125 years ago, at 2pm on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge officially opened. New York City is celebrating the bridge’s birthday with a week of events. With Dumbo situated at the foot of the bridge, the Dumbo Improvement District, with support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and NYC Department Of Transportation organized and unveiled a permanent public art project and upgrade to the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway at Washington and Prospect Streets today at 2pm. The permanent installation features fiber optic and LED lighting and art (consistent with their environmental efforts), a map and signage under the bridge, and metal signs and directional compass on the sidewalks.
Dumbo Improvement District Executive Director Tucker Reed, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Lisa Kim, Director, Percent for Art Program were in Dumbo to unveil these walkway improvements. Marty Markowitz said, “With these beautiful new signs and lights, visitors will have an easier time locating the Bridge’s pedestrian walkway and breathtaking views, as well as the wonders of Dumbo, the epicenter of ‘hip’ in Brooklyn.” As many Dumbo residents can attest, visitors and tourists to the area used to be confused about where to go for the Bridge, or directions to the park, Brooklyn Heights, or a neighboring community. Not only will these signs help guide them back to Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan, but also liven up the previously dark underpass with unique and interesting lighting.
Coinciding with the public art lighting, the 2008 celebration will kick off with a public birthday party on Thursday, May 22nd at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park DUMBO, featuring live music by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Grucci fireworks, and the unveiling of special bridge lighting that will illuminate the bridge from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Memorial Day. (More at nyc.gov)