Building the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
For over a decade, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) has acted as the catalyst for the development, establishment and long-term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 26-mile protected and landscaped route for pedestrians and cyclists that, when completed in 2021, will connect Brooklyn’s storied and iconic waterfront, parks and open space, commercial and cultural corridors, and new tech and innovation hubs for 2.65 million Brooklyn residents, over 1.1 million employees in Brooklyn, and 15 million annual visitors from across the City and around the world.
Maintaining the Greenway
Now that the Greenway is being implemented, BGI is planning for the long-term stewardship and
maintenance of the 26-mile route and numerous adjacent green spaces currently under development.
Naval Cemetery Landscape, developed in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Board of Directors
- Chair – Sumner Pingree
- Vice Chair – Michael Porto
Manager, City Government Affairs, Consolidated Edison Company of New York
- Secretary – Amy E. Turner
Senior Fellow, Cities Climate Law Initiative, Columbia University
- Treasurer – Ted Weissberg
Executive Chairman, Digital Marketing Institute
- Board Members
Scott Demel, Director, Marvel Architects PLLC
Michael Cairl, Senior Manager, Engineering Operations, STV Group, Incorporated
Petra T. Messick, Director, Gateway Program Planning Amtrak
Richard B. Miller, Vice President, Regulatory, Consolidated Edison Company of New York
Timothy O’Brien, Director of Compliance and Development, NYC Ferry, Operated by Hornblower
Robert Pirani, Director, NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program Hudson River Foundation
Caroline Samponaro, Head of Bike, Scooter & Pedestrian Policy, Lyft
Andrew Simons, Principal, Emphas!s Design
Michelle Young, Founder, Untapped New York
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Staff
- Terri Carta, Executive Director
Terri Carta is a leader in public space stewardship and nonprofit management. As Executive Director of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Terri is responsible for driving forward the completion and long-term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, realizing its full potential as a critical connector of people and neighborhoods, avcomponent of New York City’s sustainability and resiliency plans, and a mechanism for community-based visioning and stewardship.
Terri’s career spans leadership positions in public engagement, community development, and leadership development, most recently developing the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks where she served as its Associate Vice President. Terri previously coordinated community development, engagement, and education efforts for a watershed management project in Guinea, West Africa while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Terri has an M.S. in Ecological Teaching & Learning and a B.S. in Conservation Biology.
Terri is passionate about advancing a multidisciplinary approach to improving urban environments and the greater public realm.
- Brian McCormick, Director of Development
Since 1997, Brian has devoted his life’s work to realizing the vision of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway; initially as the Founder and Chair of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce- the all-volunteer predecessor organization of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) that planned and rallied behind safer mobility options for those moving along and to the waterfront by bike or by foot as an alternative to a major proposed expansion of a truck route in the neighborhood where he still lives and works. Brian is one of the three Co-founders who established the non-profit BGI in 2004, and has worked tirelessly since BGI’s inception to engage community, business, agency, and political stakeholders to enlist their support for the Greenway; partnerships that are necessary to secure capital commitments from the City for the ongoing construction of the Greenway -and its completion in the coming years.
Brian has served on the Boards of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association and Chaired its Park Committee, the South End Historical Society, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, Co-founded the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, and currently sits on the Board of The O’Connell Organization Family Foundation.
Among Brian’s varied interests-he is passionate about local history and historic preservation, writing poetry and composing music. On weekends, Brian enjoys experiencing and learning about the natural environment, taking in cultural activities, and the ongoing restoration of his historic home and property, in the Connecticut coastal community where he resides.
- Admir Molic, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Admir Molic is the marketing and communications coordinator for BGI. He is responsible for leading the development, coordination, and implementation of BGI’s marketing and communications efforts across a broad spectrum of platforms. In this role, Admir oversees the management of BGI’s brand, including community insights, digital marketing, creative development, media, and government communications.
Admir joined BGI in June 2019 to take on the newly created marketing and communications coordinator role. He previously served as the marketing and communications manager of New Jersey Campus Compact, and before that he was the marketing and enrollment coordinator for Kingsborough Community College. Admir is a native of Brooklyn and has a master’s degree in Marketing from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from The City University of New York. He enjoys playing basketball, advocating for political activism and being the average New Yorker.
