View Full Version : Greenways and Waterfront Development

February 11th, 2002, 11:30 AM
Waterfront Called Washout

Daily News City Hall Bureau

Acres of city-owned waterfront property are being wasted to store road salt, wash buses and even house prisoners, according to City Councilman David Yassky.

Yassky (D-Brooklyn) said this prime real estate should be transformed into parks, housing and commercial development.

"It's not 100 years ago and it's not 50 years ago, but our waterfront is designed as if it is," Yassky, who is chairman of the City Council's waterfront committee, said yesterday at a City Hall news conference.

And he plans to introduce legislation requiring the city to keep a comprehensive list of these sites and how they are being used.

Yassky appears to have an ally at the other end of City Hall.

"Mayor Bloomberg made waterfront development a centerpiece of his economic development plan during the campaign," said the mayor's press secretary, Ed Skyler. "And as he indicated in the State of the City address, reclaiming the waterfront for New Yorkers will be a priority."

Tight Budget Expected

But it's unclear how the city's projected $4 billion-plus budget gap would affect any kind of waterfront redevelopment.

The mayor is expected to unveil an austere budget plan for the next fiscal year on Wednesday that calls for belt-tightening throughout city government.

Carter Craft of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a group that supports Yassky's plan, estimated there are between 175 and 200 city-owned parcels of land along the waterfront.

Yassky said some of the waterfront properties could be developed through private and public partnerships and could help bring money into city coffers.

He was not able to say, however, how much it would cost to move facilities — such as the police tow pound in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the salt storage lot on the Harlem River and the bus wash in Bushwick, Brooklyn — to other locations.

"This is long-term investment," Yassky said. "We learned a hard lesson during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. If we stop all long-term investment, we pay for it tenfold down the road."


Original Publication Date: 2/11/02

February 14th, 2002, 06:33 AM
The development of the waterfront should have been a priority decades ago.
Now there is another one, more urgent.

July 22nd, 2003, 08:08 AM
Gotham Gazette - http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/waterfront/20030721/18/469

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway -- A Thin Green Line

by Carter Craft
July 07, 2003

When the Manhattan waterfront greenway opens in just a few weeks Mayor Michael Bloomberg will have achieved what 25 years of planners and policymakers could not: a nearly continuous waterfront esplanade (http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dcp/pdf/bike/greensys.pdf) (in pdf format) for walkers, cyclists, joggers, skaters, birdwatchers and many others in the world's most famous borough.

With this esplanade the mayor will have wiped away more than two decades of attention deficit disorder that plagued previous administrations, but the key to harnessing the waterfront to benefit the long-term growth of the city lies well beyond this thin green line. Here’s why:

Popular visions for the waterfront of the future generally swing between two extremes. The first is the sweeping green ring around the water’s edge in places like Little Neck Bay, East River Park, or along the Shore Parkway. The second vision of the waterfront is the “Gold Coast” model, where the remnants of industry are replaced with glistening towers in glass and steel.

Each of these models falls short in certain respects. One, the ribbons of green were in reality little more than decorative trim, a green lace edge alongside the massive investment of waterfront highways and parkways which themselves really cut communities off from the waterfront. The development of Hudson River Park is the most recent version of this thin green edge. The “Gold Coast” model similarly falls short as a community development tool because it generally only accommodates the high-end of the income spectrum. Herein lies the Catch-22 for post-industrial waterfront revitalization: can new life be brought to the waterfront in ways that accommodate all city-dwellers as residents and users, or will this new investment physically and economically exclude most people in favor or higher income brackets?

The city’s rezoning proposal for the waterfront of Greenpoint and Williamsburg will test this limit, and largely determine whether those casually referred to in the popular media as “inner-city” dwellers will in fact be relegated to literally inner city districts laden with asphalt and stricken with highways, or whether the city's emerging vision of a new waterfront will serve poor folks too.

One of the problems with a continuous ribbon of green is that it defies the reality that we are a city of islands. As such, we should be embracing modes of transportation that harness the waterways. In Manhattan, the city is making great efforts to expand ferry transit, with a slew of new or upgraded terminals ring the island from East 90th Street south around the Battery and north to West 38th Street (all connected by the greenway). There are efforts afoot to improve or expand landing facilities further north along the west side even as far north as Dyckman Street. But in addition to the city’s need to create new options for white collar commuters, there is a tremendous need to improve the movement of goods in and through Manhattan, home to two of the three largest central business districts in the city.

When the trend toward containerization carried the port to New Jersey nearly a half century ago, it inevitably took a lot of manufacturing and distribution facilities with it. All of these activities continued the seemingly irreversible trend towards highway and truck transport. Since that time, as traffic has increased exponentially, no new freight connections have been created. Getting a truckload of computers or foodstuffs from New Jersey to Brooklyn relies wholly on the same bridges and tunnels that existed back in the Great Depression more than 70 years ago. And Canal Street sure shows it! *

While the Manhattan waterfront greenway celebrates the fact that we are an island, it doesn’t help us address the fact that in the grand scheme of highway-dependent economics Manhattan is nothing more than a congested through route to I-95, the Cross Bronx, or the Long Island Expressway. Yes, pedestrians, cyclists, and birdwatchers vote, but it’s the tens of thousands of trucks passing through Manhattan each day that are literally and figuratively paying the freight. Just as the first layer of asphalt on this new path is being laid, neighborhoods such as Washington Heights and Chinatown are still suffering the effects of noise, vibration, and air pollution of this perpetual truck dependency.

One of the greatest benefits of the greenway plan is that it will connect activity and opportunity that already exist at the water’s edge. Fort Washington, the Battery, Stuyvesant Cove and Harlem River Park will be linked to Riverbank and Hudson River State Park as well as dozens of other attractions. Surely every waterfront neighborhood needs such green destinations at the blue water’s edge, but the city also needs places for less-appreciated activities such as the transport of garbage or generation of energy. The pending sale of the Waterside Generating Station by Con Ed, for instance, has already placed pressure on the Lower East Side by causing the expansion of the East River Generating Station. The development of Hudson River and Riverside South parks on the West Side are only creating added pressure to relocate facilities such as the 59th Street marine transfer station which moves thousands of tons of recyclable paper every day. These facilities shouldn’t be closed, they should just be engineered to perform better. In reality, Lower Manhattan probably needs a state of the art marine transfer station far more than it needs more luxury housing.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of the Manhattan waterfront greenway will not be the greenway itself, but the chain reaction of land-use pressures that heat up on the waterfronts of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. Now that Mayor Bloomberg has vanquished twenty five years of inaction for Manhattan, let’s hope he puts forth ambitious and positive plans for waterfronts of the opposite shores that have been abused or ignored for even longer.

Carter Craft, an urban planner, is program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

August 18th, 2003, 12:49 AM
August 18, 2003

Renovation Efforts Reclaim the City's Forbidden Shoreline


Runners at Stuyvesant Cove Park, a renovated waterfront on East 20th Street and the East River. Many stretches of New York City's shoreline are being revitalized.

One morning last week, Zoe Klein, a 24-year-old circus performer from Brooklyn, stood practicing her act, which involved swinging a pair of tethered balls, and stared out to the Hudson River.

"Growing up in New York, I always felt boxed in," she said. "I always knew we were surrounded by water, but it always felt dirty or inaccessible."

Actually it was not too long ago that the stretch of waterfront where she was standing was dirty and inaccessible. But it has been recently reclaimed as part of the Hudson River Park project, a lengthy effort to upgrade the West Side riverfront and install miles of landscaped public space and freshly paved pathways for runners, bikers and skaters.

Although traffic was heavy on the nearby West Side Highway, Ms. Klein said she considered the spot on the western fringe of Greenwich Village an oasis of serenity. "I come here all the time, to counteract the stress of living in the city," she said.

Things are changing along New York's waterways and waterfront, and Ms. Klein is not the only one noticing. City residents are now zealously embracing the waterfront.

Yoga groups convene on a Hudson River promenade just south of West 72nd Street on what was once a fallow railyard. Fishermen are casting for schools of striped bass off the Battery. And the Downtown Boathouse offers free kayaking programs.

"New York is a water city — we're the Venice of the East Coast — but for a good part of the 1900's, the city turned its back on the waterfront," said John Waldman, the senior scientist with the Hudson River Foundation. "Now we're turning around and discovering it."

Cleaner waters have encouraged many revitalization projects along the city's 578 miles of shoreline. Despite economic hard times, waterfront development projects are proliferating from Staten Island to the Bronx.

"The development of the waterfront is one of the Bloomberg administration's most critical economic and neighborhood priorities," said Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. "With maritime industry uses gone or fading, we can reclaim parts of the shoreline. We have a once-in-a-century opportunity to reclaim New York City's waterfront, so we're seeing a lot of things beginning to come together."

In Manhattan, progress is being made on the $400 million Hudson River Park park project to reclaim five miles of ramshackle waterfront from Battery Park City to 59th Street. There are also plans to revitalize the Harlem Piers, renovate Fulton Street and create a "Champs-Élysées"-style promenade on West Street.

In Queens, the Queens West project has two residential towers up and another planned, and there are proposals to create new access to Jamaica Bay and the Flushing River waterfront. The city hopes to create a waterfront Olympic Village for 2012 in Long Island City.

In Brooklyn, plans to develop 1.3 miles around the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges into commercial and recreation space are on tap, as is a revitalization project for a 1.6-mile stretch of industrial waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

In the Bronx, there are plans to redevelop the waterfront near Yankee Stadium and the Bronx River. In Staten Island, city officials hope to redevelop the former Homeport Navy site, and a new pier at South Beach is almost complete.

Four of New York City's five boroughs are part of an urban archipelago. This was one of the big draws for the Dutch, who built wharves in southern Manhattan in the 1600's. As commercialism began to grow, waterfront structures began blocking views and access. And the less-than-savory sailors and dock hands made the waterfront synonymous with mob activity, prostitution and crime.

So New Yorkers avoided the water, wrote Luc Sante in "Low Life," his book on New York's underbelly. Mr. Sante noted that Fifth Avenue became the most desirable residential address because it was farthest away from the Hudson and the East River.

Early in the 20th century, highways were built blocking the shoreline, which was thick with freighters and ocean liners. The fishing industry declined as the waters became more polluted. Foul water also meant the end of Whitehall rowboats off the Battery and grand boathouses and swim clubs with staircases descending into the water.

"For generations, the river was considered an unpleasant place to go," said the city's parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe. "It was where you put slaughterhouses and where poor kids went to swim."

By midcentury, manufacturing began to decline and many piers became inactive. Still, the city's nautical life was reduced to tiny pockets, like Broad Channel and City Island.

But the federal 1972 Clean Water Act and better sewage treatment practices improved water quality. Starting in the 1980's, industrial waterfront stretches began to be redeveloped into residential or recreational areas, including Battery Park City and Chelsea Piers.

The once dying ferry industry has recently been revived. Developers and city officials continue to see new opportunity in the old wharfs and dilapidated shoreline buildings.

So New York is finally shaking off a legacy of the padlocked waterfront, and undergoing a "mindset change," said Raymond Gastil, author of "Beyond the Edge: New York's New Waterfront" (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002).

"The idea that you can go kayaking off a pier in downtown Manhattan is a pretty bold expectation," he said, "but one that is being realized."

Carter Craft, program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a division of the Municipal Art Society that advocates for more public access to the shoreline and more water transit, said that the "change in New Yorkers' consciousness" certainly helps economic revitalization. But he said that waterfront parks should do more than just lead people to the water. "There are still relatively few ways for Manhattan Islanders to actually interact with the water," he said. "The current park designs are not as boater-friendly as they should be. The waterfront should not be an edge, but rather a gateway."

Even as a work in progress, the transformation of the waterfront is something the city is pretty proud of. The Parks Department is planning an opening ceremony later this month for an interim bike path around the perimeter of Manhattan.

"Opening the waterfront for recreational use in the 21st Century is as important at the creation of Central Park, Prospect Park and Riverside Park in the 19th Century," said Mr. Benepe of the Parks Department.

Last week, Jose Gerald, 65, a retired merchant seaman from Carroll Gardens, was fishing off the Valentino Pier in Red Hook

Mr. Gerald, who moved here from Puerto Rico, has been fishing at this spot for 45 years, looking for blackfish, blues, porgies and striped bass.

"Forty years ago, the water was filthy," he said. "Now it's beautiful. Before nobody wanted to eat the fish. Now everybody wants to eat the fish. Now you even see some kids swimming over here some times. I don't know the name, but the fishing ducks are back."

The same day, a man sat on the waterfront in upper Manhattan with no fishing pole, but rather a bottle of beer in his hand.

The man, a pay phone repairman named Robert K. Morton, sat at a table set outside at the Tubby Hook Cafe at Dyckman Street and the Hudson River. The cafe offers spectacular views of the river, of the George Washington Bridge and the Palisade cliffs.

"When you sit out here, you don't think you're in Washington Heights," Mr. Morton said, squeezing a lime into his beer. "I work for the phone company and I get to go all over. It doesn't get any better than this."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

August 21st, 2003, 03:59 PM
Venice in New York

At a time when everyone is looking how to fix the electrical grid because of the ’03 blackout, we shouldn’t confine ourselves to thinking of repairing the past without looking at some truly magnificent opportunities for the future. New Yorkers live surrounded by one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and most never give it a single thought. We’re talking, of course, about the waterfront, those extraordinary 578 miles of shoreline which range throughout the city and have the potential to become an urban attraction to rival Central Park. Given the city’s abundance of waterways, New York is indeed "the Venice of the East Coast," as John Waldman, the senior scientist at the Hudson River Foundation, recently told The New York Times. But instead of drawing the millions of tourists who flock to that Italian city by the sea, New York’s shoreline has been underused for decades, more of an embarrassment than a world-class tourist destination. The city’s waterfront policy has been characterized by neglect and abandonment, a place where pathology and crime have been allowed to flourish despite much rhetoric.

Fortunately, Mayor Michael Bloomberg—who announced in his first State of the City address that he intended to bring new life to the waterfront—is committed to taking action. Already under his watch, the city has proposed rezoning the Brooklyn shore area for housing, completed a bike path around Manhattan and developed new links to the lower Manhattan waterfront. Many New Yorkers have seen the progress on the $400 million Hudson River Park project between Battery Park City and 59th Street. And as The Times noted, there are plans to redevelop the area around the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, the waterfront near Yankee Stadium and the Harlem Piers. The city’s parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, deserves praise for making the shorefront a priority of his department.

But the city and the state should put far more money into the waterfront, and secure federal funding as well. To take just one example of an untapped natural resource, look at the Harlem River. A sizable public investment along with private donations could reface that entire shoreline, spruce up the bridges, build condos, boating facilities and restaurants, and transform the area into something resembling the Grand Canal. Tourists and residents would be drawn there, all of Harlem would benefit economically, and what is now totally wasted space would become a showcase attraction.

And it’s not just the area around Manhattan which is ripe for development. Look at the remarkable number of bays and canals in every borough, such as the Rockaway Inlet, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend Bay, the Gowanus Canal, Little Neck Bay, the Bronx River—not to mention the shorefront of Staten Island. Any Governor or Mayor with real vision could put the most extraordinary development in the 21st century into play. And if the Bush administration were wise, it would invest heavily in such a history-making project. If the federal government were to take the money from the space program and invest it in New York’s waterways, they’d see huge, bankable returns. Indeed, while the government of Italy spends billions on Venice, Florence and Rome, and the government of France spends billions on Paris, the U.S. government spends zero on New York. This is not only shortsighted from a cultural point of view, it’s also a lost opportunity to create a permanent source of tax revenue.

To put it simply, a full-scale investment in New York’s waterfront would benefit everyone. Imagine going for a candle-lit dinner and a gondola ride on the Harlem River.


Gotham Gazette - http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/waterfront/20030821/18/500

Will The Bountiful Triangle Return?

by Carter Craft
August 08, 2003

New York started with a single island. That first island was not Manhattan, but "Nut" Island, now called Governors Island. But the colonists soon expanded to Manhattan and then to Brooklyn. For more than three centuries, the focal point of life in New York City was the bountiful triangle of water, bounded by Brooklyn, Governors Island, and Manhattan. What was once the heart of the city now offers an extraordinary opportunity once again - if we take it.

Governors Island

The first European colonists in our area only took Manhattan after they had a secure foothold on Governors Island. Now, the roles are reversed. Earlier this year the state and city announced the formation of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation. As part of the deal with the federal government which allowed the return of the island to state control, some type of educational facility is planned. A family entertainment center and artisan workspaces also seem to be on the list. Just last month, the new preservation corporation opened the gate to the island for public tours which are available to both individuals and groups. Wildly popular, (with long waiting lists each week) the collaboration between the preservation corporation, the National Park Service, and the handful of civics involved in organizing the tours (now extended through October) bodes well for the creative problem solving that the island demands. But will the novelty wear off?

Redevelopment of the island is hamstrung by two factors. The first is that nobody uses it now; it is not part of modern New York. Then, the island is accessible only by a ferry from Lower Manhattan and the price of this centuries-old disconnect grows higher. One way to cultivate visitation might be to link with other harbor attractions now. If art and craftsmanship is part of the future of the island then perhaps links to the gallery districts in Chelsea or DUMBO could be created. If tourism is anticipated to become a driving force then the 3+ million annual visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island may want to come learn about New York's colonial history as well.


Brooklyn is close by, with a silent fleet of barges, lighters and container ships passing through Buttermilk Channel daily. Just last year, the state, city, and Port Authority took an important step in creating Brooklyn Bridge Park by consolidating Fulton Ferry Park with a patchwork of city and Port Authority controlled piers (numbered one to five) and other properties between the Manhattan Bridge and south almost to Atlantic Avenue. Now a second phase of planning has been initiated to the south along Piers six to 12 extending down around Atlantic Basin and into Red Hook.

Before any new structures have been built, concerns about commercial development versus open space are growing loud. The Church of Latter Day Saints, for example, has expressed its intent to sell its building on Furman Street, and this prime waterfront property could tie together two currently separated areas of the waterfront (Piers one to five, and Piers six to 12).

South of Atlantic Avenue along Buttermilk Channel, the wave of waterfront redevelopment seems to be crashing up against the bulkhead of Brooklyn maritime activity on Piers six to 12. At this confluence of the Channel, the East River, and the harbor the ecology within the water is almost as complicated as the political ecology on the land. The crux of the issue seems to be whether maritime and port land use still makes sense in this area (a report is expected in late September). Divergent visions for this area defined by Atlantic Avenue to the north and Atlantic Basin to the south range from a new Carnival Cruise Terminal, a beverage distribution center, or a southward extension of Brooklyn Bridge Park. A recent planning exercise by the New Amsterdam Development Corporation showed how low-scale housing might look where containers are now stacked four and six high.

The undeniable physical reality is that on an island home to more than seven million people, maritime trade and transit has to make sense somewhere. In a city where traffic congestion approaches lunacy levels on a near-daily basis, we have to cultivate and stabilize water- based alternatives not just for people but for goods as well.

East River Piers

Across from the Brooklyn Piers are the East River Piers of Manhattan. The canal on Broad Street that brought trade right to the door of today's Stock Exchange has long been filled in, and the river segregated from the prime office district of Lower Manhattan by a highway that is simply too big for its place in the city. Recently the Bloomberg administration convened an advisory committee to ponder new plans for the area that emphasize housing. A consultant is being sought to help think through the challenge of appending this waterfront to the body of Lower Manhattan. While housing needs are pressing, we can't forget what brought us to this spot on the island nearly 400 years ago: transportation.

Yes, Lower Manhattan is important for the commercial, cultural and corporate identities that are all embedded in the words "New York City." But this stretch of Lower Manhattan is even more significant because it's the one place in the city where the water and land transportation systems come together -- where the subway comes right to the water's edge.

Between the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and the Pier 11/ Wall Street Ferry pier lie probably the most underutilized stretch of waterfront in any part of New York City. This area was the commercial and transportation heart of New Amsterdam, largely because it was where the East, the Hudson, and the Harbor converged. Today, the Staten Island Ferry, the Battery Maritime Building (terminal for the Governors Island Ferry), the Port Authority heliport, and the Pier 11 Ferry Terminal at Wall Street make for a linear transit district that could be the basis for tremendous growth if they can be better connected, and possibly bolstered with new transportation uses.

What the Dutch knew and we seem to have forgotten, is that the value of waterfront lies not just in the return on investment, but how the water itself is used. From the founding of New Amsterdam on Governors Island to the creation of the first regularly scheduled ferry service between the shores of Brooklyn and Manhattan in 1642, the connections that were made between these areas over a just a quarter century fueled the growth and enabled a prosperity that lasted over 300 years. We have an opportunity to bring this area to prominence once again.

Carter Craft, an urban planner, is program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (http://www.waterwire.net).

August 21st, 2003, 04:13 PM
Just don't take money from the space program. They're hypocrites if they do; it's far more important in the long run than the waterfront.

September 30th, 2003, 07:29 PM
PR- 271-03
September 30, 2003


Mayor Fulfills State of the City Pledge To Create 32-Mile Continuous Loop Around Manhattan And Increase Access To The Waterfront

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the first phase of the project to complete the Manhattan Greenway has been achieved at the historic Harlem Speedway, the newest portion of the trail in Northern Manhattan. During his 2002 State of the City Address, the Mayor pledged to create an interim, continuous 32-mile pathway all the way around Manhattan, and today’s announcement marks the completion of the City/State effort towards realizing that goal. Over the last ten years, various City and State agencies have built portions of the Manhattan Greenway but not until this year had they worked together to connect the existing portions. This phase of the plan uses $6 million in City and State funds to connect existing waterfront esplanades, create new waterfront pathways and, where necessary, establishes on-street routes that will serve as interim links between the waterfront paths. The 32-mile trail around the island of Manhattan provides cyclists, joggers and pedestrians with a continuous route that includes over 23 miles of waterfront pathways and facilitates access to over 1,500 acres of parkland throughout the borough.

NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Boardman representing the Governor, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba, and Olympic cyclists Deirdre Murphy and Oscar Pineda joined the Mayor at the Harlem River Speedway for the announcement.

“Today’s announcement is the fruit of our collective labor, and is indicative of this administration’s commitment as outlined in my State of the City address, to restore access to our great waterfront and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Too much of our 578 miles of riverbank and coastline had been inaccessible and neglected for too long. This phase of the Manhattan Greenway builds on the amazing work of the past ten years to complete a 32-mile continuous trail and I will continue to work with Governor Pataki to improve this path and reclaim more of our Manhattan waterfront.”

“The creation of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway continues our commitment to providing pedestrian-friendly options for commuters and recreational cyclists, in-line skaters, runners, and others, while simultaneously giving New Yorkers access to their majestic waterfront,” said Governor Pataki. “Together with Mayor Bloomberg and the people of this great City, we will continue to work to improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers for generations to come.”

“This is an important day in Manhattan as we open a key stretch of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway,” said Manhattan Borough President Fields. “We must continue to find new ways to increase access to the waterfront so we can enjoy the great features of this borough by bike and by foot, up close and naturally.”

In 1993, the Department of City Planning issued a Greenway Plan for the City, which called for the development of a 350-mile network of greenways through all five boroughs including a continuous waterfront greenway around the island of Manhattan. At that time, only six miles of the waterfront were accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. Since that time, City and State agencies have built portions of the greenway but until 2003, had not worked together to connect the existing portions of the pathways. With $4.5 million in City funds and $1.5 million in State funds, first phase of the plan to connect the entire Manhattan Waterfront Greenway has been completed.

To coordinate construction of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the Mayor’s Office under the direction of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Dan Doctoroff, forged a working group including NYC’s Parks & Recreation, Department of Transportation, Economic Development Corporation and Department of City Planning. To complete the path, the team worked in conjunction to:

Pave over three miles of path in city parks
Make improvements to over 6.8 miles of on-street routes
Build 14 new pedestrian ramps
Create six new crosswalks
Manufacture and install over 750 Greenway signs
The working group also partnered with the State Department of Transportation, which, in addition to constructing the Harlem River Speedway on-ramp, created a new safety fencing system along the FDR Drive between 13th and 15th Streets.
The announcement occurred at the Harlem River Speedway, a two-mile stretch of waterfront open space that runs adjacent to the Harlem River between 163rd and Dyckman Streets. As part of that effort, Parks & Recreation built a bike and pedestrian path along the Speedway, the NYC Economic Development Corporation reinforced Greenway infrastructure and the NYS Department of Transportation built an exclusive bike and pedestrian ramp at the southern end of the Speedway. Built in 1898 as a racing ground for the carriages of the City’s elite, the Speedway had fallen in to disrepair and, since the mid-1960’s offered severely limited access to the general public.

In addition to the Harlem River Speedway, City and State agencies collaborated on uniform signage for the entire length of the Manhattan Greenway to safely guide users, particularly bikers, along the path with recognizable trailblazers. For example, the entire route is marked with the Greenway logo, a round, green medallion, and includes directional signage and indicates areas where the Greenway widens to provide two paths – one for pedestrians and one for cyclists. In addition, where necessary, on-street signage exists to provide links between Greenway portions.

“I commend the Mayor and Governor’s commitment to creating the Manhattan Greenway system throughout the City of New York,” said Parks Commissioner Benepe. “This phase of the Greenway will not only link New Yorkers to their waterfront, but to expanded recreational opportunities for walking, jogging, biking, and in-line skating, improving the health and well being of New Yorkers of all ages. While New Yorkers travel along the Greenway, they can enjoy over 1,500 acres of City and State parklands. We ask that bicyclists and skaters go cautiously and yield to pedestrians.”

“At DOT, we have enjoyed working cooperatively with the Mayor, with other City agencies and State agencies on this exciting project,” said DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. “We were involved on many levels, most notably, in implementing street markings and signs. New York City is a great walking City and it is a great City for people for bicycles. We are creating a tremendous opportunity here for the bicycling community, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The next phase of the completion of the Greenway includes The Battery, now an interim route, which will have a world-class bikeway around its perimeter connecting the East and Hudson Rivers. The Battery project will advance as soon as plans for the MTA’s 1/9 South Ferry Station project and the State DOT reconstruction of Battery Place are finalized. Secondly, the City is working with State DOT to improve the connection from 25th to 41st Streets. Parks and the Economic Development Corporation are working with the United Nations on a proposal to create an esplanade and greenway connection from East 41st to 51st Streets should the UN’s consolidation plan advance. Thirdly, plans for creating a waterfront connection through Riverside Park between 83rd and 91st Streets are in the design phase and the City is working to secure remaining capital dollars needed to construct this segment of the path. Fourth, the fully funded West Harlem Piers is expected to be complete in spring 2005. Lastly, the City will build the second phase of Harlem River Park from East 139th to 142nd Street path in next two years, thereby extending the newly completed first phase of the park from 135th to 139th Streets.

To obtain a hardcopy of the Manhattan Greenway map, New Yorkers can call 311 or download it from the City’s website at www.nyc.gov .


Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958

Mollie Fullington (Governor) (212) 681-4640

Megan Sheekey (Parks)
(212) 360-1311

Tom Cocola (DOT)
(212) 442-7033

Greenway Map (http://www.nyc.gov/html/edc/pdf/greenway_mapside.pdf)

Greenway Brochure (http://www.nyc.gov/html/edc/pdf/greenway_broside.pdf)

Guide Book To Walking Manhattan's Rim (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=218)

Biking in New York City (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=323)

October 1st, 2003, 09:51 AM
This is a major accomplishment and one of the finer, higher-minded visions this city has undertaken. Too bad it gets lost in the news.

December 17th, 2003, 08:18 PM
Innovative Designs Along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway (http://www.transalt.org/press/magazine/034Fall/05greenway.html)

December 18th, 2003, 09:51 AM
This was one thing that surprised me about Brooklyn Heights. With such an affluent area, to have a wide unobstructed view of the DPW buildings and the salt storage was a bit of a surprise...

December 18th, 2003, 11:06 AM
It will be a great park soon...


December 27th, 2003, 05:06 PM
It will be a great park soon...


That link gives you a good (but outdated) view of the park. There's more news here:


It seems like it's been a LONG time since they released the original master plan (found at the first site). I've read about a lot of changes to it including:

• The cove will no longer be converted to a marsh, in response to local environmentalists convincing architects that they existing eco-system is precious.

• Pier 6 now appears to be almost certain to be included in the park plan.

•*Conflicting reports of what to do with the art deco building under the Brooklyn Bridge. It wil either be razed, truncated (to allow unobstructed views down the shoreline of the park) or remain as is. (9/11 created an additional hurdle/complication as City's FEMA office, formerly housed in the Twin Towers was moved there).

I wish they'd release a revised Master Plan. Maybe they will soon.

Next Public Meeting: January 8, 2004 The Coalition's Neighborhood Advisory Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition Offices, 334 Furman Street at the corner of Joralemon.*

The committee meets regularly on the first Thursday of the month to discuss issues regarding the development of the Park.* Open to the public.*
RSVP to info@bbpc.net by e-mail, or by calling (718) 802-0603.

January 23rd, 2004, 05:16 AM
Gotham Gazette - http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/waterfront/20040123/18/849

Eight Ways To A Better Future Now

by Carter Craft
January 01, 2004

With talk of a new stadium for the Jets, new buildings for the site of the World Trade Center, and the possibility that the Olympics will come to the city in 2012, New Yorkers seem to be focusing lately on the future, and hoping for a glorious one.

This has happened before – in the World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1964, for example – and, just as with those ambitious projects, the advocates envisioning an Olympics 2012 in New York City promise investments in preparation for the games that will result in permanent improvements in the city’s waterfront and waterfront communities. But those who remember past promises of future glory know that many of the shining new pools and shimmering lakes have turned into decrepit pools and silted-in lakes.

In any case, we shouldn't have to stay in a holding pattern until July 2005 (when the 2012 Olympics host city will be announced) in order to make improvements. There is much to improve right now.

A. Embrace the Water

1) In the city's rush to revitalize the waterfront, we are overlooking the most important physical asset: the water itself. We should make water usage and water dependency a priority for waterfront land use policy. In 2002, the city conducted their first ever inventory of publicly owned waterfront. Now we need to take the next step and identify those inlets, bays, creeks and reaches of rivers where in-water opportunities exist.
2) The city has nearly a dozen marinas, stretching from Throgs Neck to Jamaica Bay. Too many of these places are viewed as physical blights rather than community assets. The city parks department should conduct a review of all municipal marinas and explore new partnerships with community-based organizations, particularly the variety of young and upstart rowing and boating programs.

3) Many great waterfront cities have a dock master, someone who understands the physical characteristics of the water (and the submerged lands, pile fields, and ship wrecks underneath) and can advise other agencies, communities, and waterway users on how that area can be used and maintained. New York should consider this as well.

B. Face up to End-of-Pipe and Bottom-of-Pail Problems

4) The greatest threat to water quality is our waste. One type of waste is the oily, polluted runoff from streets, highway and roofs that comes with every Nor'easter or summer downpour. In such a heavily paved environment as New York, every serious rain event makes our beaches unswimmable and our fish and crabs inedible. Our current municipal strategy for dealing with storm water is to build giant containment tanks that can capture and hold the "storm surges," as they are called. This end-of-pipe "solution," however, is perpetuating the dangerous trend of creating a whole new infrastructure that future generations will have to pay to maintain. To look at it another way, our gas taxes are being used to build new transportation facilities, which create more runoff. Then our water rates are raised to help pay for the new infrastructure needed to capture this runoff. It's a vicious cycle that is also costing us billions.

Rather than have tax- and rate payers perpetuating the problem of endemic over-paving, the city should institute a "Zero Tolerance for Polluted Runoff." This comprehensive greening program would include new wetland buffers at the water's edge, a giant green grid of new street and sidewalk trees throughout the city, and green roofs on buildings.

5) With two of the city's largest central business districts located on the island of Manhattan, we need more marine transfer facilities in midtown and downtown.

C. Invest In Better Mobility

6) Air quality is threatened with the growth of marine transit for goods, for people, and for trash. On the water, so-called "marine engines" are not regulated by the EPA as are land-based engines. New York City, home of the most famous ferry service in the nation, should invest in clean fuel technology to help our fleet get to the forefront of marine transit. The Staten Island Ferry will be 100 years old next year. We should make a more substantive investment in its long-term success that lasts long after the inevitable blue and orange balloons have gone flat.
7) Truck traffic exacts a tremendous toll on the physical infrastructure of the city, from the cobblestone streets of Soho to the structural steel and deck plates of the river crossings. The movement of goods is critical to keeping New York a center of world trade and business.

The city should look at truck ferries as a way to reduce truck traffic and increase the reliability with which goods are delivered. New freight ferries from the Greenville Yards in Jersey City to Brooklyn Army Terminal on Atlantic Avenue could help reduce truck traffic along other congested routes such as the Verrazzano Bridge or Gowanus Expressway.

8) And last, with long-range planning back in vogue for the first time in over a decade, the city should put stock into other long-range planning efforts now ongoing. City University's Gotham Center is looking ahead to "NY2050," and a "Comprehensive Port Improvement Plan" is looking ahead as far as 2063.

Carter Craft, an urban planner, is program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (http://www.waterwire.net).

February 4th, 2004, 12:45 PM

TLOZ Link5
February 4th, 2004, 01:31 PM
Maybe a fast ferry to Albany? Rochester will soon have such a link to Toronto, and a similar route between the City and the Capital would improve links between downstate and upstate, as well as help out the economy up there.

February 7th, 2004, 01:27 AM
Downtown Express (http://www.downtownexpress.com/)

Ball fields near completion; East R. walkway plan to begin

By Albert Amateau

The $50-million reconstruction of the East River Park promenade, stretching from Jackson St. on the Lower East Side to E. 12th St. and closed for more than two years, is scheduled to begin this autumn.

The 1.25-mile park project, outlined at a Jan. 27 Community Board 3 meeting and eagerly awaited by East Village and Lower East Side residents, is scheduled to open in stages, the first 2,000 sq. feet in the summer of 2005.

The entire promenade along the East River is to be completed by the summer of 2006, according to Lawrence Mauro, project manager for the Department of Parks and Recreation, who made the presentation with Elaine Crowley, administrator of city parks in District 3, and John Williams, of MKW Associates, landscape architect for the project.

“After the promenade is finished, we’ll begin work on the bikeway that runs on the western side of the park along the F.D.R. Drive’” Mauro said.

The new promenade will include two “embayments” or inlets, one just south and the other just north of Houston St. “They will bring some East River water into the park,” said Williams. Plans call for bridges across the openings of the bays in addition to the broader walkways curving around them.

A new entrance to the park will be built south of Jackson St. and the reconstructed promenade will have new benches and lighting.

Four new ball fields near Houston St., currently being built as a separate project with funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. are expected to open this spring. Two of the fields will be natural grass and two will be artificial turf.

The amphitheater at Grand St., renovated two years ago, will get a new paint job and a new handicap access ramp. The project will include new bathrooms and a reconstruction fireboat station at Grand St. But there is no funding yet to refurbish any other buildings in the park, Mauro said.

The width of the promenade will vary from 18 to 32 feet with plazas carved out in the widest areas. Bordering trees, some planted 60 years ago when the promenade was built on pilings in the river, will be saved and replanted if healthy and replaced where necessary.

The promenade was closed in the summer of 2001 when a Department of Parks survey determined that many of the piles that support the deck were being destroyed by a combination of marine borers and dry rot. The plan then was to complete the reconstruction in two years, “barring unforeseen circumstances.” The World Trade Center attack interrupted the plans.

The project will require the removal of two Con Edison electrical feeder cables and an abandoned fuel line that run the length of the promenade. The electrical cables will be relocated to the bike path along the F.D.R. Drive, Mauro said.

The project will go out to bid this spring, contract approval is expected in July and construction will begin in the autumn, Mauro said.


Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

April 24th, 2004, 09:58 PM
April 25, 2004


As the East River Is Transformed, Industrial Nostalgia Takes Hold


Sean Kelly

THE East River has been the city's digestive system. Unlike its sparkling sibling, the Hudson, it has belched with industry for years and unflinchingly done its part in processing the city's solid waste.

Now, as developers are spending $4.25 billion to create more than 2.3 million square feet of office space and 6,000 units of housing along the East River, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is working to save what remains of the river's industrial past.

"If we don't save some of this history while it's out there, we're going to end up looking like the Gold Coast of New Jersey," said Carter Craft, the director of the alliance, referring to the many shiny residential buildings that have popped up across the Hudson facing Manhattan.

Last year, the group got a $40,000 state grant in part to create an East River Industrial Heritage Trail, which would offer intrepid boaters and curious citizens guides to long-forgotten spots like the Greenpoint Terminal Market in Brooklyn, the old captain's boathouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the Fulton Ferry Fireboat House.

The group is also exploring new uses for some old sites. It hopes to transform a sludge tank in Greenpoint into a public swimming pool, and make the old ferry terminal at East 132nd Street in Manhattan - now a mass of decayed gray pilings - into a boat launch.

On a recent Saturday, Mr. Craft led a tour of the 27 industrial sites that the alliance has already identified. The tour boat, a 25-year-old trawler, left from a little marina on 23rd Street and spent three hours crisscrossing the East River.

The water itself was a flat gray that day. Outside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a barge called Matilde was loaded with cement, and a yellow Caterpillar made small progress scooping large piles of sand. The chemical-sweet smell of industry hung in the air.

Just ahead was the old captain's boathouse, a humble steel shed. Mr. Craft envisions it as a water taxi station.

Farther north, an old man stood in the parking lot of the Costco in Long Island City, Queens, and fished. At Hunts Point in the Bronx, the wind picked up. The abandoned South Bronx Marine Transfer Station, which sits near the mouth of the Bronx River, is a weary-looking gray-green shed punched with holes. The waterfront alliance would like to see the structure converted into a transportation hub, in part for goods headed for Hunts Point and the new Fulton Fish Market.

All in all, the East River remains a largely ruined landscape, lined with wild marsh grass, the back ends of school buses, humps of dry dirt, razor wire, railroad tracks vanquished by rust, 11 power stations that spin fine ribbons of steam and four waste-treatment plants.

That's what Mr. Craft likes about it. "The East River has been the kidneys, liver, spleen and urethra of New York City," he said. "That has sort of stigmatized the river over our modern history. The reality is there is nothing we should be ashamed of. We eat, we drink, we throw things away, we go to the bathroom. We manufacture things."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


May 11th, 2004, 04:58 PM
Waterfront designers named

May 11, 2004

The city has hired Richard Rogers Partnership and Sharples Holden and Pasquarelli Architects to be lead consultants for a design team that will produce a master plan for redeveloping the East River waterfront.

Economic Development Corp. President Andrew Alper and Director of City Planning Amanda Burden also announced Tuesday that there will be a series of public meetings in June to present preliminary concepts for the waterfront area, which stretches from Battery Park to the Lower East Side.

The master plan, which is expected to be completed in early 2005, will focus attention on the Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Chinatown and Lower East Side communities, and "finally connect them to the East River waterfront," the city said in a press release.

Tuesday’s announcement comes five months after Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his $10 billion "vision for lower Manhattan." That plan included a tunnel under the East River to create a nonstop ride from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy airport, new housing, a new public market on Fulton Street, theaters, galleries and museums.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

May 13th, 2004, 02:59 AM
May 13, 2004


Planners Consider a Riverfront Without the F.D.R. Drive


AS Boston dismantles its Central Artery, the elevated roadway that stood forbiddingly between downtown and the waterfront, New York City officials are asking whether it is time to take down the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, the elevated roadway that stands forbiddingly between downtown and the waterfront.

Demolition of the F.D.R. viaduct will be considered by the city's newly designated planning consultants for the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan: the Richard Rogers Partnership of London, a leading British architectural firm, and SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli, a seven-year-old firm whose office is downtown.

It is an article of faith among planners that cities ought to be reunited with their waterfronts. For instance, the colossal structural centipede known as the Central Artery is now being dismantled as part of the Big Dig project, leaving Bostonians to marvel at swaths of sky they have never seen before or to celebrate the return of a more human scale to the downtown cityscape, even if they have no idea what will come next.

Opening up such space along the East River has an innate appeal.

"Certainly, in concept it's something you'd like to do," Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said yesterday. But much depends on the cost, the potential financing sources and the impact on traffic, he said. "I don't think we go into this with any preconceived notions of what ought to happen."

Gregg Pasquarelli, a principal in SHoP, said, "We're looking at what it means to leave it up and what it means to take it down." They will also look at hybrid ideas, he said, taking as one starting point a conceptual plan prepared in 2002 for the Alliance for Downtown New York and Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan.

That plan, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Greenberg Consultants; and Ove Arup & Partners, recommended dividing the drive south of the Brooklyn Bridge into a roadway and promenade. The plan said that the viaduct was wider there than it needed to be for traffic and that a promenade on the river side would yield unobstructed views of the harbor.

The underside of the viaduct, the plan said, could be transformed from a parking lot into a sheltered colonnade, dotted with retail and food pavilions and seating areas.

Marilyn Jordan Taylor, a partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said yesterday that the planning team had looked at keeping the F.D.R. Drive as it is or moving it to street level, where it would become a wide boulevard like West Street.

"It seemed a little ironic," Ms. Taylor said, "to take it down, put the traffic at grade and create a bigger barrier for pedestrians to have to cross."

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill applied for the East River planning contract under a request for proposals issued by the city's Economic Development Corporation, in consultation with the City Planning Department. So did Diller + Scofidio, which offered a wildly imaginative East River megastructure, with a floating forest and a sandy beach, as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's "Vision for Lower Manhattan" in 2002.

"Either the city felt that this was exactly what they don't want," Ricardo Scofidio said yesterday, "or there were legitimate proposals that were stronger than ours."

Acknowledging that a "lot of very good ideas" were presented in recent years for the East River waterfront, Mr. Doctoroff said: "We wanted to take a fresh look. We also have to be mindful of the financial resources that exist."

BESIDES SHoP and the Rogers firm, the winning team includes the landscape architect Ken Smith and the engineering concern Buro Happold, which worked with SHoP on the Rector Street pedestrian bridge and with Rogers on the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England. Lord Rogers is already working with Silvercup Studios on a master plan for a mixed-use development on a waterfront site in Long Island City, Queens.

In Manhattan, from Battery Park to East River Park, the city wants the planning consultants to "create a range of development scenarios," including "new and traditional waterfront uses, aesthetic improvements and enhancements of the ecological habitat." After six public meetings and a winnowing process, they are to be finished next February.

Amanda M. Burden, the director of the City Planning Department, said yesterday that a "very important motivation for this initiative was to strengthen the financial district" by improving its connections to the riverfront. She is clearly open to a plan that does not reflexively regard the F.D.R. viaduct as a barrier.

"It has fantastic proportions," she said, "in the sense that it is wide enough and tall enough that there can be great spaces under there." Ms. Burden wants the planning consultants "to really think creatively about how to populate the understructure all year round." She was bold enough to propose dance performances, by way of example.

And after a waterfront tour during yesterday's downpour, she noted another advantage. "I was just walking under it in the rain," Ms. Burden said. "The canopy may be an important element to keep."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 13th, 2004, 11:22 AM
There are definitely positives and negatives for each, but the main thing is that planning is in the works. it has to start somewhere. Iron out the financiing, etc. later.

It's great to see the city really looking at waterfront development and access. For too many years, it boggles the mind, NYC has had virtually nothing to do with its 500 plus miles of waterfront. What a waste and a disgrace. This city should be number 1 in the world for waterfront access, recreation, etc. (or at least close to the top).

The FDR sucks and is in shambles, but it would cost too much to bury it. I'm all for Battery Park City-like development. Hey, it's pretty much worked before, plus now we can improve on the past.

At any rate, very encouraging news.

May 13th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Sorry, this will be a review or sorts, but I just thought it might be nice to see all the current and proposed waterfront developments in the city (I'm sure I'll miss some, so please add to it if you wish).

1. Hudson River Park
2. East River Development Plan
3. Harlem River Park Proposal
4. Cruise Lines
5. Trump Place and Park
6. West Harlem Park Development

1. Queens West
2. Arverne by the Sea

1. Brooklyn Bridge Park
2. Williamsburg/Greenpoint Waterfront Rezoning Proposal
3. DUMBO-area development
4. Coney Island Master Plan Development
5. Oceana Condo complex in Brighton Beach
6. Red Hook Ikea vs. Village Redevelopment Plans
7. Cruise Lines

The Bronx:
1. Various scattered plans throughout the Bronx by Yankee Stadium, development on the South Eastern areas, Harlem River Park.

Staten Island:
1. Homeport Development
2. Continued development of St. George area.

June 21st, 2004, 11:45 AM
Architect Rogers Aims to Revive New York's East Side Waterfront

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- British architect Richard Rogers is working on a plan to bury part of the highway along New York's East River and create a waterfront from the lower East Side to the southern tip of Manhattan.

