View Full Version : Turning Lower Manhattan Into Parkland

November 5th, 2003, 02:13 AM
November 5, 2003

Turning Lower Manhattan Into Parkland


The relandscaped Drumgoole Plaza Park, beneath the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge, has curving paths, ornamental plantings and boomerang-legged benches. Pace University will supply volunteer labor to care for the park.

A tough stretch of asphalt in Lower Manhattan — wrapped and shadowed by the looming loop of a Brooklyn Bridge approach ramp — will be claimed today as the city's newest parkland.

No one will mistake it for Olmsted and Vaux, but with curving paths, ornamental plantings and boomerang-legged benches, the relandscaped Drumgoole Square may attract workers, residents and the students and staff of Pace University (it is literally in Pace's backyard), rather than pigeons, police horses and parked vehicles, the chief constituents in recent years.

"They made a great area out of a no-man's piece of land," said Daniel I. Slippen, director of the Center for Downtown New York at Pace. "When Parks committed to it, they came in and started digging. I've never seen a city agency work so fast."

Five months and nine days have elapsed since the Drumgoole Square reclamation was announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of 13 projects in a $25 million program run by the city Parks and Recreation Department and financed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Six more projects are to open next spring and the other six by the end of 2004.

"We will have created or renovated over 50 acres of public space south of Houston Street," Gov. George E. Pataki said in a speech last week.

In a part of the city where open space is especially precious — and fought over inch by inch — the program amounts to a windfall. "Parks personnel I've been dealing with are like, `It's almost too good to be true,' " said Judy Duffy, the assistant district manager of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan. "It gives people a lift to have green spaces." However, she said, the board is concerned about the long-term maintenance of these newly minted spaces.

Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, likened the breakneck timetable — and the cooperation among agencies — to postwar reconstruction or the efforts of the Works Progress Administration in the Great Depression. "We're rebuilding in the aftermath of a war," Mr. Benepe said, speaking of the devastation from the 2001 attack. "I can only compare it to the sense of urgency under Robert Moses and the W.P.A.: get it designed and get it built."

Of course, Moses, the master builder of public works in the mid-20th century, also said you cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs. And one project will scuttle an existing streetscape at Coenties Slip, where the artist James Garvey installed seating in 1998 for the Alliance for Downtown New York. Subway riders know his work from the 33rd Street station on the Lexington Avenue Line: bronze lariat loops that wrap around the platform columns and double as seating.

His Coenties Slip project includes benches with 20-foot planks, supported by lariat-style forged-steel legs; an array of arrow-shaped benches that create a giant X when seen from nearby towers; and barriers made of stone blocks salvaged during the renovation of the Williamsburg Bridge. These will be removed to create a triangular, bluestone-paved extension of the Fraunces Tavern block, a small historic district between Pearl and Water Streets. A waist-high bronze fountain is to be installed. There will be benches, planting beds and low trees.

Parks officials said Mr. Garvey's installation was intended from the start to be temporary. Mr. Garvey disagrees. "The furniture and the site were not a temporary measure," he said. "I think they're making a mistake. They're being very disrespectful to something that's far more valuable to the community."

The alliance has offered to move the furniture to Trinity Place and Edgar Street and maintain it there as a new public space. "By relocating it to another spot, everyone wins," said Bonnie Koeppel, chief of design for the parks agency.

Money for the parks program comes from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is looking at other areas to convert to open space, said its president, Kevin M. Rampe.

The most ambitious of the current projects is a relandscaping in Battery Park. The most distant from ground zero is the rehabilitation of the East River Park ball fields at Houston Street. "We were able to make the case that communities affected by Sept. 11 extended to the north," said Joshua Laird, chief of planning at the parks agency.

From a design perspective, Ms. Koeppel said the goal was to ensure that the spaces be identifiable as parkland, in part through the use of materials like granite and bluestone that would create aesthetic links among the projects. Where possible, she said, some kind of water feature will also be introduced.

One fountain will anchor the east end of Wall Street Triangle, an open space between South and Water Streets, on what is now a roadway and parking lot. It will punctuate an allée of granite and glass-block benches, framed in rose and taxus hedges, emphasizing the view down Wall Street to Trinity Church.

Deutsche Bank has donated $400,000 for the design, construction and maintenance of a fountain proposed for the park. The bank intends it as a kind of memorial to Sebastian Gorki and Francisco Bourdier, employees who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and Christopher M. Morrison and Mark S. Jardim of Zurich Scudder Investments, who also died that day. (Zurich Scudder has since been acquired by Deutsche Bank.)

It will also serve as a reminder of the fountain that once ornamented the badly damaged Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street.

Wall Street Triangle will be created by narrowing the roadbed to 30 feet. Iris Weinshall, the city transportation commissioner, said her agency was committed to "transforming spaces that had essentially been used as parking lots into inviting places for pedestrians."

Drumgoole Square is such a place. Whatever happens on the ground must permit access for inspection and maintenance vehicles to the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge, whose tapered legs loop around Gold and Frankfort Streets. Rather than try to conceal this obvious feature, Mr. Benepe said he decided to celebrate it by illuminating the ramp supports at night.

Because heavy vehicles will be driving over the surface, brick paving was impractical. So what appear to be brick paths are actually swaths of asphalt imprinted, as if by a giant waffle iron, with a brick pattern and texture.

Mr. Slippen of Pace said Drumgoole Square in its earlier incarnation attracted large numbers of homeless people. The university would have preferred to fence the space and close it at night, but that was not possible because of bridge access requirements. Instead, it has installed six 1,000-watt lights around the square to make it less attractive for sleeping.

Pace is also furnishing the water for the planting beds, through underground pipes, and the volunteer labor to care for the park through student environmental groups, said David A. Caputo, the university president.

"We've been interested in adopting a park for quite some time," Dr. Caputo said. "As soon as the park is open and going, we'll begin doing our work."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

November 5th, 2003, 10:34 AM
These are the 13 parks:

-Drumgoole Square
-Coenties Slip
-Old Slip
-Wall Street Triangle
-Bowling Green
-Battery Park Bosque
-Washington Market Park
-Tribeca Park
-Canal, Varick and Laight Streets (triangle)
-East River Park Ballfields
-Sara D. Roosevelt Park
-Columbus Park
-Al Smith Playground

November 5th, 2003, 01:57 PM
Hanover Square = British Memorial Garden (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=356&highlight=british+garden)

November 5th, 2003, 02:03 PM
It's all good... if there was a place in Manhattan that needed stuff like this, this is where it was.

November 5th, 2003, 03:14 PM
True, True.

But I actually believe the West Side has too many parks and too much low-density. I suppose the lower-manhattan plan was scrapped following the entire environmental movement, and killed when the NIMBY's moved in.

I would still love to live in Battery Park City.

January 31st, 2004, 02:02 AM

March 13th, 2004, 10:25 AM
Downtown Express http://www.downtownexpress.com/

A park to grow under the Brooklyn Bridge

By Janel Bladow

A look at the Brooklyn Bridge plaza that is expected to be renovated this year and reopen in November.

The next phase of bringing beauty to the beastly spaces beneath the Brooklyn Bridge breezed through a Community Board 1 committee meeting on Tuesday, March 9. The Seaport/Civic Center Committee approved a Parks Department design proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park with one proviso – that it’s clearly spelled out who will maintain the new recreation area.

The red brick plaza in question is bordered by Frankfort Street to the south, Pearl Street on the east, Park Row to the west and Police Headquarters Plaza on the north. The site is about 120,000 square feet and intersected by Rose St. Overhead are approach ramps and the west arches of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The plaza is currently used by skateboarders and police and other city workers to park their cars.

The project will clean up the area, remove dead tree stumps, repair existing pavements and add greenery, sports courts and seating areas.

“Essentially it’s the same footprint,” said Marc Donnenfeld, the committee’s chairperson. “But it will be updated, enhanced and made user-friendly.”

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. will cover costs of renovating the 2.75 acre park. Brooklyn Bridge Park renovations are included in the $24.6 million allocated for Lower Manhattan parks and open spaces by the L.M.D.C.

“The renovation allows skateboarders continued use of the long, narrow brick strip,” Michael Bolger, the Parks Dept.’s team leader for Manhattan capital projects, said during his presentation. “But it also opens the park up for many more people. We expect to begin construction in April or May.”

The new park will feature two seating areas north of Rose St. One is a cul-de-sac screened by stone and surrounded by benches under trees along the bridge. The other is a cul-de-sac of ornamental grasses and benches under trees along a vehicular ramp. Both will be edged with greenery.

Green turf-style synthetic carpet will cover an 80-foot by 20-foot activity area. A 5-foot circle in part of the synthetic turf will have a ying-yang symbol where residents can practice tai chi.

Along the north end will be Ping Pong tables and courts for volleyball and basketball.

Tetherball areas line the opposite side of the park.

While the existing water fountains will be refurbished, there are no plans to install toilet facilities. Installing plumbing and toilet fixtures would cost more than refurbishing the whole park, said Bolger.

A dog run could be included, along the bridge north of Rose St., but it isn’t in the current plan, according to a Parks Dept. spokesperson.

Bolger said that Brooklyn Bridge Park should be done by November, about the same time that the L.M.D.C. and Parks expects to finish just about all of the 13 park projects in Lower Manhattan.

Committee members expressed concern over park upkeep. The property is part of the Department of Transportation but is being built by Parks with L.M.D.C. funds. It was not clear who would be in charge of maintenance. The committee voted that be spelled out as part of the proposal before it goes before the full community board March 16.

Meanwhile, L.M.D.C. is now studying possible ways to renovate and use the bricked up arches under the Brooklyn Bridge. A proposal will be presented at a future committee meeting.

Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.
Downtown Express | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

March 14th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Battery Park City parkland:

Rendering of Teardrop Park, currently in development:

March 14th, 2004, 04:28 PM
I forgot all about that park.

When the ballfields became permanent, the two crossing streets in the original plan were demapped, and the park was proposed. Except in summer, much of the park will be in shadow, so it was decided to design it as a Catskill glen. They've brought in a lot of rock slabs.

We'll see.

March 24th, 2004, 02:37 PM
Can anyone find a photo of what Liberty Plaza (the block-sized concrete desert across from 1 Liberty Plaza) looked like before they turned it into an emergency vehicle parking lot after 9/11?

I believe it is being privately (not part of the LMDC's park plan) re-landscaped this Spring, as it is owned by 1 Liberty Plaza. It would be great to see a rendering.

March 24th, 2004, 03:46 PM

Sprout It from the Rooftops

A visionary group plans a lush new urban landscape

Fly into LaGuardia Airport any summer afternoon and, depending on air traffic that day, your plane may traverse the skies directly over the island of Manhattan. It's an impressive sight, those thousands of buildings rising up from a slender finger of land. Now imagine looking down on a vast tapestry of verdant rooftops: acres of grass and flowering alpine plants.

According to Colin Cheney, director of the green roofs initiative at the nonprofit Earth Pledge Foundation, New York's architecture makes it an ideal place to realize this vision. "There are more than 170 million square feet of flat roofs in Manhattan alone," he says. If the densely packed city turned those asphalt squares into fields overhead, it would add nearly five Central Parks' worth of open space to the urban landscape.

The green roofs that Earth Pledge champions bear little resemblance to your average rooftop garden -- say, a few geraniums poking up from a flower box. Each of these lusher, more elaborate gardens requires the addition of up to seven layers of material, including waterproofing, a root barrier, and a drainage layer. All this is a little pricey: A green roof costs $15 to $35 per square foot, compared to $5 to $10 per square foot for typical roof construction, but Cheney points out that green roofs last twice as long as the nonsprouting variety, and their environmental benefits are well documented. Since rain soaks into the soil, green roofs can reduce storm runoff by 50 to 90 percent, thus preventing all that water from carrying oil, gasoline, and toxic chemicals into the sewer system. Green roofs also ameliorate the heat island effect. (On summer days, asphalt roofs can hit 170 degrees, and Manhattan can climb 8 degrees higher on the mercury than surrounding areas.)

These grand plans remain largely unrealized -- so far. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spoken publicly in favor of green roofs (Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta have already installed them atop their city halls) but stopped short of committing New York City dollars to fund a green roof program. Still, an 8,000-square-foot green roof is being installed atop a South Bronx housing complex, and Pace University is planning one for its campus in lower Manhattan. Even the Environmental Protection Agency is a fan of the idea. Last year, the agency gave Earth Pledge a $10,000 grant to help the group publicize its vision. "Our goal is to make a Big Green Apple," says Jane Kenny, EPA regional administrator. "We want it to catch on like the hula hoop."

-- Joel Gershon

March 24th, 2004, 03:47 PM
I posted an article about Liberty Plaza here (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=2344&highlight=liberty+plaza). No rendering, but there is a good description of the plan. The old plaza was a grove of trees in a grid with benches. Instead of level, the new design will follow the slope from Broadway to Church.

March 24th, 2004, 04:16 PM
Thanks! Found a model here:


April 17th, 2004, 06:38 AM
April 17, 2004

Park Used by Police Since 9/11 Is Given Back to Chinatown


The small stretch of asphalt is surrounded by 1 Police Plaza, Murry Bergtraum High School, a strip mall and the Gov. Alfred E. Smith Houses. Central Park it is not.

But even a little bit of open space is better than none, so it was with some fanfare yesterday that residents and community leaders in Chinatown celebrated their reclamation of the park, James Madison Plaza, which the Police Department had been using as a parking lot since 2001.

The police vacated the park to comply with a court order issued last year by Justice Walter B. Tolub of State Supreme Court, who ruled that it was time for the police to take the first steps toward removing security blockades that have angered Chinatown residents since their installation after the Sept. 11 attack.

One reason the police were using the park was because a nearby municipal parking lot that had been used to park police vehicles was closed for renovation.

In the middle of the barren park, flowers and balloons were placed around a sign that gave notice that as of Thursday, "No vehicles are permitted to park inside the confines of the triangle of James Madison Plaza."

It continued: "There are no exceptions. Violators will be towed."

Neighborhood residents who fought to have the space opened to the community again brought signs of their own. One read, "Parks for people, not parking." Another said, "They paved paradise and put in a parking lot."

New benches around the perimeter of the park were being painted green yesterday by city employees and a few new flower beds had arrived.

United States Representative Nydia M. Velázquez told the crowd, "This is what community empowerment is all about."

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver said the reopening of the park was reason for "a great celebration." And State Senator Martin Connor called the reclamation of the space "a great victory" for Chinatown and all of Lower Manhattan.

Plans have been proposed to bring grass back to James Madison Plaza, which is also known as St. James Park to some people in the area. It is bounded by Pearl Street, St. James Place, and Madison Street, just north of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Neighborhood groups are also pressing for the reopening of Park Row, a major north-south thoroughfare that has been closed since 9/11 for what the city has called security reasons.

"Basically, we woke up one day after 9/11 and realized our whole community had been turned into a parking lot, surrounded by police and court vehicles," said Jeanie Chin, a member of the Civic Center Residents Coalition, a group that was formed after the terror attack.

Ms. Chin said that street closings, pedestrian and vehicular traffic rerouting and the parking issues have isolated Chinatown, inconvenienced residents and hurt businesses and tourism.

Councilman Alan Gerson urged support yesterday for the Park Row Bill, which he has introduced to establish guidelines to address the issue of street closings, including providing for adequate public input. A hearing on the bill is scheduled before the City Council on May 3.

"From this park, we'll go forward and complete the job," Mr. Gerson said.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 24th, 2004, 03:47 AM

A Small Park with Big History Returns to Tribeca

April 19, 2004

Community efforts help renovate Canal Park.

Rendering by Allan Scholl, NYC Parks & Recreation, shows verdant greenery planned for park.

For a swatch of land not much bigger than a city block, the triangle encompassed by Canal, West, and Washington Streets is quite a privileged piece of ground. It is a living example of how history can be reborn with the help of an enthusiastic Lower Manhattan community.

If you walked past the triangle nine months ago, you would have seen a graveled parking lot cornered by heavily trafficked arterials. In fall 2003, however, that parking lot began to transform back to "Canal Park," designed in 1888 by celebrated landscape architects Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons Jr.

The land beneath Canal Park was originally granted to the city in 1686 by James II, and was once a drainage point into the Hudson River from the former Collect Pond on the east end of Canal Street. Once the pond was closed in the early 19th century, and the pier at the west end of Canal became commercially active, the land was drained and developed. This, combined with the new city street grid of 1811, established the triangle as a public square and pedestrian throughway to the Hudson River.

That busy square evolved into the Clinton Country Market in 1849, officially dedicated as park land in the 1860s, and landscaped by 1871 -- one year into the existence of a then-new city agency called the Department of Public Parks. Trees and shrubs were planted in the park's center, a fence was installed around its perimeter, and the surrounding sidewalk served as the city's Flower Market.

The park earned its real pedigree 17 years later with an elite makeover from Vaux and Parsons. Planning the park as a pedestrian thoroughfare to the waterfront, the pair designed a curved path through the site, which they lined with benches and lighting enclosed by trees and open lawns. Still, the cast-iron fence -- a transplant from City Hall Park -- remained, in an effort to contain the park and its guests from the traffic just outside the gates.

The neighborhood's industrialization came back into play in 1921, when the city loaned the park's land to the NY/NJ Bridge and Tunnel Authority to use for construction of the Holland Tunnel. What began as a four-year loan lasted nearly a decade, and by then the area had become so commercial that the city chose not to rebuild the park.

By the 1990s, the park had all but escaped the public's memory -- until Richard Barrett and other members of the Tribeca Community Association took a closer look at the effects of a revamped Highway 9A (West Street) on Tribeca, and discovered the park's storied past. The small group soon formed the Canal/West Coalition, whose goal was to restore the park to its 1888 design and organize the traffic that swirls around it.

Barrett, a Tribeca resident since 1976, says that the coalition's fervor was sparked by 9A engineers' plans to add lanes at the intersection of Canal and West, where multiple lanes would merge into one another. It was clearly a plan in need of revision, Barrett says. "It's counterintuitive," he explains. "More lanes don't help traffic -- more capacity only complicates things."

With traffic top of mind in the discussion surrounding 9A, Barrett believes Canal Park's return was essential. "Parks have many functions, and one of them is circulation," Barrett says. "Restoring [Canal Park] is not just about the park -- it's also about implementing a transportation plan that's infinitely better." To boot, he adds that the park will again serve as a pedestrian thoroughfare between Canal Street and the Hudson River waterfront.

Barrett easily dismisses the notion that the park's placement amid the busy intersection will deter leisure visitors, pointing first to the fact that the streets around the triangle have surprisingly light traffic much of the time. But even when traffic peaks, visitors will still come, he predicts. "The number of people using Hudson River Park is incredible, and it's right next to a six-lane highway," he notes. "And every day you'll find Herald Square filled with people eating lunch, and there's more traffic there than here."

Above all, the reborn park means that Barrett and his neighbors will have a green haven to enjoy within an otherwise largely industrial landscape. The city's Parks & Recreation Department designers have planned a new Canal Park that will be twice its original size; enclosed by ornamental fencing, cast-iron bollards, and granite curbing; and filled with lawn and plant beds, trees and shrubs, and perennial and bulb flowers.
The culmination of the community's efforts is slated for spring 2005, when, undoubtedly, Canal Park will open to a neighborhood eager to reclaim its cherished green space.

Richard Barrett is writing a book about the story of the park, entitled A View from Canal Park (no release date is set).

For more information about Canal Park's history and design, visit the city's Parks & Recreation Department website, or click here (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_divisions/capital/pd_proj_month_mar_03.html).

May 16th, 2004, 08:25 PM
Bowling Green Park renovation is complete.





May 16th, 2004, 08:37 PM
Very pretty. That's right near the anatomically correct bull statue, right?

May 17th, 2004, 11:20 AM

Nice photos, but I can't tell what's different from before.

June 2nd, 2004, 03:21 PM
The northern half of Teardrop Park is complete. You can see verticle construction on the latest BPC buildin in the background.



TLOZ Link5
June 2nd, 2004, 06:20 PM

June 2nd, 2004, 06:20 PM
I don't know why they built those low rises (in the background) in the first place. What a waste of land. They are to square and the architecture is nothing special and they lack storefronts. :|

June 2nd, 2004, 07:35 PM
If you're talking about the Embassy Suites, it holds a movie theater and some other stores...

June 3rd, 2004, 12:47 AM
oh is that what it is....Well I am talking about those other low rises (same size) that are apartments in the Battery Park City area. :wink:

June 8th, 2004, 07:10 PM

Battery Bosque Reconstruction Is Underway

June 7, 2004

Under a sun-filled blue sky on the morning of June 7 in Battery Park, as mothers strolled along the pathways with their children and tourists captured photographs of the nearby waterfront, city officials gathered to announce the beginning of a dramatic reconstruction project -- a multi-million dollar face-lift to improve and renovate the downtown park.

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe gathered with Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Kevin Rampe, Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price, Council Member Alan Gerson, and other local officials to break ground for the $8.5 million renovation of the Bosque Area of Battery Park, a section of the park located along the waterfront. Reconstruction of the Bosque -- a Spanish word meaning "grove of trees" -- will transform the setting into a lush, green destination spot, a place that Benepe hopes will become "a magical space, year-round."

The renovation of the Battery Bosque was funded by the LMDC as part of a broader $25 million project to restore and create 13 parks and green spaces in Lower Manhattan. The Parks & Recreation Department has obtained more than $37 million from the LMDC; federal, state, and city governments; foundations, and corporations to both revitalize and establish new open spaces in the downtown area.

Speaking at the groundbreaking event yesterday, Benepe noted that the project will do more than just refurbish the Battery Bosque.

"It will give it character that it has lacked," he said.

As part of the effort, the area's cracked asphalt and broken cobblestone will be replaced with a new crushed stone surface. There will be 57,000 square feet of gardens, planted with 70,000 bulbs and 33,000 perennials. Also, there will be two food kiosks built for eating within the gardens and a spiral, granite fountain -- the first new fountain built downtown in about three decades, according to Benepe.

Distinctive lighting will be installed to complement the brand-new seating that has been planned to provide patrons of the park with an area to relax in before hopping on a carousel created by sculptor Barbara Broughel. The carousel will feature marine life figures and a view of the harbor.
The Battery Bosque design team includes the Saratoga Associates, Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, Weisz-Yoes Architects, and Tillett Lighting Design. The project is expected to be completed this fall, with more plantings scheduled for spring 2005.

When finished, city officials hope the reconstruction effort will transform the area into an open, green space where New Yorkers and tourists not only quickly walk through but also come down specifically to visit and enjoy.

"The park will go from a pass-through park," Benepe said, "into a destination park."

June 8th, 2004, 08:16 PM
Yeah I always felt that Battery Park lack something. Like it look abandon or something.

As part of the effort, the area's cracked asphalt and broken cobblestone will be replaced with a new crushed stone surface. There will be 57,000 square feet of gardens, planted with 70,000 bulbs and 33,000 perennials. Also, there will be two food kiosks built for eating within the gardens and a spiral, granite fountain -- the first new fountain built downtown in about three decades, according to Benepe.

That is a big renovation that's for sure.

June 16th, 2004, 06:47 PM

A Carousel Is Coming to Battery Park

by Barry Owens

A carousel is coming to Battery Park. But don't expect to hop aboard another bobbing horse-unless, perhaps, it's a sea horse

The carousel pavilion, in the shape of a spiraling shell, will be installed just east of Castle Clinton and will feature 28 marine-life figures created by sculptor Barbara Broughel, bubbled porthole-like windows, and underwater scenes projected onto the carousel's cylinder.

The figures will be translucent and fiber-optically illuminated to create the illusion of the "distinct biology and pulse of each creature," Broughel said.

"They're going up and down and they are going to go round and round," said Warrie Price, president of The Battery Conservancy. "But it will be a soft gallup, like riding the back of a whale or dolphin."

The privately funded $2.5 million Battery Carousel, designed by the architecture firm of Weisz and Yoes

Studio, is a nod to the city's first aquarium, which was housed at Castle Clinton from 1896 to 1941.

Community Board 1 approved the carousel design last month. Construction is expected to begin next spring.


Battery Conservancy (http://www.thebattery.org/)

Battery Park master plan

June 28th, 2004, 09:04 PM
Tribeca Park renovation is complete

June 28th, 2004, 10:16 PM
All this parks being created will rise land value by so much more than what it already is.i hope more high rise will come there from these activities.

June 29th, 2004, 10:32 AM
Still under construction, the new triangular park at Laight-Canal-Varick Streets:


And the St. John's Rotary, entrance to Manhattan coming out of the Holland Tunnel:


July 8th, 2004, 08:37 PM
July 9, 2004

Greening Ye Olde Manhattan


Slide Show: A Verdant Downtown (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2004/07/08/arts/20040709_DUNL_SLIDESHOW_1.html)

THIRTY-SEVEN million dollars to rehabilitate the parks of Lower Manhattan, and the city still cannot manage to fix those jagged fence posts around Bowling Green.

Actually, it's for the best. They have gone unrepaired since the 18th century, when independence-minded New Yorkers descended on the green to rid the park of royal emblems: a gilded lead equestrian statue of King George III and fence-post ornaments described as either orbs or crowns, or orbs surrounded by crowns. What remains are rough-edged finials that mutely convey something of the crowd's fury.

Today marks the 228th anniversary of the felling of the king's likeness. Yet Bowling Green, New York's oldest park, is looking especially fresh. The park, at the foot of Broadway, has just undergone an $690,000 renovation by the city Parks Department as part of a $37 million crash program to restore and create 14 parks downtown in the wake of 9/11.

"What gives us our respite are our parks," said Madelyn Wils, chairwoman of Community Board 1 and a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which provided $25 million of the financing. Kevin M. Rampe, the corporation president, said parks are a catalyst for redevelopment.

Though Lower Manhattan is not known as a particularly verdant part of town, it seems to be getting greener by the day. Just a week after presiding over the reopening of Bowling Green on June 14, Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, cut a ribbon to reopen TriBeCa Park, on the Avenue of the Americas at Beach Street, just south of Canal Street.

Mr. Benepe may next find himself, scissors in hand, inaugurating the $2.2 million Mannahatta Park along Wall Street. Then again, he could be at the rehabilitated Washington Market Park. Or the rebuilt Al Smith Playground. He just finished breaking ground for a new area of Battery Park called the Bosque, hard by Castle Clinton. Nearby, at the Gardens of Remembrance, designed by Piet Oudolf, workers installed a finishing touch last month: oval-shaped plaques dedicated to those who died Sept. 11, 2001, those who survived and "all who come seeking renewed hope and optimism."

Speaking of Lower Manhattan, Mr. Benepe said: "For a long time, the open space issue was not as compelling because it was strictly a Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 location. That began to change with Battery Park City. Battery Park City set a standard for public space design in the 1980's and 1990's."

There is more to come. The Battery Park City Authority is readying the $17 million Teardrop Park at the north end of the development for an opening in October. The two-acre cruciform park will eventually have four apartment towers around it.

Modernize? Why?

Like the rich landscapes of Battery Park City, the new TriBeCa Park has been filled by its designer, Emmanuel Thingue, with a variety of plantings and features. TriBeCa Park is among the oldest in the city, set aside in 1809 and known until 1985 as Beach Street Park. Until recently, however, except for its London plane trees and Japanese pagoda trees, it looked more like a boomerang-shaped, half-acre wedge in the road.

