Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sandy blew out the lights at Brooklyn Bridge Park — now closing’s at dusk instead of 1 a.m.

 Jer Thorp and Nora Lidgus with their dog Trapper John in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They’re  upset the park has been closing at dusk because of Superstorm Sandy knocked out the lights. Sandy blew out the lights at Brooklyn Bridge Park — now closing’s at dusk instead of 1 a.m. - NY Daily News

Brooklyn’s gleaming new waterfront park is dark — and the neighbors are mad.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has been closing at dusk - 430-p.m.-ish these days - ever since Superstorm Sandy knocked out the electricity.
Park officials said repairs will be a long time coming.
The popular shorefront recreation spot might not return to its normal 1 a.m. closing time until spring when the lighting system is fixed, a park official said.
That’s riled up residents of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens who consider the 85-acre oasis their go-to place for walking and jogging after work.
“These people should have been prepared for this natural disaster,” said Mark Young, 42, a park regular who lives on Jay St. in DUMBO.
“They need to fix the lighting ASAP,” he fumed.
But the repair job can’t be rushed because of the “complexity” of the park’s lighting system, spokeswoman Teresa Gonzalez said.
Until the work is done the sundown shutdown is a must, she said: “Proper lighting of the park in the evening is a public safety issue we take very seriously.”
The fix-up may take until spring because specialized equipment must be ordered and lead times are long, she said.
The shopping list is lengthy; transformers, switch gear, breakers and fuses all need to be replaced.
Equipment that didn’t have to be thrown away must be taken apart and cleaned to get rid of salty residue that flood waters left behind.

Prompted by 4:28 p.m. December sunsets, Brooklyn Bridge Park workers patrol the grounds telling visitors to leave.
Their vigilance has ended evening walks on the shoreline for Nora Lidgus, boyfriend Jer Thorp and their dog Trapper John.
“We’re bummed out,” said Lidgus, 31. “We’re trying to wait patiently.”
The couple live on Plymouth St. in DUMBO — where Thorp, 37, finds neighborhood streets are full of dog owners displaced from the park when he takes Trapper John out for 10 p.m. strolls.
“We know our dog-walking isn’t a priority — but hopefully we can get back in the park soon,” he said wistfully.
Jen Masterson, 35, is upset she’s shut out of her favorite park at night.
“I miss it,” said the Main St. DUMBO resident who brings her dog Blue to the park’s dog run.
“I’m from New Hampshire,” she said. “This park is ‘nature’ for me.”

lcroghan@nydailynews.com