Rogers, 70, is known for futuristic-looking buildings such as London's Millennium Dome and Paris's Centre Pompidou, where the utility pipes ride up the outside of the museum. He also designs office towers for companies including British Land Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG. Rogers has a parallel career advising mayors how to revive declining inner-city areas and stop people from moving to the suburbs by offering them apartments, restaurants, green squares and riverfronts.

The architect on May 11 won New York City's competition to design a master plan for the East River waterfront together with Sharples, Holden & Pasquarelli Architects. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, aims to revitalize lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center's destruction.

Rogers, silver-haired and lean in belted trousers and a white shirt, works out of a converted oil refinery on the River Thames in west London's Hammersmith area. The glass-fronted studio has white metal supporting beams and columns, a canteen with pink and orange chairs and an exhibition space where people wander in from the river to see models and photographs of his buildings.

Richard Rogers Partnership, including 75 architects who give 20 percent of the firm's profit to charities, averaged annual revenue of 14.7 million pounds ($27 million) in the past three years. The top salary is six times the pay of an employee of two years' standing.

Lloyd's Headquarters

The displays range from the headquarters of Lloyd's of London's insurance market and DaimlerChrysler's building in Berlin to Rogers's planned Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport and an airport project at Madrid Barajas, Europe's biggest construction site.

Rogers's wife Ruth is the chef of the adjacent River Cafe and co-author of the River Cafe Cook Book. Her restaurant opens onto a garden on the river beside a car park where oil vats once stood. The Rogers live in two stucco 19th century row houses overlooking Chelsea Hospital that were gutted to create a two-story high space inside.

Born in Florence, Italy, Rogers, the son of a doctor and a potter, was raised in London with Bauhaus furniture that he said accustomed him to modern-looking shapes. Rogers followed his uncle, an Italian architect, by entering the profession in 1962 after studying at Yale University. A partnership with Italy's Renzo Piano, who helped Rogers to win a competition to design the Centre Pompidou in 1971, dissolved in 1977.

Two of Rogers's designs in the 1980s, for offices under St. Paul's Cathedral and a new wing for London's National Gallery, were derailed by Prince Charles, who campaigned successfully for copies of older buildings.

Rusting in Paris

Some of Rogers's structures may be costly to maintain. The Centre Pompidou needed two years of renovations in 1997, after 150 million visitors and 20 years of exposure to Parisian weather. The silver-piped Lloyd's building gathers dirt and its six exterior staircases may leave it exposed to security risks. The nearby Baltic Exchange was bombed by the Irish Republican Army in 1993.

``There's no way to terrorist-proof a building,'' said Robert Torday, a spokesman for Rogers.

In Queens, a New York borough, Rogers is designing 2 million square feet of offices, studios, housing and stores for Silvercup Studios, where Home Box Office Inc.'s ``Sex and the City'' television series was filmed. Rogers, who was knighted in 1991 and made a peer in the House of Lords in 1996, is an honorary trustee of New York's Museum of Modern Art, where he will show a planned skyscraper for London's financial district at an exhibition of tall buildings next month. He talked to Bloomberg Muse's Linda Sandler in his studio among the models of his buildings.

Manhattan Plan

Bloomberg: You're doing a waterfront plan in Manhattan and a master plan for a new city district in a Lisbon dockyard. What's the key to making developments like that work?

Rogers: In some ways, cities have had the same needs since Mesopotamia. You want to see your neighbor and you want to go to work and come home and sit on the stoop. You want to have security for yourself and your family, and you want ease of communication. It's very much the same today. We love our kids and we make love in the same way. We like to eat well in places we like.

If you can give these things to people, they'll come back to the city.

Bloomberg: What's involved in your Manhattan plan?

Rogers: The area around the East River is run down. There's a high-level highway along it. On the East River Drive, the buildings look away from the river. They should be facing the river. They should have parks and cafes.

We're learning that motorways don't solve transportation problems, they just bring more cars. On the East River we may bring part of the highway underground around the United Nations Building, or we may bury some of it.

Barcelona Model

We can learn lessons from other cities. Los Angeles has lots of highways and it has the worst congestion. In Copenhagen, people go by bus. Barcelona -- I'm chief adviser to Mayor Joan Clos on urban planning -- had the problem of being a dying port. Now it's got industry, it's got parks along the sea. That's a story we're all trying to replicate.

In London, the success story is the South Bank. Fifteen or 20 years ago, no one would go to the South Bank. Today, you can walk from the Docklands practically to Kew Gardens. It's all accessible, and there are lots of cultural buildings. There's Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Design Museum, the National Film Theatre. There are cafes and restaurants.

New York should recognize it's an island and use the water.

Bloomberg: You had your own plans for the South Bank.

Rogers: They didn't go anywhere. Our design was a great glass wave enveloping the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery and the Purcell Room. It would have hidden the existing concrete structures and created a lot of new public spaces. We won the competition but the funding proved to be unavailable.

London Tower

Bloomberg: What about the tapering skyscraper you've designed for British Land at Leadenhall Street? What effect were you trying to create, and how will a 48-story tower fit in with the 600 historic buildings in the City?

Rogers: When you're designing a tall building in London there are severe constraints. This one leans back to avoid blocking the view of St. Paul's Cathedral from Fleet Street. That's why it's tapered. After that, the design was about legibility. You can read the structure through the glass, you can see how the building was put together. The northern facade contains the stairs, the lifts and servicing.

The design was also about limiting energy use and pollution. It has triple glazing with blinds inside to minimize the use of electric light and air conditioning. It uses chilled water, not air conditioning for cooling.

Fighting for Modernity

When you're putting an office building among historic buildings it has to be in sympathy in quality and mass. But a new building doesn't have to fit in. Every historic building was new at one time. The Strozzi Palace in the 16th century was considered an outrage. It was five stories. It dwarfed its older neighbors. Modernity has always been a battle.

There always has been a juxtaposition of styles. Renaissance architecture is very different from medieval yet we love seeing them together. You can have harmony through juxtaposition, not just by copying older styles.

Paternoster Square (a cluster of offices under St. Paul's that houses the London Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.) is a continuous sore. The buildings copy older styles and they were not successful.

Bloomberg: What was your plan for Paternoster Square?

Rogers: I had a plan for genuinely modern buildings. They weren't a pastiche. But the mood of the country at the time, led by Prince Charles, was historicism. Prince Charles described modern architecture as a carbuncle.

The Victorians

It was the Victorians who started copying older styles. They wanted gothic or medieval or classical. The great buildings of the Victorian age were engineering works, stations, and the Crystal Palace. They were genuinely modern. The British Museum is less interesting. It's a nice building, but it's a copy.

Bloomberg: The City may be getting as many as five skyscrapers. How will they change people's lives? Because tall buildings attract a lot of people.

Rogers: The problem we're facing is the vitality of cities -- bringing people back to the center. The City had begun to lose corporations to Canary Wharf. It was competing with Paris and with Frankfurt. It turned toward conserving older buildings and the net result was corporations moved to the Docklands (including Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and HSBC Holdings Plc).

Then the City fell in love with good-quality design. Norman Foster and Kohn Pedersen Fox are building elegant towers. That's the way to bring people back to the center.

There are two outstanding things about the building we designed for Leadenhall Street. It has a seven-story atrium and a piazza as big as the Lutyens building that you can see beyond it. (He points to a tower projecting from a model of buildings on the street.)

Leadenhall Piazza

The piazza will increase the number of public cafes and restaurants, it will bring people into the center where there's good, or relatively good, public transport. It would be the only large public space in the Square Mile. Because it's a glazed space, protected from the weather, there are opportunities to host concerts, lectures, readings, screenings.

Ninety percent of the workers at Leadenhall Street will use public transport because there's no parking and few parking meters. Congestion charging limits the traffic, gives us money for buses. If you're looking for a city where you can encourage walking and bikes, you need a well-designed working city that's compact, with high density.

Bloomberg: What's it like working for British Land?

Rogers: I have an old standing relationship with John Ritblat (chairman of the U.K.'s second-largest real estate developer), but this is our first project for him. He has strong views. You need a good partner when you're designing a building. It's like a game of ping pong.


We've designed buildings for Elliott Bernerd of Chelsfield Plc at Paddington (a west London development near the station). He was chairman of the South Bank Centre. And for Stuart Lipton of Stanhope Plc we're doing Chiswick Park, (a west London office project that has won four architectural awards). Lipton was head of CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, a government-appointed body whose role is to improve buildings and open spaces).

Bloomberg: What work are you doing for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, as his adviser of planning?

Rogers: We're working on a plan to improve the streets in London -- to make pavements where people can walk, and green squares.

We're starting a refurbishment of 100 of London's green squares. One of the success stories has been the pedestrianization of Trafalgar Square.

We're doing a lot of plans for the Thames Gateway (an area of east London from Tower Bridge to Dartford). London will have grown by 23 percent between 1986 and 2016. Livingstone says the growth must all be in the 33 boroughs, there must be no sprawl.

London is going through its greatest vitality ever. It's much better than the 1960s. Then it was inward-looking.

Steel and Glass

Bloomberg: What are your favorite buildings and why do you like them?

Rogers: The Pompidou Center is one of my favorites. 1971 was a different era. Piano and I were the first foreign architects to have our own firms in France since the war. Now it's common. We had a tremendous client in Robert Bordaz, the first president of the center. He was in charge of the French withdrawal from Vietnam, and he made this building possible. It took six years to completion. The client relationship is very important.

It's hard to say which are your favorite buildings. It's like saying, which is your favorite child. But I do like the house I built for my parents in Wimbledon opposite the common. It's steel and glass with a lot of plants and natural light. My mother was a potter and she loved it.

Last Updated: June 20, 2004 19:17 EDT

Rogers to Plan Queens Waterfront Complex (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=1144)

June 25th, 2004, 06:19 PM
Volume 17 • Issue 5 | June 25 - July 1, 2004

City brainstorms on the E. River

By Elizabeth O’Brien

A rendering of a plan to improve the East River walkway Downtown and add retail under the F.D.R. Drive, by SHoP Architects and Richard Rogers Partnership. The current bike path would be relocated nearby under this scheme.

A beach at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1,000 river birch trees along the esplanade, recreation and retail under the F.D.R. Drive. These are among the possibilities for a revitalized East River waterfront that the city presented to the community this week.

At a June 21 meeting of Community Board 1, the city outlined a vision for the East River waterfront that would transform today’s inaccessible, trash-strewn stretch of land into a recreational paradise worthy of the prime real estate that it occupies. The study area extends from the tip of Lower Manhattan to Montgomery St. on the Lower East Side, where the East River Park ends.

“This could be an incredible gift for future generations,” said Gregg Pasquarelli, an architect with Manhattan-based SHoP Architects, one of several firms the city commissioned to submit designs for the waterfront. Richard Rogers Partnership, the celebrated British architectural firm, created Monday’s presentation with SHoP.

Officials stressed their design was an initial rendering and asked for community input to help it progress. Funding for the project has not been established yet, and it remains unclear how many of the proposed design elements will actually come to pass. Daniel Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, has sought money from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to fund improvements for the East River waterfront.

Short-term goals of waterfront revitalization included improving access to the river, completing the circle of green ringing Manhattan, and creating a waterfront environment that would sustain growth over time. Monday’s presentation focused on land designs that could be accomplished within three to five years. Future presentations will tackle the more complex and heavily regulated maritime aspects, officials said.

Chain link fences cut people off from the river along at least 14 acres of waterfront, presenters said, and removing the fences and concrete jersey barriers would represent one of the easiest improvements under consideration. The plan would also focus on creating direct access to the waterfront from places like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Coenties Slip, possibly by a new pedestrian bridge. Another new pedestrian bridge was proposed to link the renovated Whitehall Ferry terminal to the esplanade.

City planning officials said the Community Board 1-Downtown Alliance waterfront study served as a valuable reference for the designs presented on Monday. Completed in 2002 by the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the C.B. 1 plan was an “incredibly well-done study,” Amanda Burden, chairperson of City Planning, said at the meeting. Like the city design, it featured a pedestrian walkway under the F.D.R., with shops and cafes.

“I don’t have to tell anyone here that the East River waterfront is one of the most important elements in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” Burden said.

Community board members said they appreciated that the city was finally turning its attention to the East Side.

“First of all, I’m ecstatic we’re talking about the East Side waterfront,” said John Fratta, a board member and Southbridge Towers resident. Fratta said he would prefer to see more maritime uses proposed for the Seaport area.

Many sounded a note of concern that the spruced up waterfront would turn into a tourist trap. One plan under consideration for Pier 14 near the South Street Seaport includes a large Ferris wheel by the London firm Tussauds Group, of celebrity wax-figure museum fame.

“It’s something we’re keeping an open mind to, but nothing has been decided yet,” said Robert Balder, the director of Lower Manhattan development for the mayor’s office.

“We do not want it in our community,” said Linda Roche, chairperson of the C.B. 1 waterfront committee.

Some offered practical suggestions about what they would like to see in the area instead. Clara Lipson, a long-time Seaport resident, said she would welcome a Whole Foods-type market.

“It’s a highly residential area and there’s really no place to shop,” Lipson said.

Community members have suggested that Whole Foods would make a good addition to the Seaport after the Fulton Fish Market leaves for the Bronx around the end of this year. The Rouse Company, operator of the Seaport retail, has right of first refusal on the Tin Building and the Fulton Market Stalls, two buildings now occupied by the market.

Michael Piazzola, general manager of the Seaport Marketplace, has said a problem with Whole Foods was that the popular chain required 39,000 square feet and there were few spaces of that size within the Seaport.

Balder was mum on what might be in store for the Seaport once the fish market leaves, saying only that the city had been in discussions with the Rouse Company.

The plan for the East River waterfront will be finalized in about eight months, city officials said. None of the plans proposed would block the surrounding area’s water view, the architects said.

Instead, Pasquarelli said, the design would revive a neglected part of the city: “Why not bring the of life in New York right to the edge?”



TLOZ Link5
June 25th, 2004, 11:46 PM
Retail under the FDR is a wonderful idea. It reminds me of Guastavino's and the Food Emporium in the arches of the 59th Street Bridge viaduct. A big supermarket definitely needs to be built in that neighborhood.

June 26th, 2004, 05:43 AM
Retail under the FDR is a wonderful idea. It reminds me of Guastavino's and the Food Emporium in the arches of the 59th Street Bridge viaduct. A big supermarket definitely needs to be built in that neighborhood.

Guastavino's was a spectacular edition to that neighborhood. The difference is that the 59th Street space, if I remember correctlly, was unused before then. The problem here is that the space under the Lower FDR is already being used. Hundreds of buses park there every day. Without that space, they will be circling Lower Manhattan streets belching fumes, or parking illegally on our tiny streets down here. Where else are they going to go? I think that is the first issue which CB1 needs to look at, before wasting its time with pretty renderings from SOM.

TLOZ Link5
June 26th, 2004, 03:49 PM
Hasn't the LMDC addressed that situation? A bus terminal is part of the transportation plan.

June 26th, 2004, 04:18 PM

The WTC facility will be a bus garage to handle (barely) the expected increase in tour buses.

A bus terminal was needed long before 09/11 to handle commuter buses. The city should have addressed the problem while route 9A was being constructed. I don't see how they can ignore it if the space under the FDR is developed.

July 6th, 2004, 11:53 PM
Two ferries and an airplane on the East River.


July 7th, 2004, 12:04 AM
:P cool catch there!

October 8th, 2004, 10:56 PM

Rendering of a plan to convert the Peck Slip parking lot used by Fulton Fish Market trucks into a plaza with a reflecting pool by Richard Rogers Partnership, SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Landscape Architect.

City floats tower-park idea for the East River

By Josh Rogers

After a half century or so of new East Side waterfront plans, city officials think they may have an idea that won’t end up with all of the others – that is, sleeping with the East River fishes. They are now considering building seven apartment towers over the F.D.R. Drive to pay for an additional 12 acres of park space in Lower Manhattan.

The plan also includes creating the “Champs Elysées of the Lower East Side,” building a pedestrian-cycling ramp connecting Battery Park to the East River, building new park spaces on Peck Slip and Pier 15 near the Seaport, and adding pavilion spaces under the F.D.R. for things like cafes, studios, cultural spaces, and community centers. This part of the plan would not require the towers and could be completed in phases over the next three to five years. It is expected to cost at least $100 million and be paid for mostly with federal, post-9/11 money administered by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Amanda Burden, chairperson of the City Planning Commission, told Downtown Express that she was hopeful the L.M.D.C. board would authorize the money by the end of the year.

The tower plan is considered a longer-term project. Up to seven narrow towers, perhaps as tall as 400 feet, would rise from the street through the center of the elevated F.D.R. The apartments could generate several hundred million dollars of revenue needed to build and maintain about 12 acres of new park space over the river. Even though the slips would cover more of the water than the traditional piers in the Hudson River Park, city consultants say they would be designed to be friendly to marine life and the slips would have fewer structures in the river than piers. The State Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers have long been reluctant to approve projects that involve rebuilding or repairing piers because of the effects to fish.

The buildings would cover a six-block area and be near Old Slip, Gouverneur La., Wall St., Pine St. and Maiden La. They would line up with the streets to create clear access to the river, and protect whatever river view corridors exist in spite of the elevated roadway.

The seven proposed buildings combined, would be a maximum of about 1 million square feet. City officials, who presented the plan to a Community Board 1 committee Wednesday, said they were open to building fewer or smaller buildings, but that would also mean the new park space would be reduced. They believe they can finance two square feet of park space for every three square feet of apartment space, although detailed financial plans with various options are still being studied.

Michael Davies, a director of Richard Rogers Partnership, a British architectural firm working on the project, said the plan would help New York catch up to other cities by making better use of its rivers.

“The waterfront is way below the stature of this great city,” Davies told C.B. 1 members. “[This will] turn it into the front yard for Downtown.”

Some nearby building owners and their representatives are beginning to react negatively to the tower part of the plan, concerned about the loss of river views and the effects to the F.D.R., which would be reduced by one or two lanes.

“To me the drive is an asset,” Harry Bridgwood, who manages the massive office building at 55 Water St., said in a telephone interview. He said prospective commercial tenants typically want to make sure that black car limousines will be able to get to and from the building quickly. Condo owners at 3 Hanover Sq., who opposed a proposal several years ago to build a trading floor office tower on 55 Water St. on an elevated plaza, may also raise objections.

Many people at the meeting reacted favorably to the general park aspects of the plan, while objecting to some of the specifics.

Randy Polumbo, who lives and works in the Seaport, said he has to constantly clean his windows because of car fumes from the highway.

“We don’t really have a view corridor, we have an F.D.R. corridor,” said Polumbo. “The F.D.R. is so ugly. I feel like you are threading this large intestine through this jewel.”

Polumbo, who owns his building, said he thought the roadway should be taken down altogether. He went on to say that if Lower Manhattan had “to sell its soul” to accept more large buildings, it is important to make sure the buildings are architecturally significant and that some of the grit of the historic Seaport neighborhood be preserved when the Fulton Fish Market leaves toward the beginning of next year.

City Planning’s Burden told Polumbo: “I loved what you said.”

As for taking down the F.D.R., consultants did consider it but decided not to do it because it would have required an eight-lane, street-level roadway. The Downtown Alliance and C.B. 1 did a joint study of the area several years ago and concluded that the F.D.R. should not be taken down and the area underneath could be used for pavilions similar to the city’s current plan. The study also considered closing a few lanes of the roadway to create a walkway. Now the reduced lanes may be used to create space for residential building cores.

The apartments would be attached to the core and cantilever over the highway with waterfront views to the east and no western windows facing Lower Manhattan’s skyscrapers. The apartment floor plate would be small, about 5,000 square feet, which could accommodate several apartments per floor.

Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects said the buildings could be built without closing any additional lanes of the F.D.R. The lowest level apartments would be over the roadway and be the equivalent of five stories off of the ground.

The first phase improvements designed by Rogers Partnership, SHoP and landscape architect Ken Smith, include the pedestrian-bicycle ramp connection near the historic Battery Maritime Building, a reflecting pool plaza to replace the Fish Market parking area on Peck Slip, rebuilding open space on Pier 15, a tree-lined boulevard along Allen and Pike Sts. (what Pasquarelli likened to the Champs Elysées), a better southern entrance to East River Park, the F.D.R. pavilions, and could include things like 1,000 birch trees and a small beach area near the Brooklyn Bridge.

A look at the proposed pavilions to be built under the F.D.R., above and what the area looks like now, below.


Paul Goldstein, C.B. 1’s district manager, said the short term plans were “under-whelming” because so much of the money is being used for the Maritime ramp. “I think we are deferring everything for 10 or 20 years,” said Goldstein. He said the plans for open space on Pier 15 looked to be geared to accommodate tall ships and not the most pressing park need on the East Side – play space for children.

City Planning officials stressed that it was still early in the process, but seemed much more willing to design something different for Pier 15 than not building the Battery building connection. The city spent $36 million to restore the building’s exterior but the interior still needs a major investment to convert it into a new use. Ferries to Governors Island also leave from the building.

For many years, Burden has been a strong advocate for creating a continuous esplanade around Manhattan and said the ramp was an important piece to the goal.

She said the Maritime Building ramp would be considerably less than $50 million, although precise figures have not been worked out.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, Manhattan office director of City Planning, said the city is still talking with the L.M.D.C. about whether the state-city agency is willing to cover the costs of the ramp.

Like Burden, Chakrabarti said he is confident a large amount of L.M.D.C. money is coming soon for the first phase of the project. “We are optimistic about that,” he told board members. “As we go into the more ambitious schemes, there is no identifiable funding.”

The city hopes to build a ramp in this area near the Battery Maritime Building so pedestrians and cyclists near Battery Park can get to the East River esplanade easily. Some residents fear the costs may be too high for a short term project and should be put on the backburner in favor of other park improvements.

That’s why the residential buildings would be needed, he added. The city expects to issue long-term ground leases to developers, similar to the way Battery Park City was constructed. For 30 years, Downtown’s East River waterfront was zoned to be land-filled and create an east side version of B.P.C., but the plan never got close to being approved by the Army Corps and the zoning was changed in the 1990s.

Carl Weisbrod, president of the Downtown Alliance and a L.M.D.C. board member, said he is happy to see the movement to improve the waterfront, but he has reservations about the tower idea.

The first phase would require moving the tour buses and cars that currently park under the F.D.R. Moving the parking lot has long been a goal of C.B. 1, the city and others, but there is still no alternative site.

If the parking lot is moved, it would set up pavilion space for retail near well-traveled streets like Wall and Fulton, and opportunities to bring in cultural and community spaces near other streets, Chakrabarti said.

Goldstein wanted to know what was in the works for the adjacent areas. The L.M.D.C. has been looking to make improvements along Fulton St., but has not yet presented its ideas to the community board and the next use for the Fulton Fish Market buildings remains up in the air.

City officials said a children’s play area is planned for Burling Slip as part of the Fulton St. plan. General Growth Properties is in the process of taking over control of the Seaport mall as part of its recently-announced purchase of the Rouse Corp., said Bob Balder, who works in the mayor’s office. Once the sale of Rouse is complete, General Growth will own Rouse’s right of first refusal to redevelop two of the market buildings. Balder said this provision in the city’s mall lease wouldn’t take effect until the market relocates to the Bronx early next year.

Davies said, “when the Fulton Fish Market leaves, [Peck Slip] becomes a great New York square.”

Community Board 1 is planning to schedule a meeting to discuss the plans further and City Planning officials are expected to present the plan to Community Board 3 on Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m., 466 Grand St.


Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.
Email: news@downtownexpress.com

October 11th, 2004, 12:52 AM
About time. The FDR and West Side H'way = BIG waste of space. Too much to demo or tunnel, build over. I just bitched about this to my wife, again, yesterday. Hopefully it will get done and be superb in design, since it will redefine that postcard downtown skyline.

October 11th, 2004, 11:13 AM
It's frustrating that the city's oldest, most historically significant stretch of waterfront is still awaiting a definitive development plan, but at the very least there ought to be a walkway/bikepath that connects Brooklyn Bridge to the Battery. Right now it's an obstacle course at best. I thought for sure that at least something temporary would have been part of the work going on around the Battery Maritime Building.

October 15th, 2004, 10:37 PM

Can the waterfront improve much if the F.D.R. stays?

By Kit White

Courtesy of Richard Rogers Partnership/ SHoP Architects/ Ken Smith Landscape Architect
Rendering of the city’s proposal to build cafes under the F.D.R. Drive.

For decades, the East River shoreline between East River Park and Battery Park has languished as a forgotten remnant of a misbegotten vision to encircle Manhattan in a maze of roadways that denied access to its greatest asset. No major city has made so little of so much and taken so long to try to recoup its loss. With a plan unveiled last Wednesday, the city’s Economic Development Corp. and the City Planning Commission have finally turned their attention to creating a master plan to reclaim the south shoreline.

Richard Rogers Partnership of London and SHoP Architects and landscape architect Ken Smith of New York have laid out a long-term scheme to beautify and revitalize the riverfront and connect it with East River Park on the north and on the south at Battery Park. The southern connection to Battery Park is an elaborate, ramped park-scape whose structural and design complexity clearly reflects the teams’ belief that it represents the most critical element of the entire design. Additionally, the design calls for treating the underside of the F.D.R. Drive with lights and glass pavilions to house cultural and community amenities.

Using the existing elevated highway as their leitmotif for the waterfront’s potential, they further proposed the possibility of building slim residential towers above the F.D.R. as a means of raising revenue for the creation of up to 12 acres of park extending over the river. The design, as the three teams presented it, unfolded with a certain ineluctable logic: save money by leaving the elevated highway in place and exploit it for its developable space. As powerful as that logic is, it is the plan’s terrible trap and a fatal flaw that leads this design in the wrong direction.

According to the designers, there are two reasons to leave the F.D.R. in place: cost of removal and a shortage of space beneath the elevated roadway for enough lanes to accommodate traffic. For those who know the area, the rationale seems defective. The F.D.R. is an unsightly physical and visual barrier to the waterfront. If we are serious about reclaiming the waterfront for public access, then half-measures should be rejected. Do we really care about reconnecting to the shoreline, or do we simply wish to spend millions of dollars on what looks like a half-hearted attempt to make do with a bad situation?

The amount of traffic that courses under the F.D.R. down South St. is minimal and the elevated portion of the drive south of the Brooklyn Bridge is grossly underutilized. The claims that an eight-lane South St. would be required to accommodate traffic if the elevated roadway was removed seem exaggerated. Even six lanes would probably be unnecessary between the Brooklyn Bridge and the underpass. Four lanes should be able to handle the traffic in that stretch and if there were drop-off lanes by the Seaport then there would be no problem.

Additionally, if New York is serious about retaining its place as a great city of the world, then it must address the very real possibility of a future with less traffic, not more. The argument for the necessity of more and larger roads sounds suspiciously like the hyperbolic claims used to advance the ill-fated Westway project in the late ’70s. We now have the more humane and less costly solution to that failed argument, and Manhattan is better and more livable for it.

There is also something unsettling about the proposition that in order to have a public amenity as critical as a vital shoreline, private financing through jury-rigged towers atop an aging eyesore is the only way. There was a time when we did not feel that important public amenities had to pay their own way or that they were envisioned as extensions of the private sector. When the architect Richard Morris Hunt proposed that Central Park have elaborate entrance gates solely along Fifth Ave. across from the homes of the City’s wealthiest citizens, the park’s designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, quit in protest. It took years for the city to woo him back and his steadfast belief that the park was a gift to the people from the people is his great legacy to us. We should heed his example.

That the C.P.C. and E.D.C. have undertaken a master plan for the south shore is admirable and long overdue. But it offers little in the short term for the city’s beleaguered Downtown residents who have little parkland to call their own. Even over the life of this plan, there is little nature promised without caveats costly to its integrity as a true public space. Is this a plan for a real shoreline with the promise of parkland, or is it an elaborately masked proposal for more development? This plan seems to offer a vision of the future with very little vision in it.

Kit White is an artist and designer who restored his building in the South St. Seaport and lives in the neighborhood.

Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

Email: josh@downtownexpress.com

October 23rd, 2004, 04:55 PM
Jane Jacobs argued this point years ago: fewer roads means less traffic. The westside highway was removed, and it didn't kill that area - look at the real estate boom in the far west side now + all the riverfront parkland... NYC is too car-oriented.

October 24th, 2004, 05:54 PM
have you been in LA?

February 1st, 2005, 12:03 AM
February 1, 2005

Long, Green Pathway Planned Along Brooklyn Waterfront


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/p.gifedestrians and cyclists, limited only by their own hamstrings and quadriceps, could one day travel 22 miles along a waterfront greenway from North Brooklyn to Coney Island, under a plan to be unveiled today.

The vision of strolling or whizzing past bustling parks and quaint row houses or taking in panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, Governors Island and the open sea still faces several hurdles. But as government officials, private businesses and community advocates look to remake the city's waterfronts, the greenway plan, like a 24-speed Specialized Sirrus rolling downhill, is gaining momentum.

The plan was developed by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Regional Plan Association. It would use a protected pathway and parkland that city planning officials have incorporated in a proposal to rezone the industrial waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. It would also pass through Brooklyn Bridge Park a joint city-state project.

The city's Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin construction in the fall of a two-lane bike path running along Columbia and Van Brunt Streets from Cobble Hill into Red Hook.

And tonight, planners are set to present the first conceptual design for seven miles of pathway that would link South Williamsburg to Sunset Park and an existing path on the Shore Parkway, as well as to Manhattan greenways across Brooklyn's three East River bridges.

"We saw this as a once-in-a-century opportunity to get continuous public access to the waterfront," Milton Puryear, co-chairman and director of planning at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, said of the planning effort. "It's a window of opportunity that will close pretty quickly once development gets more momentum."

The plan, in the works since the late 1990's, grew out of community efforts to create a waterfront path in Red Hook, Mr. Puryear said. Although the proposal dovetails with the city's plan to create 350 miles of bicycle and pedestrian paths through and around the boroughs, it has been complicated by Brooklyn's industrial and postindustrial landscape.

Property along the waterfront is controlled by several public and private entities, planners said, with property lines frequently running in the midst of the proposed pathway. As a result, planners said, the route at times comes inland, as it does to loop around the Navy Yard, and runs along city streets.

Still, the greenway has captured the imaginations of residents, business owners and elected officials. Borough President Marty Markowitz, for instance, helped the group secure money from a state waterfront revitalization program for the public planning process.

Robert Pirani, director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association, which completed the technical aspects of the plan, said that the greenway could serve as a powerful magnet to an area whose future is very much up for grabs.

"All up and down the waterfront, there are proposals for new uses and for maintaining historic maritime uses in a new way," he said. "The harbor as a whole is one of the great region-shaping areas in the metropolitan area." Given the right amenities and access, he said, "The harbor can be a reason that people decide to live and work in New York City instead of the fringes."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

TLOZ Link5
February 1st, 2005, 12:00 PM
Excellent. Some neighborhoods along the way, like Bay Ridge, already have waterfront access. This is a great idea but too long in becoming reality.

February 1st, 2005, 12:47 PM
The Greenway is excellent from Bay Parkway to Owls Head, completely isolated from traffic. But the Bay Ridge neighborhood has poor access to its own waterfront. In the 2 mile stretch north from the Verrazano, there are only a few pedestrian bridges over the Belt Parkway. Too bad, because the entire length of Bay Ridge along the road is parkland.


February 1st, 2005, 01:56 PM
This is good news. Im glad that Manhattan and Brooklyn are seeing the value of their waterfronts.

February 1st, 2005, 09:50 PM
This is good news. Im glad that Manhattan and Brooklyn are seeing the value of their waterfronts.

There are actually a ton of major and minor waterfront development plans all over the city, with most creating new recreation space and housing. It's a major and long overdue shift for the city, but years from now, it will be pretty amazing...I hope.

February 9th, 2005, 11:10 PM
Manhattan Waterfront Greenway (http://nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/mwg/mwghome.html)

February 12th, 2005, 10:50 AM
Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway:


March 2nd, 2005, 08:24 AM
March 2, 2005

Along the East River, Everything Old Is to Be Made New Again

By DAVID W. DUNLAP (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DAVID%20W.%20DUNLAP&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DAVID%20W.%20DUNLAP&inline=nyt-per)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifhe Bloomberg administration has shown in detail for the first time how it would reconnect Lower Manhattan to the East River waterfront, now a place of skimpy amenities and looming obstacles, chief among them the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.

"This crucial link is absolutely essential to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan," said Amanda M. Burden, director of the City Planning Department, which is preparing the East River plan. She is also chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, which was shown the proposals on Monday.

A new two-mile esplanade and bicycle path - no less than 40 feet wide in most places - would run along the river, linking Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan Island to the East River Park, between the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. Benches, tables, planters and trellises would line the planked walkway.

More than a dozen small, boxy pavilions for shopping, recreation, cultural programs and community gatherings would be built under the F.D.R. Drive, each with about 10,000 square feet of space. Some might have facades that could be opened in summer. The elevated highway viaduct would remain, but its underside would get new lighting and cladding to improve its appearance and acoustics.

The missing Pier 15, south of Fulton Street, would be rebuilt, using a steel truss to permit far greater distance between pilings. The upper surface of the three-quarter-acre deck would be shaped into hillocks and terraces, covered with landscaped plantings. A clam shack might even complete this naturalistic scene, planners said whimsically.

Public space would be reclaimed in the wide, wedgelike former boat slips along South Street. Now serving as small streets and parking lots, these slips could convey a strong sense of maritime history. Peck Slip, for instance, might have a shallow 4,000-square-foot pool at its center that could be used in winter as a skating rink.

The most ambitious proposal involves moving the mouth of the Battery Park underpass ramp about 350 feet north, just beyond Broad Street. That would create a one-acre plaza in front of the landmark Battery Maritime Building.

"The key win is a great public place here," said Michael J. P. Davies of the Richard Rogers Partnership in London, which has been working on the East River plan for almost a year with Ken Smith of Ken Smith Landscape Architect and Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli.

The latest version of the plan will be shown soon to Community Boards 1 and 3.

The city expects to ask the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for $150 million to finance the proposals, which Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said in a brief telephone interview were "definitely achievable."

Mr. Doctoroff said, "One of Lower Manhattan's competitive advantages is the fact that it's surrounded on three sides by water." Battery Park City and the renovated Battery Park already offer public access on two sides, he said, adding, "We want to complete that."

Of the city's requested $150 million, $60 million would go to build the esplanade and improve the F.D.R. Drive viaduct, said Raymond Gastil, director of the Manhattan planning office. Rebuilding Pier 15 and renovating Pier 35, Pier 42 and the north side of Pier 17 would cost $40 million. Fourteen pavilions would cost a total of $30 million, and reclaiming the slips would cost $10 million. The city is not seeking the $65 million needed to move the underpass entrance, but will look for $10 million to pay for the engineering studies.

It is unclear how much the city can expect. "There are a vast number of demands on the L.M.D.C.'s limited remaining funds," said Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for the development corporation, "and the demands being made by the city alone exceed available monies. Our first priority remains the creation of a fitting memorial."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 11th, 2005, 11:31 PM
East River Waterfront Study (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/erw/index.html)

March 15th, 2005, 01:12 PM
March 11 - 17, 2005
www.downtownexpress.com (http://www.downtownexpress.com/)

Board likes East River plan changes

By Ronda Kaysen

After half a century of floating plans for the East River waterfront, it looks like the Bloomberg Administration may have finally sunk anchor with Community Board 1. The Department of City Planning unveiled detailed plans to redevelop the waterfront at a Monday night C.B. 1 meeting, to the delight of many board members.

“It is safe to say that we are very enthusiastic about this plan,” Waterfront Committee chairperson Linda Roche said at the joint Waterfront-Financial District Committee meeting. “Especially the Battery Maritime Building.”

Perhaps the most dramatic — and well-received change — is to the Battery Maritime Building. The plan calls for moving the mouth of the Battery Park underpass ramp about 350 feet north to Broad St. Moving the ramp away from the Maritime Building would create three-quarters of an acre of open plaza space — a scarce resource on Downtown’s East Side.

City Planning has decided to seek separate transportation funding for the Maritime Building component of the project, although Rachaele Raynoff, a spokesperson for the department, declined to site specific funding sources in an interview with Downtown Express.

Roche and other C.B. 1 members had been concerned that too much money in the project’s first phase would be devoted to connecting the bike path with the West Side at the Battery Maritime Building rather than improving the East River esplanade itself.

“This is a crucial plan to strengthen Lower Manhattan,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said at the meeting. “The East River waterfront is one of the most essential waterfronts in the city.”

The design also includes as many as 15 pavilions under the F.D.R. Drive, which would be used for shops, community and cultural programs and recreation centers. In an effort to transform the highway viaduct into something other than an eyesore, the plans would include adding lighting and cladding.

The demolished Pier 15 would be restored using sparsely placed pilings to better protect marine life. The pier would have an upper and lower deck, with a landscaped, sloped terrace above and space for boats to moor below.

“We would like to rethink the way we build piers,” Michael Samuelian, director of Lower Manhattan special projects for City Planning said at the meeting.

In a marked change from the October proposal, the residential towers proposed to sit atop the F.D.R. Drive are now gone from the renderings and the plans. But a reflecting pool on Peck Slip, which could be used as a mini ice-skating rink in the wintertime — and was originally met with skepticism by board members — still remains.


Pier 15 near the South Street Seaport would be rebuilt into park space that would also accommodate ships under the city’s plan for the East River waterfront, above and below.

Rendering of the proposal for the East River esplanade.


Renderings by ShoP/Richard Rogers Partnership/Ken Smith Landscape Architect

March 15th, 2005, 07:15 PM
I didnt see a completion date...anyone?

September 5th, 2005, 05:42 PM


September 5, 2005

To walk the East River waterfront from the Battery to the Williamsburg Bridge is to pick one's way through a derelict but magical terrain of heart-swelling views, parking lots, red-brick memories of New York City's stevedore past and stretches of cracked asphalt slick with fish slime.

But if Amanda Burden, the persuasively enthusiastic commissioner of city planning, is to be believed, this two-mile strip will soon be transformed into a glimmering, romantic esplanade. Financial barons will sit on benches and do lunchtime deals by cell phone. Residents of Chinatown will hold martial arts classes and painting exhibits in well-lit glass pavilions tucked under the FDR Drive. The waterfront will throb once again, with leisure instead of labor.

"The most important thing is to give people access to the river," said Burden, standing under the elevated highway that cuts between the river and the cliff-like housing projects of the Lower East Side. She surveyed a triple barrier of chain-link fence, parked trucks and a carpeting of litter. "Right now, they can't get there."

And when they can, what will they find? A rarefied team of architects that includes the British Lord Richard Rogers, the New York-based firm SHoP and the landscape designer Ken Smith has furnished the city with some specific, if preliminary, visions. The underside of the FDR Drive will be metal-clad and exuberantly lit, to make it rather more like a gleaming canopy and less like a grimly functional overpass.

The strip of park will extend out onto reconfigured piers, including an undulating, multi-leveled boardwalk veiling the Sanitation Department's truck maintenance facility at Pier 35. The waterfront also will extend its fingers upland into the city with a series of landscaped medians and open plazas.

Lubricating the transition from rosy vision to reality is a $150-million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency that oversees the efforts to rebuild after 9/11. The waterfront is not part of the World Trade Center site, and its problems did not originate with terrorist attacks.

But the framework of post-9/11 reconstruction provided the project with money, a rationale -- revitalizing lower Manhattan -- and a new sense of urgency. And, compared with the monstrous cost and difficulties of forcing towers, train stations, memorials and museums to bloom out of the bedrock of Ground Zero, beautifying the waterfront seems like a cheap and easy way to increase the area's allure, both for residents and corporate tenants.

"In five or 10 years, lower Manhattan will be not only the emotional part of the city, but it will also be the place that everyone wants to be," says developer Frank Sciame.

Sciame is backing that prediction with his own private projects. He has renovated a collection of 18th century buildings along Front Street and on Peck Slip, a square that is now filled with cars but that Burden and her staff at City Planning envision transforming into a green-fringed plaza around a reflecting pool.

More audaciously, Sciame proposes to build 80 South Street, which is not so much a traditional luxury apartment tower as a concoction of stacked, off-kilter cubes -- vertical townhouses for the very rich. The architect is Santiago Calatrava, who designed the equally flamboyant World Trade Center PATH station now under construction.

"Without the bold moves by the public sector at Ground Zero -- the Calatrava station and all the great buildings that will be there -- I would never have planned a building like 80 South Street," Sciame said.

Recovering from catastrophe may be the latest impetus for rehabilitating the south-facing strip of Manhattan's shore, but the East River Esplanade is only the latest in a 40-year history of grand plans. Earlier proposals ranged from an FDR memorial by Louis Kahn to a housing complex for nearly 10,000 families, a Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry and a floating mountain bike playland. If the new plan is built, it will be because it is not some mountaintop visionary's idea, but the distillation of dozens of meetings with local community groups.

"This plan shows that you don't necessarily need enormous pieces of architecture to make the East River a totally different place," said Raymond Gastil, director of city planning for Manhattan. "It's real, it's doable and it will change the city's edge."

Two other developments might help nudge the plan toward realization. The first is the closing of the Fulton Fish Market, which will relieve the neighborhood of a good deal of truck traffic and some particularly overripe odors. The second is the takeover last November of the failing South Street Seaport mall on Pier 17 by General Growth.

The Chicago-based real estate company also has the right to lease the empty fish market, and it has hired the architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle to explore options for extending the mall into other buildings. The company's plans will have to mesh with those of the city.

"Whatever General Growth wants to do, they'll have to come to us [for approvals], so we have a lot of leverage," said Michael Samuelian, who oversees all lower Manhattan projects at the Department of City Planning.

Most large-scale public works projects in Manhattan have to wade through a quicksand of opposition; this one seems to be gliding on an air cushion of optimism. One point in the plan's favor is that its ambitions more or less match its resources. Still, one of its most ardent supporters, Carter Craft, director of the advocacy group Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, warned that the money could easily bleed away in half-measures.

"You can spend $150 million really quick and not have a lot to show for it," he said. "The real challenge is to target that money specifically and strategically. Waterfront construction is second only to building a tunnel in terms of its expense, and when you're building in one of the oldest parts of Manhattan, there will be surprises down there."

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

September 18th, 2005, 08:55 PM
From Article in the "Downtown Express"

The Leonardo financial package includes an extremely high offer of annual rent, and Ortenzio said he sees revenue from commercial uses on Pier 57 as vital for maintaining the entire Hudson River Park being built between Chambers and 59th Sts. The Pier 57 developer should be the one that offers the highest annual rent, Ortenzio said.

Located at W. Houston St., Pier 40, which is to be permanently redeveloped with at least 50 percent of its 14 acres for park uses, will also generate revenues for the entire park, but not enough, Ortenzio said. “I’ve always seen Pier 57 as the second source of major revenue for the park. You don’t want to wait and go begging to the city or the state for money, and a park like this requires maintenance,” he said.

October 5th, 2005, 09:04 AM
Gotham Gazette - http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/waterfront/20051005/18/1607

East River Access From The Lower East Side

by Pat Arnow
05 Oct 2005

After many years of effort a greenway of parks and paths rings most of Manhattan (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/parks/20031017/14/561) now – with some notable exceptions. One such exception is the Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side used to have spectacular access to the East River, thanks to the East River Park, built by master planner Robert Moses in 1939, and including a walkway built on bulkheads over the river, offering breathtaking views. But repairs and improvements were sporadic and piecemeal, and, in the summer of 2001, divers inspecting it found structural weakness in the retaining wall. Before the July 4 hordes could descend on the river to view fireworks, the city blocked off almost all of the walkway.


Three years after the city deemed the path as unsafe, a sturdy eight-foot chain link fence blocking access to the waterfront looked like a permanent fixture. Because of post-9/11 budget constraints and a lack of community advocacy or business interest, it seemed unlikely that fixing the esplanade along the river would happen soon, if ever.

But, in a surprising turn, this long-neglected section of Manhattan’s greenway is slated to come back to life. It will take two more years and a whopping $69 million, but the heavy equipment is already there, working away
No great public outcry had greeted the closing of river access. This was not the West Side with high-priced residential and business interests and vocal, connected constituents. On the East Side below 14th Street, the Jacob Riis, Lillian Wald and Baruch public housing projects are adjacent to the park across the FDR. It is interesting to note that most of the gaps in the Manhattan greenway are similarly adjacent to low-income neighborhoods.

Rosie Mendez, who has won the Democratic primary for the City Council district that includes East River Park, worked for the district's Councilmember Margarita Lopez (who is leaving that office because of term limits). Mendez says that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani refused to put money in the budget for infrastructure. When the promenade closed, "the mayor said she [Lopez] should get capital money to do the repairs," says Mendez, even though "infrastructure is what the city has to do, and it was a lot of money." That wasn't the kind of money that Lopez could get. Council members' discretionary funds get stretch thinly among schools, libraries, parks, and nonprofits.