Now, there is an oval-shaped seating and assembly area paved in a crisscross of green, gray and pink granite. Around it are 20 different types of plants. Bold, yellow-edged hosta and wispy monkey grass mingle on a carpet of pachysandra. Dwarf English spreading yews form a green border. Manhattan spreading euonymus will keep the beds green in winter. Winding paths run through the planting beds.

Romantic, it is. Contemporary, it is not. "We were going to push the envelope and make it more modern," Mr. Benepe said, "but the community was more interested in traditional materials."

Julie Matsumoto of the Friends of TriBeCa Park said the first design "appeared to me to be a 1970's-1980's corporate park: fountain and hardscape." She thought the park ought to look "like it had been here 100 years," taking design cues from the nearby American Thread Building of 1895, a bow-fronted Beaux-Arts building where she happens to live.

On the night before a meeting with parks officials, Ms. Matsumoto said she scoured every gardening book in her house, marking those features she found most appealing. She photocopied the pages and created a kind of informal design manifesto.

"It helped inspire me," said Bonnie Koeppel, chief of design for the Parks Department. "I'll never forget when I showed the revised plan to Julie, she said `You can do all that in that space?' "

Teardrop Park has been packed even more densely with features by its designers at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: lawns, a reading circle with rock perches, wooden bleachers, a wading pool, a sand slide and sand lot. A brief tour of the work in progress left a visitor with the impression of having ambled through several distinct landscapes.

"I had this vision of standing in a glen in the Catskills," said Timothy S. Carey, president and chief executive of the Battery Park City Authority, who owns property in Delaware County. That meant a bluestone wall evoking a weeping mountainside embankment; misty in summer, encrusted with natural ice sculptures in winter.

Randomly sized, roughly cut pieces have been set in gently curving courses to form a broad arc 27 feet high at its apogee. Each course ends abruptly, forming a jagged pattern along the top. A portal leads through the wall to a limestone hillock on the other side.

All told, about 2,200 tons of stone (from Greene County, it turns out) have been used at Teardrop Park. "The idea of the natural look is something I've tried to perpetuate," Mr. Carey said, "but I don't like the Disney look." In other words, no fiberglass rocks.

A more minimalist approach was taken by the designer George Vellonakis for a new park created in the Wall Street roadbed, between Water and South Streets, with the cooperation of the city Transportation Department. A fountain at the east end, donated by Deutsche Bank, will punctuate an allee directing a visitor's view to Trinity Church.

The allee will be lined with six-foot-long granite bench slabs that almost seem to float on blocks of glass illuminated from within by light-emitting diodes. Production problems in Seattle delayed the glass, so swooping 1964 World's Fair-style benches have been temporarily installed. And the two dozen or so scraggly birch trees, apparently removed without enough roots, will be replaced this month.

No matter. Downtowners have already taken over the finished half. It has drawn so many smokers from nearby office buildings that the Parks Department — in the Bloomberg administration, of all things — found itself compelled to search for aesthetically compatible ashtrays.

The working name of the Wall Street park is Mannahatta, honoring the native name of New York. Bowling Green speaks in its very existence to the earliest period of European settlement, when it was used as a parade ground and marketplace.

In 1733, the Common Council set aside the space, at the foot of Broadway, "for the Beauty & Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & delight of the Inhabitants of this City." It was privately leased for lawn bowling.

The Life of a Fence

The hand-wrought fence was commissioned by the Common Council in 1771, for £800, from Peter T. Curtenius, Gilbert Forbes, Andrew Lyall and Richard Sharpe to protect the newly arrived statue of King George and prevent the green from becoming a "Recepticle of all the filth & dirt of the Neighbourhood."

It failed in its first mission. On July 9, 1776, after hearing the Declaration of Independence, New Yorkers beheaded the statue and pulled it down to make musket balls. The king's troops, wrote Ebenezer Hazard to Gen. Horatio Gates of the Continental Army, "will probably have melted majesty fired at them."

What happened to the fence post ornaments — and when — is a bit less clear. They may have been knocked down the same day, to be used as cannon balls. Or perhaps New Yorkers decapitated the finials in 1783, as British troops evacuated.

Whatever the case, this was not the end of misadventure for the fence, which stands just under six feet high and forms an egg shape around the green.

During the construction of the subway in 1914, the fence was dismantled and taken to Central Park for temporary storage. But when the moment came in September 1918 to reclaim the fence, it simply could not be found, sparking fears that it had been junked. It was not until April 1919 that the missing pieces were discovered in a park storeroom.

The green has been redesigned several times. It gained and lost a statue of Abraham De Peyster, a 17th-century New York mayor. It gained a fountain, donated by George T. Delacorte, in 1977. It gained the popular "Charging Bull" sculpture by Arturo Di Modica in 1989.

In the latest renovation, designed by Alan Scholl, it gained planting beds around the base of the landmark fence, to create a buffer zone; hoof-footed benches based on a 19th-century prototype, which rather complement the nearby bull; and plantings around the fountain, including four Franklinia alatamaha trees, which yield late-summer blossoms of coconut-white petals. "Franklinia can be a fussy little tree," allowed Amy L. Freitag, deputy parks commissioner for capital projects. But its introduction in Bowling Green, she said, was consistent with a standing instruction from Mr. Benepe: "Why not do as beautiful a horticultural display in a city park as in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?"

The fence was restored by Gabriel Popian of G. & L. Popian in Long Island City, Queens, who removed about 10 layers of paint and repainted it black. He unbent damaged fence poles and reset part of the brownstone curb so the arrow-headed north gate could once again open and close.

Stripped of decades' worth of accretions, the old railing gave up some secrets. "We learned that more of the fence had been worked on than we thought," Ms. Freitag said. Roughly 50 percent of the fence poles had been replaced over the years.

And it turned out that four or five of the 93 venerable fence posts were actually replicas. "They made the post to be exactly like the original," said Jamie Schroeder, an architectural conservator in the parks agency. "They faked the fact that they are torn off. You can tell, when you take off the paint, that they had been cast that way."

Ms. Freitag sounds forgiving, describing this as a "very Colonial Revival impulse of making the Ye Olde fence look as Ye Olde as possible." This small artifice does little to diminish a sense of awe approaching that fence, with its visible — and tangible — link to America's passion at the dawn of independence.

"A blow was enough for the emblem of monarchy, and the ragged edges were left to tell the story to posterity," The New York Express said in 1878. "Each succeeding generation has preserved the rough traces, and there they are at this hour."

And, happily, at this.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 13th, 2004, 07:52 PM
And the St. John's Rotary, entrance to Manhattan coming out of the Holland Tunnel
Good to see it called by its old name. It deserves its own thread (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=3324).

August 2nd, 2004, 11:21 AM
The Canal-Varick-Laight park now has a name.


Landscape group presents park plan for Varick triangle

By Deborah Lynn Blumberg

As part of the new design for the Tribeca park planned for the triangle at Laight, Canal and Varick Sts., stones from the 50 states—including volcanic rock from Hawaii and quartz from Virginia—will line the space’s winding brick path.

Plans for the new half-acre park, Renaissance Park also include a potential 24-ft tall stone waterfall and decorative metal fencing and benches, all designed for free by top landscape designers and architects from across the country — members of the American Landscape Contractors Association. The New York City Parks Department and Downtown’s Community Board 1 recently approved the design. Now, the city’s Art Commission must consent before construction can begin this coming fall.

“We’re just so hungry for a park down here,” said Albert Capsouto, chairperson of C.B. 1’s Tribeca committee. “This is a terrible area for pedestrians, and we want to get it fixed up.”

The Art Commission is currently working with members from the association, a national trade organization that agreed to design, fund and build the park post-9/11, to finalize plans. The project will cost about $1.5 million, said David Fiore, a landscape architect for the Wilton, Connecticut-based Glen Gate Company and association member who worked on the project design.

Vicki Bendure, the association’s spokesperson, said the commission may want to modify the waterfall before approving the design. “We’re trying to see if it’s feasible financially,” she said. Association members will have to return to the commission when it meets again in September to negotiate the design.

Several years ago the Parks Department decided to convert the empty concrete lot into a park and completed initial designs early September 2001, but following the terrorist attacks postponed the project. “Everything was on track, but then obviously with the events, [the plans] got sidetracked and were pushed back in terms of priority,” Capsouto said.

Following 9/11, the American Landscape Contractors Association proposed to build the park as a gift to Lower Manhattan, in conjunction with the Parks Department. The park’s name, Renaissance Park, will signify rebirth and renaissance for New York City and for Tribeca, Capsouto said.

“Our goal is to make it a really beautiful green space,” Bendure said. “The association wanted to do something after 9/11, but with a sensitivity that people living in the area might want something more uplifting and not necessarily associated with remembering 9/11.”

The group is raising money to buy additional materials and to set up a maintenance fund. Anyone wishing to participate in the project can make a monetary donation to the association or “purchase” a portion of the park, which designers have divided into 1,400 sections of 16 square feet each. One section can be bought for a $500 tax-deductible donation. For more information, visit www.alca.org or call 1-800 395-ALCA.

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email: josh@downtownexpress.com

August 2nd, 2004, 02:41 PM
Sounds like a nice park, but Renaissance is so played out.

August 2nd, 2004, 05:12 PM
Plans for the new half-acre park, Renaissance Park also include a potential 24-ft tall stone waterfall and decorative metal fencing and benches, all designed for free by top landscape designers and architects from across the country...

Vicki Bendure, the association’s spokesperson, said the commission may want to modify the waterfall before approving the design.

That 24-ft tall stone waterfall sounds kind of cool and tall! It will be interesting to know if they want to modify it by the size or the way it suppose to look.

September 30th, 2004, 10:31 AM
New York Times
September 30, 2004

A Chip Off the Old Park


Teardrop Park, which opens Thursday, is hemmed in by the towers of Battery Park City, but will still have plenty of sunlight.

James Gill, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, admiring some finishing touches at the park.

By the time you have found a perch on the storybook hill, stumbled through the boggy marsh, ascended the glistening wall of craggy bluestone, scuttled through a notch in the limestone boulders and - attention, first graders! - slid into the sand pit, you will be amazed that you have covered only 1.9 acres.

In one-440th the space of Central Park, the new Teardrop Park at Battery Park City, which is to open today, seems to pack almost as many features, most of them designed for youngsters. Framed by three apartment towers, soon to be four, the park responds with a dense landscape that dips, rises and twists.

"It's going to be the most magnificent place for chasing games, for hide-and-seek," said Robin Moore, a professor of landscape architecture and the director of the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University, who was a consultant on the park. "Play equipment is fine and it's important, but we mustn't forget all of the other potentials that landscape offers for healthy child development."

On a tour this week, Timothy S. Carey, the president and chief executive of the Battery Park City Authority, which built the $17 million park, lowered himself on his knees to about three feet. He pointed to the top of a hillock covered in flowering helleborus and halesia trees, cresting at a reading circle formed by rock outcroppings.

"If you get down here," he said, "and you're a little child, this is a jungle. You can climb up over those rocks and read 'Tarzan' or Robert Louis Stevenson." (Obviously, it's been a while since Mr. Carey was three feet tall.)

The designers, Michael Van Valkenburgh, Matthew Urbanski and Laura Solano, of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, worked with the artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil, with engineers at Mueser Rutledge and at Arup and with Professor Moore and his colleague, Nilda Cosco. They were inspired in part by the work of Frederick Law Olmsted.

"Olmsted said for a park to be great, it has to have range," said Mr. Van Valkenburgh. The designers tried to create an "unfolding landscape of discovery," Mr. Urbanski added.

The cruciform park is in the center of a block bounded by River Terrace, North End Avenue and Murray and Warren Streets. Under an earlier master plan, this block was to have been bisected by a street. The buildings around it were to have had their own courtyards. But the street was eliminated in a new plan by the architect Ralph Lerner, who replaced the street on the blueprints with a park that he referred to informally, after its shape, as Teardrop.

"When 9/11 came along, it took on a different connotation for many," said James F. Gill, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, which decided to formalize the name.

With the red-brick apartment towers serving as a mountainous environment, the park was envisioned as a kind of glen.

"This is a piece of the Hudson Valley in Battery Park City," said Mr. Gill, standing by a 27-foot-high, 168-foot-long wall of randomly coursed slabs of Hamilton bluestone from Albany County. Through 10 spouts hidden in the crevices, water started to flow as he spoke, moistening the surface. In winter, this rock wall will be encrusted with sculptural ice forms.

The layout, Mr. Van Valkenburgh said, was influenced by the "microclimatic asymmetry" of the site. Simply put, the north end gets more sunlight, suggesting lawns, while the south end is more in shadow, suggesting play areas.

When it was learned before construction began that one building bordering the park would cast too long a shadow, its planned height was reduced six inches, ultimately yielding a gain of 30 precious minutes more sun on the north lawn. Climate was not the only factor measured on a micro scale. "We changed the design of the soil to drain faster in one place or hold more moisture in another," Mr. Van Valkenburgh said.

There are 65,910 trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, vines and bulbs, including viburnums, which are now vibrant with red berries. "We wanted to invite the birds in," Mr. Carey said.

The designers wanted to communicate that the space between the apartment towers was open to everyone. One subtle gesture was the use of asphalt paving blocks and benches with circular armrests, known as the World's Fair model, common to many parks.

Some things just happened serendipitously, like reflected sunlight in the park from the hundreds of windows around it.

And though Teardrop Park is supposed to evoke the Catskills, Mr. Gill's mind was not on Greene County as he walked along the rock wall, but on County Clare in Ireland.

"It reminds me of the Cliffs of Moher," he said of the escarpment before him. "This looks like it will be here to the end of the world."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 23rd, 2004, 12:50 PM
I've seen them working a lot lately on this reborn park......

From Downtown Express:


Trees and plantings were put in at the new Canal Street Park at the west end of Canal St. next to the West Side Highway this week. The park is expected to open in late spring of 2005. State D.O.T is funding the park, which will include granite sidewalks, interior ornamental fences, cobblestone street tree planting strips, green lawns and a combination of evergreen and flowering plants. The area where Canal Park is being constructed is one of the oldest city squares in Manhattan, with the city’s title to the land granted in 1686. Although a park formerly existed in the triangle in 1870, it was removed in 1921, when the site was loaned to the NY/NJ Bridge and Tunnel Authority. The loan was for four years, in order to construct the Holland Tunnel, with the condition of restoring and returning Canal Street Park upon completion.

January 9th, 2005, 10:46 AM
Many Community Board 2 members like the new plan to expand and redesign Duarte Square on Canal St. The statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, a founder of the Dominican Republic, will remain in the center of the square and trees will be added. Trinity Real Estate, which is paying for the renovation, will demolish the building in the background and build a 22-story office building.

Duarte statue to remain center of his namesake square

By Albert Amateau

The new design for Duarte Sq., the brick triangle on the north side Canal St. at Sixth Ave., which calls for keeping the statue of Juan Pablo Duarte in the middle of the triangle near its present position, won a vote of approval this week from the Community Board 2 parks committee.

The new design, by Stephen Whitehouse of Saratoga Associates, was seen as a welcome change from the plan submitted more than two years ago as part of a complex land-swap between Trinity Real Estate, which owns the property on the west side of the square, and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The old design called for moving the statue of Duarte, a founder of the Dominican Republic, to the southern apex of the triangle at Canal St. and away from a central open area where Dominican-Americans hold an annual commemoration. The previous design had angled paths with plantings between them.

The new design would add some green to what is now a barren brick triangle, provide an open paved area around the statue, and a fountain with jets at-grade “so that when they’re turned off you can’t see them,” Whitehouse said. More trees are planned for the north end of the triangle at Grand St. and on the south to soften Canal St. traffic’s impact on the park.

“You’ve addressed all the concerns we had and I congratulate you,” Tobi Bergman, a parks committee member, told Whitehouse and Robert Redmond, who will oversee the project for the Parks Department. Nevertheless, committee members at the Jan. 6 meeting hedged their approval by calling for more seating to be included in the new plan and for an adequate irrigation system to make sure the trees survive.

The Empire State Building is within the view corridor from Duarte Sq. to the north and the new Freedom Tower planned for the World Trade Center site will be within the view corridor to the south, Whitehouse noted.

As part of the land-use changes two years ago, a service road on the west side of the square, formerly the southern end of Sullivan St., was de-mapped and added to the Trinity Real Estate property across the street. It allows Trinity to replace its current three-to-eight-story buildings on the block with a 22-story building.

Trinity owns the de-mapped street but gives the Parks Department an easement and jurisdiction over the expanded area up to Trinity’s property line. The change, which went into effect at the end of 2002, expands the park area by 40 percent and adds 38 percent to Trinity’s zoning lot.

In return, Trinity will pay for the park project and also for the park maintenance. Redmond said the maintenance would be more than $30,000 a year.

Committee members were anxious about Trinity’s commitment to fund the maintenance. Adrienne Bernard, a lawyer for Trinity who attended the meeting, said the arrangement with the Parks Department would probably involve putting money in a trust controlled by Parks. “It would be for the life of the building, 80, 90, 100 years,” she estimated. We’ll do it anyway that Parks wants,” she said.

Richard Barrett, a member of the Canal West Coalition, noted that the plan had no trees in the area where the remnant of Sullivan St. used to be. “You can still see the ghost of the street,” he said.

The former street, however, has a sewer line beneath the surface and trees cannot be planted over it, Redmond said. It was designed to look like a park path, a broad park path,” added Whitehouse.

Other committee members suggested that the design should have considered Duarte’s relationship with the proposed Laight St. Park, a triangle on the other side of Canal St. Sidewalks around the Laight St. triangle, formerly used as a parking lot by police and Port Authority employees, have been built but the park has not yet been designed, Redmond said.

Bergman also regretted that an extremely tall light pole — about as tall as the eight-story Trinity building on the west side of the square, could not remain in the new Duarte Sq.

Committee members said they were pleased that the design did not make it look like the park was a part of the Trinity property. Trinity agreed two years ago that tenants on the ground floor of its future building fronting the park would not be permitted to put a sidewalk café on the park.


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Duarte Square is the red-brick paved area. Nice views both north and south.



June 1st, 2005, 11:41 AM


June 1, 2005 -- Two miles of underutilized waterfront from Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan to the East River Park along the FDR are going to be transformed into the city's most dramatic esplanade, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday.

With $150 million in funding now guaranteed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. — part of $819 million in downtown aid money revealed last month — Bloomberg got to trumpet the next step in Manhattan's 32-mile greenway.

"It will succeed where the more impractical suggestions for the East River waterfront over the last 40 years have come to naught," the mayor promised.

"This is going to become the place on the Lower East Side to hold picnics, birthday parties and other outdoor gatherings."

The ambitious proposal requires moving the Battery Park vehicle underpass about 350 feet north, just beyond Broad Street, to create a one-acre plaza in front of the landmark Battery Maritime Building.

New piers, a widened bike path, shopping arcades and a marina are also planned, pending state and federal approvals, for completion in the next three to five years.

City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez, a Democrat who represents the Lower East Side, said the plan will make this "the most awesome area ever seen in Manhattan."

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

June 1st, 2005, 03:03 PM

Mirrors to Take BPC Park Out of Darkness

By Barry Owens

The future home of Teardrop Park South, which will sit in building shadows almost year-round and seemed destined to be the darkest of Battery Park City’s urban valleys, might have offered gloomy planting prospects. But tomorrow, there will be sun.

“No hocus pocus about it,” said landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh, explaining the trick. “Only mirrors.”

Van Valkenburgh was the lead designer for Teardrop Park North and the man behind the plan to extend the park south across Murray Street, into the courtyard of a horseshoe-shaped building slated for construction next year. Once complete, the building will completely shield the park from the sun for much of the year.

“Not exactly a people magnet,” Van Valkenburgh said of the space. But he hopes that a trio of mirrors installed atop a nearby building will reflect enough sunlight for trees and other living things to thrive there.

“This is an idea that very oddly has yet to come to New York,” he said of the mirrors. “There are a number of places in the city that could benefit from the devices.”

The disc-shaped mirrors, called heliostats, are eight feet in diameter and mounted on top of the 24-story Verdesian building, which is under construction at Murray Street and North End Avenue. The computer-programmed and motorized mirrors, custom-manufactured by Bomin Solar, a German company, track the sun’s movement and reflect its rays like spotlights to the ground below. The heliostats were installed last month.

“Sunlight is escaping many of our neighborhoods,” said Tim Carey, president of the Battery Park City Authority. “This is a technology whose time has come for New York City.”

The Authority paid $355,000 for the heliostats. Their use is in keeping with Battery Park City’s “green” goals, Carey said, likening the neighborhood to “an urban renewable energy lab.”

To help brighten the park he designed, Van Valkenburgh tapped architect and “daylight consultant” David Norris, who used similar technology to bring sunlight into buildings in Boston and Washington, D.C.

Norris, of Tribeca-based Carpenter Norris Consulting, said in an interview that he first focused on harnessing existing light at ground level. The park can be made brighter, he said, by incorporating reflective materials, such as a shiny, red brick, into the park’s design.

He is also working with the architects of the building that will be constructed next to the park to “punch holes in the building to create solar portals.” But portals and brilliant bricks would not be enough to sustain a green park space if it lacked sunlight year-round.

“That’s where the heliostats came in,” he said. “Really, they’re nothing more than big Boy Scout signal mirrors, the kind you sort of line up and shine into Bobby’s eyes.”

The mirrors, though, will reflect enough of the sun’s rays to keep the park in sunlight year-round, he said, and in some ways will be more effective than broad daylight since the rays can be directed to different spots at different times of the day or season, as needed. The light will shine in large pools or in well-defined spotlights, but will not be concentrated enough to blind or burn, he said. “It’s nothing more than once-reflected sunlight, somewhere on the order of 70 to 80 percent of the power,” he said.

Though plans for the new park have not been drafted and the park’s construction will not begin until next year, the project’s designers and the Authority were eager to have the mirrors up now.

“We want to put them in play, to discover what they can and can’t do,” Norris said.

Van Valkenburgh said he hopes to put the light in play in the treetops, on grass and rocks, and perhaps a fountain—now that he has been promised that sunlight will dapple the water.

Fully assembled, but with their reflective surfaces wrapped in clear plastic, the heliostats were installed on May 31. Engineers from Bomin Solar will return in August to cut away their wrappings and program the devices to follow the sun.

“People are always amazed and very happy when they see how they work,” said Michael Kroeffges, with Bomin Solar.

“Could we unwrap just one?” Norris asked. “And can they be rotated by hand?”

They answers were “yes,” so the pair planned an afternoon of mirror tilting and shadow chasing in the construction zone that will one day be a park


June 1st, 2005, 03:38 PM
Ancient Egyptian technology still practical, I love it!

June 1st, 2005, 03:54 PM

Slide Show: East River Waterfront Development (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/gallery/album.asp?album_id=17&position=1)



June 3rd, 2005, 04:49 PM
The New York Times
Here Comes the Sun, Redirected
Published: June 2, 2005

Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

In New York City, a place where the sun vanishes for long stretches behind tall buildings, and sunny apartments command a premium, sunlight is taken very seriously. So seriously that the Battery Park City Authority is preparing to import sunlight into a foreboding spot in Lower Manhattan.

Three heliostats - instruments that use mirrors to track the sun across the sky - will redirect sunbeams onto what is currently a vacant lot in Lower Manhattan, but will next year become Teardrop Park South. Battery Park City hopes that if it provides a bit of light, people will want to linger there.

"This is going to change the relationship between New Yorkers and the sun in ways that haven't been tried before," said Davidson Norris, president of Carpenter Norris Consulting and the heliostat plan's designer.

The park sits in the shadow of three skyscrapers. "The sun is up there," said Michael van Valkenburgh, the project's landscape architect. "It just can't find its way to where we want it."

Teardrop Park's heliostats, which are about eight feet across, were installed Tuesday on the roof of a new 23-story building overlooking the park. When they are running this fall, they will be guided by computer to track the movement of the sun, capture the light and then send it down to the park, where circles of light will be created. Each heliostat can be directed to bathe a particular park bench or tree in a beam of light.

But the devices, which cost $355,000 apiece, can't do everything. "It's not one of those things that one can justify that it will bring so much light into the park that everything will just be bloom - it's not something that will make daylight sharper," said Mr. Norris.

What they will do, however, is add to the value of apartments in Battery Park City, said James Gill, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, which is footing the heliostat bill. Said Mr. Gill: "There's a lot to be said for light."

June 14th, 2005, 10:28 PM
Construction fence is down. The gates are locked, but it looks like Canal Park is ready to open.

http://img12.echo.cx/img12/3186/canalpk010rp.th.jpg (http://img12.echo.cx/my.php?image=canalpk010rp.jpg) http://img12.echo.cx/img12/8937/canalpk024lu.th.jpg (http://img12.echo.cx/my.php?image=canalpk024lu.jpg) http://img12.echo.cx/img12/6369/canalpk031xa.th.jpg (http://img12.echo.cx/my.php?image=canalpk031xa.jpg) http://img12.echo.cx/img12/6633/canalpk044bj.th.jpg (http://img12.echo.cx/my.php?image=canalpk044bj.jpg)

The triangle was extended to block thru-traffic on Washington St.
http://img12.echo.cx/img12/6213/canalpk051dt.th.jpg (http://img12.echo.cx/my.php?image=canalpk051dt.jpg)

June 15th, 2005, 10:44 AM
Anyone know what's up with Liberty Plaza? Previous posts stated that construction on renovation would begin Spring '04 -- I was there yesterday and nothing is happening. Bleak and sad...
BTW - Canal park is looking great. The photos capture it well. With the construction fence down you can really get a sense of what a great & inviting oasis this will be.
Of course, along with Tribeca section of Hudson River Park this will only further increase property values in that area. (hmmmmmmmmmmm)
The entire area n. of Canal and w. of 6th ave. is buzzing with activity.
The full block plan previously shown at Vandam / Hudson -- is the the El Diario building site?
Wonder what might happen to the gas station at SE corner of West / Canal...
(sorry about so many questions in one post -- )

June 15th, 2005, 11:04 AM
The thread is here, but it's as inactive as the site. This was a simple but popular area before 09/11. The renovation would be a great improvement in the area, especially in summer. This is just another example of the inactivity at the WTC site, inexcusable in this case, since Brookfield has a financial responsibility to maintain the plaza.

June 15th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Zippy --
Thanks for that link (though you're right: much like liberty plaza that thread is a lonely and inactive place).
BTW - Your pics are fantastic...
And thanks much for all your input.

June 28th, 2005, 12:55 AM
Making the Brutal F.D.R. Unsentimentally Humane


Published: June 28, 2005

Few people reminisce longingly about the New York waterfront of the 1970's, with its decrepit piers, graffiti-covered warehouses and tetchy drag queens. But you can say this for it: it had a gritty integrity. The typical riverfront developments of today, with their traditional lampposts and quaint park benches, drip with nostalgia for a city that never was. They have all the charm of an open-air suburban mall.

The master plan for an East River esplanade, which was unveiled last month by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is a welcome reprieve from that New York cliché. 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 Drive into a vibrant urban panorama without sacrificing the rough edges.