- Danielle Knott, Naval Cemetery Landscape Coordinator
Danielle Knott is the Park Coordinator and beekeeper at the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL). She has been actively involved with beekeeping at the park since June of 2016. In 2017, she worked with City Growers and the NCL to develop curriculum for the pilot year of Brooklyn Bee Corps, a program for high school students interested in beekeeping, entrepreneurship, and community service. In 2019 she became Park Coordinator, in an effort to grow the NCL’s potential as a place for visitors to engage and interact with nature for years to come.
Hailing from the stage of Oregon, Danielle has come to love New York City through interacting with its sacred green spaces.
- Nina Bowers, Programs Coordinator
Nina Bowers is the programs coordinator for BGI. She works closely with our Executive Director to develop and maintain relationships with programming partners, community members’ and business owners to ensure quality events and programs throughout the Greenway. Prior to joining BGI Nina worked as the Operations Coordinator for Brooklyn Bridge Park. Her interest is focused on non-profits that cultivate accessible spaces to bring people together.
Originally from Boston, she is a New School alumni with a passion for filmmaking and travel. She enjoys bike riding and exploring all the different cuisines in Brooklyn.
- Hagan Knauth , Naval Cemetery Landscape Associate
Hagan Knauth is an associate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL). He is responsible for informing visitors about the NCL, photographing, studying and tending to the plants and upkeep of the space. He appreciates that every square foot of the NCL features a plethora of lifeforms both above and below ground (insects, spiders, fungi, moths, worms, butterflies, ants, bees, and more). For this reason, he encourages visitors to slow down and take a closer look.
He is a strong advocate for the conservation and preservation of public land, and a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of time spent outdoors. Originally from upstate New York, Hagan moved to Brooklyn to grow as a musician … however, the itch to be outdoors again has to lead him to split his time between the studio and the garden.
- Greg Topscher, Naval Cemetery Landscape Associate
Greg Topscher is an associate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL). He is responsible for connecting visitors to the natural and man-made history of the space, as well as working to maintain the delicate ecosystem of a reclaimed meadow and help it thrive.
He comes from a writing and art background and previously wrote and edited guides to the National Parks and Forests. He’s an enthusiastic amateur naturalist who grew up studying the birds at the backyard feeder. Prior to joining NCL Greg worked as Copy Editor and Writer for American Park Network. Greg is an owner and operator of a cut-paper stationery company and he has a Bachelor’s in English from The College of William and Mary.
- Lily Kinner, Naval Cemetery Landscape Associate
Lily Kinner is an associate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL). She is responsible for nurturing the desirable indigenous and cultivated plants in the NCL, providing information on the historical and modern significance of the space to visitors, and tracking species growth patterns and diversity within the space.
She grew up on a small farm in upstate New York, and reconnected with her horticultural roots several years ago after a career in the footwear and fashion industries. She is now a freelance landscape designer and gardener based in Brooklyn.
Charles Rubin, Information Technology
Ten Key Pros, Bookkeeping and Accounting
What is the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway?
The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway is a 26-mile landscaped route for pedestrians, runners and cyclists and will connect neighborhood parks and open spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge.
Who is Brooklyn Greenway Initiative?
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) is the 501c3 non-profit organization committed to the establishment, development and long-term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Founded in 2004, BGI works with community, business, and governmental partners to create and fulfill a comprehensive vision for the Greenway.
When will the construction of the Greenway be completed?
NYC DOT has identiﬁed 23 distinct capital projects along the Greenway. These projects will be implemented over time and as funding is made available and street reconstructions are scheduled. As DOT works to design, fund and construct the greenway route, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and Regional Plan Association are working to create and improve new green spaces along the route and maximize the “green” in the Greenway.
When will the new green spaces be completed?
Two green spaces adjacent to the Greenway have been designed, of which the Naval Cemetery Landscape will be the first to be completed in Spring of 2016, followed by Columbia Waterfront Park (an interim native grass planting was completed in Spring 2014). Additional sites along the route are being identified for future green space.
