Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Veterans Memorial Pier
The best views of Manhattan are from the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island (including the ferry), the East River Bridges, Roosevelt Island (and Tram), and New Jersey. In Brooklyn, the BQE coming towards the city affords some of the most dramatic views of New York City, as does the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, which is cantilevered over the highway.
Recently I was tipped off by a Brooklyn native of a spot relatively unknown to those in Brooklyn - the American Veterans Memorial Pier, aka the 69th Street Pier.
In 2005, a memorial was installed to honor the 283 Brooklyn residents who were lost in the World Trade Center attack. Soaring 25 feet in the air, the “Beacon” memorial is shaped like a speaking trumpet. The device was once used by the volunteer fire brigades of New York City to transmit warnings to the crowd and orders to firefighters, as well as alerting neighbors of a crisis in progress. Made of bronze, the memorial features a beacon of light shining from the top that will be illuminated from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm daily. The design, selected through a competition, was designed and built by Brooklyn artist Robert Ressler and cast from bronze at Bedi-Macky, a foundry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn - the oldest in New York City, best known for having cast the Iwo Jima Memorial.
The pier is located opposite 69th Street in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. Beautiful vistas can also be had from Owl's Head Park, perched on a hillside overlooking the pier and the water.
Fishing is a popular activity here. Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, many are fishing more for sustenance than for sport. Numbers of fishermen have increased substantially recently, and some families are eating fish caught here several times per week - much more than what is recommended. Warnings have been made about the high PCB and mercury content in the fish.
For decades, there was ferry service from the pier to Staten Island - service ended after the Verrazano Bridge opened in 1964. The pier was originally built in wood but was rebuilt in concrete in the 1980s and again in 2000. The pier can also be accessed by the pedestrian/bike path which flanks Shore Parkway and the Upper Bay...