But the master plan is more than a blunt criticism of misplaced sentimentality. Even as it celebrates the city's underbelly, it weaves it into the surrounding neighborhoods with remarkable sensitivity. The plan shows how a series of small interventions, when thoughtfully conceived, can have a more meaningful impact on daily life than an unwieldy urban development scheme.

Although it is still in the earliest stages of design, city officials hope to complete the esplanade within three to five years. (The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has allotted $150 million toward the project, which has a relatively modest projected cost of $200 million.) Aspects of the plan still must be approved by a number of city, state and federal agencies.Commissioned by the city's Department of City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation, the design sprang from a collaboration among architectural generations: Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, based here, the Richard Rogers Partnership in London and the landscape architect Ken Smith. Mr. Rogers, the co-designer of the Pompidou Center (1977) in Paris, is best known for creating a high-tech Pop Art aesthetic whose roots lie in the progressive values of the 1960's. Mr. Pasquarelli, 40, who like many in his generation, is warier of Modernism's mission, is less a social rebel than an astute social observer.

Both find beauty in the large-scale public works projects that were a prominent feature of the 20th-century American landscape. Originally conceived in the late 1930's by Robert Moses, the city's imperious planner, the F.D.R. Drive - then called East River Drive - is usually considered an example of the brutal approach for which Moses later became infamous. It slices callously through the city, cutting a series of East Side neighborhoods off from the waterfront. The area underneath, which still sometimes reeks of rotting fish - a memory of the former fish markets - exudes a seedy noir spirit.

Mr. Pasquarelli and Mr. Rogers do not moralize about that past. Initially they considered lowering parts of the elevated freeway to ground level, but the cost was prohibitive. Eventually the team decided that the F.D.R.'s aggressive form could be used to imbue the site with energy. To that end, the crude steel I-beams that support the freeway would be clad in contoured metal or concrete panels. Bands of fluorescent light strips, vaguely reminiscent of a Dan Flavin light installation, extend along the freeway's underside, their arrangement echoing the cars flowing by above.

Such artistic touches would mesh well with an elaborate system of landscaped berms and shelters to be scattered along the two-mile waterfront. Planted with colorful shrubs and wild grasses, the berms rise right out of the pavement's surface. A series of glass pavilions would be scattered underneath the freeway; they may house restaurants, flower shops or some kind of public services.

Most of these architectural components are place markers; they have yet to be fully designed. Even so 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 freeway. In doing so, the architects shrug off the conflict between Modernists and historicists that absurdly still defines so many urban planning debates in New York.

That schism dates from the 1960's, when the activist Jane Jacobs challenged Moses' megalomaniacal plans, but it has little relevance today. For architects like Mr. Pasquarelli, the suburban promise embodied in Moses' freeway and park projects represent, for better or worse, a part of our collective memory. Their task, as they see it, is to salvage the corners of unexpected beauty from those childhood landscapes and give them new meaning. It is an approach that is far more relevant to contemporary life than Jacobs's - and every bit as humane. The outcome in the waterfront master plan is a project that craftily weaves together a remarkable range of scales. To offer relief from the uniformity of the esplanade, for example, the architects have suggested transforming a number of piers into more eco-friendly structures, sprinkled with public gardens. The surface of one of the piers peels up as it projects out toward the water, forming a viewing platform as well as allowing light to flow down to the water's surface.

Conceived as little oases, the piers relate to a grander, and still incomplete, vision: the plans for the greening of the waterfront across the river in Brooklyn and on Governors Island just to the south. Extending like fingers out into the river, they help weave these disparate vistas into a cohesive whole.

That same surgical approach is used to stitch the project into the surrounding communities. An abandoned median strip running down Allen Street from the East Village to the foot of the Manhattan Bridge would be transformed into a narrow park. Set diagonally to the bridge, it is gently sloped, so that it seems to accelerate as it approaches the waterfront, creating a wonderful forced perspective that pulls the neighborhood down toward the esplanade. Other interventions are more sedate: a sequence of reflecting pools along Peck Street are meant to conjure the street's past as a boat slip.

SHoP and Rogers have yet to sign a contract with the city to complete the final design. In theory, they could be dropped in favor of another architectural firm. But even at this early stage, the esplanade is one of the few current projects to give voice to a young generation of architects intent on redefining our vision of the contemporary Metropolis.

Along with the High Line - which transforms a section of gritty elevated tracks in downtown into a public garden - it represents a clear and much-needed break from the quaint Jane Jacobs-inspired vision of New York that is threatening to transform Manhattan into a theme park version of itself, a place virtually devoid of urban tension. It proves that there are still some in the city who are culturally daring, even if their numbers at times seem to be dwindling.






Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

June 28th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Even so 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 freeway. In doing so, the architects shrug off the conflict between Modernists and historicists that absurdly still defines so many urban planning debates in New York.

A very astute observation, I think. This kind of architectural fusion is what we need to see more of in New York. Besides the High Line, this is the park project I'm most excited about.

June 28th, 2005, 11:19 AM
So am I, though I need to see it to believe it.

June 28th, 2005, 02:40 PM
So am I, though I need to see it to believe it.

Ditto here. This is like "Downtown Parkland V7.0"

June 29th, 2005, 03:10 AM
Making the Brutal F.D.R. Unsentimentally Humane


Published: June 28, 2005

That schism dates from the 1960's, when the activist Jane Jacobs challenged Moses' megalomaniacal plans, but it has little relevance today. ... It is an approach that is far more relevant to contemporary life than Jacobs's - and every bit as humane.
Along with the High Line - which transforms a section of gritty elevated tracks in downtown into a public garden - it represents a clear and much-needed break from the quaint Jane Jacobs-inspired vision of New York that is threatening to transform Manhattan into a theme park version of itself, a place virtually devoid of urban tension. ...

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

It's a good plan, but Ouroussoff, in critiquing it, seems to have confused the planning philosophy of Jane Jacobs with that of Jackie O. Jacobs never advocated for extreme levels of historic preservation, nor for new architecture that mimics the old, nor for the suburbanization of New York. Her philosophy was closer to the opposite. (Indeed, if anyone has advocated that philosophy, it is Ouroussoff himself, who wrote favorably of the very suburban West Street tunnel scheme.) In all fairness, however, a busy guy like Ourousoff can't be expected to read through a long book like "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

June 29th, 2005, 10:22 PM
I don't know very much about Jacobs other than that her views on urban planning were conservative relative to Moses, in that the traditional city block was supreme over new projects (ie. superblocks, highways cutting through neighborhoods like the Cross Bronx Expressway). I'm not sure how she would feel about projects like the Highline or this proposed transformation of the FDR, but she is actually still alive today, so someone could find out if they were able to reach her.

June 29th, 2005, 11:39 PM
Jane Jacobs lives in Toronto these days, and has generally declined to comment on NY planning issues, although during a recent book tour, she did make some general (negative) comments about the plans for the WTC Site and the West Side Stadium.

In any event, Ourossoff's point cannot be rebutted, because his article is too inane to contain an actual point. He just flings around Jacobs' name, attaching it willy-nilly to ideas he does not like (historic preservation, retro architecture, etc.) but which aren't really big parts of Jacobs' planning philosophy. It is impossible to engage in a serious discussion with this kind of imposter. What exactly is he saying Jane Jacobs would advocate for the high line or the East River, and how is that different than what is currently being advocated? Reading Ourossoff's article answers none of this.

July 5th, 2005, 03:51 PM
The new Wall Street Triangle park is complete, except there is no fountain as was proposed. That area has been paved for some reason - like the fountain has been nixed, or will be constructed sometime in the future. The fountain was under construction at one point. I wonder what's the deal. Anyone?

July 5th, 2005, 04:14 PM
The fountain that will sit at its northeast corner is the last remaining piece and should be installed later in 2005.

July 5th, 2005, 04:24 PM
doesanyone have any pics of thev newly renovated battery bosque?

August 5th, 2005, 07:56 AM
A tale of 3 plazas

By Olga Mantilla with Josh Rogers

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_117/park.gif http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_117/park1.gif
Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert
Most of the new plaza at Coenties Slip is used by a restaurant, left. Wall Street Park, right.

There is little room for open space in the Financial District’s East Side, so two years ago, when the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Parks Dept. announced plans to build or renovate 13 Downtown parks with $25 million, officials turned their attention to three small plazas on the east side.

The three have all recently opened. Visitors had almost universal praise for two of them, Wall Street Park and Old Slip, but the reviews were mixed at the third because a restaurant uses most the plaza for an outdoor cafe.

“This is a park?” asked Frances, a confused visitor to Coenties Slip, who declined to give her last name. “I thought it was just an extension of this deli.”

Adrian Benepe, the city’s Parks Commissioner, said that Coenties would be a place “where we will transform a closed roadbed into a permanent public space,” in a 2004 column he wrote for Downtown Express.

Carli Smith, a spokesperson for Benepe, said Parks entered into an agreement with the Downtown Alliance to maintain the space. The Alliance, which runs the area’s business improvement district, awarded a contract for a plaza cafe to Zigolini’s, the restaurant-deli adjacent to the plaza.

The Alliance’s Valerie Lewis said Ziglioni’s was the only one to bid on the contract. She said without the cafe there would be no money to maintain the plaza.


Old Slip plaza

“The [L.M.D.C.] money was for building, it was not for maintaining,” said Lewis. “The Parks’ goal was to find someone to maintain the parks. And they selected the Alliance to maintain Coenties Slip,” adding it “is a great arrangement that works to provide public space that otherwise would not be maintained… “There are people eating, enjoying and sitting down. It’s a much-needed amenity for the people Downtown who need this public space. a success.”

She said Zigolini’s owner, Jason Francisco, pays the Alliance $15,000 per year for about about 900 square feet of a 1,500 square-foot park. She said all of the money is used to maintain Coenties. Smith at Parks’ said the Alliance pays the city five percent of the rent, which goes into the general revenue stream.

In the 1990s, the Alliance suggested closing part of Coenties for a temporary plaza, which the Alliance financed.

The permanent triangular plaza, funded mostly by the L.M.D.C., cost $925,000 and Parks and the Alliance are seeking funding for a water feature that will grace the center of space.

Naomi, who works across the street from Coenties, said the restaurant has too much space. “They put a few benches, but they’re just on the side. They should have put more in, instead of these restaurant tables. I don’t like it.”

Francisco’s contract with Downtown Alliance requires him to set out tables and chairs for the public, “not just for my customers,” during restaurant hours. The public tables have no tablecloth or umbrella, but several plaza visitors said they thought they were for the restaurant.

Norma Castro, who was visiting the plaza thought “it’s a double-edge sword. It’s sad that the core of the space is used by the restaurant. On the other hand, we need more outdoor seating for the business people in the area to go.”

She said the maintenance money is well spent. “They keep it clean,” she said. “They put nice benches. I don’t mind sitting here.”

Wall Street Park and Old Slip visitors were overwhelmingly positive about the new spaces.

Old Slip, a $1.5 million plaza, fronts the Police Museum on the corner of Water and Old Slip. Gloria Rodriguez, a Bronx resident, noted that, “without the construction, it’s pretty quiet. I enjoy the limited time I’m here,” she said as she waited for a friend.

“I like shade and I like the flowers,” Pam Graham, a program analyst from Brooklyn said under cool shade of the Wall Street Park trees. “Not unless you go to actual parks, the shade and flowers are not the norm.”

The verdant space of Wall Street Park, a plaza with an inimitable view of Trinity church to the west, is a $3.1 million project that drew contributions from the Deusche Bank and the L.M.D.C. Split in two parts between South and Front Street, the park introduced greenery to the industrial streets, Graham said. “There were no trees or flowers here [before].”

“I come here to get out of the office,” Isabel Mejia, a Brooklyn resident said as the drilling and welding of construction echoed half a block away from her bench in Wall Street Park. “It’s comfortable, and peaceful. It’s a quiet space among these busy streets,”

“You have to walk quite a distance to find a place like this,” Upper East Sider Angela Ottomanelli remarked. “The more green space, the better.”

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September 7th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Grand plans for East River waterfront


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 7th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Better than what's there now, but Bryant Park it ain't.

The view from a taxi on the Drive is great. Will it be affected by high parapets?

September 7th, 2005, 08:36 PM
Battery Bosque completed. Slide show at bottom of page.


September 7th, 2005, 08:56 PM
Battery Bosque completed. Slide show at bottom of page.


Wow I like It... I have to go and check it out!

Anyway is funny how on the slide show they decided to show the before photos, like trees without green in the winter time I asume, as comparison to the now photos...

September 7th, 2005, 09:21 PM
^ The Battery Bosque is really beautiful and well worth a visit -- the plantings have filled in quite a bit since July and should be spectacular next year.

September 7th, 2005, 10:36 PM
Wow I like It... I have to go and check it out!

Anyway is funny how on the slide show they decided to show the before photos, like trees without green in the winter time I asume, as comparison to the now photos...

The trees seem identical. As you correctly point out, they are simply comparing winter shots with summer shots. The big changes seem to be that they have replaced the cobblestones with some green shrubs, and they have put in some nicer benches. It's an improvement, but not as much as the slide show would have you believe. In any event, I always liked old Battery Park. My objection to it was less the plantings and more the fact that the paths seem to lead in no particular direction.

September 8th, 2005, 09:41 AM
I like what they've done, but it still seems unfinished to me. Are they leaving the pathways like they are? I assumed they were still going to lay pavers or cobblestones of some sort. I've seen the fountain going, but not the last time I went - there were guys selling watches and sunglasses on it instead.

September 8th, 2005, 03:46 PM
The paths are complete.

No trees were cut down or moved in the renovation; redundant paved areas were landscaped, and the news paths were curved which spatially gives the impression of greater depth. The space will improve as the plantings fill in.

The Battery Park before the three latest renovations was simply - a dump, rivaled only by the former City Hall Park. There was so much asphalt because as the planted areas deteriorated, it was cheaper to just pave it over than do maintenance (there was no Friends of...or Conservancy). As tourism to Liberty and Ellis islands increased, the park became an embarrassment to the city.

TLOZ Link5
September 9th, 2005, 04:06 PM
Call me patrician and elitist, but the dozens of merchants hawking every knockoff item that can be found on Canal Street are more of an embarassment than redundant paved areas.

January 10th, 2006, 02:05 PM
The new little park at the end of Wall Street has bench supports that change color:


February 1st, 2006, 08:09 PM
thats really cute. i like the small touches like that

February 2nd, 2006, 09:22 AM
Although the spraycan marking on the MARBLE FOOTSTONES is a little much.

They could have just chalked it up. Lazy bastiges! Ruining things that could have just been lifted up and replaced!

February 2nd, 2006, 09:28 PM
I agree, I liked it at first until I seen the paint.

February 8th, 2006, 11:45 PM
6 Lower Manhattan Public Spaces to Bloom With Post-9/11 Funds

By GLENN COLLINS (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=GLENN COLLINS&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=GLENN COLLINS&inline=nyt-per)
NY Times
Feb. 9, 2006


Governors are often given to enthusiasm and grand thoughts, but yesterday afternoon heaps of enthusiasm and really grand thoughts were required to envision the glorious future of the no-name, rubble-strewn lot that is bounded by Canal, Varick and Laight Streets in Lower Manhattan.

"I see a park with a lot of green," Gov. George E. Pataki (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/george_e_pataki/index.html?inline=nyt-per) said as he gazed at the wire-fenced wasteland before him. "There will be trees." He envisioned a fountain. And flower beds. "No more chicken-wire fences."

Mr. Pataki stopped at the park on the eve of an announcement expected today by the 16-member board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to authorize the spending of $19.5 million to enhance six parks and public spaces in Lower Manhattan, including the triangular Canal Street plot with its frozen weeds.

The renovations will be managed and monitored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The money will be dispensed from the nearly depleted $2.8 billion in Lower Manhattan redevelopment grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

So far, the development corporation has spent $30 million on other parks and open spaces in Lower Manhattan, with an additional $70 million earmarked for the Hudson River Park, and $150 million for improvements at the East River waterfront.

Officials have faced criticism in recent months for either being slow to use post-9/11 reconstruction money, or not using it to rebuild the area immediately around ground zero. But the aid came with a wide mandate — to reinvigorate Lower Manhattan — and the use of the some of the money for downtown parks has been relatively uncontroversial.

The park visit, during one of the governor's inspection tours of Lower Manhattan, was led by Mr. Pataki's habitual guide, John P. Cahill, who oversees downtown redevelopment as the governor's chief of staff.

During the trip, Governor Pataki examined the pace of progress at many sites, including the nascent Goldman Sachs building and the Fulton Street Transit Center. And Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, briefed the governor during a walk past complex construction at ground zero that Mr. Ringler termed "a giant 3-D chess game."

The five other parks that will benefit from the funds are the Collect Pond Park, at Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets; Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Hester Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets; James Madison Plaza, bordered by St. James Place, Madison and Pearl Streets; the Allen and Pike Street malls; and Washington Market Park, bordered by Chambers, Greenwich and West Streets.

Planned improvements are as varied as the parks' locations. The triangular lot that is James Madison Plaza is to become a garden-like sitting area for office workers and local residents. Sara D. Roosevelt Park, a derelict spot, is to house a modern playground.

The Collect Pond Park will be expanded to receive benches, drinking fountains and other amenities. Washington Market Park is to have a new year-round, vandal-resistant public restroom. And the Pike and Allen Street malls — 15 center plots along Allen and Pike Streets — will be reconstructed with plantings, benches and trees.

Since the terrorist attack, the development corporation has contributed to the refurbishment of 16 parks and other public spaces. At the Canal Street park site, Mr. Cahill told the governor that one planned name was Renaissance Park.

"Well," Mr. Pataki said, surveying the devastated expanse under a steely sky, "it looks as though it should not have that name right now."

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

February 10th, 2006, 11:18 AM
$19.5 million to enhance six parks and public spaces in Lower Manhattan ... (including) the Collect Pond Park, at Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets ...
This derelict little square that sits across from the Criminal Courts Building the Family Courts Building and the Housing Courts Building is long overdue for renovation. It is an insult to those NYers who are compelled to use the courts that this "park" is what greets them. Currently the benches are old, splintered and falling apart. The pavement is sinkingand cracked, the trees are in urgent need of trimming and attention, plantings are surrounded by packed earth as hard as concrete. It's an embarassment.

February 10th, 2006, 11:21 AM
Another project that is long overdue ...

Park memorial for Black Hand officer to get a hand

The Villager
February 8 -14 2006

Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert
Lieutenant Petrosino Park at Kenmare St., above, and its namesake,
Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, below.


Lieutenant Petrosino Square, a small, 7,000-square-foot triangle at Kenmare and Lafayette Sts., named for a legendary police officer, is slated for a $2 million renovation by the Parks Department. The currently little-used park, which has shifted and settled and taken on the look of an ancient ruin, is in serious need of an upgrade. Plans are to expand the park to the east, taking one of three lanes of a section of Lafayette St. that is only used by traffic making right turns from Spring St.

Said Carli Smith, a Parks spokesperson, “Although we are still in the preliminary planning for this renovation, we plan to work with the Department of Transportation to take a portion of Lafayette St. to expand the park. The main portion of traffic is on the other side of the park; therefore taking a lane of traffic will have no effect on the traffic flow on Lafayette St.”

As for when ground breaking on the project will occur, Smith said Parks won’t have a firm date until all the funding is secured.

The park’s namesake, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, was an immigrant from Salerno who became the New York Police Department’s first Italian-American detective. He was a member of the “Italian Squad,” an undercover unit of Italian-American officers who battled the Black Hand organized crime syndicate, deporting 500 of its members. He founded the Bomb Squad, today located in Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct, to counter the Black Hand’s use of explosives for extortion. Petrosino was killed in 1909 in Italy while gathering intelligence about the Black Hand. His funeral in New York City was attended by 200,000 people.

January 30th, 2007, 12:19 PM
Landscape Architecture
February, 2007

Abstract Realism

At Teardrop Park in Battery Park City, all the park’s a playground

By Susan Hines


Teardrop Park is on River Terrace between Warren and Murray streets in lower Manhattan—just two blocks from Ground Zero. Although the appellation seems poignantly appropriate now, this natural playground in Battery Park City was actually named and already in the bidding phase when the Twin Towers collapsed.

Within just weeks of September 11, Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, remembers meeting with his clients, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), in their temporary offices. Visiting Ground Zero, he recalls “piles of twisted steel six stories high, smoke from the still-burning fires, and the smell.” The park’s design was finalized, but in the weeks following 9/11 the entire country, not to mention the citizens of New York City, was engulfed in uncertainty.

Although bidding was delayed for several months, the decision to continue with the building of the park was immediate. “It was so affirming for New York City,” Van Valkenburgh says. “I know [former BPCA president and CEO] Tim Carey felt it was a way of saying the Authority believed in downtown.”

Teardrop is tiny, just under two acres of space tucked between four residential high-rise buildings. Small children and their parents crowd the site, which is jam-packed with varied experiences, all taking their cue from the landscape of the Hudson River Valley without seeming out of place in an urban setting. Relax on the lawn, really a miniature greensward, or explore a small wetland; climb a rocky outcropping or stroll along the smooth paths. Take in the view from the top of a little hill, while your children accumulate grass stains rolling to the bottom. Watch your children zoom down the slide and play with sand and water. All of this is available in Teardrop, and it is very well taken care of by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy (BPCPC).

While it is a playground for small children, it is beautiful enough for adults to enjoy with or without the distraction of a child. Curvilinear paths run around the teardrop-shaped lawn and take visitors through a vaultlike opening in the wall to the sandbox and slide area. Throughout the site, granite sculptures by Ann Hamilton create tension and interest, and their jagged granite edges keep the place from looking too bucolic even around the small lawn.

Structuring the space is the magical north-facing bluestone wall: Alive with water and moss in the summer and shimmering with ice in the winter, it divides the so-called active and passive spaces of the park and stands as a monument to the intersection between art and craft, nature and engineering that is the design theme here.

How often is so much money—in this case $17 million—and so much time—five years—expended on a small space intended mainly for young children? How often does one small city park allow visitors to get away from the city and run the gamut of landscape experiences, from the pastoral rolling lawn to the sublime beauty of a massive wall of ice and stone?

The idea behind Teardrop and its rugged but child-enticing terrain came from the top down. Carey, the former president and CEO of the BPCA, grew up in the Hudson River Valley and owns property in the Catskill Mountains. “My vision was that those four buildings would be like hills and you would get the experience of walking through a glen in the Catskills and feel closeness to nature,” Carey says. “I wanted to provide children with an opportunity to come to a place that leads them to another place.”

When Carey arrived on the job in 1999, the BPCA had committed to creating permanent playing fields in Battery Park City. The rezoning effort that entailed opened up the opportunity for Teardrop, which was built on land originally designated for four residential towers with small private courtyards. To convince developers and city authorities that a park was feasible, architect and urban designer Ralph Lerner created a conceptual plan that replaced a road with a public park. Because the shape reminded him of a teardrop, Lerner called it Teardrop Park on the plan.

James F. Gill, BPCA’s long-time chairman, notes that property owners had to be convinced that giving up some of their property would ultimately benefit them. In this case, the BPCA’s history of creating highly successful urban green spaces demonstrated that these amenities are actually economically advantageous. The developers understood that in exchange for a little real estate they would get something in return.

No RFP was issued. Instead, “Several designers were asked to offer designs,” Gill explains. Why? “Because the size of the park was so small and the unique concept [of a Catskills mountain experience] was already in place.

“Ultimately, it was Michael Van Valkenburgh who offered us the rolling hills, stone outcroppings, and willowy marsh that is now Teardrop Park,” Gill says.

The very generous budget was an important factor in getting the park built and reflects BPCA’s own success as a public-benefit corporation devoted to managing the 90 acres under its control. “Our bonds have a triple-A rating,” Gill notes.

Van Valkenburgh admits that of all the work his firm has undertaken in recent years, he took a particular interest in Teardrop. He had just relocated to New York himself. “When you go to a new place you always experience a heightened awareness,” he says. “And when you move to New York, the first project you take on at the end of relocation is very dear.”

Given the constraints of the site—flat, sandy, and mostly shady—the challenge of building a Catskills-inspired playground for tots was fairly daunting. “This park is on bare landfill—sand pumped in from the river in the 1960s—there was nothing here,” says Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) principal Matthew Urbanski. “We needed a strategy that allowed for some sense of exploration or unfolding in this very small space. Otherwise people would just come in, see everything, and leave.”

At first, the firm played with fairly simplistic ideas such as bringing in a large rock outcropping and dropping it down on the site. However, as they visited quarries looking for materials, Urbanski says, “We realized we needed to evoke nature, not mock nature.” The firm quickly abandoned its initial concept of creating a “revealed bedrock” look. Instead, it embraced an idea Urbanski describes as “building nature from quarried pieces.”

In response, Van Valkenburgh himself drew the wall that began to define the space and the aesthetic of Teardrop, and through the drawing of the wall, “the tension between built and natural began to emerge,” Urbanski says. It is exactly that tension that keeps the park from seeming like counterfeit countryside.

The wall, which blocked the view from one end of the park to the other, commenced the process of dividing the small space to make it more complex. It also serves as a retaining wall for the rocky outcropping and slide combination that lies on the south-facing side. Many of these aspects of the design were worked out in models rather than through drawing and, in fact, the modeling process continued through the writing of the construction documents.

The firm was confident that the public would respond positively to the aesthetic. “New Yorkers know naturalism as public landscape,” Urbanski notes. “If this was a prissy formal garden park they might think it was private.” However, New York is home both to Central Park, where Olmsted first promoted the concept of created naturalism, and to Gramercy Park, a fenced and gated vestige of the nineteenth century and the last private park in the city.

The firm wanted to actively signal to the public that Teardrop was open to everyone, not just the residents of the residential high-rise apartment buildings that line its edges. Thus, throughout the site, MVVA reached out to New Yorkers in a variety of specific ways, speaking to their collective unconsciousness of what public parks should look like by choosing paving and furnishings, such as the World’s Fair park benches, that identified the space as public.

One space the firm insisted on, despite initial skepticism from the überorganic BPCPC, was the inclusion of lawn in the space. “We wanted grass because New Yorkers love grass, and without a lawn it wouldn’t seem like a park to them,” Urbanski explains. “We did an elaborate solar analysis to determine where the sun would hit for at least three and a half hours on the equinox. The solar angle study determined where the lawn would be and then we tilted the grade up to the south to get even more sun.” Because the developers were vested in the project they were able to convince the owners and the architect of the Solaire condominium to shave six inches off the rooftop, allowing just a tad more sun in.

Teardrop Park did not spring fully formed from the offices of MVVA. The firm assembled a sizable team that included natural playground expert Robin Moore, Affiliate ASLA; geotechnical engineers from Mueser Rutledge; quarryman Bruce O’Brien; master stonemason Hayden Hillsgrove; and artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil.

“When the client said ‘this needs to be a place for play’ we interpreted that in the broadest way,” says MVVA principal Laura Solano. And they called on Moore for advice on how to integrate play throughout the site. “It didn’t take much to convince Michael and everybody else that the whole landscape should be a playground,” Moore says. He advocated successfully for rocky yet climbable terrain, a steeper slide than is generally installed in playgrounds, and a small boggy wetland filled with rotting logs at the lowest point in the park. Aside from the slide, the play elements are basic—sand, water, rocks, and plants.

