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Thread: Greenways and Waterfront Development

  1. #16


    Downtown Express

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

    By Albert Amateau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  2. #17


    April 25, 2004


    As the East River Is Transformed, Industrial Nostalgia Takes Hold


    Sean Kelly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #18
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Waterfront designers named

    May 11, 2004

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

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

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

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

    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

  4. #19


    May 13, 2004


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #20
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    There are definitely positives and negatives for each, but the main thing is that planning is in the works. it has to start somewhere. Iron out the financiing, etc. later.

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

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

    At any rate, very encouraging news.

  6. #21
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    Sorry, this will be a review or sorts, but I just thought it might be nice to see all the current and proposed waterfront developments in the city (I'm sure I'll miss some, so please add to it if you wish).

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

    1. Queens West
    2. Arverne by the Sea

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

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

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

  7. #22


    Architect Rogers Aims to Revive New York's East Side Waterfront

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

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

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

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

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

    Lloyd's Headquarters

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

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

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

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

    Rusting in Paris

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

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

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

    Manhattan Plan

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

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

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

    Bloomberg: What's involved in your Manhattan plan?

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

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

    Barcelona Model

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

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

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

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

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

    London Tower

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

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

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

    Fighting for Modernity

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

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

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

    Bloomberg: What was your plan for Paternoster Square?

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

    The Victorians

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

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

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

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

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

    Leadenhall Piazza

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Steel and Glass

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

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

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

    Last Updated: June 20, 2004 19:17 EDT

    Rogers to Plan Queens Waterfront Complex

  8. #23
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    Default City brainstorms on the E. River

    Volume 17 • Issue 5 | June 25 - July 1, 2004

    City brainstorms on the E. River

    By Elizabeth O’Brien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. #24
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    Retail under the FDR is a wonderful idea. It reminds me of Guastavino's and the Food Emporium in the arches of the 59th Street Bridge viaduct. A big supermarket definitely needs to be built in that neighborhood.

  10. #25


    Quote Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
    Retail under the FDR is a wonderful idea. It reminds me of Guastavino's and the Food Emporium in the arches of the 59th Street Bridge viaduct. A big supermarket definitely needs to be built in that neighborhood.
    Guastavino's was a spectacular edition to that neighborhood. The difference is that the 59th Street space, if I remember correctlly, was unused before then. The problem here is that the space under the Lower FDR is already being used. Hundreds of buses park there every day. Without that space, they will be circling Lower Manhattan streets belching fumes, or parking illegally on our tiny streets down here. Where else are they going to go? I think that is the first issue which CB1 needs to look at, before wasting its time with pretty renderings from SOM.

  11. #26
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    Hasn't the LMDC addressed that situation? A bus terminal is part of the transportation plan.

  12. #27



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

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

  13. #28


    Two ferries and an airplane on the East River.

  14. #29
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    Rendering of a plan to convert the Peck Slip parking lot used by Fulton Fish Market trucks into a plaza with a reflecting pool by Richard Rogers Partnership, SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Landscape Architect.

    City floats tower-park idea for the East River

    By Josh Rogers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

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