Until recently, the community had other things on its mind, according to Richard Ropiak of Community Board 3. "Several other things the board focused on have been addressed," he says, "Drugs, housing, public safety. Once you solve major, visible things, you can focus on other things, such as parks." And that's the board's "prime focus" now, he says.

The community board has the power of advocacy, not the power of the purse. Now, with the mayor making parks and a greenway around Manhattan a priority, the park has funding as well. Rosie Mendez credits Bloomberg for allocating the money for the work to be done on the promenade. Plans are underway to complete the greenway all around Manhattan.

The infusion of funds for the promenade below 14th St. came two years ago in the mayor's fiscal year '05-'06 budget, says Nancy Barthold, assistant commissioner for capital projects in the parks department. No state or federal money has gone into the project, and it's a big one for the city. "Our typical project is a playground for between $500,000 and $1 million," says Barthold. Planning began in 2004 and the actual work started at the beginning of this year
Still, it's going to be 2007 before anyone sees much river up close. It's a process with complicated and expensive steps, says Barthold. Before new pilings could be built, Con Ed had to move an old oil line and move live underground wires. The company bears the cost of such work, says Con Ed spokesperson Joe Petta.


As they finish 500-foot sections, the contractors building the pilings can move in and rip up the old structure, says Barthold. The barges and heavy equipment just south of 14th St. have made a torn-up landscape, but that's construction. Some $54 million is going to the bulkhead construction. The actual building of the promenade with benches, plantings, and lights will cost $13 to $15 million. That part of the project is currently being sent out for bids. Barthold says it should be done in the summer of 2007, though the Parks Department website says 2008.

That's not the only improvement East River Park has seen. In the past two years, the park has gained refurbished ball fields (funded through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which was created to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9/11), playgrounds and a rebuilt outdoor amphitheater (which had been the first home of Shakespeare in the Park). There are working public toilets and plans for more.

But much of the park—the largest in lower Manhattan--lives in a state of dishabille. A grassy patch turns brown. Another, greener lawn rarely gets a mowing. A broken water fountain falling into a sinkhole has had a tidy little chain link fence around it for years. Bikers and walkers now traverse a noisy path up against the FDR that is always either dusty or flooded. That's the way it will remain until the promenade reopens.

The shabbiness doesn't stop the streams of people. Runners, dog walkers, parents with strollers, skateboarders, bicyclists, and family gatherings pulse through the paths and picnic areas. Chain link, noisy construction and disrepair don't stop people from crossing over the FDR Drive. The neighborhood doesn't wait for the park that will be. It uses the park that it has.

October 5th, 2005, 05:28 PM
^ I can't wait for this stretch of riverfront park to be re-opened. Bike riding along the shoreline there is a pleasure -- far less crowded than along the Hudson.

And I liked the "old-NYC" feel of it. Hoping they don't over-design the new park.

October 5th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Right. I hope they keep the big shady trees, it's the best place to run when it's hot, and like you siad, far less crowded.

October 7th, 2005, 08:38 AM
East River plan’s switch to fast track hits bumps

By Ronda Kaysen
October 07 - 13, 2005

Two bedraggled piers lining the southern end of the East River and a nearby city owned building might soon be put to temporary use, if only the city can find a way through the red tape.

Last spring, the city unveiled a $150 million overhaul of the East River Waterfront that would transform the forsaken area into a recreational destination rivaling Hudson River Park. But the redevelopment funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is still a long way from a reality with work not expected to begin in earnest for at least two years.

In the meantime, the city hopes to see Pier 35, north of the Manhattan Bridge, the northern portion of Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport and the New Market building at the Fulton Fish Market open for temporary recreation. Any uses would be for the summer season only, beginning next summer and perhaps continuing through summer 2007.

The benefit of doing this is you get people familiar with using the waterfront in different ways,” said Michael Samuelian, director of Lower Manhattan special projects for the Department of City Planning, which is overseeing East River plans. “It’s just a place that people aren’t accustomed to actually going out on a pier and experiencing the waterfront recreationally.”

But there are some major obstacles to the plan. First, the piers are not entirely at the city’s disposal. General Growth, the company that owns the Pier 17 building and the South Street Seaport mall, controls the portion of Pier 17 that the city hopes to transform into a temporary public space.

“We’d entertain anything that supported our retailers and the community for up to a two-year period,” wrote Michael Piazzola, a senior general manager at General Growth and vice president of the Seaport Market Place, in an e-mail to Downtown Express. “One of the benefits of the location is that it may allow us to do many different things during this period and therefore keep it ‘fresh.’”

The northern portion of the pier has piqued the interest of promoters from “extreme bicycle” events, auto dealers wanting to hold car shows on the waterfront, boat shows and restaurateurs eager to transform the jetty into a “rooftop environment,” said Piazzola. The Pier 17 mall currently occupies the southern portion of the berth.

But any plans are a long way off. The Fulton Fish Market currently uses the north side of the pier at night for its market. Until the market leaves, “any interim uses of any magnitude — those that can’t be set up and torn down in one night — will need to wait,” wrote Piazzola.

The market’s move to a new facility in the South Bronx has been delayed five times since the beginning of the year. The move is now stalled indefinitely because of a lawsuit lobbed against the city by the company that unloads the fish, Laro Service Systems. “We have been hampered in our efforts to utilize the north side of 17 due to the need for the Fish Market to use it overnight,” wrote Piazzola.

The New Market building, which is currently occupied by the fish market, is facing a similar plight. Controlled by the city, the building cannot be opened up to outside vendors until the Fish Market lawsuit against the city is resolved.

“We can’t do anything with the building when the Fish Market’s still in it,” said Janel Patterson, a spokesperson for the E.D.C., the agency that oversees the Fish Market.

Pier 35, an 80 ft. by about 400 ft. structure located north of the Manhattan Bridge, is the only site with any immediate possibilities for temporary use. But it has glitches of its own. The relieving platform has fallen into the river, cutting the berth off from the land. It can only be accessed via neighboring Pier 36, which is currently used by the Sanitation Department.

City Planning and the E.D.C. are in discussions with the Sanitation Dept. to create a dedicated pedestrian passageway so visitors can safely access the pier. Until an agreement is reached, the idea is on hold. “If we can come to an agreement with the Sanitation Department — and this is an ‘if’ — we will then be able to initiate a [Request for Proposals],” said Samuelian, referring to the formal request the E.D.C. would release to potential vendors for the site.

Samuelian hopes the discussions will be resolved “in a few weeks.”

October 21st, 2005, 11:33 PM
Nice rendering of the long dormant renovation of Pier A at the edge of Battery Park ...

October 22nd, 2005, 11:27 AM
Not necessarily new news, but the Phifer website has some amazing renderings showing the glass structure proposed to rise above Castle Clinton:

Click the Phifer home page screen; this will take to you the "Projects" page.

Click "Castle Clinton" for images.

The Castle: Today


The Battery Conservancy has taken the first steps toward realizing the rebuilding of Castle Clinton. Thomas Phifer & Partners (http://www.tphifer.com/) and Beyer Blinder Belle (http://www.beyerblinderbelle.com/) won the international competition in 1999 and have completed the conceptual design to take the Castle into the 21st century.

The rebuilt Castle will have three functions. It will act as a transportation hub for the growing heritage tourism and recreational use of New York Harbor and the lower Hudson Valley. It will become a venue for the performing arts, reviving the spirit of Castle Garden (1824-1855). And it will house a new interpretive center that will focus on the myriad layers of history at The Battery, encouraging visitors to explore their individual heritage as well as that of the city and the nation. Like the park that surrounds it, the revitalized Castle will welcome, orient, educate, entertain and nourish visitors.

October 22nd, 2005, 11:24 PM
It's a nice looking design, but I prefer restoring the fort and keeping it as a historic monument. The whole glass thing doesn't doesn't appeal to me as an extension of the fort. I was looking forward to seeing the fort return to a tourist destination in its own right - without the Statue of Liberty Ticket Booth inside.

They ought to work on the eastern edge of the park for a new design by that catering hall/grille and the Maritime Center and Offices (?) between the restaurant and Ferry. I think the park should integrate right into the S.I. Ferry Terminal area.

November 1st, 2005, 08:39 AM
City Settles Suit Over Use of Piers Intended as Park

By STEVEN KURUTZ (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=STEVEN KURUTZ&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=STEVEN KURUTZ&inline=nyt-per)
New York Times
November 1, 2005


The City of New York has settled a lawsuit involving the Sanitation Department's continued use of two West Side piers, which were to have been turned over to the Hudson River Park Trust in 2003.

As part of the agreement, approved by a judge last week, the city will pay $21.5 million to the trust over the next seven years and set new deadlines to vacate both piers.

The suit, filed earlier this year, was brought by Friends of Hudson River Park, a nonprofit organization, over the city's response to the 1998 Hudson River Park Act.

It required the Sanitation Department to cease operations by the end of 2003 on Pier 97 at 57th Street and at the Gansevoort Peninsula pier, a scruffy facility at West 12th Street used by the department to store rock salt and park trucks.

The two piers are to be remade as part of Hudson River Park, which stretches from 59th Street to Battery Park.

But by last spring, neither pier had been vacated. And instead of showing signs of leaving, the Sanitation Department began erecting a garage at Gansevoort for its trucks.

"There was no impetus for the Sanitation Department to move," said Daniel L. Alterman, a lawyer for the Friends. "They needed a push."

Susan Amron, a lawyer for the city, said that the department had been searching for alternate locations.

She added that "it's very difficult in Manhattan to find vacant space that is acceptable or appropriate for a sanitation garage."

Under the settlement, the Sanitation Department will now leave Pier 97 by 2008 and Gansevoort by 2012, giving it time to move operations on the two piers to a garage being built on West 57th Street and a potential location on Spring Street and the West Side Highway.

The city also pledged to clean up both sites before leaving. At Gansevoort, that means tearing down the buildings and removing the shell of the old marine transfer station.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

November 1st, 2005, 10:23 AM
Set new deadlines, meaning, "deadlines" don't mean anything. Seven years is pathetic.

November 1st, 2005, 10:42 AM
Set new deadlines, meaning, "deadlines" don't mean anything. Seven years is pathetic.

Thank you for this post. It expains al lot about a recent incedent at the sanitation pier on 59th street. STORY - I walked about 10 yards off the greenway path into the sanitation yard parking lot (which was desolate on an early Sunday Morning) to take photos of the new boathoust in Clinton Cove Park.....So, A man in sanitation department uniform "yelled" at me; THIS IS DEPT. OF SANITATION PROPERTY, YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE, GET OFF!

I guess he was still fuming about being evicted?

Anyway, if you would like to see the photos I took that day - they are on my threads, under kayaking.

And, about "deadling" lets see about when they actually leave - I like the Dept, and all they do for us.......but I would be nice to have more cooperation to make that park (compromise to Westway) happen.

November 1st, 2005, 02:13 PM
October 31, 2005

Ground broken on the West Harlem Piers

Government officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, broke ground Monday on construction of the West Harlem Piers, an $18.7 million project that the city says will connect West Harlem to the rest of the Manhattan waterfront greenway. A new bicycle and pedestrian path, a docking pier, a recreational and fishing pier, and landscaped open space along the Hudson River waterfront are scheduled to be part of the project, which is being built on a city-owned parking lot between 125th and 135th streets. Construction, according to the city, is expected to start by the end of the year, and the piers should be completed by the spring of 2007.

Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal.

November 1st, 2005, 02:52 PM
[QUOTE=krulltime]October 31, 2005

Government officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, broke ground Monday on construction of the West Harlem Piers, an $18.7 million project that the city says will connect West Harlem to the rest of the Manhattan waterfront greenway.

This is great to know. This project has been in process of about eight years now. There will be a get-down dock for kayaks here too. Its all coming together on the Hudson River Waterfront.

I go often to the fairway market next to the site: i will take photos of the construction process and post them on this thread.

November 4th, 2005, 03:17 PM
October 31, 2005

Ground broken on the West Harlem Piers

From atop the 125th street viaduct, abandonded staricase under viaduct, road leading to the harlem pier, the harlem pier site (which is now a parking lot).

November 4th, 2005, 03:43 PM
The two buildings on the water in the background are (1) sanitation dept. waste transfer station and (2)a "solid waste treatment" plant.

Alert to future kayakers launching from the new get-down: be "real quick" about paddling clear of the area!

November 7th, 2005, 10:21 AM
New Piers for Tribeca...


Renderings of what Piers 25 and 26 may look like in three years.
Final design drawings are expected to be done by the end of the year.



November 7th, 2005, 05:20 PM
New Piers for Tribeca...


[LEFT]Renderings of what Piers 25 and 26 may look like in three years.

Is there anyone out there that remembers "The Amazon villiage club" that was at the end of pier 26. I remember vaguely (many many years ago) seeing the bungee jumpers.

It would be good to hear about some of the history of that place befor the wrecking ball moves in.

I do remember Pappa Neutrino, and his floating house called "Town Hall".

Any locals out there who have been around long enough to have some info on "Amazon Villiage".

November 9th, 2005, 10:33 AM
This is my feelbe attempt at gurilla journalism. Please take a look at the photos taken of the "abandoned parking lot" that has been the "Harlem Piers"
a project that officially began the planning phase some Eight years ago.

The "mayors ground breaking ceremony" last week was a sham. There is no doubt in my mind that the Mayor "staged" the ceremony strictly as a political grandstanding opportunity one (coincedently week befor the Mayoral elections) while this site has been sitting dormant for eight years now. Perhaps also, making the particularly important gesture to the "minority" community of Halem.

This sort of think should be an insult to the inteligence of the people of NYC.
It is so obvious, it is almost funny as a self-parody skit.

Any way, I hope to bring this sort of thing to the attention of - at least- the other members of this community.

So, the "ground breaking" was last week. If this were a true breaking than there would be at least some construction activity. There is none - an I believe (despite last weeks ceremony) that there will not be any construction work done there for yet a long period of time.

I will contine to post photos on this project; as soon as somthing photo worthy happens there.

Cheers -

November 9th, 2005, 05:20 PM
Groundbreakings are always a sham. There have been about 17 of them at the WTC site since 9/11.

December 25th, 2005, 03:09 PM
After the recent opening of the Ferry Terminal, and the "ground breaking" at harlem piers, and now Pier 84 in mid-completion: looks like the greenway is comming along nicely.

January 11th, 2006, 12:19 AM
Some in B.P.C. worry about closing pedestrian bridges

By Tonya Garcia
Downtown Express


Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

The state Dept. of Transportation plans to take down the Vesey St.
pedestrian bridge in a few years as part of its plan for improvements
on West St.

The leader of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City committee said she thinks the state’s plan to tear down two pedestrian bridges over West St. will make it unsafe to cross the roadway.

“There’s got to be a way to get people across the street safely,” Linda Belfer said in a telephone interview Jan. 4, the day after the state Dept. of Transportation made a presentation to the C.B. 1 committee. Belfer said safety has always been an issue at the intersection of West and Vesey Sts., and the new Goldman Sachs building under construction will mean an additional 9,000 workers in the neighborhood.

“They did indicate that there would be a pedestrian passageway leading to the Winter Garden from the Fulton Transit Center,” she said, but insists that there must be an alternative since it wouldn’t be used by everyone.

An underground pedestrian walkway connecting the W.T.C. PATH and subway station to the Winter Garden will be built making it easier to get from one side of the street to the other. The PATH station will also have an underground connection to the Fulton Transit Center under construction.

The state plans to demolish the Vesey and Rector St. bridges, temporary structures which were built after 9/11 to make it easier to cross the street, also called Route 9A.

Construction work on the section of West St. opposite the World Trade Center site is scheduled to begin early in 2007. The final phase, scheduled to be completed in mid-2009, includes knocking down the bridges and D.O.T. has not determined when the bridges will be closed.

With traffic volume along this section of road reaching their pre-9/11 numbers, a large part of the project will include shifts in Route 9A alignment. Finished plans also include crosswalks on the following streets: Albany, Liberty, Vesey, Murray, West Thames and Fulton Sts. which will be extended through the W.T.C. site to West St.

By adding crosswalks, plantings and other safety measures, the state hopes to make it easier to cross the street. The state had considered a vehicular tunnel, but the plan was opposed by Goldman Sachs, Community Board 1 and many Battery Park City residents for cost and safety reasons and it was not implemented.

The pedestrian bridges will remain at Chambers and Liberty Sts. There is also a study being conducted about the potential for a bridge on Morris St. to replace the one on Rector.

Officials from the project make assurances that the needs of the community will continue to be met, even throughout the different stages of work. Heather Sporn, deputy director of the Route 9A Project, called the current plans “very preliminary,” and predicts closures based on construction needs.

For example, modifications of the Liberty St. bridge will require closure periods. “We plan to maintain the existing entrances into and out of Battery Park City,” Sporn said.

(C) Community Media LLC

January 13th, 2006, 05:57 PM
This is a G base image of the pier in NJ (next to the Lincoln tunnel entrance) that the HIstoric Ferry "Yankee" has been relocated to from pier 25 on the nyc side of the Hudson rive. http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2893&highlight=greenways

(mostly testing G base usese here)


January 25th, 2006, 05:07 PM
This exibit looks worth a visit - I found this information at the "Friends of the Hudson River Park" website.

(From FOHRP website)
The Lost Piers: Photo Exhibit Opens at South Street Seaport Museum. For well over 100 years, the Hudson River piers in Greenwich Village bustled with the maritime commerce that made New York the greatest port in the country. By 1970, however, these piers had been largely abandoned for shipping and fell into disuse.

But in the decade from 1972 to 1982, the decaying piers became the venues for a thriving "other life," with the rotting pier decks serving as stages for music, dance and acrobats, as well as gathering places for New Yorkers of a hundred different stripes. Some of the most bizarre -- and most poignant - of the scenes that characterized the collapsing piers during this decade were captured by photographer Shelley Seccombe.

An exhibition of 24 of Ms. Seccombe's photographs sponsored by Friends and the South Street Seaport Museum opened to the public on January 19, 2006 and will remain there through October 31. The Museum is located at 12 Fulton Street in Downtown Manhattan. For hours and directions, go to www.southstseaport.org.

(update) I went to see this exibit today 1/26, and it is not open yet - the info in the website is wrong. The exibit will be open to the public starting tommorow.

February 10th, 2006, 10:59 AM

On the waterfront, before it was green

“The Lost Waterfront”
Photographs by Shelley Seccombe
On view through Oct. 31
South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton Street
Call ahead for hours

Shelley Seccombe

Shelley Seccombe’s photographs bring back scenes from a forgotten New York, like “West Street in Snow,” featuring the old elevated West Side highway under demolition, and the still-standing Twin Towers.

By Nicole Davis

It’s easy, if you don’t live or work near the water, to forget that Manhattan is surrounded by it. It’s easier still, while jogging or lounging or kayaking along the parks that now dot the west side from Battery Park to W. 55th, to forget that those green acres were once home to a working waterfront, filled with sailboats and oyster ships and later tugs and scows and football-stadium-sized pier sheds housing meat and produce and manufactured goods. For roughly 150 years, from the time Robert Fulton launched the first steamship from the Christopher Street pier in 1807, to the 1950s, New York was the greatest port in the country. Then came the rise of container shipping by rail and truck, which shuttered New York’s booming maritime industry and many of the 60-odd piers along the Hudson. Commercial activity started to ebb, and a whole new cast of characters flowed onto the abandoned piers. Fortunately, for those of us who weren’t around to witness this flux, we have Shelley Seccombe.

“There are many people in New York who have no idea that the waterfront was any different from what it is now,” says the 67-year-old photographer, just a few blocks from the South Street Seaport Museum where her photographs of the old Hudson River waterfront are on view through October. Over coffee, she explains what it was like in the 70s and early 80s, the period her exhibit covers.

“People hung out on the piers…There were dance concerts, there were always people doing exercises and jogging and walking their dogs and then there were the performers, the people who came and played their instruments.”

Just as this reporter is about to say that her description of the past sounds pretty much like the present, Seccombe mentions the fires.

“Then there were all these fires on the waterfront. Some of them may have been arson fires, [but] there were [also] people around smoking, and the decks of the piers would start to catch fire and the fireboat would come.” Someone even set her own car on fire once, when she parked it in a lot along the river. “It was very colorful,” she says, smiling at her choice of words. “I think I saw [taking these photographs] as keeping a record.”

That record — those 25 photographs on the third floor of the museum — depicts a gritty New York in glorious decay. Dilapidated piers jut out into the Hudson, their frames exposed like skeletal remains. At the edge of one empty pier, a woman curls into an unfathomable yoga pose, mirroring the derelict pier in the background, whose structure is in such bad shape, it looks as though it’s melting.

In many of the photographs, you can also catch glimpses of the old, elevated West Side highway, known then as the Miller highway. By 1973, it had deteriorated so badly that a cement truck on its way to make repairs to the aging roadway caused a 60-foot section of it to collapse. That was around the time Seccombe began photographing the piers in earnest, exploring the waterfront near her Westbeth apartment where she and her husband David still live and where they raised their daughter, who appears in some of the photos. A Midwesterner by birth, Seccombe was drawn to the water from the moment she moved into the subsidized artist apartments at Bethune and West Street. From her window she could still see the waterfront “teeming with commercial activity.” and Seccombe says she took at least ten trips on tugboats, swapping prints for rides so she could photograph the piers from the river. Many of them are gone now, like Pier 49, whose remaining piles poke out of the Hudson today like thick cattails. Seccombe remembers when it was still intact — well, just barely.

“One time I was photographing outdoors and I saw someone with a dog on the pier and suddenly the dog disappeared. [It] had fallen in a hole, and a current carried the dog out into the river. The man jumped in to save it, and I went running for help.” The piers, she says, were riddled with breaks in the decking where you could trap your foot and break a leg. “It was not all that pristine and comfortable,” says Seccombe. And yet New Yorkers still managed to find a way to lie on them. One photograph displays sunbathers on the old Pier 51, which has since been reincarnated as a Hudson River Park playground. Back then it was on the verge of disappearing into a watery grave, and laid accordion-like in the river. At its edge, just before the steel bars sticking out from the end, a few extreme sun worshippers spread out blankets to catch some rays. Seccombe says there were days the edges of these piers, hidden from the street by elegant head houses in front, were covered with nude sunbathers. (Don’t get too excited. She kept those racy images out of the show.)

A few of the digital prints, made with the help of Nancy Sirkis from Seccombe’s stash of negatives and slides, also show the Twin Towers still standing. In one, the smoke and flames from a burning pier crowd out the image of the Towers in the background, a grim foreshadowing of 9/11. Seccombe isn’t sure which pier it was — 46 or 48—because she didn’t take good notes when she first switched careers from violinist to photographer and photography teacher.

“Although it’s early work, it’s some of my best work,” says Seccombe. “I’m always surprised when I go back to it that it still looks pretty good, even though I was in many ways less technically adept than I am now. I was so involved in it, I guess because I had never lived on the water,” says the Illinois-born photographer.

Today, Seccombe still takes pictures along the waterfront, particularly of street performers who bring some of the old flavor back. But the grime and the grit are gone. In its place, as photos donated from Friends of Hudson River Park show, are manicured lawns and reconstructed piers where even the people lounge in an orderly fashion, seated almost in a straight line at the edge of the newfangled Pier 45.

Increasingly, however, Seccombe is turning away from the waterfront and into the heart of the country, where she travels frequently to see her daughter in Phoenix. On her road trips with her husband through the Heartland and the Southwest, she finds herself stopping in places like Kansas to photograph orange piles of sorghum and old grain elevators — yet another symbol of industrial decay.

“I hate to say that I only take pictures of things in decay,” says Seccombe. “But it’s difficult to shoot something that’s inherently beautiful in a way that will capture people’s attention.”

Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

February 23rd, 2006, 06:08 PM
A Ribbon of Green That Hasn’t Got Any

Paying for Parks With the Public Purse

By Matthew Schuerman
NY Observer
Feb. 27, 2006 Edition

http://www.observer.com/20060227/20060227_Matthew_Schuerman_finance_financialpress. asp

The five-mile-long Hudson River Park was born from the rubble of Westway—the controversial plan to sink the West Side Highway and cover it with park, which met an ignominious end in 1985.

But reclaiming the waterfront—and getting the hookers off the piers—still sounded good to pretty much everyone.

So planners conceived a new ribbon of green around the edges of lower Manhattan, and phased in a little bit of profit-making development, too, to maintain the greenery. In fact, they even went so far as to say that the park would pay for itself.

But that was 1995, and the financial plan showing that the park can indeed pay for itself hasn’t been revised since.

Rents from developments like Chelsea Piers still cover the rent, but only for a small part of the planned park. Some 70 percent of the park remains to be built—and who will pay for that?

“The party line is that it will be totally successful,” said Albert Butzel, the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, a booster group that has helped raise funds for the park, which is controlled by a city-state agency. “The reality is that it is going to need a lot of help.”

Building the park will require some $450 million, and aggressive fund-raising will be required to obtain that money. But more harrowing to some park critics is the lack of a budget for day-in, day-out costs like mowing the lawns, picking up litter and patrolling the property, which may reach $17 million to $20 million once the park is finished.

Mr. Butzel is thinking of something normally taboo: a new tax.

The argument is simple enough: The park, created in 1998, has increased property values; beneficiaries should chip in something in return. The rub is that not only will some property owners balk at the unexpected cost, but opponents of a proposed self-financed park in Brooklyn Heights are already pining that their park be run the same way.

“Initially, my sense is that this is not what we all bargained for when the Hudson River Park sold the park to the city. It was supposed to be self-sustaining,” said Edward Baquero, managing partner at Coalco, a real-estate investment company that owns two properties that abut the park, including a building with Diane von Furstenberg’s studio on West 12th Street.

But he doesn’t rule out a special assessment district. “We should see what really went wrong,” Mr. Baquero said. “Was it a judgment error? If not, why was it off? I think they need to be very transparent.”

“They,” in this case, is the Hudson River Park Trust, the quasi-public agency overseeing the park. The costs of both constructing and operating the park have climbed since first outlined in a 1995 brochure issued by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governor George Pataki.

The annual operating cost once completed was supposed to hit $10 million. Currently, with just 25 to 30 percent of the park up and running, the budget is about $12 million, paid for by rents, concessions and other revenues. As more parkland will come on line, the trust will gain a few more profitable ventures—like a banquet hall and marina planned for Pier 57 at 15th Street—but Noreen Doyle, executive vice president of the trust, said that no one knows whether the new revenues will offset the new expenses.

Park Tax?

The Friends of Hudson River Park, Mr. Butzel told The Observer, is two or three months away from releasing an analysis of 15 years of data comparing properties in the West Village—which is where the first sections of the waterfront park have been completed—with those elsewhere in Manhattan.

The group is pursuing a two-pronged strategy, he said: The data may, in and of itself, convince enough people to contribute voluntarily, or it may persuade them to form a type of business-improvement district that would make those contributions mandatory for owners of property within its boundaries, which he said would probably extend about two blocks in from West Street.

“We haven’t received any feedback from property owners. This isn’t even a public idea,” Mr. Butzel said. “This is still years away.”

He said the study, undertaken with the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group, would consider a number of variables that may have contributed to value appreciation, such as proximity to a subway station, as well as the citywide real-estate boom.

“Even between one block and three blocks from the river, you can see the difference,” Mr. Butzel told The Observer.

The tax, which would be imposed on top of regular city property taxes, would technically be called an “assessment” and would come only after a majority of property owners decided to create the type of business-improvement district that exists on retail strips throughout the city. The district would have its own budget and its own officers, which would allow property owners to control how much to tax themselves and whether to spend it all on the park or not.

“I think all of these are good ideas,” said Ms. Doyle, adding that the trust wasn’t involved in the tax-district study.

But if the Hudson River Park administrators don’t see a problem in the future, the city and state do. As more and more waterfront parks are planned under the pay-your-own way mantra, the cost of operating these parks—and the desire to create massive development nearby to help fund their construction and maintenance—has become crystal clear.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 72-acre park to be built largely on former shipping piers, would include seven buildings—condominium towers, a hotel and a retail arcade, two of which already exist—covering about eight acres. The development rights and annual fees are supposed to cover the $15.2 million estimated annual budget. (State officials say the park is 85 acres, but that’s including water.)

“I think the Hudson River Park was not so focused on the issue of self-sufficiency. No one was in charge like Charles Gargano, who wanted to make sure it was really self-sustaining,” said Mr. Butzel, who is also a board member of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, a support group for that park. “The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation has leaned heavily in that direction so that revenues would be adequate, and the price of that is that buildings may be higher than they need be. But I think that residential development is a reasonable strategy. We are talking about one 30-story building. Why are people so upset about this?”

Mr. Gargano, the Governor’s chief economic aide, who is also the chairman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, didn’t respond to a request for an interview, but his associates often say that the self-sufficiency idea for the Brooklyn park stemmed from “the community” a long time ago and was codified in “13 guiding principles” in 1992.

Those principles also state, however, that “Specialized commercial uses … shall be encouraged and residential and office uses shall be discouraged.”

Of course, residential development is exactly the kind envisioned for the park, and for good reason: A marina just would not make much money. Brooklyn’s new park would need six Chelsea Piers in order to pay for itself.

The other document that state officials point to is a 2002 agreement between Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg. That agreement repeatedly refers to a “sustainable” park but never elaborates. (Environmentally sustainable? Financially sustainable?) At one point, the document permits but does not require commercial development to take place on the park: “the development of appropriate commercial uses may occur within the project area, provided that all revenues derived from such uses shall be used exclusively for the maintenance and operation of the project.”

Of course, there is a liberal argument that new parks should pay for themselves whenever they can, so the public money can go to parks in poor neighborhoods that are poorly maintained. It’s the reverse of environmental racism, of putting all the transfer stations and power plants in poor neighborhoods where property values are low anyway and the residents are too disorganized to raise hell. We’re not even talking about power plants here; we are talking about luxury condos with river views.

The state and city are already chipping in plenty of land and money to create both the Hudson River and Brooklyn Bridge parks; the self-sustaining part only pertains to the operation and maintenance budgets.

Besides, some park lovers—or at least park administrators—argue that relying on the city and state to pay annual expenses is just a bad management practice.

“Government has its ups and downs, and over the years, if you have a built-in ability to make sure you always have the bathrooms clean and lawns maintained, how much better would it be,” said Tupper Thomas, the administrator of Prospect Park in Brooklyn and the president of the Prospect Park Alliance, a private support group. And fund-raising, she added, doesn’t qualify as a “built-in ability”; it’s a very hard thing to do.

The opponents of Brooklyn Bridge Park, who fear that the condominium owners will turn the park into their private domain, would welcome the chance to try out a special assessment district.

“We proposed that last year. We called it a P.O.D., a parks oversight district, or a P.I.D., a parks improvement district,” said Judi Francis, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund. “We are not stupid. We know that it will improve our real-estate values. But give us the tax burden of the park without the privatization.”

In other words, why can’t Brooklyn be more like Manhattan?

copyright © 2005 the new york observer, L.P.

March 1st, 2006, 12:40 PM
On LES, It's OEM Out, Hoop Dreams In

Wednesday, March 01, 2006



Basketball City Is About To Score OEM's Space on the Lower East Side

BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun
New York Sun
March 1, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/28322

Pier 36, just north of the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side, was home to a prison barge in the late 1980s that was used to help alleviate overcrowding in the city's jails. Further back, it was used by banana importers and was the backdrop for a waterfront racketeering scandal in the 1970s.

Now, following up on an agreement struck in the Dinkins administration, the city is clearing out the Office of Emergency Management's facilities on the pier to make room for Basketball City, a company that now operates private basketball courts near Chelsea Piers.

The city's development agency is negotiating over the terms of a long-term lease for the site with Basketball City, which seeks to put courts inside an existing 64,000-square-foot warehouse. OEM is seeking Department of Planning approval to move some of its emergency vehicles into an existing warehouse on Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn.

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district encompasses the site, said the speaker supports Basketball City moving to Pier 36 because it fulfills the community's long-term goal of reclaiming the pier for recreational purposes.

The spokesman, Bryan Franke, said Mr. Silver successfully sued Mayor Dinkins to free the pier of the burden of housing city vehicles and heavy machinery.
Mr. Silver brokered a memorandum of understanding with the city that the pier eventually would be used for a community recreational facility. Under the Giuliani administration, an estimated 10 years ago, a request for proposals was issued and the use of the site was awarded to Basketball City.

Now the city's development agency is honoring that agreement and negotiating exclusively with Basketball City, although officials would not discuss the details of the talks, or say why it has taken so long to finalize the deal. Representatives of Basketball City did not return phone messages from a reporter.

At six Chelsea courts, Basketball City hosts adult basketball leagues and corporate events, runs youth programs, rents its courts to the public, and is affiliated with a nonprofit youth development organization that uses its facilities, according to its Web site.

Community Board 3, which covers the neighborhood that includes Pier 36, gave the green light to Basketball City about two years ago. But some area residents are saying that putting a private recreational facility into a neighborhood filled with public housing makes no sense.

The president of the Two Bridges neighborhood council, Victor Papa, said, "Basketball City is probably a very good entity, but the people who live along South Street have a median income of about $20,000 a year."

The long neglected East River waterfront is now getting some serious attention in the form of a city plan to reconnect the surrounding communities to the river. In addition, the Drawing Center, which had been slated to move to ground zero, recently announced it would occupy the site that was recently the home of the Fulton Fish Market. That area is sprouting with the same luxury residential development that has seized most of Lower Manhattan.

Surely some will see Basketball City's expected arrival as advancing this promising improvement. But the director of the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative, Robert Weber, said the Basketball City plan, in addition to being inaccessible to the community, may not meld with the city's plans to improve the waterfront.

"That project went out 10 years ago, and in the last year the city has sponsored this planning process. Why wouldn't you integrate this into the existing planning of the waterfront community?" Mr. Weber said.

The director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Carter Craft, said that the city's decision to move ahead with the Basketball City plan is a definite improvement over the existing parking lot, but also is telling of a larger trend.

"The painful reality of today is that it's so expensive to develop, protect, and maintain the waterfront that the city is seeking more private developers to do it instead of allowing or enabling the Parks Department to do it," Mr. Craft said.

© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC

March 4th, 2006, 07:03 AM
Earlier this week construction began on the Harlem Piers project. The waterfront in this area had been used as a parking lot for the Fairway food market prior to the recent construction activity. This project is being built on the Hudson River bank and 133rd Street.

The completion of this project will provide a vital link between Riverside Park and the other waterfront parks further uptown: a continuous path from the tip of northern Manhattan all-the-way to Battery Park City.

To view schematic illustrations and read a general project
description go to - http://www.weact.org/hotr/planning_document.html
Also - http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pdf-files/Harlem_Piers.pdf

April 20th, 2006, 06:02 PM
Funds slated for Brooklyn waterfront cleanup
by Catherine Tymkiw

City and state officials on Thursday announced $36 million in funding to help clean up and redevelop the Bush Terminal Piers in Brooklyn.

The city plans to clean up the site, located on the Sunset Park waterfront between 43rd and 51st streets. The Bush Terminal site had been an active port before becoming contaminated in the 1970s because of illegal dumping of oil, demolition debris and wastewater.

After clean up the site will be transformed into athletic fields, walkways, natural areas, an environmental education center, a boat-building area, a fishing pier, seasonal restaurant booths, a community building, and a banquet hall.

"I am very pleased that, finally, this land will be cleaned up and be made accessible to the public," said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz in a statement. "By using these state funds to return the Bush Terminal Pier site to the people of Brooklyn, we are enhancing the quality of life for the city's residents."

The state will provide $17.8 million, the city $9 million and the federal government $8 million for the project.

©2006 Crain Communications Inc.


April 21st, 2006, 11:17 AM
^ That is great! I love to hear news about new parks in the city.

April 21st, 2006, 11:51 AM
I hope this continues, we could have one of the most beautiful waterfronts and harbors in the world.

April 21st, 2006, 12:37 PM
Have you seen Sydney's? From a natural perspctive, it is really something believable. But NY has a better skyline.

April 21st, 2006, 09:03 PM
A long string of small yellow floats has recently appeared on the waterfront near the construction site of the new Harlem Piers project.

The floats are in the same general location of the piers - as indicated on the design drawing - for the proposed project. My connect-the-dots theory is that they have been placed there to indicate the spots where the new pier supports are to be placed.


April 22nd, 2006, 01:15 AM
For $2.4 Million, 7 Racing Yachts Get Parking Spot

Published: April 22, 2006

The Kiwis are coming, and so are the Dutchmen and the Brazilians. They are coming by sea in sleek racing yachts and they are going to need what so many people in Manhattan covet — a place to park.

To make way for them, workers are dredging the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City as fast as they can. When they started last Saturday, the water in the marina was less than six feet deep in some places. But the seven boats, which are taking part in a round-the-world race whose next leg ends at the Statue of Liberty, need the water to be at least 14 feet deep.

So the agency that runs Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan decided to spend $2.44 million to give the yachts a proper place to dock when they arrive in early May.

That is how much a New Jersey-based dredging outfit, Donjon Marine Company, is being paid by the Battery Park City Authority to remove about 25,000 cubic yards of silt from the bottom of the basin by May 1. With a deadline looming, the authority's directors convened a special meeting three weeks ago. Although some directors wondered aloud why the authority was paying so much to prepare for an event that would benefit so few, they unanimously approved the rushed contract, an authority spokesman confirmed.

The authority, a state corporation that collects rent and other payments from the owners of residential and office buildings in Battery Park City, spent $37.2 million last year to manage the entire 92-acre development.

"We're certainly paying a premium to have it done quickly," said James Cavanaugh, the president of the authority, which owns the marina. "It's not cheap to move dirt, especially when it's underwater."

But, he added, "They're going around the world; we don't want them to run aground in North Cove."

Still, the notion that a state agency would invest a significant amount of money toward an elite event with a limited following has puzzled some residents. And the racers will not have a chance to do much spending in New York because they will be here only two days.

Edward Hersey, a father of two who has lived in Battery Park City for 12 years, said he would rather see the authority spend its money on parks than yachts. "There needs to be more open, public green spaces," he said.

The yachts are expected in New York Harbor on May 8 or 9, after a short leg of the race, from Annapolis, Md. The Volvo Ocean Race is a sort of roving international carnival of sailors from a variety of ports and support teams of more than 500 people.

In five months, the boats, which are 70 feet long with masts 100 feet tall, have sailed 25,000 nautical miles in an eastward loop from Spain to South Africa to Australia to Brazil to Maryland.

The latest leg ended Tuesday, with ABN Amro One, whose skipper is from New Zealand, holding the lead. Pirates of the Caribbean, a boat inspired by the movie that has an American skipper, Paul Cayard, and a crew that includes Kiwis, Australians and a Dutchman, is in a tight battle for second place.

After racing 400 nautical miles up the East Coast to New York, the boats will dock for two days then turn around and head from Manhattan to Portsmouth, England.

"The race restart should be really cool and a great symbol for Lower Manhattan," said Michael Fortenbaugh, commodore of the marina, who led the campaign to have the race go there. "This is the first time a race of this magnitude has been attracted to New York City."

Mr. Fortenbaugh's company, North Cove Marina Management, leased the marina from the Battery Park City Authority a year ago. Dennis Conner, who has won the America's Cup four times, is one of Mr. Fortenbaugh's partners.

All of the drama on the high seas was of little interest to Thomas D. Witte, executive vice president of Donjon. His priority was getting the dredging done on what he called "about the tightest schedule we've ever seen."

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, a crew of five men operates the dredge, which scoops the muck in buckets wrapped in rubber and dumps it onto scows. Other Donjon workers operate tugboats that push the loaded scows up the river, where the silt is unloaded and trucked to landfills, Mr. Witte said. He said the silt was mixed with cement to form a hard material that is used to cap the landfills.

The men worked all day on Easter and their goal is to increase the depth of the water in the basin to at least 16 feet, he said.

"Unfortunately, the life of a dredger is what the life of a dredger is," Mr. Witte said. "I've never owned a yacht. I'm all blue-collar vessels."

The late start on the dredging work was causing no worries for the race organizers, said a race spokesman, Cameron Kelleher. "It's not unusual for us to be a couple of days away from a stopover and the last few bits of dredging still to be done," Mr. Kelleher said by phone from Baltimore. "In Brazil, they were dredging up to two days before we arrived."

Warned that public-works projects are rarely completed on time in New York City, Mr. Kelleher laughed and said, "You should try Spain."


May 13th, 2006, 01:25 PM
A long string of small yellow floats has recently appeared on the waterfront near the construction site of the new Harlem Piers project.

Excerpt from NY Times:
Published: May 12, 2006

After making its way through the legislative approval process, however, the project was delayed for about a year by the Army Corps of Engineers out of concern that the new piers would disrupt fish spawning and migration routes. As a compromise, 50 "reef domes" — concrete structures five feet in diameter and four feet high with holes cut out to allow fish to swim in and out — will be placed at the bottom of the river near the piers.

reef dome

June 11th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Recently the construction crews have begun placing the reef domes into the Hudson River. My guess is that the 'yellow floats' art there to indicate the place to put the reef domes. Let the spawning begin!

June 11th, 2006, 03:03 PM
And if they don't work, they'll make dandy septic tanks.

June 19th, 2006, 12:14 PM
N.Y.C.'s hidden beach oases

Secret finds something to sea


Call them the secret beaches of New York.
Hidden in the nooks and crannies along the city's riverbanks lie dozens of small, sandy oases.

But don't grab the beach towels just yet. Most of the estimated 60 to 70 "beaches" in the five boroughs and New Jersey are isolated, neglected and debris-strewn. Still, some nature enthusiasts are optimistic.

"Right now ... these beaches are not great sunbathing options," said Rob Buchanan of New York Harbor Beaches. "But they could become that if people start to take care of them."

Buchanan, 47, is among a group of hikers and boaters who spent the last year combing the East, Hudson and Harlem river shorelines.

Not everyone is pleased with the idea of opening up the small beaches. Officials at Community Board 1 in downtown Manhattan, for example, downplayed the area under the Brooklyn Bridge for fear of increased drownings.

But John Lipscomb, patrol boat captain for the nonprofit group Riverkeepers, sees people fishing, crabbing and wading along the shoreline around the city all the time.

"People want to use the water," he said, adding that pollution remains a major problem. "We need to get to a point where mothers can take their children there to play and build sandcastles. We're on our way, but we're not quite there yet."

Not all the beaches lie on public land, and many are not easily accessible. They're tucked under bridges, below city parks and on rocky strips in neighborhoods like DUMBO, Astoria, Battery Park and the South Bronx.

In Red Hook, Brooklyn, only the locals seems to know about the pocket-sized sand and gravel beach off Valentino Pier.

On some days the tides there wash up garbage, making the water less appealing, but when the tides are right, the spot is "breathtaking," said resident Elizabeth Freund.

"It feels like a little vacation before I start my workday," she said.

In lower Manhattan, the clean, golden sand beach under the Brooklyn Bridge near the South Street Seaport draws the occasional beachcomber.

Francisco Morales, 27, of the upper West Side, sometimes goes there with his girlfriend. "It's nice here, but people do look at us funny," he said.

And not everyone is eager to share their finds with the rest of the city. At Astoria Park beach in Queens, the well-manicured stretch of sand offers a boathouse and views of the Triborough Bridge. Denny Core, a 50-year-old retiree who has been going there for the past 20 years, is hoping it remains low-key.

"This is my favorite spot," he said. "And I like it just the way it is."

Look for Rob Buchanan's secret beach finds on the Web at www.newyorkharborbeaches.org

Originally published on June 19, 2006

Copyright 2006 Daily News

July 7th, 2006, 07:51 PM
Since I can't find the thread on Hudson River Park, or the Meier buildings (the search function seems useless to me, I wish I could just search thread titles) I am posting these here.


July 7th, 2006, 07:59 PM
Wow, variations on a theme. Don't know which is most beautiful.

They're like a string of phrases in a piece by Philip Glass; each variation is ever so slightly altered.

I like your penchant for foreground flowers.

July 7th, 2006, 08:12 PM
I wish I could just search thread titles

Oh, but you can search thread titles! Just go to the advanced search, and under keyword, select "Search Titles Only." Also, if you're looking for something specific, select the Boolean option. I searched for "Meier" and got only 5 results. Here are the links to his Hudson River Projects:

165 Charles Street (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3219&highlight=MEIER)

Perry West (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3400&highlight=MEIER)

July 7th, 2006, 08:52 PM
Thanks, that will be very useful to know!

July 20th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Bringing it back home ...

How green will Tribeca’s park be, how long was the wait?


Rendering of Pier 25 design

DOWNTOWN EXPRESS (http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_166/howgreenwilltribeca.html)
By Josh Rogers
July 20, 2006

The dirt Gov. George Pataki and other officials shoveled last week on Pier 25 was just a prop to symbolize construction of the Hudson River Park’s Tribeca section, but after years of delays, real work is actually underway.

A few days later, as cyclists and joggers went by the pier and would-be trapeze artists practiced in the air, few visitors to the temporary parts of the park knew much about the permanent plan that includes rebuilding piers, building a playing field, planting trees and adding a nature area.