“Robin Moore drove my parks people and lawyers crazy at the time—they liked all those flat, boring places,” Carey says. “But Robin was able to create a magnificent place for kids. When you get down to their height the landscape is even more exciting.” Teardrop is climbable, adventure packed, and potentially risky.

“There are no regulations for playgrounds,” Solano points out. “But there are consumer product safety guides for equipment.” By studying playground equipment guides they learned about recommended allowances for head clearance, the dangers of entrapment, fall height requirements, and the minimum and maximum spaces for gaps.

“Because we were dealing with natural materials and natural forms, we had to make sure those rules were applied in the field,” Solano says. To solve this problem the firm made templates from foam core that showed angles and distances and gave them in kits to contractors for use during construction. By referencing the templates workers could precisely determine if distances between rocks and boulders were too large or too small and if an angle was sharp enough to produce an injury.

So far no injuries have been reported. Signs warn people not to climb on the wall or Hamilton’s granite artwork. Climbing is encouraged in the rocky slide area; adults as well as children make use of this feature. According to a posting on the Project for Public Spaces web site, at least one elderly woman regularly practices her rock-climbing skills here.

The shady site would not support the growth of many trees. Of the 65,910 plants in Teardrop Park—shrubs, perennials, ground covers, trees, vines, and bulbs—mature witch hazels and fast-growing sumac are among the tallest. Planted above the ice wall, the sumac creates a jungle effect in summer and a blast of color in the fall.

Creating rolling topography atop a sand bed required geotechnical expertise from the engineering firm Mueser Rutledge. The company’s relationship to Battery Park City dates from the building of the original landfill. To build the landforms that make up the high-contrast landscape of Teardrop, the firm recommended using horizontal layers of geogrids. Most often used to reinforce embankment fills and earth dams or to repair slope failures and landslides, these plastic square grids extend into the growing medium.

But the geogrids couldn’t prevent surface erosion and wouldn’t allow for the creative placement of rocks and trees. “We needed flexibility in the surface layer,” Urbanski says, so Mueser Rutledge came up with the idea of using geofibers in the surface layers mix. “The conservancy had never seen these polypropylene fibers before, so an on-site test was conducted. We built a 1:1 slope using the geofibers mixed in with the BPCPC’s regular designed soil mix. We left it all winter long and it never eroded.”

Look closely and you can find the geofibers in Teardrop’s planting beds. What looks like a piece of plastic string pulls apart to reveal a web of woven fibers. “Essentially, geofibers mimic plant roots to stop surface erosion and give tensile strength to the earth—like millions of little plastic rebars. It was just one of the technical things that allowed this expression of nature to happen,” explains Urbanski.

An artist in his own right, O’Brien was the mastermind behind the 300-ton bluestone wall, building it over the course of 6 months at his upstate New York quarry, numbering the stones, and then disassembling it and shipping the rock to the city to be reassembled by union masons in just 3 days. The masons reportedly said the wall was the most beautiful thing they had ever made.

Several kinds of rock were used in the park. In addition to the dramatic stone of the tectonic wall, giant boulders of sandstone, a by-product of the quarry process that usually ends up as aggregate, were set aside. Hillsgrove and his wife, Betsy Hoffman, helped MVVA with the placement of these stones and others used for texture and climbing practice around the slide. They moved into one of the buildings and literally lived on the park’s edge for several months.

Hamilton and Mercil’s sculptural rock installation runs “like a rift,” as Urbanski puts it, through the park. The firm had worked with Hamilton before at Allegheny Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh. Dramatic stacked sheets of the same bluestone used in the wall appear in various sections of the park, adding interest yet somehow blending in. Like so much of the art and craft harnessed here, these sculptures riff on the theme of nature while complementing the landscape composition.

Without the full support of the BPCPC, a park such as Teardrop would never be so well maintained. For example, because the conservancy bears maintenance in mind from the very beginning, the railings chosen for use in the park can be removed for painting or repair and then popped back in place.

And they bring landscape architects back to fix problems. “We made the stupid assumption that kids would take the path up the hill to the slide,” Urbanski says, but they don’t; “they climb up the embankment.” No high-tech product can protect soil and plants from a team of young soccer players in cleats. In response, the firm removed the plants and made the slope more climbable, installing rocks with a grainy surface that would prevent slipping.

When it turned out that teens liked hanging around the sheltered area near the south-side tunnel opening, low rails were installed to encourage leaning and discourage climbing. Although intended for tots, everybody is welcome here.

“We wanted it to look as if we had never been here” is a cliché often voiced by landscape architects.

Teardrop Park is a different case. Unabashedly the work of humans—two acres of landfill, surrounded by skyscrapers, topped with a heady mix of technology and aesthetics—it works as nature without pretending that it is nature. What could easily have become a bizarre kind of Catskills Country Safari theme park is instead a highly concentrated dose of art inspired by nature. As such it is an appropriately potent antidote to the urban landscape that surrounds it.

Client: Battery Park City Authority and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, New York. Landscape architects: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., New York (Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, Matthew Urbanski, Laura Solano, principals). Artists: Ann Hamilton, Michael Mercil, Columbus, Ohio. Structural, civil, MEP engineers: Arup, New York. Geotechnical engineer: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, New York. Construction manager: Humphreys & Harding Inc., New York. Play consultant: Natural Learning Initiative, Raleigh, North Carolina. Site contractor: Metrotech, Jamaica, New York. Landscape contractor: Kelco, East Northport, New York. Engineered stone contractor: Granite Works, Waverly, New York.

©2006 American Society of Landscape Architects

January 30th, 2007, 12:25 PM
In order to become a successful urban city, one needs parks. LOL
Any new or renovated public parks in the L.I.C. area?

June 6th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Frank Gehry Designs His First Playground for NYC

Posted by Jen Chung
June 6, 2007
Gothamist (http://www.gothamist.com/2007/06/06/frank_gehry_des.php)


How hot does titanium get? And is it too hot for children to scamper on? Is corrugated cardboard sturdy enough after many rains? These are the questions that came to mind when we heard that Frank Gehry will design a playground for the Battery.

At the Battery Conservancy's gala last night, Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that Gehry would design his first playground in Manhattan. Benepe said, "It is fitting that the Battery, the birthplace of New York, will be home to another firstFrank Gehry’s newest creation will be a truly innovative play experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike, for the young and the young-at-heart.” And from the press release:

An original Gehry design will complement the uniqueness of the Battery, where land and sea, history and modernity combine in a refuge for pleasure, relaxation, learning and play for people of all ages. The architect’s work – internationally acclaimed for its daring exploration of form, singular combination of urbanity and whimsy, and sensitivity to culture in our built environment – lends itself to this project: an original environment for children to explore and have fun. The one-acre playground will also feature a “green” comfort station with a green roof and vegetal walls.

This means that downtown is the place for playgrounds, since David Rockwell is working on a playground for the South Street Seaport. The construction for the Gehry playground will receive $4 million and the Battery Conservancy will raise the rest of the money.

And the playground will be part of a "larger renaissance of the Battery," which includes the Battery Bosque Gardens, two new "green" and organic food kiosks, a Battery Bikeway, a new Town Green, renovations to Peter Minuet Plaza, and the restoration and expansion of Castle Clinton.

June 6th, 2007, 04:21 PM
Frank Gehry Designs His First Playground for NYC

Posted by Jen Chung
June 6, 2007

And the playground will be part of a "larger renaissance of the Battery," which includes the Battery Bosque Gardens, two new "green" and organic food kiosks, a Battery Bikeway, a new Town Green, renovations to Peter Minuet Plaza, and the restoration and expansion of Castle Clinton.

They forgot to mention the trailers for the Statue of Liberty security lines. Right on the water, no less.

June 6th, 2007, 10:48 PM
Gehry to Design Battery Park Playground

Published: June 6, 2007

Frank Gehry, the architect known for his buildings adorned with undulating banners of titanium, is set make his first foray into the world of monkey bars and swing sets with a new playground at Battery Park, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said today.

The design for the new playground, which is to transform an aging, underused expanse of grey-pebbled concrete, is to be unveiled later this year, city officials said, and is to include an environmentally friendly rest station with a planted roof and plant-based walls.

“Everything Frank Gehry touches is unique and I’m sure it will be a great park,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference today.

The new playground is part of a larger redevelopment of the Battery, which includes a bikeway connecting the East and West Sides of Manhattan, gardens and the restoration of Castle Clinton, the historic fort. The city has set aside $4 million for its construction, with the Battery Conservancy planning to raise the balance of any money that might be needed.

The project, which Mr. Bloomberg first announced at a Battery Conservancy gala on Tuesday night, is getting under way as the city has moved to create and redesign its public spaces, including playgrounds. Although Mr. Bloomberg said it was unlikely the city would see a rash of new playgrounds from prominent designers because of their specialized needs, there are others in the works. One near the South Street Seaport is being designed by David Rockwell, best known for adult play spaces like the Mohegan Sun casino and resort.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/06/nyregion/06cnd-gehry.html)

October 6th, 2007, 10:03 AM
One of a series of articles in The Villager regarding Hudson Square (http://thevillager.com/villager_231/hudsonsquare/index.html) ...

Architects brainstorm ways to add park space

Five architectural teams charged with coming up with new ideas for
Hudson Square proposed park space on the roof of the St. John’s Center.

Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects/Starr Whitehouse did a sloped schematic linking
St. John’s park to a smaller sanitation garage on the UPS parking lot
and down to street level.


The Villager (http://thevillager.com/villager_231/hudsonsquare/architects.html)
By Patrick Hedlund

The future of Manhattan’s West Side lies in an area some still can’t find on a map, and it contains some of the most developable land on the island, though many might have trouble recognizing the neighborhood’s name.

The community that was once only known to real estate agents and city developers as Hudson Square – the former industrial haven sandwiched between the West Village, Soho and Tribeca – isn’t even Hudson Square to some who have resided there for decades.

So to derail a plan to add more garbage trucks to the neighborhood, a group of concerned local tenants and developers tasked some of the city’s top architectural firms to envision a future for the congealing community as a way to draw attention to what they hope planners will now finally acknowledge as a legitimate neighborhood.

The undertaking – or charrette, as project contributors have dubbed it – initially began under the auspices of a couple of key players in the neighborhood earlier this year with the goal of eliciting original architectural visions for area development and park space.

The charrette’s proponents asked only that the architects take for granted two points: that the city will eventually rezone the northern part of the neighborhood following its 2003 rezoning farther south, and that a current Sanitation Department proposal to construct a facility in the area be disregarded in their designs.

The results, released exclusively to The Villager and Downtown Express by project leaders, feature a modern-day neighborhood of mixed-use properties that include innovative park designs, streamlined connectivity to the waterfront, and vibrant retail and residential corridors ripe for new development.

The charrette spawned both as a reaction to the city’s Sanitation proposal and a desire to spur expansive rezoning by the Department of City Planning, according to project underwriter Peter Moore.

“It seemed like an opportunity to really think about how we could introduce a more productive and positive dialogue about rezoning and development in general in the Downtown neighborhoods,” said Moore, who’s been developing properties in Hudson Square for 15 years. “To date [the dialogue with the city has] been contentious and fairly unsatisfying, so I feel that in a very vibrant real estate market, there’s got to be a coming together of the private and public in a more intelligent way.”

Moore said he provided funding in excess of $100,000 for the project, which enlisted the help of five top firms based out of New York (Arquitectonica GEO, FLAnk, LTL Architects, SPaN, and Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects, in association with Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners).

Their designs range from the practical and environmentally conscious to the futuristic and even fantastical, but all act to spark debate over the possibilities that lie ahead for Hudson Square.

Michael Kramer, whom St. John’s Center owner Eugene Grant commissioned to head up the charrette, called this a “rare moment in time” when developers and community members have met in the middle to effect positive change and better their neighborhood.

“This is a unique exercise unto itself, and of course we are trying to encourage our neighbors from the surrounding communities to enjoy Hudson Square as well,” said Kramer, referring to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Carl Weisbrod, president of Trinity Real Estate, the neighborhood’s largest property owner, has not yet seen the renderings but said danger exists if the ideas to add park space are not practical.

“What is not desirable is to create, on paper, a perfect world but find that it’s just not feasible to do – so nothing happens,” he said in a recent interview.

Kramer, however, explained that “the purpose of the charrette is to stimulate conversation.”

That conversation has begun get louder in Hudson Square, which has been characterized even by locals as “desolate,” a “no-man’s land” and out in “the country.” Concerned residents have hired lawyers to fight the city’s sanitation proposal, gathered for protests against construction perceived to be out of character with Hudson Square, and pledged “eternal vigilance,” according to David Reck, in resolving issues in the neighborhood.

“It’s not so much whether or not you support or don’t support development — development is, it’s happening,” said Reck, president of the Friends of Hudson Square and Community Board 2’s Zoning Committee chair. “It’s far better for the neighborhood to get involved in it and try to participate in it.”

One of the charrette’s more interesting outgrowths has been the architects’ incorporation of the waterfront into their respective designs, which tout access and connectivity to Hudson River Park. Some renderings even feature green bridges linking the neighborhood to the pier, which would encourage it as an accessible destination for the general public. The elevated park space would connect St. John’s, a smaller sanitation garage and the UPS building to Hudson Park’s Pier 40, according to some designs.

“I see the waterfront as being the magnet,” Kramer noted. “It’s going to be busy during the day because of the office workers, and at night it’s going to be busy because of all the new residential population… This will be one of the closest areas to the park that you can live.”

And in an area with so much available – and desirable – real estate, the waterfront will be a natural draw for developers looking to capitalize on the neighborhood’s prime location.

[I]The team produced a rendering of the open space above the garage and UPS building.

A key component to that planning involves the immense St. John’s Center and UPS building adjacent to Pier 40, which figure prominently into some of the architects’ designs due to their proximity to the waterfront.

A statement from Eugene M. Grant and Co., owner of the St. John’s Center, said that “our initial reaction is a positive one,” although the company has reserved comments related to future development at the site until a later date.

“We are much encouraged by the opportunities that they have pointed out to create green space and safe linkages to the Hudson River Park, which we know would be of great interest to the tenants in our building,” the statement read.

Charrette collaborator Richard Barrett of the Canal West Coalition said hopefully the project will be enough to convince City Planning to take a closer look at all of Hudson Square.

“They don’t seem to plan comprehensively, even though there’s a state mandate for zoning and rezoning to be part of a comprehensive plan, and a well-considered plan,” he said.

“We have a common stake in all of this, and it’s time to really establish ourselves as a real neighborhood with real issues,” Reck said. “In the end, that’s what keeps all of us going.”

And what of longtime residents like Joanne Hendricks who maintain they live in the South Village, and not Hudson Square?

“The neighborhood is changing, it’s a dynamic neighborhood, and I can live with the change,” said the 34-year Greenwich St. resident. “It’s nice to see people walking on the streets.”

The complete Hudson Square charrette will go on public display from Sat., Oct. 27 through Sun., Nov. 25 at 627 Greenwich St., at the corner of Morton St., on the 10th floor. It will be open on weekdays from noon to 6 p.m., excluding Mondays, and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. The display will be closed for Thanksgiving.

October 7th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Up-Date on this park from Lower Manhattan Info (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/cavala_canal_varick_laight_10126.aspx) ...

The Canal-Varick-Laight park now has a name.

Landscape group presents park plan for Varick triangle

... Plans for the new half-acre park, Renaissance Park also include a potential 24-ft tall stone waterfall and decorative metal fencing and benches, all designed for free by top landscape designers and architects from across the country — members of the American Landscape Contractors Association.

However, the newly-designated name ("CaVaLa" ???) is beyond ridiculous ...

CaVaLa (Canal, Varick, Laight) Park


The triangle at Canal, Varick, and Laight Streets has had several different incarnations over the last three centuries. In 1767, the area was swampland. In the late 1800's, Canal Street served as an actual canal and the triangle was a part of it. By 1921, the canal was paved over and the Crucible Steel Company occupied the triangular shaped parcel. Later that decade, the Crucible building was demolished to make way for the elevated subway line. Finally, in the 1940's, the triangle was morphed into a cobbled roadbed and served as a parking lot until recently. In 2005, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation proposed building a park on the parcel of land and was given ownership of the area by the Department of Transportation. Later that year, DOT constructed sidewalks around the triangle to complement the park that was yet to be built. In 2006, the Tribeca Film Festival donated money to the Department of Parks and Recreation to recreate the triangle into a grassy lawn for patrons.


The proposed schematic design of the CaVaLa Park envisions a "passive open space" that will serve as a gateway to Lower Manhattan. The park will have three entrances at each corner and will be adorned with modern details. A tiered canal-like fountain built in locks will be the main feature of the park. The sculptured fountain will be 113 feet long and 6 feet wide. The proposed budget for the park comes to $2.3 million.


The following information was last updated on October 5, 2007.

The project was transmitted for construction on July 19, 2007. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2007. CaVaLa Park is expected to be completed and opened to the public by November 2008.

October 7th, 2007, 10:13 AM
More ^^^ ...

Mayor's Press Release (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%2F2007b%2Fpr244-07.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1)
July 17, 2007

Construction of CaVaLa Park,
including the Installation of a Sculptural Fountain by Elyn Zimmerman

Canal Street, Varick Street and Laight Street, Manhattan
Gail Wittwer-Laird, Department of Parks & Recreation
Elyn Zimmerman, Artist

This site will now be a green and welcoming gateway to Lower Manhattan. Its 250-year history (from swamp to housing to steel factory in the 1920s to a trolley turn-around in the 1930s to an open cobbled triangle that served as a post-9/11 temporary staging area and checkpoint) chronicles how fast urban progress took hold in New York City and how quickly any given piece of land was transformed to fit the immediate needs of its time.

The project will go into construction this fall for completion in 2008.

October 7th, 2007, 10:24 AM
Artist Elyn Zimmerman (http://elynzimmerman.com/public.htm) ^^^ designed the now-destroyed WTC Memorial to the 1993 bombing ...

World Trade Center Memorial, 1995, New York City. Commemorating 1993 bombing:



October 7th, 2007, 11:02 AM
CaVaLa Park

Canal Varick Laight

Public Information Exchange (http://www.pieaia.org/pie/projects/110/)

http://www.pieaia.org/images/content/6/9/692.jpg (http://www.pieaia.org/pie/projects/110/)

This ½ acre park, once a parking lot under NYCDOT and Port Authority jurisdiction, will soon become a green and welcoming gateway to Lower Manhattan.

This contemporary design pays homage to some of Manhattan’s oldest pocket parks such as Jackson Square and Bowling Green. It will serve visitors to SoHo, and Canal Street as well as the TriBeCa community and the financial district.

The center of the park is a 114 foot long sculptural water fountain by artist Elyn Zimmerman. Water cascades from a granite tower down through a weir into three interconnected locks of water. Each lock contains a span of still water that travels over a series of stepped rapids as it descends to the next level. A sloped lawn rises up to meet the southern side of the fountain.

A double row of canopy and street trees line the perimeter of the park, defining the triangle in a very open and exposed site. Three large planting beds are filled with low flowering shrubs and colorful perennials. An evergreen hedge along all three sides contains the ornamental plantings and will provide year round interest.

There will be a continuous perimeter fence on the outside with three major entrances at each corner. These entrances will be marked with granite columns containing images illustrating the different transformations of the site’s history.

Project Credits

Gail Wittwer-Laird, Department of Parks & Recreation (http://www.nycgovparks.org/)

Artist: Elyn Zimmerman (http://elynzimmerman.com/)

October 9th, 2007, 01:43 PM
This has been a long time coming. I'm glad to see it finally designed. I think it, along with One York and the new building to be constructed across the street with serve as a strong divider (and enticing entry) to the "New" Canal Street.

October 12th, 2007, 12:39 PM
Downtown Express
Volume 20, Issue 22 | October 12-18, 2007

Seaport to get sunken oasis

By Skye H. McFarlane

Rendering of the Parks Dept.’s design for DeLury Square Park.

The Parks Dept. Tuesday night presented a new design that would transform the northeast corner of Fulton and Gold Sts. from a congested traffic triangle into a sunken oasis — complete with a waterfall.

In order to complete the design, the Parks Dept. must purchase a slice of land from the Southbridge Towers co-op. The project would also have to undergo a land-use review process. If everything moves forward as planned, though, the park could be completed sometime in 2009, the same time that street work in the area is set to finish up.

The city Dept. of Transportation is realigning the intersection of Fulton and Gold Sts. to make it a standard four-way crossing, eliminating both the traffic triangle and the hazardous northbound turning lane on Fulton.

Parks would then take the wider curb area at the northeast corner of the intersection and combine it with the Southbridge land to create a large square of green. Two paved paths would lead pedestrians down Fulton St. and into the Southbridge complex, while a third, gravel path would wind down into a grassy valley. Water would fall down a stream-like track into a small pool in the valley. The space would sport both metal benches and boulders that could double as additional seating.

The Community Board 1 Seaport Committee, which is chaired by a Southbridge board member, John Fratta, expressed widespread support for the plan. C.B. 1 members voiced concerns, however, that the new park might become a haven for homeless individuals and rowdy Murry Bergtraum High School students, who currently hang out at the nearby Burger King after school.

The Parks Dept. representatives said that the new DeLury Square Park would be part of a group of Lower Manhattan parks to be patrolled each evening by Parks Enforcement Patrol officers.

The PEPs, as they are often called, are paid by the Parks Dept. but under the supervision of the N.Y.P.D. and can write tickets for low-level offenses. The added PEP patrols will be funded by a new pool of Downtown park maintenance money being provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The park would also be gated and locked at night.

Committee members asked that Parks consider adding afternoon patrols to the DeLury Square area, but voted unanimously to approve the preliminary design.

“We’re going to take what is a chaotic place and turn it into a sizeable green space,” said Larry Mauro of the Parks Dept.

© 2007 Community Media, LLC

November 16th, 2007, 01:15 PM
November 16, 2007

Deutsche Bank Unveils 9/11 Memorial Fountain


Deutsche Bank unveiled a memorial in Lower Manhattan this morning, more than six years after the company lost four employees in September 11th terrorist attacks.

The official ribbon-cutting was held for a memorial fountain on Wall Street between Front and South Streets.

Deutsche Bank officials say they not only wanted to honor their workers who died, but also the city as a whole.

"As a European firm we very much appreciated the spirit here in New York of the city coming together and rebounding and healing the wounds, and this fountain really stands as a lasting memorial to our employees and to the city itself,” said Garry Hattem of Deutsche Bank America’s Foundation.

"Oh it means a lot,” said Erma Bourdier, widow of 9/11 victim. “We are very grateful to Deutsche Bank and the city of New York. [It’s] another reason to come back. This is actually our first time to come back since we left, so we were really anxious last night – couldn't sleep. But I'm happy. I'm happy."

The idea for the memorial came from a fountain that used to stand outside the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street.

Six years after the September 11th attacks, the building is still awaiting demolition, which has been slowed by many factors, including the presence of human remains and a fire this summer that took the lives of two city firefighters.

Copyright © 2007 NY1 News. All rights reserved.


January 18th, 2008, 08:52 AM
City offers Southbridge a park AND $5.5 million

Renderings of the design for the new DeLury Square,
which the city would build at Fulton and Gold Sts. if
Southbridge Towers agrees to sell the land.

By Julie Shapiro

Plans for a new DeLury Square park garnered broad support at a Southbridge Towers tenant meeting last week, though some people remained concerned about the park’s security.

“It’s a great gift to Southbridge,” resident Edith Amster said after the presentation. “I believe the community will greatly benefit from a beautiful park.”

The Parks Department hopes to build the park at Fulton and Gold Sts. after the city transforms that corner into a traditional right-angle intersection. To complete the 10,000-square-foot park, the city would need to buy a parcel of land owned by Southbridge Towers. Southbridge residents will soon vote on the city’s offer of just over $5.5 million for the land.

If Southbridge tenants approve the transaction, the city hopes to start construction this fall and open the park in fall 2009.

Several residents were concerned that teens from high schools including nearby Murry Bergtraum, who frequent the Fulton St. Burger King, will make the park a hangout.

Bonnie, a resident of Building 2, told her fellow tenants that she wants to move the students farther from the building, not closer.

“I have no problem with the park, but every single day there are issues [with the students],” she said.

Thomas Moran, the First Precinct’s community affairs officer, replied that police officers are regularly posted near the Burger King, and he added that the scooter task force is giving special attention to the area.

Moran encouraged the residents to support the park.

“I don’t see the problems that are happening at Burger King happening in the park,” Moran said. “It doesn’t look like [the students] will have a space to sit and congregate.”

Greg Cooper, a Southbridge resident, said after the meeting that he felt the security issues had been addressed. The park “only makes Southbridge a better place,” Cooper said. “I think we’re lucky.”

DeLury Square will be part of a chain of parks along the redeveloped Fulton St., moving down toward the East River to Pearl St. Playground and Titanic Park, said Lawrence Mauro, the Parks Dept.’s project manager for Lower Manhattan. The corner of Gold and Fulton Sts. was once a forest, and the goal of landscape architect Alexander Hart’s design is to bring the forest back to Lower Manhattan.

The idyllic renderings show a diagonal path traversing a green swatch, curving among tall trees and boulders inspired by Manhattan’s skyline. A fountain in the center of the park will keep water flowing across stones and into a pond. Picnickers can spread out on a sunny lawn, encircled by flowers and fragrant shrubs.

“It will be a calm and quiet passage,” Mauro said. When he spoke with residents about what they wanted, “the word ‘refuge’ came up again and again.”

City Councilmember Alan Gerson called the park a wonderful opportunity, but said “the devil remains in the details,” a harbinger of the detailed questions that followed the Parks Department’s presentation. He may have been referring to a long-running dispute in the Village over the redesign of Washington Square Park.

Residents asked about everything from traffic lights and security cameras to dog walkers and street vendors, but the majority seemed to support the plan.

“This looks like paradise compared to what we have already,” said one resident, whose remarks were met with applause.

Several residents, however, were concerned that the proposed 4-foot steel fence would be too short to protect the park.

Mauro replied that an agile young person could scale even a 7-foot fence without much trouble, and that the fence is more a property marker than a safeguard. Besides, with a taller fence, “you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a cage,” he said.

To discourage people from sleeping on the park benches, the benches will be shorter than usual, with arm rests in the middle, Mauro said. As additional security, the Parks Enforcement Patrol promised to include the park on its rounds.

“We want to make this work,” said Edwin Falcon, a PEP sergeant.

One tenant asked about the sinkhole on Southbridge property, which the city would repair if the park plan goes forward. The soil used to fill that area 30 years ago is settling, Mauro said, which is putting stress on sewage and drainage lines. Parks will stretch a geotextile fabric across the hole to support the soil.

If the tenants do not agree to sell the land to the city, Southbridge will have to bear the cost of the multi-million-dollar repair, said Wally Dimson, president of the Southbridge Towers board.

“I’m confident people will support it,” he said of the sale.

One resident asked what would happen to the square parcel if Southbridge decides not to sell its part of it. Mauro replied that the Parks Department’s contribution in that case would be “extremely limited.”

“You’d see pavement, benches,” Mauro said, and then he paused. “Maybe a tree.”

As the audience broke into laughter, one tenant turned to another and said, “A tree grows in DeLury.”


Those trees look a hundred years old.

January 18th, 2008, 10:33 AM
re: Old Trees as seen in the renderings ...


