Gounardes Proposes New Narrows Waterfront Park
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
A Crown Jewel for Southern Brooklyn
In New York, the unquestioned popularity of urban spaces such as Riverside Park, the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park and others has demonstrated the incredible drawing power and civic value these public areas can have. And although Southern Brooklyn doesn’t currently possess such a space, I want to change that.
My vision is to create a Narrows Waterfront Park that quickly becomes one of Southern Brooklyn’s most beloved landmarks — a destination for visitors, a gathering-place for residents and a source of pride for all New Yorkers.
Right now, there is no “Narrows Waterfront Park.” There is only a loose collection of public walkways, bike paths and patches of grass and trees along the waterfront between Bay Ridge and Coney Island. Beyond the fact that it is difficult to access, the waterfront-facing space is full of potholes, garbage and eyesores. It is neither inspiring nor representative of Brooklyn in 2018.
My plan is to design a unified park which encompasses this entire area. Using a community-driven visioning process, we will expand and improve the existing elements, such as the Narrows Botanical Gardens, Shore Road Park, Bensonhurst Park, Calvert Vaux Park, the Belt Parkway Bike Path and the grounds at Bay 8th Street. We will install new safety features and amenities, and we will introduce new initiatives to bring the community together.
Specific actions we will take include:
- Building out the 13-acre Bay 8th St. expanse as a full park with pathways, benches, tables, comfort stations, trees and other amenities. The Narrows Waterfront Park’s crown jewel.
- Enhancing new and existing park spaces with exciting features such as exercise equipment for people of all ages; designated “dog park” areas; playgrounds for children; skate and rollerblade parks; food truck accommodations, water fountains, restrooms, and more.
- Updating and augmenting bike and pedestrian paths from the 69th St. Pier in Bay Ridge to Caesar's Bay in Gravesend. Continuous traffic barriers and flood protections will be added to all stretches of the Belt Parkway which abut the waterfront area. Small piers and docks will extend out from along the pathway to allow for fishing and recreation.
- Improving waterfront-to-park connections with additional overpasses and bike ramps to create a unified park network between Shore Road Park, Dyker Beach Park, Bath Beach Park, Bensonhurst Park, and the waterfront.
- Fostering community engagement and tourism with seasonal and holiday events such as outdoor movies, street festivals and fireworks.
- Adding a connection to Coney Island (down Shore Parkway along the Belt Parkway).
- Upgrading Caesar’s Bay with beautified green spaces and a pier with ferry access for this area underserved by mass transit. Also, creating a separate bike path from the Verrazano Bridge to Caesar’s Bay.
- Adopting safety and resiliency measures such as raised berms to help contain storm surges (similar to plans for NY Rising).
- Spotlighting the Narrows Botanical Garden and adding botanical and community garden elements elsewhere in the park.
- Showcasing local artists with both permanent and rotating public art installations by professional artists and art school students.
The new Narrows Waterfront Park will have a tremendous impact on Southern Brooklyn, and New York City as a whole. Much like the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park, it will be a park that is simultaneously a destination and an attraction.