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A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park: How a Community Reclaimed and Transformed New York City's Waterfront Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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Almost any leisurely walk in New York will produce the question: What was this place once? A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park tells the amazing story of the people who also asked about such a place: What could it be someday? The answer changed the New York City waterfront forever. (John Hockenberry, host of the public radio program The Takeaway)
A fascinating story of how local activists, politicians, designers, and developers argued, protested, and slowly worked together to create one of New York City's most innovative, thriving, and controversial parks. For three decades, Brooklyn residents engaged in a rich debate about their waterfront. What makes a park a successful public space? Who should decide? Nancy Webster and David Shirley's engaging book shows us just how complex these questions are. (Suleiman Osman, author of The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York)
Here is a masterful compilation of the voices whose struggles and persistence over time realized a vision to turn a closed-off industrial waterfront into a vibrant, twenty-first-century park, open to all. (Ann L. Buttenwieser, the "Floating Pool Lady")
Over the past few decades, cities across the United States have undertaken numerous, large-scale efforts to make themselves livable and sustainable. These projects do not suddenly appear, and what is important for urban scholars, activists, and policy makers is what has to be done to make them happen. In A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Webster and Shirley provide a highly informative and fascinating history of the governmental, organizational, community, and interpersonal politics without which New York City's newest grand public space would not have come to be. (Robert Beauregard, professor of urban planning, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University)
Webster and Shirley take you through every contentious step of the park's evolution from the 1980s until today.... Along the way, Brooklyn Bridge Park paints a fascinating portrait. (The Bowery Boys)
About the Author
Nancy Webster is the executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.
David Shirley is a journalist whose work has appeared in Oxford American, the Brooklyn Rail, Chicago Review, Spin, Rolling Stone, and USA Today.
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Top Customer Reviews
Brooklyn Bridge ParK is located on the Brooklyn side and under the Brooklyn Bridge. It spans over 1.3 miles of Brooklyn’s waterfront, from the Columbia Heights waterfront district to the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. It offers breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan’s panoramic skyline and the New York Harbor. Of particular interest, there are six very different piers extending out into the East River, and there are a host of activities: excellent restaurants, playgrounds, basketball courts, sports fields, and Brooklyn’s newest roller skating rink.
The park seems so "right" for the base of the great bridge that a visitor might believe it was meant to be like this.
The truth is far different -- it took immense involvement by many different people over 50 years of effort to create this masterpiece. Two books trace the ins and outs of the creation of the park.
Joanne Witty, who is a lawyer and environmentalist, president of the local development corporation that developed the park’s master plan and vice chairwoman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, and the journalist Henrik Krogius have written Brooklyn Bridge Park: A Dying Waterfront Transformed. The authors write: “Although we have tried to be complete and factual, we are not entirely neutral. We are reminded again and again that the alternative would have been far worse.”
This book, which has the same objectives told from a different but distinctly common points of view. Nancy Webster, executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, collaborated with David Shirley, another journalist.
Both books tell complementary stories of the ins and outs of the tremendous challenges faced by the many people working to make use of the abandoned piers. A key element was that the park was funded in large measure by the parallel development of residential housing inland of the park and the abandoned piers.
They are fascinating stories in their own right, but I have recently moved to New York City, and plan to get involved in projects like this magnificent accomplishment. They serve as excellent textbooks to help guide my steps.
Robert C. Ross