Eric Adams was feeling clever and inclined to share some little-known aspects of his biography. “I was a skateboarder, I knew how to do a few tricks, and I’m gonna brush up on them and come out and use this park,” Adams proclaimed at a May 24th ribbon-cutting for the Arches, a new park under the Brooklyn Bridge catering to skaters and ballers of various stripes. Part of an early phase of the mayor’s $375 million “Working People’s Agenda” revitalization project, the park neatly coincides with the 140th anniversary of the historic bridge looming above it.
Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi enthused that “today, we give back to the people of New York landmark public space under the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m grateful to DOT for working quickly to bring back this beloved space — providing a much-needed outlet for outdoor recreation for visitors, those who work in the area, and residents.”
The Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue also chimed in, stating that “with the opening of the Arches, New Yorkers and visitors alike can enjoy a beautiful space for relaxation and play, right next to one of our city’s most iconic landmarks — the Brooklyn Bridge.”
The opening of the Arches comes paired with the wrapping up of a major 800 million dollar rehabilitation of the bridge that has been underway since 2010, which has transformed the constituent stones of the bridge from brown to the original gray. The red-brick archways of the bridge have also been painstakingly reconstructed by hand, a process which will wrap up later this year.
Politicians and dignitaries from the skating realm also effusively praised the opening of the Arches. Using the original name for the skate hangout that made up the area in previous decades, District 1 Councilmember Christopher Marté said that “We couldn’t be more excited to join the mayor in this historic announcement for reopening the Brooklyn Banks,” adding that “this was one of our top priorities upon taking office, and after decades of broken promises, we are now able to deliver.”
With a pointed emphasis on the intergenerational symbolism of the area, none other than skating legend Tony Hawk (who now runs a foundation aimed at building parks for underserved youth named The Skatepark Project) said that “The Brooklyn Banks and the Arches will bring people of all backgrounds together, building community through creativity, action sports, and outdoor play. I’m honored to support this effort that will provide safe outdoor recreation for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers living nearby.”
Whether deemed the Brooklyn Banks or the Arches, local skate-rats will find plenty of rails, stairs, and curves to grind and skin their knees on. The rest of the public will enjoy greatly expanded recreational space in the shadow of a transcendental bridge.