BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, New York: Guest Post by Gretchen Woelfle

When my friend and fellow children's book writer Gretchen Woelfle was in New York recently, she was visiting relatives in Brooklyn and discovered the joys of Brooklyn Bridge Park, located under the bridge along the East River. Here is her report:
Bridge to Manhattan at the north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Take a sunny day in Brooklyn, a walk through this 85 acre park, along a 1.3 mile footpath on the East River, from the Manhattan Bridge past the Brooklyn Bridge to the end of Pier 6, and you’ll find all sorts of delights to savor. 
Playing soccer at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge park

Jane's Carousel, built in 1922
There are playgrounds and an antique carousel for kids; lawns, gardens and terraces for picnics; caf├ęs and ice cream shops; an educational center (with an aquarium); playing fields for all sorts of sports; and fantastic views of river traffic and the Manhattan skyline. 
Brooklyn Bridge seen from river level
The Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy presents over five hundred cultural, educational, and recreational events in the park: classes, sports clinics, foot races, music festivals, movies, kayaking, stargazing, history walks, and more.
A riverside sylvan glade
The Conservancy also coordinates environmental projects on the river, including the construction of a salt marsh and an oyster reef. Way back when, New York Harbor contained 200,000 acres of oyster reefs. Five thousand local students have taken part in the Billion Oyster Project to revive the ecosystem.
On deck of an Erie Canal barge
During my visit on a quiet Monday afternoon, I happened upon a canal barge that hails from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. It was about to begin its annual summer voyage up the Hudson and through the Erie Canal to Buffalo.
Below deck on the canal barge
Since I was the only visitor, I had the full attention of the volunteer crew for a tour of the boat and the story of its history.
River traffic and Manhattan skyline viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park
This jewel of park, an oasis of green and blue in the big city,
is just a block away from the hipster hubbub of DUMBO on the north end, and the leafy streets of Brooklyn Heights on the south end.
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