... the 10,000-square-foot park ...

... Picnickers can spread out on a sunny lawn, encircled by flowers and fragrant shrubs.

If Southbridge residents are lucky then that little patch might hold a party of 6.

And the lawn will be available for public use every 3rd week of every 2nd month ...

re-seeding is often necessary after picnics, ya know?

January 19th, 2008, 12:17 AM
I wish the city would offer Downtown's NIMBY central a bulldozer.

January 19th, 2008, 10:13 AM
Seems there are concerns that need attention ... not really complaints or folks saying "NO!"..

It will be a huge improvement on what has existed at that intersection.

But what is proposed is really a fairly small green-space -- and not actually a park. More akin to what exists along Broadway on the triangular plots near Lincoln Center ...

All said, I'm completely behind finding as many of these pockets as possible -- and turning them from concrete to greenery ASAP.

March 16th, 2008, 10:43 PM
Southbridge votes to take the park and the money

The parcel of land Southbridge Towers
residents voted to sell to the city to
create the park.

By Julie Shapiro

It isn’t often that the government pays residents for the opportunity to build a park, but at Southbridge Towers, residents find themselves in just that position.

Southbridge residents voted overwhelmingly this week to sell a parcel of land to the city, in return for which they will receive both a new DeLury Square park and $5.57 million.

The city decided to take the curved intersection of Fulton and Gold Sts. and transform it into a traditional intersection, creating space for a 10,000-square-foot park. But first, the city needed a piece of Southbridge Towers land, and the recent vote paves the way for this sale.

“We’re all very delighted,” said Wally Dimson, president of the Southbridge Towers board. “It’s an opportunity to have a beautiful park.”

Dimson cited the results — 534 in favor and 89 opposed — as evidence of the widespread support for the sale. The money will go into the Southbridge Towers budget, Dimson said, and part of it will be used to improve the complex’s security system.

The city hopes to start construction this fall and open the park in fall 2009.

In selling the land, Southbridge is also getting rid of a sinkhole that would have to be filled, at the cost of at least $2 million, said Paul Hovitz, a resident and Community Board 1 member. That brings the value of the sale up to $7.5 million, he said.

Southbridge will also get a tree-shaded square, which residents and the Parks Department have described as an oasis of shrubbery and lawns, complete with a small stream and a waterfall.

The corner of Fulton and Gold Sts. is currently the epicenter of a construction war zone, with machinery belowground and plywood barriers above, and trucks struggling to navigate in between. But once the replacement of a 150-year-old water main is complete, the city plans to square off the corner of Fulton and Gold Sts., making the intersection safer to cross and also opening up space for the park.

The only concern Hovitz and other residents have raised about the park is that it could become a camping ground for homeless people or a hangout for teenagers. Several recent fights on Fulton St. have highlighted the problems with local high school students, which First Precinct police officers say will get worse as the weather gets warmer.

“I don’t think you deny an amenity because of a need for enforcement,” Hovitz said. “All in all, I think it’s good thing for Southbridge and the [whole] community.”

Ann DeFalco, co-chairperson of the Southbridge Parent and Youth Association, agreed with Hovitz.

“I don’t have a fear of it being a problem with students,” she said. “I think this is an opportunity for the Parks Department and the city to be involved in what’s going on in the neighborhood, and supply the security and beautiful grounds that go with it.”

The park will require its own maintenance and security, which the city will provide, so that means that “more people will be paying attention,” said DeFalco, who is also co-chair of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee.

She thinks the park’s location — near shops, restaurants and residential complexes — will attract a mixture of people, especially the stroller-pushing crowd that has grown recently in the Seaport.

Even Joe Morrone, the leading critic of Southbridge selling the land, did not sound too displeased by the defeat. His biggest concerns now are that the Southbridge board uses the money to upgrade the complex and that the city’s construction of the park isn’t too disruptive.

“I was adamantly against it, but in retrospect it’s not such a bad thing,” Morrone said. “Any infusion into the treasury is good.”


Downtown Express is published by Community Media LLC.
© 2008 Community Media, LLC

April 23rd, 2008, 06:11 AM
CaVaLa (Canal, Varick, Laight) Park


The triangle at Canal, Varick, and Laight Streets has had several different incarnations over the last three centuries. In 1767, the area was swampland. In the late 1800's, Canal Street served as an actual canal and the triangle was a part of it. By 1921, the canal was paved over and the Crucible Steel Company occupied the triangular shaped parcel. Later that decade, the Crucible building was demolished to make way for the elevated subway line. Finally, in the 1940's, the triangle was morphed into a cobbled roadbed and served as a parking lot until recently. In 2005, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation proposed building a park on the parcel of land and was given ownership of the area by the Department of Transportation. Later that year, DOT constructed sidewalks around the triangle to complement the park that was yet to be built. In 2006, the Tribeca Film Festival donated money to the Department of Parks and Recreation to recreate the triangle into a grassy lawn for patrons.


The proposed schematic design of the CaVaLa Park envisions a "passive open space" that will serve as a gateway to Lower Manhattan. The park will have three entrances at each corner and will be adorned with modern details. A tiered canal-like fountain built in locks will be the main feature of the park. The sculptured fountain will be 113 feet long and 6 feet wide. The proposed budget for the park comes to $2.3 million.

Daily Activities

The following information was last updated on April 21, 2008.
The park's construction bid was awarded to Atlas Rolloff in December 2007.
Construction is expected to begin in April 2008. CaVaLa Park is expected to be completed and opened to the public within 18 months of the project's start date.
© 2007 Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center/LMDC

April 23rd, 2008, 06:15 AM
Collect Pond Park

Though familiar to jurors and neighborhood residents, most people may not realize that the open area amid the courthouses on Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets is actually public parkland. By day, the space is part dilapidated plaza, part Department of Transportation (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/home/home.shtml) parking lot. At night, when the municipal workers have gone home, the unlit, unguarded area is noted for its populations of homeless individuals and idle youths.

Good news: The Parks Department (http:///) is looking to change all that as part of a downtown open space program funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (http://www.renewnyc.com/),. A new $3.5 million park on the site will reclaim the parking lot for park use and add grass, game tables, and a water feature.


Collect Pond Park occupies the 18th-century site of Collect Pond, a large, 60-foot-deep pool fed by an underground spring. During the first decade of the 19th century, the polluted, plague-inducing Collect Pond was filled in and the area has since been home to public executions, a house of detention, and a section of the notorious Five Points slum.

In stark contrast to this somewhat unsavory history, park designers envision the new park as both a sunny lunch spot and a reminder of Manhattan's densely wooded past. The park will be surrounded by shade trees, with a large lawn in the center of the lot and tables along the northern and eastern edges. At the south end of the space, where the parking lot now sits, the Parks Department will place thick beds of ferns and other woodland plants. Water misters will be imbedded in the plantings, making the surrounding air feel wetter and cooler. The park will be enclosed by a four-foot fence and lampposts and will be locked at night.

Daily Activities

The following information was last updated on April 21, 2008.
The Art Commission tabled the latest proposal, redesign is anticipated to be resubmitted in May.

© 2007 Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center/LMDC

April 23rd, 2008, 09:59 AM
The Collect Pond is such an interesting bygone feature of lower Manhattan. The topography around Worth Street today still suggests the depression where it once was. What must if have looked like when it was pristine, and later when it became a polluted waste dump?

I've also wondered about the source of the spring that fed the Collect Pond. Where does that water go now? Too bad it couldn't be piped back in and reintroduced into the park somehow.

April 23rd, 2008, 04:00 PM
I agree with you, and I wonder the same about so many parts of Manhattan, it's like history and most geological features have been wiped clean.

Progress I suppose?

April 23rd, 2008, 05:26 PM
The old Collect Pond was not something anyone wanted to preserve.

April 24th, 2008, 04:16 AM
I can understand that.

During the first decade of the 19th century, the polluted, plague-inducing Collect Pond was filled in and the area has since been home to public executions, a house of detention, and a section of the notorious Five Points slum.

April 24th, 2008, 02:23 PM
Right. Nobody said anyone should have preserved the polluted Collect Pond. It was a disease factory. That's why Five Points was where it was.

May 29th, 2008, 04:16 PM
A Carousel Is Coming to Battery Park

http://www.tribecatrib.com/ (http://www.tribecatrib.com/)

June, 2004

... Community Board 1 approved the carousel design last month. Construction is expected to begin next spring ...

Four years later and maybe construction will soon start on the carousel ...

Carousel At The Battery Will Give Riders A Fish-Eye View

Tribeca Trib (http://www.tribecatrib.com/news/newsmay08/Carousel050812.html)
By Nick Pinto
POSTED MAY 2, 2008


Detailed plans for the marine-themed Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park were rolled out to Community Board 1 last month, offering the best look yet at the unique ride that is to start to spin, year round, in the fall of next year.

“The carousel is going to be such a wonderful addition to the Battery,” said Battery Conservancy president Warrie Price. “This is going to make the Battery.”

Located near Castle Clinton on the site of the country’s first aquarium (built in 1896), the carousel, designed by the Downtown firm of weisz + yoes (http://www.wystudio.com/carousel/), will look like a glass and steel nautilus shell, doubling as an entertaining ride and a sculpture of glass and light. (To stay in good working order, the carousel will operate all year.) The aquarium-themed interior will be created by George Tsypin, who designed the sets for the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

Instead of the usual carousel horses, passengers will choose one of 30 different fish, each cast in resin and coated with a polymer to reflect a full spectrum of colors. All but three of the fish will be single-seaters.

In the original conception of the carousel, visitors would ride fish as they would horses, but Tsypin wanted riders to feel like they are swimming themselves. In the current design, they will ride inside the fish.

“It’s going to be a lit moving sculpture in the middle of the park,” Price said. “At night it’s going to look amazing.” To make the most of its nighttime lighting effects, the carousel will stay open until 10 p.m.

As the two-and-a-half-minute ride begins, the carousel’s outer glass wall will darken to a deep blue, and movie footage of underwater scenes will be projected onto the interior.

The fish, mounted on a quadruple turntable composed of three smaller discs spinning inside a larger 60-foot-diameter plate, will rise and fall to simulate the three-dimensionality of underwater navigation.

Price is talking to deep-sea explorer Edie Widder about transmitting live footage to the carousel from her Eye in the Sea, the ocean-floor observation center that she invented. At other times, films about specific underwater species might be projected on the screens.

Price said one of the goals of the carousel is to make people more aware that the water that surrounds the city is filled with life.

“We’ve been trying to figure out: how do we combine amusement and education and advocacy and conservation?” she said. “We want it to be fun, but we also want to get kids thinking.”

The revolutionary design and cutting-edge technology won’t come cheap, of course. Price said the Battery Conservancy has raised $8 million in public money and another $3.5 million in private funds for the design and construction of the carousel.

Along with the children’s playground next door, designed by Frank Gehry, Price said she expects the carousel to be one of the final pieces in the long rehabilitation of the park.

“This is a place with so much historical significance, but for so long it was just a place that commuters walked through, not a place we fell in love with,” she said. “It didn’t reflect anything about who we are as New Yorkers, our creativity. This is going to get us to a point where the Battery is a real destination.”


http://www.wystudio.com/_IMAGES/wy-architecture.gif (http://www.wystudio.com/index.html)


Weisz + Yoes came up with and developed a Carousel based on the theme
of sea life that links this new feature with the original New York Aquarium.
In place of traditional symmetry and enclosure, the proposed architecture
is a dynamic unfolding of an organic, moving, musical and lighting experience.
Its materiality will take embedded light sources with poured translucent
fiber based materials, along with structural steel to create a luminous,
glowing environment.

Even before its public announcement The Battery Park Carousel was
featured as ‘The best of New York’ in the New York Post when viewed at
last years Going Public exhibition at the Center for Architecture.




July 4th, 2008, 07:29 AM
Construction has finally started at the park on Canal-Laight.

http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/1025/laightcanal01cbp3.th.jpg (http://img372.imageshack.us/my.php?image=laightcanal01cbp3.jpg) http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/4605/laightcanal02ceh1.th.jpg (http://img372.imageshack.us/my.php?image=laightcanal02ceh1.jpg)

September 18th, 2008, 03:56 PM
September 18, 2008, 2:30 pm

In TriBeCa, a New Park Called CaVaLa

By Sewell Chan (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/schan/)

In a city where real estate agents, neighborhood boosters and other property-oriented interests seem to be constantly inventing newfangled if odd-sounding place names — like Dumbo (http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40A1EFC385D0C778CDDA80994DC484D 81) (first New York Times reference: 1984), NoLIta (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905E3DD1E3BF937A25752C1A9609582 60) (1996) and SoBro (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/nyregion/24bronx.html) (1988 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE0DA143DF932A3575BC0A96E9482 60), but re-popularized in 2005) — it should come as little surprise that the city’s parks department has gotten in on the action.

On Thursday, officials broke ground on the $3.3 million CaVaLa Park. Adrian Benepe (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/adrian_benepe/index.html), the New York City parks commissioner, said he came up with the name because the half-acre park is bounded by Canal, Varick and Laight Streets and because no more suitable name was available.

City Room was taken aback at first. CaVaLa? Was Mr. Benepe serious?

“It’s between TriBeCa and SoHo, and bounded by Canal, Varick and Laight,” Mr. Benepe said in a phone interview. “In some ways, it’s an obvious choice for a name.”


“A bunch of names were proposed that had to do with 9/11, and we felt they didn’t work for this park,” he added. (The park was financed by a $2.4 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, along with $500,000 from the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation and $396,000 from the mayor’s office.)

Mr. Benepe pronounced the name cah-VAHL-lah.

“It flows nicely,” he continued. “It sounds like it could be a female horse.”

Come again?

“Cavallo is horse in Italian. Caballo in Spanish. Cheval in French. We could call it the Horse Park.”

(We note that if you were to reverse the order of the syllables, and render the name as La Vaca, you’d get the Spanish for “the Cow.” But anyway, let’s move on…)

We asked Mr. Benepe whether we could call him AdBe.

“People call me A all the time,” he said, unperturbed. “AdBe? Could be worse, I guess. Could be more dissonance.”

Turning to serious matters: Isn’t the new name, uh, giving into the trend of creating somewhat random-sounding names with no historical significance?

“It’s not giving into it so much as playing around with it,” Mr. Benepe insisted. “The name is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. It is utilitarian. Often a park is named after the street that adjoins it. We couldn’t call it Canal-Varick-Laight Park. We already have a Canal Park, to the west, and a Grand Canal Courts for basketball, directly across the street.”

The centerpiece of the new park is a canal-inspired fountain — “a large sculptural water feature,” the department said in a news release — designed by the local artist Elyn Zimmerman. Gail Wittwer Laird, a landscape architect with the parks department, handled the design.

The park is part of a $20.3 million project called Open Spaces II, in which seven open spaces in Lower Manhattan are being revitalized by the Parks Department, with help from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The other parks in the project include James Madison Plaza, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Allen/Pike Malls, Collect Pond Park, Washington Market Park and the Battery Carousel.

Attending the groundbreaking for the new CaVaLa Park were, from left, Elyn Zimmerman, a local artist; Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1; Gail Wittwer Laird, the park designer; Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick; Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe; City Councilman Alan J. Gerson; and Sayar Lonial, project manager for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. (Photo: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation)


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 4th, 2008, 03:00 AM
Park possibly sliding into river; Work definitely behind schedule

By Julie Shapiro

Viewed from Eighth St. to the north, Kai Lefkowitz, 22 months old and a fifth-generation East Villager, stood in front of the still-uncompleted section of the East River Park’s esplanade

New Yorkers will be waiting another year for East River Park to be complete — and maybe more if a state agency succeeds in halting the project.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is worried that workers repairing the East River bulkhead are allowing the shoreline to erode into the water, so D.E.C. tried to revoke the construction permit, D.E.C. spokesperson Arturo Garcia-Costas said.

D.E.C. first noticed erosion problems last year and fined the city and contractor Pile Foundation Construction Company $200,000, but the problems continued, Garcia-Costas said in an e-mail to The Villager. This August, D.E.C. notified the city of the state’s intention to revoke the work permit, and in response the city requested a hearing, which has not happened yet.

“That problem is being taken care of,” said Howie Porsche, Pile Foundation’s foreman on the project. “You don’t want to fool around with the D.E.C., that’s for sure. It was only a minor infraction, but to the D.E.C. it was not minor.”

Pile Foundation hired Maracap Construction Industries, Inc., a month ago to do erosion control, Porsche said. Garcia-Costas said D.E.C. has not verified whether Maracap is successfully preventing erosion, and he said Pile Foundation’s previous oversight attempts failed.

The rebuilt East River Park esplanade was supposed to open in 2007, but work has fallen behind and only one-third of the promenade is open now. Asked when the project would be done, Porsche laughed and said he didn’t know. After checking with someone else, he said it would be about another year.

A less-optimistic estimate came from Victor Micholasi, a shop steward for Pile Foundation who was working on the site Tuesday morning.

“It’ll take a year and a half at least,” Micholasi said.

He said work stopped for at least six months from the end of 2007 into 2008 because the city wasn’t giving the contractor permits. Porsche, the foreman, said work never stopped all the way, but it slowed down last winter when the city changed parts of the project and had to get new permits.

“New York City isn’t exactly the fastest people in the world,” Porsche said.

Cristina DeLuca, spokesperson for the city Parks Department, said an additional section of the park would be open by the late winter, and the entire park would be complete by next fall. She said the project got behind schedule because Parks decided to include the access road along the east side of the F.D.R. Drive, which is used as a jogging path and bikeway by parkgoers. Originally, that work would have happened in 2010, but Parks decided to do it now instead.

The city launched the $72 million East River Park reconstruction in 2001 after discovering that the bulkhead and platforms holding up the esplanade were crumbling and unsafe. In the first stage of work, Con Edison relocated its electric lines to beneath the park’s access road. Now, workers are removing and replacing the structures supporting the riverfront esplanade, so they can rebuild it.

Geoffrey Croft, founder of New York City Park Advocates, is angry that the Con Ed work added years to the project, since Con Ed is using city park space for free. DeLuca, the Parks spokesperson, said Con Ed paid to relocate its lines, but Croft said that does not count as mitigation.

“Con Ed was allowed to steal our parkland,” Croft said. “That’s a scandal that they’re not paying for the park property that they’re using.”

The northern third of the East River Park esplanade is already open, but in the middle and southern sections, construction materials and trailers block off picnic groves and views of the water. Joggers and cyclists use the cracked, puddle-strewn access road, sandwiched between traffic on the F.D.R. Drive and construction fences. Whenever a cement truck rumbles past, the passersby have to squeeze over to the side.

A sign in the park lists the completion date as 2008.

“They’re late,” said Jose Velez, 44, who was walking his dog on a recent morning. “It’s awful. … It’s taking a long time.”

Velez remembers coming to the park when he first moved to New York City 12 years ago. He would run along the water all the way down the esplanade — “Beautiful,” he said.

Another park visitor was Al Gaber, who lives on Grand St. and comes to the park daily.

“Obviously, it’s taking much too long,” said Gaber, who was power-walking along the access road swinging 3-pound barbells. “It’s a nuisance.”

Of the completed section of the park, he added, “It’s very limited, but it seems pleasant. It seems all right.”

Kenia Deltre, 32, said she was impressed by the section of new esplanade.

“It’s great that they’re improving the area,” the Lower East Side resident said. “It looks really good.”

Deltre rarely has time for a walk in the park, but she said that once it’s complete she’ll come more often.

The finished portion of the esplanade is silent compared to the chaos and traffic beside the access road to the west.

Clusters of benches face the East River, along with a smattering of tables, shrubs, drinking fountains and barbecue grills. Views stretch from the Williamsburg Bridge up to the Queensboro Bridge and beyond. The new metal railing is already tinged with rust.

Community Board 3 wants to see the rest of the park open as soon as possible, said Richard Ropiak, chairperson of the board’s Parks Committee.

“The city made a commitment to finish it and give us back a park that’s even better than before,” Ropiak said.

In addition to D.E.C.’s concerns about erosion, the state agency also issued four summonses this summer to Anthony Rivara, president of Pile Foundation, related to barges moored to Parks Department property. D.E.C. found multiple violations of the Environmental Conservation Law and found that the barges were endangering public health and safety, spokesperson Garcia-Costas said. He said some of the barges were not seaworthy and debris was escaping from them.

Porsche, the project foreman, said one barge was filled with Styrofoam to keep it afloat, and some of the Styrofoam leaked into the water. That vessel is gone now, he said.


October 8th, 2008, 08:18 AM
New Park Is Coming to Life on Canal St.

By Matt Dunning


A touch of serenity is coming to a triangular patch of Tribeca not known for its calm or quiet. It is a half-acre astride Canal Street called CaVaLa Park.

Speaking last month at a groundbreaking ceremony where construction is underway, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe pointed to a newly excavated pit where pumps are to be installed, providing the flow of water along what will be a new sculpture.

“This big hole is about to be transformed into one of the loveliest parks ever built in Downtown New York,” Benepe said during a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 18.

Construction of the park will be paid for with $2.3 million in federal funding through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, $500,000 from the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation and nearly $400,000 from the city.

The site, for years a parking lot for Port Authority vehicles, is bordered by Canal, Varick and Laight Streets—the inspiration for the park’s name. More than 40 new trees will stand within the fenced perimeter of the shade-starved landscape. A granite stone path will wind through the site and parallel to Canal Street will be the 120-foot-long water sculpture.

A fence, gated at each of its three corners, will feature a stainless steel etching of a different period in the triangle’s history: the intersection in its undeveloped state as a grassy wetland; its 19th century incarnation as a residential block; and an early-20th century rendering of the steel factory that once operated there.


“You’ll be able to stand [in the park] and get a sense of the evolution of the place,” said the park’s designer, Gail Wittwer-Laird.

Although the water sculpture lining its northern side pays homage to the 19th-century water channel for which Canal Street was named, the sculpture’s designer, Elyn Zimmerman, said the inspiration for her design comes more from the Erie Canal than the fetid trench that once connected Collect Pond to the Hudson River.

“What we had to do was create something visually strong and simple,” Zimmerman said, adding that the 120-foot-long sculpture will resemble modern locking channels, as recycled water will flow down a stepped slope toward Chinatown.

Wittwer-Laird said that she was mindful of the fact that the park abuts one of Manhattan’s busiest streets, and is near two subway stations and the Holland Tunnel.

The sound from the water sculpture, she said, will help muffle the roar of traffic. In addition, the park will be laid out with rows of planting beds and trees along the periphery, providing a buffer between the seating area and the streets..

Despite the park’s proximity to noisy Canal Street, Wittwer-Laird said she is confident that New Yorkers will be drawn there.

“It’s crazy where people will sit if there’s a bench and a little shade,” she said.


The Tribeca Trib

June 26th, 2009, 10:27 AM
CaVaLa park is done and looks great. The waterfall is going, a smooth sheet, then a river, then a cascade. The landscaping is finished, benches and tables unwrapped, pathways complete. Just the stonework around the entryways need some finishing touches and the fence should come down any time now. What a huge transformation from concrete wasteland to oasis, especially in the future when the trees are more mature.

June 26th, 2009, 11:23 AM
^ Pictures, anyone?

June 26th, 2009, 11:25 AM
CaVaLa? I think there needs to be more creativity in naming areas of NY these days.

June 26th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Or not try and name them during real-estate booms. This one is embarrassing.

Canal Park or Tribeca Park would have been OK, but both taken.

How about Lispenard Park. There's history in it.

Leonard Lispenard

LISPENARD, Leonard, merchant, born in New York city in 1716; died there, 15 February, 1790. He was the grandson of Anthony Lispenard, a Huguenot refugee, who came to New York about the middle of the 17th century and became a merchant there.

In 1741 he married Alice, daughter of Anthony Rutgers, who inherited one third of the extensive grant that was made by George II. to her father, and subsequently Mr. Lispenard acquired by purchase the remainder of the land, which has since been known as the Lispenard meadows. His country mansion was on Lispenard hill, an elevation overlooking what later was called St. John's park.

Mr. Lispenard was assistant alderman from the north ward in 1750-'5, and alderman in 1756-'62, and member of the provincial assembly in 1765-'7. He was an active member of the Stamp-act congress in New York in 1765, of the committee of one hundred that was elected to control all general affairs in May, 1775, and of the first provincial congress in May, 1775.

He was also treasurer of King's (now Columbia) college, one of the original members of the Society of the New York hospital, and one of its governors in 1770-'7.--

His two Sons, LEONARD and ANTHONY, were well-known men at, that time. The three streets, Leonard, Anthony (now Worth), and Thomas, were named after the sons of Anthony, and Bathe street (now spelled Beach) after his son-in-law, Paul Bathe, while Lispenard street was named in honor of the family, and Barclay street after Reverend Thomas Barclay who married his wife's sister.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

June 29th, 2009, 03:58 PM
What a huge transformation from concrete wasteland to oasis, especially in the future when the trees are more mature.

^ Pictures, anyone?

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/917/cavala01c.th.jpg (http://img20.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cavala01c.jpg) http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/1429/cavala02c.th.jpg (http://img20.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cavala02c.jpg) http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/3987/cavala03c.th.jpg (http://img229.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cavala03c.jpg)

The trees are really immature. Not the ones inside; those along the curb (see the green tufts on the left of the first photo.)

A few dogs come by, and these twigs are gonna wilt.

June 29th, 2009, 04:32 PM
The trees are really immature. Not the ones inside; those along the curb (see the green tufts on the left of the first photo.)

A few dogs come by, and these twigs are gonna wilt.

Per the website, dogs aren't allowed "due to the limited area of the pathways and the fragility of the new plantings".

June 29th, 2009, 05:02 PM
Outside the fence is DOT territory.

July 10th, 2009, 04:56 AM
West Thames Park work is a go


Schematic design for the new W. Thames Park

The W. Thames Park will close for seven months starting in October so the state Dept. of Transportation can rebuild it. The adjacent dog run is also being rebuilt this fall, but it will not close.

When it reopens in May, the park and playground along West St. will include a playground, an open lawn, basketball courts and a community garden, with a dog run one block south.

The park, between W. Thames and Albany Sts., will close on Oct. 13, just after Columbus Day, so work can begin, said Lisa Weiss, urban design director for state D.O.T. The work is part of the state’s overall Route 9A project.

Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee has supported the designs in the past and had few concerns when Weiss presented the latest plans Tuesday night.

The first piece of the project to begin construction will be the dog run just south of W. Thames St., where work will start after Labor Day and finish by the end of November. Residents were pleased to hear Tuesday that the dog run would not close during the construction. Workers will do one half of the run at a time.

“It might have a little bit of an odd shape, but it will remain open,” Weiss said.

During the construction, an 8-foot fence will keep dogs from entering the work zone, and the contractor will use water to keep dust to a minimum.

The new 6,000-square-foot dog run will include separate sections for small and large dogs.

The new bridge the Battery Park City Authority recently proposed for W. Thames St. would land alongside the rebuilt dog run, but state D.O.T. is proceeding with plans to plant trees in that area anyway. If the authority receives the many approvals it needs to build the bridge, the authority will replace the trees with a shade arbor on the side of the bridge’s ramp.

Just to the north, the construction of the new lawn and playground will require the removal of some trees this fall, including ones that are about 20 years old. Jeff Mihok, a C.B. 1 board member, objected to losing the trees, particularly because young trees will provide much less shade.