“I have lived here for 12 years and I have seen so many plans revised 100 times,” said a 36-year-old Battery Park City resident, who declined to give her name. “I don’t believe anything until I see it — ground zero is the perfect example.”

She hoped the Tribeca part of the park ends up looking something like the completed Village section to the north, although a few others stopped for interviews did not want to see a repeat of the manicured lawns.

“Trees are good — as long as they don’t make it too chi-chi,” said Paul Rubin, a Tribeca writer who returned to the neighborhood four years ago after moving out west in 1970. He was out walking Hubert, his large and amorous Alaskan malamute, and hoped to be able to let the dog run free on the piers (a dog run is planned nearby, but leashes will be required for the rest of the park).

The Tribeca section is now scheduled to open in 2009 and Pataki said there will be no more delays. “It’s going to be [done on time],” he told Downtown Express. “It’ll be open for 100 years. People had no access to the water for longer than that.”

He told the audience at the July 6 ceremony that his favorite parts of the plan are the beach volleyball courts and kayak boathouse, which were on Piers 25 and 26 before they were closed at the end of last year for construction. “I first got to know my wife pretty well playing volleyball on the sand in Long Island,” said the governor, who has also kayaked down the Hudson to Tribeca.

The piers are gradually decaying and would have had to have been closed eventually.

Downtown Express photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio
Above, Stefan Pryor, left, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation president,
Kevin Rampe, L.M.D.C. chairperson, Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff, and Gov. Pataki
on the pier last Thursday to celebrate the start of construction of the
Hudson River Park’s Tribeca section, funded by the L.M.D.C.

Pataki has spoken enthusiastically about the Hudson River Park for most of his administration, although he has never been able to secure all of the money needed to build it. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he set up the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which became responsible for disbursing $2.8 billion in federal funds to help Downtown rebuild. In November 2004, the governor said the L.M.D.C. would provide the money needed to build the $70 million Tribeca section, but by that time he had given the mayor 50 percent control of the corporation and the city and state were negotiating over how to spend the remaining $800 million.

Dep. Mayor Daniel Doctoroff joked about the delay at last week’s ceremony on Pier 25. “We all knew all along the money was in the bag — we just didn’t want to tell you too soon,” said Doctoroff, who is also vice chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city authority building the park.

The standoff is likely to mean most of the pile work rebuilding the piers will be pushed back by more than two years after the date when Pataki said the money was coming. The Trust can only work in the water in warmer weather and must stop by Oct. 31 under its permit.

“The majority of the pile work will be done next season, said Marc Boddewyn, the Trust’s vice president of design and construction. The Trust closed the Tribeca piers at the end of last year, evicted the historic Yankee ferry from the park, and began preliminary work clearing structures like the Downtown Boathouse, River Project and mini-golf course. They suspended work a few months ago waiting for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to sign off on the L.M.D.C. grant.

Boddewyn said work cutting the pier decks began about two weeks ago and they should be removed by the end of August. The Trust is talking to contractors about the pile work for Piers 25 and 26 and has not decided how much work it wants to do this season.

He said the goal is to open as much of the section as soon as possible and the area from Laight St. to just north of Tribeca at Pier 40 possibly could open by fall 2007. There will be two basketball courts, the existing tennis courts and a nature walk with beach grass and cedars that Boddewyn assured would not be chi-chi.

“This will be different than the Village section,” he said. “It will have less lawn and it’ll be more raw — wonderful.”

Pier 25, which was used to transport the rubble collected at the World Trade Center site, will be extended to 1,000 feet, several hundred feet longer than it had been in recent years. There will be an artificial turf field and a new playground. A mooring field for boats, a more elaborate mini-golf course and a snack bar will return. Pier 26 will have a boathouse, a center to study marine life — and a restaurant. In the upland area closer to the bikeway/walkway, there will also be a skateboard park.

Groups like Manhattan Youth, the Downtown Boathouse and River Project, which ran many of the piers’ programs, have said they want to return when the piers reopen. Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said the operators would be selected under a formal request for proposal process and all will be picked well after the new year — probably about seven months before a specific operation will be ready to go.

Veterans of the battles to build a waterfront park were hopeful last week about the park’s Tribeca section. Robert Trentlyon, appointed nearly two decades ago to the West Side Task Force by Gov. Mario Cuomo, said things should proceed smoothly now because it won’t be easy to stop for economic downturns.

“I think so,” he said. “I feel very confident there is a lot of momentum. Politically, [the park] is so used, no one will dare stop in the middle.”

© 2006 Community Media, LLC

August 7th, 2006, 10:22 AM
NY Sun

In the Vanguard Of a Sea Change

The new IAC HQ building on the West Side Highway between 18th and 19th streets in Chelsea is among the many changes taking place in the area.


By JAMES GARDNER - Special to the Sun
August 7, 2006

Many of the world's great cities, like Venice, Italy; Paris; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, are now essentially complete. They have swelled to their foreordained limits and been filled with most of the building stock they'll ever need. But even though New York has existed for nearly four centuries, it is still very much a work in progress: Not only are its specific streetscapes in constant flux, but the grand strategy of the entire city, the very role and function it should serve, is undergoing a revolution from an industrial to a post-industrial state. This sea change can be seen throughout the world, but New York is in the vanguard, exactly as it was in the rise of the modern city a century ago.

If you want material proof of this revolution, walk along the far West Side of Manhattan Island, from the Chelsea Piers at 23rd Street down through the West Village. Many changes have taken place in the past decade or so, with more on the way. In addition to the Chelsea Piers, perhaps the earliest harbinger of this change, are the art galleries of Chelsea, the Chelsea Art Museum at 22nd Street, the three residential towers designed over the past five years by Richard Meier at Perry and Charles streets, the Hudson River Park that will one day connect the Battery to Riverside Park, and a new office tower designed by Frank Gehry at Twelfth Avenue and 18th Street.

For much of its earlier history, of course, New York was coterminous with Manhattan Island at the center of New York Harbor. As such, it was a maritime entity: The water at its circumference was spiritually at its center. Since World War II, however, a variety of social and technological forces, from cars and airplanes to the rise of containers in moving cargo, exploded the maritime rationale for New York City until, by the 1970s, it had ceased to exist. As the city's magnetic charge, so to speak, flipped from the circumference to the center, Manhattan, which had once been its sailors and longshoremen, its piers and masts and the Fulton Fish Market, became Central Park, Fifth Avenue, and Times Square.

Once maritime Manhattan had passed away, the city's circumference very quickly became a grimy no man's land. No longer a destination, it assumed all those functional necessities that were deemed too ugly, too déclassé, to exist anywhere near the exalted center of the island. Garages and car repairs, power stations and sanitation hubs all accumulated around the edges like barnacles clinging to the timbers of a rotting ship.

But over the past 10 or so years, a new urbanistic process has emerged, one that really picked up speed around 2000. First world cities, once essential organs of manufacture and commerce, have lost their sense of functional necessity: With exponential improvements in communications and transportation, it is no longer imperative that one be physically present in a city, as had once been the case. In response to their vanishing functionalism, certain urban centers, and none more than Manhattan, have increasingly reinvented themselves as zones of culture and recreation: The loading docks of Chelsea have become art galleries; the abattoirs of the Meatpacking District are now upscale restaurants, and the waterfront itself, once essential to the city's economic commerce, has become a park.

In one of the ironies of urban history, the disappearance of New York's functionalism has only increased the city's drawing power. But the new inhabitants of the far West Side, and of New York City in general, are very different from the old. While residential Manhattan has historically been limited to a relatively few desirable zones, now the urge to live here is so great that, henceforth, no parcel of the island will ever again appear unworthy of residential development. Even the once off-limits zone of infrastructure that is the far West Side has become the object of such longing among the latest generation of home-makers, that even Martha Stewart, who can live anywhere she wants, has bought one of the apartments in Richard Meier's Perry Street Towers.

This reinvention of the far West Side has coincided with the emergence of a new phase of taste among the younger generation, an appreciation of hulking, superannuated infrastructure, no longer as a functional necessity, but as a compelling, and quintessentially urban, backdrop. Just as the 18th century discovered the natural sublime, so today many people find a kind of man-made sublimity in the hulks of a city's decaying infrastructure. The West Side of Manhattan, with its stumps of rotting piers, its salt-bitten iron-works collapsing into the Hudson, its massive smokestacks that have emitted no smoke in decades, above all such landmarks as the High Line, suggests to the latest generation a virile and purposive past that, even as it is being transcended, is scrupulously preserved.

For this reason, the development of Twelfth Avenue below 23rd Street does not and will not resemble the usual developments that you see in New York. Most people don't realize that Park Avenue rises over the tracks leading north from Grand Central. This fact was vigorously suppressed by the developers of the past 100 years. On the Far West Side, however, the train tracks and the smokestacks are the area's main selling points. In the process, the grunge aesthetic has migrated from torn jeans and a three-day growth of beard to architecture and urban planning, as a whole new generation of New Yorkers has taken to slumming on the far West Side.

August 7th, 2006, 08:01 PM
^ Good article, but needs a better conclusion.

August 28th, 2006, 09:18 AM

GREEN QUEEN: Proposed park would see Greenpoint
live up to its name.

August 27, 2006

The scenes seem more Greenwich than Greenpoint: pedestrians strolling along a shorefront esplanade, kayakers paddling through placid waters, people gathering at an outdoor performance shell.

But if city park planners have their way, it will come true.

As part of a $100 million refurbishment of the Greenpoint waterfront, planners are proposing soccer and softball fields, a visitors center, a boathouse, a beach and a boardwalk for the 25-acre Bushwick Inlet Park.

Also planned is a museum and memorial plaza dedicated to the USS Monitor, the first ironclad ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy, built and launched in Greenpoint during the Civil War.

There will also be a community center, a performance space in the footprint of the soon-to-be-removed Bayside fuel tanks and a floating movie screen on the inlet.

The Parks Department's preliminary and still-evolving designs were unveiled last week at Community Board 1, where reactions were mixed.

While most seem pleased with the design, some complained that planners are simply thinking too big.

Others were angry that the Monitor museum's proposed location has been moved to Kent Avenue, the northernmost part of the park.

The museum, which is now a traveling exhibit, was given land for a permanent home on the inlet's waterfront in 2003. It used a $50,000 state grant to clean the site, which will now be used for other park uses.

"No one's against the park," said Janice Weinmann of the museum. "We just want the museum prominently displayed on the waterfront where the ship was actually launched."

The city is still in the process of acquiring the Bushwick Inlet from five private developers.

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

October 4th, 2006, 10:22 AM
A Riverfront Oasis Replaces a Bleak Lot in a Bleak Area

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Officials cut the ribbon yesterday for the Bronx’s newest park.
It is part of a 10-year effort to improve parks in the borough.

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/04/nyregion/04park.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin)
October 4, 2006

For years, the contaminated land at the end of Tiffany Street in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx jutted into the East River like nothing more than a mean and bony elbow.

On weekends, hardy neighborhood revelers planted the Puerto Rican flag there and danced and partied at the river’s edge, transforming it into a happy outcropping known as La Playita, or the Little Beach. But mostly the lot lay barren amid a stretch of waste-treatment plants and factories.

So the unveiling yesterday of its transformation into Barretto Point Park, a lush five-acre waterfront spot complete with a sandy cove, a small boat ramp, sea grasses and a paved path along the river, was understandably met with glee — and no shortage of wonder.

“I’m amazed at the grass,” said Margaret George, a teacher at nearby St. Ignatius School, who gazed at the gently sloping lawn as her sixth-grade students clamored on the shiny new playground equipment, including swings that seemed to soar right over the river.

A neighborhood must have had a long and scarred legacy when a simple new lawn evokes awe. Few neighborhoods have had as much scarring as Hunts Point.

“In the 70’s when you used to come down here, you wouldn’t stop at traffic lights,” recalled Kathy McCarthy, a volunteer at St. Ignatius whose father owned a gas station nearby. “There was so much crime you were afraid.”

Long an outpost of factories and impoverished residents, plagued by drugs and prostitution, Hunts Point is undergoing a slow transformation, led by community groups like Sustainable South Bronx, the Point and Banana Kelly that urged city leaders to restore waterfront access in a borough where much of the shoreline is inaccessible to its residents.

Last summer, armed with $7.2 million in funds, including $5.3 million from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s office, the Parks and Recreation Department closed La Playita and went to work transforming it in what would have to be labeled an extreme extreme makeover.

Workers hauled out tons of trash and debris, cleared tall grasses and capped the contaminated ground with two feet of soil. They hauled in hundreds of shade trees — sweet gum, red maple, pin oak — rebuilt a pier of concrete, added the boat ramp and recreated the rocky shoreline, even adding a storage container for the South Bronx Kayak Club’s gear. They bedded native plants like sumac and rugosa roses and beach grass. They cut an idyllic amphitheatre into a slope over the water’s edge.

And, in a nod to La Playita, they expanded the tiny beach, forming an immaculate cove with a carpet of cappuccino-colored sand.

The result is a pristine enclave with views of Rikers Island, North Brother Island (a bird sanctuary) and the Manhattan skyline.

The emerald in the new park’s crown is, of course, the lawn, a lush and undulating promenade laced with walkways. Yesterday, it bore up well under the weight of dignitaries, neighborhood leaders and curious South Bronx residents who came out to see Mayor Bloomberg cut a red ribbon around noon and declare it a city park. Some, like Nelsine Sepulveda, 11, had already enjoyed it. She said her father had brought her on weekends to fish from the pier.

In fact, well before Mr. Bloomberg arrived, the park’s christening was made official just after 10:20 a.m. when Maria Carrasco, a fifth grader at St. Ignatius, reported the playground’s first skinned knee.

The Parks Department is in the middle of a 10-year, $462 million campaign to improve Bronx parks said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner.

At least $113 million has already been spent. Roughly $200 million of the money is expected to come from cost savings after the city built a water-filtration plant under Van Cortlandt Park, according to Mr. Bloomberg, who reiterated his administration’s goal of restoring much of the city’s 578 miles of shoreline.

“What you are seeing is a little piece of paradise on the South Bronx waterfront,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The view is great and will just get better.”

When the projects are done, there will be a 15-mile greenway linking parts of the Bronx waterfront to Randalls Island and the Westchester border.

But some said there was still work to be done. For one thing, there is virtually no public transportation to Barretto Point Park, which is surrounded mostly by industrial buildings — including a waste-transfer station and a fertilizer factory — and far from most of the residential parts of Hunts Point.

Others urged city officials to steer clear of any future development on the shoreline for uses that do not need waterfront access, like a jail proposed at nearby Oak Point.

“If we learn anything today, we learn just how wonderful access to the waterfront is,” said Kellie N. Terry-Sepulveda, executive managing director of the group the Point. It was, she added, “soothing to the soul, for a community that needs more of that.”

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company


Barretto Point Park

Capital Project of the Month
nycgovparks.org (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_divisions/capital/pd_proj_month_jan_03.html)
January 2003


Download (http://nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/press_releases/images/barretto.pdf) a high resolution version of the rendering ( 2MB PDF )


The primary goal of the design was to exploit the substantial East River waterfront to create as much connection to the water as possible, with a wide variety of shoreline experiences, for a community surrounded on three sides by waterfront, but with very little access to it. The main design feature is a gracefully curvilinear and undulating closed loop promenade, lined with benches and groves of trees, circumscribing a large central lawn. A large, stone and grass amphitheater and stage will be constructed to overlook the East River and skyline vistas. And a sand volleyball area, defined by a low stone seating wall, will be carved into the central lawn, adjacent to an enlarged natural sand beach at the bottom of a new boulder revetment.

Along the urban, industrial edge court sports, play equipment, a comfort station, a boat house, a custom designed ornamental steel fence, and perimeter plantings will serve as a buffer and transition zone. This urban-pastoral transition zone will be further defined by a series of discrete play units and fitness areas sited to enjoy the park's sweeping views, and a decoratively paved concrete block spray plaza and seating area that will serve as a gateway into the park.

A river front theme will include a concrete runnel along the shoreline promenade that will channel the water from a decorative spray shower through a playful series of twists and turns before spilling into the river. In addition, several thousand native and shoreline tolerant shrubs, grasses and trees will be planted to establish a naturalizing plant palette, with picnic areas to be located among the groves of trees. Boulders, fieldstone and stone veneer will be used throughout the park to draw upon the rocky Bronx shoreline and the exposed ledge common throughout the Bronx. Recycled plastic lumber will also be used in the benches, picnic tables, cribbing and low barrier rail to draw upon the recycled nature of this former brownfield site, as well as to provide a connection to the adjacent Tiffany Pier, which was completely constructed from recycled plastic lumber.

104 ballfield #1:


108 St. ballfield 2:


October 4th, 2006, 10:48 AM
Barretto Point Park

Google MAP (http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1201+Ryawa+Ave,+Bronx,+NY+10474&ie=UTF8&z=14&ll=40.801888,-73.885159&spn=0.027938,0.084887&t=h&om=1)


October 23rd, 2006, 07:11 PM
There's a story about a possible expansion of Battery Park City on the Crain's NY website (http://www.newyorkbusiness.com/).

Can someone with a membership subscription post the entire article here?

Here's a partial excerpt:

Hudson landfill mulled

The chairman of the Battery Park City Authority hopes to fill in 50 acres of the Hudson River, expanding the successful lower Manhattan community to add affordable housing...

October 23rd, 2006, 08:37 PM
Sorry, no subscription, but someone told me the article says that Gill wants to fill in South Cove. Never gonna happen.

October 24th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Whoops, my source was wrong. The BPC Broadsheet (no web site) is reporting today that James Gill, the Chair of the BPCA, wants to extent BPC northward about 2000 feet past Stuy HS with new landfill. The Hudson River Trust, of course, is vehemently opposed (it would eat up the southern chunk of the new park they are building). Ultimately, Albany will decide.

October 24th, 2006, 06:00 AM

I didn't think it would be the South Cove because it said 50 acres and there is no way you can fit such a large piece of land in that area.

I'm sure this isn't the first time this was proposed. I remember hearing something like that awhile back.

Hopefully this time the city or state will make the right decision and give the go ahead for this explansion plan.

This will be essentially "enlarging" the land area of the city and that is always a good thing despite what the park supporters' self interests are.

October 26th, 2006, 01:08 AM
Plan studied to expand Battery Park City 2000 feet to the north 25-OCT-06


A major expansion northwards of Battery Park City is being studied that would add 50 acres to the 92-acre mixed-use enclave that was created on landfill and is now approaching its original build-out.

In a telephone interview today with CityRealty.com, James F. Gill, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, said that studies are underway to establish preliminary plans and discussions with various agencies. “It’s a formidable task and in its early stages,” he said, adding that there are a lot of “hurdles” and “permissions” that would be required to move ahead with the plan.

Mr. Gill said the proposal would extend Battery Park City about 2000 feet to the north to Canal Street as indicated by the area delineated in red in the Google map shown at the right.

“There is a dearth of affordable housing” and that could be a major component of development plans for the expanded site, which he said would be developed along similar lines to the existing Battery Park City, which incorporates the World Financial Center and a broad mix of residential buildings, 35 acres of parks and a mile-and-a-half riverfront esplanade.

The authority recently announced it is funding $130 million from its reserves to the New York City Housing Trust Fund, to create or preserve 4,300 affordable housing units in the city over the next three years.

Mr. Gill noted that the authority’s experience and expertise in landfill development and “green” (environmentally friendly) architecture is well established and should “soften” concerns about the environmental impact of such a huge undertaking.

The expansion, Mr. Gill explained, would use landfill that has been created by dredging to deepen ship channels in the Hudson River. The original Battery Park City was created with landfill from the excavations at the World Trade Center site.

An article in this week’s edition of Crain’s New York Business by Anne Michaud quoted Mr. Gill as stating that he wants to present the plan after the first of the year to the state’s new governor.

Mr. Gill told CityRealty.com that he has not yet discussed the northwards expansion with city officials but has discussed with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg taking over Pier A at the south end of Battery Park City, which was originally in its plans but given to the city many years ago. The clocktower at the end of the pier is an individual city landmark, but the entire building is not. Mr. Gill indicated the authority would like to buy out the building’s tenant,William Wachtel, and convert the building into a ferry terminal and museum and restaurant complex.

Copyright © 1994-2006 CITY REALTY.COM INC.

October 29th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Ball fields near completion; East R. walkway plan to begin

The $50-million reconstruction of the East River Park promenade, stretching from Jackson St. on the Lower East Side to E. 12th St. and closed for more than two years, is scheduled to begin this autumn.

The 1.25-mile park project, outlined at a Jan. 27 Community Board 3 meeting and eagerly awaited by East Village and Lower East Side residents, is scheduled to open in stages, the first 2,000 sq. feet in the summer of 2005.

The entire promenade along the East River is to be completed by the summer of 2006 ...

The rebuilding of the East River Park Promenade is plodding along ... signs at the site now say completion is scheduled for Summer 2007 ...


November 7th, 2006, 05:54 AM
Renovations Kick Off In Popular Riverside Park Path
November 06, 2006

Cyclists who use Riverside Park as a scenic alternative to the streets of Manhattan will be happy to learn the rough road they travel is about to get smoothed over.

Officials broke ground Monday on the reconstruction of the Serpentine Promenade. The well-traveled route spans from 83rd Street to 91st Street in the park. In addition to smooth pavement, new benches, curbs and fences will be installed.

People who use the park everyday say they couldn't be happier.

“It's a beautiful place to ride,” said park user Rich Weil. “You have the river it's unobstructed you get there fast. It's nice you don't have to on the street. It's a jewel; it's a great place. And now that they are repairing the bed of the road it's going to be great."

The $1.5 million project will mark the first time the Serpentine section has been updated since it was built 70 years ago.

The Serpentine Promenade is the double pathway with the center mall that runs over the Amtrak tunnel.

November 7th, 2006, 05:30 PM
East River Waterfront to Get a Makeover

November 6, 2006


Designs for the East River Waterfront are being examined by Community Board 1 In recent weeks, Community Board 1 has examined designs for Lower Manhattan's Burling and Peck Slips in Lower Manhattan. These designs are crucial aspects of the East River Waterfront revitalization plan and are just of a few of the proposed developments currently being evaluated by the downtown community.

The vision for the East River Waterfront is planned as a series of projects that will create a consistent yet unique identity while reinvigorating the downtown waterfront.

Few people who lived in New York City in the 1970s reminisce longingly about the waterfront, with its decrepit piers, graffiti-covered warehouses, and stench of rotting fish. But at the very least, it could claim a gritty sort of integrity that was a part of the fabric of New York. Typical riverfront developments around the nation today, in contrast, too often call to mind open-air suburban malls.

Fortunately, the master plan for an East River Waterfront esplanade unveiled last year by Mayor Michael Bloomberg avoids both extremes. Covering a two-mile stretch of waterfront from Battery Park to East River Park in Lower Manhattan, the project will transform a series of abandoned piers and derelict corners beneath the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Drive into a vibrant urban panorama without sacrificing the rough edges that make the city waterfront unique.

Multiple city agencies and world-renowned architects have worked in collaboration as part of the planning process. The project was commissioned by the New York City Department of City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation, and the design was developed as part of a coordinated effort by architectural superstars Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, the Richard Rogers Partnership, and the landscape architect Ken Smith. The resulting plan promises to transform the area "from something underperforming into something that New York would want," says Amanda Burden, Department of City Planning chairperson.

Even as the plan celebrates the city's underbelly, it weaves it into the surrounding neighborhoods with incredible sensitivity. The plan displays how a series of small interventions, when thoughtfully conceived, can have a more meaningful impact on daily life than an unwieldy urban development scheme. Ultimately, the idea is to create a seamless, contemplative environment along the waterfront that embraces both the fine-grained scale of the surrounding communities and the monumental scale of the FDR.


Funding for this ambitious effort is being provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which has allocated $150 million dollars toward realization of the waterfront redevelopment plan. Top goals include creating a waterfront esplanade, completing the Manhattan greenway for bicyclists, and reconnecting the communities of Lower Manhattan to the East River. Of the three, completing the waterfront esplanade has been a primary focus. As designed, the esplanade will stretch along a two-mile length of the river's edge, from historic Battery Park at the tip of the island to East River Park, the Lower East Side's principal open space. The new waterfront walkway will include traditional waterfront amenities such as seating and plantings, as well as innovative improvements that blend into the areas beneath the FDR. Initially, Pasquarelli and Rogers considered lowering parts of the elevated freeway to ground level, but the cost was prohibitive. Eventually the team decided that the FDR's aggressive form could be used to instill the site with energy.

Taking advantage of the natural "roof" that is the FDR Drive, the plan proposes that the underside of the FDR, as well as the steel beams that support the freeway, be clad with contoured metal and sound attenuating material with enhanced lighting. Such artistic touches would mesh well with an elaborate system of landscaped noise barriers (also known as berms) and shelters to be scattered along the waterfront. Planted with colorful shrubs and wild grasses, the berms will rise right out of the pavement's surface. A series of glass pavilions planned for underneath the FDR viaduct will include commercial, cultural, and community uses that will complement the public open space experience by bringing activity and the vitality of New York City to the water's edge.

Other highlights of the plan include:

New plantings, benches, tables, paving, improved lighting, and a widened bike path along the esplanade;
Reconstruction of Pier 15 for two levels of community open space and expanded programs for the South Street Seaport Museum;
Transformation of a current sanitation pier into a publicly accessible open space on the water;
Adaptive reuse of land under the FDR Drive for community, commercial, and cultural programs in new pavilions along South Street;
New and expanded upland parks and open spaces in the historic slips that line South Street, including Burling Slip, Peck Slip, Catherine Slip, and Rutgers and Montgomery Streets;
Enhanced and expanded access into East River Park, and
Design and engineering for a new public plaza in front of the historic Battery Maritime Building to better connect the Battery to the East River, including the extension of the Battery Park underpass 350 feet to the north to improve pedestrian safety.With a team of consultants, the Department of City Planning has developed a plan that will greatly enhance access to the waterfront, a priority repeatedly expressed by local community organizations during the city's outreach. City planners and architects have held more than 70 separate meetings over the past few years with the community boards, tenant associations, civic leaders, maritime experts, and local elected officials to solicit feedback and community participation. In fact, establishing good relationships with stakeholders in the study area has been a priority since the process first began in 2004. Meetings about the public involvement process, interviews, briefings, and workshops allowed the study team to get valuable input from interested parties. This helped to shape the design and planning process and also aided in the development of concepts and preliminary schematic options.

Because of the unique design challenges posed by the areas north and south of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Community Boards 1 and 3 played an integral role in the public outreach process. In addition to community boards, participation by neighborhood groups, city agencies, and elected officials has been encouraged. Interviews with organizations such as the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA), Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council were important to help the project team maintain impartiality that was crucial to preserving the community's trust.


With funding now in place, the city is working toward the implementation phase. This will include environmental review and detailed design of the esplanade, creation of new open spaces, and rehabilitation of pier structures.

The design for each of these projects is either still in the planning phase or being evaluated by community boards. While admittedly the process is not a speedy one, careful and thoughtful evaluation is the key to successfully fulfilling the dream of revitalizing the East River waterfront.

November 21st, 2006, 06:05 AM
November 21, 2006
Bronx: Waterfront Development Plan

Moving to reclaim a bleak stretch of the South Bronx waterfront, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a $30 million plan yesterday to add parkland, recreation space and landscaped streets to the Hunts Point Peninsula. Part of a larger effort to foster an environmentally sound but commercially viable neighborhood around the city’s major wholesale food market, the project, scheduled for completion in 2011, would create a waterfront park at Hunts Point Landing as well as jogging and bike paths along the waterfront and landscaping on residential streets nearby, officials said.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

November 21st, 2006, 10:36 AM

City Initiates Design of First Four Projects and Additional Improvements

Plan Expected to Add 1.5 Acres of Publicly Accessible Open Space and 2.3 Miles of Green Streets at Hunts Point

nyc.gov (http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fht ml%2F2006b%2Fpr407-06.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1)
PR- 407-06
November 20, 2006

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled the master plan for the South Bronx Greenway, a key component of the Hunts Point Vision Plan that will vastly improve access to the waterfront, provide much-needed recreational opportunities, improve transportation safety and greatly enhance the network of bike and pedestrian paths on the South Bronx peninsula. The City will begin the implementation of the Greenway plan with four short-term projects and additional improvements that will create 1.5 acres of publicly accessible open space and 2.3 miles of green streets. When it’s completed, the South Bronx Greenway will encompass 1.5 miles of new waterfront greenway, 8.5 miles of new green streets, and nearly 12 acres of new waterfront open space ...

“The Hunts Point Peninsula is a vibrant commercial and residential area, but its residents have been blocked off from the waterfront for far too long,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By creating access to the waterfront with bike and pedestrian paths, new open space for recreational opportunities and green streets throughout the peninsula, we can improve the quality of life for today’s residents and future generations. An initiative as pioneering as the South Bronx Greenway demonstrates how much can be achieved when the City, State and Federal governments work closely with local community groups to identify needs and address them” ...

November 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM


South Bronx residents have struggled for years with very little open space and even less access to the waterfront due to the insensitive city planning.

The South Bronx Greenway Project (SBG) is a community led plan for a bicycle/pedestrian greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, which will provide much needed open space, waterfront access and opportunities for mixed used economic development within the South Bronx.

SSB’s executive director Majora Carter wrote a $1.25 M federal transportation planning grant to conduct a feasibility study for the Greenway. With NYC Economic Development Corporation as the government sponsor, SSB and The Point as the community partners, and the skills of the renowned landscape architects, Mathews Nielsen, the greenway was designed. The study provided a unique opportunity for our community to impact design and policy. To date there has been almost $30 million secured for the greenway and greenway related projects.


The South Bronx Greenway will create bike & pedestrian paths around the Hunts Point and Port Morris waterfront, as well as include on-street connections. Various points along the Greenway will include: Hunts Point Riverside Park, the Bazzini Piers, Tiffany St. Pier, and Barretto Point Park, and a potential connection to Randall's Island ...

..................TODAY........................... ................................ TOMORROW




Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects as the lead consultants has collected background information on land ownership and site conditions, and conducted surveys and interviews with property and business owners. The City recently approved over $10 million to be designated for the Greenway as part of the work of the Hunts Point Task Force, bringing the total of funding for greenway-related projects in the South Bronx to $28.5M over the next few years. SSB looks forward to completing the study and moving into the construction phases of the project.

Potential first phase projects will include intensive streetscape and bicycle path improvements on Hunts Point Avenue and Lafayette Avenue, two major thoroughfares in Hunts Point; a bridge connecting Randall’s Island and Port Morris under the Hell Gate span; or a new waterfront park adjacent to the new Fulton Fish Market in Hunts Point.

Copyright 2003-2006 Sustainable South Bronx

December 27th, 2006, 08:42 PM
Temporary Roadway for Cars May Be Transformed Into Permanent Refuge From Them

Looking south near the F. D. R. Drive at the outboard detour. It may be used for pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Published: December 26, 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/nyregion/26park.html)

A temporary detour route on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive that extends 25 feet over the East River would be remodeled into a waterfront park under a plan being studied by the Bloomberg administration.

The Outboard Detour Roadway, completed in 2004 from roughly 54th to 63rd Street while that section of the drive was being refurbished, had been scheduled to be dismantled last month. Now, though, city officials are pressing to use the abandoned 2,500-foot strip of roadway to extend the esplanade around Manhattan to a portion of waterfront currently inaccessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Large ships passing beside the
detour are required to use tugboats.

The plan, in its very early stages, calls for demolishing all but the roadway’s westernmost underwater support beams and building a new structure that would not extend as far over the river.

The new park would probably be at most 20 feet wide, city officials said, enough room for bicycle lanes and a narrow pedestrian walkway. Advocates say the result would be akin to the High Line park being developed out of an abandoned elevated railway line on the West Side, although it would be much smaller, and over water.

“It is on the water, it is already built, and we would like to have a nice bikeway, a nice walkway that would connect to the rest of the esplanade,” said Lyle Frank, chairman of the local community board. “This is a tremendous opportunity to do it.”

The plan faces substantial obstacles. The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers have expressed concern that the design would interfere with shipping traffic, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation has voiced fears that the park would disturb fish habitats because of the permanent shadow it would cast on the water.

“It’s something we are very interested in, but a lot more work has to be done to make sure it is feasible,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development. “We’re trying to find as many creative ways as we can to give people access to the waterfront.”

The Bloomberg administration has made it a priority to complete an uninterrupted greenway around the waterfront of the five boroughs, particularly in Manhattan. While there is generally contiguous riverfront access along the West Side except for a stretch from approximately 81st to 91st Street, there are several significant gaps on the East River esplanade. Among them are the Consolidated Edison site from 34th to 41st Street and the United Nations headquarters at 42nd Street.

The site of the proposed park also lacks waterfront access because the F. D. R. Drive extends to the river there.

When a plan to refurbish the drive was proposed in the 1990s, some residents of the adjacent neighborhood worried that vehicles seeking to avoid highway delays would clog its streets, creating noise and safety problems.

Because the drive, which carries about 150,000 vehicles daily, is among the city’s busiest arteries, state and city officials ruled out closing a heavily used section of the highway for several years of repairs or even blocking off a few lanes at a time for weekend and night work.

Instead, the Outboard Detour Roadway was designed. The detour, which cost $139 million in federal money, is essentially a bridge built parallel to the existing F.D.R. Drive. The section from 53rd to 60th Street alone, which is entirely over the river, cost about $40 million to construct.

Because the detour extended so far over the river — which at that point is particularly turbulent and only about 800 feet wide — engineers had to figure out how to ensure that the 2,100 vessels a year that pass through that stretch of water would not strike the roadway.

So they designed a system of floating guardrails held in place by four anchors drilled into the bottom of the river, some as deep as 120 feet below the surface.

The anchors are secured to one another by a heavy chain with links that weigh more than 150 pounds each. They keep the system in place during changing tides and currents, which moved water levels up and down by as much as six feet a day during construction. For the last two years, even with that safeguard in place, large ships have been required to have tugboats help them navigate that stretch of river.

When the detour was completed in 2004, it won engineering awards for its innovation.

Now, even as sections of the detour are being dismantled to allow ship traffic unimpeded access in the river, advocates for a new esplanade are wondering whether spending the estimated $50 million it would cost to build a base for a park would make sense.

“We have to decide if the structure is worth the cost,” Mr. Doctoroff said. “It is too early to give odds, but if I could give odds — outside of cost — based only on our desire, they’d be pretty high.”

“But,” he added, “desire is not the only factor involved.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

January 26th, 2007, 09:41 AM
City balking on rec field for East River’s Pier 15


Downtown Express file photo by Elisabeth Robert
The city’s plan for the East River waterfront, seen here last fall,
includes commercial space on a rebuilt Pier 15 near Maiden Lane.
Officials told Community Board 1 last week that as of now, they
would not add a field to the pier plan, but that a field might be
included later in the design process.

downtownexpress.com (http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_194/citybalking.html)
By Skye H. McFarlane
Volume 19 Issue 37
January 26 - February 1, 2007

Ordinarily, it’s a good sign when a preview leaves the audience hungry for more. Unfortunately, the city’s preview of its latest plan for the East River waterfront left an audience of community members demanding more information and greater assurances that recreational space will not be sacrificed for commercial interests.

“Once you invite the community to have input, we jump right in,” C.B. 1 Waterfront Committee chairperson Julie Nadel told the harried team of city representatives after the Jan. 23 meeting. “Don’t look so tired.”

Though the substance of the city’s plan for the waterfront park, which will stretch from the Battery up to the entrance of East River Park, has not changed, the board expressed concern over the Economic Development Corporation’s upcoming request to “dispose” of 6,000 square feet of space on Pier 15.

The disposition, as it is technically called, would allow the city to lease space on the pier to a commercial tenant — possibly a retailer or a concessions vendor. Under current zoning, the commercial building could be 30 feet high with a setback up to 40 feet. If the request is approved through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the city could put the 6,000 square feet of commercial space anywhere within a 21,500 square foot “envelope” on the pier.

The city is asking for seven such envelopes throughout the park, most of which would be located in pavilions under the F.D.R. Drive.

The E.D.C. added that the city may ask for more dispositions in the future, prompting committee member Joe Lerner to retort, “You mean that if it makes you money, you’ll come back for more land.”

The commercial leases would bring in revenue to support the maintenance of the park, but some committee members fear that economic interests will trump community needs. In particular, residents are eager for more active recreation space on the east side of the island. Many would like to see a small playing field on the reconstructed Pier 15, which will sit at the end of Maiden Lane. Similar pier-top fields exist in the Greenwich Village section of Hudson River Park and another one will be constructed on the new Pier 25 in Tribeca.

Committee members worried aloud that the commercial space on the pier might squeeze out the soccer players and that board support for the disposition now might lock the community into an unfavorable design later.

“If we approve this, what’s to say that you won’t come back later and say, ‘Look, you already approved this as commercial space,’” George Olsen asked the city team. “After the ULURP, we have no power.”

Although Chris Sharples of SHoP Architects said that the firm, which is designing the park, would be happy to insert a playing field into its working project model, the E.D.C. representatives said that those types of decisions would have to wait until the next design phase. The city reps assured the board that the upcoming land use request would give the city the right, but not the obligation, to use the pier space for commercial leasing. They also said the community will have input during the 2007 design process, which will take the park’s current conceptual design and turn it into a detailed space-by-space layout in time for the start of construction in mid-2008. The park planners added that some commercial uses, such as a concession stand, might enhance active recreation on the pier.

“There’s still plenty of time before we enter into final arrangements or leases with anyone,” said William Kelly, E.D.C. special projects director.

Despite the assurances, the committee decided to hold a special meeting to discuss the details of the ULURP application with the board’s newly hired land use expert, City Planning veteran Mike Levine. C.B.1 and other members of the public will have 60 days to comment once the city submits its application on Feb. 26. The board will get a formal presentation of the plan in March.

The committee also asked the city for the complete data of a recent economic study, which examined the pros and cons of different management structures for the park. The city hopes to pick a management agency by fall 2007, but it must first decide whether to turn the park over to a public agency such as the E.D.C., an existing non-profit such as the Downtown Alliance, or a new non-profit created just for the East River Waterfront, similar to the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy.

© 2006 Community Media, LLC

June 9th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Originally posted in the Con Ed and U.N. renovation threads, but I figured it'd work here, too.

Six Architects To Compete For East River Esplanade Design Rights

Special to the Sun
June 5, 2007

As the city mulls an expansion of the United Nations campus onto city park space and the state moves forward with plans to rebuild the Midtown segment of the FDR Drive next door, elected officials and community members are seizing the opportunity to open up access to the East River with a new waterfront esplanade.

Six prominent landscape architects, including the architect of the High Line, the architect of the Museum of Modern Art roof garden, and the architect of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, will participate in a design competition on Friday to create a sweeping vision for a waterfront park that would stretch to 63rd Street from 34th Street along the East River.

The proposed 35-story U.N. office tower would be built on the current site of the 1.3-acre Robert Moses Playground. The loss of parkland would require the creation of more open space nearby, and officials have said a new waterfront esplanade would be an appropriate trade. A new tower would require approval by the state Legislature, and the esplanade would require approval from the developer of the former Consolidated Edison power plant site just south of the United Nations, Sheldon Solow, who owns the land. Officials from the state's Department of Transportation and from the city's parks department, as well as representatives from Mr. Solow's office, are expected to meet on Friday for a briefing on the proposed waterfront esplanade.

The 12-hour design competition is being sponsored by elected officials who represent the Upper East Side, including Assemblymen Jonathan Bing and Brian Kavanagh, state Senators Liz Krueger and Thomas Duane, and numerous civic groups. The winning design is expected to be unveiled to the public on Sunday and would serve as a makeshift blueprint for future construction.

State support for the city's plan to expand the U.N. campus has been hard to come by. "I don't believe the Senate's there," a state senator of Brooklyn, Martin Golden, said in an interview. "One would have thought the city would have moved on at this point. The U.N. doesn't curry favor with us. They are a useless group that is at best anti-American."

© 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC. (http://www.nysun.com/article/55880)

June 10th, 2007, 01:28 PM
The U.N. doesn't curry favor with us. They are a useless group that is at best anti-American

at least, when being "pro-American" is anti-world.:rolleyes:

June 14th, 2007, 10:12 AM
Planned Parks May Cost City Too Much, Group Warns

Published: June 14, 2007

In a city with few backyards, everyone loves a park — but not many people consider who is going to pay for all that grass.

New York City is in the midst of one of the most ambitious expansions of its park system in history, but a report by the Regional Plan Association, scheduled to be released today, questions whether the city and state will be able to maintain all the new green space.

The report by the independent planning group said the cost of operating some 55 miles of planned waterfront parks alone would be $100 million annually — almost one-third of the park department’s $355 million budget. The city has not yet estimated its operational costs for the parks.

The 700 acres of parks analyzed by the group include Hudson River Park and Riverside Park South along the Hudson River in Manhattan, and parks in various stages of planning or development, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, the South Bronx Greenway, the Harlem Piers and a string of parks for the Brooklyn waterfront from Greenpoint to Sunset Park.

Waterfront parks are typically more expensive to build and to maintain because of the costs of underwater construction on piers and the parks’ proximity to salt air, which causes material, particularly wooden benches and piers, to deteriorate more quickly.

The report comes a few weeks after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced an initiative that includes the goal of creating enough green space so that by 2030, every New Yorker lives within a 10-minute walk of a park.

Adrian Benepe, the city parks commissioner, said yesterday that for the past several years the city had been projecting potential maintenance costs and had sought financing before opening new parks.

“The report represents a legitimate concern, and it’s exactly the right thing for them to worry about, but the sea change we’ve seen in this administration is that when we’ve created new parks we’ve had extra staff allocated to maintain the parks,” Mr. Benepe said.

In recent years, as parkland has replaced abandoned or underused manufacturing and shipping facilities along the Hudson, Harlem and East Rivers, the state and city have turned to nontraditional methods to pay to operate the new parks.

For instance, Hudson River Park, which is about half completed, is paid for in part with revenue from a parking garage on Pier 40.

Riverside Park South receives financing as part of a fee paid by neighboring homeowners, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, where construction is to start later this year, is to be financed by developers of apartment units that will be built on the park’s edge.

In the past, with a few exceptions — including Bryant Park and Battery Park City, where businesses and residents respectively, pay a park maintenance fee — the city and state have paid for and maintained parks directly.

“Today’s new parks seem, if not to be required to pay for themselves, to at least have some associated revenue stream,” the report said. “Based on the average costs of currently operating and future city and state parks, new waterfront parks will require around $135,000 an acre each year for management, maintenance, security and creative programming.”

The report criticized some of the new arrangements, particularly financing formulas that may allow wealthier neighborhoods to have better maintained parks than poor areas, and parks where operations and maintenance have been left to developers.

“Our sense is that this model has not been a recipe for success,” said Robert Pirani, director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association.

