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Thread: Greenways and Waterfront Development

  1. #1

    Default Greenways and Waterfront Development

    Waterfront Called Washout

    Daily News City Hall Bureau

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tight Budget Expected

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Original Publication Date: 2/11/02

  2. #2

    Default Waterfront Called Washout

    The development of the waterfront should have been a priority decades ago.
    Now there is another one, more urgent.

  3. #3

    Default Waterfront Called Washout

    Gotham Gazette -

    The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway -- A Thin Green Line

    by Carter Craft
    July 07, 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. #4

    Default Waterfront Called Washout

    August 18, 2003

    Renovation Efforts Reclaim the City's Forbidden Shoreline


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  5. #5

    Default Waterfront Called Washout

    Venice in New York

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

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

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

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

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

    COPYRIGHT © 2003

    Gotham Gazette -

    Will The Bountiful Triangle Return?

    by Carter Craft
    August 08, 2003

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

    Governors Island

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

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


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

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

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

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

    East River Piers

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

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

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

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

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

  6. #6
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    Default Waterfront Called Washout

    Just don't take money from the space program. They're hypocrites if they do; it's far more important in the long run than the waterfront.

  7. #7


    PR- 271-03
    September 30, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Pave over three miles of path in city parks
      Make improvements to over 6.8 miles of on-street routes
      Build 14 new pedestrian ramps
      Create six new crosswalks
      Manufacture and install over 750 Greenway signs
      The working group also partnered with the State Department of Transportation, which, in addition to constructing the Harlem River Speedway on-ramp, created a new safety fencing system along the FDR Drive between 13th and 15th Streets.

    The announcement occurred at the Harlem River Speedway, a two-mile stretch of waterfront open space that runs adjacent to the Harlem River between 163rd and Dyckman Streets. As part of that effort, Parks & Recreation built a bike and pedestrian path along the Speedway, the NYC Economic Development Corporation reinforced Greenway infrastructure and the NYS Department of Transportation built an exclusive bike and pedestrian ramp at the southern end of the Speedway. Built in 1898 as a racing ground for the carriages of the City’s elite, the Speedway had fallen in to disrepair and, since the mid-1960’s offered severely limited access to the general public.

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

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

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

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

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


    Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958

    Mollie Fullington (Governor) (212) 681-4640

    Megan Sheekey (Parks)
    (212) 360-1311

    Tom Cocola (DOT)
    (212) 442-7033

    Greenway Map

    Greenway Brochure

    Guide Book To Walking Manhattan's Rim

    Biking in New York City

  8. #8
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    This is a major accomplishment and one of the finer, higher-minded visions this city has undertaken. Too bad it gets lost in the news.

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  10. #10
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    Sep 2003


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

  11. #11
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    It will be a great park soon...

  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    It will be a great park soon...
    That link gives you a good (but outdated) view of the park. There's more news here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. #13


    Gotham Gazette -

    Eight Ways To A Better Future Now

    by Carter Craft
    January 01, 2004

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

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

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

    A. Embrace the Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

    C. Invest In Better Mobility

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

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

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

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

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City


    Maybe a fast ferry to Albany? Rochester will soon have such a link to Toronto, and a similar route between the City and the Capital would improve links between downstate and upstate, as well as help out the economy up there.

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