“It’s going to be really hot for the park’s first five to eight years of existence,” Mihok said.

Weiss said the new park required a shift in elevation that made it impossible to keep the trees.

Because of the construction, the community garden in W. Thames park will have to move twice: once this fall, to a temporary location, and once in the spring, to its final home near Albany St. Garden volunteers will work with the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy to do the transplants, Weiss said.

The hours for all of the construction will be Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., though contractors may work weekends if they fall behind schedule.


October 2nd, 2009, 09:43 PM
State Reworks West Thames Park Plans Following Parents' Protests

By Matt Dunning



ABOVE: THE STATE'S APPROVED PLAN for West Thames Park includes new play equipment, separate playgrounds for older and younger children, a water play area and a new, level 11,500-square-foot lawn. BELOW: THE ALTERNATE PLAN would preserve the existing wooden playground and most of the trees in the park today, and exclude the features from the state approved plan with the exception of the children's basketball court and the center lawn. This image was altered by the Trib to reflect changes outlined during a Sept. 30 meeting with parents and state Department of Transportation officials.

A group of Battery Park City parents upset over the state’s plan to replace their beloved playground with a new one may yet succeed in their efforts to preserve the existing park.

Last month, they rose up in protest of the state Department of Transportation’s intention to rebuild West Thames Park, at West and West Thames Street, as part of its colossal overhaul of West Street (Route 9A). The department had spent the better part of four years negotiating with community groups and local officials over the new park and playground’s design, and was to begin the first phase of its construction on Oct. 13.

But some parents begged transportation officials to rethink the design and, if possible, protect the existing cluster of wooden play equipment and sand shaded by mature poplar and pear trees. On Sept. 30, the department unveiled four variations of just such a design, scrapping improvements such as new play equipment, water play area and do*zens of new trees—it had planned for the park.

That pleased Mattew Fenton, an organizer of the protest. “All four of the new options are a huge improvement,” he said. “They’re all really good ideas.”

At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting during which the alternatives were revealed, Fenton and many of the most vocal protesters agreed on a hybrid of the four new designs that preserves the playground, adds a children’s basketball court and increases the size of the existing lawn in the center of the park.

On Oct. 6, Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee, which has been steering negotiations over the park’s design since 2005, will take its final vote between the state’s proposed plan and the alternate design.

Then again, if the alternate plan is chosen, it may never come to pass.

The plan would need to be resubmitted to the city’s Public Design Com*mission, which then could delay construction for at least a year and jeopardize the roughly $9 million of Federal transportation money that is funding the project. That money is only guaranteed through the end of the current fiscal year.

Those funds are earmarked for construction projects relating to the World Trade Center transit center. Joe Brown, the state DOT’s director of construction on the Route 9A project, said that much of that money has already been siphoned off by the Port Authority to cover the cost of delays on the transit center.

“The [Federal Transportation Auth*ority] is not giving us any more money,” Brown said. “There is no guarantee we could build this park next year.”

During the Sept. 30 meeting, Battery Park City Committee co-chairman Jeff Galloway said he had just learned that the state funding for a new pedestrian bridge that was to replace the Rector Street Bridge had been reallocated, shelving that project indefinitely. Galloway said the same fate could easily befall the park.

“This is a cautionary tale for all of us,” Galloway said. “We should not assume for a minute that the money will be there in the next budget cycle.”

The impetus for revamping the park is a section of the pedestrian walkway and bicycle lane running along West Street. The five-mile promenade is complete, save for the section next to the existing park.

Despite objections from residents, community board members and local officials, the state has insisted on its construction and will begin work on the walkway on Oct. 13 as planned.

Not everyone at the Sept. 30 meeting was enamored with the alternate design. An opponent of the state’s approved plan, Rector Street resident Masamichi Udagawa called the alternate design “inferior,” and said it was unfair to call it the community’s only other option.

“I don’t see it as a fully grown alternative to [the approved plan],” Udagawa said.

But Udagawa’s Rector Street neighbor, Marilyn Tomasso, said she fa*vored the state’s plans to improve the park, and wondered why parents were resisting its construction.

“When my grandkids come into town to visit, I never take them to that park,” she said. “To have this wonderful new area, with all of these new features and all of this extra space, why wouldn’t you want that?”


October 9th, 2009, 07:57 AM
Park plan swings back to the original redesign

By Julie Shapiro


Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee on Tuesday voted to stick with
the approved plan for Tire Swing Park rather than risk delays and funding uncertainty.
Some park advocates had tried to retain all of the playground’s elements.
There will be a new tire in the park, but the rest will be changed.

The demolition of Tire Swing Park will begin next week, after a last-minute push to save the park failed Tuesday night.

Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee voted to continue with the state’s plan to rebuild the park, rather than risk indefinite delays by altering the plan.

“Tire Swing Park was a wonderful park, but its time has come and gone,” said Jeff Galloway, co-chairperson of the committee. “Things don’t last forever.”

The State Dept. of Transportation has been planning for years to rebuild the shady, wooden playground in W. Thames Park as part of the state’s larger Route 9A project. The new park will include a renovated dog run, permanent community gardens, a leveled playing field and an additional basketball court — amenities that have broad support among residents.

But last month, shortly before construction on the park was scheduled to begin, a contingent of parents and other park users spoke out against one piece of the plan: the demolition of the playground and south lawn, known as Tire Swing Park. They objected to losing the mature trees that shade the rustic playground and worried that the modern design of the new park would remove the space’s funky, backyard feeling.

The Coalition to Save Tire Swing Park gathered hundreds of petition signatures and made their case to the community board and D.O.T. in meetings over the past month. In response, the D.O.T. made several small changes to their original plan, including adding a real, rubber tire swing to the design, instead of a similar plastic feature, and planting larger trees that will mature more quickly and provide shade sooner.

However, the Save Tire Swing Park group hoped for much more drastic changes to the plan, and at the group’s request, the D.O.T. developed an alternate design this month. That design kept the current play equipment and south lawn in place, rather than adding new equipment and new trees. The purpose of Tuesday night’s B.P.C. Committee meeting was to decide between the state’s approved design for the park and the alternate one.

It turned out to be an easy decision, because the alternate design would need the city Public Design Commission’s approval, which would take at least four months. As a result, switching to the alternate design now would make it impossible for D.O.T. to reopen the park by Memorial Day 2010, as they had promised. And delaying the park construction for a year would put the project at risk for losing its federal funding, D.O.T. said.

The potential delays were a deal breaker to representatives of the dog run and community gardens, who objected to any changes that could jeopardize those amenities.

“No matter how meritorious the [proposed] changes are, there comes a time when any changes are at a great cost to the community,” Galloway said.

Another problem with the alternate design was that it would have saved very few, if any, of the trees that shade the park.

T Fleisher, horticulture director for the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy and a self-described “big advocate of trees and soil,” said he would never want to see healthy trees cut down — but the ones in the park are near the end of their life span and would have to be removed anyway.

The poplar grove doesn’t have enough soil, and the pear trees are losing limbs as they age, endangering park goers, he said. Fleisher’s horticulture knowledge is well-regarded locally and nationally, and his effort to bring greener lawns to Harvard was recently featured in the New York Times.

After hearing from Fleisher and the D.O.T., the B.P.C. Committee voted overwhelmingly to continue with the current plans for Tire Swing Park, which include 23 new trees, water features and separate play areas for different ages of children. Construction will start next week, closing the park for about seven-and-a-half months.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Matthew Fenton, a B.P.C. parent and a founder of the Coalition to Save Tire Swing Park. “We were hoping for a resolution that would work for everybody, but unfortunately that did not come about.”

Fenton is already nostalgic for the impromptu potlucks in the park, which serves as a gathering place for many families in the south neighborhood.

Although the Tire Swing group did not get much of what they wanted, Fenton said the hours of meetings were not in vain.

“It’s always worth it to fight for something that matters,” Fenton said.


October 9th, 2009, 08:52 AM
The only unfortunate thing is the loss of the large trees.

The original park wasn't properly planned; not well graded, always seemed interim.

The pear trees look good now, but aren't structurally sound. Trees were never pruned, like the rest of the neighborhood. Land belongs to DOT, so BPC Parks had no jurisdiction.

October 9th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Beautiful, healthy, mature trees should never be ripped out just to rearrange playground furniture.

Also, can we please have more water features in Manhattan that welcome, and are appropriate, for all ages. Hell, I'd take a garden hose with a spray nozzle if they can't manage anything better for us grown folks.

October 9th, 2009, 11:19 AM
If I lived in that part of the neighborhood, I'd oblige with water balloons.

October 9th, 2009, 11:26 AM
Sure, I could stand under your balcony in my bikini...just don't splash me in the face, I wear contacts!

October 9th, 2009, 11:50 AM

Ewwww! When people ask you to be BRIEF, that ain't what they MEANT!

October 13th, 2009, 06:46 AM
Construction begins this week on West Thames Park

Playground, lawn and community gardens will close until May 2010

Kids playing soccer on the Rector Place lawn this morning. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

This morning, some kids got in one last soccer game on the lawn next to West Street at Rector Place. Sometime this week, perhaps as early as tomorrow, the New York State Department of Transportation will close the lawn, playground and community gardens completely until May 2010 for the reconfiguration of West Thames Park. The dog run will remain partially open during this period.

The park runs between Albany Street on the north and West Thames Street on the south on the eastern flank of Battery Park City.

When the park reopens, the lawn, used for soccer and softball, will be level and longer than it is now. The poplar trees will be gone as will most of the trees in the rest of the park. They will be replaced by 23 more trees than are there presently. There will be new equipment in the playground, and the community gardens will have been moved from their present location to the northern end of the park, near Albany Street.

When West Thames Park reopens in May 2010, there will be community gardens on the site of this parking lot just south of Albany Street. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=001idSyURbXubfAJpdovCGhpmbkSIzxGWd_oG0DiA FvcDb-TSnvUuMuqF-JoqoLHtMvtF31VbDc7IyONIrf_6MQo6JOhC8EEpBGAmMers1BC Rw%3D

October 14th, 2009, 06:52 PM
Beautiful, healthy, mature trees should never be ripped out.

Period. That grove of big trees on West St. is a treasure... something organic, unplanned and unique that should be kept and worked into the new plan.

November 13th, 2009, 09:44 PM
CaVaLa Park Flows Onto Canal Street

November 12, 2009, by Joey


TRIBECA—Our Canal Street obsession (http://www.curbed.com/tags/cavala-park), CaVaLa Park, is open! On a rainy Thursday, the Parks Department and assorted gathered dignitaries cut the ribbon on the oddly shaped patch of land where CAnal intersects VArick and LAight Streets. Sweet, sweet CaVaLa. The showstopper of the $3.4 million pocket park is of course artist Elyn Zimmerman's 114-foot-long fountain, putting the Canal back in Canal Street. The Parks Department sent us the above shot (c'mon, it was raining, we're not getting our Chucks wet for Canal Street). Lookin' good! [CurbedWire Inbox]


January 18th, 2010, 03:26 PM
Large rocks are now in place.


March 5th, 2010, 09:32 PM
Battery Park City's West Thames Park

Weather delays will necessitate 16-hour shifts to meet Memorial Day deadline for rebuild

The rebuilding work at West Thames Park (known to most Battery Park City residents as "Tire Swing Park" for its signature piece of play equipment) will likely move to an expanded schedule so that the State Department of Transportation (DOT) can meet its promised deadline of re-opening the park by Memorial Day weekend.

"They lost about two weeks of working time because of all the snow we've had," explained Anthony Notaro, a member of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee.

On Tuesday, Thomas Mellet, construction manager for the Route 9A project, made a presentation to the Battery Park City Committee in which he said that the contractor is now "doing things concurrently. That's how we're making up a lot of the schedule." But, he added, "the contractor has requested to go to double shifts on or about April 1 when it gets a little warmer, and little more daylight, and the area is a little drier."

DOT officials are seeking permission from the City to work 16 hours a day as of April 1, and possibly going to three shifts, 24 hours a day at a later date, if necessary.

"We asked them to hold off on going to three shifts at least until our next meeting," explained Battery Park City Committee co-chair Jeff Galloway. The Committee's next meeting is scheduled for April 6. "By that time," said Mr. Galloway, "we'll have almost a week's worth of insight into how the double-shift work is going and what impact it's having on residents nearby. And DOT will have more insight into how much catch-up they still have to do, and whether it's really necessary to go to a third shift."

"We have two goals," said Mr. Notaro. First, we really want them to bring this in on time. But second, we need to be respectful of the people who have to live right next to this construction."

Benjamin Keller, a Battery Park City resident whose apartment faces the construction, said at the Tuesday meeting that weekend work, which has been beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and going on until around 4:30 p.m., has already been disruptive. "It's largely vehicle noise," he said. "Most of the vehicle noise is no longer the high-pitched, back-up alarm but more the muffled, grinding back-up sound. There's a lot of dump truck activity."

He said that he would "speak out very strongly" against going to double shifts from 7 a.m. to midnight, much less triple ones. "That leaves very little time to rest in your own home," he said.

Committee member Bill Love agreed with Mr. Keller that the prospect of 24 hour work would be "intolerable." "You're impacting people's health," Mr. Love said. "People can't sleep in their apartments. We should avoid that at all costs."

The committee discussed the possibility of allowing the Memorial Day deadline to slip, if necessary. "It's not all or nothing with the park," Mr. Mellet commented. "Memorial Day, we could open a good part of the park and it would be very useful. Maybe there would be a couple of things missing or one area not done."

But right now, the deadline for the entire park is still Memorial Day, and 16-hour work days for perhaps as long as two months seem inevitable.

http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=001QGVxMVttOOZ8wii7dd8OtRqS_oa661GdogXgSC N9YkBI60V-GtuSTwyqdlDjXBnFOuTvNgiYoTeTTFLGzDgJY3tn_pFn-9JHWVw4AMqW4VY%3D

March 7th, 2010, 12:30 PM
Corner of Gold and Fulton Sts.

March 12th, 2010, 09:15 PM
Edit: Article removed at the request of The Lo-Down, hopefully to be reinstated soon.

Luther Gulick Park under construction in the 1930s


March 21st, 2010, 10:12 PM
Complete by Memorial Day?

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/7654/wstthamespk01c.th.jpg (http://img714.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk01c.jpg/) http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/7448/wstthamespk02c.th.jpg (http://img714.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk02c.jpg/) http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/5523/wstthamespk03c.th.jpg (http://img714.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk03c.jpg/)

March 22nd, 2010, 09:21 PM
Louise Nevelson Plaza (at Liberty and William): Reconstruction is expected to be complete in spring 2010, including adjacent road reconstrucitions

March 23rd, 2010, 02:53 AM
Do you have a rendering of what Louise Nevelson Plaza will look like?

March 23rd, 2010, 08:17 AM
There's a thread (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19682).

March 23rd, 2010, 08:47 AM
So, whazzup with this?

March 25th, 2010, 09:18 PM
Silver and Squadron shoot for revamp of Gulick Park

By Julie Shapiro

Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather Friday morning, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senator Daniel Squadron shot some hoops on the Lower East Side while announcing their hopes to redo a rundown park.

Luther Gulick Park, in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge just east of Pitt St., includes a well-used playground, basketball and handball courts that need repairs and a barren sitting area with cracked paving and little greenery. Local residents say the park could use $6 million of work, including new bathrooms, lighting on the courts, new sidewalks and storm sewers and an overhaul of the sitting area. The first phase, which would just cover the sitting area, would cost $2 million.

So far, the project has $360,000 in the bank from former Councilmember Alan Gerson, a commitment that his successor, Margaret Chin, said she would keep. On Friday, Squadron announced that the state Senate would contribute another $100,000, and Silver and other officials hope to add some money as well — but it will be at least a year before the project gathers enough funding to start work, said Namshik Yoon, Parks Department chief of operations.

Still, the mood was light Friday morning as Silver and Squadron walked around the park with Yoon and local residents. The visit brought back memories for Silver, who grew up nearby and said he spent lots of time at Gulick Park as a child. Tilting back his head, he indicated a barely visible scar just beneath his chin, which he said came from a boy on a swing kicking him many years ago, a blow that required several stitches.

When Silver and Squadron entered the park’s basketball courts on Friday, Silver grabbed a basketball and started dribbling toward the net-less hoop.

“You gotta dribble before you can shoot,” Silver said as he warmed up a little, wearing his usual suit and tie. During much of his political career, Silver played regular basketball games with Albany politicians, but now, at 66, he has mostly stopped. On Friday, Silver missed his first shot but went in for a layup and scored. He and Squadron then passed the ball back and forth, each making a few baskets but missing more.

“I’ve retired,” Silver said afterward as he caught his breath, “and every time I pick up a ball, I remember why.”

The politicians’ choice of a brief basketball game was fitting, because the park’s namesake, Luther Gulick, played an important, albeit largely unknown, role in the history of basketball. In 1891, Gulick was head of the International YMCA Training School’s physical education department in Springfield, Mass., when he instructed teacher James Naismith to come up with a sport that could be played indoors in the winter. Naismith invented basketball in response, and is widely considered the father of the sport.

However, Silver said, “Most people say it’s Luther Gulick who should get the credit.”

“Well, most people on the Lower East Side,” Squadron added.

The Friends of Gulick Park will hold a community planning session on May 16 in the park, on the south side of Delancey St. between Bialystoker Place and Abraham Kazan St. For more information, go to www.gulickpark.org (http://www.gulickpark.org) .


March 27th, 2010, 12:58 AM
There's a thread (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19682).

Thanks, Zip.

It sucks that I Liberty was razed. It was quite nice.


PS: Aren't the arches on the building on the right gone? Is that where the filthy, rank Burger King is?

March 27th, 2010, 02:48 AM
PS: Aren't the arches on the building on the right gone? Is that where the filthy, rank Burger King is?[/QUOTE]

Actually, that whole building is gone, arches and all - it is now part of the mediocrity that is called 2 Gold Street.

March 28th, 2010, 11:25 PM
Thanks. I thought that 2 Gold was one block east of here.

March 29th, 2010, 06:20 PM
Do you have a rendering of what Louise Nevelson Plaza will look like?

There was a crane collapse at the park on Saturday.



CRANE COLLAPSE PUNCHLINES Another byproduct of Saturday's crane collapse at office building 80 Maiden Lane, aside from evacuations of nearby residential buildings? Irony! 80 Maiden Lane contains the headquarters of the city's Department of Investigation, which has been investigating corruption at the Department of Buildings, including the pair of crane collapses that killed nine people in 2008. But hey, the DOI spokespeople are looking on the bright side this time: "Logistically, DOI won't have to go far to gather the facts." [NYT; previously]

Also, the grouting and filling operation at the park has made huge progress over the past week.

March 29th, 2010, 08:58 PM
I hope that no one was hurt.

April 3rd, 2010, 03:17 PM
Same architect as the Flatiron Building.

April 3rd, 2010, 04:33 PM
Seeing how the plaza looks today it seems that good old NYC missed it's mark (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19682) on this one:

The plaza and street work is expected to be finished by the fall of 2009.

April 13th, 2010, 06:40 PM
Plan from Mayor Bloomberg for transforming the waterfront, not just downtown but throughout the boroughs ...

Vision 2020 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/cwp/cwp_3.shtml)

Building on the strong set of existing policies regulating NYC’s waterfront

The Mayor's Statement (http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A//www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2010a/pr155-10.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1):

PR- 155-10
April 13, 2010


New Framework Will Establish Priority Initiatives for the Next Three Years and Long-Term Goals for the Next Decade and Beyond, Complementing and Advancing the Goals of PlaNYC

Waterfront Plan Commences as City Expands its Authority to Lead the Futures of Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park

Public Workshops in All Five Boroughs Begin this Spring

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today launched the New York City Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a citywide initiative that will create a new sustainable blueprint for the City’s 578 miles of shoreline. The WAVES strategy – to be developed over the next nine months – will include two core components: the Vision 2020 – The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that will establish long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda that will set forth priority initiatives to be implemented within three years. Together, the initiatives will provide a blueprint for the City’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories: open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation. A series of public workshops in all five boroughs to discuss the waterfront strategy will begin this spring ...

April 28th, 2010, 11:21 AM
Pearl Street Playground Reconstruction« back (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/)Daily Activities (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# activities) | Contact Info (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# contact) | FAQs (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# faqs) | Links (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# links)

http://www.lowermanhattan.info/images/construction/project_updates/012810_pearlstpk_160.jpg The rebuilt park will close Little Pearl Street to vehiclesIn spring 2010, the New York City Parks and Recreation Department (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/parks/batterypark) begins the reconstruction of its third park along the reconstructed Fulton Street Corridor: Pearl Street Playground.

Like DeLury Square (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/delury_square_park_68268.aspx) (at Gold Street) and Titanic Park (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/titanic_park_18374.aspx) (at South Street), Pearl Street Playground will be rebuilt in a larger plot, expanding into a new curb alignment that is part of the city Department of Transportation (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# nyc)s Pedestrian Plaza Program. The new, expanded layout closes Little Pearl Street, forming a pedestrian-only corridor that links Beekman to Fulton Street -- benefitting the local community as well as visitors to the South Street Seaport Historic District with better foot-traffic circulation.

The design for the new Pearl Street park brings more shady seating and open space, while marking the historic significance of its location along the former eastern shoreline of Manhattan, as it stood before the 18th century. A planting bed in the pavement will allude to the original sandy bluff that existed at the site, marking its natural drainage pattern to the East River. A basic oval will form the center of the park, mimicking the scheme for Titanic Park across the street. An oyster-shaped spray shower and sand play area is a nod to the oyster middens (shell heaps) that were once found along Pearl Street.

The new Pearl Street Playground is one of several downtown public spaces and parks being rebuilt thanks to funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/pearl_street_playground_reconstruction_73410.aspx# nys) (LMDC). It is expected to open in spring 2011.

May 3rd, 2010, 09:00 AM
DeLury Square

http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/9059/delurysq01c.th.jpg (http://img101.imageshack.us/i/delurysq01c.jpg/) http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/6452/delurysq02c.th.jpg (http://img101.imageshack.us/i/delurysq02c.jpg/)

This is taking forever. Like watching rocks grow.
http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/5397/delurysq03c.th.jpg (http://img101.imageshack.us/i/delurysq03c.jpg/)

May 16th, 2010, 09:54 PM
West Thames Park

Two weeks to go.

http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/5688/wstthamespk04c.th.jpg (http://img25.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk04c.jpg/) http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/6358/wstthamespk05c.th.jpg (http://img691.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk05c.jpg/) http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/3112/wstthamespk06c.th.jpg (http://img404.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk06c.jpg/) http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/5849/wstthamespk07c.th.jpg (http://img155.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk07c.jpg/)

Bikeway is done, but not the walkway.
http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/8198/wstthamespk08c.th.jpg (http://img7.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk08c.jpg/)

http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/7978/wstthamespk09c.th.jpg (http://img341.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk09c.jpg/)

Not park work. Part of the never-ending rebuild of West St.
http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/1368/wstthamespk10c.th.jpg (http://img375.imageshack.us/i/wstthamespk10c.jpg/)

May 27th, 2010, 07:19 PM
Progressing rapidly in the month of May. 95659564956195629563Should be done in no time.

May 30th, 2010, 06:53 PM
West Thames Park

Saturday the sun was down, but nobody wanted to go home:



May 30th, 2010, 07:38 PM
Just rode past on my bike- the place is mobbed!
Can't see the monkey bars through all the kids.:eek:

May 31st, 2010, 01:21 PM
Progressing rapidly in the month of May.

The plan (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2007/10/12/downtown_doings_2_fidi_may_get_a_little_wet.php) for Delury Square. More signs of progress ...

Fulton and Gold:


Along Gold Street:


Entry at Gold & Fulton:


Entry on Fulton, across from Ryders Alley:



Furniture has arrived from Landscapeforms (http://www.landscapeforms.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx) out of Kalamazoo:


The boxes say the benches are the Parc Vue (http://www.landscapeforms.com/en-US/site-furniture/Pages/parc-vue-bench.aspx) design (with center block to discourage sleeping & skateboarders -- they also come in black powdercoat, and I have my fingers crossed):


The entry at the north side of the square, next to Southbridge buildings:


It's hard to make out, but there will be a pool amidst the rocks at center:


The entry on Gold across from Ann Street:


It should be more pedestrian friendly once the work is done:



June 4th, 2010, 06:08 AM
New Playground a Hit Despite Tire Swing’s Sudden Removal

By Matt Dunning

Asha Parmar and her husband Nick watch their three-year-old son,
Arjun and friend Leo Khitin, also three, play on the newly installed tire-swing at West Thames Park.

Despite wide praise for the new playground at the corner of West and West Thames Street in Battery Park City, one piece of play equipment has raised alarm among some parents.

State Department of Transportation workers removed the park’s tire swing on Saturday after two young girls were apparently injured while using it Friday afternoon, mere hours after the new playground opened to the public. Rector Street resident Justine Cuccia said her eight-year-old daughter Katie and a friend of hers—another eight-year-old girl, whose name is being withheld—both sustained bumps to the head after the tire is said to have swung too high and struck the crossbeam from which it hangs. Cuccia said the girls are fine, but that she worries smaller children could have been more seriously hurt.

“It just wasn’t designed right,” Cuccia said. “It has to go back to the drawing board.”

At a meeting of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee Tuesday night, a DOT representative said the swing had been installed correctly, according to plans for the park, but that department had contacted its design team, as well as the swing’s manufacturers, about the issue.

“Our team was out there on Memorial Day taking some measurements to make sure everything lined up correctly with the [park] plans,” said Adam Levine, the department’s Director of Public Affairs. “We don’t yet have a timetable for when the swing might be put back.”

A source familiar with the park’s construction said the DOT is trying to locate the swing schematics from the original Tire Swing Park, which was bulldozed and replaced by the new playground earlier this year. The source said the old tire swing operated for years, apparently without any problems.

The new equipment is made by Oregon-based Columbia Cascade Co., the only manufacturer in the country of wooden tire swings.

Community groups and local officials began negotiating with the state DOT over the new park and playground’s design in 2005. The plan they finally came up with last year called for replacing the existing cluster of rustic wooden play equipment—including the park's namesake tire swing—and full-grown poplar and pear trees. Just as work was about to begin, some residents suddenly appeared to protest the plan, saying the existing playground and trees should be preserved.

As part of a compromise, a new tire swing was included in the final plan, though much of the rest of the redesign got a green light from Community Board 1.

Cuccia, who with her husband Matthew Fenton were among the most vocal opponents to the old park’s replacement, said it was ironic that her child was one of the ones injured in the new playground, especially on the very tire swing she and some other parents demanded the DOT include in the its design.

“It figures it would be my kid that gets hurt,” Cuccia quipped.

Despite the incident, members of the Battery Park City Committee hailed the new playground.

“It came out really beautifully,” committee member Jeff Mihok said.

“They have done a fabulous job with the playground,” committee chairwoman Linda Belfer said. “I went there on opening day, and it was absolutely incredible. If the rest of the park turns out like that did, then we are very lucky people to have it in our neighborhood.”


June 4th, 2010, 07:48 AM
I walked by DeLury Square on Wednesday. It looked more or less like Lofter's photos. A sign on the construction fence stated that there would be an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 10.