How much is the total cost to build the Greenway?
The 23 capital projects that comprise the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway range in estimated cost from $1M to $20M each. These projects will be implemented over time, as funding is made available and street reconstructions are scheduled. 5 miles of the Greenway are currently in use, and 4 additional segments are now in design and engineering.
Who will pay for the Greenway?
BGI has already secured over $20M in federal funding allocated to construction of the Greenway, and we will continue to work to secure more. NYC DOT has committed to building the Greenway as funding is made available and street reconstructions are scheduled. BGI raises the funds for its own operating budget separately – you can help by becoming a BGI member.
Can I use the Greenway today?
Yes, six miles of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway are already in place and include some of the most popular bicycle, running and pedestrian routes in the City. Altogether, this unique set of pathways, green spaces, and events taking place are transforming Brooklyn’s waterfront. View a map of the Greenway.
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) raises funds to meet its operating budget through a mix of government, foundation, corporate and individual donations. BGI also helps to secure capital funding for Greenway construction, but these funds do not underwrite BGI’s day-to-day operations. You can support BGI by becoming a member today!
Construction of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway will be funded using federal, state and city capital funds. Prior to it becoming a NYC Capital project, $20 million in federal funding had been secured:
- In 2005, $14.6 million in federal TEA-LU funding for design and construction of the Greenway and Bush Terminal Park was secured, sponsored by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez;
- In 2006, $3 million in federal capital funding was secured for the Brooklyn Navy Yard segment, through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program;
- In 2008, $2.5 million in federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) funding was secured for the West Street segment in Greenpoint, sponsored by NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT).
- In 2008, marking a further milestone, NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan greed to sponsor the federal funding and build the Greenway;
Funding Put Into Action
Capital Funding has been matched by additional state, local and federal funding and used by NYC DOT for the following capital projects:
- In 2007, NYC DOT built the first new permanent greenway segment on Columbia and Degraw Streets as a part of the $27 million Columbia/Van Brunt Streets Reconstruction Project.
- West Street in Greenpoint, a $10 million DOT project plus $5 million in NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stormwater infrastructure.
- Flushing Avenue, an $8 million NYC DOT Capital Project.
- Hamilton/Third Avenues, a $10 million NYC DOT Capital Project
- NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) used a portion of Congresswoman Velazquez’s 2005 funding to build a segment of the greenway along Bush Terminal Piers Park.
BGI secured funding for the construction of the Naval Cemetery Landscape from the following:
- NYC Council Members Steve Levin ($400,000) and Letitia James ($300,000)
- TKF Foundation ($600,000)
- NYS Department of State Environmental Protection Fund ($540,000)
In 2012, Council Member Brad Levin provided the funding for construction of the Class 1 greenway segment on Van Brunt Street between Degraw and Summit Streets. BGI installed the planting on this segment and seeded a 20-ft. strip along the Columbia Street greenway segment at the proposed Columbia Waterfront Park site with funding support from the NYS DOS EPF.
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative receives funding support for planning, programs and operations from the following government, foundation and corporate partners:
- Government Partners
- NYC Council Member Brad Lander
- NYC Council Member Steve Levin
- NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso
- NYC Council Member Carlos Menchaca
- NYS Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program under Title 11 of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund, sponsored by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
- The Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
- Foundation Partners
- Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.
- NYC Environmental Fund
- The New York Community Trust
- TKF Foundation
- Brooklyn Community Foundation
- The Charles Engelhard Foundation
- Booth Ferris Foundation
- Corporate Partners
- Con Edison
For more information about sponsorship opportunities, email Brian McCormick, Director of Development, or call 718.522.0193.
We want to hear from you!
Your ideas and questions play an important role in shaping where the greenway will go, how it will be experienced and what we can do right now to better enjoy our waterfront.
Drop Us A Line
- Write, Call or Visit
- Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
- 153 Columbia Street
- Brooklyn, NY 11231
- p:718.522.0193 / f: 718.643.6736
- email: info(at)brooklyngreenway.org
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