The association’s report will be available to the public at www.rpa.org.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/nyregion/14parks.html)

November 3rd, 2007, 06:03 AM
CB1 Sees Latest Waterfront Concept
By Nick Pinto
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/nov07/captions/ERWaterfrontEsplanadeCaption%20copy.gifArchitects for the city revealed their most detailed plans yet for remaking virtually every aspect of the East River Waterfront.
Gregg Pasquarelli, a partner in SHoP Architects, presented to Community Board 1 the firm’s latest visual concepts for a lively promenade, a new Pier 15 dedicated to recreation and easy access to the waterfront.
The plan eliminates one of the major obstacles to pedestrians trying to reach the waterfront. South Street, running beneath the FDR Drive, is nearly twice as wide in some places as the standard New York City street and lacks curbs, well-delineated bike lanes, or sidewalks in many areas. The street would be narrowed, with more crosswalks, freeing up space for the esplanade, which will include planted areas, several kinds of seating, and at least 20 feet of uninterrupted pedestrian walkway at the water’s edge.
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/nov07/captions/ERWaterfrontNightCaption%20copy.gifFor much of Lower Manhattan’s East River waterfront—the stretch between Pier 11, near Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge—pedestrians will take a path over the river, on a 58-foot-wide walkway that hangs above the water.
“This is going to be a destination in its own right,” Pasquarelli said.
Interspersed along the esplanade would be a series of glassed-in pavilions under the highway with garage-style doors that pull up to form an awning at their front entrances, perhaps equipped with acoustic baffles to shield visitors from the noise of the FDR Drive. Ranging from 1,500 to 8,000 square feet, the pavilions could house a range of uses, including flower markets, cafes, daycare centers and dance studios.
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/nov07/captions/ERWaterPierCloseCaption%20copy.gifUnlike the current walkway, the new esplanade would be well-lit, but with soft, indirect illumination to preserve night-time river views. Some lights would be bounced off the elevated FDR, while others—possibly programmable LED arrays—would be installed in the railing at the water’s edge.
Pedestrians from Battery Park trying to get to the East River waterfront now face a daunting passage in front of the Battery Maritime Building, where the FDR emerges from its tunnel and the sidewalk narrows to barely over a foot wide. The plan calls for the creation of a pedestrian plaza in front of the building, making space by moving the tunnel entrance 350 feet to the northeast. Pasquarelli conceded that this part of the project isn’t expected to get underway anytime soon, however.
“It takes a lot of money and planning to move a highway tunnel,” he said.
The reconstruction of the decrepit Pier 15 is a centerpiece of the waterfront plan. The new pier would rest on more widely spaced pylons—a more hospitable environment for underwater life. The architects’ vision consists of an elevated park, complete with lawns and shrubs, connected by long ramps to the lower level pier, which is slated for maritime use by the South Street Seaport Museum.
Community Board members responded positively to the presentation.
“This is one of the most breathtaking public works projects in the world,” said board member Bruce Ehrmann.
But not everyone was pleased with the designs. More than a dozen boating enthusiasts crammed into the small meeting room to voice their displeasure at the plan, which they said offers little to boaters.
“This doesn’t work from a boating point of view,” said Carolina Salguero, the director of Portside New York, an advocacy group fighting for more boating opportunities on the city’s waterfront.
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/nov07/captions/ERWPierWideCaption%20copy.gifIn particular, the boating advocates said they want Pier 15 to be a true working pier, with access for all sizes of private boats to tie up. William Kelley of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the agency overseeing the East River Waterfront Project, noted that the South Street Seaport Museum holds the lease on the pier, so it is more likely to be used to showcase the museum’s collection of old ships.
South Street Seaport Director Mary Pelzer said the new Pier 15 will celebrate the city’s maritime past.
“This is a great opportunity for the museum to reprogram our fleet and let people see more of our historic ships,” she said.
Advocates for an active waterfront remained unimpressed, however.
Lee Gruzen, the co-chair of Seaport Speaks, a group advising planners on the area’s redevelopment, said she too was disappointed by the plan.
“I was hoping to see something here that I can’t do anywhere else in New York,” Gruzen said. “Instead, this plan makes us couch potatoes.”

November 3rd, 2007, 11:58 AM
This is long overdue.
I'm excited by the plans for the area under the FDR drive. The lighting scheme sounds very intriguing, and I imagine at night it will look breathtaking from Brooklyn, a ribbon of lights reflecting on the water.

March 11th, 2008, 02:06 PM
Doubles team serves up new idea for old tennis pier

Downtown Express (http://www.downtownexpress.com)
MARCH 7 -- 13, 2008


A landscape architect and sculptor have proposed rebuilding Pier 13 with a boardwalk and 80-foot replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, left, and an aquarium right.

A new proposal for Pier 13 would bring whimsy, art and education to the East River waterfront.

Al Landzberg, a sculptor, and Anthony Walmsley, a landscape architect, joined forces to design what they see as Downtown’s new icon.

“Our goal is a very simple one: To provide the public with direct access to the waters of Manhattan,” said Landzberg, whose group is called Rivers Alive. “Manhattan is totally surrounded by water, but you can’t get near it.”

On the proposed Pier 13, people wouldn’t just be able to get near the water — they’d be able to get in it. A wet boardwalk near Wall St. would flood at high tide, allowing visitors to wade down the pier in knee-deep water. Those who prefer to keep their shoes on could stay on the dry boardwalk, which would be separated from the wet one by a long aquarium filled with fish native to New York Harbor. If visitors had questions about the fish or the pier’s history, they could head to glass-enclosed computer kiosks for answers.

The pier’s artistic features are just as imaginative. Sweeping cables reminiscent of the Brooklyn Bridge would hang above the pier, tethered to 80-foot-tall towers. A twisting sculpture at the end of the pier would soar 100 feet tall to symbolize the Manhattan skyline.

Landzberg and Walmsley presented their vision to Community Board 1 last month and received the board’s approval. The tougher road to approval lies ahead: The pair will need support from a host of agencies. They estimate they’ll need about $25 million to build their plan, based on bids they collected from contractors.

Landzberg has been working on waterfront ideas for several years and decided to focus on the East River because the city is planning an overhaul there with $150 million in Lower Manhattan Development Corp. money, though the city has no plans for Pier 13 or Pier 14, which were last used for indoor tennis courts and were left out of the plans because of a budget shortfall. Once a major freight shipping center, Pier 13 was demolished last fall. The Rivers Alive plan would rebuild it from scratch.

“Our hope is to create an icon of the city,” Landzberg said, “something that speaks to the city, that echoes the city and tells people to come to the waterfront.”

—Julie Shapiro


April 9th, 2008, 08:24 AM
See posting here,


February 10th, 2009, 12:44 AM
On the improved waterfront: City floats less-restrictive development rules

BY Lisa L. Colangelo

Monday, February 9th 2009, 12:39 AM

Barren and remote waterfront areas in Queens could become lively parks, cafés and playgrounds under new regulations being proposed by city planners.

The new Waterfront Text Amendment, which is being reviewed by Queens community leaders, would allow developers who build along waterfront areas to provide more lush promenades, better seating and improved lighting.

Advocates are hailing it as a "quantum leap forward" for waterfront access and usage.

"We have this incredible waterfront," said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden. "These new regulations will help make these spaces more inviting, more beautiful and more fun."

The new rules could have a big impact on formerly industrial and commercial sections of Long Island City and Flushing that are attracting large residential developments.

City planners are set to explain the new rules to members of the Queens Borough Board Monday night.

For the past 15 years, developers who have built certain structures along the waterfront have been required to provide access areas. But those regulations forced them to follow a series of rigid guidelines.

In some cases, the results have been waterfront areas that are tough to get to and have little to offer.

Under the new regulations, developers would have more flexibility. They would even be allowed to open cafes and boat launches.

Burden said she envisions tree-lined streets that draw people to the water.

"We want to make sure a lot of people use the waterfront," she said. "Having more people there will also make the area safer."

Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a group dedicated to making the waterfront more accessible, called the plan "a quantum leap forward."

"It's needed to improve our waterfront," he said. "Now we have very straightforward and nonflexible zoning."

Lewis would like the new regulations to go a step further and require developers to build bollards to anchor boats and barges.

"These can be used for recreation and emergencies," he said. "It's amazing how few places there are to moor a boat along the waterfront in the city."

The plan needs final approval by the City Council.


March 21st, 2009, 01:31 AM

Ship Shape

SHoP's new East River pier gets LPC go-ahead


On Tuesday, Gregg Pasquarelli and his partners at SHoP Architects moved ahead on a much-anticipated project when New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 7-1 in favor of a new pier and promenade for the South Street Seaport district, part of the firm’s larger East River Esplanade (http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=206). It was the last major regulatory hurdle for the project, a portion of which began construction last fall near Wall Street.

It’s been rough sailing for the SHoP crew of late, given the firm's struggles with the commission over its plans for a mixed-use project at the adjacent Pier 17. That design was rejected as out-of-touch with the district's maritime history, but for Pier 15, the commissioners largely agreed with Pasquarelli, who emphasized its antecedents in the multistory working and recreational piers that once lined the New York waterfront.


The pier, with boats docked alongside, as seen from the promenade.
All images courtesy LPC

“While I don’t agree with every detail of this, I think the overall approach is an appropriate, 21st-century interpretation of its historic forebears,” commission chair Robert Tierney said. Some of his colleagues even argued that it was not so much the design as the reactivation of the waterfront that was the project’s focal point—the return of New Yorkers to the shore.

“The most important preservation part of this effort is pulling people to the pier, pulling them underneath the FDR and to the water,” commissioner Margery Perlmutter said. “Whatever you have to do to achieve that is appropriate.”

The plans for Pier 15 have not changed much since they were unveiled in November 2007. The major components remain a new pier constructed upon the site of one that collapsed decades ago—a sign of just how far the waterfront had fallen in the city. On the main level, there will be fendering and bollards for the Seaport Museum's historic ships to dock, as well as a small boat launch and a maritime-themed pavilion, all of which were major demands from the maritime community.

SHoP used examples of historic two-story piers, many of them
built for similar recreational purposes, as precedents for its design.

Local residents had called for ample open space, which SHoP delivered by adding a second level to the pier, a feature the firm found was once very common on the waterfront and which helped win support for the idea from the commissioners, who especially admired the use of a hull-like wooden shape for the base of the second level.

What did not impress them was the inclusion of three grass plots atop the pier. “The green space is not within the historic character of the district,” vice-chair Pablo Vengoechea said. “There was once a green edge on the water, but it is long gone, especially within the seaport.”

Neighborhood groups applauded the project's upper-level plots of grass,
but commissioners deemed such green spaces anachronistic.

Preservation groups remain divided by the project. “The architects have done a good job of balancing the many different viewpoints of what the East River waterfront landscape should be, and we believe this pier design should be approved by the LPC,” Melissa Baldock, a fellow at the Municipal Art Society, told the commission. But Nadezhda Williams, preservation associate at the Historic Districts Council, disagreed. “HDC supports the rebuilding of a pier originally in the district and lost," she said. "We strenuously object, however, to the gussying up of a pier with a structure designed for leisure in a district defined by its working history.”

That working history, however, is so far gone from Lower Manhattan that the commission seemed eager to leave it in the past. “Although it is not a recreation of a historic pier, it is a modern interpretation that serves the needs of the community,” said commissioner Diana Chapin. And that, her colleagues agreed, was appropriate enough.

A drawing shows the multilayered nature of the pier.

Copyright © 2003-2008 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC.

May 1st, 2009, 10:54 PM
















May 2nd, 2009, 01:17 AM
Is this upper Manhattan facing Jersey?

And whats the deal with the abandoned looking waterfront walkway with all the weeds growing through the pavers?

Thanks for the pics btw.

May 2nd, 2009, 08:55 AM
Neglect? Difficult access? Not much demand?

Could it use a cafe?

May 2nd, 2009, 10:17 AM
There was a working marina, cafe, dance floor, and a marine science center. They were in the process of overhauling that but the developer ran out of funding. The pier is still heavily used though.


...Years of abandonment followed. Land including the Marina was assigned to Parks in 1966. In an arrangement with Parks, the Dyckman Marine Venture made plans in 1987 to develop the marina, construct a pier, and open up a restaurant on the site. Parks agreed to let them use the land rent free in exchange for their investment. A federal grant funded the $420,000 pier. Within two years, the operators had completely overhauled the marina. With its brand new docks and fishing pier, the marina now thrives. Permanent bathrooms are now available. The foot of Dyckman Street was added to the park in 1995, further increasing the use of this section of waterfront park. The marina also features Tubby Hook Café and Bar, a full service café with lovely sunset views overlooking the Hudson, and the George Washington Bridge glistening to the south. Tubby Hook Café has become a popular live music venue, specializing in Latin American Rock performances.

Saturday, Nov 17, 2001

May 2nd, 2009, 10:30 AM
Closest thing to a beach in Manhattan.


May 2nd, 2009, 03:55 PM
^^ So true.

Ablarc I think the argument that there is not enough demand would be hard to prove, being that this is waterfront located in some of the densest areas of the country. And parkland in Manhattan is at a premium.

I guess that walkway i mentioned was probably from the previously mentioned ferry terminal. Thanks for that article btw.

May 2nd, 2009, 09:51 PM
There was a working marina, cafe, dance floor, and a marine science center. They were in the process of overhauling that but the developer ran out of funding.
When? Recently?

May 2nd, 2009, 10:27 PM
Yes, about a year or 2 ago.


October 17th, 2009, 04:38 PM
Photos taken this Friday evening: at about west 25th street on the Hudson River Waterfront. This was about two blocks away from the recent Wiredny meetup event. (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21414)

BTW - What that chair doing way up there! (third photo)

http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/1549/dscn0077u.jpg (http://img15.imageshack.us/i/dscn0077u.jpg/)

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/8/dscn0078b.th.jpg (http://img291.imageshack.us/i/dscn0078b.jpg/)

http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/4236/dscn0079v.th.jpg (http://img42.imageshack.us/i/dscn0079v.jpg/)

October 20th, 2009, 06:23 AM
Fighting Waterfront Gentrification With Colorful Renderings!

October 19, 2009, by Joey


http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2487/4026349308_e6726ec4fc_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2487/4026349308_055aef2505_o.png) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2459/4026349370_ab852249ca_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2459/4026349370_0bcab68842_o.png) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2567/4025596265_249b17053e_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2567/4025596265_d37b7150e5_o.png) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2795/4026349432_63ea693edf_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2795/4026349432_a0af9ea435_o.png)
(click thumbnails to enlarge)

With the ongoing expansion and overall awesomeness of Hudson River Park, the East River waterfront has become more and more of an unsightly embarrassment. Total. Amateur. Hour. But all that is set to change, of course, with the long-promised and now actually happening(!) (http://curbed.com/archives/2009/08/18/fidichinatownles_waterfront_ready_for_its_makeover .php) remake of over two miles of pavement and piers crawling up the Manhattan coast from Battery Park to the Lower East Side. Celebrate good times, c'mon! But not everyone is pumped for the city's plan. Nay, over the weekend a group of nine community organizations calling themselves the OUR Waterfront Coalition held a press conference (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2009/10/valasquez-community-groups-press-city-to-revise-waterfront-plan.html) to unveil their "People's Plan for the East River Waterfront," the results of a long "visioning process" that included town hall meetings and surveys of hundreds of Chinatown/LES residents. What's their beef?

The coalition argues that the city's Economic Development Corporation has "not sufficiently included community input in their plan," and that the northernmost section of the East River Waterfront reboot—the strip of piers and sheds just north of the Manhattan Bridge—"has the potential to exacerbate gentrification of the Lower East Side and Chinatown."

That's a no-no in their book, and so the "People's Plan" includes recommendations from the group on how the "development can better meet the needs of current residents," basically by adding more low-cost recreational space and social services on the waterfront.

What really has the locals riled up is the impending construction of the new Basketball City on Pier 36, a for-profit athletic facility that is leasing the property from the city. The OUR Waterfront Coalition opposes Basketball City, but realizing that they're not likely to stop it, they designed two versions of the "People's Plan"—one with Dunksville (that's what we would've named Basketball City, fwiw) and one without. Check out the people's will in the photo gallery above.

FiDi/Chinatown/LES Waterfront Ready For Its Makeover (http://curbed.com/archives/2009/08/18/fidichinatownles_waterfront_ready_for_its_makeover .php) [Curbed]

http://curbed.com/archives/2009/10/19/fighting_waterfront_gentrification_with_colorful_r enderings.php

Valazquez, Community Groups Press City to Revise Waterfront Plan


Community groups fighting to influence the city's plans for the East River waterfront have a new ally: Representative Nydia Valazquez. This weekend, she vowed to take their concerns to city officials, "fighting every step of the way," and to seek additional federal funding for the project. Valazquez made her remarks at a press conference to release the results of a comprehensive survey and a detailed alternative plan to the city's blueprint.
The groups, led by the Urban Justice Center, focused on the NYC Economic Development Corporation's proposals to rehabilitate Piers 35, 36 and 42.

The coalition, "Organizing and United Residents" say the plans are "not responsive to the needs of the surrounding community and did not include any mechanisms for community input or participation." Noting that the median income in Community Board 3 (which includes the Lower East Side and Chinatown) is scarcely over $32-thousand, the report said, these "two neighborhoods... have gentrified rapidly in the last decade, and the EDC’s plan (has) the potential to increase the pace of gentrification."

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c3651970c-500pi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c3651970c-pi)

The City's rendering of the Pier 35 restoration

In August, we reported (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2009/08/wednesday-news-links-1.html) on the city's plans to renovate Pier 35 at Rutgers Slip "to provide much-needed landscaped space along the waterfront" and to construct "an innovative habitat restoration park, which will recreate the native plants and wildlife of the East River." We have also been following (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2009/07/community-resumes-battle-for-access-to-pier-36.html) the community's struggle for access to Pier 36, which will soon be the home of a private facility, Basketball City. In their report, the groups continue to put pressure on Basketball City for discounted fees and other concessions.

They are also want the section of the pier not being used by Basketball City to be transformed into a community center and, perhaps, a farmer's market.

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c39c1970c-500pi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c39c1970c-pi)

But the coalition appears to be devoting most of its energies to Pier 42. The city has said it will one day be converted into an "urban beach and boat launch." But in meetings with the groups, the EDC has insisted there's no money for that part of the project now. The "People's Plan" unveiled Saturday proposes turning the pier into a park, with open space, basketball courts and playgrounds.

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c3f14970c-320wi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a64c3f14970c-pi)

The Pratt Center for Community Development analyzed the city's plans, relying in part on city documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Hester Street Collaborative then produced architectural renderings, and a detailed budget was drawn up. According to the report, their plan (for all three piers) would cost $52 million, compared to $138 million already budgeted by the city.

Valazquez, noted that most of the money being used for the project came from the federal government. This, she said, puts her in a strong position to fight for changes. Saying "our community deserves better," she told the coalition members it's unfair that the city has spent lavishly on the West Side waterfront, while neglecting the East Side:

There has already been one meeting with the Economic Development Corporation. The coalition, now joined by Rep. Valazquez, hopes for a second meeting soon with the EDC, as well as the Transportation and Parks departments.

The report released Saturday included the results from 800 surveys, community visioning sessions and a town hall meeting. It indicates the respondents were both demographically and economically diverse, but it does not include a breakdown. Residents surveyed expressed an overwhelming desire for open space, recreational facilities, affordable food vendors and a cultural center reflecting the diversity of the community.

They were opposed to high end residential development and upscale stores. One resident speaking at the press conference, said the lack of community centers and social services is one reason for the recent upsurge in youth violence.

On the city's web site, the Department of City Planning makes a point of highlighting community involvement in the planning process. "Over 70 meetings were held with community boards, tenant associations, civic leaders, maritime experts and local elected officials," it states. But "for the most part," the coalition contends, "the EDC’s planning has taken place without wide-spread community support or approval."

The coalition is made up of the Urban Justice Center, the Hester Street Collaborative, The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Organizing Asian Communities, Good Old Lower East Side. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, University Settlement and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

You can read the full report on the Urban Justice Center's web site (http://www.urbanjustice.org/).


October 23rd, 2009, 07:38 AM
East River Park Opens Another Section of Esplanade

(click images for larger versions)

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a66a2680970c-320wi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a66a2680970c-pi)

A new stretch of the ongoing East River Park Promenade (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_divisions/capital/parks/east_river_park_promenade.html) project opened yesterday. The new esplanade continues south behind the running track for another 2200 feet down behind the ball fields. We were told by the Parks Department that another 400 feet or so, stretching to the tennis courts, should be open by next week. They have just been waiting for the rain to stop so they can lay some sod.

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a6131be5970b-320wi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a6131be5970b-pi)

http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a6131b6a970b-320wi (http://www.thelodownny.com/.a/6a01127920a5dc28a40120a6131b6a970b-pi)


October 23rd, 2009, 09:39 AM
Amazing how people want everything to be clean and nice, just not "too" nice (gentrified). They want things to be rennovated, but they do not want to PAY for it (Free everything!)

I wonder how they proposed to pay for all these improvements....

I can understand the fear of displacement, but complaining that replacing the waterfront storehouses with something nice is a threat? C'mahn!

November 7th, 2009, 02:30 AM
East River Ruckus

Community groups present own plans for southeast waterfront

SHoP's official plans for Pier 35, which is basically a pastoral, passive pier.

A coalition of community groups released a proposal on October 17 that calls on the city to rework part of its plan for Manhattan’s southeastern waterfront, a portion of which is being designed by SHoP Architects for the city's Economic Development Corporation

A community proposal calls for a public park from pier 35 to pier 42, including sports facilities (B), a river pool (c), and community centers (D).

The group, calling itself OUR (Organizing and Uniting Residents) Waterfront, unites nine other member groups whose concerns range from the Two Bridges housing complex to the entire city. The organization claims to have collected 800 surveys continued on page between July and November 2008 and hosted three visioning sessions with 150 participants. The Hester Street Collaborative guided the group through design workshops, and the Pratt Center for Community and Economic Development analyzed the economics of the proposal that these workshops produced.

At a sparsely attended rally, OUR Waterfront leaders explained that a majority of neighbors in public sessions had called for free open space and venues for sports, and that many were worried about the East River waterfront offering instead more bars and restaurants.

The proposal argues that the city’s plan to develop piers 35, 36, and 42 on the stretch of East River waterfront north of the Manhattan Bridge shortchanges a neighborhood where nearly 85 percent of residents live in rent-regulated buildings. In fact, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has targeted the corner of South Street and the FDR Drive for a 55,000-square-foot home to Basketball City, the private concern for up-market leagues and special events.

The coalition proposes three alternatives, including a $55 million scheme with public courts, a floating pool, open space, and a community center. Anne Frederick of the Hester Street Collaborative said the most realistic course entails some private use by Basketball City or another vendor.

A rendering of the community's proposal.

At the presentation, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez huddled with organizers before the event to promise “some money” toward the project cost and spoke forcefully about its rationale. “On the West Side, nobody would tell the community: You can have a nice park but it has to be self-sustaining,” the congresswoman said. She proposed a meeting among “public officials, the community, and the EDC” to tweak the plans.

The coalition’s preferred plan would demolish all buildings and establish a range of recreation options, including a filtered “river pool” and ramps for putting in kayaks. A recreation center would host leagues, children’s supervised play, and games popular with older Chinatown residents.

As the presentation showed, the city’s promise of $138 million in funds from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has wavered since it released a plan in 2005: Pier 42 has no budget, the Pier 36 home for a gym needs structural repair, and Pier 35 has funds to create a “green wall” obscuring the maintenance shed that Basketball City would replace.

Basketball City’s representatives did not speak at the meeting, but the organization knows local politics, having discovered the East River spot after losing a perch on the Hudson River in the development of Chelsea Piers. It won the new site as part of the settlement of an unrelated lawsuit after answering a city request for proposals in 1996. Negotiations with the city will continue this month.

A version of this article appeared in AN 18_11.04.2009 (http://archpaper.com/past_issue.asp?i_db_id=220).

Alec Appelbaum


November 7th, 2009, 02:36 PM
I'm an East sider with park envy...the West side has gotten so much green space along the river while the East side has a crap waterfront. I wish this would get moving.

November 7th, 2009, 05:43 PM
1) A coalition of community groups released a proposal on October 17 that calls on the city to rework part of its plan for Manhattan’s southeastern waterfront, a portion of which is being designed by SHoP Architects for the city's Economic Development Corporation

2) At a sparsely attended rally, OUR Waterfront leaders explained that a majority of neighbors in public sessions had called for free open space and venues for sports, and that many were worried about the East River waterfront offering instead more bars and restaurants.

3) The proposal argues that the city’s plan to develop piers 35, 36, and 42 on the stretch of East River waterfront north of the Manhattan Bridge shortchanges a neighborhood where nearly 85 percent of residents live in rent-regulated buildings.

At the presentation, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez huddled with organizers before the event to promise “some money” toward the project cost and spoke forcefully about its rationale. “On the West Side, nobody would tell the community: You can have a nice park but it has to be self-sustaining,” the congresswoman said. She proposed a meeting among “public officials, the community, and the EDC” to tweak the plans.


1) SHoP's plan is great, if you ask me. Start letting every schmo tinker with it, and it becomes an incoherent mess.

2) There's hardly any place to have a drink on the water in NYC. For millions of NYers and tourists, that's a big negative. Most world-class cities with any waterfront open it up for dining/drinking and other ways for people to enjoy the water. NY NIMBYs rightly lament the post-industrial uselessness of much of our waterfront but have a bizarre desire to turn it all into lawns. That's great, if you want to sit down for 20 mins before moving on on an August day. But it provides nothing to actually do, and 7 months of the year, it's too cold to enjoy. :mad:

3) This is the real problem. Too often, "community" groups in NY demand that developments such as this be made more "public." That's a flat-out lie. The "community" groups here really just want to rope off what could/should be public space for their own use. If you actually built a nice promenade with some restaurants, cafes, bars, bike-rental shops, etc., people from crappy areas of the city (like Harlem, where I am) but who pay the same taxes as everyone else, could actually come and enjoy that waterfront.

You fill it with playing fields -- as most of the various constructions on the waterfront (i.e., the areas that aren't just strips of grass/lawns) contain -- and it's pretty much useless for anyone but the immediate neighbors. If I went down to one of these parks with a soccer ball on a Saturday, what's the chance I'd be able to play? Nil. The locals' kids would be using it. And even if you are a local, it's only the residents with kids of a certain age, or who are kids of a certain age, that can really make any use of the endless soccer and baseball fields along the waterfront. I love the beauty of Hudson River Park, but other than the funky steamboat pier, what on earth is there to do? You walk up and down for an hour, look at the river a few times, and then you head for your destination, since there's nothing to do there. (I realize that Piers 57 and 40 have the potential to change that, no thanks to "community" groups.)

So what do we have? Well, we have areas near the water where 85% of the people are getting our tax dollars to subsidize their "right" to live near the waterfront (where's my right to live near the water?!), and they want that waterfront to be roped off so that only their kids can use it.

Moreover, since, as Rep Nydia demands, those parks would not be self-sustaining, it means our tax dollars will be committed indefinitely to bail out a horribly expensive park that anyone else who doesn't live there has no use for. So we continue to throw our income at a park used only by those whose rents we're already paying.

For those of us taxpayers who are too employed to get subsidized housing but far, far too poor to live anywhere but Harlem or Crown Heights, the uses of the waterfront that would make it available to us are somehow considered "private" or "anti-community." I love New York, but it's a small wonder people continue to flee the city for Jersey, Connecticut, etc. when you're told that a huge chunk of your income has to provide luxuries for people who want ever more of it and aren't so willing to share the fruits of your own dollars with you.

November 8th, 2009, 12:33 AM
^Good points and many of my own sentiments.

November 8th, 2009, 11:14 AM

2) There's hardly any place to have a drink on the water in NYC. For millions of NYers and tourists, that's a big negative. Most world-class cities with any waterfront open it up for dining/drinking and other ways for people to enjoy the water. NY NIMBYs rightly lament the post-industrial uselessness of much of our waterfront but have a bizarre desire to turn it all into lawns. That's great, if you want to sit down for 20 mins before moving on on an August day. But it provides nothing to actually do, and 7 months of the year, it's too cold to enjoy. :mad:

3) This is the real problem. Too often, "community" groups in NY demand that developments such as this be made more "public." That's a flat-out lie. The "community" groups here really just want to rope off what could/should be public space for their own use. If you actually built a nice promenade with some restaurants, cafes, bars, bike-rental shops, etc., people from crappy areas of the city (like Harlem, where I am) but who pay the same taxes as everyone else, could actually come and enjoy that waterfront.

Not completely accurate: but I think you've got the gist of it. There are just too many competing agendas and personal interests in play for anyone to make a completely "spot-on" assessment of situation: but, this is one of the best I have read here at WNY.

A good read, thanks for posting.

March 30th, 2010, 11:23 PM
City officials vow to make 12-year dream of 14-mile Brooklyn greenway a reality

BY Ben Chapman and Elizabeth Hays

Tuesday, March 30th 2010

Bicyclists and joggers enjoy the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway at Kent Ave. and Grand St.

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2010/03/30/amd_map.jpg (http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2010/03/30/graf_map.jpg)
(click to enlarge)
The Brooklyn Greenway project will stretch 14 miles from Greenpoint to Sunset Park when it is completed.

Sample of Greenway proposal map, courtesy Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/). Full map here [PDF (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/planning-documents/brooklyn-greenway-map-0910.pdf)]

A long-held dream for a biking and walking path along Brooklyn's gritty waterfront is finally becoming a reality.

After a 12-year push by neighborhood activists, city officials have signed on to a grass-roots proposal for a 14-mile waterfront greenway from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge - and are vowing to make it happen.

"This is a major, major, major development," said Brian McCormick, an advocate with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, which has been fighting for the path since 1998. "This is where it becomes real."

The city's Transportation Department announced this month it has officially taken over the community-led plan for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and made it a priority.

"Up until now, it's really a project that has been talked about by local groups. Now it's a city project," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

"Now we have the money ... to build the future of this very important asset."

With $16 million in federal, state and city money earmarked for the project, DOT has hired a project manager and contracted with an outside design firm to come up with a master plan for the route.

Advocates have long lobbied for the route to be a combined pedestrian and bike path, separated from traffic with a tree-lined median.

Sadik-Khan said she hoped to have at least a bare-bones version of the route in place within three years or so.

DOT officials said it would take longer - and more money - to finish the full landscaped version.

"We're greening it up as quickly as we can," said Sadik-Khan. "There's money in our pocket, and we're putting down a down payment on a greener waterfront."

A few interim spots have already been installed. In 2008, the city opened a small stretch along Columbia St. south of Atlantic Ave.

Last year, officials painted a new two-way bike path on Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, which over time officials hope to transform into a landscaped path set off by a median.

That section sparked controversy when it was first installed because an early configuration wiped away much-needed parking, though most of the parking space has been restored.

These days, the bright-green Williamsburg path is a favorite among bikers and joggers.

"You cannot ask for more," said Nick Balija, 42, a super at the nearby Shaefer Landing development who was out jogging at sunset, pushing his 16-month-old daughter in a stroller, while his boys, 6 and 5, rode their bikes. "It's making the area more populated, more friendly."

City officials are holding a series of community workshops in the next few weeks to come up with a plan for several segments where an exact route has not yet been worked out.

In the meantime, many locals along the proposed route said they can't wait.

"The traffic is very heavy, and there's no room for bikers. They're nearly getting run over every day," said Elzbieta Siwcka, who runs Choo Choo Train Day Care on Court St. and Hamilton Ave., near where the route could pass. "It would be great to change the street into something people could take pride in."

But over in Sunset Park, Sara Lee, a manager at the candy manufacturing company Paskesz Candy on First Ave. near 45th St., wasn't convinced.

"It's a waste of money. Give us a bus stop instead," she said.


April 15th, 2010, 06:17 AM
City Seeks Clever Ideas for What to do With All That Shoreline

April 14, 2010, by Sara

With projects like Brooklyn Bridge Park, the takeover of Governors Island (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/04/13/the_new_new_governors_island_revealed.php), and the Hunter's Point South, Willets Point, and Coney Island rezonings, we couldn't exactly say that the city has been ignoring its waterfront in recent years. But the city's about to start ignoring it even less! Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have launched something called the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (heh, WAVES), which "will create a sustainable blueprint for the City's 578 miles of shoreline." The plan breaks down into two parts, Vision 2020 (double heh), which will set big-picture waterfront goals for the next decade, and a shorter-term agenda that wasn't given a clever name. The fun part: the city's soliciting public input on what the city's waterfront should look like in 10 years. Let's try to come up with something a little less apocalyptic (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/11/02/moma_names_saviors_of_nyc_waterfront.php) than what those MoMA architects thought up, 'kay?

Vision 2020: The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/cwp/index.shtml) [DCP]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/04/14/city_seeks_clever_ideas_for_what_to_do_with_all_th at_shoreline.php

May 26th, 2010, 06:55 AM
A New Link Finishes a Bike Superhighway



The view looking north from the south end of the new bike path extension at Riverside Park, which runs from about 83rd Street to 91st Street.

When Robert Moses created Riverside Park as we know it today, City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, he left a mysterious break in the waterfront promenade from 83rd Street, just north of the boat basin, to 91st Street.

So since 1937, bikers, walkers, skaters and the rest have had to stomp up the hill at one end of that stretch to a higher landlocked level of Riverside Park, then back down the hill at the other end to get back to the river.

Now, after two and a half years and $15.7 million worth of construction, the promenade has been restored to the straight and narrow, giving the West Side of Manhattan a continuous bike path from the Battery to Riverbank State Park at 137th Street. With some inland detours, the path continues to the north end of Fort Tryon Park.

For bicycle commuters, the extended path is something like a bicycle superhighway, a straight, efficient ribbon along the waterfront with just a few interruptions (sanitation truck crossings, cruise-line passengers dragging suitcases, Intrepid school tours …). Between 59th and 133rd Streets, there are no car crossings at all.

The path curves out into the river to stay
clear of the Henry Hudson Parkway.

The extension, called Riverwalk, formally opened Thursday. It was instantly jammed with strollers and bike riders, intent on getting from one point to another by the most direct route.

Mr. Benepe remembered that a continuous bike path down the West Side, which has proceeded in fits and starts for years, had long seemed a pipe dream. “I recall Ruth Messinger, when she was Manhattan borough president, working on a bicycle master plan,” he said. “It seemed to be audaciously visionary, 25 years ago. There were all kinds of advocates and bike and transportation activists who kept pushing this plan.”

Mr. Benepe said he was not sure why Moses, the legendary parks commissioner and highway builder, interrupted the promenade for that little strip from 83rd to 91st Streets, where instead, the Henry Hudson Parkway curves out along the Hudson River and cyclists cede the river view to the speeding (or crawling) cars.

“That half-mile stretch has been incomplete since 1937,” Mr. Benepe said. “I’m thinking it may have something to do with the geology of the site. It was enormously difficult to put up the walkway. We had to use pilings, which were driven into bedrock. In the 1930s, it might have been very, very difficult and expensive to continue to build a waterfront esplanade. Or perhaps he made a deliberate decision for the aesthetics of the car experience. There is sort of a sweeping view that you get as the road bows out, especially going southbound.”

To build the bike path extension, which is suspended over the water like a concrete bridge or boardwalk, workers had to sink 102 pilings into bedrock, 78 of them in the water, Mr. Benepe said. “It was incredible, the marine engineering needed,” he said. “That’s why this was an expensive and time-consuming project.”

Of the $15.7 million cost, $15 million was allocated by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from city funds, $400,000 was allocated by City Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side, and $300,000 came from a federal transportation grant administered by the state.

“We were lucky to have a healthy economy, at least the first two terms, so a lot of money was put in to build this kind of infrastructure,” Mr. Benepe said.

The old detour took people past the 91st Street gardens, offering a colorful view of flowers as the seasons changed. The new path has a lovely view of a long wake of sailboats at anchor dappling the water like pebbles skimming across the surface. The extension cuts perhaps five minutes off a bike ride, not bad for a commuter in a hurry.

For those who prefer a workout to highway speed, it’s still possible to stomp up the hill to the gardens.


September 13th, 2010, 04:20 PM











September 14th, 2010, 07:00 PM

The view looking north from the south end of the new bike path extension at Riverside Park, which runs from about 83rd Street to 91st Street.

Now, how much would it take to allow mopeds and maybe very small displacement scooters?

September 14th, 2010, 11:05 PM
Too much- that pic doesn't show the hoards of pedestrians that are almost always there
making it near imposable to easily ride through.

September 14th, 2010, 11:24 PM
Mopeds and open frame scooters (like Vespa) are motor vehicles, and need to be registered. They wouldn't be allowed.

Stand up motorized scooters (go-peds) aren't motor vehicles, so technically, they aren't allowed on roadways. I think they would be allowed on a bikeway.

Why wasn't this made wider to allow a separate pathway for pedestrians?

September 15th, 2010, 09:12 AM
Is that lighter colored strip on the edge of the bike path away from the water a sidewalk?

September 15th, 2010, 09:28 AM
I think that's the top of a concrete wall.

September 15th, 2010, 01:09 PM
It is the top of a wall- that strip of the path is like a mini bridge.

September 15th, 2010, 10:53 PM
Too much- that pic doesn't show the hoards of pedestrians that are almost always there
making it near imposable to easily ride through.

Yes, as a pedestrian myself, the bikes are enough already.

September 16th, 2010, 01:38 AM
Anyone skate?

September 24th, 2010, 08:19 AM
‘Vision 2020’ Calls For Easier Waterfront Access

By Megan Finnegan

A West Side with easier waterfront access as well as more dedicated bike and pedestrian paths along the Hudson River, are just two of the recommendations in Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, released last week by the Department of City Planning.

The new draft recommendations come after seven public meetings and working with local community boards, and encompass a master waterfront plan for the city’s 500 miles of shoreline as well as specifying what will be done within individual neighborhoods.

According to Vision 2020, the goals for the Upper West Side area, which includes Morningside Heights, are to “improve access through enhanced streetscape, better signage, and more wayfinding to and within Riverside Park and Riverside Park South,” as well as “explore opportunities for waterborne emergency access.”

The specific recommendations for Riverside Park include creating dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, to possibly develop commercial uses like restaurants and retail stores, and to build more bridges from the park to the waterfront itself.

Mel Wymore, chair of Community Board 7, said that members of the board and Upper West Side residents have been involved in crafting the recommendations, and that the biggest priority is to increase access to Riverside Park.

“There have been huge improvements, but the more ways we create access, the more signage, the more pathways to get there, the more activities the better,” said Wymore. He also pointed out that three main concerns for the park are to complete it according to the original plans, to make capital improvements in order to handle increasing traffic to the park, and to continue ongoing maintenance.

One point on which there has been disagreement, said Wymore, is the proposal to move the Miller Highway underground.

“There are people who would welcome the burying of the Miller Highway and those who think it’s not the highest priority,” he said. “The consensus is that when the time comes and the current highway has come to the end of its useful life, then it will be a good time.”

Still, Wymore said that the community is supportive of recommendations to improve Riverside Park, and consider it one of the best assets of the neighborhood and the city.

A public meeting will take place 6 p.m., October 12, at Rosenthal Pavilion in the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square, to discuss the draft recommendations and other topics, such as expanding public waterfront access and green technology for maritime operations.

The Department of City Planning must submit a final draft of the waterfront proposal by the end of this December.

“I was so impressed and excited that hundreds of knowledgeable and passionate New Yorkers attended our workshops, and I hope everyone who cares about the City’s waterfront continues to work with us to finalize these important recommendations,” Amanda M. Burden, City Planning Commissioner, said in a statement.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/waterfront (http://www.nyc.gov/waterfront).


October 13th, 2010, 08:11 AM
Department of City Planning outlines plan to beautify NYC waterfront

by Yingying Yu

New York City may be on its way to having a more beautiful waterfront.


At a public meeting last night at the Kimmel Center, the New York City Department of City Planning presented an overview of "Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan." The plan outlined strategies to develop more than 500 miles of the city's waterfront. The event marked the third phase of the plan's development.

Built on the original 1992 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, Vision 2020 is part of Mayor Bloomberg's interagency initiative to reclaim New York City's waterfront, support economic development on the working waterfront, and promote climate resilience.

Amanda Burden, chair of the department, stressed the importance of the waterfront to those living in New York.

"The water is so important that we really need to think of it as our sixth borough," she said.

Audience members voiced hopes and raised concerns for the project. Many viewed Vision 2020 as a catalyst for change along the waterfront and in adjacent communities.

Among the most vocal organizations present was the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.

Several of its member organizations, including El Puente, The Point CDC and Nos Quedamos, strongly advocated for the redevelopment of abandoned industrial and commercial buildings, removal of toxic waste sites and an increase in the number of protected locations.

"In particular, the waterfront plan should address the better handling and storing of hazardous waste," Nos Quedamos member Yolanda Gonzalez said. "For instance, right now there's a radioactive site that's only a block or so away from a public school."

John Valverde, director of Osborne Association's Green Career Center, said he thought the plan should focus more on the people themselves.

"My main interest [in the plan] is to ensure that disadvantaged populations are included in economic development of the waterfront," he said. "I would like to see the involvement of low-income populations, women and formerly incarcerated populations."

Michael Morelli, director of economic development and planning, said he expected the plan would have long-term effects.

"We are beginning to frame what will ultimately be a larger and continuing process to build climate resilience," he said.


November 6th, 2010, 05:54 AM
New York’s Next Frontier: The Waterfront



An aerial rendering of a proposed development at Hunters Point in Queens.

STANDING on the roof of the Edge, a luxury waterfront condominium project under construction in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you can’t help but be taken in by the grand sweep of the Manhattan skyline.

But what Jeffrey E. Levine, the developer whose company is building the Edge, sees when he looks to the north are vast swaths of undeveloped land stretching along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront.

“It is a great opportunity to buy land and warehouse it for development,” said Mr. Levine, the president of Levine Builders, which operates Douglaston Development, builder of the Edge.

Many other major developers, real estate lawyers and city officials are thinking along similar lines. Even with new construction slowed by a troubled financing environment, the groundwork is being laid for the next great phase of waterfront development in the city.

The Bloomberg administration recently unveiled a draft of a comprehensive waterfront plan, known as Vision 2020, that includes more than 500 prospective projects costing tens of millions of dollars. These range from efforts to increase access to the water for kayakers and canoeists, to measures to protect against rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

“Vision 2020 is a blueprint for the next 10 years and beyond that will change the way New Yorkers live for generations to come,” Amanda Burden, the director of the Department of City Planning, said in October at a public hearing on the report’s recommendations. She said that the goal was for the water to become the “sixth borough.”

“The water should become a part of our everyday lives,” Ms. Burden declared.

After years of aggressive rezoning and more than a decade of environmental cleanup, sizable tracts of land along nearly 600 miles of waterfront in all five boroughs are positioned for development. And despite persistent uncertainty in the real estate market, the dozen or more large-scale residential projects that are soon to begin construction, are under way or were recently completed across the city will provide the foundation for that next phase of building.

That being said, even with the groundwork laid out more clearly than at any time in recent years, a casual reading of the history of development in the city reminds us that the grand plans of today have a way of falling apart if public support, municipal needs and private profit cannot be made to converge.

Borough by Borough

The dozens of large-scale plans by private developers are being matched by equally ambitious city projects. A snapshot of a few projects gives a sense of the scope of what could come.

In Manhattan, where waterfront land is scarce and commands premium prices, construction could begin soon on one of the last large parcels of the Hudson waterfront, in the West 50s, pending approval by the City Council. On the East Side, from South Street Seaport to Harlem — already the site of a new recreational pier — the city is betting that its investment of more than $150 million in new piers, parks and greenways will have the same impact that Hudson River Park had on residential and commercial property values on the West Side.

In Brooklyn, developers have put forth ambitious plans for construction near established waterfront neighborhoods in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, including a $1.4 billion plan to turn the former Domino Sugar factory into residential housing with about 2,200 units.

In Queens, the city is planning the largest project of below-market-rate, or affordable, housing to be built in three decades, around 5,000 apartments, on the barren stretch known as Hunters Point. The infrastructure is being put in place to support the new community; developers have submitted bids; the city is expected to pick a winner by the end of the year and to begin construction by spring.

In the Bronx, the city has rezoned large sections of the waterfront to encourage residential development, including the lower part of the Grand Concourse and Hunts Point. The plan would create a greenway along the Bronx River from Hunts Point to Westchester County.

And on Staten Island, the old Navy Homeport, a 35-acre decommissioned base, would be developed into a largely residential neighborhood, with the city investing $33 million in road improvements.

Because one of the traditional hurdles to waterfront development has been lack of public transportation, the city is planning a pilot program that would expand water taxi service along the East River, similar to the service on the Hudson between Manhattan and New Jersey.

The Groundwork

The pace of building will generally correspond with broader economic conditions; even so, several projects are already moving ahead, while developers of other parcels are securing approvals and permits so that they can move quickly when the time is right.

“In the past, when we have faced budgetary constraints, we chose to defer large infrastructure projects,” said Seth W. Pinsky, the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“This time we have been able to keep all of our major projects moving forward, and we expect to have shovels in the ground on many of these headline projects within a matter of months.”

By laying the groundwork now, Mr. Pinsky said, “everything is in place so that when the climate turns, private developers will be able to ride the cycle up from the beginning rather than rush to meet it at the end.”

The result, over the next decade, could be a market larger by tens of thousands of rental apartments and condos — both affordable housing and luxury homes.

Of course, grand visions have fallen short in the past — or taken much longer than predicted. Both city officials and developers say using the current lull in the market wisely is critical to waterfront development.

For the more than 250 people who packed into a meeting room in the West Village last month to hear the city’s Vision 2020 presentation, the environmental impact of any planned projects was of most concern. Some also expressed the sentiment that the city was too generous with developers.

Although the final draft of the plan is not due until the end of the year, city officials say that their goal is to work with developers in order to get them to pay for public improvements, often through specific provisions written into the zoning regulations.

“This administration’s philosophy has long been to seed investments with public money in order to leverage investments by the private sector,” Mr. Pinsky said.

That can mean developers’ spending millions on parks, schools, piers and bulkheads — costs that play a role in how they price their properties. In this economic climate, some developers are balking at the city’s demands.

The Scale of Things

In New York, waterfront parcels tend to be large, underused industrial sites, making it easier for developers to create more ambitious projects than in developed parts of town.

For instance, the Edge, on the East River around North Sixth Street, is the one of the largest condominium projects in Brooklyn. It includes a 30-story tower with 360 luxury units, a 15-story tower with 205 residences and lower-rise buildings with 360 below-market-rate units. Mr. Levine plans one more building on the site but is waiting for the economic forecast to improve before breaking ground.