Several workers were installing stone edging. The man in the white hardhat, clipboard in hand, was standing on a hill in the center, looking around. Obviously, they're under time pressure to get this done in one week.

It's hard to tell how close they are. There are already 8 old London Plane trees on the site, and it looks like smaller trees have been planted. The remaining landscaping can be done in a few days.

But you can't rush stone work. I noticed pallets of bluestone at the site. Either the pathways or the perimeter sidewalk are going to be paved in stone.

June 4th, 2010, 10:22 AM
The ribbon cutting is purely ceremonial, a PR op. But the date does put pressure on contractors who otherwise might stretch out the work for weeks to come. Similarly, the ribbon cutting at Lieutenant Petrosino Square (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/petrosino-square) took place 9 months ago, but work there continues - including stone work at both the curb and around the planting area, plus installation of the fence & gates (which is supposed to take place "soon").

June 4th, 2010, 11:22 AM
But parts of that square were opened. They did the same thing at West Thames Park. The target completion date was Memorial Day, but everything north of that pergola thingy is still closed. They simply opened the playground section.

DeLury look to me like an all or nothing. Or can pols just say anything they want?

That was a stupid question.

June 4th, 2010, 11:41 AM
I sense BS with the tire swing.

The key is, if someone misuses it, they will get hurt. I have a feeling that the article is off, since they probably struck the support post, not the crossbeam (as you would have to be pretty high, or pretty tall, to do so).

Maybe they just need to limit the age of the kids that go on certain pieces.

Our playgrounds have been made way to safe to have any fun on if you are taller than your fathers waist these days. I agree that kids should be protected, but if they don't get exposed to somethings, they never develop the abilities to do things in the future.

What's next, outlawing trees because they are too high and climbing one might be hazardous to a kids health? :(

June 6th, 2010, 08:25 AM

June 6th, 2010, 09:52 AM
Looking Great ^

And nice to see that they're watering the big cardboard boxes, too ;)

June 10th, 2010, 12:43 PM
I walked by DeLury Square on Wednesday ... A sign on the construction fence stated that there would be an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 10.

The Broadsheet Daily (http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=001cQcN0FSUz163y8UN8daOKvUCaNFF_MqBK0USv4 su0aSBdDFpvRENM7XtSZ3HsfvMaSxQiYogs8Rv2bw0A4WeoEeo m6NfgLBvE8CxkifI1fQ%3D) reported yesterday that Delury won't open as soon as hoped ...

Delury Park, located at Fulton and Gold Streets, will also open in July, offering, benches, boulders, and a man-made waterfall. It is meant to evoke the landscape of Manhattan as it looked when Henry Hudson first arrived in 1609.

June 10th, 2010, 10:14 PM
At least it'll be during the summer.

June 11th, 2010, 10:13 AM
Seaport district getting three new parks
Burling Slip playground and Delury park to open in July - Titanic park, soon after


A rendering of Imagination Playground at Burling Slip. (Credit: David Rockwell Architects)

Lower Manhattan's Seaport district is getting three new parks this summer, with more to come in the years ahead. One new playground, the Burling Slip Park, will open within weeks of two rehabilitated "passive parks" - Delury and Titanic Parks.

As City Parks Department officials outlined to Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee last night, the area will also be getting new or refurbished parks at Peck Slip, at the site of Collect Pond, and on Pearl Street in the years ahead. Seaport/Civic Center Committee chair John Fratta noted afterward, "We've been working a long time to get these parks and the area needs them badly."

The Burling Slip Park, located in a former parking lot on John Street at the East River, will feature a sandpit, slide and cascading water channel, along with ramps, a rope climbing structure, masts and pulleys. Sandbags and wooden dams will also evoke the site's history as a waterfront commercial center.

The Burling Slip Park, which is slated to open in July (the precise date has not yet been determined), is the prototype of a new concept in children's playspace, called Imagination Playground. It was developed by the New York City Parks Departments and architect David Rockwell, whose firm is participating in the creation of Burling Slip and other Imagination Playgrounds without pay. The emphasis in Imagination Playground is on loose parts, found objects, and a physical environment that children can transform, adapting and incorporating it into their play.

Delury Park, located at Fulton and Gold Streets, will also open in July, offering, benches, boulders, and a man-made waterfall. It is meant to evoke the landscape of Manhattan as it looked when Henry Hudson first arrived in 1609.

Titanic Park, located in front of the South Street Seaport (on Pearl Street, between Fulton and Beekman Streets) is a memorial to the loss of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1912, and the 1,1517 people who went down with her. A miniature, memorial lighthouse in the park was once on the roof of the Seamen's Church Institute at the corner of South Street and Coenties Slip and has stood at the present site since 1976. Architect Claire Dudley has added a seating area, new plantings, and historic lighting fixtures. There will also be a small gully of rocks with water flowing over them, marking where the original shoreline of Manhattan once cut through the site.

Work on the site of the historic Collect Pond (now a parking lot on Leonard Street, alongside a court house), will begin in the fall of this year, and continue for an as-yet-unknown length of time. Also slated for later this year is the closure and reconstruction of the Pearl Street Playground, which will expand into the former Little Pearl Street (now permanently closed to traffic). "The Parks Department and CB1 agreed not to close this playground until the new one at Burling Slip opened," explained Mr. Fratta. "So our kids will have someplace to play at all times. But when this project is done, they will gain an additional playground," he added. In the spring of 2011, work will begin on another new park at Peck Slip, alongside the East River. This is projected to take approximately three years.

"We are all just thrilled about the opening of these new parks," Julie Menin, chair of CB1, said. "These are incredibly important projects that we have all worked really long and hard to bring to fruition. There has always been a dearth of open space, of green space, and of play space in Lower Manhattan, especially on the East Side. This is going to create new opportunities for children and for seniors who want to get outside. And all three happening at the same time is a wonderful boon for out community."

- Matthew Fenton

June 14th, 2010, 10:12 PM
newhannibal112 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanbudhu/4671672223/sizes/l/)

June 15th, 2010, 06:26 PM
That's beautiful!

June 15th, 2010, 09:42 PM
It is a great shot (Derek's got an eye for them!). Just think how much better it will (hopefully) be when 50 West is built and the junky brown rental next to it is also replaced with something a bit less ... stagflation-y.

June 15th, 2010, 10:49 PM
I can't wait for that POS to be razed. Brown is an appropriate color for that turd.

July 2nd, 2010, 09:52 PM
Under Cover

Sand Causes Havoc at Liberty Court

Residents of the Liberty Court apartments in Battery Park City are developing tears in their corneas, thanks to the children’s playground at West Thames Park. Sand is apparently blowing into their balconies and apartments.

An e-mail sent to Community Board 1 stated, “About half a cup a day is flying onto the balconies — more comes in through windows, landing of course on everything inside. This includes into peoples’ eyes and into bedding and foodstuffs.”

“Property damages are now a likelihood. Personal damages also, if eye infections occur,” it said. “Photos are being collected with time/date stamps by residents.”

Something needs to be done ASAP about this “continuing and still-unresolved issue,” they say, or the residents will take action.

The New York State Department of Transportation, who has been working on the project in collaboration with the Battery Park City Authority Conservancy, is looking into the issue. DOT had no further comment before press time.

Contractor Gets a Second Chance

Developer Larry A. Silverstein has hired Regional Scaffolding and Hoisting Company, a contractor implicated in the fire that killed two firefighters at the former Deutsche Bank building in 2007, to work on the $2 billion office tower at the World Trade Center site, according to officials and news reports.

Regional is the subject of a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., over financial improprieties. Tishman Construction, the construction manager for the office tower, has hired Regional to install the elevator.

“Regional Scaffolding was contracted to perform a limited amount of work on Tower 4 because it was judged to be the most qualified responsible bidder on the project,” said Bud Perrone a spokesperson for Silverstein Properties. “Regional has been used as a hoist contractor on large jobs throughout the City, and we have every confidence that…they will perform their duties responsibly and to the highest safety standards. We will accept nothing less.”

“Regional was hired as the hoist contractor only, and is not doing any demolition work at Tower 4,” re-assured John Gallagher, Director of Public Affairs at Tishman Construction.

“We’ve worked with them on large projects around the City in the past and are satisfied that they can meet the requirements and schedule of this job while adhering to the strictest standards of safety,” he continued.

Hopefully there will be no casualties, this time around.


July 10th, 2010, 12:50 PM

July 10th, 2010, 12:54 PM

July 15th, 2010, 06:32 PM
grass has arrived.

July 15th, 2010, 09:58 PM
Delury ^ Yes?


July 15th, 2010, 10:49 PM
Yes, its Delury Square. Real craftsmanship.

July 16th, 2010, 11:29 PM
Not exactly in Lower Manhattan, but still a fun idea ...

Remaking Park Ave. Into a Spot to Splash

Image from Macro-Sea/VAMOS Architect’s “Latest Strip Mall Concepts (http://macro-sea.com/more.asp)” which involve
using their dumpster pools (better known for their Brooklyn implementation (http://readymadeblogs.mydevstaging.com/blogs/readymade//2009/07/07/))

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/nyregion/16pool.html?ref=nyregion)
July 15, 2010

For those New Yorkers who never received a coveted invitation last summer to dive into Dumpsters converted into pools in Brooklyn, there is a much easier alternative this year: Park Avenue.

For the first three Saturdays in August, the Bloomberg administration will open three Dumpster pools on the east side of Park Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets.

With Grand Central Terminal and the MetLife Building serving as a backdrop, the pools will be above ground, encircled by a five-foot-wide metal deck with a nonstick rubber surface, and accompanied by several changing-room cabanas, portable showers and portable toilets.

The pools, which will be open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., are part of the city’s Summer Streets initiative, now entering its third year, which closes off long stretches of Park Avenue and other streets to cars and trucks.

But while most of the attention focused on transportation the first two years, the program this year will also emphasize entertainment, like the New York International Fringe Festival, and recreation, highlighted by the new pools.

“While they have been lovingly referred to as Dumpster pools, don’t let the name fool you,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner. “These are clean, compliant mobile pools that will put even more ‘park’ into Park Avenue. It will almost be like a Park Avenue boardwalk.”

Each pool will be roughly 8 feet wide and 22 feet long, with a sloped bottom between 3 and 5 ½ feet deep — bigger than the typical Dumpster. There will no diving boards. No baby pool, either.

At no cost to the city, Macro-Sea, the Brooklyn company that designed the Dumpster pools, is converting the containers, which will be cleaned and have protective liners. As is the case with any other above-ground pool, a water filtration system will be installed, and the Department of Health will need to sign off on a permit, said David Belt, president of Macro-Sea.

Crunch, the fitness gym, will donate lifeguards, Ms. Sadik-Khan said.

At the end of each Saturday, the deck will drop to the sides and the pools will be covered by a heavy-duty mesh. The containers will then sit curbside, as if they were Dumpsters at a construction project — except that there will not be debris, but rather water, inside. The containers will be locked.

There has been no word yet on whether Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will take a ceremonial dip. But Ms. Sadik-Khan said, “I’m certainly going to get my feet wet.”

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company


POOL RENDERING (http://macro-sea.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Render_WhiteFloor.jpg) from Macro-Sea [ MACRO SEA MOBILE POOLS 2010 (http://macro-sea.com/blog/?cat=3) ]

In 2009 Macro Sea transformed a Brooklyn scrap yard into a temporary country club. For the last year, we’ve been expanding upon that concept and creating mobile dumpster pools that can be set up anywhere. We ended up with a dumpster pool that you can literally unload off of a truck, fill with water, plug in and go swimming. Why bring your friends to the pool when we can bring the pool to your friends?

The goal is to use these mobile swimming pools, made from objects typically utilized to store and haul junk, in unexpected settings. We are continuing our efforts to repurpose space and adapting unlikely environments to our collective will and desire.


David Belt, Macro Sea, Executive Director

Alix Feinkind, Macro Sea, Creative Director

Jocko Weyland, Macro Sea, Aesthetic Collaborator & Consultant

James Neu, DBI, Project Manager

Evan Bennett, Vamos Architects, Principal
Silvia Fuster, Vamos Architects, Principal
Kathrine Geismar, Vamos Architects, Designer
Taryn Humphrey, Vamos Architects, Designer
Anders Natt och Dag, Vamos Architects, Designer
Julia With, Vamos Architects, Designer


Jason Krugman

Joel Trace

Cooper Tank & Welding Corp.


July 25th, 2010, 08:15 PM
Fence blown down by tonight's storm?

August 6th, 2010, 10:08 PM
CaVaLa Park to be renamed to Capsouto Park (http://dnainfo.com/20100805/downtown/cavala-park-be-renamed-for-albert-capsouto-dead-tribeca-activist)

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R7749_CAVALA_PARK_RENAMED_FO R_ALBERT_CAPSOUTO08052010.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R8462_CAVALA_PARK_RENAMED_FO R_ALBERT_CAPSOUTO08052010.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R1988_CAVALA_PARK_RENAMED_FO R_ALBERT_CAPSOUTO08052010.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R3449_CAVALA_PARK_RENAMED_FO R_ALBERT_CAPSOUTO08052010.jpg

August 6th, 2010, 10:30 PM
We had trouble pronouncing "CaVaLa" ...

How do you pronounce "Capsouto" :confused:

August 6th, 2010, 11:09 PM
Al-bear Cap-so-toe

August 7th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Thanks. Slight accent on the 3rd syllable?

August 8th, 2010, 02:18 AM

The park looks beautiful. Can you post a photo of the waterfall?

I've always wanted to see the crappy building with the pizza place and the garage get torn down and replaced with a condo or hotel.


August 8th, 2010, 11:03 AM
The new one that has risen just behind that pizza place on Gold south of Fulton is definitely built with something new in mind to face onto Delury Park + Square ...


August 8th, 2010, 11:11 AM
Is that building currently under construction. These developers are wangs. As I recall, there were two, nice, old buildings with cornices, etc. behind that pizza place. Presumably, they've been razed.

August 8th, 2010, 11:22 AM
It's nearing completion. My memory is shot -- don't remember what used to be there.

Some pics at Forgotten NY (http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/fultonstreet/fulton.html) show the stretch of Gold Street at Eden Alley near where this one went up, but they just give peeks of what was there before.

August 8th, 2010, 11:44 AM
Thanks, Lofter.

Another crap building that I've always wanted to see torn down is the two-story one (with another pizza place) at the corner of Nassau and Maiden Lane.

Its corner and red awning are visible in the far left side of the following photo from the link you posted.


August 8th, 2010, 03:11 PM



August 8th, 2010, 03:35 PM
That's beautiful. I hope that the Water Street landscaping occurs and that it turns out as nice as this.

August 8th, 2010, 06:07 PM
James Madison Plaza

I always thought it was named for James Madison. It is, sort of (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M255/).

Although controlled by NYC Parks for over 40 years, not much was done to develop it. It got worse when NYPD took over the space after 09/11 and turned it into a parking lot.

They were forced to return it to public use in 2004. Work is finally underway to green it up under a $2.16 million project.

Nice views of Woolworth, US Customs, Municipal, Beekman, and growing 1WTC.

http://a.imageshack.us/img201/7343/jamesmadisonplz01c.th.jpg (http://img201.imageshack.us/i/jamesmadisonplz01c.jpg/) http://a.imageshack.us/img261/6080/jamesmadisonplz02c.th.jpg (http://img261.imageshack.us/i/jamesmadisonplz02c.jpg/) http://a.imageshack.us/img576/7450/jamesmadisonplz03c.th.jpg (http://img576.imageshack.us/i/jamesmadisonplz03c.jpg/) http://a.imageshack.us/img594/4927/jamesmadisonplz04c.th.jpg (http://img594.imageshack.us/i/jamesmadisonplz04c.jpg/) http://a.imageshack.us/img261/3787/jamesmadisonplz05c.th.jpg (http://img261.imageshack.us/i/jamesmadisonplz05c.jpg/)

August 8th, 2010, 08:23 PM
Does anyone know what, if anything, occurred with the park proposed for the parking lot on Leonard between Lafayette and Centre Streets?

August 8th, 2010, 08:27 PM

August 8th, 2010, 09:17 PM
Further research reveals that Collect Pond Park is still in the works.


Collect Pond Park « back
Summary | Daily Activities | Contact Info | FAQs
Though familiar to jurors and neighborhood residents, most people may not realize that the open area amid the courthouses on Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets is actually public parkland. By day, the space is part dilapidated plaza, part Department of Transportation parking lot. At night, when the municipal workers have gone home, the unlit, unguarded area is noted for its populations of homeless individuals and idle youths.

Good news: The Parks Department is looking to change all that as part of a downtown open space program funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation,. A new $3.5 million park on the site will reclaim the parking lot for park use and add grass, game tables, and a water feature.

All of the posted information, including schedules and completion dates are based on the information provided by the project managers.

Collect Pond Park occupies the 18th-century site of Collect Pond, a large, 60-foot-deep pool fed by an underground spring. During the first decade of the 19th century, the polluted, plague-inducing Collect Pond was filled in and the area has since been home to public executions, a house of detention, and a section of the notorious Five Points slum.

In stark contrast to this somewhat unsavory history, park designers envision the new park as both a sunny lunch spot and a reminder of Manhattan's densely wooded past. The park will be surrounded by shade trees, with a large lawn in the center of the lot and tables along the northern and eastern edges. At the south end of the space, where the parking lot now sits, the Parks Department will place thick beds of ferns and other woodland plants. Water misters will be imbedded in the plantings, making the surrounding air feel wetter and cooler. The park will be enclosed by a four-foot fence and lampposts and will be locked at night.

< Back to Top >

Daily Activities
The following information was last updated on July 12, 2010.

Redesign approved CB1 and Design Commission
Bids remain out

< Back to Top >

Contact Info
For more information about Collect Pond Park, contact Lawrence Mauro at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation at (718) 760-6598.

August 9th, 2010, 07:41 PM
The water feature in CaVaLa Park looks handsome.

August 16th, 2010, 11:28 AM
DeLury Square

The park is finished, except for a small area at the the NW entrance. Sprinklers were on yesterday. It's really lush.

All that's left are the sidewalks.

http://a.imageshack.us/img822/6150/delurysq04c.th.jpg (http://img822.imageshack.us/i/delurysq04c.jpg/) http://a.imageshack.us/img440/5606/delurysq05c.th.jpg (http://img440.imageshack.us/i/delurysq05c.jpg/)

August 16th, 2010, 08:43 PM
Nice photos. Is the waterfall visible in that photo?

August 16th, 2010, 10:06 PM
Not sure.

I think the waterfall will run down the rocks on the left, and flow into a pool near the big rock on the right.

August 16th, 2010, 10:31 PM

August 18th, 2010, 07:47 PM
Most of the recently planted small shrubs on the southern end of the West St promenade have died or are dying. - especially along the bike path. sad.

September 10th, 2010, 07:58 AM
Let the kids get on with it.

West Thames Park redux:
Drainage issues, errant balls and the tire swing


While the rest of the world has been riveted by the community center and "mosque" proposed for Park Place, many Battery Park City residents have been riveted by what's happening at West Thames Park - still nostalgically referred to as "Tire Swing Park" even though there's no tire swing and hasn't been one all summer.

At last night's meeting of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee, Lisa Weiss urban design director for the New York State Department of Transportation, brought committee members up to date. Drainage problems in the water play area will be repaired, causing no inconvenience because "water play areas are usually shut down after Labor Day." Discolored, cracked flooring in the playing area will be replaced. In two weeks, temporary panels will be erected on the arbor, providing shade until the vines can grow in. Irrigation boxes on the large lawn will be moved because they are creating a swamp in their present location, even though "they were installed according to specs."

This will necessitate closing the lawn for two weeks, said Ms. Weiss, probably in late September or early October. Jeff Galloway, co-chair of the Battery Park City Committee, pointed out that this would interfere with soccer practice, which takes place on that lawn on Saturdays. It wasn't clear how this conflict would be resolved.

Committee member Tom Goodkind brought up the matter of balls being lobbed over the low fence and out of the park. "Children are chasing balls into the bicycle path and out into West Street," he said. "At this point we have no further work to do on the fencing," said Ms. Weiss. Mr. Galloway mentioned that the height of the fence had been discussed by the West Thames Park Working Group, which had settled on the current height of the fence. What was to be done about this, if anything, was also unresolved.

However, what was to be done about the tire swing was resolved last night. To recap: the park that the current park replaced had a tire swing. Some Battery Park City residents fumed about the loss of the park and particularly about the loss of the tire swing. The DOT promised there would be a new one in the new park. They kept their promise, however, unfortunately on Day 1, two girls bumped their heads on the crossbeam and an irate parent took the swing down.

The DOT looked into the problem and discovered that identical tire swings had been used successfully in other parts of New York City for years, without complaints. The West Thames Park Working Group reconvened to mull over the dilemma and suggested that the DOT look into padding the supporting beam or putting up a sign warning of danger.

Last night, Ms. Weiss said that, for various reasons, neither of those suggestions was feasible.

"Why have we had problems with this swing when it's been used without problems elsewhere?" one committee member wondered.

"We're pansies," said Mr. Galloway.

"Some kid could get hurt on any apparatus in that park if someone abuses it," said committee member Anthony Notaro. "There were two reports of kids banging their heads.

They didn't require medical attention. Thousands of kids have used the tire swing. Two kids banged their heads! Children will try to have as much fun as possible and in the process, push the limit."

"Are you ready to put the swing back in place?" asked committee chair Linda Belfer.

"We are," said Ms. Weiss.


September 10th, 2010, 08:24 AM
They didn't require medical attention. Thousands of kids have used the tire swing. Two kids banged their heads! Children will try to have as much fun as possible and in the process, push the limit."A few months ago, the complaint was about sand from the playground getting into apartments. They said it was "about one-half cup per day."

How did they measure it?

September 10th, 2010, 09:08 AM

September 12th, 2010, 03:13 AM
Common sense prevails somewhere.

\/ Yes :rolleyes:.

“For kids today, there’s no more street play, no arguing and working things out on their own,”Chronicle of a Changing City


THE P.S. 185 PLAYGROUND, the city’s newest schoolyard, is decidedly old-school, with spaces for skelly (http://www.streetplay.com/skully/), boxball, red light-green light, ace-king-queen and running bases. This revival of old New York City street games is an initiative of the school’s principal, Kenneth Llinas, 61, who played them as a child in Flatbush.

“For kids today, there’s no more street play, no arguing and working things out on their own,” he said.

Through the city’s PlaNYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/planyc/playgrounds.html) program to open schoolyards to the wider public during nonschool hours, Mr. Llinas sought recommendations from the students and from Rick Bockowski, a design project manager for the city’s parks department.

The meager patch of asphalt was transformed into an athletic space; Mr. Llinas even hopes to add an artificial stoop for stoopball.


September 12th, 2010, 10:42 AM
All summer long, mom would say to us, "Go outside and play."

September 16th, 2010, 07:08 AM
Plagued by bad...something.

West Thames Park to Close for Repairs Three Months After Opening

West Thames Park, the site of a controversial tire swing, will close for two weeks near the end of the September.

By Julie Shapiro

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slide show (http://dnainfo.com/20100914/downtown/west-thames-park-close-for-repairs-three-months-after-opening/slideshow/popup/36173)

BATTERY PARK CITY — The controversial tire swing (http://dnainfo.com/20100720/financial-district-battery-park-city/tire-swing-return-battery-park-city-playground-despite-injuries-children) isn’t the only problem at West Thames Park.

Just three months after the $9.4 million park opened, (http://dnainfo.com/20100528/financial-district-battery-park-city/battery-park-city-playground-reopens-rave-reviews) the water play area does not drain properly, the springy safety surface is cracked and the grass field has turned into a mud pit.

"We haven’t wanted to close it, because it’s so popular and well used," said Lisa Weiss, urban design director for the State Department of Transportation, which built the park.

But as the problems added up, the state realized it made sense to close the lawn and playground and fix everything at once. The two-week closure will likely happen later this month or early next month.

The state declined to say how much the repairs would cost. The original $9.4 million came from the Federal Transit Administration’s 9/11 recovery fund.

During the closure, the state will likely reinstall the tire swing that injured several children earlier this summer, said Adam Levine, State DOT spokesman. Community Board 1 gave the tire swing the green light at a meeting last week.

Of the many issues at West Thames Park, parents said one of the biggest disappointments was the lawn, which turned into a mud puddle a few weeks after it opened.

Weiss said the irrigation system was left on too long one night, which compacted the sod and caused poor drainage. The state is still figuring out how to repair the lawn, she said.
"Whatever it takes," said Matt Schneider, a Battery Park City resident who was playing with his two young sons in the park last week. "It’s not very useful with a big lake in the middle."

Drainage has also been a problem in the playground, where the fountains sometimes create a pool of standing water several inches deep. When toddlers wade in with diapers, the water becomes unsanitary, parents said.

The state is working on a permanent solution to that problem as well, Weiss said.
Vanessa Keeping, 37, who brings her 4 and 7-year-old sons to the park almost every day, said she was sorry to hear the playground had to close.

"If it’s a safety issue, I’d rather that it’s closed and fixed," she said. "But it’s going to be rough for us. The kids are so used to coming now."

Reinstalling of the tire swing may be the most noticeable change to the park when it reopens.

The state removed the swing at the community’s request in July, after at least two children smacked their head on the wooden crossbeam (http://dnainfo.com/20100602/financial-district-battery-park-city/tire-swing-removed-from-battery-park-city-playground-after-2-children-hurt) while riding it.

Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee gave the state permission to put the swing back up at a meeting last week after learning that identical swings were already up all over the city with no complaints.

The community board had asked the state to add padding around the crossbeam and put up a sign explaining the potential danger, but the state decided not to do so, Weiss said last week. Changing anything about the swing could void the manufacturer’s warranty and open the state to liability, she said.

Even without the proposed safety measures, the Battery Park City Committee supported reinstalling the swing.

"Kids could get hurt on any apparatus in the park," said Anthony Notaro, a CB1 member.

Jeff Galloway, another member, added that unless Battery Park City residents are "pansies," they should be willing to take the marginal risk of injury.

"I don’t think we want to raise our kids in a padded cell," he said.


October 1st, 2010, 02:17 AM
Imagination Playground. Park's always packed.


October 13th, 2010, 02:34 PM





October 14th, 2010, 12:50 PM
Park has just opened for business today!!

October 15th, 2010, 04:47 PM
and shady characters, naturally...

October 15th, 2010, 09:16 PM
Waterfall in New Financial District Park Evokes Manhattan's Native Forests

The 8,800-square-foot DeLury Square Park at Fulton and Gold streets opened Thursday afternoon.

By Julie Shapiro

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slide show (http://www.dnainfo.com/20101015/downtown/waterfall-new-financial-district-park-evokes-manhattans-native-forests/slideshow/popup/40895)

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The long-awaited DeLury Square Park (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/delury_square_park_68268.aspx) opened this week at Fulton and Gold streets, adding a patch of calm, green space to a busy intersection.

The 8,800-square-foot park has drawn a continuous stream of local residents and workers since opening its gates for the first time Thursday afternoon.

"I’m ecstatic," said Artie Knapp, 62, site safety manager on the new residential building rising at 40 Gold St. nearby. "I’ve been down here for a year and I’ve been sitting on a garbage can. Now I have a bench."

