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Thread: Greenways and Waterfront Development

  1. #196
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    Oct 2002


    Brooklyn's Waterfront Greenway Could Help Fight Stormwater

    January 14, 2015, by Hana R. Alberts

    The proposed design for a greenway that has several mechanisms to catch
    rainwater, to be tested out first in Greenpoint.

    The Brooklyn Greenway, a path for cyclists and pedestrians along the western waterfront that stretches from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint, has been in the works since 2008, with piecemeal parts getting completed and others facing some community pushback. But yesterday, the organization planning the greenway and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams announced that the 14-mile stretch with a recreational mission is being designed to serve another crucial purpose: to fight stormwater surges in the event of another natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy. A study containing new renderings and plans [warning; PDF!] unveiled yesterday showed that using "living walls" and gardens that catch rain called bioswales could result in diverting about half a billion gallons of water from the city's over-taxed sewer system and sensitive waterways (think the Gowanus Canal). The total cost of of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is between $100 and $200 million.

    The entire length of the greenway.

    According to the borough president's office, the "first demonstration of the watershed-based stormwater strategy is being implemented in Greenpoint, beginning this year. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) agreed to add a $5 million high level sewer to the West Street greenway capital project that will break ground in 2015. The high level sewer will capture stormwater from West Street, and the side streets between West Street and Franklin Street, and release it directly to the East River; this will keep 4.5 million gallons out of the combined sewer system. The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund recently announced a grant of $1.9 million to allow BGI to install stormwater infrastructure further upslope between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue that will retain an additional six million gallons of stormwater annually, for a total reduction of ten million gallons annually."

    Brooklyn Greenway Initiative [official]
    The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: An Agent for Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Adaptation, and Resilience [warning; long PDF!]
    Borough President Eric Adams Releases Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Stormwater Management Plan [BGI]
    Brooklyn Greenway designers pitch bike path as storm barrier [NYDN]

    More graphics at Curbed

  2. #197
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    Exploring How the Dryline Could Transform Manhattan's Coast

    May 22, 2015, by Evan Bindelglass

    Rendering of the Dryline

    Architect Bjarke Ingels introduced New York to his fantastical-seeming "Big U" plan more than two years, enticing Manhattanites with the idea of a lushly planted park that would protect the island from future Hurricane Sandy-like storms. Plans based on the designs have actually moved forward since the city-hosted designed competition deemed Ingels's idea the best, and research is ongoing as to how this city-saving landscape could be built. The proposal is now called the Dryline (in a city with the High Line and the Lowline, the name was kind of inevitable), and the city is already in the survey phase of a protection plan for an area from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street. The whole Dryline would stretch 10 miles from East 40th Street, around the tip of Manhattan to West 54th Street (coincidentally, just south of BIG's Via tetrahedron). Earlier this month, as part of Jane's Walk, the Municipal Art Society hosted a walking tour of what would be the Dryline first piece.

    All photographs by Evan Bindelglass

    The tour ran from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street and was led by Eric Kaufman, President of the Natural Resilience Fund and co-founder of the New York Wheel project. He runs a group called Friends of the Dryline, which is trying to get more funding for the project through a public-private initiative. Phase one is basically all city-owned land, and while that makes actually building process easy, Kaufman said it makes funding a bigger challenge. It's estimated that the whole project will cost $1 billion, but he'd like it to have $1.35 billion for any short-term resiliency needs. He also has proposed repurposing the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which was set up in the wake of 9/11, for use on this project.

    The Williamsburg Bridge

    The actual idea for how to protect the first section from storms would be a combination of landscaped berms (essentially manmade hills) and collapsible barriers below elevated sections of the FDR Drive. There's no reason it couldn't all be beautiful. In fact, BIG's Dryline video released in March, which is just an idea, not the government's formal plan, shows art on the barriers and new usable spaces below the highway, plus a "reverse aquarium" at the southern tip of Manhattan:

    But whatever actually happens, the landscape might be very different from what is there today. Will the current parks remain? How will athletic fields be protected? Will the parks be easily accessible? The tour also highlighted the housing (including Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village) and infrastructure (the Con Ed plant at East 14th Street) that will need protection.