Similarly, T. F. Cornerstone has been working on an outsize condo/rental development in Long Island City, Queens. In addition to a 498-unit rental building and a 184-unit luxury condo that have been built, four planned rental buildings would add more than 2,600 apartments to the neighborhood and test people’s willingness to pay for stunning views in a neighborhood with few services that is still defining itself.

“I think in nearly all instances, the type of development and scale of that development on water’s edge is different than what happens inland,” said Jon McMillan, the director of planning at T. F. Cornerstone. On the waterfront, he said, “you have kind of a clean slate.”

One of the more ambitious undertakings in Manhattan is the Riverside Center complex being built by the Extell Development Corporation. The project, between 59th and 61st Streets along the Hudson River, recently won a key approval from the City Planning Commission despite complaints that its five residential buildings — with nearly 3,000 housing units on eight acres — would overcrowd schools, become an enclave for the wealthy, and skimp on retail space.

Gary Barnett, the president of Extell, said that the “quantum leap” in demands being put on developers could even now stifle new construction.

“The question is whether some of these projects will ever get going,” he said. “Is it financially feasible because of all the requirements put on them?”

He ran through the list of the things he has been asked to do in order to build Riverside Center: pay for part of a new school; use an expensive architectural plan preferred by the city; mitigate environmental problems at a nearby Con-Edison plant; set aside 35 percent of the land as open space; meet retail requirements; and create 500,000 square feet of affordable housing.

“All of this costs money,” Mr. Barnett said. “All of these projects — and I don’t say mine are exempt — are in danger.”

Like many of the major waterfront projects, the Extell development has been in the works for years.

Mr. McMillan, who was the director of planning for Battery Park City from 1985 to 1997, said it had really been only in recent years that Battery Park City had established a firm neighborhood identity of its own, even though it was conceived in 1968.

Similarly, projects like the one he is working on in Long Island City will take years to come into shape, but the foundations being built today are critical to the kind of neighborhood that will develop.

“We are essentially building a community here,” Mr. McMillan said. “When you are starting a new neighborhood, you really do have to start with rental housing to get things started,” in part because “young renters are often willing to make do without essential neighborhood services.”

In fact, many of the buildings in the pipeline today are likely to be rentals as opposed to condominiums, because they are a safer bet financially. Landlords can always lower rents until the economy improves, then raise those rents and still make money, whereas developers who sell condos at a loss cannot recoup it.

The economy may be driving some of the changes in the types of projects likely to be built along the waterfront, but large tracts on the outskirts of established neighborhoods allow for greater freedom in design.

“In Battery Park City,” Mr. McMillan said, “we were going for that ‘Ye Olde New York’ look, paying special attention to historical precedence.” He noted that that meant a lot of brick.

“Now, I think people are less interested in creating a kind of prewar aesthetic.”
The city is encouraging higher-rise development right on the water, perhaps reshaping the skyline in Brooklyn and Queens. Advances in glass technology allow developers to be more creative in design as they build communities where none existed before. “The water’s edge is a chance to do something different,” Mr. McMillan said.

Public and Private

The city is dictating that most of the new waterfront projects have a below-market-rate component, usually starting at about 20 percent.

But even with those units, the demand for affordable housing is still overwhelming. The Bloomberg administration hopes that the huge housing project at Hunters Point, on an empty finger of land jutting out from southwest Queens, will help ease the crunch.

When it is complete, it will rival Co-op City in the Bronx as the largest affordable housing complex in the city.

Nearly a dozen developers have submitted bids to build apartments for the first phase of the project; the winning bid is to be chosen by the end of the year and construction to begin as early as 2011.

“The waterfront in the city is so extensive,” said Mr. Pinsky of the economic development corporation, “that we really have the opportunity to do everything.”


November 7th, 2010, 10:22 PM
When it is complete, it will rival Co-op City in the Bronx as the largest affordable housing complex in the city.

Great, using tax dollars to build another Co-Op City, this time in otherwise valuable land right next to Manhattan. Because Co-Op City is such a smashing success, right?

And who are the lucky ducks that get to live right across from Manhattan on everyone else's buck? Why is it that hundreds of thousands of people are stuck an hour's commute from Midtown jobs, are paying taxes into the city's coffers rather than taking them out, while a politically favored group now gets to live in slick new apartments right across the East River from Manhattan? That sounds as sustainable as a house of cards.

The brilliance of politicians astounds.

November 8th, 2010, 05:02 PM
Votes need to be bought.

November 10th, 2010, 04:56 AM
New York City Considering Storm Surge Barriers for Waterfront

While a flood overwhelming Manhattan sounds far-fetched, experts say the danger is real and the city is now considering barriers.

By Tara Kyle


slide show (http://www.dnainfo.com/20101108/manhattan/new-york-city-considering-storm-surge-barriers-for-waterfront/slideshow/popup/44204)

MANHATTAN — The city is considering a proposal to erect storm surge barriers as part of a comprehensive waterfront plan meant to protect New York from rising sea levels, officials told DNAinfo.

Community Board 4 member and longtime Chelsea leader Robert Trentlyon said he was told late last month that the city was going to include the proposed barriers in their Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/cwp/index.shtml)

A spokesperson for the Department of City Planning confirmed that storm surge barriers are under consideration for inclusion the report, on a list of other possible strategies for protection against storm surges and sea level rise.

Residents of particularly vulnerable lower Manhattan neighborhoods have been pushing for the city to consider the barriers for the past year (http://www.dnainfo.com/20100722/manhattan/lower-manhattan-residents-press-for-hurricane-protection-program), and are hopeful that they’ll succeed when the Vision 2020 is unveiled in the next month.

Proponents say the threat of storm surge floods to Manhattan is real, and they cite other metropolitan cities like London, Rotterdam and St. Petersburg, which have already taken steps to install massive storm surge barriers.

New York is already overdue for a category three level storm, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's average return periods (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/basics/return.shtml). The last one, 1938's Long Island Express led to over 700 deaths across the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Advocates say the barriers are a long way from installation, saying the typical time frame for new gates and bridges takes approximately 40 years from inception to completion.

But they’re pushing the city to legitimize the possibility, no matter how distant, by including it in their Vision 2020 report as one of the possible priorities for New York’s 500 miles of shorefront over the next decade.

This is not the first time a storm barrier plan has been considered by the city. They were mentioned in a report by PlaNYC (http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/plan/climate.shtml).

If the city takes the barriers seriously enough, proponents say, the next step would be to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to commission a study on installing them at the Upper East River, the Verrazano Narrows and Arthur Kill.

"We'll see what the statement is and then we'll go from there," Trentlyon said.

Community Boards 2 and 4, the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, the Hudson Guild, the Chelsea Council of Block Associations and Save Chelsea are among the groups that have voted this year in favor of such a study.

The deadline for public comment on the Department of City Planning's Vision 2020 draft recommendations (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/cwp/draft_rec_full.pdf) is Nov. 12.


November 10th, 2010, 01:01 PM
No, they are already bought.

This might be a deal from something else.

I agree that premium space should not be made available at the drop of a hat, but these guys should not be stuck 2 hours out because they cannot afford to live anywhere near the city that pays them crap for what they do, and what it needs.

The thing that always irritates me is the all-or-nothing way they make these projects. Why not make it so that 10% of the units are low-income (w/o any cutting corners on them as opposed to the rest) so that you do not get a large group of people living off welfare with questionable motives and work ethics (as opposed to the honorable denizens that work in Wall Street... :rolleyes: ).

Anyway, why the separation all the time? Do we need financial leper colonies?

November 10th, 2010, 01:07 PM
@ Merry:

Ya! They should be looking at this. You know that most of the US and China are going to do squat about Global Warming, whether we are the cause or not, until we are knee deep in it.

By that time it will be too late. Our primarily maritime based civilization will find it hard to uproot its population and commerce centers inland to higher ground at the same rate as the rising water levels...

November 11th, 2010, 02:31 PM
Pretty much anything that gets built nowadays, aside from utraluxury stuff like 15 CWP is built as 80/20, to get the tax breaks. So what your saying is to some extent already happening. This would be on top of that.

No, they are already bought.

This might be a deal from something else.

I agree that premium space should not be made available at the drop of a hat, but these guys should not be stuck 2 hours out because they cannot afford to live anywhere near the city that pays them crap for what they do, and what it needs.

The thing that always irritates me is the all-or-nothing way they make these projects. Why not make it so that 10% of the units are low-income (w/o any cutting corners on them as opposed to the rest) so that you do not get a large group of people living off welfare with questionable motives and work ethics (as opposed to the honorable denizens that work in Wall Street... :rolleyes: ).

Anyway, why the separation all the time? Do we need financial leper colonies?

November 30th, 2010, 05:57 AM
Beach battle

B'klyn wants public access



Brooklyn leaders are pushing a public-promenade plan that would reconnect the exclusive seaside neighborhood of Manhattan Beach with the rest of the borough’s less affluent southern shorefront.

Under the proposal, an eight-block rickety walkway that was fenced off from "outsiders" through a 1993 court order would be reopened and replaced with a new promenade. It would connect with the neighborhood’s public beach to the east and the Brighton Beach and Coney Island boardwalk to the west.

"Waterfront views should never be blocked," said Theresa Scavo, chairwoman of Brooklyn Community Board 15. "The city is finding ways to bring greenways for walking and biking to Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. Why can’t Southern Brooklyn have something like that?"

The proposal is one of many being pitched by the Brooklyn Borough Board — comprised of Borough President Marty Markowitz and community board leaders like Scavo — for consideration as the city Planning Department drafts its "Vision 2020" comprehensive citywide waterfront development plan.

Other Brooklyn goals of note include establishing recreational access at both Plumb Beach in Mill Basin and polluted Coney Island Creek, bringing back ferry service to the 39th Street, 69th Street and Steeplechase Piers and widening a heavily used waterfront bike path running from Bensonhurst, past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Bay Ridge.

The weatherworn Manhattan Beach cement esplanade dates back to the mid 1800s and was once heavily used.

But a state judge in 1993 ruled it private property belonging to shorefront homeowners by siding with Jack Laboz, a politically connected Brooklyn developer.

Laboz six years earlier blocked off part of the walkway by erecting a massive fence behind his grand home at 293 Amherst St. His deep pockets helped withstand a legal challenge by some of Manhattan Beach’s roughly 800 homeowners.

Scavo said that, if the city gets involved, she believes it could use its clout to easily overturn that ruling because some property deeds describe the esplanade as a pedestrian street.

A city Planning Department spokeswoman said it will take "all of the Borough Board’s suggestions seriously" as it develops Vision 2020.

Laboz died three years ago, but the home is still family-owned. Messages left with a housekeeper there and by telephone were not returned.

Laboz put up the fence because his home’s large windows regularly offered backyard views of picnickers setting fires and passersby having sex.

"The irony is that after the suit, there was a huge Nor’easter that crumbled the walkway into basically nothing. Now, no one walks there," said Michael Gellar, former president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group.

Today, even sections of the esplanade along public dead-end streets are fenced up and covered with "No Trespassing" signs warning "violators will be prosecuted."

The esplanade overlooks a section of the Atlantic Ocean that is swimmable only at low tide.

Some residents like things just the way they are.

“Why should we have to deal with strangers looking into our homes and drinking near our backyards?” said one homeowner who asked not to be identified.

Cars belonging to non-neighborhood residents are also discouraged in Manhattan Beach. Street parking is illegal on weekends during the summer.


December 1st, 2010, 04:52 AM
NYC seeks balance in waterfront development

With deadline for new 10-year plan looming, officials eye a framework for reclaiming what many call New York's “sixth borough”; shipping interests insist port's commercial users need support too.

By Brian Chappatta

The Department of City Planning estimates that the initial Comprehensive Waterfront Plan put in place in 1992 has made 29 miles of shoreline accessible to the public. The agency noted that access to 13 more miles is in progress.

With one month to go before the planned completion of the city's Vision 2020 plan for remaking the city's waterfront, senior city, state and federal officials on Tuesday morning addressed various possible uses for New York City's 520 miles of shoreline at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's 2010 Waterfront Conference.

Vision 2020, also known as the city's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, will lay a framework for reclaiming what panelists called New York's “sixth borough.” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel, who gave the keynote address, broke down the government's plan into three areas: parks, rezoning and development, and the working waterfront.

“Our ongoing efforts will need to balance the diverse interests on the waterfront,” Mr. Steel said. “We need open communication and understanding of other perspectives so that we can choose the best path that balances [them].”

Mr. Steel said the administration continues to support planned residential developments on 1,000 acres of rezoned property along the shore.

Some attendees said the city needed to do more to preserve and support commercial uses of the shoreline. New York harbor boasts the second largest port complex in the country. Each year $190 billion of cargo pass through it.

“It's only as a collective body that we can preserve New York as a commercial seaport,” said Carleen Lydeon-Kluss, executive director of New York Maritime Inc., a group that represents the interests of 250 large shipping companies. “If we walk away from the commercial interests, we'll lose valuable economic benefits.”

Mr. Steel said more investment is needed to support waterfront activities both commercial and non-commercial.

The Department of City Planning estimates that the initial Comprehensive Waterfront Plan put in place in 1992 has made 29 miles of shoreline accessible to the public. The agency noted that access to 13 more miles is in progress.

At the same time, the quality of water along the city's shoreline is the healthiest it has been in a century, according to Cas Holloway of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.


January 25th, 2011, 06:12 AM
On the Waterfront Plan: Real Estate Dreams and Future Conflicts

by Tom Angotti

Photo by Shelley S. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shellysblogger/)

Vision 2020, New York City's plan for its waterfront, seems to offer something for every New Yorker: promenades along the shore, bucolic wetlands with lots of fish and wildlife, ferries and kayaks, industrial jobs, and new condos with waterfront views.

Looming behind the plan's picturesque images of clear skies and kayakers, however, are the waterfront views from prime real estate locations. Behind the frothy rhetoric designed to garner public support, Vision 2020 is really a business plan.

Overall the plan envisions parks and natural habitats. It also anticipates creating infrastructure that would allow industrial areas -- smaller than they once were -- to thrive. And it calls for new housing "for people of diverse income levels."

Public access, natural restoration, industrial and commercial development – all reflect the interests of those who own land on and near the waterfront. Public promenades and parks on the waterfront will be valuable amenities for luxury towers, as will the "panoramic water views of great beauty."

The few natural areas in the plan are to be in locations that are not prime targets for large-scale development such as Jamaica Bay and along the Arthur Kill on Staten Island.

They will be preserved as museum-like exceptions along the 578-mile coastline that is being masterfully engineered for the fun and profit of humans. The industry and public utilities on the waterfront will be allowed to stay where they are, although the plan does not address the negative environmental impacts of these industrial areas on surrounding communities.

In short, the city’s long-term plan for the waterfront, a revised version of the original 1992 plan, continues the trend toward conversion of the coastline from a working waterfront to prime real estate. It is perhaps fitting that the main feature in The New York Times about the city’s waterfront plan appeared in the Real Estate section.

Even with construction stalled by the recession, the article said, "The groundwork is being laid for the next great phase of waterfront development in the city." Casting a covetous eye at the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront, Jeffrey Levine of Levine Builders told the Times, "It is a great opportunity to buy land and warehouse it for development."

The Mayor’s Team Dives In

The plan has won praise from many civic groups, who have essentially entrusted the future of the waterfront to city hall. In November, to promote and celebrate the 2020 plan, the non-profit Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance held a conference that outlined the future as seen by the city's leading policymakers. Alliance board chairman John Watts praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg as "the waterfront mayor."

The 2020 plan has one important new element –- the plan to literally dive in the water. At the waterfront alliance gala, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel introduced this new element by calling for development not just on land but in the water.

Steel said, "The waterfront is the sixth borough" -- just as important as the other boroughs. City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden chimed in, saying, "The water is the heart of the city," a new territory to be explored. "Now is the time," she said, "to go from the water's edge into the water."

The plan envisions the waters surrounding the city to be so clean that people can swim, fish and boat in them. And it claims that more ferries and boat traffic are both possible and necessary.

Developers have sought for decades, to build out into the water using deep pilings and new buildings on piers. That also could be what going "into the water" means.

A recent show at the Museum of Modern Art proposed alternatives to address seal level rise that included salvaging waterfront real estate by essentially making it "waterproof." Is the waterfront plan helping to encourage such dubious and expensive?

The plan does not address such possibilities. Nor does it confront global climate change, which could cause the sea level to rise and dramatically alter the waterfront -- both on the water and along its edge. David Bragdon, director of the Mayor's Long-term Planning and Sustainability Office, suggested at the conference that there may need to be changes in zoning to either "harden" or "soften" sections of the shoreline -- presumably make them more resistant to sea level rise or return them to their natural state. But no one echoed his concerns.

While the prospect of future building in the water may be much too risky even for the most aggressive speculators, some citizen activists think more safeguards are needed to protect the shoreline. Marcy Benstock of the New York Clean Air Campaign believes the waterfront plan "is an invitation to catastrophic storm damage" and wants the city to "stop subsidizing development in, on or near the water." Benstock sees a connection between the plan's call for streamlining permitting on the waterfront and the stated interest by developers in lowering environmental standards.

Another cautionary voice comes from environmental justice advocates. The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance claims that the 2020 plan does nothing to address a major problem with the 1992 plan: the polluting facilities that are part of much of the working waterfront and tend to be in and adjacent to low-income communities of color. The 2020 plan has minimal requirements for public access and amenities and offers no guarantee that environmental and public health issues will be addressed.

While Burden acknowledged environmental justice concerns in her speech at the November conference, these have yet to translate into more rigorous regulations governing industrial uses on the waterfront or anything other than token amenities for residential communities.

Making WAVES

In the current financial climate as many upland real estate deals dry up, the lure of waterfront views may very well grow in importance. With a goodly stock of vacant condos sitting on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts, however, the city's economic gurus may find it hard to entice even more development to the shore.

The leading role of the city's Economic Development Corp. in waterfront planning suggests the focus will be on business generators. EDC is a non-profit corporation controlled by the mayor's office. The business-friendly entity was set up to run like a corporation and negotiates major development deals.

Photo by Joseph A (http://www.flickr.com/photos/josepha/)

Views, like this one of Manhattan from Long Island City's waterfront, could be particularly valuable in today's tough real estate market.

Vision 2020, developed by the city planning department, is actually but one piece of the city’s waterfront plan. Vision 2020 falls under the larger umbrella of the city's WAVES (Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy). Few details about WAVES, launched in April 2009, are available on its web site. The other major component of WAVES is the Waterfront Management Advisory Board, a body made up of 12 mayoral appointees that claims to be responsible for implementation. Little is known about the functioning of that board.

Economic Development Commission Executive Director Seth Pinksy focused his comments at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance conference on developing the industrial and maritime waterfront and reforming the regulatory regime. From its founding by the Dutch up until the 1970s the most active parts of the city’s waterfront were those used for commerce and industry. Many stretches of water, especially outside the busy ports in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, were quiet places for rest and relaxation for residents living within reach. There also were, and still are, many public utilities including sewage treatment plants, power generators, and waste transfer stations dotting the waterfront. Some sections were inaccessible to the public, blocked off by highways and other barriers.

In the 1970s, as shipping containers replaced the old system of unloading bulk cargo using cranes, ports need large amounts of land to store the containers. The city's port facilities moved to New Jersey, where the land was a lot cheaper. This change opened up new territory for the city's residential real estate industry, especially along the stretches of the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront where "waterfront vus" of the iconic Manhattan skyline promised high rents, sales prices and investor windfalls.

While developers scrambled to buy up derelict waterfront properties, city government dallied, failing to develop any comprehensive plan for the waterfront until 1992 when the City Planning Commission approved the first Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. One year later, the commission approved waterfront zoning, which codified a new system for private waterfront development. Waterfront zoning requires that developers of new residential and commercial facilities provide public access along the water's edge and keep public corridors open so that people from the surrounding communities can see and get to the waterfront. This zoning mechanism was based on the idea of creating public open space through public-private partnerships instead of publicly funded park development.

After almost two decades of experience with the city’s waterfront zoning, it would appear that it has made it far easier to rezone the industrial waterfront for upscale high-rises in neighborhoods, even when there is intense opposition by waterfront communities. According to Burden, over 1,000 acres of waterfront land has been rezoned since 2002. In her comments, he did not mention, however, the fierce zoning fights in strategic locations like Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Over the years more parks, promenades, bicycle paths and other public benefits have been built on the waterfront. While all New Yorkers and visitors use them, they have come at a price. These amenities could have been much larger and served many more people if they did not depend on having new high-rise development that hems in the public waterfront and uses it for its own front yard.

Water Fights?

Vision 2020 does not address huge differences among planners, community residents, and other New Yorkers over what to do with the city’s waterfront. All but one of the speakers at the waterfront alliance conference ignored the sharp conflicts between visions, and the even more serious problems implementing the visions.

Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, recognized the problems as he ticked off several "conflicting priorities." For example, both the 1992 and 2010 waterfront plans called for full reactivation of the 65th Street rail yard and old Long Island Rail Road line in south Brooklyn. Opposition from surrounding communities and other obstacles continue to stand in the way, yet that is still part of the plan. There are conflicts between the future vision for Governors Island as a haven for open space and recreation, on one hand, and proposals for more intensified use of the nearby Red Hook Container Terminal on the other.

Ward seemed to suggest that time would better be spent recognizing and trying to resolve the conflicts instead of hoping they could be resolved by another plan. Since Vision 2020 leaves large gaps when it comes to big issues like environmental justice, high-rise development on the waterfront and in the water, sea level rise and the limitations of public-private partnerships, many in city government and the civic community continue to look beyond the plan.

Tom Angotti is Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, City University of NY, editor of Progressive Planning Magazine, and a member of the Task Force on Community-based Planning.


March 14th, 2011, 07:40 PM
Didn't know where to post this. This seemed as good a place as any.

NYC Plans $3B Transformation of Waterfront

$3B plan envisions NYC waterways filled with kayakers, ferry commuters, giant container ships

The Associated Press
Post a Comment (http://abcnews.go.com/US/comments?type=story&id=13128162)
By SAMANTHA GROSS Associated Press

NEW YORK March 13, 2011 (AP)

For decades, development in New York was about concrete, skyscrapers and roads — highways that often ringed the city and kept people from the hundreds of miles of waterfront shoreline that help define the city. Now, the city's first waterfront plan in two decades will spend billions of dollars to reunite New Yorkers with their water.
The $3 billion-plus plan, to be announced by the Bloomberg administration Monday, would add 50 new acres of parks, expand dozens more, overhaul the city's sewage system to reduce waste pushed into the rivers and dredge waterways to make room for giant ships that are rarely seen on the East Coast.
The blueprint is New York City's attempt to reverse more than a century of planning that left much of the city's 520 miles of shoreline inaccessible to residents and instead directed them inland for their recreation and relaxation.
"New York City has more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland combined — but for decades, too many neighborhoods have been blocked off from it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. "Our waterfront and waterways — what we are calling New York City's sixth borough — are invaluable assets, and when our work is complete, New York City will again be known as one of the world's premier waterfront cities."
For much of the city's history, the waterfront was viewed more as dumping ground than destination. The Erie Canal's opening in the early 1800s made the city America's main port, and industrial toxins and human waste turned much of New York Harbor to muck. The harbor's oysters died, methane gas bubbled to the surface, and the horrific smell wafted inland and kept the city's upper class far from the water.
The city's inland orientation never changed. And in the mid-20th century, when Robert Moses was looking for a place to build Manhattan's highways, he chose the island's coasts — cutting the borough's pedestrians off from the water.

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2 (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13128162&page=2)|
3 (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13128162&page=3)
NEXT > (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13128162&page=2)


March 15th, 2011, 07:59 AM
Along the City's Waterfront, Changes Are Afoot

$3 Billion-Plus Development Initiative Includes 130 Projects in Three Years


Aiming to revitalize New York City's waterfront, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn plan Monday to put their political heft behind 130 projects to bolster the city's "sixth borough" during the next three years.


The $3 billion-plus initiative includes the development of more than 50 acres of new waterfront parks, the creation of 14 new waterfront esplanades and new ferry service.

Many of the projects are already in the city's capital plan, and while these types of initiatives are often delayed—sometimes indefinitely—aides at City Hall said the mayor and the speaker are determined to make these 130 a high priority before their terms in office expire in December 2013.

The most expensive portion of these projects, a total of $2.57 billion, will be overseen by the city's Department of Environmental Protection, which is funded largely through water rates. The remainder of the projects, valued at more than $700 million, are funded directly by city taxpayers.

During the past year, the city has held workshops in all five boroughs to discuss its waterfront strategy. On Monday, City Hall is releasing a "comprehensive waterfront plan," a 190-page blueprint outlining the city's goals for the next decade along its 500-plus miles of waterfront.

"New York City has more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland combined, but for decades, too many neighborhoods have been blocked off from it," Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. "Now, we are launching an ambitious plan that ties those projects together into what will be one of the most sweeping transformations of any urban waterfront in the world."

Ms. Quinn said the city had decided to "embrace the waterfront" after years of ignoring it.

While many of the 130 projects have been previously announced, a portion of them will be newly released this week. These include:

Completing the design and reconstruction of the public access pier at 44th Drive in Long Island City.
Transforming a vacant lot at the Beach 80th Street Marina in the Rockaways into a public waterfront esplanade, including docks, piers, a kayak launch, and a catering hall.
Providing additional berthing locations to commercial vessels along the north side of the Atlantic Basin.
Repairing and replacing floating docks and constructing a restaurant at Dyckman Street Marina in Inwood.

Steve Spinola of the Real Estate Board of New York, an advocacy group, called the waterfront one of the city's "great unsung assets."

"The question is how to you get people to the waterfront—to live or to the work or to play," he said. "You need this blend of open space and infrastructure improvements, as well as the ability to attract investors to help pay for the ongoing cost of maintaining the waterfront."


April 6th, 2011, 06:11 AM
Making Waves in New York

Mayor Bloomberg releases ten-year plan for city's 'sixth borough.'

Tom Stoelker

Amid the flurry of manuals and plans released by various city agencies over the past few months, only the NYC Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy brought out Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for the kickoff. Touted as the first-ever comprehensive plan for the city’s waterways, it sprang from a law sponsored by Quinn and passed by the city council in 2008. City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden joined the mayor and speaker on a ferry trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park where the report, aka “WAVES: Vision 2020,” was officially released, with the Lower Manhattan skyline and East River as a backdrop.

The plan is divided into two components: WAVES, which outlines long-term goals, and NYC’s Waterfront Action Agenda, which highlights 130 high-priority projects expected to be completed over the next three years.

WAVES lists eight citywide goals before delving into a borough-by-borough and neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis. The in-depth neighborhood study details the small and large, from installing “Jane’s Carousel” in Brooklyn Bridge Park, to replenishing a mile’s worth of sand on Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

Expanding public access tops the list, providing real access for New Yorkers to get onto and into the water. Other goals focus on integrating development to “enliven” the waterfront, improving water quality by upgrading infrastructure, and restoring degraded waterfronts by reintroducing species to their natural habitat. New York’s once famous oysters and mussels get major coverage: the humble shellfish are very effective at removing particulate organic matter from the water—not a bad thing when sewers overflow.

On the commercial front, the city plans to address needs of the port and maritime industries by expanding the capacity of facilities by 2014, the year that the Panama Canal Expansion is expected to be complete. Off shore, the plan calls for streamlining the tangle of multilevel government regulations. And finally, the plan addresses the whale in the room: climate change. Calling for “resilience planning,” it includes studying the effects of storm surges and flooding, adding new zoning regulations, and coordinating with FEMA and the insurance industry to update data on future flood risks.

Compared to WAVES’ 190-page manual, the seven-page Action Agenda may seem miniscule. But there’s nearly $700 million in funding already allocated for the 130 projects that are expected to create 13,000 construction jobs and 3,400 permanent maritime jobs in three years. The combination of jobs and environmental concerns won the ringing endorsement of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance President Roland Lewis, a former opponent of the administration’s policies. “We lose the services of the port, and we end up using trucking inside the city,” said Lewis. “The bottom line is that this is a good, balanced plan that takes into consideration improvements for the natural environment and protections for the working environment.”


September 26th, 2011, 07:06 PM
On the Waterfront

Gaining public access to New York City's extensive industrial waterfront won't be easy.


A boardwalk snakes its way alongside a ConEd substation.
Tom Stoelke

Now that Michael Marrella, who guided the massive waterfront plan, Vision 2020, into being last spring, has been bumped up to Director of Waterfront and Open Space Planning Division, he has miles and miles of shoreline to divvy up between two very different users—the public and industry. Charged with both implementing public access to the water for quality of life uses while also supporting a working waterfront, Marella made his position clear: “We’re not looking to relocate or displace industrial uses.”

There is a considerable inaccessible stretch with approximately 40 miles of shoreline devoted to maritime industry. Architects and artists are rising to the challenge to have it both ways by recommending creative appropriations of working waterfronts—including passive parks along the water that celebrate the gritty urban reality of power plants, substations, and shipping containers—that foster the public’s embrace of an infrastructure aesthetic.

In an interview, Marrella pointed out the city’s options. One is rezoning to give residential development the prime waterfront and move manufacturing to the interior; the other is to encourage manufacturing and recreation to live side by side. The first is exemplified in Greenpoint where a two-mile stretch allows housing close to the water yet mostly relegates manufacturing to side streets. But on the north shore of Staten Island, in the South Bronx, and Sunset Park there are areas where zoning seeks to integrate industry with parkland so both access the water.


A proposal for the beach off of Long Island City.
Courtesy Lyn Rice Architects

Artist George Trakas designed the Waterfront Nature Walk on Newtown Creek to feature and not hide the water filtration plant designed by James Polshek. There both employees and the pubic have a place to enjoy the creek with granite get-downs to the water and boulders inscribed with directions.

Trakas has a current commission in Long Island City from the Nogouchi Museum and Socrates Park called Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City. Several artists were asked to rethink the area’s industrial waterfront for a show at the museum opening on October 13. “Artists can really make a difference,” he said. “We’re not proposing something; we’re envisioning something.”

Trakas’ vision includes designing a boardwalk that snakes out onto the East River in front of the Con Edison facility in Long Island City. The envisioned park also plays up the Ravenswood power generators run by Trans Canada. A key component calls for subtly lighting the facility at night.

Shipping & receiving along the East River (above) and the ConEd plant adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Park (below).


Claire Weiss of WXY, also involved in the Noguchi show, has worked up a similar proposal for the New York City Economic Development Corporation at the proposed Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade near heavily industrialized sites in Northern Manhattan.

Over in Brooklyn, Con Edison and Brooklyn Bridge Park are close to finalizing a deal that will allow the park to acquire a five acre site next door to the plant. The park remains one of the best examples of industry and utilities playing well together, with manufacturing and industrial sites bracketing both ends. Brooklyn Bridge president Regina Myer told AN in an email that neighboring industrial uses deepen park visitors’ understanding of the East River shoreline as a locus of commerce.

Chris Olert, the director of media relations at Con Edison allowed that the company might be open to ideas that don’t negatively affect safety and security, but he remained cautious. “Everybody thinks they know how to use other people’s property,” he said. Access would always have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. When asked about the feasibility of boardwalks fronting their properties, he said, “Having a park is not an issue; we have facilities neighboring all manner of properties. Obviously there are bike paths and running paths that run past many our properties.” It almost sounds easy.

Tom Stoelker

Copyright © 2003-2011 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC

September 27th, 2011, 08:41 AM
Anyone else have photo blockage?

The company here seems pretty cool about this stuff, but I don't see a single one on the last post...

September 27th, 2011, 08:54 AM
Not blocked at the source.

You can see them here (http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5650).

September 27th, 2011, 01:19 PM
That worked... Now they are also showing up on the thread... Don't know if that is just cached or something on my end changed....


September 30th, 2011, 09:11 AM
Land Deal With U.N. Would Fill a Big Gap in the Waterfront Greenway


A former Con Edison site on the East River is to be part of the park.

Graphic: United Nations Land Swap Could Help Finance East River Esplanade (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/28/nyregion/united-nations-land-swap-for-east-river-esplanade.html?ref=nyregion)

For at least a decade, the United Nations has coveted a playground just south of its landmark tower, where it would like to construct a new building. For just as long, city and state officials have longed to fill in the largest remaining gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, from 38th to 60th Streets on the East River, but have not had the money.

Now, in a series of real-life Rubik’s Cube moves, elected officials are on the verge of signing an agreement that would create a framework for both sides to get what they want. The United Nations would take part of Robert Moses Playground for its new building, while the city would end up with enough cash to finish an esplanade for the 32-mile Greenway — and a replacement playground. In July, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that gave the city and state governments until Oct. 10 to agree to the terms of a deal.

If the agreement, or memorandum of understanding, is signed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the heads of the Assembly and the Senate, as required, the United Nations Development Corporation could begin a land-use review for its new tower, which could be no taller than the 505-foot Secretariat Building. It would pay the city at least $65 million for the parkland, which, in technical terms, would be “alienated.”

Once the new tower was built, the United Nations, which has been renting 1 and 2 United Nations Plaza from the city at below-market rates, would move its offices out of those buildings or begin paying market rents. Selling those buildings would provide the rest of the money for the esplanade.

Some residents of the area, especially those in Tudor City, have blasted the plan, saying a new skyscraper, at First Avenue and 41st Street, would wall them off from the East River. But for some officials and other East Side residents, the swap could help realize their long-held dream of waterfront access.

“It is a very rare occasion where I would ever find myself supporting the alienation of open space in my district,” State Senator Liz Krueger said. “But we think mathematically this is a win. It helps New York City make good on its commitment to a green ring around Manhattan. We’re in bad economic times. I just don’t see any money appearing on the horizon for something like this.”

The city would build the northern portion of the esplanade first, with the $65 million it would receive for Robert Moses Playground. That would allow it to take advantage of existing pilings in the water, saving tens of millions of dollars in construction costs. The portion of the esplanade from 41st to 53rd Street would be paid for by the sale of 1 and 2 United Nations Plaza, which could yield hundreds of millions of dollars, to be split between the city and the esplanade project.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the playground would go toward improvements to St. Vartan Park, five blocks south of Robert Moses Playground. The agreement also secures money to stabilize Waterside Pier, a former Consolidated Edison site owned by the city, which runs from 38th to 41st Street. Design plans are under way for the rehabilitation of the pier, which would fill in the southernmost part of the gap and does not hinge on the United Nations’ intentions.

At a series of forums to discuss the deal, the playground, a little more than an acre, was depicted alternately as a beloved park where children learn to ride their bikes and as a desolate patch of blacktop that will not be missed. The United Nations would build on the western half, which is now used by a roller hockey association, while a dog run and basketball courts to the east would be untouched.

The memorandum has identified a site 16 blocks to the south for a replacement park, turning Asser Levy Place, a two-block street that runs between 23rd and 25th Street east of First Avenue, into a playground.

Even if the memorandum is signed by Oct. 10, there is no guarantee that the United Nations will commit to the deal. Negotiations between elected officials have included the United Nations Development Corporation, a city-state public-benefit corporation that handles the United Nations’ real estate needs. But while there is every expectation that the United Nations would want the playground site, the organization is not party to the memorandum.

“In the past decade, it has repeatedly expressed interest in consolidating its operations on this particular site,” said Micah Lasher, the city’s chief lobbyist in Albany.

Alternatively, the United Nations could build on its own campus. If it did so, however, it would be exempt from zoning laws and could avoid the city’s uniform land-use review procedure, which puts major building projects under a microscope.

“The U.N. could decide to build on their North Lawn,” Ms. Krueger said. “The community gets another large building — somebody other than Tudor City gets impacted — but there’s no funding at all for improvements to park space or a new esplanade.”

That is little consolation for residents of Tudor City, a cluster of neo-gothic apartment towers near the United Nations. A new United Nations tower would affect two buildings in particular: 2 and 5 Tudor City. “It would feel smothering,” said Muriel Gross, a retired teacher who has lived in the complex for 31 years. “We’ve had it open all these years. Who gives away playgrounds?”

There is also opposition from groups critical of the United Nations, particularly the conservative Heritage Foundation. Anti-United Nations sentiment in the State Legislature helped quash a similar plan several years ago.

“We’re not doing this deal for the benefit of the United Nations,” said Brian Kavanagh, a state assemblyman who represents the East Side. “We’re doing this deal, if we do it, for the benefit of our community and New Yorkers.”

Community Board 6, whose 50 members will soon hold a nonbinding vote on the proposal, says that its district, from 14th to 59th Streets east of Lexington Avenue, has the lowest ratio of open space to office workers and residents in the city. And many there have felt more than a twinge of envy as they have watched Hudson River Park take shape across the island.

“We look at the West,” said Mark P. Thompson, the community board’s chairman, “and think, ‘Wow, we’d love to have something as wonderful as that, too.’ ”


September 30th, 2011, 11:11 AM
This land swap would be a good thing for NYC. Consider that when Tudor City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_City) was built in 1925-1928 (http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID005.htm) the stretch along the river was "once a squalid, lawless neighborhood called Dutch Hill (http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/tudor-city/)" filled with gas tanks, lumberyards, slaughterhouses and the like. The views and landscape here will continue to change. Such is the story of NYC.

Drawing of Dutch Hill in more squalid times (http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/dutchhill.jpg)

Drawing of the area looking to the SE circa 1930 (http://bloodalleynovel.com/images/UnitedNationsSite.jpg)

View toward the east showing the UN under construction (http://bloodalleynovel.com/images/UNConstruction.JPG)

September 30th, 2011, 08:34 PM
Conservative Think Tank Wants Congress to Weigh in on UN Land Swap

By Mary Johnson

TURTLE BAY — The debate over a proposed UN land swap deal in which the city would sell a parcel to the UN in order to help finance a waterfront esplanade has involved all levels of New York City politics, from impassioned residents to elected officials.

Now, as the Oct. 10th deadline to agree to the terms of the deal looms, a fellow at a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank is adding his voice to the mix — arguing that the federal government should be the final arbiter in the plan.

In a report from the Heritage Foundation published earlier this month (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/Prohibit-Federal-Support-for-a-New-UN-Building-Until-the-UN-Provides-Detailed-Information), author Brett Schaefer argued that the construction of a new UN tower has significant implications for the rest of the nation beyond New York City, where the debate has been largely concentrated.

“The government of New York is proceeding along with this project … without really making the U.S. government aware of what the potential financial obligations might be,” Schaefer told DNAinfo.com Wednesday.

“[C]onstructing a second UN building would likely have significant financial implications for the U.S. federal government, which pays 22 percent of the UN regular budget and would likely shoulder increased payments to the UN in future years resulting from costs associated with the project,” he wrote in the report, which was published on the Heritage Foundation website on Sept. 12.

“As far as I can tell, no one’s really estimated how much this is going to cost. This is the main issue,” he told DNAinfo.com. “To me, the matter of the park or the disposition of the park or the East River Greenway or the bike paths or the development of the area isn’t my main concern.”

Schaefer, who frequently writes about the UN, said he decided to investigate the land swap because of the potential costs associated with building a new UN office tower.
He also warned that the project may be an unnecessary expense to bear during tough economic times.

“Thus far, the negotiation has occurred with little public scrutiny or transparency,” he wrote, “and minimal explanation has been provided either as to why this project is necessary or as to whether it makes financial sense for the U.S. government.”

For the elected officials in New York City, the negotiations thus far have not involved issues of financing, apart from determining how the funds raised from the sale of Robert Moses Playground and of two UN-leased but city-owned buildings could pay for a waterfront esplanade from East 38th Street to East 60th Street.

“We view the memorandum of understanding with the city, which may or may not be agreed to by the 10th, as completely separate from how the UNDC and the UN decide to finance all of this,” a spokeswoman from State Senator Liz Krueger’s office said in a statement.

The spokeswoman also said that the United Nations or the UNDC could reject the deal, even after the terms of the MOU are agreed upon.
David Cantor, a spokesman for Friends of the East River Greenway, an organization set up to support the plan, said advocates are trying to set up the best possible outcome for the area, should the deal move forward.

“If this whole land deal actually happens, how can we ensure that the city and the neighborhood maximally benefit?” Cantor said. “We’re trying to create the conditions that are going to enable that to happen.”

The financial aspect of the deal beyond this first stage is complicated, he added. “[But] those questions are beyond the scope of what we’re doing here,” he said.
“The MOU is the first gateway, and it’s an important one," Cantor added. "But there’s many more to come.”

Those opposed to the land swap, however, have embraced Schaefer’s article and his arguments for increased federal involvement either by Congress or the Obama administration.

While the U.S. would not have the power to stop the deal, Congress would have to weigh in if the UN wanted to issue tax-free bonds for the deal, sources said.

Vivienne Gilbert, president of the Windsor Owners Corporation at 5 Tudor City Place and a staunch opponent of the deal, thought the report raised serious and important questions that have thus far been ignored.

“This particular aspect of it, I think, has been very cleverly swept under the rug,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert referenced Schaefer’s points about the high costs that could accompany a new UN tower and said those concerns, coupled with the loss of a park and the potential security risks, make the deal especially objectionable.

“It’s a tremendous expense, and it’s a tremendous toll for a very beautiful thing,” she said.

“We’re doing the very best we can to maintain our opposition, and I would really love to be able to bring it quickly enough up to the federal level because I feel it should be there,” she added. “At the local level, I think we have very little chance.”


October 6th, 2011, 06:34 AM
Land Deal Is Announced to Allow New U.N. Tower and Esplanade


City and state officials on Wednesday agreed to a $73 million plan that would unlock an underutilized chunk of the Manhattan waterfront between East 38th and East 60th Streets, paving the way for a new United Nations office tower and esplanade along the East River.

The deal would enable (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/nyregion/united-nations-and-new-york-city-seek-land-deal.html?scp=8&sq=lisa%20foderaro&st=cse) the city to plug in the largest remaining gap in the 32-mile Greenway around Manhattan (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/28/nyregion/united-nations-land-swap-for-east-river-esplanade.html?ref=nyregion)as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s effort to revitalize the city’s waterfront for commercial, recreation and transportation purposes.

It would also enable the United Nations to begin a land-use review for a long-planned tower that could be no taller than the 505-foot tall Secretariat Building.

There is no guarantee that the United Nations will commit to the deal, since it was not a party to the agreement. But there is every expectation that the United Nations will be supportive, since it has long sought the land just south of its landmark tower — currently a playground — where it could build a new tower. Moreover, the United Nations Development Corporation, a city-state public-benefit corporation that handles the United Nations’ real estate needs, was deeply involved in the negotiations.

In a news conference at City Hall, Mr. Bloomberg said that the project could allow the United Nations to create jobs. He also said that it was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to open a major section of the waterfront, and that’s great news for all New Yorkers, but especially those who live on the East Side.”

According to the deal, the development corporation would pay the city $73 million for the parkland. Once a new tower is erected, the United Nations, which has been renting 1 and 2 United Nations Plaza from the city at below-market rates, would move its offices out of those buildings or begin paying market rents. Selling those buildings would provide the balance of the money to finance the esplanade.

Some residents of the area, especially those in Tudor City, have criticized the plan, saying that a new skyscraper, at First Avenue and 41st Street, would wall them off from the East River. But many local officials have argued that the deal could help residents realize their long-held dream of waterfront access.

At the news conference, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, who represents the area, said he anticipated that construction could begin in a few years.

“We’re not talking about a two-decade time frame here,” he said.


October 21st, 2011, 04:25 AM
U.N Architects Back to the Drawing Board; Pritzker Winner Still on Board

By Matt Chaban

An early proposal by Kevin Roche for a new U.N. tower

The United Nations has a long tradition of employing the world’s finest architects.

The original Secretariat complex was the work of Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, two of the most revered designers ever to pick up a T-square. DC-1 and DC-2, the 1976 expansion of the campus better known as U.N. Plaza, was designed by John Dinkerloo, builder of many New York towers and heir to the throne of Eero Saarinen.

In 2002, when it came time to plan for a new tower to house this globetrotting workforce, the United Nations Development Corporation, the city agency that handles all U.N. property, held a competition. It was open only to Pritzker Prize winners, and Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki was selected in 2004. Not long after, the project ran into political hurdles and was put on hold, but earlier this month Albany, the city and the U.N. reached a deal so the project can move forward. Almost as soon as the ink had dried on the land swap, Mr. Maki and his local partners, FXFowle, unrolled their blueprints and got back to work.

“We have a saying around the office,” Dan Kaplan, a principal at FXFowle in charge of the project, told The Observer. “It takes a long time for things to happen suddenly.”

Mr. Kaplan explained that much of the design work had been completed for a 35-story tower on the site, and while it will not change significantly, it does require some updating. Before, there were plans to build a temporary General Assembly on the playground before the new office tower was built, but that was instead constructed two years ago on the U.N.’s north lawn. The Secretariat is undergoing a $2 billion renovation, and after the earlier deal fell apart, the world body felt it could not wait to begin rebuilding its campus.


