Residents push to open up East River waterfront
Current East River look.
Rendering of possible East River plans.
By Justin Rocket Silverman
June 11, 2007
A vision to transform the postindustrial no-man's land along the East River in midtown into a vibrant public space was embraced Sunday by elected officials and hundreds of concerned residents.
"There are 154,000 people living in this area, and I don't think [anyone] can remember what it was like to be able to walk down to the river," said Kent L. Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society. "River access has been sealed off for decades."
The society organized a meeting of top architects last week to come up with a plan for the stretch of waterfront running from East 34th to 63rd streets. There is currently no way for pedestrians or cyclists to access this part of the city -- a fact all the more problematic because the area has only one acre of open space for every 5,000 residents, the least amount anywhere in the city.
A major portion of the area in question, a former Con Ed site that stretches from 34th to 41st streets, is the site of a massive development project spearheaded by Sheldon Solow, ranked the 746th richest person in the world by Forbes.
The developer's plans include millions of square feet of residential, commercial and retail space in a waterfront complex.
The vision unveiled Sunday represents the "beginning of a long, complicated process," according to Borough President Scott Stringer, to reconcile Solow's plans with the community's desire for more open space and public river access.
Specs presented Sunday include a large park area elevated over the FDR -- much like the Brooklyn Heights Promenade extends above the BQE. A pedestrian ramp would provide a way to reach the water below. Architects estimated the elevated park between 34th and 41st streets would add 142,600 square feet of open space, at a total cost of $224 million.
"In the 20 years I've lived in New York, access to the rivers has been one of the greatest improvements to the city," said Nelson Smith, 55, a longtime East Side resident. "What exists at this site now is extremely discontinuous and frustrating."
Officials said they are hopeful their design proposal will be considered by the developer and the city's Planning Commission.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.
Rendering of possible East River plans.
I hope that those renderings are not what the towers will actually look like!!!
Here's another map/chart from Curbed -
Do the nimbys actually want that? they are more stupid than i thought, it makes me sick.
I'll take it if it means Solow can build his development as planned.
It sounds to me like it's just an idea that's being floated.
More 21st century towers-in-the-park. This city will never learn despite having so many of these already in the city and seeing firsthand how they don't work.
How ironic that today's NIMBYs advocate more of the Robert Moses type of developments than the Jane Jacobs type.
I was actually at the press conference and one thing that was stressed was that this is just an IDEA. There are no plans set in stone. This is just a visual representation of different ideas for the site. The reporter of that article failed to properly convey that.
I've realized that Manhattan has 3 large blank spots, the Hudson Yards, WTC site (work in progress) and this one the Con Ed Redevelopment. I've become really interested in this one recently, I hope something gets build soon. Something nice, here are some pics I took of the site on 07.14.07:
Oh did I forget any spots, in Brooklyn there's the Atlantic Yards.
I always thought the 4/5 projects that would help shape towards a broader midtown would be: 1) The Hudson yards/West-side development (including moynihan), 2) The 7 train extension, linking the west side , 3) The con ed site development, 4) the 2nd avenue line (w/ a stop at 42nd street) and 5) the 42nd street light rail, which would run from river to river along 42nd street and 34th street. I think the project is dead now. Many people say the shuttle is more than enough, but only links the 2 sides, from madison (i believe) on 1 end and 7th ave on the other. But it would be nice to be on a newly developed con ed site, hop on the light rail and ride towards a newly developed west side.
--There's those lots between 59th and 72nd west of West End Avenue and east where Trump's development has been going up. It's more than halfway done, but there's still a huge undeveloped section from 59th to 63rd. It's cool to see them covering the Amtrak tracks down there, and rebuild the street grid one street at a time.
--Uptown (way Uptown, as in Pleasantville, East Harlem) there's a very large lot between 116th (?) and 119th Streets east of Pleasant Avenue and West of the FDR. i think there are big-box stores going in over there, with the name East River Plaza, which is a shame, because Pleasant Avenue between 110th and 120th Streets has some of the most architectural character I've seen in Manhattan outside of the Village. A great mix of different walk-up apartment, mansion, and townhouse styles from throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as some interesting renovations.