The Best-Kept Secrets of Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Best-Kept Secrets of Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Best-Kept Secrets of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an iconic waterfront play space for kids of all ages, a relaxing getaway for parents, and not to mention, it has one of the best views of Manhattan in all of the city (and only a subway stop away on the 2 or 3 train). Usual outdoor activities are you can find at the park,  including free kayaking, star gazing, and socially distanced sunrise yoga for adults.

Brooklyn Bridge Park stretches 1.3 miles along the East River and is located below the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklynites can also see the park from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade—a spectacular viewing spot of the water and the city. This modernized park includes six piers, as well as Empire Fulton Ferry, John Street, and Main Street. But for this purpose and for our kid’s sake, we are going to dive deep into each pier and what they have to offer children of different ages and interests.

Pier 1 (and Fulton Ferry Landing)

After entering the park at Old Fulton Street, you’ll come across the Fulton Ferry Landing, located next to Pier 1. Here you will find eateries, music, and a place to relax with your family while overlooking the most perfect panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. So for you hip moms, get your cameras out for that Insta pic. This was also the most crowded area of the park, and seemingly not as kid-friendly as the rest.

At the Fulton Ferry Landing there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. These include No. 7 Sub, Luke’s Lobster, and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Enjoy your food while listening to tunes coming from Bargemusic, at which live music is played on the boat five days a week year-round. The East River Ferry and New York Water Taxi depart from the landing as well, and there is a stand nearby where you can buy tickets to take your family out for a relaxing ride along the river.

The concessions at Pier 1 include the refreshing Lizzmonade and Brooklyn Bridge Garden Bar if you want to enjoy some dinner, or come back for a drink after the kids hit the hay!

Lastly, Pier 1 has its own playground, a circular park hidden by the surrounding trees (it actually took me a while to find). It’s your basic playground here with climbing fixtures, small slide, and playhouse.

Pier 2

Pier 2 might be your child’s favorite stop of all, especially for the bigger kids and the sporty ones. Here, you will find any and all games and sporting courts that a child could imagine: five basketball courts (two covered), bocce (similar to outdoor bowling) courts, three shuffleboard courts, a huge turf field, and six tennis and handball courts (no nets, just a wall where you bounce the ball off of yourself). On top of that, there is a fitness area with plenty of strength machines designed to get your body moving, where I spotted parents and kids working out side-by-side.

Take the kid and families and go skating at the Brooklyn Bridge Park
https://www.brooklynbridgeskating.com/

A newer feature to the park (but a throwback for most of us) is the roller rink, for open skating as well as recreational league play. It is positioned next to an admission booth, picnic tables for relaxing, and rental stand where skate can be rented.

Smaller children will enjoy a swinging area, as well as hopscotch and four square—two games kids cannot resist when recess time comes around.

For some summer fun, free kayaking sessions are available from June to August, although offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Minors must have a waiver form signed by a guardian. Minors ages 14-17 can kayak by themselves if a guardian remains present, and minors ages 13 and younger are permitted if accompanied by a guardian. Only one child per boat is permitted. Youth kayaking programs are also available.

Pier 2’s newest addition, the Uplands, includes a water play area that features pier remnants cut away during the construction of Pier 3. Run off from the area will be used to irrigate the rest of the Uplands.

“Parks have always been essential, but during this time, open space is more critical than ever. We’re thrilled to be able to open three more acres for people to spread out in and safely enjoy Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Eric Landau, Brooklyn Bridge Park president.

PsstBest Aquariums in the New York Area

Pier 3 Greenway Terrace

Pier 3 is a small, quiet, and laid-back area to relax. There are granite rocks and boulders piled high to sit on and admire the amazing view, accompanied by cute and colorful tables and chairs set up around the Brooklyn Bridge Book Cart. If you’re looking for an escape during your down time, pick out a book to read here, to yourself or your kids.

There are also designated bicycle paths surrounding the park and its piers if you’re interested in a beautiful ride by the water—and an easy way to get a workout in. Of course, you can bring your own bike, but there are also five Citi Bike stations adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Good news for parents: In order to keep this area peaceful, there are sound-attenuating hills to minimize the traffic noise in the park.

Although this is a nice area, don’t get your hopes up too high. It is a beach in the sense that there are sand, stones, and water, but it is small. Sitting by the river with sand between your toes is definitely a possibility—there just isn’t much room for kids to run and play. Ultimately, come for the scenery and the serenity at the least!

Pier 5

There are plenty of things to do with the whole family at Pier 5. The wide pathway around the pier is perfect for walking, running, or sitting on a bench and enjoying the view with a beautiful breeze (the same goes for Pier 2).