Instead, the designers will reassess the U.N.’s space needs and tweak the designs accordingly. “We’re not back to square-one, maybe square 1.5,” Mr. Kaplan said. “It’s a tight site and a tight building envelope, so I don’t think the designs will change that much, but we are going back over everything.” When Mr. Maki created his winning design, it drew upon the original Secretariat for inspiration, creating a long, narrow slab with those expansive east-west exposures.

”The thin slab is something quite unique because in America office buildings tend to be large and squarish,” Mr. Maki told The Times in 2004 (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/14/nyregion/japanese-architect-wins-un-competition.html), after it was revealed he would be designing the project. His most notable project in the city, if not the world, is Tower 4 at the World Trade Center, which is currently rising downtown. Among FXFowle’s many New York projects are 11 Times Square, Northside Piers in Williamsburg and The New York Times Building, where the firm partnered with another Pritzker winner, Italy’s Renzo Piano.

Jeffrey Feldman, president and CEO of the U.N. Development Corporation, said he hopes to have designs ready by early next year, so the project will be ready to go through the city’ land-use review process. Integral as the U.N. is seen by many New Yorkers to our standing as capital of the world—unpaid parking tickets aside—its plans will likely face a good deal of scrutiny not only from U.N. opponents like the Heritage Foundation but also neighbors in Tudor City, who oppose the projectbecause it will block their views of the East River and Queens.

“The plans could certainly change, but right now our focus is on reconstituting our team,” Mr. Feldman said. If all goes as planned, the project will break ground in 2013.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/10/20/un_tower_picks_up_steam_where_it_left_off_with_mak i_fxfowle.php

October 21st, 2011, 12:32 PM
Maki still huh?
Expect a stumpy glass box (mini -4WTC).
It'll be another "quiet" building of ungainly proportions.

Also how is it a good idea to give a nod to the UN Building by building a tower of the same exact height next door?

October 21st, 2011, 12:51 PM
The Great East River Wall emerges.

Would it kill them to show some variety?

October 24th, 2011, 09:00 AM
Not when you are trying to maximize code permissible SF.....

April 18th, 2012, 09:49 AM
Clearing Vision

NYC Planning making comprehensive waterfront plan a legal reality.

by Tom Stoelker

Revisions to WRP make way for larger ever-larger cargo vessels on New York's waterways. Courtesy NYC Planning

Last year, the city launched Vision2020, New York’s comprehensive waterfront plan. To describe the plan’s scale and importance, the city’s 520 mile waterfront is referred to as “Sixth Borough.” Today in Los Angeles, the American Planning Association will bestow the Daniel Burnham Award to the city for the proposal. Meanwhile, back in New York, the proposed changes continue to work their way through legal channels to become law.

“We are now planning for our waterfront and waterways with the same intensity and passion that we have traditionally planned for our land,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in a statement. By its very nature the waterfront is a tangle of city, state, and federal jurisdictions. At the city level, the Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/wrp/wrp_revisions.shtml)) manages costal zoning. It was created in 1980, revised in 2002, and now will be further refined to absorb Vision2020. In the ten years since the last revision, waterfront planning has become a prominent topic for museum exhibitions, a host of idea competitions, and university architecture studios.

Planning has clearly been paying attention. Several of the more salient ideas floated over the past couple of years found their into the text. The Columbia students’ Lo-Lo project, which called for dredged fill to be used to extend Manhattan’s shoreline, project may not have been the direct inspiration for WRP’s section on dredging, but it shows that the new WRP is in line what the architecture schools are teaching. The new text urges that dredge materials be used for “wetland creation, water quality improvements, beach nourishment, or port redevelopment.”

http://archpaper.com/uploads/nyc_waterfront_plan_01.jpg (http://archpaper.com/uploads/nyc_waterfront_plan_01.jpg)
SCAPE's concept for Rising Currents included natural pollution mitigation by farming oysters. Courtesy SCAPE

Oyster-tecture, a concept developed by SCAPE Landscape Architecture for MoMA’s 2010 Rising Currents exhibition, showed how farming oysters in New York Harbor could help naturally mitigate pollution. Likewise, a text amendment encourages users to “seek opportunities to create a mosaic of habitats with high ecological value.” The text calls out the oysters in particular, though mussels, eelgrass, fish, and crabs get their due.

SCAPE’s Kate Orff noticed the influence of current architectural conversations in the amendments. “It’s incredibly exciting to see a reciprocity, to see ideas that are out in the world become integrated,” she said. Orff recently worked on the National Park System produced Gateway, a book about preserving the ecological habitat at Gateway National Park, with Orff’s particular focus on Jamaica Bay. The previous WRP vaguely lumped fragmented ecologically sensitive areas like the bay under the broad heading Recognized Ecological Complexes, but now the document specifically cites regionally focused plans developed by the city, state, and federal governments, including the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan.

http://archpaper.com/uploads/nyc_waterfront_plan_03.jpg (http://archpaper.com/uploads/nyc_waterfront_plan_03.jpg)
Henry Hudson Bridge connecting Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Tom Stoelker / AN

The plan encompasses much more than sustainability. There are policies for industrial and commercial development, including deeper dredging for ever larger shipping vessels. On land, the plan encourages building design to address rising sea levels. There are flooding and erosion policies. Public access, recreational use, scenic and historic resources are all dealt with. Water quality and waste management are organized by separate policies, but each integrates with the other.

The teeth of the WRP are in the approval process. “The plan doesn’t have a funding mechanism, it’s a review process,” said Michael Marrella, Planning’s director of waterfront planning. “We’re establishing a protocol for sea level rise, we’re not mandating that all risks be resolved.”

But perhaps nowhere is integration more important to the plan than interagency cooperation at all levels of government. The revisions clearly outline where city, state, and federal jurisdiction meet, but also define the city’s waterfront zoning goals for commerce, recreation, and conservation. “Water is different in that it requires collaboration and coordination and this plan recognizes that,” said Orff. “It’s not a piece of property that can be fenced off.”


May 20th, 2012, 06:13 PM
southbound228 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/southbound228/7194259764/sizes/h/in/photostream/)

May 21st, 2012, 11:45 AM
Nice, isn't it?

I still think they should have just saved a few dollars and made a "regular" pier structure.

I know it is something special with all the swoopie lines and the "island" effect, but you got so much LESS SPACE out there because of it (and it took YEARS!).


June 9th, 2012, 02:53 AM
Eyes on the Riverbanks in Northern Manhattan

by Tom Stoelker

http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1940-500x374.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1940.jpg)
Yes, this is Manhattan. The view north on the Hudson, Inwood Hill at right and the Palisades at left. (AN/Stoelker)

As (http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5915)AN (http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5915)reported back in February (http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5915), things are looking up for the Parks Department’s Lighthouse Link project that will revamp the riverfront from the George Washington Bridge to the Dykman Marina, named for the Little Red Lighthouse beneath the bridge. The project will be capped with riverside restaurant at Dykman called La Marina with spectacular views overlooking the New Jersey Palisades. The all-season pavilion designed by architect Andrew Franz appears close to completion and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is still hammering away at a plan that could very well provide public access to the river for launching kayaks and the mooring for historic tall ships. Roland Lewis, president of MWA, used a theater term to describe the access to the water. “It’s like breaking down the fourth wall,” he said. Indeed, as a recent kayak trip through the area revealed a view from the water drastically alters ones perseption of the city.

http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1936-500x374.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1936.jpg)
The new La Marina riverfront cafe in Inwood, Manhattan is exected to open by July.

Yesterday, a Parks spokesperson confirmed that the restaurant should be open at some point this summer, after the concessionaire, the Manhattan River Group, finalizes permits. DNA.info reports (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120529/inwood/la-marinas-proposed-seating-cut-half-after-community-outcry) that Parks cut the seating capacity in half from 1000 to 500. No doubt the department took note of neighborhood tensions brewing as the bawdy bar scene to east continues to bring bass-thumping car traffic to a crawl.

Work on the Lighthouse Link is set to begin late June or July. But the opening of the marina, which would stretch from the bridge to Dykman, has yet to be determined. As part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Waterfront Action Agenda, the project is supposed to replace a floating dock for public access to the water.
http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dock_rendering-500x278.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dock_rendering.jpg)
Eco Dock designed buy Huntley Gill, Guardia Architects for Bay Ridge. (Courtesy MWA)

Lewis said the MWA has been working with Parks, Council Member Robert Jackson, and Borough President Scott Stringer to secure funding for an Eco Dock. The group was already successful in getting Community Eco Dock that is to be located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Eco Docks are able to accommodate kayaks or canoes with a floating platform and historic tall ships with a gangplank that connect to the pier. The Brooklyn dock cost $700,000 and the Inwood pier is expected to cost $500,000 to $800,000.

http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1955-500x298.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_1955.jpg)
The view south includes the Cloisters at left and the George Washinton Bridge, new cafe in foreground.

If it happens, it would be a revelation for many New Yorkers. From the water, a lively riverbank community unfolds, one totally obscured from from the Henry Hudson Parkway and Amtrak train tracks that run nearby. Fishers cast lines beside sunbathers sprawled out on giant rocks. Like “eyes on the street” access to the water could provide “eyes on the banks.” The Lighthouse Link will certainly enliven the land, Lewis hopes that the dock and marina will do the same for the water. “It’s a new and very exciting frontier for the city,” he said. “It’ll bring a lot of activity to what was once a forlorn and underutilized area.”


June 11th, 2012, 10:27 AM
Seriously cool.... but then you realize how BIG that expanse really is!!! :eek:

July 13th, 2012, 09:42 PM
See How New Talent Would Redesign the Harlem Waterfront

by Dave Hogarty

Ting Chin and Yan Wang of Linearscape Architects with their model for
Sym'bio'pia at AIA NY's Center for Architecture

The American Institute of Architects - NY Chapter (AIA NY) announced the winners of its fifth biennial design ideas competition—Harlem Edge - Cultivating Connections—back in February (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/27/turning_west_harlems_waterfront_from_garbage_to_go ld.php), and the winners and honorable mentions are now on display at the institute's Center for Architecture on Laguardia Place through October. The competition called for a hypothetical redesign of the decommissioned waste transfer facility on the Hudson River at 135th Street, requiring the inclusion of a multi-modal transportation hub to increase connection between West Harlem and the waterfront, and a component to promote health through nutrition. Pictured is Ting Chin and Yan Wang of Linearscape Architects, who were recognized last night for their first prize-winning entry Sym'bio'pia. If you can't make it to Laguardia Place, The Harlem Edge (http://www.enyacompetitions.org/index.html) site features all of the entrants' and winners' projects.

The Harlem Edge (http://www.enyacompetitions.org/index.html) [enyacompetitions.org]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/07/13/see_how_new_talent_would_redesign_the_harlem_water front.php

September 11th, 2012, 07:11 AM
New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn


Michael Kamber for The New York Times
Sea walls, marshes and trees in Brooklyn Bridge Park, part of efforts by New York City agencies to cope with rising seas.

Battery Park after Hurricane Irene, by then a tropical storm, hit a year ago.

So far, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has commissioned exhaustive research on the challenge of climate change. His administration is expanding wetlands to accommodate surging tides, installing green roofs to absorb rainwater and prodding property owners to move boilers out of flood-prone basements.

But even as city officials earn high marks for environmental awareness, critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Only a year ago, they point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself.

“They lack a sense of urgency about this,” said Douglas Hill, an engineer with the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook University, on Long Island.

Instead of “planning to be flooded,” as he put it, city, state and federal agencies should be investing in protection like sea gates that could close during a storm and block a surge from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean into the East River and New York Harbor.

Others express concern for areas like the South Bronx and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, which have large industrial waterfronts with chemical-manufacturing plants, oil-storage sites and garbage-transfer stations. Unless hazardous materials are safeguarded with storm surges in mind, some local groups warn, residents could one day be wading through toxic water.

“A lot of attention is devoted to Lower Manhattan, but you forget that you have real industries on the waterfront” elsewhere in the city, said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, which represents low-income residents of industrial areas. “We’re behind in consciousness-building and disaster planning.”

Other cities are also tackling these issues, at their own pace.

New shoreline development around San Francisco Bay must now be designed to cope with the anticipated higher sea levels under new regional regulations imposed last fall. In Chicago, new bike lanes and parking spaces are made of permeable pavement that allows rainwater to filter through it. Charlotte, N.C., and Cedar Falls, Iowa, are restricting development in flood plains. Maryland is pressing shoreline property owners to plant marshland instead of building retaining walls.

Officials in New York caution that adapting a city of eight million people to climate change is infinitely more complicated and that the costs must be weighed against the relative risks of flooding. The last time a hurricane made landfall directly in New York City was more than a century ago.

Many decisions also require federal assistance, like updated flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that incorporate sea level rise, and agreement from dozens of public agencies and private partners that own transportation, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure.

“It’s a million small changes that need to happen,” said Adam Freed, until August the deputy director of the city’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “Everything you do has to be a calculation of the risks and benefits and costs you face.”

And in any case, Mr. Freed said, “you can’t make a climate-proof city.”

So city officials are pursuing a so-called resilience strategy that calls for strengthening the city’s ability to weather the effects of serious flooding and recover from it.

Flooding Threat Grows

Unlike New Orleans, New York City is above sea level. Yet the city is second only to New Orleans in the number of people living less than four feet above high tide — nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, according to the research group Climate Central.

The waters on the city’s doorstep have been rising roughly an inch a decade over the last century as oceans have warmed and expanded. But according to scientists advising the city, that rate is accelerating, because of environmental factors, and levels could rise two feet higher than today’s by midcentury. More frequent flooding is expected to become an uncomfortable reality.

With higher seas, a common storm could prove as damaging as the rare big storm or hurricane is today, scientists say. Were sea levels to rise four feet by the 2080s, for example, 34 percent of the city’s streets could lie in the flood-risk zone (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_map_english.pdf), compared with just 11 percent now, a 2011 study commissioned by the state said.

New York has added bike lanes, required large buildings to track and reduce their energy use, banned the dirtiest home heating oils, and taken other steps to reduce the emissions that contribute to global warming. But with shoreline development that ranges from public beaches to towering high rises — and a complex mix of rivers, estuaries, bays and ocean — the city needs to size up the various risks posed by rising seas before plunging ahead with vast capital projects or strict regulations, city officials argue.

Yet the city’s plan for waterfront development dismisses any notion of retreat from the shoreline. Curbing development or buying up property in flood plains, as some smaller cities have done, is too impractical here, city officials say, especially because the city anticipates another million residents over the next two decades.

Rather, the city and its partners are incorporating flood-protection measures into projects as they go along.

Consolidated Edison, the utility that supplies electricity to most of the city, estimates that adaptations like installing submersible switches and moving high-voltage transformers above ground level would cost at least $250 million. Lacking the means, it is making gradual adjustments, with about $24 million spent in flood zones since 2007.

Some steps taken by city agencies have already subtly altered the city’s looks. At Brooklyn Bridge Park, a buffer between the East River and neighborhoods like Dumbo, porous riprap rock and a soft edge of salt-resistant grass have been laid in to help absorb the punch of a storm surge. Sidewalk bioswales, or vegetative tree pits that can fill up with rainwater to reduce storm water and sewage overflows and also minimize flooding, are popping up around the city.

Over all, the city is hoping to funnel more than $2 billion of public and private money to such environmental projects over the next 18 years, officials say.

“It’s a series of small interventions that cumulatively, over time, will take us to a more natural system” to deal with climate change, said Carter H. Strickland, the city’s environmental commissioner.

Planning experts say it is hard to muster public support for projects with uncertain or distant benefits.

“There’s a lot of concern about angering developers,” said Ben Chou, a water-policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

New York planners have proposed requiring developers to assess the climate-change risks faced by new buildings so they can consider protection like retractable watertight gates for windows. But no such requirements have been imposed so far.

While some new buildings are being elevated or going above current required flood protections — like a new recycling plant on a Brooklyn pier and the Port Authority’s transit hub at the World Trade Center site — most new construction is not being adapted to future flood risks yet, industry representatives said.

Some experts argue that the encounter with Hurricane Irene last year and a flash flood in 2007 underscored the dangers of deferring aggressive solutions.

Klaus H. Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said the storm surge from Irene came, on average, just one foot short of paralyzing transportation into and out of Manhattan.

If the surge had been just that much higher, subway tunnels would have flooded, segments of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and roads along the Hudson River would have turned into rivers, and sections of the commuter rail system would have been impassable or bereft of power, he said.

The most vulnerable systems, like the subway tunnels under the Harlem and East Rivers, would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion, said Mr. Jacob, an adviser to the city on climate change and an author of the 2011 state study that laid out the flooding prospects.

“We’ve been extremely lucky,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the political process hasn’t recognized that we’re playing Russian roulette.”

With more rain and higher seas, some envision more turmoil — like mile after mile of apartment buildings without working elevators, lights or potable water.

“That’s a key vulnerability,” said Rafael Pelli, a Manhattan architect who serves on a climate-change committee that advises the Department of City Planning. “If you have to relocate 10,000 people, how do you do that?”

Barriers to Block Tides

Some New Yorkers argue that the answer lies not in evacuation, but in prevention, like armoring city waterways with the latest high-tech barriers. Others are not so sure.

At a recent meeting of Manhattan community board leaders in Harlem, Robert Trentlyon, a resident of Chelsea, argued for sea gates.

A 2004 study (http://stormy.msrc.sunysb.edu/link%20files/Phase%20I%20Combined%20Report.pdf) by Mr. Hill and the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook recommended installing movable barriers at the upper end of the East River, near the Throgs Neck Bridge; under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge; and at the mouth of the Arthur Kill, between Staten Island and New Jersey. During hurricanes and northeasters, closing the barriers would block a huge tide from flooding Manhattan and parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey, they said.

City officials say that sea barriers are among the options being studied, but others say such gates could interfere with aquatic ecosystems and with the flushing out of pollutants, and may eventually fail as sea levels keep rising.

And then there is the cost. Installing barriers for New York could reach nearly $10 billion.

There is more agreement on how to protect the subway system. Several studies have advised the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move quickly to increase pumping capacity at stations, raise entrances and design floodgates to block water from entering.

In 2009, a commission warned that global warming posed “a new and potentially dire challenge for which the M.T.A. system is largely unprepared.”

Five years ago, a summer-morning deluge brought about 3 1/2 inches of rain in two hours and paralyzed the system for hours, stranding 2.5 million riders.

That prompted the transit agency to spend $34 million on improvements like raising some ventilation grates nine inches above sidewalks and building steps that head upward, before descending, at flood-prone stations. All the money came from the agency’s capital budget, which also pays for subway cars and buses.

“This is a vicious circle of the worst kind,” Projjal Dutta, the transportation agency’s director of sustainability, said of the financial effect. “You’re cutting public transportation, which cuts down greenhouse gases, to harden against climate change.”


January 3rd, 2013, 11:51 PM
$1M Wetland Proposed for East River Park

By Serena Solomon



LOWER EAST SIDE — Migrating birds may soon have a plush new place for food and lodging as they pass through New York City.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC), (http://www.lesecologycenter.org/)a recycling, composting and educational organization, is planning to develop a wetland ecosystem in the East River Park. The proposal, likely to cost about $1 million, would use gravel and native plants to naturally filter water while also providing food and shelter for local birdlife.

"The wetland is really an opportunity to demonstrate alternatives on how to manage storm water or any dirty water," said Christine Datz-Romero, executive director of LESEC.

Datz-Romero is hoping to gain support for the idea, which has been in the works for two years, at a meeting of Community Board 3's parks committee next Thursday, Jan. 10.

The wetland would occupy part of the 1-acre area the center already uses for its composting program, located below the amphitheater in the park's southern end near Cherry Street, Datz-Romero explained.

"The wetland can be viewed as a cleaning system," she said. "We will be using water that we are generating from our composing process instead of discarding it."

Water leftover from vegetables, coffee grounds and other compost material would be channeled through layers of gravel and soil that are inhabited by cleaning organisms, eventually draining into a pond on the site.

The roots of native plants, such as dogwood, would also filter the water before it is collected in the pond.

"The birds travel along the waterways. and it is important for them to have access to fresh water," Datz-Romero noted.

The native plants would also provide much-needed food for the birds, she said.

But airborne animals won't be the only visitors to the fenced-off wetland. The LESEC will incorporate the site into its public education program and will have regular open hours for the general public.

"The idea [for the wetland] is compelling because our curriculum already deals with the city's water system," Datz-Romero said.

LESEC is intending to fundraise throughout 2013, aiming for City Council and state government funds, grants and private donations. The nonprofit hopes to begin construction of the wetland early in 2014.


January 6th, 2013, 12:18 AM
In the Bronx, Restoring a Fleeting Paradise


https://www.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif https://www.nytimes.com/images/2013/01/06/nyregion/oakpoint-map/oakpoint-map-popup.jpg

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
WASHED AWAY Steven Smith at the site of his ravaged Oak Point wetland.

Steven Smith stands on the refuse that, no matter what, always seems to regenerate in the South Bronx. Plastic soda bottles, soccer balls, a thermos and a faded life preserver poke out from under the wooden planks scattered on the eroded shores of the East River.

This is Oak Point, west of Hunts Point, a peninsula of perpetual reinvention.

Once home to colonial estates and a Cuban sugar importer, then a public beach, a railroad float yard, a city landfill during the Bronx’s burning years, an illegal dumping ground tied to the mob, a proposed power plant and a jail, Oak Point, which Mr. Smith developed, now features a $60 million warehouse supplying food to bodegas and restaurants.

For three months the waterfront on the 28-acre site was also home to a wetland with verdant slopes and grassy marshes. Paradise in the Bronx.

And then it was all lost: two years of planning, nine months of work, $1.5 million and three acres of wetlands washed away in a matter of hours by Hurricane Sandy (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/h/hurricanes_and_tropical_storms/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier)’s 13-foot storm surge. What remain are a few patches of marsh grass, a Charlie Brown-like evergreen and one lonely, weedy mound just below a concrete wall.

Mr. Smith has to rebuild. But how?

“This has to be done properly,” he said, shaking his head. “This is an environmental disaster. And you don’t want to repeat this mistake again.”

Forgive Mr. Smith’s passion. The shoreline destruction at Oak Point is not exactly on a scale with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but the ruined habitat can provide a prism for the city’s post-hurricane rebuilding concerns — sustainability, resilience and economic development.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said last month that the city would examine different methods to fortify the coast (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/nyregion/bloomberg-announces-plans-to-protect-new-york-from-natural-disasters.html?_r=0), but he did not offer specifics. Before the storm, the city and its parks department began restoring 127 acres of wetlands throughout the city, while a complementary pilot project was planned to redevelop 10 acres of wetlands in hopes of spurring business along the shoreline.

Especially since Hurricane Katrina, scientists have debated the role of wetlands in storms. The vegetation can produce friction to slow down wave energy, but marine biologists say the amount of protection depends on the acreage, the location and the surrounding infrastructure. Not to mention the size of the storm.

At Oak Point, Mr. Smith reached an agreement with the State Department of Environmental Conservation: In exchange for developing the property, he would work with the agency to build wetlands. The purpose was to beautify the shoreline, create a haven for day-tripping birds coming from the North and South Brother Islands nearby, and stop silt or contaminants from seeping into the East River.

Kelly Risotto, whose Land Use Ecological Services designed the habitat, said that in addition to the sheer size of the storm, a reason the plantings were washed away was probably that they had not yet taken root — the marsh grasses were already submerged as the storm approached. Ms. Risotto said her company, based in Medford on Long Island, would replant in the spring.
A spokeswoman for the Environmental Conservation Department said it was still evaluating plans for the wetlands.

Said Mr. Smith, “It would be insanity to rebuild it exactly as we did.”

But S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey, said: “The cost of the structures you need to prevent a 15-foot storm surge would be in the tens of millions of dollars. You get what you pay for.”

Mr. Smith, 59, is somewhat of a rare bird in the Bronx. Raised in a log cabin in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., he became an engineer for a Swiss power company wanting to build a plant on the abandoned garbage dump at Oak Point. When the company dropped its plans after the site’s owners, Britestarr Homes, went bankrupt, Mr. Smith left his job and bought the property in 2002 (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/16/nyregion/for-bronx-land-with-spotty-past-no-lack-of-plans.html). He put himself in debt up to $60 million on the morning of his wedding. He signed the Oak Point deal in his tuxedo.

It took seven years to clean the 50-foot-high piles of trash dumped by Britestarr, which was investigated for its connections to John A. Gotti, son of the former Gambino crime boss. Mr. Smith found no bodies in the trash heap, he said, but five handguns. He paid off Britestarr’s debts and rented land to landscapers and construction firms.

After his own proposal to build a power plant on the site was defeated, he joined Hunts Point neighbors in opposing a city-proposed jail. Then Mr. Smith sold 12 acres to Jetro Holdings, a national food distribution company, for $25 million in 2010. Jetro’s warehouse now serves restaurants and neighborhood markets across the city, offering an array of fresh and frozen foods, packaged goods and alcohol.

Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, the executive director of the Point, (http://www.thepoint.org/) a Hunts Point group for youth programs and economic development, said that after a decade of proposals for Oak Point, she was pleased with Mr. Smith’s shoreline plan. “Oftentimes developers here take the road that will make the most money,” she said. “That’s what special about Steve’s project: it was an added value, something that was looking to help the environment.”

Mr. Smith, who lives on wetlands in Brick, N.J., hired graduates of a job-training program from Sustainable South Bronx (http://www.ssbx.org/), another local nonprofit organization, to plant trees and shrubs. One graduate, Devorah Gross, 56, worked eight-hour shifts for six weeks this summer planting sumac, river birch, roses for the bees, juniper berries for the birds. She was thrilled to see the ecosystem transformed, and was crushed when Mr. Smith sent her pictures after the storm.

“Oh, ‘sad’ is an understatement,” Ms. Gross said. “It broke my heart. We worked so hard and we were so happy to see wildlife coming back in a positive mode. We were starting to see baby fish and crab and swans and ducks.”

Ms. Gross said she could see the marsh grasses grasping oil from the water, acting like a filter. “It was such an education,” she said.

The project had two components. Mr. Smith removed the decaying wood bulkheads and other debris from the former float yard — where railroads brought in freight cars by boat — but kept three existing piers. Inland, he expanded the intertidal marsh wetlands, formed three beaches and brought in 6,000 yards of sand as a foundation.

On the remaining two acres, he made a buffer habitat of shrubs, trees and grasses. On the corner of the peninsula, where currents had converged for centuries, he persuaded the state to approve of piling boulders in a riprap. Those remained after the storm, as did the mile-long, 15-foot-high cast-concrete wall lining the property to prevent flooding.

Based on what survived, Mr. Smith advocates rebuilding by integrating, or layering, hard and soft materials.

He has a wider vision, though, beyond the waterfront, for his remaining 13 acres. He plans a three-level “food campus” for a wholesale farmers’ market for New York State growers, a rooftop greenhouse, a kitchen incubator and public space overlooking the water. In December, Oak Point’s second phase (projected at $80 million) received a $400,000 economic development grant from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Mr. Smith also wants to have an information kiosk on the property, displaying the rusty handguns and the quartz sandstone rocks he excavated, and perhaps showing his time-lapse video of the initial wetlands project. For that purpose, he bought from the old rail yards a New Haven Line caboose, now sitting on makeshift tracks. Mr. Smith wants someone to refashion it.

“You know that show, ‘Pimp My Ride’?” he said, referring to the former MTV series. “I want to find someone to ‘Pimp My Caboose,’ ” he said with a laugh.

The property, like the borough these days, is undergoing a makeover. “On the tomb of the old Bronx, we’re building the new Bronx,” he said.


July 2nd, 2013, 11:06 AM
Liquid City

For 400 years, New York has embraced, spurned, ignored, harnessed, and feared the water that made its greatness possible. Now our relationship must get even more complex.

By Justin Davidson

http://images.nymag.com/news/features/waterfront130701_present_btn_560.jpg (http://nymag.com/news/articles/13/07/waterfront-past/index.html)

In the hours after Hurricane Sandy sucker-punched New York and moseyed away, leaving a ring of filth, death, mold, and crumpled houses, the lesson of the storm seemed clear, if you were in a moralizing frame of mind. We had disrespected the sea—built too close, too low, too blithely—and been punished for it. All those glittering apartment towers with their whitecap-flecked views were a mistake of the market. When the first waves hit, New Yorkers suddenly understood topography they had always ignored, and any neighborhood with the word “heights” in its name (Crown, Prospect, Washington) now had a comforting ring. The storm made it obvious why people had avoided soggy landfill, at least until low-lying factory areas like Tribeca were magically made luxurious. In the future, surely real-estate ads would boast of a property’s elevation.

Seven months later, Mayor Bloomberg is doubling down on the waterfront metropolis. Even as the clock runs out on his mayoralty, last month he released a valedictory manifesto with a dry title (“A Stronger, More Resilient New York”) masking an urgent cry. New York has too long and tangled a relationship with the waterfront to retreat upland or cower behind seawalls, the report declares. Compiled by a battalion of specialists at the mayor’s behest, the 438-page analysis works its way around the city’s 520 miles of fantastically varied coastline, proposing a $20 billion array of treatments. Dunes in the Rockaways, levees in South Beach, removable walls on the East Side of Manhattan, hardened power stations, flood walls, wetlands, bulkheads, esplanades—the proposals vary sometimes block by block.

Behind that hyperrational menu of engineering options is a technocrat’s love letter to the maritime city. The charts and recommendations amount to a statement of faith that the waterfront is the city’s future as well as its past. Partly, it’s a reaffirmation of long-standing policy. Most of the major developments that Bloomberg has championed and that are now in the works—Hudson Yards, the Cornell tech campus on Roosevelt Island, Willets Point, Riverside South, the Con Ed site, Hunters Point South—flank the East and Hudson Rivers. But even if he did not have his legacy on the line, Bloomberg grasps an essential truth: This is a city built not just near the water, but over, under, and in it.

Glance at a map of New York, and what you see is a lot of blue, ringed by a piecrust of boroughs. This is a largely liquid city, a stunningly obvious fact that for decades was almost forgotten and that we’re only just beginning to remember. In 1877, Harper’s Weekly took its readers on a tour of East River landmarks, pointing out “the public buildings on Randall’s, Blackwell’s, and Ward’s islands, Hell Gate, the Hunter’s Point oil-works, the Navy-yard, the Drydock, the massive masonry of the great bridge, and the crowds of shipping down to the beautiful Battery and historic Castle Garden.” A century later, in 1977, that same itinerary would have led past forgotten wastelands, rotting structures, crumbling bulwarks, and vacant piers. That period of traumatic neglect haunts every page of the Bloomberg plan.

New York’s relationship with its waters is a long and crazy romance, fueled by manic energy, gilded dreams, violence, abandonment, and elated rediscovery. The story begins on a claustrophobic block of Pearl Street between Broad and Whitehall Streets, shadowed by office towers on all sides. In the seventeenth century, this was both the edge of New Amsterdam and its center. The town’s greatest house, Peter Stuyvesant’s two-story mansion, sat beside serried shops, wooden homes, taverns, and warehouses. Ships moored at the sole wooden dock poked into the East River. Sailors unloaded their cargo, hauled it across the dirt road to the Dutch West India Company, and lifted it into the upper-level storeroom by a pulley fastened to the brick façade. Colonists from a country under perpetual threat of drowning knew to keep their valuables raised.

For 350 years, that process—moving stuff in, working on it, and shipping it out—fueled the city’s growth. In 1730, Nicholas Bayard opened North America’s first sugar refinery on Liberty Street, a momentous event not just because it introduced New York children to the joys of commercial candy. Ships carrying sugar from the Caribbean also brought other fragrant cargoes: cocoa, molasses, limes, tobacco. Sugar and shipping produced great wealth and establishments in which to spend it: Watchmakers, booksellers, clothiers, and other ateliers hugged the docks.

One of the startling aspects of Sandy was the collision of prosperity and disaster. Urban pioneers with million-dollar views watched the storm ravage their streets. Art galleries took a beating.

It’s a drama that has played out many times before, because the waterfront was always where the money was. If Madonna had stepped off a vessel at Burling Slip around 1800 and asked to be taken “to the middle of everything,” she would have been pointed toward Tontine Coffee House, at the corner of Wall and Water Streets. Built in 1793 by the city’s first stockbrokers as a place to do business in, it also served as an inn, a dining room, and a bazaar where dealers traded whatever was for sale: molasses, investments, political influence, news, and slaves. “The steps and balcony were crowded with people bidding, or listening to the several auctioneers,” a visitor reported. “The slip and the corners of Wall and Pearl-streets, were jammed up with carts, drays, and wheelbarrows; horses and men were huddled promiscuously together, leaving little or no room for passengers to pass … Every thing was in motion; all was life, bustle and activity.” The frenzy accelerated after the 1825 opening of the Erie Canal, when New York Harbor became a vestibule for all America. Soon, tides of bankers, brokers, lawyers, bookkeepers, and politicians sloshed daily between the docks and the grand new marble Merchants Exchange on Wall Street.

2 (http://nymag.com/news/features/bloomberg-waterfront-2013-7/index1.html) 3 (http://nymag.com/news/features/bloomberg-waterfront-2013-7/index2.html) 4 (http://nymag.com/news/features/bloomberg-waterfront-2013-7/index3.html) 5 (http://nymag.com/news/features/bloomberg-waterfront-2013-7/index4.html)


July 18th, 2013, 09:08 AM
Urgent Work

Bloomberg unfurls New York City flood protection plan.

by Nicole Anderson

The report calls for new wetlands to help absorb water. Courtesy New York Panel on Climate Change

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled a comprehensive plan this month to address the looming hazards of climate change to New York City. The ambitious 438-page report, aptly titled “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” calls for $19.5 billion in funding to implement a program of roughly 250 recommendations to protect the city’s buildings, infrastructure, and public realm from severe storms and rising sea levels. The initiatives outlined in the plan are often site specific and run the gamut from local storm surge barriers and beach nourishment strategies to zoning changes and new design solutions for damaged homes.

A few months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast, Mayor Bloomberg assembled a task force, the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, to study the impact of the storm and create a thorough resiliency plan to tackle the challenges posed by changing weather patterns and to provide new resources, strategies, and support in the ongoing recovery efforts.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_06.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_06.jpg)
The report recommends implementing removable flood walls in flood-prone areas.

“It is a full spectrum response,” said Illya Azaroff, principal at +LAB and co-chair of design for risk and reconstruction at AIA New York, who attended a private technical review of the report. “As Seth Pinsky said, ‘there is no silver bullet’ to address all conditions including zoning, building code, and actual physical building. The report is really broken down into multiple layers of response that are needed to have multiple layers of resiliency.”

The report first takes a sweeping look at climate change by offering a detailed account of Sandy’s impact on the city. It then assesses the risks that lie ahead with the likelihood of more extreme storm surges and imminent topographical changes to the city’s 520-mile coastline within the next 50 years.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_01.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_01.jpg)
Among the more ambitious proposals in an extension to the South Street Seaport in a manner similar to Battery Park City.

Radley Horton, associate research scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at the Columbia University Earth Institute, participated in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) and served on its technical team, which provided much of the insight and climate projections for “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.” Horton said that this plan provides critical information that not only applies to New York City, but also benefits other coastal cities. “The mayor’s plan offers a multi-faceted approach to adaptation, so that for other coastal cities, it offers many potential points of entry in thinking about their vulnerability to storms and sea level rise. The report talks about hard engineering solutions and green infrastructure solutions.”

The plan is systematically divided into several sections, including 37 coastal protection initiatives and 14 building initiatives that target specific locations throughout the five boroughs, and give a timeline for implementation. Bloomberg’s vision includes setting up community design centers across the city that will guide property owners through the process of reconstructing and retrofitting their homes.
http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_05.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_05.jpg)

While some property owners will need assistance in redesigning their homes to comply with new building codes, others living in areas extraordinarily vulnerable to flooding and rising sea levels will likely need to plan for relocation. And through the New York Smart Home Buyout Program, property owners in certain neighborhoods will be given this option. Negotiations for a buyback program with residents of Oakwood Beach in Staten Island are already underway.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_03.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/resiliency_report_03.jpg)
New commercial space designed to resist flooding in the Rockaways.

The report sets into motion a number of coastal protection measures. For example, starting as early as this year bulkheads will be constructed in several waterfront communities, including Great Kills in Staten Island and the Rockaways in Queens.

Lower Manhattan, home to 70,000 residents and the city’s Financial District, was inundated with water during Sandy. The report anticipates that the threat of flooding will only increase and recommends installing an integrated flood protection system, composed of different tactics from floodwalls to landscaping, to prepare for the onset of more severe storms.

“Now the plan is incredibly ambitious and much of the work will extend far beyond the 203 days that we have in our administration, but we refuse to pass responsibility for creating a plan onto the next administration,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a speech at the Navy Yard introducing the report. “This is urgent work and it must begin now.”

Small-scale water bariers are proposed to keep out rising waters during storms.


July 18th, 2013, 10:35 PM
The removable flood wall panels are a joke. That might work for a slow rising river, but not for a tidal surge up the New York Harbor.

This whole wrong-headed plan seemingly writes off Staten Island, Southern Brooklyn, Northern Queens among other areas susceptible to rising waters.

Need I mention that Seaport City is a Real Estate scheme, rather than an environmental plan to protect New York Harbor?

July 19th, 2013, 11:11 AM
These measures seem to be well thought out [the report is 438 pages and I haven't read any of it], and things that probably should be done; but my feeling is that for another "storm of the century," the final anwer would be, "It could have been even worse." Catastrophic instead of devastating.

So can the city afford catastrophic?

This reminds me of lying-ahull, a no-alternative tactic of riding out a storm in a sailboat.

The most logical answer is a barrier wall, five miles from Breezy Point to Sandy Hook. It could include a railway link for the northeast corridor. It would be expensive and multi-generational, and require political will from all three levels of government, something we seem to lack at present.

It was the same political will that led NYS to form the Board of Water Supply in 1905, and finally solve NYC's problems obtaining water. The first major phase was completed in 1928.

August 9th, 2013, 07:55 AM
East Side Appeals for More Open Space

East Side of Manhattan Says Its Patchwork of Green Spaces Is Inadequate


In the real-estate battle between Manhattan's East and West sides, the East Side had long counted among its advantages a patchwork of small green oases. But recently, a taste for industrial buildings and the wild popularity of new parks such as the High Line have turned the momentum west.

Now, a new report highlights the open-space problems facing the East Side, where two-thirds of residents don't live within walking distance of a large park and the existing spaces are overburdened and disconnected. The report, commissioned by City Council members Daniel Garodnick and Jessica Lappin, comes as East Side boosters and the city make the most concerted effort in decades to create more open space, including by transforming the area's waterfront into a continuous string.

"The reality is that [the East Side] is one of the most underserved communities in the city in terms of the actual amount of open space," said Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, a nonprofit group that wrote the report.

Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal
John Jay Park, at 76th Street in Manhattan along the East River.

The see-saw from East Side to West is mostly an accident of history and geography: The East Side is largely built up and doesn't have the benefit of large, undeveloped industrial relics like the High Line or piers that jut into the Hudson River. The East Side waterfront is narrow, wedged between the FDR Drive and a river with a swift-flowing current.

The result is a smattering of small playgrounds and parks, and, of course, Central Park, which while a clear boon to the area's open space, is out of walking distance for many residents further south or out on First Avenue.

In Ms. Lappin's district—which includes much of the Upper East Side east of Third Avenue—13% of residents live within walking distance of a large park. The district has less than half an acre of open space per 1,000 residents, compared to 2.5 acres that the city uses as a guideline in its environmental review process.

In Mr. Garodnick's district—a patchwork that includes Stuyvesant Town on the eastern end of 14th Street, the Grand Central Terminal office district, and the Upper East Side near Central Park—40% of residents don't live within walking distance of a large public park. There are no community gardens and less than a quarter-acre of open space per 1,000 residents compared to the standard of 2.5 acres.

"We knew that the East Side of Manhattan was starved for parks space. What we did not know was that we would fail on every subcategory that was measured," Mr. Garodnick said.

For New Yorkers like Josh Rieders, a 28-year-old who works in finance, easier access to outdoor activities on the West Side is a big draw. He is moving to an apartment in the West 30s from a place near Stuyvesant Town. "I have free access to Hudson River Park, playing tennis and going to Chelsea Piers to play hockey," he said. "I think the East Side thinks it's cooler, but it's really the West Side."

His broker, Lorett Vigon of Citi Habitats, said the High Line had drawn other clients from the East Side.

The parks on the East Side tend to be small but well used. Liz McKell, who has a 4-year-old daughter, said St. Catherine's Park, at First Avenue and East 67th Street, gets overcrowded after school lets out.

"It's crazy to the point where kids will be knocked off their feet," she said. "I would always leave around 2:30-ish because it got too busy."

East Side politicians have seized on a number of recent opportunities to demand more open space as part of public approval of new development projects, including the expansions of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the United Nations, and the construction of large new residential projects by developers Michael Stern and Sheldon Solow. Most recently, community groups are pushing for improvements to public space as part of the Bloomberg administration's proposed rezoning of Midtown East.

By far the most ambitious open-space project would create a rival to the West Side's popular Hudson River Park by creating a continuous running and biking path along the East River.

The waterfront stretch from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 38th Street is already largely accessible, although efforts are under way to make it a bigger draw, including the announcement last week of a beach under the Brooklyn Bridge.

While much of the waterfront uptown is accessible much of it is very poorly maintained, according to the report.

One particularly challenging strip is from East 38th Street to East 60th Street, where the only way to have continuous open space is to build over the water, said Brian Kavanagh, a state assembly member whose district encompasses much of that area.

The state in 2011 allowed the city to transfer a portion of Robert Moses Playground to the U.N. for a new office tower in exchange for $70 million to fund the waterfront transformation. The deal with the U.N. hasn't been finalized, but the city has moved forward with some aspects of the plan, including designing the esplanade and the creation of a new park on Asser Levy Place between 23rd and 25th streets.

The idea had been in the works for years, but there was "a lot of skepticism" from the community that giving up the playground would result in new park space, Mr. Kavanagh said.


December 11th, 2013, 09:08 AM
New Projects on the Horizon at Manhattan’s Piers


Richard Perry/The New York Times
Pier A in the financial district has mostly sat vacant for decades, but is to open as the
Pier A Harbor House, a restaurant and event space, next spring.

Lining the southern section of the island of Manhattan like bristles on a brush, some decaying piers with their dilapidated buildings remain symbols of failed promises and discarded proposals.

And while some successes involved waterfront developments in public parks, a new wave of commercial projects offering bistros, hotels and apartments is setting a more aggressive course to dust off these shoreline relics.

“We feel like, what took the city so long? Boston and San Francisco embraced retail on their waterfronts a long time ago,” said Peter Poulakakos, a local restaurateur who has teamed with the Dermot Company, a residential developer, on two of the planned pier makeovers in Manhattan.

Perhaps the most anticipated project, owing to its history and challenges, is Pier A Harbor House, a restaurant and event space opening next spring at the foot of West Street, in the financial district, in a major public-private deal.

The pier’s three-level, 38,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building originally housed the city’s docks department and later served as a place to greet arriving dignitaries, like King George VI during the 1939 World’s Fair, according to historical accounts. Later it served as a command post for the city’s fire boats.

But after an earlier development plan failed, the clock-topped building has mostly sat vacant for decades, save for pigeons and raccoons.

Mr. Poulakakos, whose restaurants includes Ulysses, the Dead Rabbit and Harry’s Cafe and Steak, said the Harbor House was expected to reopen next May. Its first two floors would serve patrons such seaside fare as beer and oysters, while a third floor, with a stage, would be used for events like weddings.

In a 25-year deal valued at $41 million, Mr. Poulakakos and Dermot will lease the space from the Battery Park City Authority, the state agency that is responsible for renovating the city-owned Pier A.

The development team is also spending $20 million to refurbish the interior, adding tufted leather banquettes, a 128-foot-long bar, and a stained-glass ceiling fixture adorned with a large “A,” according to renderings.

Much of the renovation is complete. Over the last five years, the authority repaired masonry pilings, added new plumbing and electrical systems and replaced a copper roof, as part of a $37 million project that included $30 million in city funds, said Gwen Dawson, the authority vice president overseeing construction.

Separately, Hurricane Sandy set back the project for several months, with about $4.3 million in damage resulting from five feet of water rushing through parts of the building. Wiring and walls had to be replaced, and the exterior doors are now a more water-impervious mahogany, instead of pine, Ms. Dawson said.

Insurance covered most of the tab, she added.

Drew Spitler, the director of development for Dermot, whose mostly residential development portfolio includes One Hanson Place, a Brooklyn condo conversion, said Pier A had also been outfitted with refrigerators, tables and chairs on wheels so they can be whisked away in the event of a severe storm.

“We are building assuming that a major storm will happen again in the next 25 years,” Mr. Spitler said on a recent tour.

This month, the city agreed to add $5 million to build a new plaza outside Pier A, which had been stalled because of a lack of funds. Because the area teems with tourists, the Pier A business cannot block access to public paths with its dinner tables.

