I have had a long and varied career, but for most of the last two decades I have spent the majority of my time and effort on getting Brooklyn Bridge Park off the ground, nurturing it along and seeing it through to a fully realized park.
My history with Brooklyn Bridge Park began almost 18 years ago when I was asked by my State Senator, Marty Connor, to serve on a newly formed local development corporation, originally called the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation, and later the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. It was created by the Brooklyn Borough President and other local elected officials to convince the Port Authority, the state and the city of New York that a park on the defunct Brooklyn piers was worthy of their support.
I was elected the LDC’s president and led a year-long public planning process engaging thousands and culminating in a broadly supported master plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park. Funding from both the city and the state followed and a state organization was formed to take the master plan to the next step. I was appointed a director of that organization and, later, of the successor entity created by the city. I am the Vice-Chair of the board of that new non-profit, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which is building and running the Park.
My experience with the Park over time has been challenging, frustrating, exhilarating, disappointing, fascinating and instructive. I decided that my background and my bird’s eye view as an insider provided a rare opportunity to share the complexity, difficulty, pluck and luck required to achieve such an ambitious public project as Brooklyn Bridge Park. Henrik Krogius, the long-time editor of a local newspaper that had covered the Park throughout its gestation and realization, joined forces with me. His close observation and attention to detail, his newspaper archives and his many photographs taken over the years were a great contribution to our project. We shared the thinking and the writing; if we did not always agree at first, our different perspectives enhanced the product, and it was always a great team effort. I invite you to read our book and take a look under the hood of Brooklyn Bridge Park.