    Eric Kaufman (center) at the tour's start, at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive, just north of Peter Cooper Village.

    Manhattan is built right up to the water's edge, and Hurricane Sandy showed just how dangerous that can be. Waterside towers and the United Nations International School, pictured here, are just a few buildings that something like the Dryline could help protect.

    The East River waterfront already holds a series of patchwork open spaces and parks, but concrete swaths like this do little to stop flood waters.

    Stuyvesant Cove, which abuts Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village, on the other hand, is a living barrier that is more in line with what the Dryline could create. However, the park did little to help Stuy-Town during Sandy.

    Continuing south along Stuyvesant Cove Park. Notice an elevated portion of the FDR Driver, under which expandable flood barriers could be installed.

    Looking north at Stuyvesant Cove Park. It's currently unclear how or if existing parks would be incorporated into the Dryline.

    Existing pathways like this provide lovely views and open space, but they are not built to function as flood protection. The Dryline would incorporate landscaped pathways that would help absorb rising waters.

    Infrastructure like the Con Ed plant at East 14th Street, which exploded during Sandy, putting much of lower Manhattan in the dark, desperately need flood protection. The Dryline would pass beside the plant, helping to protect it.

    The East River Promenade includes beautiful paths for running and walking, as well as many athletic fields, all of which would exist in some way in the Dryline. The city's edge would be turned into a continuous green space. Dryline mastermind Bjarke Ingels says, "It shouldn't be about the city turning its back on the water, but embracing it and encouraging access."

    The East River Promenade runs along East River Park from around 13th Street to Jackson Street. It's one of the more verdant areas of waterfront, but it's cut off from residents by the FDR. The aim of the Dryline would be to make the green space along the waterfront easily accessible, possibly by building land bridges over the highway.

    A section of the promenade juts out over the river near the Baruch Houses.

    The existing park is completely flat, so it does nothing to stop flood waters. The Dryline would feature a rolling landscape with manmade hills designed to keep back rising waters.

    Hurricane Sandy devastated all of East River Park, killing dozens of trees and badly damaging the athletic fields, which sit right at the water's edge. Trees and plants that can withstand salty brackish waters would be chosen for the Dryline so they could withstand and survive floods.

    This unnamed part of the park near Grand Street and the Lower East Side Ecology Center is full of sea life.

    Okay, not actually living sea life, but everyone on the tour seemed surprised by these sea lions.

    East River Park currently features and amphitheater for events, and the Dryline proposal includes creating several spaces that would be similar.

    Pier 42
    , near Corlears Park and Jackson Street, is already being redeveloped, and State Sen. Daniel Squadron hopes it can be part of larger coastal resiliency efforts.

    See the 10-Mile 'Dryline' That Could Protect NYC's Waterfront [Curbed]

  3. #198
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    City Aims to Revamp 700 Miles of Space Under Tracks, Bridges

    June 19, 2015, by Jeremiah Budin

    Image via Design Trust for Public Space

    According to a two-year study from the Department of Transportation and the Design Trust for Public Space, there exists almost 700 miles of unused public space in New York City, under bridges and on abandoned elevated train tracks, highways, and railways. "Under the Elevated is the first study to look at reimagining the often dark and underutilized spaces beneath our city's subway lines, highways and bridges as safe and attractive public gathering places" said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We believe this comprehensive study, coupled with DOT's new design toolkit, are important steps towards reclaiming this space for the public and reconnecting neighborhoods throughout New York." The city plans to use to the data to push for small public parks, pedestrian plazas, skateparks, marketplaces, etc.

    Searching for the next High Line, city identifies 700 miles of unused space [Crain's]
    Envisioning a New Purpose for the Space Beneath NYC's Elevated Structures [Streetsblog]
    Planners see new opportunity in old elevated infrastructure [Capital]
    Under the Elevated [DTPS]

  4. #199
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    A Park Revives Some of Brooklyn’s Waterfront

    Bush Terminal Piers Park is an asset for local residents and businesses

    By Anthony Paletta
    July 15, 2015

    The view of Manhattan from Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

    No real-estate project in New York seems complete these days without a lavish amenity space. On Brooklyn’s waterfront, even an industrial district now boasts its own park.

