Today Mayor Bloomberg, donning a New York Red Bulls scarf, sounded a whistle to officially open the new sports fields and picnic peninsula on Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Mayor was joined by many who aided in the pier's progress, including BBP president Regina Myer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Parks Commissioner Veronica White, and of course Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz... who called upon Bloomberg to build a new Barclays-style arena in Brooklyn to house New York's soccer team, the Red Bulls, who were also on hand along with general manager Jérôme de Bontin.

The three fields (to give you an idea of size: two can be combined to create a regulation soccer field) will accommodate everything from lacrosse to rugby to cricket to flag football and ultimate Frisbee. They're made of synthetic turf which is supported by shock pad and an organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers. You can click through for a closer look at the faux grass—one local who attended the press conference was overheard asking, "Remember when kids used to play in real grass?" However, the synthetic turf will "provide padding [and] help decrease surface temperature, creating a cooler experience for teams and spectators." The fields are open now for anyone to enjoy, and BBP will begin permitting them for league play in spring 2013.

Surrounding the fields are playgrounds for children, including a tether ball area; tables and benches; BBQ grills; sweeping views; and even an area for fishing equipped with bait preparation tables and sinks.

Since the park's electrical equipment sustained significant flood damage during Hurricane Sandy, the hours will be more limited for now—"there will be no evening play until the electrical equipment that provides power to the pier lights is replaced." Myer said this should be fixed sometime "this winter."

Other sections of the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park span are still being developed, and by year's end the new pedestrian bridge connecting Pier 1 to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (via Squibb Park) will be open.