The same development team has had to be even more creative, and spend more money, to redevelop a pier on the other side of Battery Park, at Manhattan’s tip.

That $100 million project focuses on another historic Beaux-Arts building, the green-shaded Battery Maritime Building, once a major transportation hub, extending into New York Harbor.

Today, the 1909 building, whose architectural details include metalwork in the shape of anchors and life preservers, mostly serves as the terminal for Governors Island ferries.

In the upper stories of the structure, which is next door to the Whitehall Terminal for the Staten Island Ferry, Mr. Poulakakos and Dermot are developing a 61-room boutique hotel and a restaurant that are scheduled to open in 2015.

Commercial uses for public piers in New York is not new. Chelsea Piers, the giant sports complex on the Hudson River occupying Piers 59 to 61, after all, has hosted weddings, golfers and TV and film productions, since the mid-1990s. Before their renovation, the state-owned properties had faced the threat of demolition.

And at the adjacent Hudson River Park, Pier 40, collects fees for parking, though that revenue is now largely seen as inadequate to cover the huge costs of running the parent park.

Other concessionaires, like kayak rental slots (http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/explore-the-park/activities/kayaking), dot the park, which run from Chambers Street to Midtown.

But the hybrid model seems more viable these days. Pier 15, which opened on the East River by John Street in 2011, offers a checkerboard of lawns and boardwalks on its upper level, which also provides views of the rigging on Wavertree, a preserved 19th-century sailing ship.

And private cruise boats can anchor along the ground level, where the Watermark Bar features a tequila and cucumber cocktail for $14.

Similarly, at Pier 57, on the West Side, a $200 million plan to add sushi bars and shops to a former waterside passenger terminal continues.

But redevelopment schemes for piers are by no means a guaranteed hit. Indeed, the 125,000-square-foot mall that was built at Pier 17 in 1985, at the South Street Seaport on the East River, struggled to catch on for years, through several iterations.

And that pier had pedigree; it was developed by the Rouse Company, which in the 1970s created Boston’s popular Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

Issues that dogged Pier 17 when it was built still resonate today, including to what degree private interests should control public seafront.

The Howard Hughes Corporation, which holds Pier 17’s lease and has won city permission to build a larger shopping center on it, with more public space, has also unveiled plans for a 50-story hotel-and-apartment tower on an adjacent site, which requires separate approvals.

Some neighbors, though, have said they are opposed to that part of the project, questioning its compatibility with the area’s history and aesthetic.

When the residential plan comes up for review next year, it might be a tough sell. An earlier proposal by General Growth Properties, the former leaseholder, to build a 42-story apartment building encountered fierce opposition and was ultimately rejected, noted Anthony Notaro Jr., vice chairman of the local community board.

“These are publicly owned properties, and the public has concerns,” he said. “We expect this project will become a major issue.”


December 11th, 2013, 02:59 PM
"This project will become a major issue" and indeed it already is.

The tower proposed by Texans from the Howard Hughes Corporation is wrong in every way.

It will be fought. And it will not be built.

March 22nd, 2014, 10:47 AM
Bronx Waterfront Redevelopment is Really Happening, It Seems

by Zoe Rosenberg

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd.jpg)
Image from Magnusson Architecture and Planning via Welcome 2 the Bronx (http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2014/03/20/the-bronx-harlem-river-waterfront-district-plan-an-in-depth-analysis/).

Although the idea was formally announced just a month ago (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/02/25/advocates_want_another_brooklyn_bridge_park_in_the _bronx.php), the plan for a swath of Harlem River frontage in the South Bronx to be redeveloped into mixed-use, pedestrian friendly space has gained tremendous momentum. In harmonious synch with Curbed's in-depth exploration of the proposed parkland (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/20/exploring_the_bronx_waterfront_as_redevelopment_lo oms.php), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has released a new review (http://bronxboropres.nyc.gov/pdf/bronx-bp-waterfront-report.pdf) (Warning: PDF!), alongside a third-party report commissioned by the non-profit SoBRO (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/south-bronx-overall-economic-development-corporation), outlining what the proposed Special Harlem River Waterfront District (SHRWD) between 138th and 149th streets would bring to the borough. As expected, the reports are largely positive.

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd2-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd2.jpg)
Image from Magnusson Architecture and Planning via Welcome 2 the Bronx (http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2014/03/20/the-bronx-harlem-river-waterfront-district-plan-an-in-depth-analysis/).

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Image via the Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

SHRWD development, which hopes to emulate the Brooklyn Bridge Park and its successful integration of former industrial area into community-used space, will bring 3,500 new jobs to the Lower Concourse, the report details (http://bronxboropres.nyc.gov/pdf/bronx-bp-waterfront-report.pdf) (Warning: PDF!). Particularly important to the proposal is the development of 1,529 units of mixed-income housing, which Welcome 2 The Bronx points out (http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2014/03/20/the-bronx-harlem-river-waterfront-district-plan-an-in-depth-analysis/) as an essential component to creating a sustainable district. At an estimated cost of $500 million, the proposal puts to use the 2009 rezoning of the SHRWD (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/10/fans_detractors_split_over_proposed_sobro_waterfro nt_park.php) and will add over 1.1 million square feet of residential space, 865,000 of commercial space, and 269,000 square feet of community space to the largely neglected area. New renderings and massings from Mangusson Architecture and Planning's third-party report illustrate a promising future for the waterfront industrial lots of (perhaps, soon-to-be) yore.

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd1-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/shrwd1.jpg)
Image from Magnusson Architecture and Planning via Welcome 2 the Bronx (http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2014/03/20/the-bronx-harlem-river-waterfront-district-plan-an-in-depth-analysis/).

The Special Harlem River Waterfront District Overview (PDF) (http://bronxboropres.nyc.gov/pdf/bronx-bp-waterfront-report.pdf) [official]
The Bronx Harlem River Waterfront District Plan: An In-Depth Analysis (http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2014/03/20/the-bronx-harlem-river-waterfront-district-plan-an-in-depth-analysis/) [W2tB]
Exploring the Bronx Waterfront as Redevelopment Looms (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/20/exploring_the_bronx_waterfront_as_redevelopment_lo oms.php) [Curbed]
All South Bronx coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/south-bronx) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/21/bronx_waterfront_redevelopment_is_really_happening _it_seems.php

May 17th, 2014, 10:58 AM
Pushing Change on the South Bronx Waterfront

Redevelopment Proposals for Gritty Area Seek More Improvements

By Derek Kravitz

The South Bronx waterfront—a largely derelict 10-block swath of parking lots and dead-end streets between East 138th and 149th streets—is poised for redevelopment, with hopes for a commercial-and-residential complex similar to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The scale of those proposals by Bronx officials, which call for office and residential towers costing $500 million and include as many as 1,500 apartments, has lifted hopes among some owners of restaurants and other businesses that have opened in the gentrifying Concourse and Mott Haven areas.

The 15-acre Mill Pond Park that was opened in 2009 on the Harlem
River in the Bronx adjacent to the Major Deegan Expressway
Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

The new businesses as well as apartment complexes built between Park Avenue and the Major Deegan Expressway have staked a claim to a gritty area filled with chain-link fences, several utility and recycling plants and the polluted Harlem River.

"It's definitely heading in the right direction," said Joe Pego, general manager of New York Recycling, which operates a recycling facility handling topsoil, sand and stone near the water and East 144th Street. "It's like what happened with Williamsburg and Long Island City, with the new businesses and residential areas. But all that change can make people uneasy."

Plans for the so-called Special Harlem River Waterfront District call for a publicly accessible waterfront esplanade, along with residential and office towers that could reach 400 feet, said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"Bronxites should have quality waterfront access, and this project could make that happen," he said. But the plans still need community and developer support, along with city approval, which will "take years," he said.

Some local owners welcome attracting new activity in the area.

Marisco Centro, a Spanish seafood restaurant specializing in paella that opened in 2012, had struggled drawing in customers to its location near the Concourse Village shops and apartment complexes.

"In the beginning, it was pretty hard," said Zoilo "Chelo" Ramirez, the 49-year-old owner of three Marisco locations. "But it's gotten better as people find out about us. Still, it's a lonely area...what we need is foot traffic so we're looking forward to development."

Median rents in the Concourse and neighboring Highbridge neighborhoods rose 10.5% between 2005 and 2010 to $954 per month, according to the New York-based Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness, which released a report on gentrification in the Bronx in February. And rents have increased further over the past four years, brokers say.

Hostos Community College, which has many of its offices inside the Gateway mall, has nearly doubled its enrollment over the past decade. The South Bronx school, which is part of the City University of New York system, now has about 7,000 full-time undergraduate students and roughly 12,000 continuing-education students, and many of them live and eat in the area, according to Félix Matos Rodríguez, president of the college.

"There's been a lot of buzz recently and we've been excited to expand our footprint," Mr. Rodríguez said. "This is one of the new real-estate frontiers in the city and the college wants to be apart of it."

College officials are in talks with Bronx borough officials and area businesses to expand its workforce development program and start a new business incubator for the South Bronx.

They also in discussions about building a natural-science-and-health complex behind the historic P.S. 31 site, a Gothic-style building nicknamed the "Cathedral on the Concourse" that has been slated for demolition.

Nearby, Macombs Dam Park draws thousands of visitors to its track and baseball fields, and the Bronx Children's Museum is slated to open in 2015 on city-owned parkland.

The Bronx Terminal Market-Gateway Mall
Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

The area is also home to a burgeoning arts scene. The Bronx Council on the Arts opened its Longwood gallery and a separate exhibition space in 2003 and a Puerto Rican theater group, Pregones, built a two-stage performance center on Walton Street in 2005.

The Bronx Terminal Market-Gateway Mall was completed in 2009 on the former sites of a wholesale fruit and vegetable market and the Art Deco-influenced Bronx County House of Detention. Large tenants at the mall now include Target, Home Depot and BJ's Wholesale Club.

But the South Bronx waterfront also remains home to a group of neighborhood institutions, such as Gaucho's, an orange-painted gym that is the home of several amateur basketball programs and the annual King of the Rock Basketball Classic.

Another mainstay is Glacken's, a family-owned bar that is covered in New York union, police and fire department regalia.

"Little by little, it's been changing over, ever since [late Yankees majority owner George] Steinbrenner started with the new Yankee Stadium," said Tom Glacken Sr., whose father opened the eponymous bar in the early 1940s. "The changes have been no asset to us but the neighborhood is getting better. It might push some businesses out but we're not leaving."



June 3rd, 2014, 09:51 AM
Thread for this? Mods move if needed.

EXCLUSIVE: Danish firm wins $335M to build 2-mile eco-friendly park in East Side

The federal Housing and Urban Development's Rebuild by Design competition awarded the money to a firm that will build the park from E. 23 St. to Montgomery St. The competition was launched to rebuild areas hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy.

BY Jennifer Fermino (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Jennifer Fermino)
Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 2:13 AM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1814846.1401764727!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/sandy3n-2-web.jpgRebuild By Design Final ProjectsThe ambitious proposal won $335 million through a competition that awards federal funds to rebuild areas hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy.

A 2-mile stretch of Manhattan along the East River will be transformed into an eco-friendly playground with swimming areas, officials said Monday. The ambitious proposal won $335 million in the federal Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition, launched to rebuild areas hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy.

The project, which will run from E. 23rd St. to Montgomery St. on the Lower East Side, could be completed in as little as four years.The money will help create landscaped berms 10- to 20-feet high, which will stop floodwaters from pouring onto the streets in the event of another hurricane.

http://static1.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1814844.1401764725!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/sandy3n-4-web.jpgRebuild By Design Final ProjectsThe park will run from E. 23rd St. to Montgomery St. and could be completed in as little as four years. http://static3.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1814843.1401764723!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/sandy3n-3-web.jpgRebuild By Design Final ProjectsA two-mile stretch of the Lower East Side will be transformed into an eco-friendly riverside playground with swimming areas, officials said Monday.http://static2.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1814845.1401764726!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/sandy3n-1-web.jpgRebuild By Design Final Projects
The park will include wharfs, swimming pools in the East River and a bike lane and walking path.

Previous Next


Enlarge (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/#)

The berms will be located on what is now a low-lying service road for the FDR highway.
The designers — Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group — also plan on adding wharfs, swimming pools in the East River along E. 10th St. and a bike lane and walking path.
It was the grand prize winner in the contest, which awarded $415 million to New York City sustainability projects.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/335m-eco-park-coming-e-side-article-1.1814847#ixzz33aF5DjVT

June 3rd, 2014, 10:38 AM
BIG scores! It'll be interesting to see how this gets implemented over the next few years. It's a major adjustment for the East River Park.

September 24th, 2014, 06:39 AM
Feature> Stemming the Tide

Streetscapes and plazas are being transformed into high performance sites for stormwater management.

by Alex Ulam

A redesigned courtyard at Pace University, designed by AECOM, was rebuilt to capture stormwater through permeable pavement and an advanced cellular support system.
Courtesy AECOM

Overflows from New York City’s combined sewer system are among the greatest threats to our environment. Each year, more than 27 billion galleons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater are discharged into the city’s harbor from around 460 Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). These malodorous events occur during heavy rain storms and snowmelts when stormwater runoff contaminated with waste, such as auto fluids, plastic bags, cigarette butts and raw sewage overwhelms city wastewater treatment plants unable to handle flows more than twice design capacity. With the system overload, the excess wastewater is released into the city’s waterways where it kills off marine life, leads to beach closings, and befouls the air with waterborne vapors linked to diseases.

Thanks to a landmark 2012 settlement with state environmental officials, New York City finally is taking major steps to manage stormwater near contaminated waterways that don’t comply with the Clean Water Act, such as the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The initiative includes an ambitious plan to spend $2.4 billion on green infrastructure, which can include streetscapes designed with materials such as structural soil and permeable pavers.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/04-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/04-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/03-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/03-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

However, for some New York City designers, planners, and neighborhood leaders, the multi-billion dollar stormwater infrastructure plan does not go far enough, and they are hammering away at the city’s bureaucracy for approvals and funding to install green infrastructure on streets and public plazas outside of the city’s designated priority stormwater areas.
New York City used to have a dedicated funding source through PlanNYC for building stormwater “Greenstreets” outside of the priority areas but the funding ran out. “There are a whole lot of reasons that it is important to do green infrastructure everywhere—it is inefficient to have stormwater run into your sewage treatment plant,” said Jeanette Compton, former director of the New York City Parks Department’s Green Streets program. But city funds are limited, noted Compton, currently associate director of City Park Development at The Trust for Public Land, adding that outside of the priority areas, “these types of projects aren’t part of proving to the state regulators that we are complying with our water regulations.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/02-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/02-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

Another obstacle is that green stormwater infrastructure is still a relatively new concept for many city agencies. “It took quite a bit of doing to get the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Public Design Commission to agree that permeable pavement could be a standard,” said Signe Nielsen, principal in Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects, who was instrumental in getting several green storm water infrastructure guidelines written into the city’s Green Codes, approved in 2012.

Despite the new guidelines, it is still challenging to get city agencies and private property owners to commit to building green stormwater infrastructure in neighborhoods outside the priority areas, because it demands more upkeep than typical hardscapes. “It requires a maintenance agreement and that means participation by private property owners or a business improvement district association,” said Nielsen, adding, “Sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owners, and with permeable materials it is a bit of a learning curve to get everyone to agree that this is not the world’s hugest burden, and the benefits are so valuable that they should be willing to take it on.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/07-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/07-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/08-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/08-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

New streetscapes in Hudson Square designed by Mathews Nielsen have permeable pavers and trenches with structural soil that will capture millions of gallons of run-off.
Ted Tarquino

Currently Nielsen is designing green infrastructure for the flood-prone Hudson Square neighborhood in Lower Manhattan as part of a $27 million streetscaping initiative, which includes a $3.2 million contribution from the city for the first phase of construction. Nielsen’s environmentally enlightened client, The Hudson Square Connection, a new business improvement district organization, has a five-year plan to plant 300 new trees in the neighborhood. In addition, the plan calls for one quarter of this former industrial neighborhood’s sidewalks to be made permeable so that stormwater can seep through and be absorbed by soil underneath.

As opposed to treating stormwater as a waste product at hugely expensive sewage treatment plants, green infrastructure transforms it into a resource for growing plants. In Hudson Square this is accomplished in part by means of subsurface tree trenches composed of structural soil and covered by permeable concrete pavers built adjacent to new oversize tree pits. “The trees get more water and they develop better and more robust root systems,” said Nielsen, “So they are less likely to get blown over by the wind, and they are also more resistant to disease.”

Altogether, the 300 new street trees being planted at Hudson Square are expected to capture 2.5 million gallons of stormwater per year, an amount equal to that used by 25 households annually. The auxiliary benefits of these new storm resistant trees include providing shade, reducing the heat island effect and improving air quality by capturing carbon dioxide and transforming it into oxygen.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/05-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/05-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/06-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/06-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

Astor Place and Cooper Square are being redesigned with massive bioswales and large tree pits.
Courtesy WXY

Another part of Manhattan that is being dramatically transformed with green infrastructure is the area around Astor Place and Cooper Square. Here construction is underway on a major redesign by WXY Architecture + Urban Design, and a team that includes landscape architecture firm Quennell Rothschild & Partners, garden designer Piet Oudolf, and environmental engineering firm eDesign Dynamics. As part of the plan, city streets are being realigned, existing public spaces are being redesigned and new ones are being built, including a pedestrian plaza between Astor Place and Cooper Square. The green infrastructure for this $18 million project, which is being funded by the New York City DOT, includes more than 60 new street trees and about 17,000 plantings. Many of the trees will be planted in enlarged tree pits with cobblestone surrounds to increase permeability; beds of structural soil running underneath sidewalks will allow root expansion.

To make the project more environmentally sustainable and to provide additional greenery for the space the design team also pushed to have ten enormous bioswales installed. These landscape features, which measure 10 feet by 20 feet, are designed to capture large amounts of stormwater and to slowly release it into the ground where it is put to use irrigating plants. In addition to introducing new types of materials to the city’s street, green infrastructure often requires particular plant [types]. “There may be times when there is standing water in the bioswales,” said Quennell Rothschild & Partners managing partner Andrew Moore, “so the plants have to be varieties that can withstand that, and other times they may have to withstand drought conditions.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/12-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/12-high-performance-plazas.jpg)
The new Liberty Park Plaza, adjacent to the World Trade Center site, also designed by AECOM, will also incorporate advanced stormwater retention systems.
Courtesy AECOM

As opposed to a typical stretch of New York City sidewalk or a typical tree pit, bioswales and permeable pavers also require more maintenance to keep them free of litter and debris that can interfere with their drainage. To this end, local stakeholders including the Grace Church School and the Village Alliance have been enlisted as partners to help the City’s Department of Transportation keep the plazas clean. Such partnerships with local community groups or BIDs are critical to winning approval for many green infrastructure projects from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency in charge of approving projects that deal with stormwater. “Unless there is something in writing that shows how they will maintain it, we have no guarantee that those pavers will be maintained,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Green Infrastructure Magdi Farag. “You have to vacuum around it and pick up the fine particles between one paver and another.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/09-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/09-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/10-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/10-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

However, in the long haul green infrastructure pays off by extending the life of trees and even sidewalks. Many significant landscape designs from other eras that once looked good have not aged well. The 8,000-square-foot Pace University Courtyard off Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan is a case in point. Designed by the firm Eggers & Higgins in 1968, the Dogwood trees that were planted became deformed because they were confined to small tree pits with no room for their roots to expand. “They didn’t grow beyond four to six feet, and their bark lost its aesthetic quality over time,” said Gonzalo Cruz, design director of AECOM’s Landscape Architecture Studio in New York. “They tried to grow toward the sun, but they couldn’t do it because there was not enough soil around their roots.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/11-high-performance-plazas.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/11-high-performance-plazas.jpg)

To improve the ecology of the courtyard, AECOM is ripping out the old plaza and starting fresh with birch trees that are planted in an integrated tree and stormwater management system called Silva Cell. This new system, which is a more expensive alternative to structural soil, consists of a modular suspended paving system that protects large amounts of lightly compacted soil contained in a cellular like support structure underneath, and allows ample room for tree roots to expand. “It is basically a self-irrigating system,” said Cruz. “Almost 60 percent of the plaza will be covered with these cells—the water will stay in place nurturing the trees.”

Many designers are hoping that green stormwater infrastructure will someday be a standard component of streetscapes through the entire city. “Even if it is not a priority in terms of a certain program, there are many other metrics that show the benefits of green infrastructure,” said Claire Weisz, principal in WXY Architecture + Urban Design. “If you look at the High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines that Design Trust produced and the High Performance Park Guidelines, they all recommend green infrastructure across the board, not just in one area over the other.”

Despite the advantages of stormwater green infrastructure, under the current fiscal realities it will be institutions and environmentally enlightened communities with access to private sector funds that are best positioned to build such projects outside the designated priority areas. However, we undoubtedly require a more robust response to relieve our overburdened combined sewer system. “We are a city that is growing and increasing the source of the problem,” said Compton. “We are adding a million more New Yorkers, increasing density to fit these people, and therefore increasing impervious surfaces and the amount of effluent coming from all of those new residents.”


October 14th, 2014, 11:10 AM
Will Rebuild be Realized?

Millions in federal funds allocated for resiliency efforts.

by Henry Melcher

Courtesy BIG/Starr Whitehouse

In early June, New York City and State’s top political brass joined the then-secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, to announce the winners of Rebuild By Design, the department’s design competition to create resilient communities along the East Coast.

The location of the event at the Jacob Riis Houses on Manhattan’s Lower East Side was a major tip-off that BIG and Starr Whitehouse’s proposal to wrap Lower Manhattan with a landscaped berm and parkland would be getting at least some of the pie. New York City was awarded $335 million to implement part of that plan, known as the BIG U, along the Lower East Side; it also received $20 million for PennDesign/OLIN’s resiliency planning study of Hunts Point in the South Bronx. And New York State received $60 million for SCAPE’s plan to protect Staten Island’s South Shore with “living breakwaters” made of oysters and $125 million for Interboro’s resiliency plan for Nassau County.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/06-rebuild-reexamined.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/06-rebuild-reexamined.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/07-rebuild-reexamined.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/07-rebuild-reexamined.jpg)

PennDesign/OLIN’s plan for the South Bronx. Penndesigh/olin

Later that day, Rebuild officials appeared in New Jersey to announce funds for two more winning proposals: $150 million for MIT’s “New Meadowlands” park in New Jersey and $230 million for OMA’s comprehensive flood protection system for Hoboken.

But before any of these projects can break ground, the approved federal funds must be officially granted to the specific localities that will oversee them. “It is a very specific type of funding,” said Amy Chester, the director of Rebuild By Design. “It is Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds, and that funding goes through a government process.” That process is expected to start this fall when HUD publishes a notice in its registry that the funds are available. After that occurs, the grantees must create action plans, which include public input, and detail how the funds will be spent. Once those plans are approved by HUD—likely some time this winter—the money will be available to spend.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/05-rebuild-reexamined.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/05-rebuild-reexamined.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/04-rebuild-reexamined.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/04-rebuild-reexamined.jpg)

Living Breakwaters by SCAPE. Courtesy scape

As this process plays-out, the proposals will certainly change as they move from design to development and from architects to bureaucrats. The winning New York City teams understand this but are optimistic about how their visions will be realized.

“We have had nine months through the Rebuild by Design competition to create a vision,” said Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG. “The next steps will be a lot of fine tuning and a lot of looking at the very detailed specifics of the sites, sections, and streetscapes, which will all have an effect on the final design.” This sentiment was echoed by OLIN’s Richard Roark who said he does not expect the city’s grant to include everything originally proposed during the competition. Gena Wirth of SCAPE similarly expects things to change, but said she is “highly optimistic” that her firm will be involved with the process as it moves forward given its expertise in the field.

This was all reinforced by Daniel Zarrilli, the director of New York City’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency, who told AN he has “every expectation” that the Rebuild teams will be involved in executing their plans. Zarrilli added that the city is “absolutely committed” to seeing these plans to fruition, but he is realistic. “We need to make sure we can actually afford the designs that have been developed to-date,” he explained. “So we have some work to do on our end to understand what level of scope can be afforded with the dollars that have been awarded.”

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BIG/Starr Whitehouse’s proposal. Courtesy BIG/Starr Whitehouse


October 18th, 2014, 04:21 AM
Take a Look at Greenpoint's Pretty, Resilient Waterfront Park

by Zoe Rosenberg

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/544150d6f92ea145ea023f67/greenpoint-landing-park-lawn.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/544150d6f92ea145ea023f67/greenpoint-landing-park-lawn.jpg)
Renderings via NYDN (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/lovely-greenpoint-park-storm-barrier-article-1.1976377) by James Corner Field Operations

First renderings for the waterfront park that will be built along with the massive Greenpoint Landing (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/greenpoint-landing) look rather pleasant. Despite the distinct visual lack of surge barriers, NYDN notes (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/lovely-greenpoint-park-storm-barrier-article-1.1976377) that the park will indeed by ready to take on similar storm swell to that which ravaged the neighborhood two years ago during Hurricane Sandy. Instead, the park will use sloping, split-level terraces and salt-tolerant plantings that will absorb water. James Corner Field Operations (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/james-corner-field-operations), who worked on the High Line (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/high-line), is behind the subtle plan.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/544150d6f92ea145ea023f6a/greenpoint-landing-park-viewing-steps.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/544150d6f92ea145ea023f6a/greenpoint-landing-park-viewing-steps.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54415c2bf92ea140ff002631/greenpoint-landing-park-kayaks.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54415c2bf92ea140ff002631/greenpoint-landing-park-kayaks.jpg)

The 4-acre park is but one component of the mega-development (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/greenpoint-landing), which will bring 10 buildings with 5,000 apartments—1,400 of which will be affordable—a middle school, and retail to a swatch of undeveloped land between Green and Box streets. Construction at the 22-acre site started in July, with construction on the park beginning in 2015. The project is not expected for another 8 to 10 years, a time away in which it might be ever-so-slightly more feasible for families to kayak, unencumbered, through the East River.

Lovely Greenpoint park will also be storm barrier (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/lovely-greenpoint-park-storm-barrier-article-1.1976377) [NYDN]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/10/17/take_a_look_at_greenpoints_pretty_resilient_waterf ront_park.php

January 19th, 2015, 04:08 AM
Brooklyn's Waterfront Greenway Could Help Fight Stormwater

January 14, 2015, by Hana R. Alberts

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68532f92ea17120014f05/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.50.35%20AM.png (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68533f92ea17120014f08/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.50.35%20AM.png)
The proposed design for a greenway that has several mechanisms to catch
rainwater, to be tested out first in Greenpoint.

The Brooklyn Greenway, a path for cyclists and pedestrians along the western waterfront that stretches from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint, has been in the works (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/brooklyn-greenway) since 2008, with piecemeal parts getting completed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/04/09/bike_lanes_for_brooklyn.php) and others (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/03/06/vinegar_hill_residents_really_dont_want_bike_lanes .php) facing some community pushback. But yesterday, the organization planning the greenway and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams announced that the 14-mile stretch with a recreational mission is being designed to serve another crucial purpose (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-greenway-designers-pitch-bike-path-storm-barrier-article-1.2076667): to fight stormwater surges in the event of another natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy. A study containing new renderings and plans (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/wp-content/uploads/BG-GI-DESIGN-GUIDELINES_Final-small-2.pdf) [warning; PDF!] unveiled yesterday showed that using "living walls" and gardens that catch rain called bioswales could result in diverting about half a billion gallons of water from the city's over-taxed sewer system and sensitive waterways (think the Gowanus Canal (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/gowanus-canal)). The total cost of of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is between $100 and $200 million.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68534f92ea17120014f0f/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.51.48%20AM.png (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68535f92ea17120014f12/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.51.48%20AM.png)

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68543f92ea17120014f69/BG-GI-DESIGN-GUIDLINES-p.4-copy.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68544f92ea17120014f6c/BG-GI-DESIGN-GUIDLINES-p.4-copy.jpg)
The entire length of the greenway.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68536f92ea17120014f19/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.49.17%20AM.png (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54b68536f92ea17120014f1c/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%208.49.17%20AM.png)

According to the borough president's office, the "first demonstration of the watershed-based stormwater strategy is being implemented in Greenpoint, beginning this year. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) agreed to add a $5 million high level sewer to the West Street greenway capital project that will break ground in 2015. The high level sewer will capture stormwater from West Street, and the side streets between West Street and Franklin Street, and release it directly to the East River; this will keep 4.5 million gallons out of the combined sewer system. The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund recently announced a grant of $1.9 million to allow BGI to install stormwater infrastructure further upslope between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue that will retain an additional six million gallons of stormwater annually, for a total reduction of ten million gallons annually."

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/) [official]
The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: An Agent for Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Adaptation, and Resilience (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/wp-content/uploads/BG-GI-DESIGN-GUIDELINES_Final-small-2.pdf) [warning; long PDF!]
Borough President Eric Adams Releases Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Stormwater Management Plan (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/stormwater-management-plan/) [BGI]
Brooklyn Greenway designers pitch bike path as storm barrier (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-greenway-designers-pitch-bike-path-storm-barrier-article-1.2076667) [NYDN]

More graphics at Curbed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/01/14/brooklyns_waterfront_greenway_could_help_fight_sto rmwater.php)

May 23rd, 2015, 05:28 AM
Exploring How the Dryline Could Transform Manhattan's Coast

May 22, 2015, by Evan Bindelglass

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54ff333df92ea11ffc007496/f5d34a88-6df2-4d4d-9563-ab66d86f5732-2060x1236.jpeg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54ff333df92ea11ffc007496/f5d34a88-6df2-4d4d-9563-ab66d86f5732-2060x1236.jpeg)
Rendering of the Dryline

Architect Bjarke Ingels introduced New York to his fantastical-seeming "Big U" plan (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/04/03/these_10_design_proposals_might_save_us_from_the_n ext_sandy.php) more than two years, enticing Manhattanites with the idea of a lushly planted park that would protect the island from future Hurricane Sandy-like storms. Plans based on the designs have actually moved forward (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/01/20/plan_to_protect_manhattan_from_sandy_20_moves_forw ard.php) since the city-hosted designed competition (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/04/03/these_10_design_proposals_might_save_us_from_the_n ext_sandy.php) deemed Ingels's idea the best, and research is ongoing as to how this city-saving landscape could be built. The proposal is now called the Dryline (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/03/10/see_the_10mile_dryline_that_could_protect_nycs_wat erfront.php) (in a city with the High Line (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/high-line) and the Lowline (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/low-line), the name was kind of inevitable), and the city is already in the survey phase of a protection plan for an area from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street. The whole Dryline would stretch 10 miles from East 40th Street, around the tip of Manhattan to West 54th Street (coincidentally, just south of BIG's Via tetrahedron (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/05/01/bjarke_ingelss_57th_street_tetrahedron_shall_go_by _via.php)). Earlier this month, as part of Jane's Walk, the Municipal Art Society hosted a walking tour of what would be the Dryline first piece.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b312f92ea1549d005d93/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_09.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b312f92ea1549d005d93/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_09.jpg)
All photographs by Evan Bindelglass

The tour ran from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street and was led by Eric Kaufman, President of the Natural Resilience Fund and co-founder of the New York Wheel (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/new-york-wheel) project. He runs a group called Friends of the Dryline (https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheDryline?fref=nf), which is trying to get more funding for the project through a public-private initiative. Phase one is basically all city-owned land, and while that makes actually building process easy, Kaufman said it makes funding a bigger challenge. It's estimated that the whole project will cost $1 billion, but he'd like it to have $1.35 billion for any short-term resiliency needs. He also has proposed repurposing the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (http://www.renewnyc.com), which was set up in the wake of 9/11, for use on this project.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b3f5f92ea14aed002ae0/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_33.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b3f5f92ea14aed002ae0/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_33.jpg)
The Williamsburg Bridge

The actual idea for how to protect the first section from storms would be a combination of landscaped berms (essentially manmade hills) and collapsible barriers below elevated sections of the FDR Drive. There's no reason it couldn't all be beautiful. In fact, BIG's Dryline video released in March (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/03/10/see_the_10mile_dryline_that_could_protect_nycs_wat erfront.php), which is just an idea, not the government's formal plan, shows art on the barriers and new usable spaces below the highway, plus a "reverse aquarium" at the southern tip of Manhattan:


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fc9f92ea1304500c6c0/57ee57a4-5c70-46df-a198-e0ac383a7b77-2060x1236.jpeg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fccf92ea1304500c6cd/cf2705b5-ab0f-4b7c-b69e-edfc9a0ac54e-2060x1236.jpeg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fcbf92ea1304500c6ca/cf2705b5-ab0f-4b7c-b69e-edfc9a0ac54e-2060x1236.jpeg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fcff92ea1304500c6d7/b037e621-230a-4ef1-8e14-56b46cf85a66-2060x1236.jpeg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fcef92ea1304500c6d4/b037e621-230a-4ef1-8e14-56b46cf85a66-2060x1236.jpeg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd1f92ea1304500c6e1/2b91cf8d-336a-4dc1-bafa-0760ad8165b1-2060x1236.jpeg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd0f92ea1304500c6de/2b91cf8d-336a-4dc1-bafa-0760ad8165b1-2060x1236.jpeg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd3f92ea1304500c6eb/drylinerendering05.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd3f92ea1304500c6e8/drylinerendering05.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd5f92ea1304500c6f5/drylinerendering04.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd5f92ea1304500c6f2/drylinerendering04.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd9f92ea1304500c6ff/drylinerendering03.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fd7f92ea1304500c6fc/drylinerendering03.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fdcf92ea1304500c709/drylinerendering02.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fdbf92ea1304500c706/drylinerendering02.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fe0f92ea1304500c713/drylinerendering01.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/555f6fdef92ea1304500c710/drylinerendering01.jpg)

But whatever actually happens, the landscape might be very different from what is there today. Will the current parks remain? How will athletic fields be protected? Will the parks be easily accessible? The tour also highlighted the housing (including Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village) and infrastructure (the Con Ed plant at East 14th Street) that will need protection.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b394f92ea121f2000370/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_01.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b395f92ea121f2000373/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_01.jpg)
Eric Kaufman (center) at the tour's start, at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive, just north of Peter Cooper Village.

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b393f92ea121f2000369/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_02.jpg) Manhattan is built right up to the water's edge, and Hurricane Sandy showed just how dangerous that can be. Waterside towers and the United Nations International School, pictured here, are just a few buildings that something like the Dryline could help protect.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b390f92ea121f200035c/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_03.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b391f92ea121f200035f/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_03.jpg)
The East River waterfront already holds a series of patchwork open spaces and parks, but concrete swaths like this do little to stop flood waters.

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b38ff92ea121f2000354/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_04.jpg) Stuyvesant Cove, which abuts Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village, on the other hand, is a living barrier that is more in line with what the Dryline could create. However, the park did little to help Stuy-Town during Sandy.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b38bf92ea121f2000347/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_05.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b38cf92ea121f200034a/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_05.jpg)
Continuing south along Stuyvesant Cove Park. Notice an elevated portion of the FDR Driver, under which expandable flood barriers could be installed.

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b386f92ea121f200032c/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_08.jpg) Looking north at Stuyvesant Cove Park. It's currently unclear how or if existing parks would be incorporated into the Dryline.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b382f92ea121f200031f/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_09.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b383f92ea121f2000322/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_09.jpg)

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b381f92ea121f2000318/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_10.jpg)Existi ng pathways like this provide lovely views and open space, but they are not built to function as flood protection. The Dryline would incorporate landscaped pathways that would help absorb rising waters.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b37ef92ea121f200030b/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_11.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b37ef92ea121f200030e/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_11.jpg)

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b37af92ea121f20002fa/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_13.jpg)Infras tructure like the Con Ed plant at East 14th Street, which exploded during Sandy, putting much of lower Manhattan in the dark, desperately need flood protection. The Dryline would pass beside the plant, helping to protect it.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b372f92ea121f20002d9/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_16.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b373f92ea121f20002dc/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_16.jpg)

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b370f92ea121f20002cf/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_17.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b371f92ea121f20002d2/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_17.jpg)
The East River Promenade includes beautiful paths for running and walking, as well as many athletic fields, all of which would exist in some way in the Dryline. The city's edge would be turned into a continuous green space. Dryline mastermind Bjarke Ingels says (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/03/10/see_the_10mile_dryline_that_could_protect_nycs_wat erfront.php), "It shouldn't be about the city turning its back on the water, but embracing it and encouraging access."

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b36bf92ea121f20002bb/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_19.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b36cf92ea121f20002be/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_19.jpg)
The East River Promenade runs along East River Park from around 13th Street to Jackson Street. It's one of the more verdant areas of waterfront, but it's cut off from residents by the FDR. The aim of the Dryline would be to make the green space along the waterfront easily accessible, possibly by building land bridges over the highway.


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b46df92ea1086c002f04/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_34.jpg)http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b47ff92ea1086c002f51/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_26.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b480f92ea1086c002f54/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_26.jpg)

(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b47df92ea1086c002f4a/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_27.jpg) A section of the promenade juts out over the river near the Baruch Houses.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b45ff92ea1086c002ecf/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_39.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b460f92ea1086c002ed2/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_39.jpg)
The existing park is completely flat, so it does nothing to stop flood waters. The Dryline would feature a rolling landscape with manmade hills designed to keep back rising waters.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b471f92ea1086c002f15/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_32.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b472f92ea1086c002f18/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_32.jpg)
Hurricane Sandy devastated all of East River Park, killing dozens of trees and badly damaging the athletic fields, which sit right at the water's edge. Trees and plants that can withstand salty brackish waters would be chosen for the Dryline so they could withstand and survive floods.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b509f92ea12434009dce/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_44.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b50af92ea12434009dd1/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_44.jpg)
This unnamed part of the park near Grand Street and the Lower East Side Ecology Center is full of sea life.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b506f92ea12434009dc4/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_45.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b507f92ea12434009dc7/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_45.jpg)
Okay, not actually living sea life, but everyone on the tour seemed surprised by these sea lions.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b504f92ea12434009dba/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_46.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b505f92ea12434009dbd/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_46.jpg)

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b4fdf92ea12434009d9b/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_49.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b4fef92ea12434009d9e/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_49.jpg)
East River Park currently features and amphitheater for events, and the Dryline proposal includes creating several spaces that would be similar.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b4f6f92ea12434009d7c/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_52.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/5547b4f7f92ea12434009d7f/drylinetour_evanbindelglass_20150501_52.jpg)
Pier 42 (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/pier-42/), near Corlears Park and Jackson Street, is already being redeveloped, and State Sen. Daniel Squadron hopes it can be part of larger coastal resiliency efforts.

See the 10-Mile 'Dryline' That Could Protect NYC's Waterfront (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/03/10/see_the_10mile_dryline_that_could_protect_nycs_wat erfront.php) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/05/22/exploring_how_the_dryline_could_transform_manhatta ns_coast.php

June 20th, 2015, 02:55 AM
City Aims to Revamp 700 Miles of Space Under Tracks, Bridges

June 19, 2015, by Jeremiah Budin

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/55846830f92ea14a5e005a93/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-19%20at%203.06.01%20PM.png (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/55846830f92ea14a5e005a93/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-19%20at%203.06.01%20PM.png)
Image via Design Trust for Public Space (http://www.designtrust.org/projects/under-elevated/)

According to a two-year study (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150618/REAL_ESTATE/150619858) from the Department of Transportation and the Design Trust for Public Space, there exists almost 700 miles of unused public space in New York City, under bridges and on abandoned elevated train tracks, highways, and railways. "Under the Elevated is the first study to look at reimagining the often dark and underutilized spaces beneath our city's subway lines, highways and bridges as safe and attractive public gathering places" said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We believe this comprehensive study, coupled with DOT's new design toolkit, are important steps towards reclaiming this space for the public and reconnecting neighborhoods throughout New York." The city plans to use to the data to push for small public parks, pedestrian plazas, skateparks, marketplaces, etc.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/55846ad3f92ea14a5e0065fb/Rockaway_Freeway_RockawayWaterfrontAlliance.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/55846ad3f92ea14a5e0065fb/Rockaway_Freeway_RockawayWaterfrontAlliance.jpg)

Searching for the next High Line, city identifies 700 miles of unused space (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150618/REAL_ESTATE/150619858) [Crain's]
Envisioning a New Purpose for the Space Beneath NYC's Elevated Structures (http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/06/18/under-the-elevated-report-seeks-to-revive-nycs-neglected-spaces/) [Streetsblog]
Planners see new opportunity in old elevated infrastructure (http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/06/8570507/planners-see-new-opportunity-old-elevated-infrastructure) [Capital]
Under the Elevated (http://www.designtrust.org/projects/under-elevated/) [DTPS]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/06/19/city_aims_to_revamp_700_miles_of_space_under_track s_bridges.php

July 21st, 2015, 01:30 AM
A Park Revives Some of Brooklyn’s Waterfront

Bush Terminal Piers Park is an asset for local residents and businesses

By Anthony Paletta
July 15, 2015

The view of Manhattan from Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

No real-estate project in New York seems complete these days without a lavish amenity space. On Brooklyn’s waterfront, even an industrial district now boasts its own park.

The 12-acre Bush Terminal Piers Park, named after the site’s immense late-19th and early-20th-century shipping complex, today attracts not merely neighborhood residents long isolated from their waterfront, but also a growing population of employees in creative industries that fill the surrounding warehouses.

The Bush Terminal Piers, once a warren of activity spanning 20 waterfront blocks, fell into sustained decline after World War II, as New York manufacturing collapsed and most area shipping migrated to Newark. Some warehouse buildings still harbored activity, but others fell into disrepair as piers rotted and collapsed, reuse frustrated by heavy industrial pollution.

The complex, renamed Industry City in the 1980s, embarked on a slow process of revitalization that has recently become meteoric. The New York City Economic Development Corp., stewarding other parts of the waterfront, recognized long-standing requests from the Sunset Park community for waterfront park access. “I’ve been told anecdotally by residents that they didn’t know it was a waterfront community,” notes Jeremy Laufer, community-district manager for the area.

Children play on the soccer field at the park. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

The park’s man-made hill. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

Progress received a substantial jolt in 2006 with an infusion of funds for environmental remediation, including the largest “brownfield” cleanup grant in state history at that time. Cleanup unfortunately proved a knottier problem than initially envisioned, consuming considerable funds and reducing the viable footprint for the park from initial hopes of 100 acres to the current 12.

Those acres, now a city park, are a fascinating addition to the Brooklyn waterfront, however, opening an outlet to the harbor for neighborhood residents, an attraction to area employers, and a vista of Sunset Park’s early-20th-century warehouse landscape for anyone at all.

Entering the park still feels a bit like trespassing on industrial land, something that reaching the waterfront in New York often required before the recent waterfront-park boom. Access is through a gated fence off of an industrial street, hemmed in by warehouses on all sides. You pass under a beneficent statue of Irving Bush, the complex’s founder and namesake, who would likely be astonished to see his piers now accommodating recreational traffic.

The entryway, divided by fine landscaping into pedestrian and bike paths, offers a view of a unique ruin originally intended for inclusion in the park: the terminal’s largely collapsed pier 5, whose demise has proved a boon for local wildlife, both aquatic species and migratory birds. It is the focus of separate preservation efforts.

South of this is a view of several tidal pools, the legacy of an abortive effort to fill in the waterfront to accommodate container shipping in the 1970s, which has resulted in relatively calm bodies of water often filled by waterfowl.

Athletic fields nearly adjoin warehouses to the left, while a newly crafted hill in the center of the site offers welcome views of the surrounding industrial infrastructure, but also those deceptive sight lines that offer much of the joy of a new vantage point in New York: a ship at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal looks as if it might be docked at the Battery; Governors Island seems to grow seamlessly out of Brooklyn.

Local residents have access to the waterfront for the first time in decades. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

A section of old warehouses. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

The park’s design, handled by engineering-design firm AECOM, dealt with a practical and aesthetic interest in retaining the history and features of the site while adapting to new conditions. As befitting its gritty past, there is no heavy manicuring in site. The crafted hill provided ample landfill over former industrial sites, offered a barrier to future flooding, and a great spot for a view.

Much of the soil around the site required replacement: Some apple trees that sprouted up in its years of disuse were retained. Surprisingly lush foliage lines portions of the harborside.

Sunset Park residents have welcomed the park, but its use as an industrial asset has been more surprising, reflecting an evolution of just what industrial use has meant to Sunset Park in recent years.

“Traditionally, you would think a park would conflict with industrial uses,” said Seth Myers, director of project implementation for the EDC. Indeed, there are many traditional industrial concerns—construction, paint and automobile enterprises. But for many new area tenants, a nearby park is an asset in ways that it likely wasn't for their industrial predecessors.

Said Mr. Meyers: “You have this kind of mesh woven in a healthy community where people can conveniently work and can conveniently play.”