In addition to benches, the $2.6 million park, funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., has a waterfall cascading down large boulders, a curving path, trees and bushes.
"We wanted to pay tribute to the original conditions that were there, the upland forests," said Alex Hart, the park’s designer. The rocks, water and shrubbery, all designed to evoke the island before Europeans arrived, "create an interesting contrast with the rest of lower Manhattan around [the park]," Hart said.

The city carved space for the park by squaring the formerly curved intersection of Fulton and Gold streets and by buying a parcel of land from the adjacent Southbridge Towers for about $5.5 million.

"This was a win-win for Southbridge," longtime resident Paul Hovitz said. "It’s a great addition to the neighborhood."

"It’s very nice," agreed Nick Logrippo, 64, another Southbridge resident who was sitting on a bench in the park on Friday. "It’s a convenient walk, and I enjoy the scenery."

Not everyone is a fan of the new park, though.

Barbara Molinelli, a 54-year-old Southbridge resident who was walking her dog Friday afternoon, said she was concerned that it would soon be overrun with rats, homeless people and unruly teenagers from the nearby Murry Bergtraum High School.

"We have to sit here to take the park back," Molinelli said. "I don’t think it’s going to be a good thing. I hope I’m not right."


October 16th, 2010, 01:04 AM
When I walked through the park early this evening around 4:30pm, there was one super shady character (intimidating body language and the like) who I photographed.

Unfortunately my capacity on WNY is exceeded, so only I will ever see that shot!

October 16th, 2010, 09:38 PM
Does anyone know if the Collect Pond Park has started construction? Also, will the entire parking lot be eliminated? I hope so. Incompetent state court judges don't need a free parking lot in the middle of Manhattan.

October 17th, 2010, 12:15 AM
Nothing happening at the Collect Pond Park site right now.

Latest news (http://www.lowermanhattan.info/construction/project_updates/collect_pond_park_52379.aspx):

The following information was last updated on October 12, 2010.

Redesign approved CB1 and Design Commission

Bids to go out in November 2010

The map of the design (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18538&page=1) shows that the parking lot will disappear and become part of the park:


October 17th, 2010, 08:29 AM
Thanks, Lofter.

Every time I did pro bono work and went to the Housing Court near there, I always thought that the parking lot should be a park. The same holds true for the parking lot just west of the Surrogates Court.

October 29th, 2010, 06:52 AM
Friends and Family Celebrate Naming of ‘Albert Capsouto Park’

By Matt Dunning

Left: More than 100 people were on hand for the renaming of CaVaLa Park in honor of Albert Capsouto.
Right: Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Jacques Capsouto, along with other friends,
family members and elected officials, unveil the sign bearing the park's new name.

A crowd of more than 100 friends, family members and well-wishers gathered Thursday, Oct. 28, to dedicate the verdant triangle straddling Canal, Laight and Varick Street—formerly known as CaVaLa Park—to long-time neighborhood restaurateur and community advocate Albert Capsouto.

Capsouto, who served for nearly 20 years on Community Board 1, died in January at the age of 53 after succumbing to brain cancer. City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe agreed in August to rename the park for Capsouto after considerable lobbying by Community Board 1 representatives and local elected officials.

Those who knew him spoke of Capsouto as a dignified but vigilant leader during Tribeca’s sometimes rocky transition into a fast-growing residential neighborhood, and through its difficult days following Sept. 11.

self,” said Capsouto’s friend and fellow CB 1 member Bruce Ehrmann, who led the task force to convince the Parks Department to rename the park. “He helped me, personally, so much in dealing with everything that was going on then.”

Capsouto served for several years, on and off, as the chair of the CB1’s Tribeca Committee. His advocacy on behalf of small businesses following the Sept. 11 attacks earned him the U.S. Small Business Administration's Phoenix Award for Small Business Economic Injury Recovery. Many remember the Capsouto brothers for providing free meals and a place to gather for local residents and Con Ed workers in the area after Sept. 11.

“This is incredible,” Capsouto’s oldest brother, Jacques, said during the dedication ceremony. “It’s a beautiful day, it’s a beautiful turnout. Thank you Albert. I know he’s looking at us and thanking all of you.”

His brother Samuel also had a message for Albert, positive that he was indeed listening from somewhere beyond.

“The only thing I can really say to you is, as a brother, Albert, you did good.”


November 12th, 2010, 06:10 AM
Nice work. The building with the arched windows is a nice backdrop and looks great lit up like that.





http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/11/11/while_you_werent_looking_fidi_got_a_new_park.php#d elury-square-park-4

November 21st, 2010, 10:46 PM
Nothing happening at the Collect Pond Park site right now....

According to the Park's Dept's website, work has begun. Can anyone post photos?

Lower Manhattan Redevelopment
Collect Pond Park
White Street between Center and Lafayette Streets
The reconstruction of Collect Pond Park will transform this triangular paved lot into a green, garden–like park with sitting areas for use by local residents and office workers. The park will include a water feature that will animate and cool the sitting areas as well as provide an attractive feature for park users of all ages. New planting and low fencing will protect the sitting area from nearby traffic. Additional elements include new benches, tables and chairs, lighting, bicycle racks, extensive landscaping, new water supply and irrigation, and a reconstructed storm drainage system.

Project Status: Scheduled to begin in Fall 2010 and will be completed in Fall 2011.

November 22nd, 2010, 02:06 PM
As of last week nothing was going on. I wouldn't hold my breath but "Fall 2010" doesn't end until December 20 something.

November 24th, 2010, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the update, Lofter.

December 24th, 2010, 03:35 PM
Christmas Eve

December 24th, 2010, 03:37 PM

March 25th, 2011, 06:43 AM
West Thames Park still a muddy mess

BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

West Thames Park on the eastern side of Battery Park City between West Thames and Albany Streets opened with fanfare on Memorial Day weekend of 2010, but not long after, the playing field just south of the Rector Street pedestrian bridge turned to mud. It is still muddy, in more ways than one.

The park was constructed by the New York State Department of Transportation using $9.4 million in federal funds derived from a post-9/11 transportation infrastructure recovery package of $4.55 billion allocated for work on Route 9A (West Street) between Chambers Street and the Battery.

During the reconstruction of the park, which took eight months, the playing field was leveled and sod was laid down. In order to give time for the grass to knit, the lawn opened in mid-June.

The D.O.T. became the legal owner of the property while the work was in progress. When construction was finished and deemed satisfactory, the Hudson River Park Trust was to be declared the owner and the Battery Park City Authority was to maintain the park.

But although the D.O.T. apparently accepted the park from its contractors, Tully Construction and E.E. Cruz, the playing field has been far from satisfactory, and for months, fingers have been pointed as to what’s wrong, how to fix it, who’s to blame and who will end up paying.

Battery Park City Authority executives realized from the beginning that there was a problem. Consequently, the Authority has not signed an agreement with Hudson River Park Trust to assume maintenance responsibilities. During the summer, the B.P.C.A. conducted soil tests that showed that the wrong kind of sod had been laid down. In November, the D.O.T. said that the problem wasn’t the sod but the Authority insisted, based on its soil tests, that the sod was not what had been ordered for the site. It has a clay base that retains water, the Authority said, and not a sandy base that would allow water to drain.

The Authority said that the sod had to be ripped out and replaced. Starting in mid-April, this is what will happen under the D.O.T.’s auspices. The work should be finished by the end of May and then the new sod will need four weeks to knit. During this time, the lawn will be closed.

“I don’t think the determination has been made yet as to who is going to pay for replacing the sod,” said Adam Levine, spokesperson for the D.O.T. “Currently it’s with our claims office. That’s a conversation we’re having with our contractor.”

“The [D.O.T.] should never have accepted [the playing field] from their contractor,” said a Battery Park City Authority executive. “They have legal issues in terms of the remedies with their contractor, so not only is the field muddy, the whole relationship is muddy.”

Meanwhile, according to Levine, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy is informally maintaining the park — sweeping, collecting trash, hosing down the dog run and informing the D.O.T. if any of the playground equipment, which is still under warrantee, needs to be repaired. There is no written contract in place for this service and there will be none until the construction and legal issues are sorted out and the Hudson River Park Trust accepts ownership.

One piece of playground equipment that attracted a lot of attention when the park opened was a new tire swing that replaced a beloved tire swing that had been in the park for years. Within days of the opening, two children had bumped their heads on the support structure of the new tire swing. The swing was taken down, put back and then taken down again.

Community Board 1 has approved it going back in, and according to Levine, the D.O.T. is currently in discussions with the Battery Park City Authority as to when that will happen.


May 6th, 2011, 09:52 AM
Lower East Siders Pitch Plan for Redesign of Gulick Park

Lower East Side volunteers participated in a community-driven design session to help guide Gulick Park's renovation.

By Patrick Hedlund

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LOWER EAST SIDE — A group of local residents working to shape the future of a public park near the Williamsburg Bridge gathered Wednesday to offer ideas for the declining 80-year-old green space.

Gulick Park, located on Delancey and Columbia streets, stretches over two blocks adjacent to the bridge with co-ops, a nursing home and parking garage surrounding it.

Two years ago, volunteers from the neighborhood banded together to form the Friends of Gulick Park and held a "visioning session" to solicit ideas for how the space could be better utilized.

After securing $1.5 million for the redesign, about 35 volunteers met on Wednesday to discuss key components of the park and how it could be improved to serve the community.

"It's a bit of blank slate," said Dave Bolotsky, founder of the Friends of Gulick Park. "Definitely let your imaginations run wild."

The volunteers were broken up into five separate groups to focus on the park's entry points, uses, visibility, role in the community, and look and feel of the space.

The park currently counts handball and basketball courts, a playground area, open green space and an oval-shaped area with a spray shower.

The consensus coming from residents at the meeting was that the basketball court, which bisects the park, should be relocated to allow visitors better overall circulation through the space.

Other suggestions included adding more greenery, developing a "topography" to the space with sloped sections, a central lawn area, art installations, shorter fencing to increase visibility, public programming like dance or music performances, moveable furniture, and a farmers market.

A survey conducted by Friend of Gulick Park back in 2009 revealed additional trees and plantings topped park-goers' wish list for the space, followed by a renovation of the southwest section sitting area to allow for more passive recreation activities.

A Parks Department representative on hand at the meeting said the city will take into account residents' proposals for the park and incorporate them into its larger redevelopment plan.

However, Bolotsky reminded that a complete overhaul of the park could cost up to $6 million, meaning construction would have to be done in phases.

The Friends will make the results of the process available on its website (http://gulickpark.org/), with the hope of construction starting in the spring or summer of next year.


May 6th, 2011, 11:39 AM
They need to keep it neat and simple.

Adding artificial topography is a crock. Improving circulation is a must. A small performance space (in NYC) is VERY valuable and so is a decent DURABLE childrens playground.

The problem is, too many imaginations running wild have a tendency to burn through money like tissue paper.

May 6th, 2011, 05:52 PM
And space four your Handbag vendors to set up shop

July 26th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Four years later and maybe construction will soon start on the carousel ...

Carousel At The Battery Will Give Riders A Fish-Eye View

POSTED MAY 2, 2008


Detailed plans for the marine-themed Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park ...

Another three years have passed and finally they've broken ground for the Sea Glass Carousel (http://www.thebattery.org/rebuilding/carousel/design.php).

Characters & visuals designed by the George Tsypin Opera Factory (http://georgetsypin.com/), same crew who brought Spiderman to Broadway.

Not a new vid, but here's what's coming ...


October 3rd, 2011, 12:09 AM
Albert Capsouto Park

riomaro (http://www.flickr.com/photos/20476865@N00/6204482929/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

riomaro (http://www.flickr.com/photos/20476865@N00/6204482929/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

October 3rd, 2011, 08:31 AM
Nice waterfall, but I see the grass is being used as a doggie outhouse (all those nice brown circles...)

October 3rd, 2011, 09:46 AM
Could that be because most dog owners don't understand chemistry?

October 3rd, 2011, 10:34 AM
Chemistry = Courtesy?

December 22nd, 2011, 10:38 AM
Winning plan for Coleman Oval under the Manhattan approach to the Manhattan Bridge, to include skate park & performance venue ...

HAO / Holm Architecture Office with VM Studio Wins Manhattan Skate Park Competition

bustler (http://www.bustler.net/index.php/article/hao_holm_architecture_office_with_vm_studio_wins_m anhattan_skate_park_compe)

International design collective HAO / Holm Architecture Office (http://www.holmarchitectureoffice.com/), in collaboration with New York-based VM Studio (http://www.vmdstudio.com/), has received first place in a competition for the re-design of the Coleman Oval Skate Park in Manhattan.

Nine New York design firms were invited to participate in the competition, which was sponsored by Architecture for Humanity (http://architectureforhumanity.org/) and a Gamechangers grant (http://gamechangers.architectureforhumanity.org/) from Nike, a campaign encouraging community organizations to empower youth through sports programs that spur social and economic development. The project is being developed with the New York City Parks & Recreation Department’s Adopt-a-Park program (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/support/pdf/Adopt_A_Park_Overview.pdf).

The first part of the new design, the Skate Park and seating area, is expected to be completed mid 2012.

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Rendering of the redesigned Coleman Oval Skate Park in Manhattan by HAO /
Holm Architecture Office with VM Studio (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office).

The Coleman Oval Skate Park, situated partly under the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, has become one of the most heavily trafficked skate parks in New York City.

HAO’s winning solution re-imagines the park and conceives a program designed specifically to suit the unique character and demographic mix of the surrounding neighborhood.

http://www.bustler.net/images/sized/images/news2/hao_manhattan_skate_park_02-530x295.jpg (http://www.bustler.net/images/news2/hao_manhattan_skate_park_02.jpg)
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Rendering (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

With the new skate park and seating area as the cornerstone of the revitalization of the larger Coleman Oval Park, HAO proposes a plug-and-play design solution that can be developed in phases while still establishing a strong unified architectural solution.

“By creating a park that emphasizes and underlines local diversity, Coleman Oval Park has the potential to become a one of a kind city park simply by accommodating the potential of the dense urban area it sits within: the secret is in the mix,” said Jens Holm, founder, HAO.

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Rendering (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Rendering (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Rendering (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Diagram (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Diagram (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Diagram (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

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Diagram (Image: HAO / Holm Architecture Office)

Project Details:

Title: Coleman Oval Skate Park
Program: Playground, Skate Park, Public Park, Stage, Dog Run, Base Ball Field & Sports Program
Type: Invited Competition
Client: Architecture for Humanity & Steve Rodriguez / 5boro (http://5boro.com/)
Location: Coleman Oval Park, Manhattan, NY
Status: Ongoing
Team: Jens Holm/HAO; Kay Vorwuelderbecke/VM Studio

December 22nd, 2011, 03:16 PM
That's crazy looking. My younger cousin is into skateboarding. Just posted that link on his FB wall.

December 22nd, 2011, 03:24 PM

May 20th, 2012, 09:16 PM
James Madison Plaza

Now starting its third year of construction. I wonder who did the last three inspections (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/jamesmadisonplaza/inspections).

A tantalizing peak.
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/2762/jamesmadisonplz06c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/225/jamesmadisonplz06c.jpg/)

When taken over by the NYPD for a parking lot, it became part of the "security zone." I don't know why that didn't go away when they were ordered to return it to Parks, but now bollards are being installed.
http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/482/jamesmadisonplz07c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/32/jamesmadisonplz07c.jpg/) http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/7469/jamesmadisonplz08c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/155/jamesmadisonplz08c.jpg/)

It looks like they can get it done before the Fourth of July, but Parks is hedging their bets.


May 20th, 2012, 10:03 PM
Peck Slip

http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/9464/peckslip01c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/577/peckslip01c.jpg/) http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4301/peckslip02c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/525/peckslip02c.jpg/) http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/8228/peckslip03c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/855/peckslip03c.jpg/)

May 22nd, 2012, 12:12 AM

Nice! They should landscape all the way to B'Way!

March 31st, 2013, 09:12 AM
James Madison Plaza

Still not open. The plaza work seems complete. Needs new sidewalk, which is a mess, and perimeter fence.

Next door to the 375 Pearl St hulk, but nice views of Woolworth, 8 Spruce, WTC, and US Courthouse.


April 2nd, 2013, 03:18 PM
This has been U/C for a long time, hasn't it? I seem to recall work starting before I changed offices 2 years ago.

April 2nd, 2013, 04:43 PM
Yes. See post #224.

May 16th, 2013, 06:24 PM
Seasons change. Plaza remains closed.


May 17th, 2013, 12:15 AM
But the newly redone plaza at Javits Federal Building is open, and has a cool water feature spouting out of the ground.

May 18th, 2013, 09:47 AM
Is that on the Centre St side? I walked by there the other day and missed it.

PS: that tower urgently needs a new facade.

May 18th, 2013, 03:06 PM
It's on the SW corner of Worth & Lafayette. The water feature is in the ground (a series of high pressure spouts, that dance in sequence) in a little area surrounded by magnolia trees, elevated above the corner (helping to counter the sounds of traffic).

You can see it in the photo below (at the lower right) from the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates website (http://www.mvvainc.com/project.php?id=15), where it's described thusly (seems they like the façade there, and were inspired by it):

" ... The paving pattern quotes the Federal Building’s distinctive façade, and the plaza is animated by a lively interplay of water, benches, and plants, including a ring of sculptural magnolias ...

In one area, a fountain emerges directly from the pavement, giving the space a visual and aural dynamism."


May 19th, 2013, 09:30 PM
Thanks, Lofter. It looks nice.

May 19th, 2013, 11:47 PM
You've got to time it right to catch the magnolias in bloom. Two or so weeks near the end of April, then they're done.

May 21st, 2013, 09:03 AM
A lot better than any previous version.

May 22nd, 2013, 02:23 PM
I left the posts here since they would be repetitive, but there's a thread for the Javits Federal Building and Plaza (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10643&page=3).

I moved the Collect Pond Park posts to its dedicated thread (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18538&page=2).

October 25th, 2013, 11:35 PM
Lot Behind One Police Plaza Transformed Into Community Park

By Irene Plagianos








LOWER MANHATTAN — A little green oasis has cropped up behind One Police Plaza (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml).

The triangular lot, which had been used by police officers for parking since 9/11, has been transformed into a public seating area, dotted with trees, two waters fountains and gardens.

The revamped park, dubbed James Madison Plaza (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/jamesmadisonplaza/), opened to the public Thursday after community members and elected officials worked for years to reclaim the space, which, like much of the area surrounding One Police Plaza, has been under heavy security since 9/11.

"I didn't want my children to grow up feeling like they were in complete security lockdown," said Jeanie Chin, a resident of neighboring Chatham Towers who has led the effort to refurbish the park, after a ceremony celebrating the opening.

Chin and a group of local residents sued the NYPD 12 years ago to allow public access to plaza.

The residents won the case in 2004, but it's taken a continued push to actually get the park, which sits between Madison Street, St. James Place and Pearl Street, restored and ready for use, Chin said.

“It was so bleak here, it’s wonderful to see trees, to see something beautiful here, finally,” Chin said.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation provided $2.6 million for the park rebuilding, and the NYPD provided an additional $109,000 for security bollards, according to the Parks Department.

The park was also designed with community input, the Parks Department said.

A fountain made from a polished granite sphere etched with a world map was created using suggestions from students at Murry Bergtraum High School, (http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/02/M520/default.htm) which sits across from the park.
“They wanted to include a symbol of all the cultures that make this area special,” Chin said of the fountain. “It’s terrific.”


December 13th, 2014, 08:44 AM
We Found Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses’ Love Child

^ :)

By Gideon Fink Shapiro | December 10, 2014

Sara D. Roosevelt Park serves as a backyard, living room and gym for the Lower East Side.
(Photo by Gideon Fink Shapiro)

It’s not yet eight o’clock on a brisk morning, but the dozen or so women practicing tai chi, bundled in down coats and scarves, don’t even look cold. Songbirds in bamboo cages chirp with gusto, tended by elderly men. No word yet from the chickens roosting in the community garden. A couple of homeless men doze on benches, seemingly unperturbed by the trucks rumbling by, or the pre-school-age kids clanging sticks on the metal slide of the fenced-in playground.

This is Sara D. Roosevelt Park, a hard-working public space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Opened in 1934, it cuts a seven-block-long, roughly seven-acre swath through neighborhoods that have long been, and still are, home to a heterogeneous mix of communities.

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/Polo_IMG_2640_GFS_400_400_80.JPG (http://nextcity.org/images/made/Polo_IMG_2640_GFS_1200_1200_80.JPG)
Bike polo is another popular activity at the park.
(Photo by Gideon Fink Shapiro)

Around lunchtime, a sunken square becomes the site of a lively bicycle polo match. The players, wearing tight clothes and riding fixed-gear bikes, somehow remain upright despite their clashing mallets and the occasional piece of windswept trash in their pedals. People on nearby benches watch the spectacle in between bites from steaming take-out containers.

After school, teens play on handball and basketball courts while Fujianese seniors watch the scene through the glass of the social club across the street. Come summer, there will be soccer played at night, illuminated by high-powered overhead lights.

Spend enough time witnessing the relentless energy of Sara D. and you begin to wonder, how did this unassuming patch of public land built by Robert Moses in the thick of the Depression become such a hotspot?

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/Archive_01444_1935-06-05_Sara_D_Roosevelt_Park_800_590_80.jpg (http://nextcity.org/images/made/Archive_01444_1935-06-05_Sara_D_Roosevelt_Park_1200_885_80.jpg)
In this 1937 photo, Robert Moses’ no-frills, linear approach to the park’s design is clear.
(Credit: City of New York/Parks & Recreation)

The answer is not physical design, but rather the park’s multilayered patterns of use. It serves as a flexible stage for everyday life and events. Although the aging courts and walks could benefit from better maintenance and design details, they successfully lend themselves to a startling range of activities that change with the passing hours, seasons and generations.

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/Archive_Sara_D-Roosevelt_Playground-May-1-1935-large_400_296_80.jpg (http://nextcity.org/images/made/Archive_Sara_D-Roosevelt_Playground-May-1-1935-large_750_555_80.jpg)
Girls playing in the park in 1935
(Credit: City of New York/Parks & Recreation)

Moses began building the park during his first year as head of the parks department. In the decades since, it’s become much more than a place for outdoor recreation and athletics. Today, two subway stations and bike-share docks located along the park as well as dedicated cycling lanes along its borders, make it a part of thousands of daily commutes.

With its transit-accessible location, it’s also become an important neighborhood node, with two schools looking out to its open space and shops lining the opposing streets. The New Museum for Contemporary Art hosts its annual summer block party here.

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/NewMus_IdeasFestival_IMG_4777_GFSJPG_400_300_80.JP G (http://nextcity.org/images/made/NewMus_IdeasFestival_IMG_4777_GFSJPG_1200_900_80.J PG)
The New Museum for Contemporary Art hosts its annual summer party at the park.
(Photo by Gideon Fink Shapiro)

A cross-cultural dumpling-and-pierogi festival takes place on the basketball courts, which also serve as a rallying point for protest marches. Used-clothing drop-offs and CSA pickups happen regularly. Seniors wander in and out of the Golden Age Center, located on the park grounds.

Unlike the artfully landscaped, high-concept parks built today (http://nextcity.org/features/view/A-Chicago-Park-Learns-From-New-Yorks-High-Line) with the help of massive private funding (hello, Brooklyn Bridge Park!), Sarah D. is a simple, linear park, egalitarian and utterly schematic. The center of each block-long section is dedicated to a different kind of sports field, playground, court or garden. Tree-shaded pedestrian promenades run continuously along both sides and cross through the center at regular intervals. These are wider than ordinary sidewalks and equipped with benches, giving passersby the option to stay and watch the action in the center. The park’s flow is interrupted only by intersections with the two largest cross streets, Delancey and Grand; cars on the four smaller streets must go around the park.

Standard-issue furniture and finishes stamp the park with a functional, no-frills ethos. Indeed, it has never aimed for picturesque beauty. Built on land previously occupied by walk-up apartments (and before that, an African-American burial ground from the early 19th century), the Depression-era park was designed to give children a safer place to play than streets and tenement yards, with separate areas for boys and girls. Today, the park’s ubiquitous gray hexagonal paving blocks are interspersed with painted concrete, synthetic grass, rubber tiles and even some shrubs and flowers beneath the tall, regularly spaced London planes and Ginkgos. Moses’ old wading pools are gone, but there is a newer water grove and a series of gardens.

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/MFinda-Kalunga_Sara_D_Garden1_by_Allison_Meier_Flickr_CC_ 800_600_80.jpg (http://nextcity.org/images/made/MFinda-Kalunga_Sara_D_Garden1_by_Allison_Meier_Flickr_CC_ 1200_900_80.jpg)
A neighborhood-based coalition built and now tends the M’finda Kalunga community garden.
(Photo by Allison Meier on Flickr)

It was never inevitable that Sarah D. would thrive. Without the community groups that began to reshape the park in the 1980s, in response to what they perceived as neglect by the city and occupation by drug dealers and users, the park would not be the place it is today. Among the greatest triumphs of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition, formed in 1982, was the establishment of the M’finda Kalunga community garden in 1983, today more vibrant than ever. Volunteer member-gardeners cultivate their plots and the communal areas, tend to compost heaps, teach school children about ecology, and welcome the public into the lush oasis during select hours. The walled garden, with its chess tables and other improvised add-ons, hosts an endless stream of holiday festivals and planting parties.

A different group, the Forsyth Garden Conservancy, has established several smaller gardens, open to all, in the park since the mid-1990s. Their most famous contribution is undoubtedly the Hua Mei Bird Garden, just off Delancey Street, which they built to accommodate the Chinese songbird owners who had begun meeting informally in the park in the 1980s. They made resourceful use of inexpensive materials such as pipe and rope to create a hanging gallery for bird cages, and planted shrubs to screen the street noise and provide edible berries for the birds.

http://dhkzkmq0ef5g3.cloudfront.net/images/made/Sara_D_Hua_Mei_by_David-Tan_Flickr_CC_400_262_80.jpg (http://nextcity.org/images/made/Sara_D_Hua_Mei_by_David-Tan_Flickr_CC_1200_785_80.jpg)
A local community group, Forsyth Garden Conservancy, established
several public gardens in the park, including the Hua Mei Bird Garden.
(Photo by David Tan on Flickr)

Sometimes the community groups have clashed over questions like whether to create a new dog run, or a children’s playground in an old section of the park. (The playground won). There are also opportunities for improvement that sometimes get lost in the bustle of various activities. The low brick walls that wrap around the corners of the park at the two cross streets, for example, make it too hard to enter the park where it meets the city. And a currently shuttered building inside the park at Stanton Street should be reopened for public use or youth programming.

But these questions of land use in the park, as well as everyday activities, play an important role in spurring all-too-rare interaction among the neighborhood’s diverse communities: holdovers from the era of Italian and Jewish immigration; African-American, Dominican, and Chinese families; and a newer wave of single, mostly white, young adults. The park, with seven linked and ever-adaptable sections, helps to moderate some of the effects of gentrification by providing space for residents of all stripes to do things they enjoy. And it shows that modern planning and spontaneous street life — frequently personified in the figures, or rather caricatures, of Moses and Jane Jacobs — are not mutually exclusive. This park owes its bones to big planning, and its vitality to everyday people.