. Provided in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse, free public kayaking drew over 6,000 paddlers out on the water, and popular Conservancy leagues for soccer and volleyball also drew impressive numbers as many returned to the field and courts. Youth basketball clinics led by KING Hoops served over 370 kids across twelve dates, sharing dribbling and shooting skills.
The Conservancy’s Open Studios Residency welcomed two unique groups for its 2022 Artists-in-Residence. Street dance company, It’s Showtime NYC, crafted four new original dance performances over the course of the summer highlighting the unique artistry of their dancers, and taught audience members a variety of moves in street and club dance styles. Trusty Sidekick Theater Company developed their original performance, A Perfect Party for Trees, featuring music and puppetry in a roving and immersive performance spread across Pier 3’s lawns. Developed specifically for young people on the autism spectrum, the performance welcomed neurodiverse audiences of all backgrounds and ages for an engaging sensory experience.
Over 2,000 gathered to celebrate the 10th annual Hindu Lamp Ceremony on August 6 at Pebble Beach, with a traditional Hindu Aarti ceremony performed by Aeilushi Mistry, remembering loved ones, reflecting on community, and expressing gratitude to the river.
The Conservancy’s Summer Reading Storytime, in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library, brought enrichment for little ones to enjoy stories and songs outdoors throughout the early summer. For adults, Books Beneath the Bridge celebrated a series of authors on September evenings, hosted in partnership with local book shops Adanne Bookshop, Cafe Con Libros, and Freebird Books. The Walt Whitman Initiative’s Song of Myself returned on September 17, for the 19th Annual Song of Myself marathon reading of Walt Whitman’s critically acclaimed poem.
The Conservancy’s Education team kept busy, welcoming over 20,000 education program participants over the course of the year. This included:
- Over 7,200 students and day campers attended in-person and virtual classes
- 12,500 visitors to the Environmental Education Center
- 5,000+ participants enjoyed public education programs throughout the summer, including fishing, seining, and special events such as Earth Day and the 7th annual Ed Center Birthday
Announced this past fall, the Environmental Education Center will undergo a renovation and expansion this year. Additional classroom and community spaces will be added, aimed at increasing educational space by 70% to accommodate 30,000 more annual learners.
In giving back to the community, over 600 volunteers committed over 3,500 hours to Brooklyn Bridge Park, helping with horticulture and park cleanup efforts, to event support. Volunteers helped the Conservancy bring back large-scale programs to the Park from movies and dance parties to weekly Waterfront Walk tours. Maintenance activities including Green Team, Coastal Cleanup, and Spring Cutback remained among the most popular volunteer activities of the year. The Conservancy’s Earth Day Coastal Cleanup was featured on News12 and NY1, and zone volunteer Lee Palmer was featured as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week. Over 30 high school students from across NYC joined to learn about environmental stewardship through the Conservancy’s TIDES program (Teens Interested In and Dedicated to Environmental Stewardship).
The programming season closed out with Conservancy’s popular Harvest Festival reaching new heights, drawing over 8,500 guests for the all-day festival with numerous community partners providing arts, crafts, and activities for all to enjoy and celebrate the changing of the season.
With details of this year’s programming coming soon, the Park and the Conservancy look forward to growing popular new programs and continuing to provide art and cultural events, waterfront recreation and workouts, and volunteer and education opportunities for all to enjoy.
Public support in 2022 for the Conservancy’s free public programs was provided by: NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, NY Assemblywoman JoAnne Simon, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, NYC Council Member Rita Joseph, NYC Council Member Darlene Mealy, NYC Council Member Lincoln Restler, and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The Conservancy is also grateful to the thousands of individuals and corporations who generously support our arts and culture, recreation, and education programming in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
ABOUT BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation develops, capitally improves, maintains, and fully operates the Park as a 501 (c) not-for-profit, controlled by the City of New York. Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the largest and most significant public projects to be built in New York City in a generation, has transformed a once dilapidated industrial waterfront into a vibrant and thriving 85-acre civic landscape. The self-sustaining park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities, and the popular Jane’s Carousel.
ABOUT BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK CONSERVANCY
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy plays a vital role in creating and energizing this community-focused, world-class urban oasis on the Brooklyn waterfront. A 501(c)3 non-profit, we bring this unique park space to life with more than 500 innovative and engaging educational, cultural, fitness and recreational programs each year. Our free and low-cost events create new and exciting opportunities for tens of thousands of NYC residents and visitors to learn, grow, and experience all that Brooklyn Bridge Park has to offer.
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