8. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Hill on Pier 1 Was Created for ‘Landscape Interest’

When a critic objected to the thirty-foot hill on Pier 1, which blocks ground-level views, Landscape Architect Michael Van Valkenburgh said that it was a frugal way to create landscape interest — particularly in the middle of the site, which Matt Urbanski, a principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., has described as a “boring place—a complete flat stretch of concrete.”

“You want to known why we put the hill on Pier 1?,” Van Valkenburgh asked. “Because we could. I mean that, because it’s the only pier that isn’t on a structure, and therefore you can pile up something heavy, and it’s not going to break the bank, which was a huge issue for this project all along.”

The hill, which catches storm water and creates microenvironments within its slopes, was constructed out of the rock that was being excavated for the construction of a Long Island Railroad tunnel under Manhattan.