In the largest contribution ever given to a city park, Joshua Rechnitz, a competitive cyclist, donated $40 million to Brooklyn Bridge Park on Thursday, report the Daily News and the New York Times. The funds come with the expectation of a giant, 115,000 foot recreation center near Pier 5 that will house a cycling racetrack (a velodrome) and various other sport facilities. In addition to Rechnitz’ gift, State Senator Daniel Squadron announced that the City would commit to $66.5 million towards the park.
The news follows last month’s announcement that the park would be receiving a three-and-a-half foot deep swimming pool in July, funded by a deal over condo construction within the park’s borders. As a result of that deal, the city obtained $750,000 for a much-wanted, temporary sports “bubble,” but the project fell through last October when it couldn’t find a developer to carry out the rest.
“I am thrilled at the magnitude and generosity of this gift, which would invigorate the park in the winter months and provide much-needed active recreation space for youth all over the borough on a year-round basis,” Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, told the Times.
The news is thrilling, but we do have one note: Hopefully developers won’t provide plans for the rec center that resemble the ones proposed for the condos— we compared those to stacks of badly made pancakes and moldy cheese graters.