Hidden along the industrial waterfront of Brooklyn’s Industry City sits a beautiful city park. Once a busy seaport sporting seven piers and servicing seventeen steamship lines, Bush Terminal Piers Park has an interesting history. The site of the Bush Terminal Company, founded in 1902 by Irving T. Bush, this stretch of reclaimed shoreline is now bustling with a different type of activity. Once designated as a brownfield due to pollutants being illegally dumped here in the 1970s, this area has been transformed into something amazing that will be enjoyed by visitors and local residents for years to come. Bush Terminal Piers Park offers all who visit here a beautiful place to enjoy the sunshine and escape the noise of the city while still preserving some of its links to its history.
Bush Terminal Piers Park provides many outdoor activities for guests to enjoy. Park hours do vary throughout the year, so it is beneficial to check with local park authorities to be certain the area is available. Generally speaking, the park is open from dawn to dusk. Access to the park can be found at 43rd street near the Sunset Park neighborhood. There is a secondary entrance near 50th street. To access the park from 43rd street, follow First Avenue. Along the way, you will pass a beautiful mural paying homage to the workers who revitalized this area. With spring in the air, it’s a great opportunity to take a break from the fireplace and get some nice time outdoors. As you walk along the path, you will find plenty of lush greenery, busy honey bees hard at work, and in the blink of an eye, you’ll find yourself in the park.
The park features two multi-use sports fields for soccer, football, softball, and baseball. Visitors to the park can also enjoy a forested peninsula with many hiking and walking trails. Hills and woods provide a great escape from the noise of the city. There is a jetty bordering two tidal ponds, plenty of open space for relaxing or spending time with family and friends, and a waterfront promenade, perfect for afternoon walks and viewing the city.
When visiting the Bush Terminal Piers Park, there are several things you should enjoy while inside the park. On the northern side of the park, guests can enjoy two tidal lagoons. Here the water rests peacefully during low tide and is reconnected with the harbor during high tide. Creating a beautiful natural habitat for wildlife, these tidal pools provide a perfect location for bird watching and viewing other local critters. Nearby, pier 4 was fortified to create a fantastic walking path into the harbor. From there, visitors can enjoy beautiful, unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan. Behind pier 4 stands the majestic three-story former home of the Bush Terminal Company. With its name still prominently displayed, this structure provides one more peek into the history of this location.
At the southern tip of the park, you can find several things; some pleasant, and others not so pleasant. Located on this southern end sits a storm sewer drain that empties into the harbor. As the city continues to work on its green infrastructure, these drains will only be a reminder of the past. For now, they serve a purpose, and visitors are encouraged to steer clear of the area. Nearby lies pier 1 where visitors can enjoy beautiful views of Manhattan and Jersey City with the busy Hudson River separating the two. Enjoy watching the busy ship channel and the hustle and bustle of the industry from this unique vantage point.
Located on the park grounds is a comfort station that creatively bridges the gap between the past and the present. Built from repurposed shipping containers, this structure provides restrooms and other necessities for visitors to the park. Currently a stand-alone structure, there are plans to build an environmental education center to provide information and education on the park’s history and environmental strategies for the future.
Bush Terminal Piers Park is also convenient to the ferry landing at 58th street and pier 4. This ferry landing provides both residents and visitors easy access to and from the park and all of Brooklyn and Manhattan. If you are keeping your visit in Brooklyn and are interested in enjoying other activities near Bush Terminal Piers Park, you will have plenty of great locales to choose from. Take some time to enjoy the nearby Brooklyn Museum. Featuring exhibits by both local and nationally and internationally recognized artists, there are both permanent and traveling exhibitions that rotate throughout the year. Unique exhibits ranging from social and environmental issues to more generalized exhibits are always an amazing find here. With plenty to see and enjoy, this museum is well worth the visit.
Also located in Brooklyn near Bush Terminal Park is the New York Aquarium. With more than 350 marine species to view over 14 acres of property, this aquarium is a great adventure for the whole family. Featuring a blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits, rides, and other wildlife experiences such as feeding the animals and fantastic shows, a trip to the New York Aquarium is a great way to get up close to both local wildlife and some of the most majestic animals in the world. When you’re done, head out the front door and take a stroll along Coney Island beach.
Brooklyn is filled with history and action. Whether it is a revitalization project that opens up the harbor to locals and visitors alike or enjoying one or more of the more well-known attractions, there is so much to see and do in this part of the greater New York area. Parks like the Bush Terminal Piers Park add meaning and direction to an already valuable area and remind us that we are part of a greater world.