    The 12-acre Bush Terminal Piers Park, named after the site’s immense late-19th and early-20th-century shipping complex, today attracts not merely neighborhood residents long isolated from their waterfront, but also a growing population of employees in creative industries that fill the surrounding warehouses.

    The Bush Terminal Piers, once a warren of activity spanning 20 waterfront blocks, fell into sustained decline after World War II, as New York manufacturing collapsed and most area shipping migrated to Newark. Some warehouse buildings still harbored activity, but others fell into disrepair as piers rotted and collapsed, reuse frustrated by heavy industrial pollution.

    The complex, renamed Industry City in the 1980s, embarked on a slow process of revitalization that has recently become meteoric. The New York City Economic Development Corp., stewarding other parts of the waterfront, recognized long-standing requests from the Sunset Park community for waterfront park access. “I’ve been told anecdotally by residents that they didn’t know it was a waterfront community,” notes Jeremy Laufer, community-district manager for the area.

    Children play on the soccer field at the park. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

    The park’s man-made hill. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

    Progress received a substantial jolt in 2006 with an infusion of funds for environmental remediation, including the largest “brownfield” cleanup grant in state history at that time. Cleanup unfortunately proved a knottier problem than initially envisioned, consuming considerable funds and reducing the viable footprint for the park from initial hopes of 100 acres to the current 12.

    Those acres, now a city park, are a fascinating addition to the Brooklyn waterfront, however, opening an outlet to the harbor for neighborhood residents, an attraction to area employers, and a vista of Sunset Park’s early-20th-century warehouse landscape for anyone at all.

    Entering the park still feels a bit like trespassing on industrial land, something that reaching the waterfront in New York often required before the recent waterfront-park boom. Access is through a gated fence off of an industrial street, hemmed in by warehouses on all sides. You pass under a beneficent statue of Irving Bush, the complex’s founder and namesake, who would likely be astonished to see his piers now accommodating recreational traffic.

    The entryway, divided by fine landscaping into pedestrian and bike paths, offers a view of a unique ruin originally intended for inclusion in the park: the terminal’s largely collapsed pier 5, whose demise has proved a boon for local wildlife, both aquatic species and migratory birds. It is the focus of separate preservation efforts.

    South of this is a view of several tidal pools, the legacy of an abortive effort to fill in the waterfront to accommodate container shipping in the 1970s, which has resulted in relatively calm bodies of water often filled by waterfowl.

    Athletic fields nearly adjoin warehouses to the left, while a newly crafted hill in the center of the site offers welcome views of the surrounding industrial infrastructure, but also those deceptive sight lines that offer much of the joy of a new vantage point in New York: a ship at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal looks as if it might be docked at the Battery; Governors Island seems to grow seamlessly out of Brooklyn.

    Local residents have access to the waterfront for the first time in decades. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

    A section of old warehouses. Photo: John Taggart for The Wall Street Journal

    The park’s design, handled by engineering-design firm AECOM, dealt with a practical and aesthetic interest in retaining the history and features of the site while adapting to new conditions. As befitting its gritty past, there is no heavy manicuring in site. The crafted hill provided ample landfill over former industrial sites, offered a barrier to future flooding, and a great spot for a view.

    Much of the soil around the site required replacement: Some apple trees that sprouted up in its years of disuse were retained. Surprisingly lush foliage lines portions of the harborside.

    Sunset Park residents have welcomed the park, but its use as an industrial asset has been more surprising, reflecting an evolution of just what industrial use has meant to Sunset Park in recent years.

    “Traditionally, you would think a park would conflict with industrial uses,” said Seth Myers, director of project implementation for the EDC. Indeed, there are many traditional industrial concerns—construction, paint and automobile enterprises. But for many new area tenants, a nearby park is an asset in ways that it likely wasn't for their industrial predecessors.

    Said Mr. Meyers: “You have this kind of mesh woven in a healthy community where people can conveniently work and can conveniently play.”

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