The pier itself is made up of three soccer fields, with nets surrounding the perimeter and plenty of kids running around kicking balls. Also spotted were some toddlers playing with water guns on the turf. Plus, there are two small connecting playgrounds.

There is a fishing area at the far end of the pier, accompanied by bait prep stations with sinks, for all of your fishing fantasies. This is a perfect area for a father-son trip! Or, you can sit back and peak through the nets to see your child’s soccer game.

After you have been worn out for the day, head over to the picnic peninsulas. Here, there are charcoal grills—a very unique aspect to the park—and a perfect spot for a family barbecue. Additionally, Pier 5 is also home to Ample Hills Creamery, serving 10 flavors of its famous ice cream.

Pier 6

If you thought the other piers sounded great, you’re in for a treat with Pier 6. This is heaven for small children, for there are five separate playgrounds. Before we get to the fun part (the playgrounds), there are several other features to the pier that make it unique. First, there is Fornino, a café at which you can enjoy some wood-fired pizza.

Walking toward the water, there is a lot of greenery and flowers surrounding the paths, giving off the impression that you’re not in the most populated city in the country. At the far end, there is a field where I spectated a family throwing around a baseball and a couple picnicking, as the view is awesome and the rotating Understanding sign can be seen.

There are three regulation-sized volleyball courts at Pier 6 complete with nets, sand, and colorful beach chairs for spectators. Play a game with the family or join a tournament!

Pier 6 is home to five playgrounds: Sandbox Village, Water Lab, Slide Mountain, Marsh Garden, and Swing Valley. Each playground is hidden from one another, giving a lot of privacy, which I believe is one of the most unique parts of this pier. Just follow the trees and paths until you find your destination.

Sandbox Village is truly what it says it is—a huge sandbox, maybe the largest in the city. On top of that, there are wooden fixtures to sit on, a playhouse to climb into, as well as rocks, logs, a slide, and more.

The Water Lab is advertised as the park’s most popular playground, and for good reason. This is an awesome place to cool off on those days when it’s just too hot. There are jets and geysers squirting water into the air and kids running through having a jolly time. There are rocks and boulders to climb over, but definitely be careful, for it looks a little bit dangerous and slippery. Keep in mind that the Water Lab is only open when outside temperature is 80 degrees and higher, and closed during inclement weather.

Slide Mountain brings a lot of park features into one—the main feature is the two-story high slides that will give your kids a thrill. There are also jungle gyms and climbing fixtures as well as a sand box.

Marsh Garden is a woody area designed with the purpose of children getting in touch with nature, surrounded by trees and small rocky pathway.

Lastly, Swing Valley has multiple swinging areas divided by greens. There are hills and trees dividing these 10 swing sets, one for every age—baby swings, average swings, and even Tarzan ropes. And, if kids have a fall, parents should feel comfortable knowing the ground is soft, blue, and bouncy. The privacy of each swing set is definitely a plus as well.

Janes Carousel is a must visit at Brooklyn Bridge Park

More Family Activities

If you aren’t too tired after visiting the six piers, there are many other spots in and around the park to visit:

  • Empire Fulton Ferry: Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn, Jane’s Carousel, Picnic Grove, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Triangle Garden
  • Main Street: Pebble Beach, Main Street Playground, Main Street Dog Run, 99 Plymouth, Environmental Education Center, DUMBO Boulders
  • Squibb Park & Bridge

Details

Location: 334 Furman St., Brooklyn Heights

Hours: All areas open daily. Pier 2: 6am-11pm; Pier 5: 6am-11pm; Pier 6 Volleyball Courts: 6am-11pm; Playgrounds are open dawn to dusk, the remainder of the park is open 6am-1am

Restrooms: Located at Pier 1, Pier 2, and Pier 6, as well as at Squibb Park and Main Street

