Brooklyn Heights Promenade

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There are a lot of places to get an incredible view of the New York City skyline, but none perhaps as amazing as those found on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Though only a mere one third of a mile long, the promenade boasts some of the most majestic views of Governor’s Island, Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, South Street Seaport, the World Trade Center site, the Brooklyn Bridge, and other landmarks. And though it only officially opened in 1950 with the completion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) underneath, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has a rich history that dates back to the United States’ battle for independence from Great Brittan. A trip to Brooklyn Heights Promenade is an amazing opportunity to see Manhattan at its most majestic.

History

The site of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has a long history of serving as a vantage point for observation in and around the Island of Manhattan. It was here in 1776 that General George Washington watched the Battle of Brooklyn end in defeat and here that, upon exit from his coach in 1864 that Abraham Lincoln declared, “There may be finer views than this in the world, but I don’t believe it.”

Because it is situated above the BQE between Joralemon St. and Grace Ct. in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade provides unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan and the famous landmarks that distinguish it. It is this view that drew wealthy New Yorkers into the Borough of Brooklyn and into the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood as far back as the 18th century. They built fantastic brownstones complete with luscious private gardens that still exist today. Many times over the course of history landscape architects, politicians, and city planners tried to turn the area that is now the Promenade into public land, but the ultimately failed.

It wasn’t until Robert Moses and the construction of the BQE in 1941 that change was finally ready to come. Wealthy residents of the Brooklyn Heights community were concerned that the construction of the new expressway would impinge on their view of the harbor as well as take away some of their privately-held land. In fact, it was a Brooklyn Heights resident whose own garden would have been consumed by the new road that first come up with the idea of a “cover” for the project that would protect the residents from the noise and pollution of the cars traveling on the BQE.

That covered portion is now the esplanade which makes up the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Though technically a branch of the transportation department, the connected parklands allow the entire area to be maintained by New York City Parks and Recreation. Over the years, the pristine grounds of the Promenade have been a favorite spot for lovers and families alike. The area was also featured in the Academy Award-winning films Moonstruck and Annie Hall.

Main Attraction

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is another fabulous free New York attraction that is open 365 days a year. The hours of operation are from dawn until 1 am and the Promenade is completely handicap accessible. In addition to fantastic views and a quick stroll in the park, the Promenade is conveniently located nearby to other great Brooklyn attractions including the Brooklyn Bridge Park, South Street Seaport Museum, and the Historic neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

Why It’s a Must-See

For visitors who are obsessed with getting the most and the best views of Manhattan, a visit to Brooklyn Heights Promenade is mandatory. Many couple have gotten engaged or taken wedding or engagement photos in this location because of the majesty of the Manhattan skyline in the background. In addition, since access to the park is free and open year-round it gives visitors a great destination no matter the season. Choosing to take the one-third mile walk down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of the best and most breathtaking choices any visitor to New York can make.