Landmarks commission approves beer garden design for Fulton Ferry Landing

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This is the Marine Fire Boat Station and Pipe Shed, which are along the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

A waterfront cafe and bar planned for the wharf next to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, which has been on hold since last April, can now move forward.

On Tuesday, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a revised design for an outdoor restaurant pavilion to be built on Fulton Ferry Landing Pier next to the Marine Fire Boat Station at 1 Water St. The vote was unanimous .

The Commission had rejected a design originally proposed in April by the architect of Miles and Alex Pincus, the cafe and bar operators. The pavilion will take the place of the Buzz Bar, which operated under a tent.

Brooklyn Bridge Park awarded the Pincus Brothers the exterior ferry dock concession in December 2018.

They have a 10-year license with a three-year renewal option for the space, for which they pay a guaranteed annualized minimum fee of $93,000 or a total of 8% of food sales and 10% of food sales. liquor, whichever is greater, Brooklyn Bridge Park announced at concession award.

This is the revised design of the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion. Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Starling Architecture’s design that the LPC approved on Tuesday is a simple structure consisting of rope-wrapped aluminum poles and a rectangular perimeter of bench seating, with a retractable fabric awning to serve as a roof. There are no windows in the mostly open-air design.

Starling Architecture came up with the minimalist design in response to criticism from LPC that the pavilion, as originally designed, would have obstructed views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

The original version of the pavilion had drop-down windows and an opaque roof and was attached to a small building called a pipe shed, which was built in 1929. In the revised design, the outdoor cafe and bar are separated from the pipe . shed.

The Pincus brothers’ restaurant will be closed from early November to early April, an LPC staffer said at a town hall meeting ahead of the LPC vote. During these months, the redesigned restaurant pavilion will be partly dismantled.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Eric Landau said at the town hall meeting that restorers prefer Option A for dismantling the pavilion — which involves removing the fabric roof canopy and shrink-wrapping the pavilion bar. The benches will be left uncovered to allow the public to sit down.

Option B consists of dismantling the canopy and the structure that supports it and shrink-wrapping the seats. In its vote, the PLC approved both options.

Here is the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier with the Brooklyn Bridge visible on the Lower Manhattan shoreline.  Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
Here is the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier with the Brooklyn Bridge visible on the Lower Manhattan shoreline. Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle

Two local organizations wrote the PLC letters opposing the revised pavilion design. They provided the Brooklyn Eagle with copies of their missives.

“The Fulton Ferry Landing Pier is not an appropriate site for a new structure or addition as it impedes access at a critical time and takes away from the panoramic view plane of the Brooklyn Bridge,” wrote the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community. Advisory Council.

“Last, and perhaps most importantly, as the main gateway to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the only place on its entire perimeter where one can truly see and experience the East River from near and far. , there is absolutely no need for concessions in this location. This busy area of ​​the park requires an open, unobstructed space without any need for programming,” says the letter, which design and concessions committee co-chairs Doreen Gallo and Katrin Adam signed.

The council, which represents 19 community organizations, provides a forum for Brooklyn residents to provide feedback to Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation on its major initiatives and policies, the park’s website says.

Here is the revised design of the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion facing the Manhattan skyline.  Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission
Here is the revised design of the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion facing the Manhattan skyline. Image courtesy of Starling Architecture via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The Fulton Ferry Landing Association also wrote the LPC a letter opposing the construction of the restaurant pavilion.

“The community of Fulton Ferry has never accepted or approved of the idea of ​​an additional concession on this pier,” says the letter, signed by Adam, a longtime board member of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association.

The association won the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for its management of the design and reconstruction of the pier and the restoration of the marine fireboat station and pipe shed in the 1990s.

This design conceptualized “a wide-open pier space” that is “free of any permanent fixed obstructions, leading to the river, the panoramic views of the horizon with its landmarks, the harbor with its water activities and the grand masonry and the span of the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge,” the letter read.

“Again, we are asking for a space that is fully accessible to the public to enjoy what the ambiance of this very special existing public pier has to offer – free access to linger, dance, make music, celebrate, play and of course take pictures of all kinds,” the letter adds.

Representatives of the two groups did not testify at Tuesday’s meeting because LPC procedural rules only allow public testimony at the hearing at which a drawing is initially presented. In the case of the restaurant pavilion of the Pincus brothers, this happened in April 2019.

This is the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion facing the Brooklyn Bridge.  Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission
This is the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion facing the Brooklyn Bridge. Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission

As Brooklyn Bridge Park announced in December 2018, the Pincus brothers will dock a restored FDNY fireboat, Governor Alfred E. Smith, on the north side of Fulton Ferry Landing Pier. The historic ship will have additional cafe and bar seating.

The fireboat was not mentioned at Tuesday’s LPC meeting.

The Pincus Brothers are known for turning historic ships into floating restaurants and bars. One of them, Grand Banks, is housed in a fishing schooner called Sherman Zwicker, which was hand-built in 1942 and is the largest wooden vessel in New York. It docks at Pier 25 in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park.

Another, called Pilot, sits on a century-old schooner that docks at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The pier where the Pincus brothers plan to build their restaurant pavilion is located in the Fulton Ferry Historic District, which was designated in 1977.

The colonial-revival marine fire station, adjacent to the site of the restaurant pavilion, was built in 1926.

FDNY fireboats operated from this station until 1970. They used the building’s tower clad in white shingles to hang their fire hoses to dry, a Brownstoner story by the history expert of the architecture Suzanne Spellen.

This is another look at the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved.  Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission
This is another look at the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier restaurant pavilion, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved. Starling Architecture through the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The place where the open-air restaurant pavilion is located is steeped in history. The first ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan began there in 1642.

Robert Fulton started his Brooklyn-Manhattan steamboat service from this site in 1814, according to the Bowery Boys New York City History website. The journey only took 12 minutes.

Follow journalist Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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