For more information: 718-802-0603 or brooklynbridgepark.org

By Megan Bailey

Relevant Directory Listings

See More

Child's Play NY Virtual Classes

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-f0d8558c-7fff-41d5-daea-321d9ce61efc" style="white-space: normal; font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Child's Play NY is a Brooklyn-based company founded in 2009, committed to offering a diverse array of theater arts classes for children. They believe studying the art of acting encourages kids to be even more creative, collaborative and compassionate human beings. Since its inception, Child's Play NY has touched the lives of hundreds of students, worked inside dozens of schools and is consistently ranked as among the top theater arts programs. </span></span></span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is the 2019 winner of Brooklyn Family's Choice award for Best Performing Arts Class.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall/Winter 2020-21 Virtual Class Guide</span><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">:</span></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Make a Movie Class</span></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Experience creative fulfillment and movie magic with Child’s Play NY! Kids get to make and star in their own film, with professional actors, directors and designers. From development to design to editing choices too, kids can take ownership over the creative process. Their friends and family get to celebrate their accomplishments at a final watch party premiere! Deep project-based learning and peer-connection is at the heart of this 9-week experience which can be done remotely or in-person.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall and Winter Virtual Classes</span></strong></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-left: 36pt; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><strong>Hogwarts School (grades 1-3)</strong>: Come get sorted into your favorite house, jump on your Firebolt and let’s make some magic! Class culminates in a movie montage featuring our original scripted work from the session.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-skip: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Create Your Own Class</span></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Make your own custom group to support social-emotional growth and play. Child’s Play NY provides a dynamic teacher and their lauded curriculum that puts peer-interaction at the front and center. Custom classes are a special way to nurture what your child loves most and share that excitement with their friends, in-person or online.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Playwriting (Grades 4-6)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Students will use their creativity, compassion and confidence to build a story they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Individually, each student will craft a play, and together they will workshop their scenes, exercising their acting, directing, and most importantly, imagination skills. Over the course of the sessions, students will learn the basics of playwriting and be able to present any and all parts of their theatrical story. All classes will include individual assignments and collaborative opportunities. Each day will be structured so that all participants have the chance to learn and study other writers’ work, write for 10-15 minutes and share their words with each other. By the end of the semester they will have used their bodies, intellect and imagination to come up with an original play. By being confident, vulnerable and creative with each other and actively supporting and encouraging each other’s work, students will emerge with meaningful connections to each other and a strong sense of their writing and collaborative abilities.<br />Class culminates in a montage and packet of students’ original work.<strong><br /></strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Musical Theater Lab (Grades 4-6)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Learn how to be a triple threat in this dynamic class for budding performers with Child’s Play NY. Students focus on songs, dances and characters from Broadway’s most celebrated and kid-friendly shows. They work alongside professional performers with years of experience bringing their passion to children. Class culminates in a movie showcase of scenes and songs.<br />Join for the full session, or enroll as a drop-in!<strong><br /></strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>Shakespeare Scene Study (Grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12)</strong></div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Young people become confident with Shakespeare’s world, language and characters as they learn how to interpret a role with technique and courage. Classically trained professional actors assist the players in their physical, vocal and emotional transformations. All Shakespeare teaching artists are classically trained professional actors and have performed Shakespeare both on and off Broadway and in regional theaters across the country.</div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Students jump into the worlds of Shakespeare in this robust mash-up of improvisation and classic text scene study class. After learning the plot and characters from several plays, they rehearse and memorize scenes from the original text. New material, devised by the cast, adds a contemporary through-line to their show and highlights the universality of Shakespeare’s themes.<br />Class culminates in a movie showcasing their work.</div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </div> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><strong>The Big Twist: A New Musical (Grade 1-4)</strong></div> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <div style="caret-color: #222222; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">In this acting class, students get to perform a brand new musical based on The Wizard of Oz.<br />The Wicked Witch of the South wants to return Oz to a time when WITCHES reigned supreme, and all was evil. Summoning a dark magic Tornado, the Wicked Witch of the South sends Oz hurtling into an alternate Oz. With the Yellow Brick road destroyed, the Wizard left powerless, and the citizens of Oz scattered to the Wind, our heroes are forced into unlikely partnerships to stop the Witch and restore the world to order. The Wizard of Oz meets The Tempest.  Class culminates in a premiere of a movie starring the students, filmed over the last few days of the session.</div> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; background-color: #ffffff; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-57c50323-7fff-79ce-175a-5e25408c0e29"></span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-84ebe141-7fff-03c2-24cf-fead86e88df2"></span></p>

Saf-T-Swim

<p>For over 35 years, Saf-T-Swim Swim School has been teaching lifesaving swimming skills throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, and now Little Neck. The school is proud to be Long Island's #1 swim school and a leader in water safety education. With swim programs for infants as young as 4 months, beginners, and advanced swimmers, Saf-T-Swim offers swimming programs for every age and skill level. Discover why generations of Long Islanders have trusted Saf-T-Swim time and time again with equipping their little ones the essential skill of swimming.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Looking for something to do with the kids in New York City that is fun, exciting, and educational? The Intrepid Museum offers family-friendly activities and programs all year long that keep children engaged, entertained, and curious about history and science. Fun rain or shine, the Museum offers both indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits and activities. With so many things to do and see, you’ll never hear “I’m bored,” when you climb aboard Intrepid. A non-profit, educational institution featuring the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets and a guided missile submarine.<br /></span></p>